Speaking of Haze

We steal glances over shoulders, reading Sunday’s paper. What will we remember of this trip that spills into crevices, the nooks we may forget to remember to seal or unseal. A too short article on Women–why Alzheimer’s seems to favor our mothers over our fathers. And in the face of gender politics, we turn to biology, we turn the page: to find a disease, 20 years in the making “before diagnosis.” 

Left with last living elder. My heart breaks open showering golden light. Dear Mother. While there are miles between us, we share a blood line that wraps around us in the cold of night. 

Today I return to smog. I return to my father. His adament rantings on L.A. smog. His decision to move our family to the desert, a wasteland of light. Perhaps the punch to the gut, the pipe to the head reveals more than the scar I always thought to be an aging worry line on the forehead. Perhaps this talk of rainbows needs to wash over the daughter who ran from the sun to the forest, ocean–now lakes, to realize that biology and air pollution make memory. A flash of red. Screaming in low gear temper. The green Beretta case concealed under seat. Reach for it! During high tide rush hour mania. Perhaps the irrationality is a result of poison fog. And yet, at the end of life, there was a reason to shift gears back into neutral.

Flash back to “gender gap” and Mother’s research shows, pollution is related to “mental decline.” There are maps that clearly show high figures of pollution related deaths. Los Angeles is higher than legalized states. And as unsustainable as desert lights and as much as they drain the Mead, the desert does not make the list. 

My new never home comes in at the end. My mother and sisters are safe in the distance. It is only a matter of time anyway. When the rainbow vision is cleared. The fog, the haze: smog from all these machines filling the sky with clouds. 


The Day After

There are explosions of rainbow lights and fire that we can see safe from our window. Slightly open, we can smell the smoke. We criticize them for making more fire, more smoke in what is already a haze. We call it smog in L.A. 

The sun is the same in these cities. The line of cars. It’s all too familiar.  There is plenty of shit talking and “I hate” generalisms in a place that reminds me of my father. He cursed strongly articulating his frustration with the line, with the smog, with the smoke that stopped his lungs from breathing. His words still ring in my ears. I can hear all the things he would call L.A. and secretly vowed to leave to make him proud. I got out. And now that I’m out, farther than I’ve ever been, in some ways, I’m right back where I started. And yet, there is no ocean. There is instead an underground railroad, historical “insensitive” works and a river that is a fracture. As much as he hated going to the ocean, I love standing on the shore–feeling the waves beckoning. I am missing a home that I fought so hard to leave. I am missing sea. Today, walking over footbridge, standing above, in the middle of the river, I felt the vibration of cars. I suddenly felt the river’s pull. The river is beckoning us to make a home. And reminding us of homes lost, homes found and homes to return to.