Ocampo

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

By Vicki Whicker -

All growth is a leap in the dark. Henry Miller

Pacific Palisades, CA. The Huntington. Spring, 1995. On a cliff wedged between ocean and mountain. I am a joyous madwoman without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.


Every day is magic hour. The sun and the sea tryst at dusk. Everyone watching. Home is a Cape Cod on Chapala. Life is my two-year old in his crib. Everything else is nanny, baby-daddy, BMW, etc. Even the roses bloom steeped in perfume.


Henry Valentine Miller spent his final decades one block over. This lends my life some greater meaning. His 444 Ocampo home is a Spanish beauty. Red doors, balcony that spans the second story, draped in a sexy curtain of Campsis grandiflora.


Chapala to Pampas Ricas. Pampas Ricas to Ocampo. Up. Down. Back. I count steps, but Ocampo is where I lose track. At his house. I’m alone in this. None of my female companions worship him. Only the sexiest most egregious of my men do.


Today, there’s a man in the rose garden at 444 Ocampo. In white shirt, magenta silk tie, and brown summer suit. His brogans boast a soupçon of garden dust. He’s tall. Rugged. Undeniably, Henry. A Packard passes, honks in that sexy way.


Henry’s smile says, Baby, come in.


Did I just hear that?


“I said, Baby, come in.”


Of course. It’s a cave—beeswax candles of all colors and heights cry over raffia swaddled Chianti bottles. A bar-cart beckons with cut crystal and Courvoisier. On the writing table, a pack of Gitanes, one lit, the cherry burns in an abalone shell.


Smoke curls. The sun and the sea do their thing. We hold the world, together. We do.



Vicki Whicker, poet and art photographer, is a member of the Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective, and Bright Hill Press Poets. Her poetry has been published by Mo+th, 12 Los Angeles Poets, Big City Mantra, Literary Mama, and others.

Both her poetry and art photography are featured in the anthology Seeing Things (Woodland Arts Editions, 2020).

Fall 2020, her poem Fire Starter” was published in both English and Spanish with La Presa (Embajadoras Press).

Spring 2021, “midlife crisis” appeared in The Nonconformist.

In 2011, Vicki left footwear design (Los Angeles) for central New York, after buying a dilapidated 1820’s farmhouse from a post on Facebook, sight unseen.

For $10,000. Much hilarity has ensued.

Her next book will be an elegant coffee table tome of photography and CNF.

You can find more of her work at dungabrookdiary.com. Her photos can be found @dunga_brook on instagram.

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