Welcome to The Good Land

Photo from Woodstockings.

Photo from Woodstockings.

when i first moved here

i told her where i’d come from

and how i’d fallen under

some sort of anxious spell,

and

she laughed and said

“oh, you’ll be alright here,

the entire town’s a giant rehab center.”


welcome to The Good Land-

respite for the burn outs,

lost boys,

dharma bums,

deadbeats.

a final stopping point for 

the weary vagrant, 

because

life ain’t easy

when you try so hard.

i am not a woman of routine,

but i’ve formed some semblance of habit here,

perhaps to give myself 

something to hold onto 

so I won’t float away.

every couple of days

i walk a quarter of a mile

down the road

to reach the mailbox,

swathed in cobwebs.

the thick grass along 

the path

is flattened and 

dried up in the sun,

like dead snakes.

no one sends letters anymore

so i occasionally order small packages

to feign interaction with the outside world.

i imagine that soon

i’ll start leaving pressed flowers in the post

like fragile gifts from a far-off friend—

never too grand to play pretend.

in this 

sedate heat

the yard swims softly

foxtail and palm fronds waltz

i flip through the pages of 

Jitterbug Perfume absentmindedly.

life moves syrupy slow

like a fly foolishly toiling in its final moments,

caught in a jar of thick honey.

the people here, on the other hand,

have caught on to the maddening futility 

of any form of hustle 

and have, instead, chosen 

to fully surrender to 

eternal summer.

from the back porch 

i can see my neighbor

reclining on a lawn chair

chain-smoking

in white plastic sunglasses,

his back to cold blue mountains,

some Fear & Loathing pothead bachelor.

for split-second our eyes catch 

through the tall grass

but swiftly, i avert my gaze—

we never wave.

here we have silent agreement:

you float in your world 

and i’ll float in mine.

we like our our microcosms quiet, 

unperturbed.

in the kitchen

i burn incense 

to mask the balm of molding carpet,

everything steeped in the humidity of sea air.

Let it Bleed spins on the record player,

stuck on eternal line,

“baby you can bleed on me.”

i am too lazy to turn the record over.

eggs in tarragon and olive oil fry in the pan, and

a malaise hangs heavy overhead,

like the marine layer drafting in

from Hendry’s beach on weekend mornings.

here, it seems any major pursuits are rendered fruitless—

an infinite to-do list left unchecked.

nevertheless,

there is a ceaseless supply of lemons 

from the yard.

it is a world at once stagnant and abundant.

if there is any illusion of movement here 

it can be attributed to 

the rush of cars passing by on the freeway,

reminding me that

outside this bubble,

someone is going somewhere important.

yes, the world scurries by,

but, live here long enough

and it begins to sound just like 

the ocean in a seashell.

when i first moved here

i wanted to hide from the city

and the hysteria it had incurred in my life.

i had grown paranoid

to what I perceived to be

a constant threat of cruelty.

now i feel completely safe,

but wonder if i am squandering my time.

so, once again i am drawn into bustling metropolis—

a magnet for the restless.

we’ve struck up an affair

and i make frequent visits

like giddy meetings with a secret lover.

i want to melt into its

warm steel nights,

but hesitate,

questioning if this fire is fueled only by distance,

and,

if i’d run to it

only to find myself scalded again.

my mother always worried that i had this appetite for danger,

and, truly,

there is something so seductive about it. 

but, now i see that it is most potent 

when served in right proportions,

and

eagerly, i always seem to overdo it.

indeed, it seems like i am always running,

so for now 

i’ve named myself temporary resident of

 The Good Land—

respite for the burn outs,

lost boys,

dharma bums,

deadbeats,

and me.

an emphemeral stopping point for 

the weary vagrant,

because

life ain’t easy

when you try so hard,

and lord knows I’ve tried.