Ozzie Ausband



Mountains fall. Time has a way of helping that… Erosion. Decay. All life frantically moves around me. Everyone seems to be in such a hurry… to go where? I shrug and sip hot black coffee. The Glendale freeway rushes under my wheels. An orange sun is a smear over the hills to the east. A solis ortus cardine. (eastern lands are first to see the sun) Mt. Baldy. Palm Springs. Everything bakes under the merciless sun. It gives life and takes it away. One breath. Gone. An uncharted land of the poor, the hard-working and those who hide. I nose the truck down into a side street. The houses lie sleepy and sullen. Dogs stretch and yawn and wood smoke drifts to me in the morning air.



I see a house boarded up. A pool lies forgotten in the neighboring yard. A large dog growls at my intrusion. It seems too early for him to bark… he follows me with his eyes. I continue my morning ritual. A neighborhood spreads out to my right. Old houses. 1950’s era. Huge untrimmed palm trees curve up above the somber houses. Rusting cars and trailers sit and deteriorate in overgrown lots. I walk along a crumpled wall. I see condoms. I find syringes. People had wandered in and spent the night. They rested on piss-stained mattresses and curled up in the cold with insects and trash. They scratched at festering sores. The long wait for a cruel sun. Buried.





I find two filled-in pools in quick succession. Oddly. Rarely do I find pools turned into planters. Buried. I see the coping and the deathbox. It must’ve been skated. The pool company badge is missing. I smile thinly as a man parts his curtains and looks out at me. I give his stare directly back and make my way out to my truck. Life begins moving around me as the sun rises overhead. Families walk together in suits and dresses. Church bells ring in the distance. The Lord awaits. Penance.


I see an old man driving past me, his pickup truck filled to overflowing with cardboard and refuse. Buried. I wonder if his life feels this way. Buried under debt, responsibility, a hostile environment… Questions I’d never ask and he’d never answer. He disappeared around a bend in the road.


I parked the truck at a nearby apartment building. A man walks past me with a small dog. He has a torn brown leather coat. It’s cracked and tattered. His mouth is lost in facial hair. He baby-talks. “That’s a big boy. The sweet little boy.” I walk within an arms length and he never raises his eyes. I look back as the dog squats and leaves a brown pile of feces on the sidewalk…  they walk away and leave it. Passing under a small porch, I enter an archway. An empty kidney pool sits silent and alone. No water. No toys. No fun.


I see a cop car and laugh out loud. It has a ‘For Sale’ sign on it…  Everyone knows that some police are for sale. I read somewhere that, “…police brutality is only effective when it is not caught on tape.” Hmmm.  I walk into an overgrown lot. Stepping behind a tree, I urinated out of sight. Walking back to the truck, my foot kicked something up from the grass and soil. I glanced down and smiled. It was definitely a piece of mangled coping. Looking around, I realized that there were once houses here. Long gone. Buried. I looked at the sun overhead and smiled. It was time to meet my friends and skate. Someday, I will no longer be here. I had to make the best of everyday I’m given. Skate- Ozzie