connect the nots


from an email message forwarded by a friend:

“a group of situationist/yippie/anarchist hackers calling themselves ‘Anonymous’ has released a youtube manifesto against scientology and has been taking some impressive action against their websites.”

you can find the YouTube video (posted 21 January, 2008), by doing a search of “message to scientology.”

there is also a site called project chanology; a google for “project chanology partyvan.info” will bring it up.


Q33 NY.1

Q33 NY.2


mysterious white powdery

black propaganda










silikon sueños, vol. 1

I left San José when I was still a kid, exactly half my life ago this week. Now I am as much here as there, and nowhere in between.

Sometimes I think that it has taken this much space and time for me to be able to look at it and untangle. Sometimes I think that it will never untangle.

Now when I go back, it is like an empty, abandoned movie set from the Reagan years. I see other people there doing their thing, but it’s like their movies are playing in another theater that I cannot fully access. The sound is muffled, the images are out of focus. Everything I see here is time-warped, filtered through the scrim of 1980s videogame soundtrack electrodream. See, that house—we lived there while my dad did time. See, that corner is where I would pick up newspaper rubberbands in the morning on my way to school to add to my rubberband chain. Big, fat ball stuffed in my pocket.

No cars. Silent. Empty sky. Abandoned soundtrack.

Up there, those yellow hills. I would wander up and look out over the city. Little nature boy, little mexicanito whiteboy sitting alone under the trees.

Right there on that corner, we were nine, my friend brought out two Tecates from his refrigerator and we sat there on his frontyard drinking them like little men, watching the cars roll by. His dad was a trucker, gone. All our dads were gone. His family was white and not rich but not too poor either.

See, that motel—we lived there for two months.

See, these landscaped rolling little hills, this park, these memories buried underneath. Wormholes in the mud. Aerated dreams.

This is the land of the Tigres del Norte, man. This is where they came from, like me. Puro norteño via silicon chip off the old block.

Do you remember how they made those calendars when the 80s hit, shiny silver mylar, bright rainbow colors? Back then, this was the future, and I would collect it. In 1985 I still had 1981 rolled up inside 1983.

See this palm tree?

An owl lived up there and in the cold gray morning when I walked to school, I would find tiny mouse bones and tufts of gray fur scattered at the base. Delicate slivery ghost-trace of violence in the night. And I would gather them up and collect them in a long, thin, black steel box that was like a pencil box but really I think it was for drill bits, greasy and metallic, something I swiped from my dad’s wrought iron shop.

That fence? Those windows? That door? We made those. See that house? We put that iron up. See these cages? See these ornamental scrolls? One-way screws, rusted edges. Records of our passing. Records of brute force. Records of blunt trauma.

This ideology is inscribed in the deafness of my mother’s left ear, the silenced echo of a shattering blow. It is written on the contemptuous face of my sister’s abusive, self-hating boyfriend. It is the wild-eyed fiending of my dad chasing coke, pussy, pisto, weed, and now Jesus Christ. It is the massive brick silence of my other sister’s pain. It is the blood on my forehead and fingertips. It is reality gutted.

Memories gutted. Neighborhoods gutted. Social services gutted. Prop 13 schools gutted. Our family gutted.

It is a ghost town for me and I am a ghost when I return. Alum Rock & White. Story & King. We drive slow past James Lick High School, and the new Alum Rock Library—the small, squat brown library where my self-education began replaced now by a shiny new windowed structure looming over the corner—and I look in the reflective glass from the street and see myself reading everything they had in order to start mapping a way out. Nearby: a group of young cholos, rolling toward downtown. They don’t look like East L.A. homies. More hyphy here or something, a different style—a little more hip hop, a little rocker, XIV, PURO NORTE, etc., etc., all that shit. I remember this.

See that Orchard Supply Hardware, I remember my dad stuffing drill bits in his pockets, using me as a lookout.

