Moon Man 2
By Anna Badua

When I first moved to Long Beach we didn’t have a place to live
We stayed in a hotel that rented by the week
The heavily perfumed beds had nursing home stench all over them
When we turned the lights went out thousands of roaches scurried the walls
the only way I could keep my eyes closed was to imagine tiny tap shoes on their feet

Our first apartment was on the bad side of Cherry just south of Fourth Street
Liquor stores and laundry mats on every corner
wobbly people walked up and down our one way street
drank from bottles wrapped in brown paper bags and black plastic
but none of them wore clean shirts

Our neighbors drank tequila and cervezas on the weekends and so did we
Their mariachi howls masked the screaming that came out of our own place
Left and right flashing lights took the neighbors away
One got shot in the alley right behind our apartment and died in your arms
Another burned her apartment up because she left a cigarette on the bed
while drilling holes in the ceiling to hear the angels

Then there were all the cats
The sweet Siamese stray that got struck by a speeding car in front of me
Mama Cat who never came home because she found somewhere better
Wise Phoenix that got stuck under the tire of a sobbing neighbor
Fluffy Pip that was killed by a pack of stray dogs
Hina that had kittens in the empty closet after you moved out


  1. I grew up in Long Beach in the 60’s. We went to church on 8th and Linden. Dad would drive down Cherry and I would see those bars and all the people sitting on the curbs, or walking down the street with brown paper bags “hiding” their bottles. You helped me see what living in that neighborhood was like.

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