The Fog of Forgetfulness

By Jim Smith

A fog came last night around midnight,
enveloping and caressing Venice.
It took us back in time,
first erasing the hi-rises looming in the Marina,
and then those giant condo boxes
down the street
disappeared.
The universe shrank to a few hundred feet,
this way and that.

It reminded me of the fogs of 40 years ago.
They came to Venice nearly every night,
and often in the daylight,
as to a young beauty in her prime
(Venice was past 60 then, but she looked mighty good to us).
The little buildings on the Ocean Front
seemed like barely-visible toys from the surf.

The narrow streets of Venice shank even more,
their boundaries wrapping indistinct in the haze.
Now and then, someone would appear out of nowhere
before walking past
and disappearing in the other direction.

The mystique of Venice as a land apart owed
much to these frequent visits by the clouds.
There were no tourists back then
and we felt invisible in our fog-covered village.
No prying, greedy L.A. eyes could see us
behind our clouds.

Some say the heat of so many more cars nowadays
have driven the fogs away,
except on rare occasions.

There are stories that when the fog lays thick,
the intersection between parallel worlds is near.
Did some of our friends of long ago
wander through that gate, or did we?
One pea soup night, did we get swept away
from the peaceful world that
we’ve forgotten except in dreams,
and into a world with wars
and monsters like Nixon, Reagan,
Schwarzenegger and Bush?

And if so,
will a fog like the one last night
someday carry us home?
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