#1
Otherwise and Elsewhere, Soon

Midnight passes in a car
on I79 Southbound
over each hill, fireworks
puff in the snow
and the city is in a haze
when it appears, the bridges,
the barges, the stadiums half lit
and drowned in smoke—

From above it reminds me
of that night in Altadena,
Los Angeles cast beneath us
like jewelry in some dark golden robbery.
The local high school girls were drinking
under the opposite hoop
while we shot around on our own
after telling them we didn't care
they were drinking, we just wanted to shoot around,
and the city smoldered below, some beautiful vision of hell
where you can dip down to the valley, to your worst self,
and then leave it behind, the desert, the ocean,
a road up the coast, half a day to Mexico—
nobody will stop you from forgetting this entirely.

There are still nights when I think of her,
usually when it's nice out and I have nothing to do.
I trail back to it: the warm air through the window,
the drunk girls skinny dipping off an open coast later that night,
sitting silent, motionless and naked in the back of the van
until the car-full of girls that pulled in beside me
had left and I could finish changing—
It's July, end of
the Santa Monica pier,
a girl asks to slow dance
to some busker's guitar,
to which I say
my parking meter is up
which is true
but stupid,
and I regret it almost immediately
as I fumble over
not quite getting
to the part where
I tell her that she's beautiful,
and it's that I'd embarrass myself—
but I've already done that
and catch myself red-faced and thinking of her
more and more with each step away, alone towards the shore
under screaming rollercoasters
and basketballs heaved in challenges,
overpriced wine and seafood restaurants,
roller-skates and shirtless teenaged summers
I never lived. It's that she had the guts to ask me to dance
in front of all those people just sitting there in that weird amphitheater
below the mexican cocina and the bait and tackle center,
next to all those people standing over the railing hauling fish in—
she asked me to dance next to a guy gutting out a croaker
and I think that's the most romantic thing anyone's ever asked me to do,
but my love life isn't worth mentioning,
so I find the path back up to the van and put a few bucks in
and get back to looking for ways to kill time.
I lose a game of chess on purpose at a chess park,
I didn't let him win or something; I just never expected to have a chance,
I don't play chess. I'm just waiting for someone to come along and clean me out,
behind some swaying palm tree, in some stiff coastal bushes before the moon comes up
over the cliffs and over the city, and I end up wandering the cold sand beaches below it all,
just trying to make it obvious I'm not trouble when people notice
the lone guy coming towards them from the other direction;
they swing wide towards the Promenade because maybe I still look like trouble,
so I turn to the sea—we all look out to the ocean sometimes, see the water rising and falling—
that's all it ever does, vapor and rain. Somewhere in the distance there are storm clouds,
but tonight it is hard to tell the difference between two things;
I have a phone but no good phone numbers
while the windows and patios fill up with conversations that aren't worth having,
and I am him tonight, I would be at the bar staring at the beer menu,
my empty phone, the bathroom 3 times before finishing a drink.
I would be leaving, looking at all the girls I wouldn't
go talk to like it was up to them and not me. I feel full of myself in a sickening way
like I ate too much. One thing I am afraid of is getting used to this.
It would be hard to convince me this is an atypical day, but then
why am I the only one among all these beautiful buildings and people
to not have anywhere to go that doesn't feel strange to go alone,
or do I only notice the groups and the pairs, and then in between
there're all these dogged determined people in shoes that look like murder,
people that I have no desire to know, only to be near.
But these things pass with time; I try to remember what she looks like—
it's not been long. But I can’t picture her—I remember my shoes,
the people around us, and in the middle of it all there was one thing worth seeing, that
had entered my life at its least glamorous and saw dancing, so to me she must have looked like the desert
or the water, or the 1 North, or the fence at the Mexican border, and staring it down
I went back to Los Angeles, less hellish and far less beautiful from down here,
and picked up a friend from his dinner party in K-Town. We head back up to the hills,
to the park in Altadena, and after some basketball the day ends upstairs in a garage beside an avocado tree,
and midnight passes, and otherwise and elsewhere, soon even the music slips from view—
you are in a familiar place, and maybe all familiar places feel the same:
hey, I think you're really pretty, will you walk with me
to my parking meter? it’s up. your friend can come if she wants to

but it's January now, there is no meter, no pier,
no face comes to mind, there is nobody left to talk to.
This is the first time you are alone for this holiday; put it alongside your last birthday.
Your car is up the road on Grandview, you will never see her again,
you hardly believe what you've told yourself has happened.
It's snowing, you have things to do.

