From the Archive (2019) | ‘Sun Rises in Mid-City, LA’ by Fred D’Aguiar

Call for wings, alligator skin, eagle eyes, dog ears, leopard speed GPS coordinates if body ever hopes 
to slip that helicopter whose searchlight combs late night revelers, two-job commuters, down in 
Arlington Heights.

Ripe for sprawl, mechanized dust, engine backfire or gun, cause drum an’ bass sweet so, wild so, 
madness take over and you muss tek a draw, buss an’ lick shot to rass, hence the sky patrol, cloud 
from countless pistons,

lands inside screens, coats laptop keys, prints fingers, spackles this chance to sit alone before things 
rev, crescendo, old me, oh my, surrounded by twisted palms flat against three of four skies, their 
honkytonk blue,

poised for squawking parakeet pinball machine flyover, as all things stop, twist, turn, look up, 
follow their zigzag, cut, bob and weave, scattergun plantings among palms, if body ever hopes for 
more than –

potluck green flurry, brass instrumental warm ups, their blessing of a life lived noisily serving 
animal flimflam, flux, speed, in good, quarrelsome company.

Call for wings on these mornings, temporary ones to join a crew bound for the next best feed amid 
high-topped perilous, aged-outside-the-cask trees, just to shoot, oh, well, yes, the breeze, among 
sheltering royals,

at sea, their held-breath, firework branches burst, splay, under jet belly, crisscrossed skies, ink, pong, 
made by this splurge, cough, spit, concrete graveyard don’t give a flying fuck city! Yo! Unheeded 
camp cry to commerce

whose plugged drains, traffic-light eyes, shuttered noses, stuffed mouths signal indifference to 
people huddled in doorways, beside shopping carts laden with their last precious bundles tied with 
frayed twine.

Music crowded at my birdfeed helped by a tinny fountain, versus wind-up wake yu-all jive, hustle 
for a dollar dustbowl conurbation. If body could ever hope, only not-I, but me, you, us, them dread 
could isolate, pl-ease,

selected engagement with this city, sky that just happened, might be a happening thing, pierced by 
palms on a growth spurt to some more opulent heavenly place,

where shopping carts fill for all and one door opens to another in a haven free of locks, guns, sirens, 
scalding dust, where splintered I, bifurcated lens, wait for that flock, come now, up close, here, not 
just for me.