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Richard Kearns, AIDSoverSIXTY: NOTES on HIV/AIDS, Aging and Gentrification at Hancock Park Senior Assisted Living part 1

NOTES on HIV/AIDS, Aging and Gentrification at Hancock Park Senior Assisted Living part 1
by Richard Kearns, September 29, 2011


there are times when watching
The News is more like watching
Der Ring des Nibelungen. It’s all
revenge and injustice and lost love
and the uncheatability of death —
not quite like rooting for the hometown team
but it gives thematic substance as well as a
sense of immediate and intimate direction to
my shadowy existence there on the cave wall
so i watch The News for the leitmotifs
(you probably do too, but for the purposes
of this missive we don’t have to go there)
ask not whether news is entertainment but
ask whether my life can be understood as literature
and while The News is a decidedly spectator sport —
i’m a “won’t don’t ask-er,” i’m a NO on H8-er, a caliifornia
marriage inequality prop 8 propononent opponent and
in general i root against folly and greed and hate and
inhumanity in the city — however
there are stories marching in the parade that
come up to the microphone to whisper my name then
step aside for me to speak my piece in peace
lede by lede, nail by nail, rede by rede, memory by memory
here comes the first:

when i read this summary of the California
Department Of Public Health’s inspection of the
Motion Picture & Television Fund’s
skilled nursing facility discussing
(among other things)

“Illegal Transfers from the institution . . . After announcing its plan to close the facility, the Motion Picture Home moved dozens of its residents to other facilities without notifying any of the residents of their transfer and discharge rights – including their right to appeal the transfers – in violation of California and federal laws. . . .”

so i read that report, and David Margolick’s
Vanity Fair article
linked to it, and
i re-re-re-re-lived my experiences
like it was mr. peabody’s wayback
or mr. kuralt on the road like i was
there c-side with mr. c like i was
on the spot in the lobby March 23, 2009
when they kicked us out of Hancock Park
i want to tell you everything all at once
when Hancock Park Senior Assisted Living INC
booted us out on a lying bedbug pretext
claiming after-the-fact to be acting in our medical
behest but really so they could gentrify —
triple the rent and cater to a better crowd —
and they dumped us into the nearest sewer-seeming
assisted care public storage facilities like we were
so much used furniture, like trash, like
memorabilia after the divorce, like moldy
vegetables, like too-thawed raw hamburger
graying. i watched while undersized janitors literally
tossed the more than a hundred residents, wheelchairs
and all, into hastily rented vans, without packing,
without documentation, without wallets, without meds,
dressed in their pajamas, without ID, without cash,
without teeth and other prosthetics like breasts and feet,
some without shoes, most with somebody’s else’s
mismatched undies clutched in hastily-packed plastic bags
also stuffed with screwed-up messed-up
cooked-up state-standardized transfer forms
without  a heads-up to family or advocate, betrayed
in the name of a fake emergency
shock-doctrine capitalism
we, the patients, the billable tokens,
we were the enemy,
we were in the way
on the road to profitability

but there’s more and i can’t get it all in one post
so it’s gotta be teeny, lumped and unpolished
bits until the larger story manifests
this was the first installment and i am shocked
at the frozen sea of pain and anger
that still resides without tides within

dark and bright
deep and clouded
sinister and resilient
sung and un
piece by piece
picture the truth


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