Just the facts.

Miami is a long, tanned arm swinging from a sun dress. This is a fact. At the end of the arm are some bracelets. The bracelets are gold of such meager plate that they gleam only wearily. As if tired by the sun. They unenthusiastically emit their tiny tin-y sounds on the impossibly perfect wrist As if bored by the charade. At the end of the wrist is a hand.


The palm of the hand is where you can read the greed. The back of the hand is where you can read the age.

These are the facts.

Did I mention the fingers? There are long, tanned fingers. At the end of the fingers the immaculate French tips flash ever so needily.


Two of the fingers are holding a thin leash.


At the end of the leash is a fur covered animal. Something like a dog only smaller. With a collar that’s too tight. And a tongue that’s too pink. And eyes that are too, too bulgy.

This is Miami.

A desperately pedicured toehold against the inexorable jungle. A gleaming outpost of pure crass. A city where a swamp should be.




Miami is sandwiched between the trackless mangrove swamps of the Everglades and the barracuda infested turquoise bath water of the Gulf of Mexico, Miami is Vegas without the desert. If Miami was wall paper it’d be flocked.


Every elevator in every white-washed blue-glassed high rise in Miami Beach is haunted.

This is a fact.

If you want to know what Miami tastes like eat an aluminum beach chair. Wash it down with a pina colada made with one part rum, one part sun tan lotion and three parts desperation.

I’m just reporting the facts here.

Still, things do sparkle with a glossy classlessness in Miami. In fact, you’d like Miami. If it wasn’t trying so hard all the time. You’d like the Haitian cab drivers that swerve between golf carts piloted by Kangol-capped octogenarians on Key Biscayne. The Cuban gardeners nursing their old trucks, bristling with rakes and shovels, across the metal bridges of Venetian Way.

You’d like the glitter cleavaged human Barbie dolls with their tan taught thighs courtesy of 24 hour fitness treadmills struting their unattainability down Lincoln Avenue, swiveling the steroid thickened necks and arching the over-plucked eyebrows of every muscle tee’d mastodon in their calypso rhythmed wake.

You’d even like the zombie legions of desiccated pensioners shuffling amongst the dilapidated Art Deco hotels and moldy Bau Haus palaces of South Beach,  out of patience, out of breath and out of hope, the last of their retirement having dwindled into nothing years ago along with their minds, lugging their plastic bags to and from the frightening fluorescents of all those convenience stores. Convenience stores with whole aisles devoted to cat food intended solely for human consumption.


And in Coral Gables, on the same bristly lawns where the odd crocodile abducts the occasional unminded toddler, gull winged exotic cars flap their superbly upholstered doors, emitting millionaires marinated in bad cologne and platinum plated blondes with roots as black as dried blood.


And meanwhile…

Above, in a sky so blue it vibrates, vultures, real vultures lurk in silent circles. Flotillas of fluffy cumulous stroll across the clammy horizon. And sun bleached flags hang limply in the tepid and coagulate air.

In Miami the breeze doesn’t blow, baby. It clings.




Miami, 2011

photos by Ron Campbell

Also published in PURE SLUSH literary journal

One thought on “Miami

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