Walk down the hill
from the Historic Mayfair Hotel,
the room is clean and the water hot,
costs less than other places,
forget about getting breakfast at the Convention Center,
at least I can buy enough coffee to open up both eyes,
but everything is closed on a Saturday morning. And this is LA.
Descend into a sunken shopping mall, a cavernous place
where the Chow Down, H&R, and Gold’s Gym
rim the edge of a plaza. Only one door opens,
security guards in blue jackets, women with yoga mats,
shoppers who know
there’s a Starbucks counter
hidden like a jewel inside a Target.
Near the pick-up area, bras stare
in B cups where I wait for my order,
drink coffee surrounded by a forest
of brick, cement, and glass trees
glitter from the king’s castle,
wonder what I must do
to return to my home.
Buildings have always defined my horizon,
not mountains, a skyline.
But I’m not sure where I belong anymore,
a belt of cars encircle the city,
don’t know if it’s my age or if I can’t stand the traffic,
or like B.B. King said, the thrill is gone
spectacles of billboards climb 60 feet high
for Harry Potter, Toyota, Coca Cola.
Travel back to the hotel after another evening of readings
men play soccer on the lawn of Lafayette Park,
wait for a bus in front of the Dollar Store
across the street from where the evangelist
speaks over a microphone in Spanish and English.
If I listen, I can hear crickets.