ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Nicole Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Keiko Amano
   Veronica An
   Zack Anderson
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Kevin Berger
   Lawrence Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Zachary C. Bush
   Tony Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Dana Campbell
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   Hélène Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J. de Salvo
   J de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Dorsey
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   t. joseph dunn
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Ron Dvorkin
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amélie Frank
   Amelie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   Matt Harris
   William Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jessica Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Alex Johnson
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Bernard Kennedy
   Raud Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Ashley King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Anne Lecrivain
   Marie Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Hyatt Mason
   Lee Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   David McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Robert John Miller
   Scott Miller
   Richard Lee Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Greggory Moore
   Carl Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Toti O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
   Meg Pokrass
   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Kristena Prater
   Luke Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
   Poet-broker Rosenthal
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   Walter Ruhlmann
   Gina MarySol Ruiz
   Cody Rukasin
   Cody Rukasin
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   David W. Rushing
   Maryann Russo
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   Howard Sage
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   April Salzano
   Bryan Sanders
   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
   Ethan Sassouni
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   Lorraine Sautner
   Rati Saxena
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   Sondra L. Scott
   Ken Scott
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   LB Sedlacek
   Lisa Segal
   Anthony Seidman
   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
   Sanjeev Sethi
   John W Sexton
   Jack Allen Shafer
   Dahn Shaulis
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   Nancy Shiffrin
   June Shiitake
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   Rishan Singh
   Durlabh Singh
   Kalpna Singh-Chitnis
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   Apryl Skies
   Knute Skinner
   Sam Skow
   Ratpack Slim
   Lee Sloca
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   Danielle Smith
   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
   Jeanne Marie Spicuzza
   Richard Spuler
   Matina Stamatakis
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   Julia Stein
   Eric Steineger
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   Alex Stolis
   Karr Stratynberg
   Kevin Stricke-9
   Keith Stump
   Daniel Suffian
   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Mani Suri
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   John Duncan Talbird
   Sister Taxi Hopscotch
   Barbara A. Taylor
   Jonathan Taylor
   Mark Taylor
   Allen Taylor
   Paul Kareem Tayyar
   Alene Terzian
    The Unarmed Man
   A. Thiagarajan
   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
   David Thornbrugh
   Kari Thune
   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
   Tim Tipton
    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Zev Torres
   Evan Traiger
   Davide Trame
   Tri Tran
   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
   Paul Tristram
   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
   John Turi
   Danny Uebbing
   Amy Upham
   Amy Uyematsu
   Philomena van Rijswijk
   Gene van Troyer
   Wanda Vanhoy Smith
   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
   Daniela Voicu
   Claire Walker
   toren wallace
   r.k. wallace
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   Sharieff Walters
   John Wariner
   Deborah L Warner
   Christopher Watkins
   Brian Watson
   Lafayette Wattles
   Charlie Weber
   Ellen Webre
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   Viola Weinberg
   Florence Weinberger
   Desmond Weindorf
   Cindy Weinstein
   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
   Leigh White
   Megwynn White
   Kelley White
   J.T. Whitehead
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   Claire Williams
   Patrick Williamson
   Martin Willitts, Jr
   Jessica Wilson
   Robert D. Wilson
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   Alicia Winski
   Tyler Joseph Wiseman
   Joseph Wistren
   Wayne Wolfson
   Terry Wolverton
   Nina Womack
   Seth Woolf
   Kirby Wright
   Gianna Wurzl
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   Julie Yi
   Britney Young
   Gregory T. Young
   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
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Jerry Garcia
April 2007
   

 

