I watch the fireworks from fifteen miles away.
Sparks expand in slow motion, in dulled colors,
like lilies riding a ripple, to the sound of thunder
in the sky’s great engine, stalled by starlight.
Irvine grew and grows in concentric circles.
Flavor chemists and chartered accountants move in
sending children out, and every brown, treeless hill
has a high school, with its heroes and heroin.
Under Disneyland’s colored fire, mountains loom
gray, in silhouettes God drew with a leaky pen.
Below me TVs flicker between channels, bored
fireflies jogging in place. They are snuffed out
quietly, like candles from the breath of a door.
In the space between the flame and withering
smoke I sleep. In a city of rabbits and snails
morning arrives with blue skies and white clouds,
manicured by Stepford wives. On the sidewalks
snails slide along their curious slime. Not in trails
but drops, for every three one evaporates, they
move in disappearance like a Polaroid reversed.
It is a city of quiet Baptists and Lutheran rock bands.
On Sundays we pray at the house of pancakes
between the bookends of Korean Christian
worshippers that arrive and depart in SUV’s.
Along the skeletons of sidewalks no feet fall,
and when eyes trace their trajectories across tinted glass
I move past stucco strip malls like a ghost across granite,
In a city with no past they build a network of vanilla pickets,
to protect the present. The dawn brings empty threats
of summer rain as Mexican labor caters a white labor day.
Across half named streets there are no abbreviations,
no drives, lanes, or blvds, just Lake, Shore, and Pond
running in black parallel to the lines of palms and Cyprus.