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Flat Valley In Darkness

ISSUE:  Spring 1982

I can’t
drive anymore and find a park in Bakersfield
where it is quiet and there are no
other cars. And can’t sleep.
And find the freeway again and start the long
slope up the Grapevine, the long

drive that in memory seems ten minutes long
because there are no details:
a long climb so subtle only the car feels it,
slowly heating, and a long descent, and the
lights of L. A. magnificent,
smelling of a million childhoods trapped
by inversion circulating
slowly around the point at the bottom
where my father sits up
sleepless beside a light.



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