The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

This is the City . . . #2

Los Angeles County General Hospital (1956)

1 comment :

Vanwall said...

Sure it's the City, or a at least a small, dark part of its soul; so sunny and clean when the hard Southern California sun is baking the piss smell out of the outside stairwells, but oh, so black and stone-cold when the moon brings out the secret devils of the City of Angels.

The antiseptic ward scent permeates the halls, and you know when you wake up and find yourself on a gurney under the harsh blue lights, with a drip in your arm and the orange stain from the ER cutting room slathered all over your chest, and the big stitches zig-zaggin' all over with the cut-ends stickin' up like a blue wire briar patch, why, you know that smell'l never quite get out of your olfactories - it just hides out there until you have a real screamin' mimi one sick night so it can be the first thing you smell when you claw your way back to a frightened wakefulness. GSW smell, you'll think, and touch your chest where the big .45s went in, and you'll remember the fear, if not the pain, and that's what's worse anyway - the long moments when you don't really care if that smell is all you'll ever smell, as long as you can live for one more long moment... but you might not.

Somewhere, some sumbitch is gonna feel that long moment, too, when you catch up to him, if only for the one long moment and nothing else. You pull open a drawer, and pull out a paper, a pistol, and almost-empty bottle of rye. The paper has a name, a name that cost a lot to get, a name the Model 1911 will become intimately acquainted with soon, soon, soon; the big Colt has a full clip, eight iron men and no waiting; the rye goes down smooth and hot - not really dutch courage, mind you, just a little painkiller, for the pain in your head every time you remember her, smiling, pointing you out to the dark man with his right hand out of sight, just when you'd finally decided she would do anything for you. Just not anything to you, and that's why her real name's on the paper - you'll find her, godammit, and him, and the long moment.