Vegas after the Grand Canyon
We’ve met inevitable lights; too bright
for the stars, lurching like families
from somewhere southwest.
Below that breakage:
we cannot contemplate –
that drove us away.
Humming to the sound of manufacture
and mountains; legs stretch in the rubble of meals.
Warmed beneath the remains of burritos and kid’s serves of fries,
to clamber looking for beds between pyramids and tents.
It is a pink night and everyone is getting married.
Like mid-morning in the dark and never sleeping
it is louder than I imagined, coins drop lullabiies
into the ears of children dragged to this place. Everything
tastes of donut or has forgotten speech.
And out there all that blankness
and dazed vantage – the trying to see –
that echoed mine.
I saw the earth
as if trying to outdo nature itself,
someone has built this.
That first night,
your head bowled in a rim of wool kept
quiet drinking mocha while
The Bourgeois Pig beamed
with lap-top squares of green.
the city and missing
laser shows winding up Los Feliz.
Through shabby and smart
the planes dip like
puppets into orange.
A chubby hand floating strings of light:
humming with helicopters.
The observatory stood over a city with
more stars than the sky.
Later the balcony,
too narrow to walk on
became a ledge.
Between mist and palm trees,
bent and dripping,
touching muddy skies
so we had to remember
the mountains were there,
laughing at fears of plastic and summer
after two days together
deciding that here was ok.
The Bourgeois Pig
the café is call the bourgeois pig
it has a room that beckons with
a red tongue and speaks to sneaker clad
youth who ride franklin and
drink mocha not beer. It is laden with cakes and brownies lit by
squares of green and stars and a mirror ball
Joe calls this his LA: ‘it’s heroine in the red room, man’, sipping
hot chocolate Sarah is scared of not being cool enough.
Two people smoke cigarettes, eating cookies engulfed
by velvet sofas while the news agency next door calls for sleep.
This is California,
we live in the sun.
Watching Sunset gleam white
with topiary and become littered
as it nears us.
At night we are soft-glow orange,
our sky rimmed with the dip of aeroplanes. We
view live coverage of Bentley’s on fire, see road rage
in Rancho Cucamonga as the FBI
The Chinese Theatre, Hollywood and Vine = dirt
and grime. Cha cha cha carribean the best
barbecued salmon, reading phone numbers that
end in binder or B.E.S.T. Remind ourselves that
this stands for us finding the dream we try and keep time
with the beat of possibility.
Dotted here between blue, tussocks of matter
wrenching breaths of ice in desert.
A dry, cold beaming
and sparks of illicit factories. Here
they make stories of aliens warped by a sky
leering over a daunted earth.
With sea obsolete, land secondary
steel structures mimic people.
All legs and curled hairs, winking at night
with dual eyes; seeping oil. They hear
hums beneath cities – newspapers cry
strange theories of metal, governments and landings,
held captive underground in tunnels
that traverse communicating with stars or stripes.
Bewildered. Small – knowing never to question
that even nature shrinks them becoming
rubber enactments on television
in global fillers between commercials,
they entertain us.
But out here
this greatness is why.
ticket held tightly
in one hand finding instead
and pebbles that mix
silent molecules of light
elk tracks in snow, passing
into air that which should have been
with cactus and westerns like
the kangaroos that line our streets.
[These poems were written prior to my twentieth birthday and have been published here, 18 years later, unedited and in full]