The Drift


Across quiet parking lots the beast of a train lurches forward, as if it were going somewhere. Its circular path through the poor section spools a lot of bedraggled strangers out in pockets of quiet despair; even their children are mute. Under the bridge at Crenshaw we breathe the caustic air, absorb the neurotoxins in shallow breaths, stagger back and forth in front of the old people on the bench. Wait here, with me. The day has a strange effect, its morose tendrils feed us the urban juice that both drains and animates, which forms inside a calm echo. Do you sense it? Under the bridge the damned luck brings buses that go off-line, that go to the wrong places. We can wait here for a long time. It’s hard not knowing which bus is the right one, which ones run on Sunday, when the next will come. Finally we find a slow bus that goes in the general direction. It’s warm inside, filled with LA’s colorful people, lively and inviting and human.

I love these nights… It’s as if I were from another world, as far as I’ve traveled. I know some of these people, although we’ll never cross paths again. In this, the wide-open center of the human strain, the petri dish of randomness ― unguarded, unrestrained ― there is no glamour, yet it sparkles with some benign glitter.

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