Golden State


by Terry Wright

—after Charles Simic

I would definitely call this place golden; only the money is green.
But the gold is as tarnished as the looming Buddhas
so many people seem to keep putting in and on

every available surface. Somehow they think the
presence absolves them of much. At least the fruit
and vegetables out here are magnificent; no one can make the stand

that it’s fresher or more abundant than what we
here in the golden state produce. Nowhere do people eat
better or more widely. Yet I still strive to find the

reason, any reason, to stay. People point at the weather and smile
but really, so what? You can wear flip flops year round and
that’s pretty much it for benefits. I clear my throat and spit

out the ferrous particles that clog my breathing, spit out
the beams of well-being and pride in being ill-read. The
fakes smiles make me make sure my smile covers my teeth.

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