in Echo Park

only with age can i see myself in those children running and laughing in the womb of the summer night


only about a pound heavier than the great water lily pads laying quietly upon the whispers of the koi fish rising to the surface of the pond blowing kisses to the moon

a conversation

i remember that garage

atop of the Echo Park hill

pretty in spring

bikes built to thrill

now my hands empty

mind full of memories

that fueled my entire life

the end nears by

we come close now to the station

we could never use words

only cryptic sensations

what sets me apart from the Godly

she asks

i can’t forgive what’s been done

i explain

all that is left

are two daughters

and a conjoint broken heart

the functionalism of dandelions

supple eddies of wind

caress and tickle the yellow

little matted heads

and their thin arm stems

shooshes it away

they stand firm rooted in packs

patchy green grass

sprinkled with crinkly caramel leaves

some dandelion families

those of five and six

adopt a stray apple tootsie roll candy wrapper

that found its way from Halloween

a few rebellious dandies flourish

in one and two and they grow up pretty hardy

before being crushed under a running boy’s tennis shoe

i like those that grow up nice and tall

with shiny pea green fuzzy stems

that little Mexican girls harvest on a Sunday

to place on the altar of the Virgin mother

when they end their day in church

then there’s the really rugged ones

with sparsely yellow tufts

they are angry little spiky things

surrounded by the trash cans

punctured by the littering

wrapped in sheets of rust

those end up having to bear the brunt

of needy cats and dogs

looking for a litter box

restraining order blues

vicious gunfire you look older she said

i thought i’d never see you again

you look beautiful he said

coughing looking leftward

i’ve been here and there she said

roaming the streets counting the birds

magnolia trees sure bloom a lot he said

yeah their scent intoxicates me she said

can i get a cuddle he said

she smiles and looks westward

sliding hair behind her ears

your gray streak is bomb ass she said

my ex-wife likes it he said

i gotta go i’m late for church she said

balls! gimme something better than that he said

they both laughed out loud

biting her lips heart in her head

i wish i could kiss you she said

that was the past

the clove under her worn white converse

stuck to the sole and toes still wiggling

as the clouds formed from the south

he folds in his lips and gives her a smile

i wanted to be your husband he said

she lights up another

you were always so wild he said

i don’t like cages or negotiations she said

life is not like that he said

let me give you my number

she feels the droplets on her lashes first

honey don’t waste it she said

your time on me

i’m older and wiser

some truths i can see

i had to walk away for the sake of us both

looking at the lake he nods in agreement

have a nice life he gnarls as he scampers away

she holds her head higher after today

whole of a part

the rain has stopped and the sidewalks smell like dog piss and dying roses but i like the fragrance of my clove cigarette the stop lights change every two minutes nothing strange i can’t place my emotions today i feel pressured to rub elbows with the crowd across the street but i can’t i don’t feel well my body pains me and i want to cry taking a few steps away from the Tropical i breath in deep a few yards away is a pile of rubbish the bright colors make it look magical and comforting looking at the clock across the street it’s time for group and terror grips me around my ankles and chest again again again my head fills up inside with doubt and shame like a sinking vessel i try to be brave my hands shake and i grind my teeth nostrils flare and i anger myself enough to rip my feet out of their coma and move walking up the stairs i want to vomit but i trudge on through asphyxiating terror and tears welling up in my eyes i give up and i walk back down i run for a while and stop under the bridge and the rain begins and the sidewalks smell like earth and the stray dogs smell my fear and alert their masters they look on and drink from a bottle i plop on the curb and cry again confused and in pain