Thursday, January 31, 2019

Poem: A poem of Los Angeles

I went to the Be Daring Open Mic at Adezzo in Scranton last night, mainly  to see a friend I haven't seen in over a year. I'm starting a new schedule in just over a week, and I don't know when I'll get to be there again. I decided I wanted to read, and scrambled to find something I hadn't read before. I found the rough version of a poem that I had put together a few weeks ago. Reading it over, I decided it was in good enough shape to present. So I did.

This poem was originally written Friday, January 11, 2019, and first read Wednesday, January 30, 2019.

A poem of Los Angeles

Almost wrote a poem of Los Angeles today
I was reading a story by Harlan Ellison
written the year I was born
a few pages in, it's a love letter to a Los Angeles that
isn't anymore
and probably wasn't even when he wrote it
like Ocean's 11
(the original, with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin)
when Danny Ocean rolls out a map
hidden in a magic cane
that shows the five main casinos in a Las Vegas that
isn't anymore
and probably wasn't even then

I was there over two decades ago
for a week
(in Los Angeles, not Las Vegas, I've never been there)
the Los Angeles I saw then is gone
Madonna doesn't live in a candy-striped house anymore
the division of our company we were there to work with
closed just a few years later
a train ran behind it, in the industrial area known as Commerce
the people there got a kick out of seeing our eyes get wide
when the rumble of it shook the building

I learned there that all it took to make any food
was to put a slice of avocado on it

While I was there the rings of Chicxulub crater were discerned
the long-hidden footprint of the ripples
left by the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

I got soaked on Hermosa Beach
we were on a tear as our time ran out
we had installed our database
taught them how to use the programs
and realized we had seen nothing of Los Angeles

so in one stretch we drove as much of the Pacific Coast Highway as we could
Hermosa had a steep beach
I stood well back on the shore, watching the waves roll in
not far enough back once they hit and climbed
and wrapped around my knees

The smog wasn't so bad on Monday
a little worse on Tuesday
horrible by Friday
and only gradually cleared over the weekend

that Los Angeles is gone
and I almost wrote a poem about it

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