Read introduction

Although I am well travelled, when I first came to Los Angeles I was quite shocked about how different this sprawling city is. At first I felt very alien, alone and disoriented. I made a lot of notes to try and make sense of this place. Other people have compared it with the internet, very vast and diverse, you can cruise it but that’s when you get lost and frustrated. In Los Angeles you need specific goals, always a specific address. But some people simply love it here. So out of these experiences grew this tongue in cheek piece ‘Ode to Tinsel town’.

Ode to Tinsel Town

E0d9e00c4cec610fd0ecb395946f0916by Frances Livings10 Oct 2013

The only thing that moves here are the shadows
The only thing that dances are dry leaves
The only thing that walks is in competition
The only thing that grows is pure greed
The only thing that changes is the seasons
But even that is hard to believe!

Nothing ever changes
in Los Angeles
Technicolor skies offering
different shades of blue
the temperatures might vary,
say, by five degrees
planes of yawning tarmac,
Beano-headed trees
movie billboards XXL,
astronauts can see
no cityscape, just licorice lace,
crisscrossing the sky
sporting urban tumbleweed
and dangling shoefiti

Anorexica complexica,
living in Lost Angelica
Cookie cutter lots,
paper bags and plastic cups
Hours spent in traffic jams
and in bubble wrap
But oh, such a variety
of different well-groomed pets
and sooo many shelters,
pet hotels and vets
abandoned flavours of the month,
discarded hamsters, dogs and cats

At first I thought,
people really care
all clad in youthful yoga-wear
with shiny, ironed Aniston-hair
and into perfect dental-care
every crack, wrinkle and grin
is filled to the max
with Restylane
and so-called “mornings at the gym”
for Jan’n Jen, Viv and Jim
for me, me, me, her and him
all popping Wholefoods’ vitamins
no real names – just abbreviations
a wide spread illness of the whole nation
My guess, it’s due to personality inflation

So no real sweat –
you’ve got an image to maintain
for your fifteen minutes of ephemeral fame
So no one runs for busses
or let alone a train
Smiles are always static,
never wiped off by the rain
The Oscar night freeze
is not from the cold
dental fresh and lovely
So yeah, just step on board
your weekly cleaned, fat SUV,
waste water, gas, electricity
What the hell, carbon monoxide?
You fool, only Mexicans go by bike

Life shuts down at nine o’clock
and don’t you dare stay late!
Commuting is the big excuse
for not having to relate
or even talk to others,
simply communicate
Neighbourhood’s a foreign term
Living in a box with a perfect lawn.