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“I’m burnt out from delivering the bad news,” one telephone pole said to the other, “it’s all right,” Needles said to Kingman,”Baker told me cities of America pop like popcorn in the stupidest weather,” while raven flew away like a crow, crow dropped down close and was a raven, the dead dog rolled over and was a palm frond, the golden promise of dawn was a postcard, “it’s canceled,” said the stamp of the future, “we are advancing toward Communism—or something,” said New Year’s Day 2015, and I wrote everything they were saying with tiny crackling letters of sunshine that sparkled like tin foil in the sun.

photo by Chiwan Choi

photo by Chiwan Choi

1.

Etched lines of specks of ice crystalize out of the blue sky on the other side of the airplane window, almost invisible Runic numbers. Below, low fog quarters into a grid array of cloud puffs, shattered and flowing away. Wisps and streams of clouds layered over the Sound, neighborhoods and towns and waterways darkening. The plane rises. White spaces. I wake as the plane descends over mountains behind Ventura—are those dirt tracks curling through oil jacks? Flatlands sectioned and divided, chopped up and fenced, acres of plastic-covered crops white and glinting, rectangles of variant green, ochre, dark brown. Lines of roads, filigree of gray freeways, infestations of tract housing. Shimmering ocean beyond.

photo by Lindsay Bolling

photo by Lindsay Bolling

2.

The surface of the ocean shimmers like vast skin trembling below. Taut, shining, aglow, variegated with infrequent striations like stretch marks once in awhile that rivulet blue uniformity. Like rivers of currents flowing underneath or maybe over the surface, maybe it’s the wind. Maybe the variations of surface tension are not upwellings or flows, but vagaries of the sky leaning down at points on the vast bubble of shining water. Toward the horizon, in the distance the haze merges with clouds over islands, white obscurity broken by specificities, distinct contours of the gleam of eye or teeth. An island doglegs in a kinked sloping fold, perhaps another channel island beyond. The plane banks, the vast sweep of blue ocean, the Santa Monica mountains hunch and roll down into that sea.

photo by Lynell George

photo by Lynell George

January 2015
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