Dust to Dust

Eddie dreams that he is surfing on the tail of a comet in the inky black of outer space. The rock, dust, and ice are substances from his fragmented world; he talks and gestures to them like they were his only friends. His hand is raised in pontification when a field of meteors, space trash, upsets his ride and sends him freefalling among the debris. As he plummets into the atmosphere of an unknown moon he sees Carlton, his boss, claiming the comet perch. He awakes, shivering from this dream; it is 3:58 in the morning. The room is black, except for the liquid crystal red of his digital alarm clock which will not sound off for three more hours. He stares up to a dark ceiling, tinged with a faint red glow. He mutters to himself until he sleeps again.
The waking hours find a groggy, pissed-off Eddie driving to work. Through retail strips of fashion stores and pharmacies, auto repair shops and grocery stores, he leaves the floor of the San Fernando Valley bounding toward the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. Its a short journey through the low hillside community that is attached to the Santa Monica Mountains. Dried bougainvillea leaves blow onto the dirty windshield of his old Cadillac convertible. Canyon dust collects like a layer of stucco, broken stems crackle under worn tires as he maneuvers his busted up ragtop onto Mulholland Drive, the ridge that separates the congested city of Los Angeles from an expansive suburbia called the Valley. From this vantage he sees freeways and boulevards crisscrossing the flatlands where minutes earlier he began this journey. It is a pristine day, the often grungy Valley sparkles like a box of jewels.
Until yesterday, desert monsoon weather, atypical of the coastal strip, pervaded the southland summer for weeks. Thick clouds hung over the Los Angeles Basin like steel wool. Heat and humidity filled the air like perspiration. TV weather reporters were bewildered. Power consumption swelled causing frequent blackouts. Eddie looked at the subtropical weather as if it were from another planet or a plague, either way, a bad omen.
The meteorologists are equally baffled this morning because the dank weather conditions have quickly receded during the dark hours of the morning. As if someone had thrown the switch on a big fan, powerful winds are blowing the clouds out to sea, leaving a bright blue sky and a sun that looks like fifty thousand watts of a Hollywood spotlight.
Jet airplanes take off from Burbank Airport like falcons heading straight up into cloudless skies. Eddie floors the heavy old Cadillac, speeding on a stretch of two-lane road, as if he were racing those jets to work.
A grassy bluff crowned by fences and trees stands like a wall on the right side of his pretend raceway. The Cadillac speeds along dodging dog walkers and joggers. There is a routine stop sign and then a right turn takes Eddie winding down the roads of the Hollywood Hills. The newly paved road ratchets like a spiral staircase through a neighborhood that pretends to be rustic countryside in the midst of metropolitan Los Angeles. Elm trees, cypress trees and palm trees cast broken shadows on a collection of rebuilt front porches and fences. Newly built woodwork is purposely battered by new homeowners to look a hundred years old. In this neighborhood, bridges cross over streams made of water runoff from the electrically timed sprinkler systems. Mailboxes sit on posts not eight feet from the front doors of these houses. Porsches and Mercedes park on circular driveways.
Eddie smirks at these scenes. He has taken to smirking a lot lately. He smirks at incongruity, at insincerity, at disingenuous people. He smirks at people who have achieved goals for which he yearns. He smirks at his junior level job and its junior level pay. And when friends get in his face about his smirking, Eddie smirks at them.
Eddies Cadillac barrels down a steep grade when one of those large vehicles built for desert excursions lurches from its garage. Breaking out of his reverie, Eddie swerves the car like a bronco in full gallop lurching from a snake. The car slides into the oncoming lane, brakes grind noisily; it is hard to slow down all that heavy horse power. Having avoided this catastrophe, he angrily looks into his rearview mirror and yells,
Asshole!
But the hairpin turn causes him to lose site of the aggressors car behind a corner house and a dying Manzanita tree. Driving slowly he waits for the SUV to emerge so that he can illustrate his displeasure to the driver. But after a few moments Eddie guesses that the offending hillside resident has taken the opposing route.
Consumed in narcissistic rage Eddie drives on. He does not want to be late, there is friction at the office. Friction which he unknowingly instigates. Fantastic dreams aside, his boss has been particularly hard on him. Perhaps it was the weather. He really smarts from having been passed-over for promotion. Hes been at the company for three years, calling messengers, making sure packages are delivered, ordering lunches. Once in a while, when someone is on vacation, he gets to schedule appointments and talk to clients on the phone.
Eddie, Id like to give you a promotion, but we dont believe the manager position is a fit for you, Carlton, the boss, said with a human resource accent.
Thats absurd, Eddie angrily replies. Everyone who knows me knows that I know how this company works backwards and forwards and that my greatest asset is the ability to follow a project all the way through.

