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Poets in Residence : A Collection of Recent Works From L.A.'s Short-Form Literati

February 02, 1986

Charles Bukowski

Style style is the answer to everything-- a fresh way to approach a dull or a dangerous thing. to do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. Joan of Arc had style John the Baptist Christ Socrates Caesar, Garcia Lorca. style is the difference, a way of doing, a way of being done. 6 heron standing quietly in a pool of water or you walking out of the bathroom naked without seeing me. Michael C. Ford

An Early Start (for Steven Robert Lowry) This guy in Downey, California says this about travel: "I wanna grind off a few miles before breakfast" Maybe he's right! In a particularly desolate part of the Snake River plains somewhere between Bliss & Glenn's Ferry Junction, there's a sign at the side of the road; black letters advising: WITH A LATER START YOU WOULDN'T BE HERE YET Eloise Klein Healy

Moroni on the Mormon Temple/Angel on the Wall He is a foreigner and not one of the angels living here. He was imported to point at heaven. His name is hard and final, not like Angel, soft "n" and soft "g" whose name is sprayed down the street on a building, eye-level, arm-level, quick and at night to say, "I am no foreigner, this is my barrio, something old, something here." 1.83 Wanda Coleman

San Diego "the light is like this in the south of france" he says we stand on the pier watch the blond boys afloat with their surfboards waiting to ride the big wave "here i can be somebody" he says a wave comes and two of the boys take it in the boys. how well tanned they are with skins the color of wet sand poised unconcerned in aryan uniformity "you breathe better here. the air is pure. we can rent a house off the beach" we listen to the roar another wave. more boys take it in my heart hangs ten , braces with the wet thrill of foam as they splash graceful into the shallows "you can find work here easily. me too" he says "this is a military town, full of rednecks a tougher lily white town than the one i come from and i don't swim" satin slate pelicans perch atop the lamps that dot the pier. charcoal and enamel gulls dive for fish. small gray-brown pipers scuttle back and forth ocean side the cream white crests of waves crash along the most unspoiled beach i've ever seen his eyes my eyes, his lips mine afterwards the light is brighter. we look out into a rainbow of blues greens and aquamarines watch as laughing swimmers return "i guess you have a point" he says we make our way silently along glistening rocks. the waves roar i pick sand stones to carry home Lewis MacAdams

"new moon fading" New moon fading. Culver City before dawn in the rain, inky mile after gridded mile. Forgot my sandwiches so I missed my bus, had to race past the Venice post office twice, ghostly figure past the Ace Gallery with a sack lunch and a book chasing the 6:39. I think we'll call this one "Work Moon" because we're going to work. We're going to work, work, work. We're going to work, work, work, work, work, work, work. "He who digs Los Angeles is Los Angeles." Los Angeles, you swallow up nearly all the southwest's water, nearly all its available air and light, so you must give something back enthusiastically in story and song. Paul Trachtenberg

Lawndale, California A reformed New York Jew, a Mormon Utah Dane assembled me in this place by the shore. My first salty breath. My words then romped through big open spaces. The sea and salt of this suburb, dissolved the locusts and pogroms. Bill Mohr

The Ambiguity of Motion The fur, still warm, when you scoop the cat's body off the pavement. The cat's not crushed and there's no blood. Your car's engine sounds louder than i expect it to, but it's late at night and there's no traffic except for the car somewhere ahead of us that hit this cat. But motor noise collaborates. Sometimes I've woken up very early and walked around before alarm clocks ring and then I realize how much noise a car makes; or standing by a broken-down car on the freeway, the other cars zoom and whoosh. Death makes a big noise that we can't hear, even though we are listening all the time and often hark as he drives past; his stationary car wheeling with the voice of our thoughts. Reprinted with permission from " 'Poetry Loves Poetry': An Anthology of Los Angeles Poets," edited by Bill Mohr ( 1985, Momentum Press; all rights reserved to the authors).

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