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This is not my Los Angeles; I don’t have a right to this Los Angeles. My Los Angeles is not right here, where I sleep, and where my things are kept. It’s in books.
The bookshelf is the only real thing.
The other things are waiting to leave. They don’t know why I am here either. I am an imposter.
Even on the street I’m not myself; I only become a man. Ape man, wicked and despairing, grumpy and full of himself, pushing through lines and harrumphing at stop lights, sighing to get old ladies to hurry up at the check-out.
It isn’t Los Angeles there either. Not even the taco truck is Los Angeles; that’s Mexico.
Los Angeles has not yet arrived. It is still flirting with the idea of arriving, like a young woman, eager to appear fashionably late, and unsure of how late is fashionable.
She is waiting.
I am not here in Los Angeles; not yet; this is not my story; not yet; we have not committed these awful crimes; not in our city; it is not our doing. Someone else. Blame someone else! It was him! Robin! Before! Before everything. He did it. Let’s forget all about it.
Los Angeles doesn’t want secrets. We say we do but we don’t. We want them all to disappear, along with ourselves. We want it to slide into the ocean (which isn’t what our fault does, it travels us to Alaska, you know that), we want it to drown us, eagerly, sexually, under the brimming waves for our solstice and our remembrance and our dance.
I’ve seen this Los Angeles; in some other Los Angeles. Some other play like mine, with the bitter old man and the bitter old city and the indifferent world outside of it, smoking cigarettes and watching the sun set. Like a bad movie, overdubbed and scratchy. That Los Angeles is nearby but it isn’t here.
This Los Angeles is in books.
Where we are flying.
I am flying, over Los Angeles, an angel, with eternal wings. I cry great steeds, from my mouth:
Pouring over the rain, onto the faces of the children, hooves and hoofbeats tremulous and watery, stoned and fire.
Around us mendicants gather with cans of Tecate and gossip, ushering in scenery for our terrifying play, where all the cities within our city shall become as Watts, burnt to a crisp and reborn, as Antigone from her honor, steps into the circle to announce that her blood is dead and she will seek her reward.
There is no reward in Los Angeles. We cannot find it here.
I keep it out of my room; it has tried to come in. Keep out; there is no reward wanted here. Go to New York with your fancy prizes and gold ribbons, that is for there.
This here will not be recorded. No one will photograph it. It exists already, in the slip of your tongue down to your lip, to speak:
Like a shaman under the sea of sky, casting bones to deliver the word of god.
About Robin Wyatt Dunn
Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in Los Angeles, but is trying to escape. In 2017 he was a finalist for poet laureate of his city.
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