from Vanamonde #676 (2006)
Monday. Armenians observed a memorial; in Glendale, where many live and work, were explanatory placards. I did not expect to find, on a bronze bench, with bronze pigeons, a life-size bronze of Ben Franklin on a brick walkway. It was the Exchange, off Brand Boulevard. He had been there a while; one temple-piece of his spectacles was gone. They were bifocals. His left hand gestured oddly, unless meant to rest on a walking stick, no sign of which I could see. There was room for another human body on the bench. That night, said the Alex Theater marquee, was a 50th-anniversary revival of the Johnny Mercer musical Li'l Abner (from Al Capp's 1934-1977 comic strip) I couldn't attend. A few feet from Franklin was another surprise, a second Mashti Malone ice-cream shop. At the main shop in Hollywood, since it opened twenty years ago I've eaten Persian ice cream, though thinking to try the European flavors. Steadfastly I ate Saffron, made with rose water and pistachios.