There is a dog running out to catch a Volkswagen on a street in a suburb down there. There is always a dog running out to catch a Volkswagen somewhere.

Sometimes the gate to the backyard is left open, sometimes the front door is ajar, sometimes the dog yanks the leash from distracted fingers and sometimes that dog is just a dog in the universe.

The Volkswagens of the universe remain uncaught.

Today I drove to Culver City and climbed the Culver City Stairs. It’s built into as much of a mountain as LA offers and where the Baldwin Hills Reservoir used to be. It’s three hundred concrete bastards lined up like gnarly teeth in the earth and it’s a hell of a thing to do. But I went there because that’s where I go when the impossible happens.

A few years ago I got a job I had no right to get, so I went up the stairs. A year or so later I was far too near the ground, so I went up the stairs.

On Friday you roared like an animal, in heels and a dress, and showed me your claws. You twisted your arms round my arm. You dug your claws into my skin and we walked under the wind and the looming smokestacks of a cruiseliner cum floating playhouse. And you said something beguiling and wholly surprising in your scratchy and cadent lisp, and not for the first time and not for the last time I was surreally sober. Your face was too smooth, body too warm, and my shoulders too light in the moment. We watched a play in that floating theatre and the music followed us thereafter. The notes trickled out of your heels as we walked back to the car and away from the water and your scratchy and cadent advice was well meant and well taken. “Keep dreaming if you’re dreaming,” you said. “Dreaming, I’m dreaming of you.”

So I went up the stairs to clear my head and look down on the city of rude awakenings.

But somewhere down there a dog’s taken a bite out of a Volkswagen. Your heels sing me songs back to you.


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