My Sense of Touch

I used to go to LACMA and touch the paintings.
Anything I liked and wasnít protected by glass, Iíd slowly inch towards. Iíd lean in as if I was mapping the terrain of the brushstrokes, hands behind my back. Then Iíd scratch my nose and on my handís return-trip to behind my back, a finger would glance across a few dabs of paint.
Iíve touched a Renoir, a Rothko, a Jacob Lawrence, and a Modigliani.

I take walks late at night. I walk from my apartment to Overland. Sometimes I walk into someoneís front yard and rub the front door of their house. If they have a bench or chair on the front porch Iíll sit down for a bit and stroke the armrests while I have a cigarette.

I finger womenís purses in bars. If itís dark enough and a girlís left her purse open, Iíll slip my fingers into the top and just trace the edges of things. Compacts, wallets, pill bottles, tampons.

I recently got a new car that gets good gas mileage and doesnít attract attention (two qualities the Plymouth doesnít have). So a little over a month ago I shut my phone off and left it in the apartment. I would later tell my friends that I had gone back to the Bay Area to see my family. Instead, I drove to Mexico. I was there four days.
There really are donkey shows just across the border. When the main performance is over itís easy to stick around as the room clears if you just keep moving and make yourself look like you belong there. If you're still in there when the other patrons aren't, you'll find the proprietors rather approachable. For $65 they let me pet the donkey and for $20 I got to put my fingers in the girl's mouth.

The paintings become just paintings.
The houses kind of become yours.
The purses become translucent and their contents: knowable.
The donkey shows become a petting zoo.
Thereís a confidence that comes from realizing these things.
Originally Printed on 5/7/05
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J.J. Oblivian
Los Angeles, CA
Age: 27

I'm in a gang
called California.








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