OLD TOWN -- OCCVPATRIOT
I ride the street car to keep warm, cold, damp, the parks are now all surrounded by chain link fences to keep out the dirty squatters. Tents lined up near a government building, a charity case, first come, first serve. American style health care. Someone asks, "Are all these riot police for the bums in the park?" A man yells out, "I'm going to shoot someone if they don't get some food into the shelters." Suicide by cop can make the hunger pain stop. Now he's shot face down on suicide road.
Where do they go? The Mumblers, the Pacers.
Like an exile no one sees them, but they are here. Held outside of society in the cold and the wet. A constant refugee, social pariah. Their disaster blankets drag along. The unspoken, the dismissed, they call you crazy. The world can't hear you, can't see you, Mumblers, Pacers, keep you're hatred close, no one can take your hatred from you. As social order falls into collapse your economy gone. Violence begets violence. First you demonize the other, scapegoat.
Diminution,and being reduced to a beggar. Duress, threats. How to escape the economic violence? You're living standards digress, slipshod, the troubled that screams with Touretts [syndrome]. The forgotten parking lot sweepers. The old, old man, chest exposed died in the snow years ago. All those murdered for loitering. The old man that went on drug runs for you when you were a child. Staggardly, where did he go?
Sterno, antifreeze, I say bring back the wino. The grumblers that hate you. The pacers that avoid you. Better to be kind, you never know what someone's been through. The loading docks lined up with mummy bags, corpses snore under the drip-line. Disabled, abandoned wheelchair, native American with one leg, he left in Vietnam. A corpse on concrete can sleep for weeks without notice. A riot horse laughs while a cop on its back will harass. It's easier for police just to kill. Clean and safe police state, sit-lie law a lie.
If America is not racist or fascist it's really, really close. The kids are nodding out on Burncide, Burncide is something to see. Sold Town, new China Town, no more leaning water towers here. But the pacers still shuffle around.
A shuffler fights with his spirit in Cantonese. It's state sanctioned gentrification. And it doesn't ever seem to work. The Shanghai tunnels here run too deep. U.S. out of old town, U.S. out of everywhere. Chaotic like gunfights or lovers in a war-zone. From time to time the surface lots break away. A sink hole exposes the old tile brick work of long forgotten subterranean dens, your name an X, you wake up at sea, pinball beer wars, forgotten gambling spots.
Now train hoppers sell zeens by Voodoo Donuts. Portland is historic, for human trafficking. A meth-face spits blood from lost teeth by the dental van. Sweet tooth for a plastic bottle of booze, shatterproof. It's so cold here that people commit self-immolation in front of the fur stores. The police put them out with mace. The wrong red canister I suppose. A girl on a cellphone is so drunk she tries to open the door of a Cheers Van, luckily her radio cab van pulls up, just then. Central City Concern, Cheers Vans, guardian angels. All helpful vigilante groups you should never trust.
And it's flak jacket Saturday night. Tough guys shoot steroids and riot on Third Street for nothing. They get drunk at a bar called 'Dirty' and do stupid things. During a cold snap a bar hopper, that is also way too drunk, gets thrown out by macho bouncers like at Dirty, dressed in urban camo with assault-helmets. He falls drunk with no shirt on, lays face down dead in the Skidmore Fountain. Nice cars here are riddled with bullets, while the bands play on. Cute school girls are exchange students from France, they get shot too. Executed by an angry young man. They die in front of the dance club called 'Quest'. They came all that way to die in Old Town.
The signs here may change but the streets stay the same, made in Oregon, killed in Portland.
The buildings shake with the constant mini-tremors from Trimet Buses, Tri-metropolitan buses, driven by Tri-metropolitan drivers allowed to kill a swath of pedestrians at will. One, two, three more people, I've seen die. Like a skull, she looks down, her face illuminated from below, dead light lumins from her I-phone, deep scars up her nose, dark bags under her eyes. She is sad, beautiful, distracted, bored, to death text.
The rain soaked streets seem to play music. When the cars go by on ink-black roads it sounds like a needle on old vinyl records.
