L.A. CENTO

We don’t want to share this night

with other people. Even though it comes

from a good place, sometimes people end

up being strange. In the hills above Sunset,

you showed me an empty house, the ghost 

of a tennis court, dim figures out of beat 

with the rest of the world. Just like

in the movies: pretending to be somebody

else, crumbling apart in slow motion.

I used to think of them, a great big

package of melancholy. I’m scared

this will be the end of everything.

Throw out all that psychological mess,

you tell me. This is for you and me.

No problem. To get rid of this god-awful

feeling, I’ve done quite a bit of research—

humanistic—and I’ve got the most wonderful

news for you: incredible as it may seem,

sweetheart, life can be beautiful.

It’s kind of half-night, and that means

we should hear a band where there is

no band, and the city will smell of tuberoses.

The stars are ageless—aren’t they?—

and I’m in love with you.

Sources: Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Mulholland Drive (2001)

L.A. CENTO

People love the cinema firmament
and all the little heartaches that go


with it. Other people are passionate
about some awful things—stars


looking ridiculous, flesh and blood
conflict—and they value nothing.


Another day, another Technicolor
world: this is a demonstration of


a talking picture, and you’re nothing
but a shadow on film. It’s all right—


I’m letting life hit me until it means
something. You’re a cab, a rattlesnake,

a ceiling inside a frame. I’m a one-
woman show, a simple girl of the people

breathlessly awaiting the sun shining
all over the place to favor us.


It’s a Hollywood law that the ballads
let you down, but I happen to be in love


with fools. Why aren’t we celebrating?
I’m out of a job, but nobody’s got


that much money, and the sun is nearly
gone. All we’re looking for is love


from someone else, and my Lord,
I’m always gonna love you.

Sources: Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and La La Land (2016)

Paramo/Mexico - Shelby McAuliffe

Páramo de Belmira, Colombia and Valle de Los Gigantes, Baja California, Mexico -  Shelby McAuliffe

L.A. CENTO

Sometimes people need a little help.

As we move through this life,

poke your head up into the sunlight.

Arguing at the sixth-floor window is

evolutional. It is anthropological.

The marathon goes on and on

and on through strange intersections.

A curious side note: the good            

book says, Have you seen death

in your bed? It’s quietly judging

you and the weight of your shame.

Just be strong. You got struck

by lightning once, in Hollywood,

and today frogs are falling from

the sky. This happens. What is it

that we need? Love. Love. Love.

Do you have love in your heart?

It’s an electrical charge, a little

moral story. You’re a good and

beautiful person. Stay that way.

Sometimes people need to be forgiven.

The whole world is like central casting—

rigged—but this isn’t funny. This isn’t

cute. This is a long way to go with no

punch. How long can they last?

I may not know a winner when I

see one, but the common element

is money, money, money.

A million years ago I did a stupid

thing, and the past ain’t through

with us. Don’t give me no sunshine

lectures, cherry pie, sweet mama baby.

It’s a dangerous thing, the loading

of the shotgun, the faith healer

shill. See the way we’re looked at?

It isn’t a contest. It’s a show.

You don’t know who I am, what

my life is. I used to love to look

at the ocean. He thought it was him

they believed in, but it was me.

 

 

Sources: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and Magnolia (1999)

return to ISSUE THREE