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An Abbreviated History of the U.S. through the Late 1800'sTo Ed da Silveira, Jr.'s next piece


Los Angeles in Winter

the wise ones knew
it would take time for a woman to turn 
but plans were made
to restock and  upgrade the Korean massage  parlors in the city 

snow dusted the mountaintops during a night of cold rain in the Basin
downtown skyscrapers  stood   in the  dark   
the damp   penetrated concrete , masonry and wood
crept in and inhabited everything 
the pages of books and journals
clothing      skin      bones
 
large swaths of plastic were laid out on hillsides but mudslides in the night
silently crushed sleeping families  

prostitutes toiled 

the bottom feeders
the swimmers of the dark currents 
and the fishermen of souls 
all took comfort in the bad news from home

sleep stayed at a distance
was a companion that would not touch me

unknowable Creator
faceless One
in the blackness
the long deep howl of a lonely wolf
and wind scream
is that you mysterious One ?

the night gave way and the quiet broke
but there were no birdsongs this morning 
dogs with surgically removed vocal chords barked
rasping  like old men with visions which could not be enunciated

children left home for good
and   young women were turned 

on the horizon,
the refinery choked
on its own fumes,
itís own discharge

middle aged johns drove to work
in sleek,
seamless,
predatory,
mid-size luxury cars

the water did its work     carving its way into the roadway
everything  just existed     like unseeing, uncaring   Nature 

swift water rescue teams skimmed low over gurgling flood channels
cities and neighborhoods floated by
Inglewood, Torrance, Carson
low lying places
either baked by the sun
enveloped in haze or smog
or just drizzled on
cursory yards
barred windows
curtains closed 

                            *        *        *

                            there is this place
             where the freeway forms a beautiful floral pattern
        where east-west and north-south directions cross each other
                               future ages,
                       uncovering such a structure,
             will imagine it to be a monument to a great deity
                                    or,
a mighty elevated causeway for grand processions into a ceremonial  center
               which the archaeologists will never discover


if only they knew
   how pedestrian we had become

just a glorified road
   for solitary commuters

reporting to work
    to cubicles     
       in industrial parks 
 
after a period of years,
these archaeologists  of future societies will
begin to piece together a more coherent picture of the North American
civilization
they might determine  that in some of its large cities,
people traveled by underground trains,
but in this city,
at the edge of the ocean,
citizens typically traveled singly, in their own cars
it may  not be  known why they traveled great distances alone
they were not thought to have been nomadic
but they possessed a great need  
to maintain a certain physical distance from one another
it may be  theorized that such behavior was premonitory of a great revolt 

there was no evidence
that this had been a beautiful city per-se  architecturally
forensic analysts of the imagination might begin to express  the view that it
was a beautiful city as it was envisioned individually by citizens in pursuit of
great  dreams 
never realized

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