wave action

Fried chicken smell of the past when Los Angeles was a blast of car horn, beer, particulate, urine in the corners—”Hey, Dad, we’re talking about you!”—Parking lots spilled into Beaudry, Temple, Beverly, First—the streets emptied into bars, puddled in street lights necklacing avenues and boulevards all the way to the surf. Eyes shining, faces flushed with ecstasy, that five minute summary of five years. Who were you then? How did it happen? The city cooked the night. The ocean breathed. Little fish died like eyelids. They swam through your dreams, fishes and eyelids, like cars streaming the 5 freeway, and when you awoke, the fishes and eyelids desiccated, hanging in salty bags all the way from the South Pacific to Ranch 99 Market. I saw everyone who was nothing like you, but the time reference was off. Faces flipped like cards. You felt forgotten. Women made beautiful babies with the industry of cars, ships, planes. Crashes occurred. Indexes of leftover lives collated with indices of plywood partitions, statistical margins, self-delusion with a rasp of crows. They were missing you but would forget all about it. Give us this day, this day of petroleum. The historical moment aligned like cans on shelves of family markets throughout Southern Calif. Rusty pile of cans in a desertscape, the way a horny toad gives you the eye. All the wild motion of sky goes on and on. We go on, coated in the particulate, in lungs and tears, our tongues and cavities, wear buildings like worn-out ideologies, wear worn-out ideologies like sunshine divided into columns. Fried chicken smell of summer afternoons, summer nights all winter long. Fried chicken smell of dad’s ghost, the one he shadowed wherever he walked. Fried chicken smell of downtown L.A. SRO hotel hallways, murphy beds, Bunker Hill. I was talking to you. Whatever you had said drew a finger across it, left this smudge pointing the direction you’d gone.

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