Los Angeles, 4 December, 2003

(go lemmings, go)

as i understand it "Dude" is a term that originated on 18th-century ranches in the western US. as in places like california where spanish would influence words like "Buckaroo" which apparently descended from "Vacquero." the word "Dude" was originally a slam on city-slickers. it meant the ingrown hair on the ass of a donkey" - something that didn't belong on the backside. so "dudes" were dandies that rode horses. "dudes" were from town. "Dude Ranches" were ranches for these people from town. the meaning got obscured as "guest ranches" called themselves "dude ranches" - mostly in Wyoming around the 1940s - and so the meaning gradually disintegrated, fortunately for the dudes who were blissfully riding their horses in circles around the corral while the real cowboys watched and laughed.

but i like to think "Dude" remains an insult.. Gringo for "nigga."

this is my friend paul.

we have known each other since 7th grade, in colorado.

he is a biochemist, a Frank Zappa fan, and a complete asshole.

it's thursday december 4 and frank zappa died ten years ago today. we decide to go to the cemetery where he's purportedly buried. all we can find is an unmarked grave next to a guy named "Lew Ayers."

paul lays down in the grass.

it is cold out that day. no one has left flowers for Frank. it seems lonely and i think that LA is the loneliest place on earth.

"whats your favorite thing about LA?" i ask him.

he doesn't think for long, "It's got card rooms. That's about the most redeeming feature i can think of."

he pauses for a second, then, "There's hot women."

and he thinks some more.

"There aren't a whole lot of redeeming things. But the weather's great in the winter."

that seemed to be all of it.

so then i asked what his least favorite items were?

he spits, "Traffic, without a doubt."

another pause, then hisses, "Behemoth. that is LA. A Behemoth."

a couple of minutes pass.

"Who is your.." i start but he interrupts with, "BEHEMOTH!"

"okay, okay. who is your favorite neighbor?"

he looks at me as if i just offered him a glass of urine.

"My favorite neighbor? What do you mean?" ... pause ..."You mean a neighbor where I live?"

he's being fecetious. he knows what i mean. he's done this since we were teenagers. i wait.

"Do you think I know ANY of my neighbors? All my neighbors are Mexican, dude."

there was that word again. Dude.

i found dudes all over LA.

it is a city full of dudes.

do you remember, my soul, what we found that evening, that perpetual summer, that soft afternoon? the reclining angel city in her bed of a valley, one foot in the sea, the other thrown over the hills? she was airing herself out. all of the world flowed in and out of her. she was open, nonchalant and cynical. and her stomach was exhaling, not her mouth. she was smiling with her body, if we remember right.

the sun shone on her, cooked her exquisite body tender and rare. and the gaze of apollo fell on that superb civic corpus, so open like a flower and there, in that golden gaze, she was exposed to everything.

the airplanes swarmed down on her like a descending wind. the planes fell, collected and rose from the putrid bowels of the airport. from underneath the cars tunnel out and into her back, and from the sides, trains and trolleys once made a foray into the rich flank of Los Angeles. the limit of her days. after all, fruit, a little bit over-ripe, is sweeter still.

and she is sweet. she is fermented, round and smooth, not only from the hot air that is inside of her, but also the mass of citizens, squeezed so tightly inside. she is a "Freeway" but there is just clogging inside of her. it swells and bubbles and the lines of cars trace in and out like flies that feed on the city. the artery is stopped.

strange music comes from this world. if you put your ear to the asphalt you can make it out. the chattering of trains, the grinding of pistons, the rhythms of 9 and 5. the ocean, full of grey blood, keeps time, draining back and forth. and we, small humans, chew like crazy, feeding on this great carcass of rhythm and petroleum.

behind the buildings a bum watches us, stooped over like that, listening to the music. he watches us with a hungry eye. waiting to see what we'll leave or what we'll take.

you will become, los angeles.


as with travelling anywhere, there is a vocabulary to be handled. Los Angeleans, as probably the largest cultural exporters in the world, are happily leading the way into absurdity. some words i have found and an independant, albeit crummy, outside confirmation:

"Terror Fatigue" = post-adrenal political exhaustion


"Morbid Obesity" = really really fat


"Cholo Hip Hop" = mexicans appear to have influenced american culture, but no one is exactly sure, yet, how. not even christina aquilera.


"Junk Fucker" = this wasnt on the web. i was told, however, the "junk bitch" is also a similar term DMX has used.


"Maggot Rain" = from a snoop dog video piece, its literally, raining maggots. this has come up in a few songs and in a sacramento classroom.


"Ana" = anorexic


"Phone Rage" = upset from waiting in a different line (other than a freeway, i mean)


"Hunter Paradigm" = a trend in naked subsistence hunting. i think.


"Anglo-Isrealism" = England is really Israel. Part of the beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God


"Aquatic Ape" = the belief that humans descended from big sea monkeys


"Anti-Aquatic Ape" = the argument against the belief that humans descended from big sea monkeys


"Bird-Men" = the belief that there are winged men in the sky that will carry you or your pets or loved ones away. the belief, overall, that it is important to keep an eye on the sky at all times