Leroy Vinegar played standup bass at 'Jazz de Opus', Doug Hanning plays piano upright at the 'Tugboat Alley'. And the first storms of winter pour over the west hills.
The winds pass the Fremont narrows before they hit the bluffs. Trying to sleep in this cold is a trip. I am riding on the metro-yellow to keep warm in winter. Living on roof tops, living in the slipstream you can really feel the winter here. Cold and damp. The winter here makes me see ghosts. Sitting at Union Station, I thought you had died, overdose. But it's someone else that looks the way that you did when you were alive.
People come and people go like the passing of seasons, like lovers in a war zone.
Down the bluffs I go, in the wind and the rain, across the Albina Rail Yards, I've slept down here for years. Watch for the pinch points, two ghost cars go by, tossed by a yard hog, half a mile away. A lonely horn from a tug pushing gravel barges, cries out, romantic. Ratchet clack, the hiss of breaks, blinking eddy on the last car, the long drone of engines. A gust ripples the surface of a prehistoric puddle. The city fills those pot holes down by the tracks with people's belongings. Their blankets, their jackets and clothes. As if it's not hard enough to survive out here, the city puts up iron bars under all the passes. Spikes on bill boards to impale rock-doves, electric fences for little dogs, fido shock, casual fascism. The Fremont Bridge is the tallest suicide in town. The Fremont Narrows presses the wind, there are whitecaps on the River Styx tonight. I've slept here for years.
Remember when I made you stack stones on old rail-yard beach? You were overdosed on acid and speed and you're monoliths still stand here as an homage to doom town. I told you that if you stayed in doom town, you would die. The shadow's swallow people's souls here. I haven't seen you since. In winter the river fills with a lugubrious silt, like a disaster victims bloated arm, I cried out for you. The moon looked like a skull that night. You stacked rocks, I made you run it off. A deluge of rain swells the river. Kennewick Man has slept here for years. Under the old rail-yard beach, like bog men murdered centuries ago, they sleep in sodden crypts under tufts of grass like Mausolettes, on to North River Street and the clamor of steel.
A girl with coins in her eyes, pays her toll. As Kharon stands bladed, his silent skull under a black watch cap, he looks at the cold river boils pushing trash, detritus old logs in winter waters. His scythe, a glock, metal bracelets, zip ties strapped tight to his sacroiliac. She is taken by him across to the Island of Death, as a police boat moves slowly, she is kept safe on its bow, under a yellow plastic blanket. She is taken back upstream, against he current with the inland tide. She is taken past the heavy stone blocks that hold up the Broadway Bridge. She is taken back by the farrier past the place from which she had lept. I walk past this haunted place, up the east side steps on a rainy night. A corpse is floundering.
As I step over her on to the Broadway her spirit is gone, but her life force struggles to keep her alive. An angel springs forth, exclaiming, "Oh, my God! I recognize him." It's that old black gentleman, beat cop. I've seen him before. He grew up in the war-zones of Detroit. His little niece got burned up in the trunk of a old Cadillac. She ran with the wrong crew. Her homicide went unsolved. He watched as a mark that would not pay up to his cousins, got tied to a chair, to stop the beatings, the mark jumped from a third floor window. He hit the concrete below. Still tied to that chair. So the child of the Detriot War-zones joined the military and traded one war for another. Now he is here, on these bridges, where so many die. As an angel. To deny Kharon his fix from the River Styx.
I've seen him before. It was years ago. It was the hollow days, early morning on Thanks Taking Day. I try to cross the River Styx. I go across the Burncide Bridge. The air is cold as the still fog lifts. There is a heavy freezing mist. A man is standing on the rail. He is a statue held high, contemplating death. He makes me think that his family must be far away for the hollow days. That same old gentleman beat cop pleads with him to stay alive. The man on the rail is a silhouette. I look hard into his face, and he looks hard into that dark, dark, place. The River Styx looks cold. As it pulls allong.
