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Our weekly poetry feature brings Los Angeles to life through the words of artists spanning every part of the metropolis.

  • 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  »

  • Culture & MediaJune 11, 2013Capital & Main

    Midnight Special (The Donut Inn)

    It’s late, so the late

    Karen Carpenter comes off

    the radio at 1 a.m. The diners

    complain; she’s passé, she’s so

    post-mortem. You see,

    it’s Night of the Living.

    Outside the sirens rise up

    and home in. Now I’m upstairs

    asleep, lost to this din,

    but downstairs the Usuals

    stake out a square

    of linoleum, sit down and

    fit in.

     

    Like the jailed I bet

    they get the same damn thing.

    Some special—Styrofoam.

    They sip the rim. I bet

    at this hour the donuts

    lie face up, half

    human. The walls are glass

    there, so those guys can see

    the fix they’re in:  a block

    of illegally parked cars,

     » Read more about: Midnight Special (The Donut Inn)  »

  • Culture & MediaJune 10, 2013Capital & Main

    Maintenance Engineer Part Time

    after the long day’s hustle, Papa returned

    home waving fistfuls of Tootsie Rolls, wolfed down

    his supper, changed from his suit into his long-sleeved

    gray coveralls or blue cotton smock and slid out of

    silky stockings and Italian leather loafers into white

    cotton socks and well-scuffed All-American work shoes

    for his night shift scrubbing and waxing corporation floors

     

    we missed his loud full laughter

    around the television and what company we had

    wasn’t as interesting as the visitors

    who came through when he hung around home

    but we trusted Papa was doing his best

    to become “healthy, wealthy and wise”

    without shame over shameful wages—enough

    indian head nickels to finance a scheme

     

    (the men he worked graveyard with

    always became buddies

    and no matter whose car broke down,

     » Read more about: Maintenance Engineer Part Time  »

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