blue smoke cries
its way through
your manhole covers;
Exhale. You see it all –
the up close view of crumbling curb-face,
the topple-down effect of squabbling fools
like March in May Day,
There was 6 days to Watts’ ‘65;
King and “Black Korea” scorching,
‘92 on Florence and Normandie;
homage took a section of interstate 10 in ‘13.
it reduced to 24 blocks and
3 main plazas of diminishing vitality
Its consequence –
the ‘37 construction of Union Station
feet park their carted wounds
against the backdrop of harassing police.
Debris dancing along your cracks,
while vibrating streets
devour the hollow space of tunnels below
you are confused
into unrelenting noise and
Point both left and straight;
from tricycles to
Run tourists to Hollywood and
steer others to onramp
their triangular routes
that always begin with you
Then to the IE,
then to Nevada,
then back to the city
where crayon skies melt
kissing your ubiquitous nature
slickened with wear
and called asphalt
A sign from above, brighter than sunlight. You are the epitome of US optimism, what C. Rankine nuzzles between a filtering-liver-failure and the soul. Sirius, Canopus, Alpha Centauri; Stardom.
Soon to be talkies. Soon to be Katharine Hepburn’s feminism in pants and Sydney Poitier reinscribing race over dinner. Soon to be Marlon Brando via Sacheen Littlefeather declining an Oscar and Johnny Depp turned Tonto, veritably streaked in black and white. Iconoclastic. Reception in 3D and Technicolor. Camera, action, shoot is what we’ll do for our right to unremitting hope, like during Pearl Harbor when servicemen replaced your movie sets and big names entertained a nation into convulsions.
Our faith and worship is transcendental.
When you stumbled between ‘48 and ‘50, there was still a dream of an illusion waiting. Think Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland, John Belushi and Chris Farley, or
Peg Entwistle jumping to her death from the letter H in ‘32, or
the arson fire in the ‘70s that singed the letter L, or
the entire 3rd O careening down Mt. Lee.
Then forget the endless figurative meaning because we promote the idea that everyone can. Probabilities are high. And right there next to the taunting glow of pure white aluminum lights and 24/7 electronic surveillance of the Hollywood sign, we can call our gods and they will answer.
3. Take It//
they pry open
my lids wanting to
paint their sky my colors
Hands grope for
clouds but miss
against a fleeting landscape
they scrape my coats,
thick and viscous
like reluctant residue of a dying decade;
they splatter my gradations against a manmade wall
You can still name me Art –
Nouveau, Deco, avant-garde,
found in the crux of machines and commodity,
geometric boldness and
jarring right angles of a 50s despondency
Shadowed beneath my plastic drums are
nature renounced to nostalgia for
alkyd and enamel
Our walls are lacquered,
protected in high-gloss finish and
reflecting the image of progress;
At our worst we can eclipse the moon
between our teeth,
bent to the taste of metal;
But I await with
my 52 shades of
blue t0 calm your
ready to find improved vision and
new shades of green because
a landscape is always reimagined
1) Chiwan Choi. “6:30 dtla.” Facebook.
2) James Moreno.”Old and Dilapidated Hollywood Sign from the Late 70s.” Web.
3) Chiwan Choi. “Vista dtla.” Facebook.
A California native, Jessica has lived in numerous southern California cities, chases nature with urgency, and travels to anywhere possible. She listens to folk, indie rock, blues, and anything with a spirit and lyrics she can support. Jessica writes fiction and creative non-fiction and is completing her MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.