See that cemetery, that’s where my homie’s dad is…

Halfway through, I get tired of this rolling narrative. Bored. I have done this tour too many times. It is empty, empty. It is inside me now and nowhere else. I am mapping memories onto a landscape that has shifted, that is shifting, that means nothing to anyone but me now—

(Remember the earthquake in 1989, we were sitting at a long table recycling basic computer chips that looked like little plastic and steel cucarachas, wiping the surface clean with alcohol on cotton swabs, wiping the memory clean, reprogramming them with simple functions, and suddenly the fluorescent lights start swinging overhead, wildly, we duck and cover under the table…)

Underneath, I flash forward almost twenty years and I see myself passing by all the old landmarks, visible only to me, and I start to realize that not only have they shifted, but they’ve been replaced with simulations, wiped clean. Like me. Like my memories. Like my family.

I see myself there still thinking that if I just keep driving around these streets and telling myself these stories, it will come, I will find it, finally, I will gather it all up and sort the bones and days, dried blood under microscope rays, stray fur, scraps of tattooed skin, greasy entrails under fingernails, iron boxes, gas on my tongue, 5/8x5/8 tubing, 1/4-inch flatbar molding around a scroll, a broken yellow measuring tape recoiling suddenly, whizzing jagged over concrete twenty feet in two seconds, slicing open the webbing between my forefinger and thumb—

But this is not the way that it works.

The way that it works is that you must give it away to see it. You must keep nothing and give it all away. It’s all there inside already anyway.

You must gut yourself and give it all away.

+ + + + +

(Later that same day, in a Monterey motel, I pick up a distant radio station after midnight. Broadcasting lost soul oldies out of Cupertino, it cuts in and out of static in waves. It’s like a faded tattoo, some ghost vato’s memory of 1973. The DJ is from East Sanjo, too. He spins the rarest of the rare in underground cholo oldies. He dedicates his show to the Shakey’s Pizza at Story & King, R.I.P., closing now after all these years (hey, that’s that corner I was showing you! the old WIC office! the Tropicana! the heart of it...) Damn, Shakey’s gone. Later, on the phone, I tell my homeboy. Of course I know that Shakey’s, he says. Everybody knows that Shakey’s. Outside, there’s this crazy storm with near-hurricane force winds and cold ocean rain slicing up off the Monterey Peninsula. Old oak trees cracked in half, snapped power lines whipping at the ground. The windows shake. The station fades in and out. I fall asleep dreaming of these crazy-ass giant lowrider ships drifting out to sea, an entire fleet, all calm and slow and suavecito. All of us on board.)


knockout dragdown

Joey Memíras was a straight-up polítiko through and through.

For Joey, every situation offered a new opportunity to manipulate other human beings in order to acquire, consolidate, and/or maintain power for himself.

When I met him, Joey had mastered the language of a particular brand of political ideology. Every sentence was solidly constructed of the exact right activist grammar, the correct working-class terminology, the most perfectly placed palabras of progressive parlez-vous le révolutionnaire?

But behind every radical utterance and digital display was the same, tired imperative:

“All eyes on me, ese!”

At one point, I tried to be friends with Joey, but his shifty eyes were bigger than his stomach, and when I would bring my partner around, those shifty eyes tended to wander, like his hands, a little too liberally.

Not that I was all that bent by his sniffing around—at that time in my life, I was no longer the type to get jealous or possessive. But Joey knew this about me, and I think that he mistook it as evidence that I was weak, naïve, unschooled in the barrio ethics of push and pull and coming to shove. Looking back, I think that what really bugged me was that Joey saw my white Miklo skin, and my laidback demeanor, and thought that I was blind to the annoying, disrespectful behavior that he chose to practice right in front of me.

Looking back, I think that Joey was lucky that I just let the friendship dissolve, instead of smashing it to pedacitos.


“There is most definitely something deeply reptilian about us, buried under all this skull.”

“You know, I’ve got good instincts, but my problem is that I don’t always follow them.”

“I feel so uncomfortable. My pants are falling down. Gravity just isn’t what it used to be.”

“This becomes a game of hide-and-don’t-seek. The winners are the weak.”


Hey, you know, I did not realize that you and I were in competition, carnál.

At the time, I was just expressing myself.

I believe that we have not only the right, but the responsibility, to participate in the international, transnational, global discourse of intellectual inquiry and production, to the best of our abilities. To this end, we would do well to encourage and nurture one another’s efforts to grapple with and more fully understand and articulate our realities, in whatever forms of discourse that we choose. ¿O sí, o no?