But it is all pretty academic. While the companys owners appreciate Eddie as a talented and hard worker, it is unlikely he will become more than the junior partners right-hand man. His effect on the other employees is troublesome. He gets results by bullying the secretaries and messengers. Most people who have worked at the company more than a month would rather not be in the same room with his whining, sarcasm and mean-spirited comments.
As Carlton says to the other business partner, hes very young to be so contemptuous.
Negative energy consumes Eddie as he approaches the flatlands. Waiting to cross Franklin on his way to the Miracle Mile he lowers his radio because he thinks he hears a siren. But there are no ambulances or fire trucks. No siren. A different sound develops like so many decibels of metallic scraping, like a carpenters rasp against metal amplified by a terrestrial sound system. Waves of scratchy sounds echo thinly. Suddenly it is cold.
There are surprisingly few cars crossing through the intersection. The air feels heavy on his skin. He shakes his arms and wipes his palms. He turns up the radio but gets no reception. He changes channels, blips of radio announcements cut off as if the transmitter power had been cut. The static is harsh. He shuts off the radio and metallic noise resonates through the streets. From deep within his body comes a shiver of a fear. A strange uneasiness crowds out any more thoughts and feelings about his job. He anxiously looks around. The sky is creepy, dusky like the sky of an eclipse approaching full term. The atmosphere is monochromatic; highlights dissolve into shadows. This is his worst childhood nightmarewalking out of the house to find that the world is black and white.
The traffic signal changes and he crosses into a neighborhood of homes with concrete porches, straight driveways and front lawns. Parents getting children ready for school are looking into the sky with a shocking intensity. There appear to be statues in many of the yards. Eddie doesnt remember so many statues. He wipes his eyes and shakes his head figuring hes imagining things. A little boy wearing his fathers hat looks directly into Eddies eyes and starts to cry. Eddie scowls and drives on.
The air is dark and thick. The sky that was cerulean blue moments earlier has taken a yellow shade like infiltrated smog. Winds scream like turbine engines then stop leaving echoes of scraping metal. Another gush of wind blows leaves and chunks of earth, bones and feathers into his open car. He considers stopping to pull his top up, but the neighborhood is crowded, dense with cars that stack at the curbs like livestock shoved into a pen. He drives slowly.
The Cadillac picks up speed then screeches to a halt behind a dozen stopped vehicles. Eddie reverses and then moves forward around a crowd of automobiles squeezing between cars that are stalled in the opposing lane. The sky becomes thicker, a hazy ochre, but not dark. It looks like the sands of desert ruins in Egypt. Cars stall as exhaust systems clog from the dust. Drivers cough and wheeze. The cars fill with this thick atmosphere lose detail and blend with the environment. Eddie is horrified to watch people evaporate into sand. Eddies heart is pumping rapidly. All around him people are turning into barren hills of this strange inert substance.
The earth has come to a standstill and there is no panic. Only in Eddies heart. He is thunderstruck by a revelation of apathy. His only concern is that he arrives at his destination in one piece. The old clock on the dashboard keeps regular time, while all around him the world is disappearing. Deep within, he tries to conjure the feeling necessary to understand what is happing to the people around him. Perhaps naively, he imagines that everything will be fine when he reaches his destination; or wakes up from this dream. But he knows if this were truly a dream, he would be awake by now. This is real, oh my God, it is real.
He guns the engine and speeds away hoping to outrun the surge of this plague. Block after block cars and trash cans and houses dissolve into mounds of sand. He watches whole brick apartment buildings morph into smooth stone structures. Eddies car chokes from the dust and stalls at Wilshire Blvd. The last vestige of his reality has quit. The familiar buildings have turned to stone filtered by hazy grit. His car corrodes around him. With trepidation he steps into the hazy desert terrain. The air smells of halitosis, like ten thousand people breathing on him.
He trudges toward his work place on Wilshire Blvd. The vaporous cloud of dust swirls around him. An eerie whisper of pain buzzes in his ears. Every step creeks and crackles. He is walking on gravel and bones. All sounds stopped. The featureless buildings begin to drip like yellow candle wax. He trembles at the aloneness in a desert completely void of ambient sounds. Not even wind.
Wondering why he hasnt evaporated like everyone else, he makes a three hundred and sixty degree turn. The world is two dimensions and he pops up like a blemish on its flat face. It is so flat he can see the curvature of the planet.
At the horizon, the ocher color of atmosphere is receding under the black, star studded sky of the universe.
Without the skys reflection of blue ocean, the suns intensity casts a huge shadow of Eddie that connects to the source of another shadow two hundred yards in the distance. It is now an achy and blistering walk. Wishing the plague would take him, Eddie wants to lie down but his legs keep moving toward that distant object. At one hundred yards he notices that this object is green and stands about three feet tall. At fifty yards he sees a pink spot on the green. And a few feet closer he realizes that it is a rose bush. Hope stands alone in his monochromatic desert.
Eddie breaks into a run toward that living plant. He doesnt feel scared, he feels hope. Though he has no more room in his mind for hope, he wonders how this rose has escaped the curse. Perhaps, underneath that rose is life. Maybe friends are living underground. He hopes they will let him in.
Eddie approaches the rose bush and kneels as if in worship. He reaches for the last remaining flower on earth. With his palms up he feels a surge of energy stretch through his arms like the power of Zeus. He cups the pink rose, relieved to be holding something organic. The metallic sound returns with a loud scream. It is Eddies scream. The stalks freeze on the bush and turn to rock. The rose disintegrates to dust in his hands.
A cold bitter wind oppresses Eddies stiffening body. Numbness overcomes him like a narcotic injection. Like a thousand pounds of heavy flesh, his body falls hard thudding onto the solid bed of earth. The body blends into the earths crust, frightened eyes protruding from the dust, staring at a million blinking stars. The eyes recede to become part of the cold and inert rock floating through space, gazed upon by the surviving universe.



copyright 2007 Jerry Garcia