Voice (13)

“It’s 10:00 AM on Sunset Boulevard. I can hear the neighborhood waking up, a phlegmatic reveille played on collapsing metal bars and security shutters, with a gathering army of grandmothers pulling wheezy basket carts to the supermarket for their Sunday shopping trips and their old husbands shuffling behind them and spitting on the sidewalks. . . . This much is familiar to me . . . the physical reference points from my youth appear skewed or rearranged. The vacant lots I played hide-and-see-in; the ninety-nine cent stories where my mother and I shopped for wispy matching sundresses that if we were lucky lasted three or four washes . . . . these places are gone, replaced with unfamiliar stores and people I don’t recognize, walking through the ghosts of memories I alone can see. Bizarre “gentrified” color schemes — pastel salmons and electric tangerines — coat the outlines of buildings whose shapes are recognizable but whose occupants and appearances are not. I caress the fresh coats of paint and stucco on these building, looking for the cracks and bullet holes I ran my finger along on my way to school, but smooth, patched surfaces betray none of these former imperfections.”

(image via simonandschuster.com)

— Brando Skyhorse from the The Madonnas of Echo Park


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