“Interlude: Paradisiaque.”

Poetry by JoAnna Novak

December 3, 2021  By JoAnna Novak

Is this evening better than looking at the toy factory lofts, the biscuit company, the fashion district, the flower street building, the flower street walk-up, avocado, buttercup, an infinity pool in cathedral city, wall mural of dante, gehry condos in venice, beamed gables in salinas, dates, steinbeck, whiffs in big sur, the pasadena altadena corridor, weho cellar, charming bungalow in eagle rock, turnkey in bunker hill, atwater village, where the bread is always a line, where the table is waiting for children, placemat with crayons and water, starter for invisible family, built in 2004, built in 1958, built in 1881, coming soon, four plans to chose from, five acre lot, horse property, in-law apartment, bonus room, vacuum tracks roach skitter, bonita and dog on couch, dying fichus, accent walls, walk-in closet, track lighting, chef’s delight, as is, buyer to conduct inspection, check the node, the nursery, the rocking chair, ample hearth, heartwood throughout, subzero, mauviel, bosch, maid’s quarters, butler pantry, access to club fitness center and pool, gold medal school districts, cheap dates in morongo, dates in heaps in morongo, hits of dates in morongo, hits of sun, snow heights in idyllwild, stunning views of san jacinto, starter home, room to host, weekend escape, pied a terre, perfect for entertaining, perfect for invisible nursery, perfect for invisible dates, perfect for morongo valley, corner lot, all that highland park has to offer, all the perks of desert life, have your privacy, the last great hamburger stand, close to restaurants and shops, you’ll always have something to do, you’ll always have fresh produce, fertilizer, two bottle nights, study the mortgage, what will you not live without, how many acres are a sacrifice, how many syllables, share your non-negotiables and eat a date, fireplace, copper hood, whirlpool, en suite bath, outdoor Jacuzzi, star canopy, limousine stall, five toilets, charlie chaplin’s studio lot, down the road from the dude, an invented design for the twins, most requested floor plan in the neighborhood, parquet hickey from hunky dad, palominos and dappled earth, steps from the pier, walk to the beach, ocean in your backyard, your dream home, your new york in LA, your walk-up, your post-and-beam, your darling craftsman, your darling children, your palm springs most exclusive gated community, death’s invisible house, la quinta, 55+, stucco and brick, modern open delight, featured in home digest, walkout, 42 steps from the patio of your dreams, no commute, original features, restored dates, a true loft lover’s loft, concrete floors, bike room, mud room, rumpus room, two parking spots (non-adjacent), two choices, two interest rates, two children, bellagio house, artist’s retreat in laurel canyon, please do not disturb tenants, is this disturbing, is this disruption, is this a date, desirable beverly glen, bel air with luxury, blue bottle and café gratitude on your fingerprints, secure access, walk to the flower mart, one in a million corner views, you will need to be creative to use all this space, pace the studio in fifteen breaths, cocktail shaker rattling the parking lot, allotted these feelings, this work-wondering, skating from table to shelf to lofted bed of hope, free seasons of folding sheets, inksputtered, blood-marked, chewed, dog-soothed, mutter-fluffed, shoe-bored, convertible couch becomes a desk, this table folds into a dream, a dance floor, a drowning pond, a dunk tank, tinkering as night does with the hours, a realtor died at 73, a mogul died at 81, a theologian with my last name, an opera star from the rhone valley, napa of europe, an amicable litigator with survivors in petaluma, four bedrooms are priced to sell and porches welcome, invisible children and their women, sap-eyed in black sweaters, houseshoes, ink-spit cheeks, black pants, black dusters, black thongs that snap in the wash, I want a yard with a clothesline, a drying rack, space travel, mars, chocolate for breakfast, frosting, the dipped strawberry, the candied nut, tears of sweat, hand cramps and waist circles, toes tending blue, a level of livelihood, in rope sandals finer than my car, the difference between buy and own, in a balconette too architectural to destroy, bomb shelter for rent, short walk, bra drawer, broad avenues, brood borrowed from other wombscape, don’t leave this home orphaned for long, lifeline black with manicure, 60 seconds and you can sell me a lie about brown rice, arsenic, medicine cabinets, the erotic superstore on santa monica, 99 cent therapists on the third floor of 8224, tacos al pastor at chica’s, soppressata at mozza, screamy purple sunset in griffith park, views you can chew on, rental unit for extra income, zoned commercial, first time on the market in 56 years, new roof, updated kitchen, breakfast nook, pitcher the milk, cup a small hand, curdle cold mangos, fruit, any date will do, blocks from Sunday, a market, a nursery school, botanical garden, free for residents, plump or premium, deglet noor, organic, skittled with almonds, stuffed with coconut, plumpest medjools in the high desert, a horse wandering since 43 kennedy, a cowpoke gnawing a bone, the north star like a birthmark I didn’t know I’d lost.


From Abeyance, North America by JoAnna Novak, courtesy After Hours Editions.

JoAnna Novak
JoAnna Novak
JoAnna Novak is author of the novel I Must Have You and two books of poetry: Noirmania and Abeyance, North America. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Conjunctions, AGNI, BOMB, and many other publications. She is cofounder of the literary journal and chapbook publisher Tammy.

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