Los Angeles Lamentations
It’s impossible to mourn you
in a city that has no death
a city you never knew
where the older refuse to age
disappearing on Lazarus pit vacations
to emerge smooth, shiny, tan
There’s no place to die here
no leaning oaks and silent rivers
locomoting, making jokes, walking dogs
buying shoes, getting drunk, doing yoga.
a tide of people surges in,
a tide of people surges out
and with their passage
the surface of this town
erodes blank, free of memory,
a constant facelift.
Every day is sunny
like a computer programmed nightmare.
It wipes clear passing time
evergreens make no sense
and five years after your death
I didn’t even notice the date.
Elsewhere, my family remembers you.
I remembered the New Hampshire primaries.
Fashionably late and multitasking,
I grieve en route, between Olympic and Pico,
the Ring Cycle on my iPod.
I saw you on a DASH bus on Wilshire.
How like you, to ride public transport in L.A.
You wore flannel and sat by the window,
stared outside, muttering to yourself.
I drank you up through the red light.
I saw you in a sushi restaurant in Westwood.
You were Asian, but it was you
your hair, thinning at the temples
and your eyebrows, tumbleweeds at age 63
and the sad sloping, kind eyes.
I stared at you, in your waiter’s tux.
You filled my water and smiled an old man smile.
Can you see where I am?
God has left this city
and I’m afraid you went with him.