Los Angeles
My love for you, King Smog,
is the love of an old woman
for an old man. I love you with all
of your faults, even sometimes because
of your faults. I love your freeways,
your 5, 405, 605, 105 ---
your 10, 210,110, 710
and for your pesticide beaches
choked with human waste too dangerous
to bathe in but too beautiful
not to. I love you for your LACMA
and MOCA and Getty and your free
jazz concerts and your expensive
jazz concerts. I love you even
when your hills burn orange sherbet,
and when you quake your buildings down,
and when murderous hot winds come
just when I thought the summer heat
was gone. I love you for torrential
rains and mudslides and strip malls
and romances. I love you
when your air creeps in on little
cat claws, climbing onto my chest,
choking me with methane breath.
I love you for your insane Friday
afternoons --- everyone on a mission
somewhere and no one moving anywhere.
I love you for Claremont, Santa
Monica, Beverly Hills, Northridge,
and Long Beach, even when
Long Beach Harbor smells
of dirty dish rags three days gone.
And even though l've said
I will leave you, Lord Smog,
the first chance I have, I think
I'll stay with you until they scatter
my ashes on Pacific Coast Highway,
and the desert winds blow me
into the infinity of your endless suburbs.
--- John Brantingham
From Wide Awake:
Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond

©2015 Pacific Coast Poetry Series
Go to a review of the
from which this poem is taken

Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH