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  • Culture & MediaJune 20, 2013adminsm

    Ode to 7-Eleven

    How are you tonight, 7-Eleven? with your smell
    of departure and annoyance, your white bread, your drain cleaners,
    your puddings, your cockroaches fanning out over the parking lot
    like glossy marzipan soldiers lugging fearsome shadows.
    It must be lovely to watch for dawn
    coming over the EverTrust Bank and the Chevron station,
    it must be trying
    for the lively man with the turban (sales associate #33323)
    to hang out with the seven moving objects of the sky,
    the eleven ounces of the heart
    and the sturdy sixteen-year-olds
    picking their noses by the soda fountain.
    7-Eleven—benign, broad-minded firebrand of night—
    the great inward journey begins with you,
    inexhaustible Christmas of green red orange HELP
    WANTED Do we think we understand you, 7-Eleven? How sweet
    the industrious freezer, the implacable milk,
    the pounds of glaze,

     » Read more about: Ode to 7-Eleven  »

  • Culture & MediaJune 14, 2013Capital & Main

    Five Poems the Next Mayor Should Read

    Words of Fire, the Frying Pan’s new poetry section debuted this week with a series poems the new mayor should read.

    These five poems by some of L.A.’s finest poets are intended to help Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti look closely at our city and listen with care to its diverse voices, from janitors to sidewalk fruit sellers to donut shop insomniacs. They are also an antidote to the platitudes of the campaign trail, and a reminder that the best political speech – and acts – can tap into people’s deepest emotions and aspirations.

     

    A Model of Downtown Los Angeles, 1940

    by 

    The oldest Mercedes in California adorns

    the crowded foyer of the L.A. County Museum

    of Natural History, and babies shriek like bats

    in the elevator that lowers my daughter

    and me to the basement….

     » Read more about: Five Poems the Next Mayor Should Read  »

  • Terminus_of_LA_Aqueduct-525x385.jpg Terminus_of_LA_Aqueduct-525x385.jpg
    Culture & MediaJune 13, 2013Capital & Main

    A Model of Downtown Los Angeles, 1940

    It’s a bright, guilty world.

    –Orson Welles in The Lady from Shanghai

     

    But there is no water.

    –T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

     

    The oldest Mercedes in California adorns

    the crowded foyer of the L.A. County Museum

    of Natural History, and babies shriek like bats

    in the elevator that lowers my daughter

    and me to the basement.  There, among the faint,

    intermingled drifts of ammonia and urine

    from the men’s room, phantom display lights

    luring the shadows over the inventions of Edison

    and Bell, and dusty monuments to a century

    of industrial progress, lies the mock-up L.A.,

     

    whose perusal has been assigned to my daughter’s

    fourth-grade class in California history.

     » Read more about: A Model of Downtown Los Angeles, 1940  »

  • Culture & MediaJune 13, 2013Capital & Main

    Each Fall

    As dawn breaks through the crimson curtains,

    you rise, kiss Amá goodbye, the only time

    I see you do this, drive away,

    circles of dust and tire marks remain.

    You return four months later with the trunk full

    of crates of strawberries peaches, apricots,

    grapes, and plums.   The nectar seduces our lips,

    seeps through our fingers.   Our nights fill

    with dreams of this Garden hidden

    in the center of the valley.

    Most nights you sit in the dark, whisper

    about a scornful sun, of being forced

    by a landowner to hold a blue whistle

    between your lips so you won’t be tempted

    to consume the fruits you pick.  The sound

    of whistles merged with the rustle of the wind

    fills the fields like a bird song.

     » Read more about: Each Fall  »

  • Culture & MediaJune 12, 2013Capital & Main

    Untitled

    “If politics were the science of humanity.”

    –W.C. Williams

     

    Dear American people, I’ve just got

    to talk to you about your government.

    You are the government,

    the way we are the earth and sky, the way

    we are the blood and the government

    the branches of the tree.  You and I

    are the government and we need

    no more amateur presidents, please.

     

    Once again, if you and I are the suit,

    the government’s the tie we wear into the world.

    America, we are the fabric; and to knit that tie together

    takes statecraft.  Is it too much to ask ourselves

    to pay attention?

    To make of government a proper tool?

     » Read more about: Untitled  »