All I can do is walk away. And again, he is there. That beat cop. To try to keep this one alive. She flounders on the Broadway, and I step over them,its like I don't exist. Like I am merely there to count the dead. As I walk on, the rain feels cold. I walk the old Broadway Viaduct. I look at the love-joy columns, and I pass the man with no nose. Just an open skull. All that is gone now. As I walk by James and 13th. James Chasey was kicked to death here, by the Portland Police. Steel toe, knee cap cops have fun, while they crush his ribs. Shock blue rubber gloves in front of Blue Hour posh restaurant. And this becomes just another haunted place.
A working class man, boots, flannel long-sleeve shirt, steel gray eyes, glares at me. His rig is pushed into his vein. I'll bet he is shooting speed. So this stairway is closed today. I'll go the other way. Back into Old Town.
At Third Street a girl with meth-scars on her sunken face is lying there still. Her mouth open, eyes under dead slits stare at nothing. The macabre light illuminates the flies that swarm above her death. Like the flies, a few passers by gather at a distance. This shall be her only wake.
How many pigeons with darts in their chest will I have to see? Swollen feet behind her shopping-cart, beehive, birds-nest, lipstick all over the face. A guy painted all blue like Vishnu, talks to men in all blue. Steel Bridge junky lovers hang themselves with a single noose. This winter of discontent, vans packed with explosives at Pioneer Square, Lewis and Clark gentrify, so we can all live under the shadow of the Steel Bridge.
A milquetoast child is burned alive by his friends after a Punk Show at the O. The old Xray Cafe. Lord of the flies down at Burncide.
Coroner, coroner is he dead? A woman that is street asks, I look down off the overpass to smashed feet directly under me. His shoes knocked off from the impact. He must have dropped something onto the long blind curb of the freeway. Death by the Tiffany Center.
An old lady stumbles up, blood streams from her smacked up arms. Later, I see her nodding out in an old pile of fiberglass, she uses little bits of the fiberglass to set the dope into rigs. I can smell the sweet pungence of Afghani morphine being cooked down in the bottom of a 4-loko can. Never 4-get that itch of dope is stronger than the itch of fiberglass.
Under the Burncide Bridge drunk punks stomp obnoxious. A mummy bag tells the punks to shut up. Punks punch down and the drunk punks get their wrists cut with a pairing knife.
Don't sit there kids. Those are brains from a smart park jumper.
Guys in suits do swan dives out of top floor hotel windows. Passers by cry and say his head sounded like a melon being crushed when it hit the concrete. I look up at a little hole in the hotel window, way up high.
People come and people go, like passing's of seasons, like lovers in a war-zone.
I look at the flash in his eye. Even though I always try to avoid eye-contact. I can see that he is murder capable. And might be choosing me as his mark. He walks and second later, it's all cops flashing lights. A body twitches back and forth by the fence where the Steel Bridge comes down onto 3rd. Where it says Crack Press. I look at a body shaking from being stabbed by the man with fire in his eye. The shadows can swallow you up here, and I asked, "What were the last words that you said?", now that you're dead.
And it's another flak-jacket night in old town. Like a murder of crows, an unkindness of ravens. The walls down here are filled with bones. To live and to die. Under the shadow of the Steel Bridge. The east side skyline holds the convention center points. They look like giant heroin needles to me. Next to that skeleton dome, light from Hiroshima, this was Japan Town before they put the people of this place into concentration. Now it's Sold Town. It's winter Gardens. Share your old crow with no one. You have your blood, so you are not alone.
