I know it is strange but not everyone loves L.A. and her circus act sins: They suffer passing through, But once they know her, it's true They fly east like a bird on the wing - Away from the boys and the girls that sing And those who goof off just for laughs, And even those fools who pretend to be Artists with rules and methods Who bodies are canvas and lives are paint and Who kneel in concrete for imprints of stars. My dreams got all twisted up in the air They tied themselves into knots and bouquets; Shattered orange dawns in the Lemon Tree Motel Bled into reluctant blistering middays while The radio sings of making whoopie But I am longing to make hay. You can suck down a cold one before 8am, son But it won't do you no good, If you are gonna survive the downs and the highs Of this sleazy oasis town You will need something More than booze or a car to stay Grounded and root yourself to. This city runs on dirt, gasoline and the hurt Of a thousand prom queens broken down sneers. The motorcycle cops chow down gas station Jumbo dogs: this town needs Columbo not Clooney or Gere. It's got murder written through it Whichever way you slice it, it is A constant motif, a flight log Full of deceit and of shame. And as I look out through The smeared windscreen's sheen I swear I see a few dozen Silk sheet dreams escape Bobbing on the cooling ocean breeze. They scatter tears and silver screen fears And disappear like a brawler from a fray. Lincoln Avenue fled, and I suffered the dread Of the 5's phony kamikaze traffic movers and racers. Palm trees and boulevards, cranked faces gone hard Superstars, porn stars, palm trees and pancake syrup chasers. . . The faces moved past me unreal. All good dreams lead to Los Angeles, some fragile, some doomed And some strong, some lost and a few found But driving into Anaheim Drunk on that cheap thunderbird wine I wasn't sure which clique or ocean to fall into. It is the rule of the road that Where you look for won't show, And where you don't want to be, you'll always end up, Burning gas on the altar of fame on the water Is a trap, and success rarely shows. I was not looking for a part, nor even some art, I was not seeking to act on no stage, I had no need for infamy but life had it in for me, And fortune? Well that bitch always fled! You can scream blue sky murder but nothing Is further from happiness than an L.A street scene Lining up in Walgreens, drinking cheap coffee Made from bad beans, I knew I had to get out Or else end up half past lost, or a minute past dead. The sky turned from grey to True blue as I walked into view I was in the starring role of my own 2 part special. And I wondered how to dodge the margaritas and Chivas The white lines for the chop, the pills and potions That exist to brighten up those south Cali days For those terminally full of hate and afraid. I guess that it's real - that struggle and the steel The excess, the fear and the drain: it's why All good dreams turn up buzzed in L.A. It must be the bridges that are magnets that fix it Into place as the nexus for dreams. Perhaps it is the water, maybe it is the sky Or how all of it fits together at the seams. And the air conditioners hum a stirring revue As the horns blare out down Sunset and Mulholland, And the ghosts of glamor line up by the Hollywood Manor Waiting to be assigned to their roles. Perhaps I could handle a tray of hors d'oeuvres, Find myself some champagne to pour or Disguise myself as an elf on the shelf And hang out with some tinsel town Rich and powerful crashing bores. I don't need no cabana, No bungalow stocked With Havana cigars or The finest of powders. I don't need to know How the booze tends to flow I don't need no lecture in How to survive this Real to reel urban savannah. None of that is new Or has come to matter. You don't need to tell me that It comes in quite handy Not to need any one But for everyone to want you But it is no life, living by the Mercy of the surgeon's knife And hoping to look more You than you ever wanted to. So I swung onto the freeway, and tossed me a coin, It said head for the north or be prepare to go bust. But the dream it was birthed In that land of the angelic lust So it refuses to die quietly, Refuses to head out silently stable. It wants to go out with a rebel yell and a shout It wants to leave wheeled out on a table. It is heartattack and vine, it is all along the line And it will drag me along if it's able, It is broken and it's battered It lays down on couches to be scattered And shared amongst the dirty boys in blue, It opens its heart, it bleeds out every new start And it gets smaller and meaner every day And when one of the new come to pay tribute too, It gobbles it up like a bulimic in the dark. What is spewed out, rejected and spat out Used up, broken down for parts and Furtively flushed down the crapper Is something quite low Something a little extreme It has a radioactive glow that is More Bride of Wildenstein than Garbo More Zevon than Fred Astaire And it dies with a simpering Slasher flick scream. All good dreams are born in L.A And all good dreamers go there to find them I wonder when last the dreams didn't play hooky When success got a look-see When it didn't end up Drowning in glass, Or wasted as the bubble Flicked out from a syringe? Smoked up, free based for laughs Encased in canisters made of tin. This city does nothing by halves. I just wandered through, looking for Someone like you, and now I am on The outside staring right in. And the traffic passes, and the hot air ices And everyone is famous for a day, But I think I'll sit here, and thank Carey Grant And Hammerstein, Billie Holliday, Jeffrey Lee Pierce And some eastern European count For scaring me away So I high tailed it before I could say I think I might like to live here. But one day I think, I'll return there and drink All the booze that I can fit in a lake I'll sit with a bottle and take it full throttle Because all good dreamers come to die in L.A.
Epic dying of the dream that gets only what it doesn’t want or need. I’ve only been to L.A. a couple of times. Sounds just as well. Like your work about San Francisco, this will stay with me.
That is very kind of you to say so. Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m having a crisis of confidence and feeling pretty useless. Los Angeles is a blast isn’t it, though I fit in much better in San Francisco. May I ask what part of the country are you in now?