Valentine for Los Angeles

For Tracy K. Smith


the smokeshop man is a bearded antique

he exchanges salaams in the morning

why do you always go back?

he gives you a red lighter

it tumbles from a bleeding sky into our

hands, that nebulous queer place


over breakfast we discuss significance

the resemblance between Christopher Dorner

and          everybody          else

the mountains are murdering things

when the smoke evaporates

you eat grapefruit next to the ashtray


the afternoon is drying the salt from

your body, licking the drops i smell

peaches and truth     do we hang

overripe in the garden?     are we stars

shot through the canon of the universe

punching rough holes in the ground?


Our fights remind me of making up

love me   love me     you are this magnet

with   dark   dark   eyes     at night we are two

questions blurring into each other     we laugh

about how close people are from one day

to the next, from everything was okay to


complete and total disaster

but we don’t know it yet.


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