Meandering through hill-top neighborhood
of splendid old mansions, I loiter at wrought-iron gates
picketing the senator’s home.
“Where does California’s produce go?”
shoppers ask in supermarkets stocked
with Mexican avocados and Chinese garlic.
Parking in front of the apartment block,
the produce truck driver whose horn announces
his arrival with “La Cucaracha.”
Visiting with us in Los Angeles, our friend
went out for a sunny walk; returned with
wrists bound, misapprehended by cops.
At night our tidy clean green park is locked
to keep out rough sleepers who bed down on sidewalks
next to shopping carts full of rubbish.
Standing his ground in a pair of elegant
leather shoes, offering each passer-by
a chance to buy the homeless newspaper.
Within territorial boundaries of
contested city blocks, yellow fire hydrants
are marked with graffiti signatures.
A homeless woman spends her days collecting
odd scraps of paper, then sits in front
of the all-night drugstore, poring over them.
Confronting the suspect, police use lethal
force against a disorderly mountain
lion trespassing in a private yard.
When you see me walking in the neighborhood,
stopping to admire your garden, I might be
composing a tanka in my head.