By Claire Danna ’15
This one is for you, Mother LA
Mother Earth may be bigger, but you are your own little world
A cataclysmic, chaotic contradiction of permanent and impermanent
Of fame and the nameless
Of loss and victory savored in sunlight and the smell of asphalt,
Celebrating with us under burnt skies, watching us struggle,
Cradling us in your smoggy embrace.
Mother LA, you are strong.
You hold back all that pain for us,
All those tears you’ve dried up under desert suns,
Except for once or twice a year, when nothing can hold back the
Sudden downpour of utter sorrow,
The cold, thundering burden of a thousand lives.
Mother LA, for each of us there is a place.
You pick up people as you go,
Tucking them in green jean pockets,
Sewing patchwork coats in a thousand colors,
Garments that belong on Hollywood Boulevard,
Proclaiming in spontaneous devotion
That these people and run down hotels
And pictures of starlets and crowded market places
And roads like clogged, ailing arteries are proudly yours!
Mother LA, you understand all languages.
You speak in the dialect of dreams, of outsiders.
You understand the soft and deep rhythm of the romantic,
The folk songs of the lost.
Your hum is a symphony of a million voices,
Colliding amidst car horns and rappers offering CDs and electric billboards
And children praying for someone to show them the way.
Mother LA, you are beautiful.
Hollywood sign tattooed on your hip,
Sun setting on your cheek bone,
You go on and on and on, fingers stretching for infinity,
Searching blindly with soft moon-like nails in mountains, oceans,
And the valleys between your knees and toes and at the nape of your neck,
Hunting for those who crave your glow.
Mother LA, you are brave.
Brave in the darkness as Downtown glows
Brave in the daylight as you push everyone in all their maniacal glory out the door,
Brave in the summer when surfboards get waxed
And fresh strawberries dye children’s mouths.
Brave in the winter when not even the loss of another white Christmas could keep you down
Brave in the face of those who first dared to set foot on your shores
Brave for those who were already here and had everything to lose
Brave despite those who see you only as the floor for a red carpet
Brave for those who know you can be more.
Mother LA, never stop being big and strong and accepting
And understanding and beautiful and brave,
Mother LA, you are our home.