Hello, bloggers (and fellow poets)!
Welcome to this month’s “A Favorite Poem” issue. Today’s will be a special one, as I find the subject dear to my heart. Discussing the beauty of Los Angeles, Elizabeth Alexander’s “L.A. by Night” pays homage to my hometown, which gives me all the more nostalgia being thousands of kilometers away.
L.A. by Night (Elizabeth Alexander)
We’re in a postcard, driving
down Hollywood Boulevard:
the car has fins, the palm trees
are pink, we wear cat-eye sun-
glasses in the L.A. night
glare, the neon chatter, blurred
white lights of speeding cars.
We are speed and light, flame
and fingers; all night
is a fistful of minutes,
a fast car, stars.
we will make love loudly
in a room which belongs
to neither one of us, a room
strewn with our clothes and our
belongings. We will repeat
what we love most, our tongues
wise and specific. You’ll say
I am a glow-worm, a cobalt star.
In L.A., the palm trees
are more ancient than they look
and objects closer than they
seem, but no city’s myths
can explain our two moon faces
in the dark. We are zooming
and loud, fast hands, a bright
light, a magnificent
planet, L.A. by night.
Unlike previous “A Favorite Poem” issues, I’ll keep this analysis to a minimum, as the poem itself is fairly straightforward. Juxtaposing the city with planets and stars, Alexander portrays Los Angeles as a sort of hedonistic, otherworldly place where ephemeral memories are made with strangers “in a room which belongs/to neither one of [them].” Everything about this poem is just beautiful, in imagery and prose– it’s all you need, really!
Overall, “L.A. by Night” gives me all the feels, as I reminisce about my hometown– I can’t wait to return home this summer, and I’m counting the days until I can!
Feel free to give this poem a read. Enjoy your day!
— The Finicky Cynic
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