Westwood Blvd.

Stefan Karlsson

For K.D.



Climbing the Tyrolean Mountains, Julien Torma, ‘pataphysical poet and
      nonexistent nihilist,

Dismissed himself

As just contemporary. Perhaps he expected a literary death would suffice to earn
him fame,

But I suspect his legacy, too,

Was no more to him than a mountaintop view, a peek into a “façade of a façade,
behind which

There is nothing.”

Pretty phrasing, but gloomy, isn’t it? It’s too soothing, believing you’re the only
soul who feels

The way you do. I’m nothing

Like Torma, I know. I’m penniless, in love. Still I feel for the ‘mad’ ones who need
their fictions,

Don’t you?


Walking Westwood, I check my iPhone at the corner as a jogger checks her pulse,
neither of us

More alive. Well, I’m

Hungover, “lost in so many screens that I am seeing screens appear behind my
eyes,” on my way

To BofA before it closes at 2.

It’s past 1:30, but the cars on Wilshire stream like a stock market ticker as they leak
the stink of

Gasoline, and all is new,

Because I’m drunk. I need the help of a human being, a screen won’t do: My card
was declined

When I purchased our liquor,

And the “invisible hand” is pushy. Did the surrealists who summoned Torma

Savor Smith’s metaphor?

I’m sorry if this is obscure to you, like the names of my friends you don’t know
when I text you

To tell you what I’m up to.


How could you know my grandfather was a banker in Trinidad? The unknown
details weigh in,

Then amount to nothing

But this––Torma’s point, our bios ring untrue to life. The tellers at BofA work like
caricatures of

Characters you’d expect to see,

Which is the ecstasy of being drunk in public, to see the façade made flesh, and this
flesh unreal,

Unlike yours

This morning as your sleeping face consoled me, showed me I’m more than the
banana peel I’m

Slipping on. I’m the meat of

My love, spread over the pure surface of things. There’s something romantically
mechanical in

Writing out of such exhaustion.


Back on the Boulevard, a real deus ex machina, Pedro calls me to offer a ride home.
I gratefully

Decline. I want time to sit with

Myself at Saffron Ice Cream across the street from DEATH, written in red letters on

Black window. (In lieu of

Their façade they’ve erected another.) What private myths we bring into being, or
renew. Here

The Goddess I

Envisioned dwindles into vagueness at its conception, the unnatural result of
misconception, of

Thought’s elision.

Thought wants to spring fully armored from speech. Torma, echoing the mandrill’s

Cackle, strolls back

Into Eden, without arousing the angel’s interest, or suspicion. I’m counting on you
to text today,

To name the particulars

That populate your vision. My face in the storefronts, this familiar street belongs to
no one.

Here, now it’s yours, ours.


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