Saturday, March 24, 2012

Being Neon in Los Angeles

Here is a poem I wrote about living in Los Angeles.

Being Neon in Los Angeles

You might have been reborn here one august morning by accident.
Say they’ve forgotten you. 
You were never going to be enough for them anyway. 
You breathe this air breathed into by the chimneys of homes 
and those of a million little mouths, red painted or glossed over, 
inhaling the dusty oxygen of other people’s sin, the love that didnt last, 
the sex that did, the extravagant perfume 
pumped from extravagant replicas of real-life heart beats.  
But here only the envy will truly beat. 
You wont know the depths of passion, only it’s pale and saturated waters. 
Your first good kiss will be years from now. 
Your first real kiss a decade after that. 
But you will never be kissed properly 
in the city where desire grows from flat screen TVs, escapes onto the walls, pressing
like the fevers of afternoon shadow, 
let alone made love to properly in the city where 
daily massacres bred from lust are far less frightening
then the thirsty flowers that may grow from the seeds of honesty. 

The sickness that propels us forward now
is nausea. Headaches in awe of an infinite neon series
the movie theatres beg, I need you I need you
A certain addiction for deceit, deceit in powdered lines soothe the day
and the pretty faces who’ve forgotten, over time, how to look away.  One death each year by the side of the Pacific Coast Highway isnt enough to lull this city’s engines. Death illuminated by the scalding stellar light of a ferris wheel blurred by marine mist receives no other word then “tragic”
filed away for poetry or painted across faces--
glittered faces of the curvy girls, and the skeleton ones, and the boys who watch them dance, they will all always be dancing, dancing the way chemicals dance, fighting, always, for the neon, a chance to be paramour to this evasive city, a chance to be wanted by such degrees of color, colors in raging denial that they are nothing more then gray.

Isnt this what you once loved? That grotesque affair
still generating leftover blush to your cheeks? Isnt this larceny
the sweetest you’ve ever found, the sweet of our cyclical tradition?
will you meet this year at the unadulterated battlefields 
of pizza restaurants painted yellow?

Don’t cowards also blush? Are cigarettes and curling irons
enough to mend holes in your stillborn philosophies where
embryos deserve thrones of queens until nobody knows what youre talking about? not only los angeles, but all necrophiliac cities
worshiping, to a state of desire, law long since buried. Do you love 
those laws, still, with maggots living in sockets where sapphire once was?

Give in to her. The ethereal villain, not yet eleven when the storyline first grew ill. She rages on, though moths have made homes of her organs. One day, maybe,
she says, you can burry me among the virtuous.
Of course, you say, and, seeing that there are now only golden 
flakes of her to speak to,You speak to yourself.

The moment that brought you here is rotted to impotency.
The marriage that once loved you to life
now leaves you with quarters for busses and 
corroded body parts to suck on. 
Nothing else for comfort, so use it well. And spectators who may look on with disgust?
Let them do so.
The angels, drugged and baked, who hold keys to your cages will one day be only radiation scars on the marble of your life.

-- Zahra Lipson

image: los angeles, 2019,  the opening shot of "blade runner"

1 comment:

  1. I really like this, thank you for sharing your poem with us! You did a really good job at capturing Los Angeles.