Me and Julio Down By the Abandoned Strip Mall
he was from Ecuador, I was from Los Angeles;
neither one of us spoke the same language,
and we were both in need of a friend.
I managed to teach him how to say "dude"
and "don't have a cow man" or anything
else from the Bart Simpson lexicon, which he
shouted in response to everything I said.
when I told him that my grandpa was dead,
he yelled "eat my shorts, dude" with a big
smile, so I kept the dark secrets to myself.
we stopped everyday on our walk home
at an empty strip mall with broken signs.
the Flavors of the Day hung crooked and faded
on the streaked glass door of the abandoned
Swirl on Yogurt, and sleazy towers of porn
movies sat at the center of the vacated
Class Act Video.
our favorite was the piñata shop at the
very end with the paper orphans its owners
left behind, pale imitations of favorites that
included a puke green and pissed off about it
Big Bird, his legs ripped from his torso and
buried under a foursome of multi colored
Minnie Mouse also-ran's that had shed their
long eyelashes all over the stained tile floor
like a plague of ants to rotting corpses.
we wanted to break in there and beat the
hell out of those unpopular mistakes while
we sized each other up and wondered out
loud in our native languages what could
be inside of each other beyond the catchphrases
and the silence, two more unsold rejects on the
abandoned sales floor looking deep within the other
hoping at the very least for some candy.