Los Angeles at a Distance

at Griffith Park

Carlos Cabrera

silence doesn’t last long here.

soon the earthquakes from a motorcycle

or a pickup truck hiccupping up this hill

will carry it away in its mouth.


only the life of color seems to persist,

birthing in the crimsoned fire of dry leaves

that languidly nudge at their embers like

phoenixes about to soar once more.


yet not even the sky can hide its blue –

a hue as delicate as onion skin –

from the city stretching, open-mouthed,

for its hanging, elusive expanses.


soon the sky will wear a necklace of brown fog

and support itself with outstretched arms,

lest it fall onto the tempting lioness,

that concrete toothless maiden waiting below.


everything’s ephemeral in los angeles,

the service entrance to paradise, the city

where the furtive veil of smog is

made of everyone’s abandoned dreams.


there, in that land of walking stars

and where life is led

like a leashed dog across a stage;

in that city where at a distance


she sleeps urban and catatonic,

and there are more flies than flowers in her hair.

in that tragic misnomer without angels,

where our memories ensconce themselves,


painted on the ribs of a building

or caught between the jagged teeth of downtown;

here, in this city, where streets are littered with broken hearts

and where you once loved me.


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