Purple jacaranda blooms, spectacular

on branches overhead. Underfoot,

a sticky mess where they land on the sidewalk.

_______________________________________

 

Non-native ice plant on postage stamps

represents the golden state like a governor

whose tongue gets twisted in California.

_______________________________________

 

Another ancient dusty saguaro cactus plant,

standing tall in the Sonora Desert

like a big prickly cowboy hat.

_______________________________________

 

Los Angeles isn’t always this smoggy, you know.

There are days the sky is so clear

you can see the Hollywood sign from here.

_______________________________________

 

On the deck of the beach house we sat at sunset

to watch that red disk plop into the ocean

like an Alka-Seltzer tablet.

_______________________________________

 

My visitor from Nebraska buys

a sack of assorted seashells at a souvenir shop,

then scatters them along the beach.

_______________________________________

 

Baby ducklings trailing mother duck

can scarcely wet their feet in shallow puddles

of this city’s concrete rivers and creeks.

_____________________________________

 

Two seagulls face off in the parking lot

Between Costco and In-N-Out,

quarreling over a half-eaten hamburger bun.

_______________________________________

 

On Santa Monica’s beach they’re worshipping

a different saint.  Wading in white, the chanters

launch small boats with gifts for Yemanjá.

_______________________________________

 

Seafood restaurants called Something’s Fishy

and Killer Shrimp.  An actor wearing

a frog costume waves a sign for Ugly Sushi.

_______________________________________

 

On Venice Boulevard, men selling oranges,

women selling flowers—vendors wilting

in the sun, sweating out pungent juices.

_______________________________________

 

Yes, it is legal to harvest the overhanging fruit

of your neighbor’s avocado tree.

Just don’t smuggle it out of state.

_______________________________________

 

Clinics displaying the five-leaf marijuana plant,

weeds sprouting up more numerous than

coffee shops with the mermaid logo.

_______________________________________

 

Why should I care about my neighbor’s

riotous dandelions?  Does he concern himself

with my slovenly jacaranda?

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