To, Los Angeles by A.K. Jorgensen

You are the city where nobody lives and everybody hurts.

We were introduced in the summer.

The cool air off the Pacific provided no relief. Your gunmetal highways were melting from the pulsing heat, yet they emptied out into boulevards of beautiful apparitions, phantom dreamers like me.

You were a mirage of hell and deliverance all at once.

I wandered to you purposefully that June, drawn like a stumbling drunk to her poison bar. The West was my imagined salvation for as long as my heart had known the human condition - since my father had put that bullet in his skull in the East, since I learned how to survive in spite of transience.

I admit - I trusted you.

Your film of white sun clouded my vision. I chased the days as if I was pastless. I reveled in your desert playground.

Of course I didn’t yet know what you were up to when you lead her into that bar on the corner of Newport and Lake. She was so devastatingly unannounced and beautifully unwanted in my little existence, your massive wasteland.

Have you ever looked at someone and known that you could never survive their goodbye?

I saw her regarding me from behind her frothy glass on the other side of the hazy room. Her blue moon eyes. Her rosebud lips. Her crape myrtle spine. A dahlia among dust. I was already tormented by the feeling of losing something that wasn’t even mine when she made her way over to my booth and slid in next to me without invitation.

You became the vision for my every happiness.

This is how every story begins and ends within your smoky labyrinth: we drank your longnecks, drove your highways, made love in your darkness, shared poetry on your shores, swapped our organs under your oily skies, believed in your promises.

You became the wild in which she disappeared forever.

You showed me everything, and gave me nothing.