Emperor of Oranges

At a Hollywood Boulevard intersection
just east of the Mann Chinese Theater
Javier sells oranges.

It’s a beautiful day.

The sun itself is Vitamin C
and as the white clouds jostle over Javier’s head
like time-lapse photography
he smiles and thinks:

Soy el Emperador de las Naranjas hoy:
“Today--I'm the Emperor of Oranges.”

Business is slow, though,
and Javier hasn’t moved a bag since morning.
He might as well be a bus stop
or that Fatburger wrapper, but

along comes this Lexus.
And inside the Lexus is this blonde, symmetrical,
Noxema, All-American, dry-cleaned and

it’s Renee Zellwegger.

Her tinted window descends between them,
their eyes engage, and Javier says, real loud,
something like: “Whoa-ho-hoooooooa!!”
Y’know? Because they do not have
Renee Zellwegger
in Oaxaca.

She says: “You wanna ride?”
And the instant he sits down
and the automatic door lock clicks closed beside him
something immaculate happens.

The vast L.A. basin, and all its simple suburbs,
plus two, three, maybe four hundred years
of civic history
seem to balance on a single point,
a single moving point--a black, late-model Lexus
with the moon roof option,
heading north up Laurel Canyon Boulevard
towards the Hollywood Hills,

and there, in the front seat--
it’s Bridget Jones and the self-proclaimed
Emperor of Oranges.

Exchanging and savoring sidelong glances,
amazed they haven’t met before this
and wondering, wondering--
What happens next?

And you might be wondering that too,
or at least: Do Renee Zellwegger and Javier...

get some?

Because they do.
And people--that’s natural.
These two are young, they’re gorgeous,
and they are in love.
And maybe, just maybe...

Unto them a child is born.

A baby, born
at the Hollywood Bowl
on a weekend afternoon
at the stroke of twelve, on the 4th of June--
Imagine it! That is precisely mid-way
between Cinco De Mayo
and Independence Day.
And that--that could be our city’s new Christmas,
Nuestra Nueva Navidad.

I’m saying: Their kid could be the
bilingual, Angeleno, mestizo Messiah,
and he or she could grow up
to save us all from our municipal sins.

Maybe. May be. Because right now--
as Javier and Renee Zellwegger
consummate their destiny
in a gated, guarded, three-bedroom
Spanish Mission Revival-style bungalow--

daytime has given way to dusk,
everything smells of orange blossoms,
and a peace, a genuine, no-shit peace
settles down, and spreads out,
like a soft, fair and very welcome smog
over Our Lady

the City

of Angels.