I remember Venice and the stucco
homes along the canals.
I remember coastlines of soft sand
and people arrayed along them as
far as could be seen;
a warm summer day was a beach day.
The weather could be comfortable
even in August, and when I was a child water,
drinking water, flowed freely over the
verdant lawns of Los Angeles.
Even on smoggy days when we would
have to be inside during recess, the
wide open California feeling was there.
I remember chilly days in November
when the sea fog was almost sharp-
prickling your face as you breathed out
cumulous clouds in a Sunday morning.
A rare patch of black ice on a shady sidewalk
was the worst of the winter.
In time it all changed and the seas
grew larger as they were fed with angry
storms in lands I have never seen.
The skies above California dried up
and the smell of rain was nothing
more than a memory of gray days.
Parched leaves turned brown in April
and desert winds blew out from the East.
10 million cars pounded asphalt from
Santa Barbara to San Pedro.
A trillion short tons of particulate
matter and Carbon Dioxide
outweighed a hybrid Toyota
and a solar panel nailed to a
red tile roof.
I imagine that golden sunshine
could’ve been a boon to a state so full
of life as that one was. How easy it
should have been to save it.
From the ruins of Long Beach you
can watch the burning oil platforms
and smell the red blooms of algae.
The last sea lion died up at Cabrillo.
Twenty years ago, some of us managed
to make it to Mars for a new start.
Hopefully the red sand fares better
than the yellow.