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i'm afraid to write love poems

by david van den berg

i drove up the angel’s highway the night i went to watch the sky fall



abandoned cars and camper vans and parked a ways


from the clinking glasses and champagne laugh bubbling from

the tinted windows of a bmw.


i stood on the edge of the canyon

turned my eyes to the lion and let the bitter wind

eat me alive.



i saw no stars in the thinning air.

just a fat moon burnt orange by the western blaze


clouds of smoke built from


of men and women asleep in

parking lots.


and beneath my wings i saw

the city lights struggling to breathe to the rhythm of the

thunder of thousands of distant freeway trucks, so many and so faint that i thought

the ocean lived between their wheels.


i think

the second most beautiful thing i saw up there was the

ghost of a hanging tree

growing out of a boulder that cracked beneath its own weight.


the most beautiful thing i saw on the angel’s highway,

of course,




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