III: The Garden of Allah

The Garden of Allah Hotel, playground of the movie stars during the 20s and 30s, will be torn down to make way for a new commercial and business center. . . . The hotel originally was the home of Alla Nazimova, late stage and screen star.
Los Angeles Times, 1959

And now I watch another era fade,
Cyrillic letters scraped from shuttered storefronts,
tar-crusted bread, stale fish, stiff marmalade
sit sulking on the shelves, unchosen orphans
in what were once the bustling little shops
of Russian Hollywood. Hardly a soul now stops
to thumb the plums, frown at the penciled prices;
the neighborhood is lurching towards crisis,
all in slow motion. Rents climb out of reach
for émigrés . . . There’s nothing new in this.
Think of Nazimova and of her short-lived bliss
beside her pool—her private Black Sea beach . . .
She died a tenant in a bungalow
of a hotel razed sixty years ago.