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 inside 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.