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Homesick in Los Angeles

April 26, 1987|Laurence Goldstein

Overnight storms have unsmogged the mountains.

I can see their half-million - dollar homes

rising like pantheons from the greener scrub.

Here in the basin iceplant gleams under eucalyptus

and bird of paradise so vibrant it seems to take wing.

For this twilight the city should become a single eye

observing its own lucent, lost perfection.

Cyclops waits indoors. My parents sleepwatch

as I tiptoe through the fluent chatter

of some latest Zsa Zsa, avoid her emerald eyes,

the dizzying abyss of her decolletage.

Everyone must see her new picture, she says,

a high-speed chase and numerous fornications.

Unnoticed, I begin to eavesdrop,

and how can the gaze not rest on her smile?

Use has more force than reason.

A Super Chief carried them from Iowa to these shores,

journey I reenacted with toy engines

while they called the stations from Boone to L.A.

Every mile swallowed into this cave of light,

gone with orange groves they tasted of in January

and the facade of Tara pointing toward the sea .

Moistened by rain, pink blossoms glisten

between fingers of the jade tree they planted.

It is brighter inside than the glow of any tree.

News briefs, reruns that kill an hour or two,

then game shows, a movie, and later news.

Every four minutes merchandise bullies them.

Mother and father, how shall I wield my love

against the raucous cannibal of this house?

From The Three Gardens (Copper Beech Press, Box 1852, Providence, RI 02912: $5.95, paperback; 62 pp.). Born in Los Angeles, a graduate of UCLA, Goldstein lives in Ann Arbor where he is professor of English at the University of Michigan and editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review. 1985 Modern Poetry Assn.

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