The other day on route to my job I was listening to the radio. Power 106 where hip-hop doesn’t live. After one the trendy songs they repeat multiple times every day a commercial aired informing listeners that vaping is dangerous and kids are doing it and that that particular organization is against it and trying to prevent it. The sick shit is that rather than inform and or deter kids from vaping the commercial probably sparks their curiosity.
The commercial includes a kid or a couple of kids talking about the different flavors and one of the kids even mentions his favorites. Come on. If trying to prevent kids from vaping is it necessary to mention that there are different flavors? Is it necessary for the one kid to tell the audience which flavors are his favorite?
To me the commercial sounds more like some sort of backwards advertising. A clever ploy to actually get more people and kids to vape.
My job is only sixteen miles away from where I live but it takes me a bus, a train then another bus to get there and the same to get back, two hours, one and a half if I’m lucky, three hours if it’s Saturday or Sunday and I miss one of the buses. I have been riding public transit for many years and I have come to realize that a lot people that drive look down on or think less of people that do not own a car. It’s strange and sad how people can do that, judge other human beings based on what they own. It’s bad enough we are all at one point or another judged by our appearance. I’ve owned cars and yes, it was convenient being able to take myself where ever I needed or wanted to go but at the same time owning a car was headache. I had to sell my last car for almost nothing because it needed an engine and the cost of replacing it was too close to what the car was worth and what was paid for it.
Aside from the extra time it takes from my day to get to my job and back I don’t mind riding public transit. I’m reminded that life is always harder for someone else and of course that others are better off. Some people drive to Union Station or other Metro train stations park their car and ride into downtown Los Angeles. Either way it’s humbling. For those who think less of metro goers – take a trip one day. Go far, not just down the street for a few blocks. Travel into different neighborhoods, take a trip to Santa Monica, The Hollywood Walk of Fame or to Universal City Walk – Universal Studios, downtown Long Beach, so many places are now accessible using public transit. Routes travel through good and bad neighborhoods and by bad I mean less fortunate. Being behind the wheel of a vehicle regardless of make and model just means you were able to pay for it or that you made it a priority to pay for it.
Be warned that traveling to and through certain cities can be dangerous. A co-worker, father of a two year old, age 22 at the time, was mugged at knife point early morning on his way to work. Three guys, one grabbed him in a choke hold with a knife to his throat while the other two emptied his pockets and took his backpack.
A few years back while I waited for the final bus around 11 p.m. in front of the church across the street from Olvera Street a nicely dressed grey haired man asked me if I wanted to buy a revolver, “40 bucks and I got the bullets” he said to me. I refused never saw him again. At that same spot, homeless people with tents line the street at night a few yards away from the bus stop. Maybe a week after I could have owned a pistol I witnessed a homeless guy being beaten by another: punched and then kicked while on the ground. The guy on the ground saying “sorry, sorry man” the whole time. Cops showed up, no sirens, got out of their cars, walked over, then as paramedics showed up, no sirens, tended to the injured and left, then the cops left. That was the last time I waited at that stop.
So, if you ride public transit because you have to, don’t be ashamed. And, if you own a nice car or a clunker remember some people choose to travel via public transit and others have no other choice. At the end we’re all the same, flesh and bones.
Empty bottles litter this tiny single room apartment. An old inexpensive ‘L’ shaped desk hugs the opposite corner from the entrance. The one window allows the sun to shine on the longest part of the desk and on an unfinished painting.
When he was eighteen years old he ate an entire eighth of magic mushrooms. His trip lasted six hours and peaked for a good three and a half. He slept and when he woke he was different. About his goals he gave a fuck and started to produce art immediately. Before his psychedelic experience he just talked a lot.
He partied less but still smoked his cannabis, sativa strains to stay focussed while he worked and indica strains to help him sleep. He drank, but only socially. He produced work on a regular basis, two sometimes even three paintings a week and and one to two sculptures a month. Galleries from all over the world wanted him and museums borrowed his work to show at fund raisers.
He was fucking rich and popular. Not quite celebrity status but popular enough to get into certain night clubs without paying or waiting in line. He also attended several celebrity parties and as a result began to neglect his true friends. He didn’t care. He thought the new people in his life were his new family.
Years passed. He thought he was living the life until he came across another bag of mushrooms. He was among his new crowd when he decided to once again take an entire eighth. His trip was not fun at all. He saw through everyone and realized that none of them really cared about him. While coming down he called a couple of people from his early years and out of the four he dialed only one picked up. A woman he was seeing. When she found out he was on mushrooms she let him have it. Pointed out when and how he fucked up his past relationships and how it was too late to mend them.
