In Imitation of Bob Hicok’s “A Primer”
I remember North Hollywood as the place I go
to be in North Hollywood. The boiled down essence of America
–bubbling black asphalt in summer
or swirling dust and smoke in fall
and all the bits of exhaust and paint and
one-off diners and chain franchises.
I lived in North Hollywood until I was a young adult. The NoHo bird
is a public swimming pool. The flower of North Hollywood
is the eucalyptus tree which isn’t a flower and
isn’t from North Hollywood but which smells
of summer afternoons at the park, hot resin.
An East Valley Girl can talk about summer,
can surely use the word “sure.”
For sure, North Hollywood is neither north nor Hollywood.
When I go back to North Hollywood I drive
across the valley floor.
There is, off what we used to call the Ventura Freeway,
a dam. So life goes cars cars cars dam,
I wave at the Sepulveda dam,
which we forget is there but would miss if it wasn’t.
On account of the flooding. If it ever rains again.
Then Van Nuys goes cars cars cars
concrete river, goodbye dam. You never forget
how to be from North Hollywood when you’re from North Hollywood.
It’s like riding a bike of smog and shopping.