Onions bust through the pavement outside a smog shop.
Onions bust through the pavement outside a smog shop.

Downtown LA sidewalks are so dirty
local residents don’t wear their shoes inside their homes.

The sidewalks themselves are in disrepair, the occasional
tree’s roots disrupting blocks of concrete

and the City tries to patch them up on the cheap.
Blackened wads of chewing gum, empty cups

and food wrappers, the ubiquitous black plastic bags,
dog turds, both ancient and new, or wait, maybe that’s human?

Urine. Urine smell fills the air and look: a smashed rat, a flattened
pigeon. This is where I live.

I’ve seen a man relieve himself in an alley
through a fence, as though sending his piss to the other side of something

made it less foul. I’ve seen a man peeing on a tree at dusk
and I wanted to ask him, can’t you see that life is hard enough

for that tree? I’ve seen a large, genderless someone
attempt to take a shit in a paper cup, ass pointed out to the street

mid-day as though none of us were really there. This afternoon
an inebriated man ahead of me walked and peed at the same time.

I wouldn’t have noticed but the kid with headphones a few steps ahead
of my black and white dog suddenly jumped to the left, and that’s when I saw

drops trailing behind the drunk guy. Then my mom sent me a text
about a buck drinking from her pool, the magic of his antlers reflected,

and when I told her about my day, about Mr. Shitfaced-walk-and-pee,
she said nature is nature, whatever its form.


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