Ode To The Santa Anas



Santa Anas when you blow

across the Southern California landscape

in January

you clear the air of particulates

that no longer matter:


dry earth,

and dead skin cells alike.


When I wake before sunrise

I see the branches on the Ficus benjamina outside my window

shake like a dog right out of water.

Your wind burrows through the thin rafters of my flat

as if to say I can shake you better than the earthquakes do.

The bright mid-morning sky is deeper, bluer.

It still is winter after all.

My mind clears.

I smile to the car next to me on the freeway.

Until now I forgot what it’s like to look someone in the eye.

The mountain ranges to the East are closer today.

They look me in the eye waiting for my thank you,

my appreciation for the way they compress the cold winds from the North

into a warm desert oscillation that brings wind farms to life.


By afternoon

you fold across the region;

your arms and legs flatten

like an ingenue reading her script

on a floating chaise longue

in a pool

in the Hills.

When the Fahrenheit peaks,

your tongue laps the smoke plume above the Angeles.

The smell permeates my open, thirsty pores.

People rear their heads to the sky like deer during hunting season;

urbanites revert to native instincts.

Our proofs of progress

are almost trivial today.


As the sun sets

and red hot irons

spread beyond Catalina,

weaves of hot and cold air

interlace along the coast.

The darkening San Bernardino Mountains retreat

taking the freeways with them.

It’s a confusing winter evening

of shedding layers.

I should

be cold


my t-shirt

shouldn’t I?


When another molt

is complete

and winds calm,

a fresh skyline glows

beyond the silhouettes of palm trees

in a new skin.


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