Days spent dodging society’s avalanches of calamities; ducking for cover behind a sturdy optimism to not be overwhelmed by the rapid-fire of broken truths and refurbished fictions. While Trump plays weather god with a Sharpie, society withers in the heat of a high-noon swastika sun. The man behind the curtain is no longer the Wizard of Oz but the Wielder of Uzis. Though cruelty wears a face for the ages, I choose to keep my nose clean and glue all the orphaned and oddly broken wishbones back into handfuls of good fortune.
The lost highway hungers to reach horizon. Car wheels hum the driver’s longing. A busted love haunts the radio’s heart. The worried moon reveals its new scars. The many paths we travel to reach the light. I’ll meet you on the other side of night.
The other day, clouds began dripping from the sky. So did golden drops of sunshine and birds in mid-flight. It was like that Dali painting, only more than melting clocks. Condos, markets, and palm trees puddled in the streets. Ditto with the Hollywood sign and Angelyne’s pink Corvette. Drip by drip, drop by drop, I collected up all the slippity slops of my city into nearby buckets. My city was deconstructing quicker than I could reconstruct it. I worked faster; tried putting Echo Park back where Echo Park belonged, Venice where Venice belonged. I worked long into the night, determined to get my city back to the way it looked in my mind.
Sometimes the moon braids ocean tides into the hair Mother Nature wears. Sometimes joy burns wilder and brighter than Hendrix’s torched guitar. Sometimes loneliness speaks in a language of leaving trains. Sometimes our inner child crank calls our consciousness. Sometimes happiness is a warm gun that’s been melted into a paperweight. Sometimes the Stairway to Heaven is closed for repair; sometimes the Highway to Hell is gridlocked; sometimes that means I’m Stuck in the Middle With You. Sometimes in moments of desperation, we feed our sanity to the wolves. Sometimes blue can look like the color of the sky. At other times, the color of bruises.
Travel beyond the shattered syllables and heartbroken words; beyond busted bedsprings and evenings stripped of kisses; beyond the sirens and gunfire; shadows and stones, hurricanes and ghost vapor; beyond the cold and lonely deaths and architecture of regret. It is there you’ll find me waiting for you at the edge of dawn. The sun I keep clean and polished to show you this day is alive and new.
You sense summer coming to an end. The days don’t smell so much of suntan lotion & Ferris-wheel sweetness but of camphor & time lost. You hop a ride towards the ocean, your bus stop of grace. Along the way, you pass fog-tongued counterfeiters, dead-eyed mystics & heaven-haired girls dressed in plush heartbreak. Once you reach the ocean, a woman on the boardwalk offers you stones & charms, says they’ll ward off ghosts & sirens; keep the blue oblivion at bay. You hold the woman’s offerings in your hand. As the ocean sings its bittersweet song of summer’s end, you count backward from your last bad day & allow yourself to gracefully fall into the coming fall.
Speaking with some people is quite wondrous, like nightswimming beneath a full moon, like swinging a boogie-beat down Easy Street. Speaking with others, however, feels like death on the installment plan, like your brain’s suffering severe climate change. Conversing with some feels like two reincarnated souls discovering they were each one half of the same person in a previous life. With others, like your tongue has stalled out in rush-hour traffic, everything going nowhere fast. Chewing the fat with some is like speaking to your spirit animal. With others, just some perverted animal. Chatting with some feels like a total disaster. With others, like the big bang—the birth of one new world after another.
Sing a song that cruises midnight boulevards like a Cadillac fresh off the showroom floor. A song that sails past assassins & sidewinders, bone dreams & death machines, and lives to tell the tale. A song that’s a hymnophonic flight off the tongue, celebrating every being as it shine-wings the air. A song stripping voices of artifice, offering contrivances to fire, burning them to ash, and delivering us home newly born & bright. Sing a song that will never fail or fool the world. One that will never leave our mouths bitter with the taste of cruel intentions.
This poem speaks 22 languages including Esperanto and ASL. This poem is the nuclear weapon Trump has threatened to employ against hurricanes. It has rocked Budokan and can play John Philip Sousa marching tunes on spoons. This poem longs to be the lovechild of Neruda, Bukowski, and Wanda Coleman. It’s been robbed twice at gunpoint and was painted black by Mick Jagger at Altamont. This poem has a name you can’t remember but a face you can’t forget. It briefly dated Taylor Swift but never had a song written about it. This poem drives with an expired poetic license.
Come daybreak, when just a ragged scrap of moon is left hanging from the barbed-wire fence, the rabid sun rises fast in the sky. A bloodbath of blaze, it bears down on us, all fangs and howl. These sweltering days, mean enough to chew your arm off. Blistering days, more dangerous than a shotgun with a toothache. These flaming days, oh how we long to escape them. But not enough to become a ghost in the séance of a cold hello.