Geoffrey Long

Setting Your Infinite Heart on Fire (for Los Angeles)

Refocus the lenses on the Handycams –
Zoom in, tight close-up, to the infinite fire and ice
Which populates these skyscrapers of hearts,
Sixty, seventy stories apiece
Of human emotions, memories, personas and perspectives.

Overhead, airplanes fly by.
Wings of styrofoam and metal and turbine hope,
Passengers pray silently, subconsciously not to fall
Because there are no parachutes on board
And to fall is to be impaled
On the weathervane spires and decades-old barbs
Of heart-filled-shaped-formed-born towers below.

Long highways that lead places back to themselves
Weave between buildings, lifetimes, lifestyles,
Setting the infinite heart of the city on fire
With turbulence and perpetually-rushing motion,
Long chains of traffic with cars for links and steel
Wend between us and through us
And I listen so hard for truth in the engines
But their company fades and bleeds into nothing
Except the low, gentle hiss of waves –
Waves of traffic and people and hearts
And sound and love and hope and

Zoom out the satellite GPS boom-shot,
Pan out as we take off and streetlights
Fade out into a sea of dim illumination.
Hotels and houses transmogrify into matchboxes,
And the chains are illuminated
By the symphony of headlights, taillights,
Hope-in-eye-lights, fury-in-eye-lights,
And the sky is lit up with so much illumination
That the stars surrender to the vague pink glow
Of an infinite city of infinite lights and infinite hearts
All set and burning with infinite fire.

You never die, L.A., you never stop,
Never fade, never yield, never even slow,
And not even perspective or white fades
Can bring an end to you,
Your lights and fire still casting their glows
On our perspectives and lifestyles a continent away,
And even now, much later and from a much more distant perspective,
I am still burning slowly, easily, languidly,
My perspectives now brighter or dimmer with residual illumination and burn
As the light now glares, or shines, or fades,
Like it never did before,
And I don’t know where to call home,
When one place sets everywhere else aflame.




Setting Your Infinite Heart on Fire (for Los Angeles)
© Geoffrey Long, 1999
Lines: 93
Words: 890

Publication Status

  1. Inkblots Magazine
    Winter, 2000


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