Confession: West L.A.

We drove the hot web of freeways,
long wide drives thick with cars
telephone wires and back-lit signs
pastel-box buildings for miles.
The high thin trunks of palms.
Music from the stereo loud
and around me like a world.
Storefronts shone: offering, offering.
And hidden behind, cool stucco houses
bottle brush trees, decadent green.

I dreamed a life there: I grew wild hair
and dark red lips,
my clothes thin as breeze.
I went unwashed, skin scented of sex
and flowering trees.

I wanted the heat, the recklessness
the wreckedness of it, as if it were too late
as if starting here we could drive
to the edge of the continent
picking up speed until we’d lift off
rise over blurry canyons
careen into a wall of yellow haze
and burst—
a rain of sparks
falling against the sun.

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