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Juxtaposition City
by Jeri Thompson

Shiny red buses go anywhere —
Slice through the city’s arteries,
Ticking off time.
Styled like tropical islands,
Oil rigs provide our black gold blood.
Breakwater blues and a lineup of freighters
Wait like impatient children to unload goods.
This is a college town:
Poetry readings, art galleries, museums, theater
(and theatre), fish aquarium, an aging Queen,
Parks with trees so tall, I have fallen from them in my dreams,
And bike lanes that run the beach.
Condos with million-dollar coastal views
And families that stand in line at food banks.
In one square mile prosperity and poverty
Collide into juxtaposition.

This is my town. I know there are
Mesas and mountains and there is calm beauty in
A heron’s yawn. Still, give me flat urban sprawl,
Congested freeways and barking sirens
For a chance to see one more smog-burnt sunset at
The close of one more warm beach day in our
International City, in the county of Angels.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Queen Mary Long Beach Night” by Denise Dube.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeri Thompson thrives in Long Beach, California, where she spends much quality time with herself and her Trikke (Scarlett Birdie) riding along the beach bike/Trikke path. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014, she is soon to appear in Pearl magazine. Also find her in Silver, Green, and Summer Anthologies from Silver Birch Press, Cadence Collective, and Carnival Literature Magazine (Vol. 4). She is a CSULB grad AND LBC resident since 1992.