The sun has an orgasm across the valley
as Pasadena opens up in front of me,
the Suicide Bridge pushing an arm out
of green sleeves, orange blossoms keening
after a mid-spring heatwave,
the Rose Bowl yawning in a ravine.
It is not enough to love the one you love,
to drive toward the ocean just to fall
into bed with them, then return home
alone, drowsy from no sleep and sex in a strange bed.
You want to keep driving East toward
black rocks and tarantulas of Nevada
or South toward the unilateral mirage of water
where the Salton Sea groans in her deadwood hammock.
On a map, California looks like she’s hugging the continent
and Nevada is leaning in for a deep kiss.
She is tentative, he is a sharp-tongued,
diamond-studded menace, kissing her
and at the same time, pushing her into the ocean.