The simulacra here is real fake, like fake real. They call it new China Town, east of Pearl. But it doesn't ever work. The Shanghai Tunnels here run too deep. Old Town is chaotic, like a speed freak. Too many phantom owners, own these properties. So the buildings stand idol and stop the greed. Like the howling banshees the black cats, the wolves of the PDC knock at your door. They use the nights of Columbus, grocery store white power, prison mafia, to knock down the old bricks. The PDC is the Portland Destruction Company. Like the unmarked mass graves on indentured servants at the Pioneer Cemetery, the Shanghai Tunnels run too deep. Tong Mafia, Triads, of A one way gun fight, shoots the guy that owns Cisco and Panchos. Now it's called 'Ground Kontrol'. Eighties video games and cheap beer. The punk clubs gone too. Satyricon ran from eighty-three to ought-ten. It's all anti-world. Long live another state of mind. Long will live the Old Town Crones, long will live Sister's of the Road, Banana Joe's, Barracuda, there goes the neighborhood. An old hod carrier's union card is found in the dirt of the basement of the Marshall Art Gallery. Taken over by the cocaine bar called 'Tube'. Old Town Art Punks that don't live.
so yov troped the streets and stage now all thats left to play is a pvnk show in the bathroom. nasty piss at the matador
Demons cook speed in vats. Tear off peoples skin and pour meth onto torn faces.
Chang's Mongolian Grill turns into Dante's, and people think it's okay to do coke at the Tube. Coke, Crack and Crank all have their class divide. I say, bring back the wino. It's okay this is skid row, Third and Burncide, the original dark, dark place. Coffee shop class divide, rich kids do coke, poor kids do dope, it's always a hallow scene. Stand outside, check the trash for cans, ground score from rich kids pockets that overflows with little bags of weed. Self-adsorbed arrogance. Fashion wizard, spiritual hipster. Santeria, recovering catholic, militant Buddhist get their art school coke. Drugs delivered by the four horses of the apocalypse,money makes traitors, headless corpses, killed by the mafia. Lives melted by costic acid in pits. "What's up big man, what do you need?" The crew that runs the block on sixth and E. Crack, smack, heat the pipe, smash the glass, cook up with light-bulbs from the old Paris Theater. Willie's Barber Shop pushed out by the posh. And we all still have the right to dream too. White on white violence at Kelley's Olympian. Snake in the vein, Little Beirut, an old cop bar called Key Largo was really called large kilo. Now it's Whiskey Bar, and Whiskey Bars come and Whiskey Bars go. The clouds are battle ship grey and they hang very, very low.
thats a tall fall from pvnk tower on 4th and everet dents on the top of parkt cars yovr feet shatter yovr head is split.
A person in a yelling match with no one, is definitely murder capable. She is burned out twenty year old. Don't touch her, she is sick. Careful not to disassociate. Slip and fall into the River Styx. It's five AM, the dark shadows are thick. While the rich walk their gourmet dogs the zombies are out to get their fix. Umbrella junkies got their scripts. D-amphetamine, you're violent capable. A prescription for psychopathy. A tweeker's version of self-defense. A room with a light on at the Royal Palms. Tweekers with speakers, late-night bump. Time to meet with a phsycopomp. Pukers in mini skirts hold back their hair, hot pink shoes, hot pink puke. Thick neck victims get maced by the cops. People in suits do old town hurdles over hot pink puke. Cops wear shock blue gloves. Strut with hot pink shot guns, less lethal self-indulgence. bean bag rovnds tvrn into real rovnds real qvick Joggers do hurdles over mummy bags, a cowboy junky sings a tune to the bloated River Styx. I'm going down to the Esplanade, gonna get myself some heroine, try to walk around with no laces in your shoes. Lost laces in drunk tank jails. Puppy punks with pit bulls, spare change for kitten on my shoulder has kitten HIV. At the coffee shop, my friends are nodding out. Coffee shop class-divide. Rich little pockets that overflow, ground score drugs. No, it's half a peanut wrapped in plastic. There's a reason they call this place skid-row. They ran logs on skids, down skid-row from the west hills. Third and Burncide. The original dark, dark place.
Wadded up phone book in sandwich bag. Kind of looks like the real thing. A mumbler drinks water under the neon Jesus at the Roxy. Street kids ogle up for a street fight. Third and Burncide. The original skid-row. It's been like this since 1860. This place will always change, chaotic. Like the passing of seasons, like lovers in a war zone. This place Old Town, where it always stays the same. Always stays old skid-row. Always has class bvrdens. So I say, "Long Live Old Town, I've slept here for years."
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