California

Red Hot Chili (Home)

When the clock struck 2 am at a Brazilian wedding I went to this weekend, I had never felt more gringa. Fighting off sleep and a general sense of shock that people were dining at the hour most Americans are snoring,  I realized that we are, if anything, a modest people. 

But a little after the bride threw her bouquet back behind her, I suddenly heard and felt a flash of home: the (awesome) DJ played the Red Hot Chili Peppers song Give It Away.
It was all somehow fitting: the bride was marrying to go form a new home, and all of her around-30 friends were dancing to the jams that we used to - in Brazil, Cali, or elsewhere - back when we gave away our ambition and attention with more abandon. Now, we give away our time and commitment to just one person, but certain songs still sound like home, even at two in the morning. 

Desamor a lo Californiano

The purple mountain people have a certain way of mourning.
When dust-size disaster strikes, there are two options:
tequila or banda.

Either option is sufficient. By biogenetic accident, the 20 million mouths that are English-only by day find themselves fluent in Spanish-language sadness by night. And coupled with the clean notes of cactus flowers, are comforted through the sunrise.

California-place

The shiniest skin
the most glorious (foreclosed) homes
the biggest cars
the largest utility bills
(truly)

Most nose jobs
most Salvadoreans outside of San Salvador
most bad folklórico
most stale air
most d’Anjou pears

Sunshine state
Most empty fields
Most green tomatoes
Most high school drop outs
Most blond hair dye

Most twisted tongues
Most silent rosemary
Most infatigable cactus
Most “job growth”
Most Best Buy positions
Most air-conditioned sighs

Most gay marriage petitions
Most transnational birds
Most Pepsi children

This is what the West won.

On Los Angeles and place...

What do you do when you’re not Jewish in Beverly Hills
When you’re not Mexican in Huntington Park
When you’re not white in Santa Monica
When you’re black in Boyle Heights
When you’re Chinese in Baldwin Hills
When you’re Muslim in the Fairfax District
When you’re Catholic on Crenshaw
When you’re WASP in Alhambra
When you’re Ethiopian in the Valley

You return to your people in the Backbend Turnover March otherwise known as Rush Hour.
Returning to real estate, phone cards, and clothing that matches your kin.

Rush hour in Los Angeles is called North, South, East, West, this-is-how-we-do-unrest.