The Leaf is Paradise
Bohemian heart, it was you all along—
That made me fly the terror skies
To the island of Manhattan.
If only I could have seen you shuffle
Through the streets, horns honking, jay-walking
Broadway dreaming, your hands shoved deep
Inside your coat pockets, and lapels
Like black felt castle walls, concealing
The face from the cold.
It was you that made me understand
Why I didn’t belong. Why I wanted to
Leave L.A., but not Los Angeles.
To make Jack proud, because you hold
Up tall candles with the Virgin Mary
Crying on the glass, or sacred hearts
With a crown of thorns, bleed with
More torture and romance than my own religion.
How you made me want to thumb highways
And drop into the back seat of a Buick
En route for field picking under the Mexico sun
In the golden search for a cultural El Dorado.
Peering past the crackling lake-beds
Of desert skin, to find your mirage
Race past me with hot rod boys
While your Moon-Eyes wink.
Motorcycle dreams, awaken in 2 a.m. diners
To food we dare not eat, and black coffee
Mirroring your hair like a prairie Indian headdress.
So I stayed to follow the neon rainbow
To the land of La-La, but no, No!
I must have just missed you out
Toward the wet open stars, away from Hollywood’s
Five o’clock shadow.
I didn’t know the sunset’s pink pearls
Held you cradled under the belly of clouds
Just before it rained in the canyons.
Between the Beat and the naked perch of hippies.
Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough,
Spread the pages stuck together with sweat and semen.
Forgetting your name until I heard it,
And couldn’t remember your face
Because they all tried to look like you.
And where I looked, I thought you’d be—
Railroad orphan, throwing rocks against
The hot glass panes of abandoned factories,
Smoking cool cigarettes, whose painted Indian
Profile, faded, crumpled, matched your squint.
All the while, jazz burning in your ear
Below the siren 60’s rock n’ roll suicide.
My memory tries to place you from your
Fragment sentences, revealing almost nothing.
Were you once my wife? Did you burn my work
After our big fight, releasing baby Phoenix
Birds, newborn, into the air? My heart
Is not a metal detector, and your soul
Is not metallic. Can we kiss and make up?
Find me at the bus station, train station
Masturbation, before I leave in frustration.
Sit behind Nogales immigrants, we’re all nomads
Traveling to the next no-name town. I’ve seen
This all before, and my vision cries for a change.
Rock City Blues is a skinny meal
To feed to me the same tired line.