Very burly guy, short, expostulates to the judge. We are immediately behind him. Like Malvolio, he has been much abused. He chronicles his list of woes. They arrest him, they violate his rights, they won’t allow him his due process as a citizen … can he be issued a public defender? No, said the judge, this is a civil matter; your liberty is not in question. We are here to determine if a restraining order is to be made permanent. All I want is a police report, says burly. You are not entitled to a police report, the judge says. There is sometimes private data included and it isn’t released to the public.

He raises and lowers his arms. He demonstrates how he has been handcuffed. He says, all I want is a police report, just a piece of paper. He says, they’ve been denying –

The judge is very tolerant. Allows him to express at length. Let him be heard. The elderly lady at the next table probably thinks she has heard quite enough. The original dispute was something extremely minor, septic backing up and the planning department appearing at his door, and he apparently spends eight hours ranting at the city offices, one of which is the workplace of the little old lady at the table. Goes to infest the county building; is expelled by the police.

Granted, restraining order, three years. Next case.

Another manifest lunatic sweeps forward to stand where late the other loon swayed. This one has been suing us for four years now. She is simply a malicious wacko who has filed some 80 suits of all flavors in two counties through recent times. She becomes more shrill the more it becomes obvious her depravity will not be validated. It’s a corrupt system, and I’m going to federal court, my Constitutional rights have been violated, the 14th and 15th amendment, (to us) it’s gonna cost you more now …

We are in a California court. California. Let me introduce California.

Spanish land grants. Mexico. Padres oppressing natives. Gold. Fremont. The Bear Flag. War with the US. Interdependence. Railroads. Water. Desert glut. Shipyards. Dust Bowl migration. War effort. Aerospace. Land. More water. Less. Farming. Movie stars, swimming pools. Collapse of aerospace. Immigrants.


A vacant lot, surrounded by a cyclone fence. The wind blows from the northwest in this territory. Look at the leeward border. Trash, gathered at the fenceline.

Uprooted like electrons, vast electrical hordes channel westward. They have confused their estate with their state, you see, and believe earnestly and devoutly they can change their nature with an alteration of nurture. My unholy earstwhile limits were imposed by Scarsdale or Topeka.

Everyone everywhere you see is above average and only restrained by some vast amorphous amalgam of bad vibes and too much windy weather. On the Gold Coast, I shall be released!

The best geographical history of this state is Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust. (I read that as "Locus" because too much sad fairy hopefulness is invested in it.) During the Dust Bowl, they came west out of fear and hunger. They watched the glory in ocean waves and dripping succulently from orange trees, and they grew bored. They were still recognizeable. Nothing really had changed for the better except for the weather.

Desperation. They sought relief all along the watchtower. Is there lecithen in yogurt? There is valyralder in wheat! Death comes from consuming death, so raw fruit and nuts, that’sthe ticket. In your center a conduit like dryer plumbing carries chakra. I have visited the crucifixion, and been taken up by space aliens. All manner of enemies abound in the brush, around the corner, in the next room.

Joan Didion wrote that you want to be as far west as you can be, is why they come to LA. They can go no further; it’s the blue cyclone fence. That is altogether fitting and proper, except that they would be further west were they to move to Reno.

In our country, our estate, our land up on a hill, our nearest neighbors are malicious loons. We call them Worse and Worser. They taunt and curse and they delight in devious delusions. They are a perpetual strain of virus and know no life unless they infect healthy bodies. We are, supposedly, just ending our second long fracas, featuring attending court sessions in which the nutbags expound their bad dream sequences. Thousand and thousands of dollars have been wasted because our land borders upon that of these wackos. They are originally from Detroit or Topeka but they were brought by the wind due to their demons, which now haunt all of us.

"I seen me a handbill," said the Okies prior to setting out for the Golden Land. A dollar a day picking grapes. You take this south fork, what they call the Hastings Cutoff, out of Ft Laramie, the helpful land speculator promised, and you’ll be in California a month early! He meant you wouldn’t follow the Oregon trail to somebody else’s land in the Willamette Valley. Sounds good, said the Donners.

They spend their lives on the High Sierra, too late to avoid the snows, or their treasure in the Owens Valley, and then Mulholland takes all the water for Hollywood swimming pools. We’re the lucky ones. We might have something left after law court.

Immediately he was all animation. Squatting on his well-padded haunch, assuming the air of a buttered Buddha, he leaned slightly forward and fixed me with his glitter eyes.
"You write an article … a good article … and I will get you five thousand dollars for it. More even … How much do you need?"
Before I could make reply he was on his feet and grasping my arm, as if to pull me out of the tub. "I’ll get you all the money you want, plus a free trip to Java, Burma, India, Ceylon, Bali. …"
He pulled himself up short. "Look," he said, now fairly dancing with excitement, "I want you to write about Nature, not people – do you understand?" He took a few steps backward, pointed to the hills above us, then beckoned for me to get out of the tub. I did. "You see those trees up there … and that dark spot over there?" He indicated the area with an arclike motion of his hand. I looked searchingly, wondering what he saw there of particular interest. To my eye there was just the usual sweep of hills, the usual undulations, the usual trees, rocks, brush.
He dropped his arm, looked at me as if he were giving me a koan to solve, then exclaimed: "Can you write about that, just that" – he indicated the area once again with a sweep of the arm – "without describing it?"

– Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch;
Henry Miller

All the leaves are brown
and the sky is grey
I’ve been for a walk
on a winter’s day

I’d be safe and warm
if I was in L.A
California Dreamin’
on such a winter’s day

– California Dreaming;
The Mamas and the Papas

(Appeared in Yucca Flats, but nobody ever goes there)



Smalltown Texan, Blackland Prairie, a senior. Sometimes I have trouble keeping up. Married, with Rottie/Pit. Reading, and some writing, that's me.