Everything’s a Fake

By Fanny Howe b. 1940 Fanny Howe
Coyote scruff in canyons off Mulholland Drive. Fragrance of sage and rosemary, now it’s spring. At night the mockingbirds ring their warnings of cats coming across the neighborhoods. Like castanets in the palms of a dancer, the palm trees clack. The HOLLYWOOD sign has a white skin of fog across it where erotic canyons hump, moisten, slide, dry up, swell, and shift. They appear impatient—to make such powerful contact with pleasure that they will toss back the entire cover of earth. She walks for days around brown trails, threading sometimes under the low branches of bay and acacia. Bitter flowers will catch her eye: pink and thin honeysuckle, or mock orange. They coat the branches like lace in the back of a mystical store. Other deviant men and women live at the base of these canyons, closer to the city however. Her mouth is often dry, her chest tight, but she is filled to the brim with excess idolatry. It was like a flat mouse—the whole of Los Angeles she could hold in the circle formed by her thumb and forefinger. Tires were planted to stop the flow of mud at her feet. But she could see all the way to Long Beach through a tunnel made in her fist. Her quest for the perfect place was only a symptom of the same infection that was out there, a mild one, but a symptom nonetheless.

Fanny Howe, “Everything’s a Fake” from One Crossed Out. Copyright © 1997 by Fanny Howe. Reprinted with the permission of Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.

Source: One Crossed Out (Graywolf Press, 1997)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Fanny Howe b. 1940

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Fanny  Howe

Biography

Fanny Howe is the author of more than 20 books of poetry and prose. Howe grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and studied at Stanford University. “If someone is alone reading my poems, I hope it would be like reading someone’s notebook. A record. Of a place, beauty, difficulty. A familiar daily struggle,” Fanny Howe explained in a 2004 interview with the Kenyon Review. Indeed, more than a subject or theme, the process of . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Cities & Urban Life, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.