Secret Pop

Jul 4, 2007

Frowning into the Dazzle

Begun at 4:16 P.M. Finished at 9:51 P.M. And not entirely typed in order.

What perfect pain. Reflected in a perfect white sky. A daytime sky without the glow of sun on it. Bright. Unbearably bright. But without warmth. Unpainted and unfulfilled.

I am reading a novel that has taken a turn into love story. Lying in bed with the window open and a breeze about. The sheets are cool, the covers light. I took off my clothes to shower, but I got distracted and ended up there in bed with a book. Undressed and unaffected. And all the while the day went on. On my street, one of the apartment buildings has no cars at all in its front parking lot. I don't know that that has ever happened. What merriment people must have planned.

The night sky here is too bright to see even the halo of a firework. I can hear them popping and cracking off in the distance, but I don't know where they are. And when I walk to the end of my street, they seem discernibly nearer. But that hardly seems possible, as I can see none of it. I remember going to a pool party at my friend Julie's home for the 4th of July in 2004. Matt and I went up to the roof of the building to look at fireworks with some of the other partygoers. You could see them off in the distance. Probably closer to Koreatown and Downtown. But we were in West Hollywood, and the appearance of those little amorphous blossoms, those sprinkles of colors of light off in the faraway lower right, with the surrounding sky so grey and undarkened -- well, it was an anticlimax of sorts. I have seldom gone anywhere to see the fireworks up close. I don't generally ooh and aah very much. But I do often catch myself wondering if the incendiary specialists who design the fireworks programs are happy with how things have gone. When you watch an ice skater, the commentators seem to know the planned routine and will tell you if the skater opted to skip a jump or to turn three lutzes into two. But with fireworks, there's no libretto to follow. You just look up and suddenly the sky blooms red. You don't know if this one happened when it was supposed to or if those two were supposed to be symmetrical. Fireworks don't generally follow any discernible theatrics. People are just so easily pleased.

I remember being restless. It's a faint trace now. Sleep comes easily much of the time. And even the fears that persist have revealed themselves to have bearable consequences. Everything happens as it happens. No matter how one clenches one's fists and sets one's teeth against it. And in realizing this -- the pointlessness of it -- I can't decide if the struggle loses its beauty altogether or becomes somehow more beautiful. Season after season and year after year. I can count back the days. Lay them over one another. Last year I was in San Diego and drank beers in the pool. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers, and my mom chastised me for liking them too much.

A jazz record is playing. Something with a trumpet. Muted. Muted trumpet always sounds to me like my imagination of the '60s. When everyone knew how to snap.

The thing I love about talking is that sometimes one of us might end up saying something beautiful or wise. And that never happens in an argument.

Los Angeles always smells the same.

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