The sun reboots over a slightly less polluted Pacific
than the one I first viewed
A grad student in a Green Wrangler on that rollercoaster incline
to a future long past, but ever present
Today it is fortified, the road, made stronger by steel rods and containing walls but lacking the charm
Where that old sign welcomed you to
I come from true North now,
Long ago traded the land of plastic faces and eternal sunshine, for a chilly bay of tech magnates and vineyard dwellers,
Millennials who ascended from their parents’ basements to microchip thrones
In a real city on a million hills overlooking the rock museum
We have that ocean here, too. With more ice cubes and fewer surfers
Sea spray and Chinatown
And farther still, over the bridge, the magnet for spiritual awakenings –
The New Age Bethlehem, that’s where I live.
Writing and wearing holey jeans and boots, and hopping into my Jeep-shaped Benz
A cool granny, a published author, a hippie with diamond rings
Most of the hair turned ash by time, the skin leathered by topless automobiles, smokes, sun.
A face, the foundation of which was built back in ’66, still standing with no major renovations.
The curtain of a smile rises each morning to greet the things that I love –
A man, a dog; they’re here.
The boys reside elsewhere, places I visit often but don’t call home.
Outliving me was the only deal breaker and the Universe has upheld its bargain so far
Others bowed out earlier, their presence catalogued by walk-of-fame footprints on my heart
Tiny fissures that exist because I indulged it, let it feel.
“Checking in, Ma’am?” A simple question, and I only hesitate briefly,
for a memory montage of Chantilly lace, sandy toddler toes, and club sandwiches
I am just a guest; I don’t live here, even though in my mind it has always been mi Casa
A grand brick house by the sea where I vowed, vodka in hand, crisp Pratesi sheets on the bed,
To one day reside, a dowager with a view of the pier.
The timing was never right for us, Santa Monica.
But I’m thrilled you’re still here, neither demolished by progress nor tsunami
As permanent as you get in this world.