From everything that I've read, you can't just get right up to the Hollywood letters, those iconic nine propped up on that snarled brown/green hill. You can try, but you can only get so close. You just can't make out or have sex behind those Ls, even if you wanted to. If I'm not mistaken, those letters aren't in the best of shape either. They could use some tender loving care - a fresh coat of paint and a little tucking.
Even if I'm wrong about all of this, it feels right because those letters - while symbolic and cinematically appealing as hell - look about as lonely as can be, even though they're at home up there, looking down upon the dreams and the piles and piles of people and cars, moving about their time. Those letters have been looked upon and they've stared right back. They've watched millions and millions of people arrive and leave and just as many die before they ever got a chance to leave for somewhere else. They just sit out there, in all conditions, waiting for nothing.
It's the same kind of loneliness that feels as if it might be built into Los Angeles band NO's excellent song, "Stay With Me." It's a song of sullen worry. It's a song that has drooped eyes and a film of dried, salty sweat on it. It's filled with love that never ends in one way, and always ends in other, more heartbreaking ways. It's a song that sounds typically Hollywood, typically Midwestern and open and typically New York, as the darkest parts of the night encroach.
The night encroaches to the tune and the steps of these words:
"I'm only human
I'm full of mistakes
I know you're looking out your window
Think you'll be happier in some other place
Well that's alright..
You know that dreaming is a horrible waste
When you've got everything beside you
Please don't let worry put those lines your face
You'll be alright..
I've got this feeling
You'll always be dreaming
But where would you go
Stay with me
Wasn't there a place for me inside your heart
Stay with me
We were never meant to be apart."
*Essay originally published June, 2012