Los Angeles Series

*
Driving around Los Angeles
we stopped at a post
to buy some newspapers
and sodas. In a paper bag
— the brown sermon —
things stayed until we reached
Malibu. Then we read
and drank through straws until dark.

*
How can you swear by the bank?
I am asking
if you had a choice
between a Doric column
and the aforementioned stall
with its windowed in
shadowy palm
what would you, a psycho,
choose?

*
On the public dime he stood
rakish and flea-borne illnesses abound.
I’m talking about the garage
and the men who sit in front of it.
You know what they do
and I want you to talk about it.

*
Paper balls and bags of young
sticks hit drums and writers flock
to the train station:
they’re hiring in Hollywood again.

*
We treated her like shit for no reason.
Still, she’s part of the community
and we do trust her
and she will be famous
and the light is good
overhead and read by.

*
Looking back, I know
we were all dogs
that brittle August afternoon
in the throes of our crisis.

*
This book’s so fragile
I shouldn’t bring it out anymore
in my back pocket.
I’d better leave it
on my desk,
and write in it only there.
Sitting outside though
and able to pull it out anytime:
there’s pleasure in that,
the kind of pleasure
only Los Angeles allows.

*
It’s hard to think
upon it now
but I played tennis
once. The grain
in my bowl
mixed with yogurt—
I stare down, reading.
The news is good.
It hasn’t been this way
in a very long time.

Contributor

Joshua Baldwin

Baldwin's fiction and poetry reviews appear in Publishers Weekly and Chicago Review.

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