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October 2019 Vol. 15 No. 3

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Vicki Miko

The Santa Monica Stairs

Have you ever looked between the risers while climbing the steps to the upper level or going back down – depending? You may want to do that next time. Look first where the wooden faces align with the winter solstice. Look where the barnacles spit. Later in the night, if the light on the Ferris-wheel hits the grunions just right, their flickering silver skin will look like cat-eyes winking at you – guaranteed! Peruse the boardwalk. Smell the fishy roasted corn. Observe the decay under the totem. If you can avoid the sprinter crowd – do it. Keep to the right. When the parade ends, make sure you listen for the hermit thrush. Plus, the sideshow is fine on a fine day.

sundown the scrawny mutt curled on a boogie board

The north end stairs are upside down, you know. One way to Palisades Bluff, the other to Coast Highway. Depending on where you parked, don’t neglect the view at the top – it’ll shake you wild. On the way down, west wind prevailing, the weeping figs will shade you; their wavy branches will lash the horseflies off your bare shoulders. Or just wait. On the climb back up, the stunted windmill will fan the sweat you've probably worked up by that time. If it’s your last round-trip – did you forget where you parked?

coming storm
your name spray-painted
on the k-rail