Tag: Guido Michelini

Nessun Dorma

Soul mate and saviour

I’ll try and say this in one ‘obituary-like’ sentence (as J.D. Salinger might have written, in fact, did write, about Seymour Glass):

Guido Michelini, that irresponsible womanizing jackass who shows up on this blog from time to time, is the ghost of my former self who came to his senses when his/my son committed suicide at twenty-three, and the person who got me through that hell, in fact saved my own worthless life, was one of the players, as was I, in the drugged-up, gin-swilling sex-o-rama of the 1970s, and who some time later became my wife and continued to keep me sane and gave me a reason to live, until her own death last year, just before Christmas, which, as I’ve written, was for the most part my death too.

Downtown L.A. 1984

The Rainbow Hotel in downtown Los Angeles was next to the Church of the Open Door.* The church was famous for its huge ‘Jesus Saves’ sign on the roof. The hotel and the church were on a section of South Hope Street that dead-ended at the Public Library.

Guido Michelini had stayed at the hotel before. The room cost $70 a week. The shower was down the hallway. There was a phone in the room. It hardly ever rang. It went six days without ringing. Guido only left the room to eat and drink at a bar.

He had sold an op-ed piece to the L.A. Times but the paper hadn’t paid him yet. He didn’t have the money for next week.

On the seventh day the phone rang. It was the housekeeper wanting to know if he wanted his sheets and towels changed. Guido told her no, never. She said okay and hung up.

When you get kicked out of the Rainbow Hotel you know you’ve hit bottom.

Guido and his canvas suitcase went to the library at the end of Hope Street. He sat down with a book. A woman sitting across the table said, You look beat. He looked at her. She had seen better days.

You look good, he said. Do you live around here?

Not far, she said.

Saved again.

*The church was demolished in 1988.

Saved by a Motown Girl


For a long time he lived in his car. He showered in the homes of one-night stands.

All his belongings were in the trunk of the car, a 1975 Monte Carlo with Florida plates. Clothes, books, typewriter, newspaper stories, manuscripts, a few photographs of the past, a copy of the divorce.

His ex-wife had most of it. The house, the furniture, the library of books, the record collection, the photo albums, the dog, the cat, the nine-year-old boy.

Guido wrote to him from the front seat of his car, parked on city streets in America.

He was in a bar in New York City when the car was towed from an expired meter. The cops had it towed to a cavernous shed on the West Side. Guido hadn’t paid the insurance. No insurance, no car. The hell with it. He transferred his stuff from the trunk to a battered tan suitcase and walked to Port Authority Bus Terminal.

He phoned a former girlfriend in Detroit and said he was down on his luck. She had a big heart. Get your ass here.

The Greyhound rocked west. Filled with losers and lost souls. Empty beer cans rolled down the aisle. A guy plucked away at his guitar. A black girl’s baby cried. Guido slept.

The bus rolled into Detroit. He walked around the side of the bus  to get his suitcase. The driver unloaded them all. Except his.

Where’s my suitcase?

They’re all here pal.

Mine’s not here.

I don’t know what to tell you pal. See the baggage claim office.

Guido asked the baggage claim clerk, Where my suitcase, man? My whole life’s in that goddamn suitcase!

No one had a clue what happened to Guido’s suitcase. Mystery of the ages.

Guido filed a Lost Baggage claim and walked to his girlfriend’s apartment in the Cass Corridor.

She opened the door. She looked like she jumped out of a Motown song. She gave him a sideways look. Where you been?


Come on in then — don’t you have a bag or something?

Just me.

Man, that’s what I call traveling light.