Anatomy Anatomy
Whale Blue Review

Park that car
Drop that phone
Sleep on the floor
Dream about me
Last edited by jiminizzle at Jan 23, 2014,
#2
this was so close to perfect that...


well, you know. you just get swept sometimes. keep writing; let me know if you're in virginia.
Quote by Arthur Curry
it's official, vintage x metal is the saving grace of this board and/or the antichrist




e-married to
theguitarist
minterman22
tateandlyle
& alaskan_ninja

#3
reading this was exactly like sitting on the beach at high tide. this piece just took me away. I'd say the first 2 stanza appeared a little flat at first, but they made everything come together, they set up (so well) those bigger, almost violent crashing waves that are so enjoyable to just sit and contemplate.

this is it right there man
#4
this very well might be the poem i've been trying and failing to write ever since i started writing. so much of this rang true for me it was scary.

this was so visceral and even in the depths of that massive third stanza, you never let up and never meandered too far from center. brilliant.
here, My Dear, here it is
#6
there are parts of this that glow with brilliance and parts of this that sputter out completely. as a 'complete' piece it needs some work on line breaks, punctuation, and meandering syntax. that second stanza especially needs some work. but the last third was sublime and this is one of those exhalation poems that reads so well once the reader gets hooked (especially if the reader grew up on Bright Eyes and Iron and Wine). let me know the next time y'all come through NYC.
#7
thanks heaps, guys. glad you're generally liking it.
i cleaned it up a lot but need some rest now.

dyl, when you talk about the second stanza, you mean the ideas, the phrasing, or the mechanics and stuff like punctuation and things? I tweaked it a little bit and thinned it out, maybe it helped some.
we might be doing a brooklyn show this spring. i'll let you know.

mathieu
Anatomy Anatomy
Whale Blue Review

Park that car
Drop that phone
Sleep on the floor
Dream about me
#8
<3
マリ「しあわっせはーあるいってこないだーからあるいってゆっくんだねーん 
いっちにっちいっぽみーかでさんぽ
 さーんぽすすんでにっほさっがるー 
じーんせいはっわんつー!ぱんち・・・


"Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear." - from Tao Te Ching

#10
I should have come to this sooner. This is really great, Jimmy. There's a lot of sentiment and imagery that hits very hard. It wanders in an incredibly pleasing way for the most part. If anything, this passage could maybe use a little touch-up. I found my self getting kind of jarred by it at first:

I have a phone but no good phone numbers
while the windows and patios fill up with conversations that aren't worth having,
and I am him tonight, I would be at the bar staring at the beer menu,
my empty phone, the bathroom 3 times before finishing a drink.
I would be leaving, looking at all the girls I wouldn't
go talk to like it was up to them and not me. I feel full of myself in a sickening way
like I ate too much. One thing I am afraid of is getting used to this.
It would be hard to convince me this is an atypical day, but then
why am I the only one among all these beautiful buildings and people
to not have anywhere to go that doesn't feel strange to go alone,
or do I only notice the groups and the pairs, and then in between
there're all these dogged determined people in shoes that look like murder,
people that I have no desire to know, only to be near.
But these things pass with time; I try to remember what she looks like—
it's not been long. But I can’t picture her—I remember my shoes,
the people around us, and in the middle of it all there was one thing worth seeing, that
had entered my life at its least glamorous and saw dancing, so to me she must have looked like the desert
or the water, or the 1 North, or the fence at the Mexican border, and staring it down


"nobody will stop you from forgetting this entirely." Damn. Feel free to message me if you want some more in depth thought on this. I'd be happy to dig into it more closely. I hope you're doing well.