Saturday, November 26, 2016

my favorite poem

The beautiful thing about anyones favorite anything, is that there is no requirement for it to be the best or the greatest. The best is too obvious, and the greatest is debatable, but a favorite is a favorite, period. 

I set out last night to write my favorite poem, walked to the closest diner, ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and started with dear los angeles, 

i read jack london for the first time in high school, a short story called ‘to build a fire,’ about a man fighting for his survival in the wilderness. classic man vs. nature, in which nature wins and the man dies of hypothermia. during my first summer in alaska, i brought along ‘the call of the wild’, and probably underlined the entire first three chapters. i read it again two years later, and ever since, i try to read it before every big decision i make. 

a girl once asked me what my favorite animal was, and i remember feeling embarrassed to not know immediately what my favorite animal was. i thought about it long and hard, and was tempted to say a lion, after all, i am a leo, but i said giraffe, and i meant it. 

i discovered my dad’s paul simon records when i was seventeen,  the night after my high school girlfriend and i had broken up. we didn’t have speakers for the record player, so i set the needle on the record and placed my ear as closely to the album as i could. i listened to both sides of ‘there goes rhymin simon,' and i knew everything was going to be ok. 

the first constellation i was ever able to see in the night sky, was orion: the hunter, with legs and arms outstretched. i have lived on both the east and west coast, an island in alaska, el salvador, and along the italian mediterranean, and nothing makes me feel like you and i are much closer than we think, than seeing that constellation, standing so confidently in the sky. 

when i was twenty-one, i moved away from south florida.  and since then, i hadn’t really been home long enough to remember how much i liked cuban sandwiches; until two years ago, when i moved home for the summer to be close to the people i love. we ate them nearly every day of the week, at least that’s how i remember it, and cross my heart - those are some of the most favorite days and meals in my entire life. 

the night i fell in love with los angeles, she sent me four songs by tom petty, and told me if i supplied the coffee, she’d always bring the cup. since then, i have poured every ounce of me into getting right here: 

dear los angeles,
i didn't call you my favorite 
because i needed, 
you to be the best or the greatest. 
i called you my favorite 
because you already are. 
like i didn’t tell you forever
because i thought we were perfect. 
i told you forever, 
because i still think you’re worth it. 
i’m sorry if you took that 
for me not having any other plans. 
dear los angeles, 
i have never needed to make it,  
i have only ever wanted to keep trying. 
dear los angeles, 
wrap your long winter nights around me
and i’ll prove it, 
just how much i meant it 
when i called you my favorite.

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