Marcus Elman: “The Boulevards of Los Angeles”

I like the way street sneaks up on me,
the lanes of asphalt like a hissing black mamba.
Boulevards are veins in my DNA, swirling lifelines,
hypnotic movie set of my life.

Forget Sunset Strip, that’s so 1970’s high School,
the way I turn right on Venice Boulevard,
weave the boulevards east, to Barnine, then sneak onto West Adams,
roll by Club Fais Do-Do, why you’d think I owned the street!

Lean into Baldwin Park, take the wedge onto MLK Boulevard,
old days coffee at Fifth Street Dicks, late nights at Brother Higgin’s
World Stage — Leimert Park, my blow and groove salvation spot.
By the time I slip into Compton, along Alondra, I flip my

mouth to smile, my eyes wide as the intersection
of concrete and commerce screaming NOW — with neon lit taco
trucks – “dos tacos por favor de cabeza y lengua,” Popeye’s Fried
Chicken flashing fast food porn. On and on, el radio dialing up

Lee Morgan’s “Sidewinder,” my head cocking out the beat.
I’m high as the blue sky of Vernon as palm trees tickle the idea
of vertical. Turn down Pacific Boulevard, to Huntington Park’s “Marisco Flats,” left on Florence Avenue, Bell Gardens, past my

boyhood barbershop — same hand painted red lettering – Corte de Pelo. At right angles, crisscross the 710 till Firestone Boulevard meets the flat roof, lava rock strip malls of Downey. It’s all here, Narai Thai, El Salto del Fraile, Porto’s Bakery Café.

I Drive the boulevards of LA
I Eat the boulevards of LA
Joy! — the boulevards of Los Angeles.

(Author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher)

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