everything i'm about to say applies in the nth degree to outlying suburbia-esque cities like agoura hills, diamond bar and northridge (*shudder* *shudder* and *shudder*). but, as i try to avoid areas to the north, south and east of L.A. at all costs, and as i'm in L.A. right now, i will confine my comments to this city.
this post is connected to the one below in that i'm further exploring the theme of the american world being an elaborate put-on set up to convince us that everything is okay. nowhere is that more evident, i think, than in the gorgeous gleaming L.A.-sized supermarkets. the fact that i could drive to the supermarket with my daddy on a sunny thanksgiving day in a car blessedly full of gasoline, park in a gloriously large parking lot and stroll through 2-cart+ wide aisles stocked ceiling high with every good under the sun, even chanukah and kosher stuff for us reviled american jews, seemed a not minor miracle to me yesterday. in what universe is such a marvelous phenomenon possible? in the universe of the american west coast, that's where, where we're somehow protected from all the horrendous shit going on so that we can engage in the most wonderfully banal activities without (usually) giving them a second thought.
it did make me think that one of the reasons new york is better than L.A. is that life is harder or grittier or somethin. more real, ya know? and on that note, i present a poem of sorts that i wrote some years ago while i was in new york about coming home.
Coming home is like falling into a big waiting embrace that pulls you toward it and swallows you. But it’s a benign predator that sits patiently on the coast, stunning you its prey with a blissfully effective numbing poison; the victim descends blindly into the embrace and in a stupor allows its imminent digestion to take place without allotting it much importance or protest.
You could never explain why you liked home, conscious as you were beforehand of the slow, albeit painless death that awaited you in the west. Perhaps it was the very quality of disappearing that was so pleasing. Life went on, but without any care for what course of action should be taken, without any thought to the mundane events comprising each day. After all this life existed in the muffled cubicle of the coffin, or maybe in the stifling air of the theatre where you watched yourself perform in a play, cast in a role of unbelievable tediousness. Perhaps, with the sunshine a mere shroud for the sickening air, home was a cunning as well as deft killer. You in fact looked forward to some semblance of life, the fake trees, freeways, warmth, the beaches and marionette bars all painting a convincing picture of
But this time the allure of home needed little explanation. This time, the anesthetic sting would be an escape from the sensory relationships that were changing beyond any reach or effort. You needed your family, that unchanging bastion, to be cold, you needed the numbness to overwhelm you totally and without breach. Just please…now.
It’s true, people often told you you gave up and in too easily. Yes maybe, but. But sometimes it was just too simple, too simple and too good not to give in to the crushing force, that fathomless weight that allowed you to sleep. No one, not anyone, could accuse you of stagnating within your peaceful comfort. No, you inevitably went back to the painful gambles, yes, finally nearing total suffocation you always came back up for air. And now, for the first time, you realized clearly the pattern of home. And seeing it, you walked with a calm smile down the gangplank, its final edge in line with the horizon, and disappeared slowly into the expectant arms of the Pacific.