Night Song of the Los Angeles Basin By Gary Snyder

Owl
calls,
pollen dust blows
Swirl of light strokes writhing
knot-tying light paths,

calligraphy of cars.

Los Angeles basin and hill slopes
Checkered with streetways. Floral loops
Of the freeway express and exchange.

Dragons of light in the dark sweep going both ways in the night city belly. The passage of light end to end and rebound, —ride drivers all heading somewhere— etch in their traces to night’s eye-mind calligraphy of cars.

Vole paths. Mouse trails worn in
On meadow grass;
Winding pocket-gopher tunnels,
Marmot lookout rocks.
Houses with green watered gardens
Slip under the ghost of the dry chaparral,

Ghost shrine to the L. A. River The jinja that never was there is there. Where the river debouches the place of the moment of trembling and gathering and giving so that lizards clap hands there —just lizards come pray, saying “please give us health and long life.” A hawk, a mouse.

Slash of calligraphy of freeways of cars.

Into the pools of the channelized river the Goddess in tall rain dress tosses a handful of meal. Gold bellies roil mouth-bubbles, frenzy of feeding, the common ones, the bright-colored rare ones show up, they tangle and tumble, godlings ride by in Rolls Royce wide-eyed in brokers’ halls lifted in hotels being presented to, platters of tidbit and wine, snatch of fame, churn and roil, meal gone the water subsides. A mouse, a hawk.

The calligraphy of lights on the night
freeways of Los Angeles

will long be remembered. Owl calls; late-rising moon.

Night Song of the Los Angeles Basin By Gary Snyder

Wheel of Fate GrimAutumn GrimAutumn