Echo Park

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Echo Park was where I grew up

And where Tom Waits sat drooling bourbon drunk
And cocaine heavy in the 70s
And where in the 90s chinks stood atop grocery markets with AK-47s
And blacks ran down streets in a glorious show of the power of mayhem
And it was like watching hundreds of fingers coming together as a fist
Pulling men from trucks

Echo Park is where my dad ended up after drifting

And getting stone cold drunk on Sunset and Alvarado
And Echo Park is where I saw my first dead body
On Riverside
And witnessed my own friend’s atonic stare burn holes in bodies
with steel and lead

And in that hole there are the only far flung green hills 
 that stand above Los Angeles’ developed basins

Echo Park is where during fits with poverty my mom 
 and I ran food packages to Skid Row

And ventured out to Gorky’s downtown
And Echo Park was where dad bought Fosters beer before camping trips
on which he always found girls
And lost us on granite hilltops for pussy
And tits I myself lusted after

And in Echo Park tired old men begged for whiskey
And coins for “yen”
And doggie bags

Echo Park is what I left
Before I found college

Echo Park is what I remember
On lonely nights when things don’t seem solid, anymore

Echo Park is my childhood
Where ball games and manic fiends were the norm


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