For example, sometimes I speak this way, and sometimes I speak that way. ¿Y qué, güey?

For example, the other night I was drunk off my ass, pissing on a wall at two in the morning on a busy street underneath a bridge. The stream hissed a secret code into the bricks, then trickled several lies down onto and into the concrete sidewalk. Eventually the trickle reached the flowing stream of the nearby gutter. It was like a moment of satori, instant koan in the sludge of L.A….

Annnyway—later, we stumbled over to Paisano’s taco truck on Sunset, and my vegetarian ass inhaled three tacos de carne asada, con todo. Is that keeping it real enough for you, or what? They were fucking good, too—I don’t give a fuuuuuuuck

For example, another recent drunken night: New Year’s Eve at Esta Noche drag bar in the Mission. We got high on sake across the street at this sushi place and then veered over all chuecked around the white girl with little white angelwings giving out free hugs on the corner of Valencia. Once inside, I was talking and a piece of gum fell out of my mouth onto the floor, and I rushed to pick it up all conscientious, and then immediately afterward, I knocked your drink to the floor when I realized that I had laid my jacket on top of one of those little red globey candles on the table, freaking out and screaming all dramático OMIGOD my jacket!

But it was all good. Recovered my cool, bought you another one, and then we danced cumbia, merengue, house, all the cute boys giving me the eye, and it was great after two weeks of ZERO pegue in cold, white Seattle, where they thought I was a slick porno director from the Valley or something. (“Hey dude, what’s up with the scarf and ponytail?” Hey yeah, you know what? It’s called style. Look it up. And hey you know what else? This town is nothing but Houston in liberal/progressive drag. Demographics don’t lie, ese!...)

But anyway, so anyway, we were dancing and getting more high, and the drag queens were amazing. One of them and her boytoy left me their drink to watch while they went outside and you got all jealous but then they never came back, so I drank it. You snooze you lose, esa. Married but not buried! Married but not buried! Hey do you remember the conversation we had across the street? Me neither. Whatever, it doesn’t matter, it was great. Texting at midnight: HAPPY NEW YEARS CABRONES! A long, deep kiss. A fight outside, several homeboys clearing themselves some sidewalk space, the sound of a fist landing on a face, knockout dragdown happynewyears pinche fuckers—





I cannot write this thing that I’m supposed to write. It is easier to drink, and fight. What a typical fucking American.

No, see, it’s all in my head, right? but you’ve got to keep it real, carnál…


Late at night, I go out onto the fire escape and watch the police helicopters taking off and landing on César Chávez near the bridge, and in the orange haze wobble of the whup-whup-whup I can see the outlines of something that looks more and more like Massive Failure taking shape. There are no stars here, man. The sky dissolves away into some kind of sickly orange and gray. On one of them, a couple of years ago, I managed to graffiti my intentions with one ragged fingernail and some tainted blood:

“I will write something that is worthy, respectful, honest, sincere, and filled with the dubious truth of a million mentiritas and half-baked lies.”

On some nights, I imagine that I can still see it, but in the morning I realize that I was only seeing what I wanted to see—again—with my dry, bloodshot eyes.

The cargo train drags along the river, underneath the bridge. Squealing rails. Rumbo a San Pedro, al Puerto de El-Ley. My memories are ground to dust in it. I am a flattened penny, wider than the silence of a mime.


special january benefit: will alexander

Benefit Reading for Will Alexander
Sunday, 13 January, 5 p.m.

Skylight Books (on Vermont near Franklin in Los Feliz)

L.A. poet and artist Will Alexander has become seriously ill and has no health insurance. In order to help him defray the cost of treatment, a number of his poet friends will join him to read and honor him. Poets reading include Will Alexander, Wanda Coleman, Clayton Eshleman, Jen Hofer, Mathew Timmons and Harold Abramowitz, and Diane Ward.

$10 donation (hat will also be passed for additional contributions, plus Skylight Books will donate 25% of all book sales made in the store from 4 to 8 p.m. to the Benefit.)

If you would like to contribute and are unable to attend, checks may be sent to Will's long-term partner and primary caregiver:

Sheila Scott-Wilkinson
400 South Lafayette Park Place, #307
Los Angeles, CA 90057