Desert Center

     cabins and Coca-Cola
     fade reversed from
     each other on metal
     ask monthly rates for
     delicious refreshing
     nowhere in this desert

     memories boarded up
     their windblown walls
     amid tumbleweeds
     words turn and invert
     and the morning sun
     rises to beat and bake

     a trio of gas pumps
     sweat rust in shade
     Chevron’s dinosaurs
     paint worn just shy
     of memory colors
     an afterword of water
     Texaco’s red letters
     leach through black
     paint like salt stains
     a inner voice crying
     in the wilderness to
     aloof cottonwoods

     whose leaves twist
     in wind that roared
     with Patton’s tanks
     across Mojave sand
     went mute in a code
     of enforced solitude

Colorado Street Bridge

          She did not reach outside for anything, nor did the things of
          death reach inside to disturb her calm.

—Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
for Devon Laird

     your life was rough cut
     till last breath polished
     so invitingly to shape
     escape into a narrative
     of perfect day and all
     those conversations

     you were having in
     your head as you flew
     after all the times you
     had told people to keep
     to their families and
     their legs on land I sit

     here with my nerves
     still raw how many
     years since your jump
     back to nature your
     ambush into eternity
     even with the view

     of the river and trees
     almost as tall as sky
     where I hike so inviting
     no idea what flowers
     or flames would spring
     if I saw you instead

     you blended seamless
     into the San Gabriel
     mountains no ghost
     images the photographs
     I have taken here once
     I felt the solid ground

     at Arroyo Seco not an
     event but a place that
     long preceded you and
     the conquistadors and
     could instead marvel
     at Beaux Arts curves
     that leap into the sky
     with more a dancer’s
     grace than anything
     concrete over Arroyo
     Grande past Pasadena
     and “suicide bridge”

Jonathan Yungkans is a Los-Angeles-based poet, writer and photographer who has so far maintained his sanity despite freeways, over-the-top antics of some of his roommates and all the paranoia which life in the land of Nixon would seem to suggest. He still loves dogs; cats love or at least tolerate him as long as he feeds them. His works have appeared in Poet Lore, Poetry/LA, Twisted Vine Literary Journal, and elsewhere.