for Gordon Lapides
Green is the color of everything
that isn’t brown, the tones ranging
like mountains, the colors changing.
You look up toward the hills & fog—
the familiarity of it after so many years
a resident tourist.
A young man walks
toward you in vague streetcrossing denims
& pronounced boots. From the pallor of
his gait, the orange splotch twin gobs of sunset
in his shades, from the way he vibrates
his surrounding air, you can tell, you can tell
he’s friendly, circulating,
he’s a Californian: comes to visit,
stays for years, marries, moves a wife in,
kids, wears out TV sets, get stranded on
so that the sky’s got moon in it by
3 o’clock, is blooo, is blown—
The girls: theyre all
winners reared by grandmothers & CBS.
Luckier ones get in a few dances with
mom, a few hours, before dad goes back
in the slam, before “G’bye I’m off
to be a singer!” & another runaway
Miss American future drifts
over the mountain &
into the clouds.
there’s a beautifulness about California.
It’s based on the way each eyeblink toward
the palms & into the orange grove leads backstage
into the onionfields.
Unreachable, winter happens inside you.
Your unshaded eyes dilate at the spectacle.
You take trips to contain the mystery.