He stopped hanging out with people he felt were just using him because of his popularity – which was pretty much everyone he came into contact with. He fell into a depression but still produced work, still showed at galleries and attended the openings and mingled with his collectors. But it wasn’t the same. His creativity started to fade and so did his income.
A year ago his cat died. And two weeks ago his dog passed. A week later he saw a doctor and was prescribed Xanax. The doctor told him that the weed he smoked was probably intensifying his depression. The doc being a professional, he listened he stopped blazing and only took the pills. He followed the instructions and never drank a sip of alcohol while on the medication. But now he’s sixty years old and alone. He was working on his client’s painting after popping a pill when he was struck by the idea “I can end this shit when ever I want.”
He took a shower then went for a walk, to the market. Bought himself an orange and a bottle of Vodka. When he got home, he put on some music, sat on the floor, peeled his orange and after eating it walked on his knees to his desk and with a brush painted the word “sorry” at the bottom of the incomplete painting. He grabbed the bottle of liquor, drank a quarter of it and unlocked his door. Then he picked up the bottle of pills, and swallowed all of them. He put on some ambient music then with his bottle of liquor sat against the wall next to his desk. Leaned his head back against the wall, closed his eyes, shed a few tears and there he left his body to rest.
Copyright Jesse Velasquez TrappedInFlesh.com. All Rights Reserved.
Long day at work. Seconds after stepping off the first bus the light changes and the Saturday night Hollywood hordes cross paths at this intersection where rarely an “excuse me” or a “sorry” is heard. On the other side at the underground entrance, a small group blazes. So sweet, definitely potent medicine.
Down the first flight of stairs a tiny jump at the end and “ouch! Fucking knee.” Probably from eating shit in the skateboarding years or a spill off of his mountain bike, his left knee is now delicate. One sudden twist while carrying weight and it’s fucked for days. “Whatever” he adjusts his steps to avoid the pain. A few steps later he taps his bus pass and strolls to the next flight of steps. Twenty minutes until the next train so he rides the escalator down pulls out his phone and hits skip until he finds a proper song. In his ears now, a recent discovery, a tune he shared with his girlfriend.
After leaning on a pillar for ten minutes the train shows up. Doors open and he finds a window seat. He takes a look around and once his surroundings are registered in his mind he rests an elbow on the window sill and his hand then supports his head and his backpack now sits on his lap. “I almost fucked it all up” he thinks with his eyes closed and an ambient track flowing into his ears. Two days prior he provoked a fight that nearly ended the best thing that’s happened to him in a long time. As he dwells on the thought there is a sudden tug on his bag. The two fingers hooked around a small strap not enough to keep his pack against his person.
Eyes wide open now, mind on full alert and now standing the tug-of-war is on. The backpack now a link between both guys pulling away from each other. The thief is younger and strong enough to pull Peter away from his seat. Peter lets him lead for the door. One of the thief’s hands slips off of the pack so now he’s facing the door tugging with one arm as the train comes to a stop. People are silent just watching. A couple of kids recording on their phones. More than half of the passengers leave the train car. “Doors are now closing” over the intercom, Peter waits and then takes a few quick steps forward releasing tension on the war. The thief loses his balance falling onto the platform but never lets go of Peter’s bag. The doors close and clamp onto his arm. The train starts to roll and finally the backpack again belongs to it’s owner. The thief screams “OPEN THE DOOR! OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!” Peter now standing on the culprit’s forearm looks down at him through the window and gives him the finger.
A few people shout “OPEN THE DOOR HE’S GOING TO GET HURT!” An older man lunges for the emergency door release but Peter pulls out his box cutter and fends him off. The train car is almost at the tunnel, the thief’s yelling turns into a screech, a loud thump and it fades away. Peter kicks the arm away from the door and sits back down. “He’ll never steal again.”
When I’m home, mostly in my tiny studio, there is always music playing. A variety of “genres” sometimes in languages I can’t understand – doesn’t matter. If my inner Self, Spirit, Soul, what ever you want to call it, if it dances I listen. Because I like my music loud, I use a headset. The less I hear of the outside world the better.
The playlist below is my current accompaniment.
My cousin just became a mother and asked me to paint a tree in her baby’s room. She also asked that I do the work based on a few pics she sent me for reference. I’m excited and hope they never paint over it, haha.
I’m using Photoshop to render a few possibility doodles. Here’s one of them.