A new kind of lonesome
I feel like that astronaut that came back to earth recently, after a year in space. When asked what was the most surprising thing he learned he said, How long a year really is.
Counting in years now, how long my lover has been gone; counting in wrinkles now, the pain and disappointment transferred to my face,
As the French say, kindly, “a woman of a certain age” that I have become. Losing my youth, losing my home, losing my ace in the hole, I called him, has left me brittle, fragile, I have lost all my moorings, the things that defined me within my own mind.
I’m Nernie’s daughter, Debbie’s sister, Beatlick Joe’s girlfriend, I grew up in Vultee, Gloria was my best friend. But people die, the neighborhood changes and the landscape blurs. You have to start all over again.
It’s a new kind of lonesome. And the memories have no substance to build on, what was was, and never will be again, any effort to recapture the past, is like chasing fog.
I choose to be living on the road. I choose to wake up in a different town every day. And with this, I became invisible. No anchors, no moorings, no familiarities, everything is new, different, fleeting. I walk down the streets of Palm Springs, invisible; I walk down Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, invisible; I browse the Pasadena Public Library, invisible.
This is what aging is: losing everything, everyone. New generations replace touchstones and icons, yet one continues, seeking: what makes sense, asking: do I count, do I have value?
Mike On A Bike
It’s a daunting task to find an overnight parking place in downtown LA.
They don’t want you at WalMart camping all night in their parking lots. I follow an innocuous street north out of Pasadena to a Sprouts grocery store off of East Walnut. It’s promising, but small, not open 24 hours.
I back up my Vintage 77 VW Vanagon into a perfect corner, secure the curtains, and settle in. It’s still early as I wanted to beat the traffic. It smells really nice around here I notice. I reconnoiter the block, strolling about with a hawk’s eye, in the lots behind the grocery store.
My parking place flanks the exit ramp off of the 210 – bougainvillea and lush greenery intentionally landscape the concrete as their brilliant colors crawl up the off ramp. I continue my peregrinations, bobbing up and down a sunny alley.
“Can I help you find something?” a man on a big blue bike asks me. I had noticed him coming down the alley – one hand on a handlebar and one hand holding a can of beer. It’s 8 o’clock in the morning.
“You’re my kinda guy,” I teased.
“What kinda guy is that?” he asked, a bit suspiciously.
“Drinking and driving first thing in the morning! Go for it!” We laugh together.
“I’m just looking for a parking place tonight,” I said.
He casually points out a cornier, “Right there, that will be safe.”
“You think so?”
“Oh, yeah,” he said with assurance. “This is kinda the homeless district around here.” When my eyebrows lifted he assured me: “Oh, the homeless people around here are really peaceful.”
I liked him. “I’m Pamela,” I said.
“I’m Mike On a Bike. Everyone knows me around here. Mike On a Bike.
I live over there.” He points to the bougainvillea. “There’s a girl beside me who lives in a tree.” I glance towards the ramp. My eyes scoured the greenery, but I couldn’t see a thing.
Mike was soon on his way toward the freeway. “Just call out my name, over there, (he points) if you get scared or need anything.”
And pushing his big, blue bike ahead of himself, he climbed into the bougainvillea and complete disappeared as the traffic continued to whine overhead.
Lizard Tail All the little dogs yap at the door Carried in from the cold Leaving me with the impression I am back in Paris The open mic Drew my kind of crowd. Definitely Bohemian with A whiff of East Village Every young man at the bar Looked like someone I slept with In the 80s. A minimalist mc make-shift stage No makeup Except for mine Musicians here have been honing skills For decades And juveniles Who have been playing guitar In bedrooms and dormitories For years, at least More horns than guitars Electric, no acoustic Pork pie hats and fades Grey flat tops, Popeye arms Saxes, drum solo, trombone Sweet, pretty bartender Beer kicking in Filled to the brim I haven't felt the drums like this Since I was 14 Visiting my Yankee cousins in Indiana I swear to a god I saw him Sandy Nelson, birth of the beat Indianapolis Sinking straight into my little 14 year old core And here too De je voux Random, man Such a conventional strip mall And the beat pulses Out to Montgomery Out to Eubank That jazz, never ages Pure sound Vibe Head buzz Honey sax Brush heartbeat Deep bass guitar filling out The hole the horns left behind Yeah, it's all complete now Fade to black We are all in our space That comfortable space in our head Where we attend Enjoyment There isn't tomorrow Don't remember last night Just want to feel the now The now now now In my ears Head Going down, down Into the nowshow
Pamela Adams Hirst, aka Beatlick Pamela, moved to New Mexico from Nashville, Tennessee, and established award-winning Beatlick Press in order to posthumously publish her life partner’s only book, Backpack Trekker: A 60s Flashback. As a book designer and publisher, seven volumes from her press have been named Finalists in the NM AZ Book Awards, with one first place winner in Anthology 2013. Continuing the literary and performance legacy established by Beatlick Joe Speer, she currently performs with Holly Wilson as the Beatlick Sisters as a multi-media performance duet, drawing upon her own years of media experience in television, journalism and poetry.
Pamela graduated summa cum laude from Tennessee State University with a BA, emphasis on communication, theater and Spanish language. Her hobbies include playing guitar and gardening; currently she is restoring a vineyard at Hollyhock Farm in the South Valley.