There were a lot of Boarding House rooms
but one came to represent them all.
I even knew it while living there,
that this place, that room, those stairs
would illustrate my 20’s in this city.
This large room, on the second floor
had superb high ceilings, two tall windows,
a small doorless kitchen
with a sink and a fridge…I don’t think
it had an oven. New fire laws meant
cooking appliances had to be removed.
Rereading an LA writer I admired
from those days
is bringing these memories close enough
the smog and dope and grease
coating behind my teeth
and a special system
has had to be put into place
so that I will respect and not dishonour
all the irretrievable hours wasted
stoned and suckling drunk: strangers,
boners, benders & loners, liars
and poets mending our nibs
under the table at open mics.
I wanted to believe in something
good, gOd, the collective might
of excellent souls, but I was unable
to fuse to a child’s imagination
the appropriate facts of maturity
those hot, light afternoons
at the typewriter, fingertips
in the smooth, curved keys
and then the original Apple
Macintosh, the sun singing
gum trees and apartment blocks
through the heavy old windows;
it had the right kind of love
and mystery, asking only recognition,
acceptance, in laundromats, with sympathy,
displaying the man I was becoming
in the full length desire for it.