Tag Archives: police

Bomb Threat: Los Angeles: 2013

II

No one is moving away from the free food table any time soon
There are few seats and the cement ledges aren’t comfortable
I flirt with a woman who is concerned about her curly hair
I tell her she looks beautiful – she smiles – she doesn’t hear that enough

We decide to cross Jefferson Street and go into the temple to get a good seat
We decide to cross Jefferson Street and go into the temple to get out of the sun

We are stopped by a chubby young cop who explains there has been a bomb threat
He postures like John Wayne and tries to wrest the most out of his badge and uniform
No one is buying- but everyone is listening – he relishes the audience – he is so LA

You gotta go around he says You gotta enter on Pico – this is where the event is.
(By event he means this is where the caller said the bomb was hidden)

Brave and crazy – the mass of humanity moves toward Pico – impervious to the threat
We are AMERICANS and these are our kids and you won’t ruin their special day

Did no one learn anything from Boston?
Did we forget in one short month what was at stake?

We move as one under the California sun – the police woman politely lifting the caution tape
We have to get into the temple before all of the good seats are taken

I wear a flimsy black bag on my shoulder – no one checks it
NO ONE CHECKS IT
I hold my coveted ticket out for scrutiny – no one checks it
NO ONE CHECKS IT

They simply herd us into the storied theater with the magnificent chandelier
We settle in and prepare for the speeches and the processions

Somewhere – someone is waiting for CNN coverage – hoping for attention
Somewhere – someone is wringing his hands – staring at the phone on the kitchen table

We walk and we sit politely together because we are AMERICANS and these are our kids

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One Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas in my new first-floor pad
The second-floor walker had me tossing in bed
The little red Christmas tree burnt its last candle
Shopping for more was more than I could handle
Directors and actors still ran through my head
And all of the plays that still had to be read
There’s comedy pieces I pray they’ll find funny
There’s another one witty – I hope not too punny
When out on Milwaukee – it might have been Tripp
I heard a loud clatter – someone driving ripped
Away to my window I shuffled and stumbled
I could almost make out a squat form with a bundle
The bright safety lights from the Schurz parking lot
Lit my tiny courtyard and half of the block
I peered so much closer at the form with the sack
It was little old man who was straining his back
The little old man smiled up at the light
His eyes kind of sparkled in the still of the night
More rapid than camels the cruises pulled up
The blue stripe a blur – but the bright lights lit up
“Don’t move!” one guy yelled and he pulled out his gun
“It’s been a long night. You’ve had way too much fun!”
To my front door the old man sprang with a stride
I – quick – hit the buzzer to let him inside
As crippled-up sprinters the cops tried to soar
But the old guy made it in and slammed the big door
So up to my stairs he carried himself
I opened the door to the out-of-breath elf
And then like a movie the bull horn did roar
“Send out the old guy or we’ll break down the door!”
I returned to the window and what did I see
Twelve service revolvers all pointed at me
The old guy just sat down and pulled out a smoke
“You got any whiskey?” I thought it a joke
“I lost all the toys. They’re out there in the dark,
Now who’s going to deliver to Jefferson Park?”
His eyes looked so tired – a bright shade of red
His cheeks were so sunken deep into his head
His mouth was so wrinkled it looked like a prune
His beard was so threadbare there’d be nothing there soon
The butt of the cig he held clenched in his teeth
Smoke circled his head like a smelly death wreath

He had a sad face and a pasty white tummy
His death rattle laughter just wasn’t that funny
He sat on my nice couch just creeping me out
There was something pathetic about this old lout
With a turn of his head his old neck gave a creak
Something told me he was ready to speak
He spoke just one word – he whispered the rest
Those words hit me hard like his boot in my chest
He took one more drag from that damp cigarette
He thanked me and told me, “It ain’t over yet.”
Then he got up so slowly heading back to the night
“I’ll leave you alone now Kid – this is your fight.”
I heard his words echo as I watched him just leave
“I’m nothing these days if the kids don’t believe.”

