(For Dean Stockwell)
In Hollywood aged poodles recoil in fright.
Ancient sorority queens, chew Juicy Fruit
in Topanga Canyon all night.
Hitchhikers from eternity flag your Chevrolet
and hug your Blue Jeans in Barney’s Beanery
where they’ve added another room to hell
the jukebox keeps repeating
“Second Hand Rose”.
And in unison across the land
a thousand long fingers
of high school sweethearts
hold their cigarettes
through wisps of smoke.
There is a chance,
Second Hand Rose,
a star may fall at your feet.
But you know that chance
withers your lips as you sing
many versions of your love poem
torn alone in pages of the night’s
tarnished wings of the Angel’s Flight.
Past Fante’s all the way up Sunset Strip
as unlikely as Dante finding self help programs
in heaven the lights of Los Angeles
endlessly hang like
a hustler’s mad beads.
Cast this spell on neon
dye tonight, dark moon,
for tomorrow that ounce
of stardust will be
wiped from Cadillac chrome
unnoticed by freeway hawks.