This building

This building disappears more every time I walk past it, until the interior doesn’t even exist, the bronze shadowed letters disappear behind black mirrored glass. A building in Mar Vista is more than a façade to only ten or twelve people for whom the smells of pine bark and tobacco ash layering the interior courtyards of polished terrazzo comprise their waking lives. Time dwelling within is spent between yellowed wooden doors and white stucco whose knobby protuberances are drifted and caked with smog dust, spent dreaming of jalousy windows.

But what we see is its bare neck stuck out for cars to kiss. Squares inscribed on a one foot grid striate the taupe stucco pot belly that shelters the four pane storefront. These black mirrors peel, with their aged tint and hand-rubbed letters, instigated by names of occupants or passers by of some sort etched into the glass with keys or stones from the hollowed out flowerbed.

The forehead and cheek of the façade are pre-cast pebbles in panel form with plastic c-channel joints burnt grey by time, blowing particulates, and infrequent water that runs through their poorly detailed overlaps.

What draws the walker here is the scent of Los Angeles. The corpse of the city that died in the 1960s whose toe tag rots somewhere near LAX and whose swelling presses us into these corners of Mar Vista, into dark barred dogtrots and skylit refraction. In these dark passages and alcoves, lost in grey reverie we see the albums of our city through 50s television and our clothes smell like I Dream of Jeannie. The city whose life is now all faces, empty to us. But to those who walk, it is the green polished terrazzo mouldings and borders, the dangling unlamped weatherproof bulb fixtures, the peeling splitting paint on silver drifted wood, the nine inch stripe of grass, and the bark tree needled and basking as the sun trades places with sweatered chests.

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