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HOLLYWOOD HILLS NOIR
Poem by Laurel Ann Bogen

Aberration of weather studs
the sloe eyed city where change
gels in ripples after due process
I could go deeper
pry open the locked vault
below, combustible fossils bubble
in tar and petroleum beneath
Wilshire Blvd. — the jacaranda’s roots
divide the house
Los Angeles
erupts in violet blossoms
each spring the profusion
is uncontained by stucco

Nature needs tending, or course
every few years the plates shift
the photogenic councilman is arrested
and somebody takes a fall
That’s how I came here — by a calling
as surely as the devil herself
cloaked in the need to be seen
in filtered light
latticed with faultlines
and an underground whirlpool
as profligate as oil.

“Hollywood Hills Noir” appears in Laurel Ann Bogen‘s collection Washing a Language (Red Hen Press, 2004), available at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laurel Ann Bogen is the author of 10 books of poetry and short fiction, and from 1996 until 2002 was literary curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has been an instructor of poetry and performance for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program since 1990 and received the Outstanding Instructor of the Year in Creative Writing in 2008. Selected “Best Female Poet/Performer” by the L.A. Weekly in their Best of L.A. issue, she is well-known for her lively readings and is a founding member of the acclaimed poetry performance troupe, Nearly Fatal Women. The recipient of the Curtis Zahn Poetry Prize from the Pacificus Foundtion and two awards from the Academy of American Poets, her work has appeared in over 100 literary magazines and anthologies.

Photo: “The Famed Hollywood Sign from Bronson Canyon” by Corey Miller, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED