“Magic of Amor: Matching Monte Carlo Tattoos”

A True Dream:

Tattoos attack oblivion.

Back in June of 2008, a day after my Brother took his last heavenly hit, the Homeboy ‘Face tattooed my Carnal’s name like a necklace across my chest. I didn’t want to forget my Blood Brother.

On Monday, March 21, 2022, Family and Mission District community helped bury the good Brother Mitch. In the 1972 Redrum Monte Carlo, Me and my Carnal Macaroni Marco “Lowride” hit the funeral together. In front of St. Peter’s, Bikers and Lowriders shook hands and embraced in memory and respect. With our words, we gave gifts to each other. We actually had a conversation about gifts and amor.

George had gifted OG Veterano Benny a beautiful pañuelo, a handkerchief style bandana that is used as a canvas for intricate pen art. This pañuelo had imprinted on it a Mexican flag. In black ink, there was Olde English cholo style calligraphy that spelled out San Pancho, the Saint who called the sun his brother and the moon his sister. Underneath our City’s name, there was drawn a collage of Sutro Tower, Twin Peaks, an Aztec Pyramid, the city skyscrapers, a 40’s style gangster bomba, and a Mexican homegirl wearing a “Niners” sombrero.

Mitch Salazar’s grandsons carried his body from the church back into the hearse. The Bikers blocked traffic from the streets. The Lowriders followed him in one last cruise down 24th Street and the whole stretch of Mission Street. A beautiful Sister had asked if I could cruise her nephew and daughter to the burial, so we blasted the Soul oldies, and they were in the backseat dancing and having a blast. By the time we were in Daly City, we were all racing each other on the streets, while Young Loved Ones sat outside the windows of their rides.

At Holy Cross Cemetery, as Danzantes blessed us with their bodies and spirits, gente gifted flowers to the body that was being buried. OG Benny opened up the beautiful, one-of-a-kind pañuelo and gifted it into the dirt with the San Pancho Brother, Mitch. May he rest in peace and amor.

Me and Macaroni then went down the block into the cemetery to visit our mutual Carnal, Alex Nieto, who had been shot at 59 times by the SFPD exactly eight years earlier. We said a prayer. With my little red portable speaker, I played this recorded song “Tu Solo Tu” that Favi Estrella had sung to Alex’s spirit when we got him his tombstone. We talked to him like if he were right there choppin it up like old times. 

We would cruise in this 72 Monte that I have now been blessed by for 18 years. This car has shared lots of Love. It is Vida Loca Pura Neta Spirit, All Amor. In this ranfla, we would go to Giants baseball games, cruise all through the city, our hoods, our tourist spots, our beaches and bars. We had the best of times. During Carnaval of 2013, Alex even video’d himself laughing and smiling in the black interior 🙂

With that Spirit, Me and Maca hit Ocean Beach. It was a sunny but windy day. We reminisced about Alex, but also talked about life and death and nutrition. Maca is suffering from the most aggressive form of Leukemia Cancer. He has been fighting it for over a year now. Even after all the chemo, it has come back again. We know we must be strong, and the strongest spirit is Amor.

Because of the wind, the sand kept spitting at us, so we felt a spot in Golden Gate Park was calling our name.

We passed where the Buffalo roam and parked across from Spreckels Lake. Hobbyists were racing their toy boats all in front of us. With the little red speaker, we blasted “Dia de Mi Suerte” by Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon. A little old Chinese lady walked up to me and started dancing with me. I didn’t understand any of her words, but I understood all I ever needed to know.

A couple who was on their first date came by and poured wine into a cup.

“This is for you. That was very beautiful. Thank you for dancing. That was love.”

A few minutes later, two older white people handed us an orange-colored flyer card with bold black print on it:

Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo.

This was the exact phrase our Buddhist Brother Alex used to chant. These people were part of his Buddhist movement. This was Alex’s spirit reaching out to us. I stopped one of them and asked if he had ever heard of Alex Nieto, and he said yes. I replied:

Amor for Alex.”

Me and Maca tripped, kept talking and laughing, and then the spirit pushed us some more. We didn’t know where we were going, but we were going on!

We hopped in the Monte Carlo, and I flipped a mean U-turn and stopped right in front of our new friends who were laid out on the grass finishing their bottle of wine.

They were international Amor. White as snow but from different areas of the Globe, he was a dude from here in Cali, while she was a tattooed golden girl from across the pond.

“Let’s go!” Maca shouted.

They bundled up their stuff and jumped in, and we were transformed into a magical Monte Carlo spaceship: to infinity! Me and Maca became their two Vatos Locos tour guides. We cruised singing to Soul and Salsa music: “You Beat Me to the Punch”, “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get”, “Alma del Barrio”, and muchos mas. We hit Ocean Beach again, and the sand was no longer spitting at us 🙂 We mobbed to the Cliff House, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Legion of Honor, the Palace of Fine Arts, Crissy Field, and North Beach!

At each spot, we danced, laughed, and philosophized.

At the Palace of Fine Arts, we studied tattoos. She was sleeved up on one arm. I took off my shirt and showed my tattooed necklace and other art.

At Crissy Field, the idea of oblivion entered our conversation: “Isn’t it sad that all of this will end?”

I responded by reciting this poem that I had just written a few days earlier:

“XOXO”

I will forget
You

It is written in
The stars
The same way the
Warrior’s wife
Embraces his
Death

We smiled, shared more, exchanged embraces, and dropped them off at North Beach. Me and Maca took off into the night.

Five days passed. I wrote a poem called “Regalo” that was inspired by everyone’s spirit that day, especially the spirit of all those who have gone before us.

Regalo

I don’t want
Insincere gifts

If you’re going to
Give me
Anything,
Give me the
Gift of Oblivion

Offer me true love

Inside of Oblivion
There is a
Process to peace

First there is
Hell
Hope lost forgotten
Incinerated

Time passes

Promise me
I will forget you
Promise me
You will forget me

That would be the
Most beautiful gift:

The promise of
Nothing

A couple of hours after I wrote that poem, I received this message:

“Hi Ben!

I have been trying to reply but the internet on my phone has sucked out here!

I fly home today and I’m super sad. But hopefully I can come back again soon.

I wanted to show you a little thing me and A did as a reminder of my trip, and you and Marco were the inspiration! We got matching Monte Carlo 72 cars. See the picture I have attached.

All the love to you and Marco.”

Perfect Strangers with the Spirit of Amor tatted the Pura Neta Redrum 72 Monte Carlo on their bodies!

Tattoos attack oblivion, and Amor actually erases it.

Amor is infinity.

SFM N Jeff, November 10, 1968 to June 16, 2008
Carnals: Alex, Benny, Macaroni, and Big Ben 🙂 at Giants game, 2012
Magic of Amor: Matching Monte Carlo Tattoos

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