The punches back to LA, it's no fluke. Somehow. There is the mega-SanJoseSomewhatSaigon, whole town of it, with palms and pools, like with all those people with patios who are gone now, just like, and I mean just
like it's all gone right now
, you kidding?, thank you not-here-anymore people, don't know if this is what you meant to illustrate, but thank you, well illustrated, nice and clear, every bit here like it was then, but as entirely gone as you...
...might not have seen it, otherwise...
And Sinatra slugs spiritedly through songs that had long ago seen their time, and not even then, really, considering the banks of urgent tin pianos, hawkers in the doorways come newly over from selling ties or cream remedies, wreck them with alien beats and instrumental technologies, the 'best' of them, though, the 'American Greats', no idea what these kids today are doing, "and let me ^./ PLAYamongthosestars"...lot like these defunct Bolsa Ave 'production companies', come to think of it, same building configuration...
The contradictions that can protect something from its existence, out by the pool, that is, the chlorine.
Got a good printer, showed itself to be the next step, brought beautiful prints to Jimmy and Sam, of the spectacular pieces they sold us going to work in surprise environments. Jimmy still didn't get that we didn't own
Panera Bread, only way that could compute for him somehow. Sam invited us to the back for a beer...ah, are you kidding
?, take a beat to recalibrate time because this is exactly Mohammed's non-orthogonal Daly City trailer, but, no, okay, canvas over metal frame like would have served for the booth when he would work Stockton's Cambodian New Year. Cambodian cigarettes, meant to sell them, but had to leave the freezer, guess we smoke them, butts just go on the ground, wine? Sam has settled into 5-dollar cabs, hidden from the wife, who hen-pecks behind the screen in Khmer, which Sam translates under his breath to us, word-by-word with grammar commentary. Can't stop looking at a massive marble Somebody without arms. Broke in shipment. He offers it to me.
He sparks up that he should take us to noodles, no saying no, and anyway there's that place right by here, by the CD shop, been off-limits because it's so
Cambodian, as in class
, maybe mob
, but with a Cambodian escort, as in ancient-times fellow proprietor, as in big-ticket such, yeah, see, that way they come right up to him, never happen with us. "I don't know anyone any more," he says. "In the beginning, we'd all come from the same villages, like seeing everybody you'd always seen, but somewhere else." And, mob-like, there's a spectacular stage with, it turns out, the main old country names like it was their Vegas. One woman sets her notes into the harmonic soup like yoga, sound man having worked out her special reverb setting. "Woah, who's this?" No, I was serious, who was this? Sam asks around, comes back with nobody knows. No, come on, somebody knows, waitress asks someone who asks someone, brings two Khmer characters on a napkin. "Hey, there's a CD store right here." Bring them the magic two characters, say, "She's singing next door right now." They know her, find four CDs with her here and there on a track. "Can you show me her name?" "Here. 'Khun'" (traces character) "'Khun'" "'Da''Ra'" "'Da', where's 'ra'? Oh, 'dara'" "vatei". Get all four, put one in my pocket and go back over. The host is indicating from across the room, pointing at the conspicuous costume-engrandeured figure mingling with staff. Elise says, "No, that's not the woman on the CD." Oh, oh well, rats. She's introduced to us. I ask, "Do you have any CDs?" "Oh, that was ten years ago, at least, but I'm on YouTube, here..." Writes on a business card, "Dharavatey Khun" "Hey, this is you!" CD out of pocket, to fond, surprised recognition, so much younger. She lives here now, with three kids. "Will you sign it?" She does, with a Sharpie I'd thought to borrow from the CD store. I know where it is right now. Intend always to.
Anyway, how 'the love' works, tricking myself into these things.
Getting to Thai Town twice, the second time with the second sister (Siam Books), the nice one, that everyone else likes, too, so it's all milling/buzzing, and with love, for those with the love, asking and asking only from love, answering and answering in kind, so many rounds of pratanjalis and 'sa wat dee khrap/kha's. Talk at length with someone whose husband is Catholic, her struggles with people and people and people, trying to suggest to her, in the names of both Buddha and Jesus, that every syllable of these tormented thoughts are prayers
, never mind these people and people, are they Buddha or Jesus? Never mind them, recognize what you'd saying as prayer. To Jesus at least, do people pray to Buddha that way? "Christians say, 'My God created the universe. Did Buddha?' and I know Buddha didn't say he created the universe..." "Ah, but you know what he would say? 'What creation?' Do we even know what we mean by 'create the universe'?"
The love milling pulled back from around us, is that reverence or wariness? Well, our parting was jubilant and aloft, okay. Will definitely be back to see them, soon as compositionally meaningful.
Elise has four nights with the hotel pool almost to herself, me at the table in Tiki-light with Qur'an and Frank.
They: "Buddha is my God" Me: "God is my Buddha". Put with: There's calling on 'other than Him' and calling on 'Him by other names'. Then, in between those, 'name' expanded to a full suite of determinations--the world itself is in fact the name of the world.
It's in how special numbers, like 1, or 1000, or 2222, are also just one number among the rest--you have to get yourself to switch to that view, but it's not hard.