You don’t have to love L.A.,
but you have to love the idea of it,
where the average Joe & Josephine’s
hyper-realism meets the mundane,
America’s off-kilter vision
of business-as-usual passing
momentarily for a happening scene
& all those highways—named free
as if anything really is—going
in any direction you could point to.
The goal is to get there—somewhere,
anywhere—faster than is reasonable
& expecting acclaim or a prize
for your efforts is energy wasted.
I was there once, hitchhiking in
from a stretch posing as a tourist
in the badlands east of Eden.
I landed somehow in Pasadena,
where I sidled into a silvery Stingray,
its owner a tanned poster child
for the middle-aged good life,
& felt enobled without even trying.
I was looking for Venice, the address
scrawled on my wrist, & ready
for all kinds of surprises
found it nothing close to home.
But that’s the point, someone said
at a sprawling beach party
lit by bonfires. It wasn’t being given
for me & the next morning, the coals
still glowing, revelers struggled
to recall how they got there
& with whom. This is my L.A.,
I decided, flashing my best
newcomer’s smile at everyone
who passed, to do with what I wish.
Sid Gold is the author of five collections of poetry, including “Crooked Speech” (Pond Road Press, 2018) and “Very Eyes” (Poets’ Choice, ’23). His work has appeared in many journals and reviews, and he is a twice-recipient of a Maryland State Art Council Individual Artist Award for Poetry. Sid was voted among the best poets in Baltimore in Baltimore Magazine’s 2019 Reader’s Poll. He lives in Hyattsville MD. “Very Eyes” is available on Amazon