H e a r t   S o n s   &   H e a r t   D a u g h t e r s   of   A l l e n   G i n s b e r g

N a p a l m   H e a l t h   S p a :   R e p o r t   2 0 1 4 :   A r c h i v e s   E d i t i o n






Good Sign


Beth cut hair out of her Mission St. apartment.  She was a big girl, tattooed, jet black hair

and red lipstick in Goth nod, and she was married to Gomez, a butcher from Mexico, who

for some reason didn’t have a green card, probably because they never could make any

deadline or appointment that would give it to him. 


Problem was, Gomez was abusive.  For 9 years he’d punched her for just about anything

he could think of.  The bruises rarely if ever showed.  None of Beth’s friends or hairstyle

clients knew anything about it.


Gomez got a role in a local indie movie and this made him think he was a star.  He didn’t

want Beth to go the local premiere but she thought he was kidding.  Gomez really did

want to go alone (she later thought because he didn’t want to share the spotlight, but I

suspect he was looking for some new trim, no pun intended). 


Well, she went anyway and when they came home and walked in the door he turned and

punched her twice in the eye and took this campy Jesus statue they had and broke it on

her body.  He hit her so hard in the eye she thought she’d gone blind.  She did, for a bit. 

She called the police as she’d done before.


When she went downstairs from the 3rd floor to let them in the gate, there was something

about their vibe that made her pause.  They didn’t like that.  There were way more cops

than she ever anticipated, at least 2 squad cars with flashing lights and some more cops on

foot.  She was right about their vibe.  When she opened the gate, they cuffed her and led

her away.  She was barefoot and wasn’t wearing a bra under her t-shirt.  She wasn’t ready

to go out into the night.  She didn’t even get to lock her apartment door.  She’d also had

too much to drink.


Gomez came back while they were taking Beth away and walked right into them.  He had

decided to use the “What’s this, officer?” approach and act like nothing had happened. 

They took him away too.


Beth actually knew some of these cops, because they were local.  That didn’t do any

good now.  She was chained to a wall for 10 hours without water.  It was very cold. 

They gave her some old dirty socks for her feet. No blanket, though.  Beth said the female

cops were the worst. 


Eventually they put her in with the recently captured crack whores.  One was a white girl

with dreads, but claimed to be a skinhead affiliate.  Beth asked about the dreads, since the

white girl, a runaway who voraciously read, was spouting all sorts of Neo-Nazi rhetoric

and Beth wondered why she’d picked the dreadlocks if she hated blacks so much.  The

reason was utilitarian.  Still, the neo-Nazi girl knew that some of the black women,

trustees who’d been in a while and were allowed to roam relatively free in exchange for

cleaning the place, would find the shit she’d pinched off in the shower.  They did, and

they thought it was Beth at first.  Beth’s bad day looked like it was about to get worse,

but fortunately they figured out that Neo-Nazi girl did it.  No witness as to what

happened to her sorry Nazi ass. 


Monday finally rolled around, and after being seen in cuffs by some of her own hairstyle

clients who worked the local precinct, they let her go now two days later and all charges

were dropped.  Not before the girl cop moved her for processing, though, putting the

cuffs on Beth’s wrists so tight that her hands turned blue. 


Beth went home on the morning bus.  She had a little orange band on her wrist from jail. 

It meant a free bus ride.  Whoo-whoo!  They also gave these oversized flip flops for her

bare feet.  It was a long walk to the bus stop.  She hung her head on the bus and vibed

“Please don’t look at me.”


When she got home, the apartment door was still open.  She discovered that clients had

come for their appointments and found this weirdness.  They never returned, despite her

explanations.  Some people. 


Gomez was sent to Arizona for deportation to Mexico.  He was there for 2 months

before he agreed to voluntarily go back across the border.  Otherwise, he might very well

still be there. 


It was of course a very good thing for Beth, who once away from him without any

possibility of getting him back in the country, experienced enormous relief, though she

hated to be alone.  She fixed that pretty quick, but at least the new guy, also Latin, didn’t



The local cops still said hello like nothing had happened.


She got a banishing candle from the local botanica.  When she burnt it, she saw a black

shape like a medium sized dog with a blanket over it scoot out of the closet and go out the

door.  Good sign.



[Originally published in NHS 2008, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs08/Marc_Olmsted.htm.]