Water Now

I
I have torn the idols off of the walls
And dropped them in a pile in front of you
You rubbed my face in them
One time too many and now they’re gone
The one or two that remain will shrivel up and die
Then I can rub your face with them
Like I have rubbed your face in the past
And when the operator puts me through to God
I will wait on the line in that parking lot phone booth
Because I have plenty to say to Him
It will take more quarters than I have
But maybe I will be able to reverse the charges
Maybe I can get Him to pay for the call
I am sure that when he sees the piles
Laying on the floor around me
He will take me into his massive heart
And pay for the call and talk to me all night long

II
I have watched the last cigarette burn away
Like a Westside tenement insurance fire
Blazing upward toward the thick dark sky
Little children crying – clinging to mother’s rib cage
Legs wrapped around mother’s waist like a belt
No Christmas for these little muffins this year
No celebrity clean-up crews to shovel through the debris
From Cicero Avenue all the way to Pulaski and beyond
No one even notices what happened here today
No one hangs their head for a moment in silent prayer
There’s too much going on for anyone to consume
So they walk slowly from street to fear filled street
Burning their cigarettes letting the smoke carry them away
Up into heaven with their big glassy red eyes
Walking now among the clouds in their heavy black shoes
Their voices silenced and their hands jammed into their pockets
Their cigarettes are all gone now and the 7-11 is closed

III
I have watched the last of the children leave
Slamming the big oak door behind them
A thin handful of snowflakes scurry in – only to die
And you put your love face on for me
But I just want to sit in my big chair
And look out over the pure white winter grass
The big red plastic sled leaving tracks in the snow
They will search for Kilimanjaro
Only to be seduced like Hemingway was
You bring your love face to me and put it in my hands
I pretend not to notice but still you won’t leave
So I take you into my big hairless arms
And I take your weight into my lap where it is safe
My mind is with the children on their journey
The dogs are curled up and sleeping under my chair

IV
She asked me who I was writing for
I told her it was my generation
She didn’t like my answer very much
Your generation doesn’t care she implied
You’re right I returned sadly
The ones who do care can hardly read
She laughed out loud right in our faces
But we knew that she was right this time
Her all-knowing self-righteous generation
With all of their sanctimonious soft-soap politics
They never had anyone to challenge their voices
Theirs was a time when prophets came forth
From the little towns and cities and they spoke out loud
And no one challenged what they had to say
The gypsy-prophet-minstrels that decried the right
My generation is throw away fast food wrapper people
As useful as that one brown shoe that we saw on Rte. 53

V
I have watched the last fire die out before me
All of the piles of all of the idols are ashes now
I have no place to rub your sad tired soul
I see that you have finally put that love face back into the closet
My generation is still reeling from that 12-year itch
But they really have no excuses anymore
I tried calling God one final time
But the number was no longer in service
What I got was a buzzing noise in my ear
And a set of “crown of thorns” serving plates
The Westside children who missed Christmas
Will find them under the tree at the mission
Or maybe on Lower Wacker Drive – Emerald City
The lucky children have returned from the journey
Their red plastic sled is cracked and dented along one side
Their little red noses are runny and cold like the dogs’
And the snowflakes in the hall have all died water now – water now

At Three Legged Lake

The photo album lay open on her bed – the picture offered no clue of her whereabouts
Her mother stood on the porch looking over the peach blossoms wringing her hands
That older boy was back in town – that much her mother knew for sure
She heard them leaving together around midnight – she thought it was strange
He had parked around the corner from the house

The wrestling matches or the fishing show – whatever it was – couldn’t hold them
The older boy wandered away but came back soon enough – she was asleep
He looked – for a moment – at the peaceful young face of the girl on his mother’s couch
The phone cord fit so easily between his fingers and around her neck – around her future
He was disappointed when it was over

The flashing Polaroid camera gave her face a spectral glow
Her eyes looked through the lens and up into his face
He slipped the picture into a copy of the Bible that he kept in his desk
The event was less than he had hoped for but he wanted a memento
He dropped her body at Three Legged Lake

The cop that discovered the body was squeamish – and maybe just a little frightened
Her killer had left her at the lake wearing nothing but the phone cord and a T-shirt
He couldn’t deny the attraction of her youth despite her condition
He told himself that he needed to stop pulling the overtime shifts
The cop thought of his daughter – tucked safely away at home
He put the call in to dispatch