Venice Beach

Reading, “Venice Beach” by Michael Hoffman

These are all thoughts – of course.
With my back on the world, knowing that later this morning I must turn and re-face it.
See it, feel it, smell it, pass through it, question it, learn to live in it.
These are perch thoughts.
Booked this room weeks ago for the view thoughts.
Paid some people’s rent money for a morning to sit and think thoughts.
Greet guilt for acknowledging I need – This – thoughts.

Smiled when Brandon looked back from his computer and asked,
“Oh, we just have you one night?”
Felt bad, really. Liked the guy instantly – handsome and friendly, sharp chords in his neck and veins down his wrists, running habit eating into his cheeks, won’t give it up in spite of aging joints creaking, smile worth every penny, but
Unaware he’s about to be pillaged; thinks that this room will be his by 11 AM.
But I came here to capture, to take more than the toiletries, towels or bathrobes; absorb his natural light and white teeth and white walls and white dishes against contrasting oak woodgrains, exposed brick; pack up the homeless’ buggies and mattresses; partake every Eucharist muscle I see, framed in chest-hair or shaved, wrapped in tights or urine-stained denim; adopt every puppy (registered or not) and the cat in the bookstore as well; buyout the shops and restaurants; catch all of the beach in my hair; uproot the palms; snatch the coastline; drink in the sea; copy and paste his sunrise.
I’m a thief on a perch, a spy in the field, scanning and stealing and listening and taking it all in thoughts
Burn these images and smells into my brain via syllable matchsticks; all that I see becomes mine thoughts

Set an alarm for 530 AM. Hardly slept, afraid the sun could sneak up thoughts
Crawled off that pillow-for-mattress like Ruth Bader Ginsberg if she cussed and complained of her spine thoughts
Made coffee and set up my nest: two mugs on the mantle next to paper and pencil just in case thoughts
Shopping for images: scanning all through the shifting blue hues for Whitman asking for dollar thoughts

Beachcombers have begun their day’s mission, but so few; mostly Lululemon runners or bundled up beggars thoughts
Can never not love how California hills find death in the ocean thoughts
Pink glimmers off Malibu solar panels; the warmer pallet contrasts with the blue-silver mercury poured into Pacific thoughts
Not sure which is more alien: palm trees or their shadows in early morning thoughts

The shamelessness of seagulls makes me smile: chests out, heads up, and sauntering
Tricky ‘lil bastards patrolling the trash bin before bums, or maybe, did she just ruffle her feathers and feign finding food so others could hijack his snack thoughts
I’m jealous of seagulls’ lives thoughts
How many people have checked this trashcan, and how does their anxiety compare to the feeling that I’ll choose the wrong Yelp-approved breakfast restaurant thoughts

The psychedelic sunrise replaced by familiar beach tones we know back on earth; the ones we know from commercials or prefabricated color palette at Lowe’s thoughts
I hear you anxiety; wish I could shovel this beach into my hourglass, but I can’t thoughts
Cliché-ing-ly think I could be homeless in Cali thoughts
Remember to tell it true – the beautiful people and also those possessed; wrapped up in privilege or debt or blankets; the seagulls’ fairness; the two classes of canine thoughts

Should I be running with everyone else thoughts
God, everyone is beautiful here; what am I doing with my body thoughts
Am I missing out and wasting my life thoughts
What’s another decade playing the war cog if I can have this thoughts
Will I ever belong here, and not just an outsider, a tourist, what’s wrong with the world thoughts
“I’m just here to observe” has become a mantra for life thoughts

Tourists overwhelmed by the contrasting sounds thoughts:
AirPod whispers, skate park scrapers, beach rock speakers, dope sick hackers,
Suitecase rollings, to-go coffee sippings, homeless station sweepings, bicycle dingings, unsure dog greetings, cluster run pantings, angry jogger stompings, trashcan rantings

It’s not paradise, it’s California, and just a piece thoughts

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