California

By Lyn Lifshin

It was definitely California,

bougainvillea breaking

out like purple stars.

Not Paris, not Africa.

Jet lagged, coming  from

the snow, heat and

light like a drug and my

own words in the trunk.

Not there from Los Vegas

or a Grecian Isle but

escaping lovers I could

not stay with too. I didn’t

think anyone did the

goat dance but I wish

someone had a camera.

I suppose we had a little

wine because some

one planned what they were

sure would give a sad

eyed man a treat, put

back his smile. Another

said he had two ladies,

two women he swore he’d

always love, two

women whose faces filled

the rooms in his tiny house:

posters, albums, books.

It was wild. One was

Joni, the other me. Warned

of the surprise, the man’s

face went snow standing at

the  window. I was high

on his being as happy

it was me. I think they told

him it would be one

of us. Probably I wore

madras or tie-dyed. My long

hair sleek as Joni’s. I

was wearing my spider

medallion. I wasn’t used to

such a shy fan, too shy

to come to the door. I too

was strung out on another man.

I had a week or two to

hang around. He wasn’t

the first to be afraid to talk

to me at a reading, to run

out before the end. All that

time I thought of Joni,
her songs in my hair, my

own pretty strangers

and the bad news of war

and now I wonder if

he often thinks of

both of us

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.


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