It’s time to quit writing poems, I decide in Silver Lake,
drinking Georgian wine with Austin
knowing the sun has already left Echo Park
and then we get it
drizzling over the ripples like little lines of milk
for the ducks safe behind their fence.
The house of a silent movie star behind me,
feet up on his old porch,
glass always refilled,
staring at the rising hills across the water,
lights filling windows
like the teeth of a big smiling clown
or the dreams
make my girlfriend laugh in her sleep.
“It looks like Italy over there,” I say to Austin.
“That’s what everyone says. I’ve never been.”
Neither have I
but is there really another place
that could rival this stretch of desert
after six months of rain?
A Jade Tree spits up white spiderwebs of flowers.
I hug its green waist
and find two half-smoked cigarettes
balanced on its roots.
Austin hands me the wine and looks for a lighter.
We are young in California.
We are poor with Georgian wine and
the Silver Lake ducks.
There is a party at midnight
we have no chance of making.
If only tomorrow wouldn’t come.
If only the sun knew what it did.
The light will be clean but this night will already
be a memory.
And the plans for next time will ruminate with the eras
that found these hills long before us,
locked in a bird call or a rock etching,
a language I know but never speak,
a foreigner praying to be left behind.
By Scott Laudati