Sunday, November 2, 2008

William Bruce Rose Jr. Decides To Forgo Singing In A Church Choir And Heads Out For Los Angeles

I’ve had enough of the Bailey Trio. The cops want me out of town. Indiana’s got nothing left for me. I’ll change my name for a song. Cigarettes are my only companions, and I smoke them with style. Strutting out to the west coast, kicked out of my house when I was just a kid, because I wouldn’t cut my hair. I want things to be more fucking easy.

Sometimes I wake late at night, my fists clenched, drool puddling on the mattress pad, red hairs in my mouth, and I see her eyes that are like the bluest skies; I see them so clearly, never thinking of rain. I smoke cigarettes and watch the neon lights splutter and wink outside my window. Careful not to forget the scars my father left on my body and my brain, I scream at his memory in a high falsetto, and then follow with a decrescendo all the way through my vocal range, which sinks through baritone and bottoms out in a barely audible and garbled bass. I dream of a warm safe place I would hide out in as a child, music overwhelms me, and I dance in my troubled sleep. This tattoo on my arm reminds me that I am no longer a part of him. His name is only an initial now. My life is transformed with a moniker.

In L.A. people try to rip you off. If they think you’ve got something they’ll try to take it from you. I learned this early on when a couple of guys tried to hustle me out of my leather jacket. I was just a small-town whiteboy, a hick with his thumb in the air. My life was packed up in a rattlesnake suitcase. Standing around, my natty long red hair blowing in the wind, the pushers and the pimps and the low-life degenerates riding the NightTrain would give me shit and spit at me. I had to learn the streets.

It was almost Christmas when I left. It doesn’t snow in L.A. so I don’t really feel like Christmas ever came. Just one long dry season of pushing past junkies and prostitutes on the sidewalks as I make my way to Tower Records on Sunset. Izzy is still around. We’re going to smoke cigarettes for money in some bullshit study by some dicks at UCLA. For now it seems like it’s nothing but shitty jobs and bands that never go anywhere. I thought about Michelle yesterday. She might get what she deserves just yet.

Walking these streets at night, all the crowds hemming me in, I take stock of myself, the life I’m living—nothing’s changed but my name. But I don’t have time for all that pain anymore. I tease and blow dry my hair, caking on thick layers of hairspray so that it frizzes out and stands up like some hooker’s bouffant. Jon Bon Jovi can suck my dick.

With a name, which is not really a name but a way of forgetting, I can attach myself to something that will be like a rocket blasting through this shit-headed world. Late at night when all the lights are off in my place, and the cars are still scurrying by on the street outside, their headlights making my windows glow in quick yellow flashes, I gyrate my body with a serpentine slither, rocking my hips back and forth not unlike Elvis, and crack my heels against the floor, singing into a broom handle by the light of my muted TV set. It is in these moments that I am truly alive, when music pervades everything and my heart is buoyant, when I am reckless and wild, and feel a freedom that I’ve never known before. There is nothing better than this feeling.

I’m crazy. That’s all that I’ve figured out in this town. If things don’t change soon I think I’ll pick up a gun. I’ll be a Rose in L.A. with a gun. Something about that appeals to me. I’m not sure why. I’m fucking crazy.

Axl’s gone so I’m using their name. Mr. Brownstone may be here to stay though. The rain hammers the roof all night long, pounding away like a hundred drummers up there, and it plops down through the airwell, and taps against the windowpanes like fingers. I wasn’t made for nights like these. Nights when the rain comes and never lets up, making garbage into bolus-like heaps, drowning the world, this unrelenting thrashing, a barrage of water coming down, crashing on rooftops, pickling sewer drains, spilling all over the streets and denting parked cars. Some old guy with a voice like Aldo Ray told me once that all things aspire towards the conditions of music. The rain is its own music, and thunder breaks my heart.

I have a memory from when I was a kid, when I had a mother and a father, when there was always a bed to sleep on at night and food to eat when I was hungry. The moths still hover like dust mites, they float and flap their wings around a dirty bulb, going nowhere, circling endlessly over a light that they can’t ever get close enough to. It reminds me of this memory, watching them, this thing from my past I can’t quite recall well enough to know for sure if it really happened, or the exact details of things, but it is there just the same. I can’t do anything about that. If I tried to forget it, pretend it wasn’t there, that these things hadn’t happened, well, then that would be something. But I can’t. It isn’t going to go away.

I collect dimes and pennies and nickels, junk mail, credit card receipts, old records, liquor bottles, used shoes, discarded furniture, wads of balled-up paper, music magazines. The spiders in my bathroom are fat and lazy. They spin their webs right next to each other, and they just sit on them there all day not catching anything. I kill more insects than they do. I’d rather sing than do most anything. Indiana seems a million miles away.

Lately I feel things coming to me, this consecution, this building of diseased harmonies and melodies, odd assortments of texture with unfettered rhythms and lost wailing timbres. Great things are happening in my head. I cannot put it into words. A jungle is growing wild in my mind. I do not know where life will lead me next, and I do not care.