California and I

This is the place you found the dog. The dog that was dead. This is the house you knocked on the door. The door was wooden. This is face that opened its teeth. The teeth that were yellow. This is the hole you fell into. The hole that was infinite. This is the poem that I wrote in my book. The book that you never read.

We are the beer-guzzling,
angelic troublemakers.
The leaves and the rake.
The fingernails and the dirt.
The givers and the take.
Married to our first memories.
Buried by our worst homilies.

I never dreamt of living anywhere else,
because California is all I know.
It’s in my blood and in my pores.
I sweat it out with the whores,
hustlers, money sharks, and muggers.
The paparazzi following the Maseratis.
The gangsters and agents and laymen,
all huddled in paradise like strange men
staring into a sunset so toxic
your eyes block it,
but mine unlock it.

The secrets I share…
The places I go…
The drinks I spill…
The words I write…
The people I know…
The dreams I have…
The rent I paid…
The time I kill…
The car I drive…

Rubber particles on the road
and smog in the air.
The beautiful pollution.
The Golden State.
Paved-over orange groves
and shipped-in palm trees.

It’s what I bleed, it’s what I need.
California, no other place to be.



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