Craving a view, I rode the escalator to the 3rd and final floor of that Macy’s and speculated on valley through tinted windows grand enough for a museum.
No thunderheads. Not the merest ribbon of blue sky. No sun. Mounds of gray clouds spread from Macy’s to the badly-chopped-cauliflower cliffs of Chatsworth, blackening over the Santa Susana Pass and its hint of semi truck glide.
It is rare to see my valley dull and perhaps that is why I decided the view was beautiful. Or perhaps I was delusional because of the surprise change in the weather–the dew on my browning grass that morning, the lack of glare filling the windshield as I drove my son to school, the reprieve from all that is made uncomfortably obvious by relentlessly scathing sunlight, the valley a bucket of constant light, filled, radiating, charring flip-flops and skin, melting dashboards and plastic eating utensils left on park benches too hot to sit on, everything here big and sizzling and over-bright, even in November–in fact, what Fall?–and certainly every February, our one freak overcast day making me giddy as I studied monochromatic scape usually ringed in glow so eerily orange it resembles atom bomb fallout, lifting, perpetually.
Gang graffiti on cinderblock in muted light rather than blaster-laser-in-your-eyes light? Interestingly vain. The seagull that should have been having its feathers ruffled by Zuma breezes perched instead on an Escalade in the parking lot, watching pigeons strut the gloom? Poetic–possibly (come on, bird–go home). The tobacco kiosks in the strip malls boulevard to boulevard, those tiny, barred fortresses persisting? Architecturally intriguing. A dullness as nagging as a mild hangover, got to me.
I reached into my boho bag and pulled out a small notepad and Pier One bling pen. I gazed through the Macy’s windows and took notes. Bruised, woolly and flannel were not allowed into the notebook. What was allowed will hopefully become a poem one (no doubt) bright, bright sunshiny day.
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