On Valentine’s Day: Los Angeles

I saw orange trees in February and they were orange. Juice
rolled down my arms and barely fell to those two sour glasses.
In the morning I found tangerines. The tangerines–

I fell in love with Los Angeles quickly. Like how you smell a smell
like home and suddenly morph to native form and everything
starts to slowly burn. Los Angeles took me,

Reached her heavy elbows up and outward through the gridlock
sent me down to shining water, hazed out every thought I had
of frozen Boston, tired winter —

Barely breathing, whispered names like numbers chanting slowly
one-oh-one-to-two-to-four-oh-five and on–
how I loved the words that stopped the fire –mercy!– that the fire didn’t jump.

She’s a weak conglomeration but oh that simple, eerie twinkle
blinks in cocky affirmation:
Oh hazily singing, oh hazily bright.

That I should double-cross my brick-lain Boston. That I
should leave the rotaries behind and stumble forward to this longing
oh, that I should find a colder, sweeter ocean.

Oh, oh. Los Angeles, you’ve got terrible messes. Seeping detritus. Hot
blues to make me drink like lemonade like chlorine dripping but I
cannot hate the sun for how she holds you. She holds you

so damn closely, curves her fingers under wide-brimmed coast, she
pulls you slowly to the valley, blooms you, shakes you
bleaches out your skin and tans you. Let me light a dirty fire.
I’ll put you out with thumb and finger.

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Wharf

His hand is lined as wood and about as hard. What doesn’t go to the city goes to the coast
and what goes to the coast stays there to rot. His hands splintered first, then the rest of his body
cracked. He tells me he speaks at me he throws words at my face
Consider all the terrible things he said consider all the terrible things. His eyes
are old money. I stand here on seam of the city the
dirt that presses right up to the water, spills over. I cannot tell anyone
I cannot tell anyone what I have heard. Boats were once here. All of a sudden I want to swim out
make my body a barge link my foot to a tugboat that sick I’d let it drag me
but I am not a barge and that is a terrible thing. And I can carry nothing and that is a terrible thing
and I’d drown trying. He slumps as if belonging on a cardboard box but indeed he doesn’t.
I hear the creep of the weeds in this city I hear them rooting those
self-starters feeding like mad. I want to break open the asphalt
but I like the asphalt and that is

terrible.
I pull closer to myself. Home’s too round a word now. Round like dens my hands
dig into. Like pockets where fingers at my gut take inventory: Quarter, Penny, Paperclip. Quarter, Penny, Paperclip.
This city is known for its God but I don’t know those people and that is a terrible thing.
Terrible thing is the skyline is sharp where you can see it. He
knows the God of this city was basically born into it. He shields a terrible light with that hand again and
regards my terrible body. Quarter. Penny. Paperclip. I run—
the roads are broken the trees destroy in their dying the docks are empty and in emptiness leaning
I take myself to dirty water Paperclip I throw Quarter Penny
PaperclipPaperclip and my jacket shakes dirty water heavy jacket and my shirt. And my shoes and
my socks and here I am crying
I am crying. No one is coming and that is terrible. No one is coming. I am cold and that is terrible. I am blue
and green so too my shoes and my shirt and they all shake the water and hat and jeans I spread my body
wide into the dock. I knock my body into the dock. My elbows and my knees I dig into the dock.
It splinters me.