Archives for posts with tag: Los Angeles

Monsoon Skyline
by Jerry Garcia

Midnight thunderhead
hovers above a vertical bar graph
of metropolitan halation.
Patina-framed windows
throw random sparks
at foot-stepped puddles.

Hooded valets lock rusted gates,
trip on soda cans down to the Metro;
café waitstaffs turn chairs over tables,
journeyman lawyers drive corporate sedans
vacating downtown perspiration.
Delivery truck sprits pavement,
lost tourists make U-turns
on one-way streets,
electric drizzle descends
like a drawn curtain fade out
muffling the booms of Bald Mountain.

Dawn’s alabaster lamplight
generates steaming silhouettes
of bicycles and shopping carts;
morning guards start their shifts
while last night’s security takes a walk.

Friday morning
Jack Purcell traffic jam
emerges from 7th Street/Metro Station
to invade the valley of worn itinerants.
Just another soggy pavement day
unusually cool to the touch.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Though I live in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County, I am never far from a view of the city and its cluster of high-rise office buildings. On this particular day, clouds shadowed downtown Los Angeles while thunder echoed in the surrounding mountains reminding me of Bald Mountain in Fantasia. At sunset I thought of the day travelers who visit or work in the city.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Rainbow over Los Angeles, California” by Jerry Garcia.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jerry Garcia is a poet, photographer, and filmmaker from Los Angeles, California. His poetry has been seen in a variety of journals, including Chaparral, The Chiron Review, Askew, Lummox, Palabra Magazine, poeticdiversity, The San Pedro River Review, and his chapbook Hitchhiking with the Guilty. Visit him at

Gold Rush
By Emma Rosenthal
(stations in italics)

The Gold Line is a smooth ride
Of light rail above and below the city
A narrative of twists and turns
Through backyards and cityscapes

From the bright colored storefronts
Stucco walls
And murals
Of East Los

West to downtown artists lofts
High rise concrete dispossessions
Of hipster cooooooool

East again through northeast

To manicured exclusive enclaves of South Pasadena and the Sierra Madre foothills

Mechanical voice calls out each station
Some names
Vestiges of momentum
We a migratory species
Our wild diversity
Land here in this zone of human destiny

Mariachi Plaza
Little Tokyo

Sip a civilized saffron broth at
Traxx restaurant in Union Station
Cathedral personae
Whispers and catechistic announcements from above
Marking time

In the thirties
The departure point
Within These silent halls of reunion and dispersal
Of thousands
Destination: Mexico
No vacation departure
No day trip
No commute to school or work
Just long lines of familias forced to the other side of a line that crossed them over

Vaulted ceilings
Saltillo tiled floors
Civilized conversations
We know how to behave
What is expected of us in public places
Appropriate decorum
Scurrying from here to there
Not here not there
Do we know of the bones on which we tread?
Under the boot of colonization
This mastadon of Spanish architecture in the center of the
Cuidad de Los Angeles

We bump and bustle
Do we care about the lives we press up against?
As we hurry the city through plates of glass and rail?

Memorial Park
Highland Park

Not Chumash not Nahuatl
Only the language of conquest
Monuments to the conquista
(Save for a few glyphs in Cypress Park
a token memory)

Do we know?
Where we go?
Where we are from?

The SouthWest Museum once told the story
But the cowboy Autry Center took away
The bones
Tools spun over thousands of years

The Arroyo Seco
Disregarded like gum wrappers and soda cans

The lullaby of the rails and the rush of the city
We are here to forget
To get to work

Ni de aqui ni de alla
The tale does not tell the truth
At Lake there is no lago
There is no sea at Del Mar

PHOTOGRAPH: “Metro Goldline, Boyle Heights” (6/14/12) from the series: L.A. Paradise Chimera: Gold Rush by Emma Rosenthal.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ PHOTOGRAPHER: Emma Rosenthal is an artist, writer, educator, urban farmer, human rights activist, and award winning emerging photographer living in Southern California. Her work combines art, activism, education, and grassroots mobilization. As a person with a disability, she is confined, not by her disability but by the narrow and marginalizing attitudes and structures of the society at large.¶ Her work combines art, activism, education, and grassroots mobilization. And is impassioned, sensual, political, life-affirming, and powerful. She explores the use of art and literary expression to elicit an ethos more compelling than dogma and ideological discourse, providing new paradigms for community, communion, connection, and human transformation.¶ She has been a featured poet and speaker throughout Southern California at a variety of venues and programs including; The Arab-American Festival, Highways Performance Space, The Autry Museum, Barnes and Noble, Poetic License, Borders/Pasadena, Beyond Baroque, Freedom Fries Follies (a fundraiser for The Center for the Study of Political Graphics), KPFK, Arts in Action, Chafey College, UC Irvine, Pasadena City College, and Hyperpoets. ¶ Her work has appeared in several publications including Lilith Magazine, The Pasadena Star News, The San Gabriel Tribune, The San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, LoudMouth Magazine (CSLA), Coloring Book; An Eclectic Anthology of Multicultural Writers (Rattlecat Press 2003), Muse Apprentice Guild, and Shifting Sands, Jewish-American Women Speak Out Against the Occupation. Her work has shown in several galleries in the Southern California area, including the Galleries at Whittier College (Light Among Shadows: Human Rights Heroes) and Pasadena City College, as well as Beans and Leaves Coffeehouse in Covina, California. Find more of her work at

Los Angeles Skyline
Los Angeles,
by Tobi Alfier

I only know the best of you:
dolphins that arch in the bay,
clouds that turn water an aching
blue, the smell of surf, the sting
of salt, broad sidewalks and shiny
silver parking meters.

I know the half-hour wait for pancakes
and the best bacon ever, the restaurant
open for breakfast only and all the people
lining up after church –

I know the markets where coconuts
are already shelled, tomatoes
are sliced with gorgeous onions
and olive oil from foreign countries.
I know the tourist dives on the pier
where toe rings fight with sand dollars
for pocket change.

I know the sun on the dry Los Angeles
river but not the broken trees, stench
of debris and urgency on the coattails
of storms. I know the mountains but
not the fires. I know the fireweed but
not the fear of loss.

I know the morning birds, the house
finch who taps on my window,
the baby mockingbird who wakes
with the sun and therefore wakes me.
And the crows who circle cut lawns
for specks of something only they know.

I know the beauty of catching some
stranger’s eye at a red light and sharing
a secret smile between the two of us.
And the man who plays accordion
through the open door of his parked
car and wants nothing. The homeless
woman with cheekbones chiseled by God
whose smile lights up the ghosts
beside her and everyone who passes by,
and the neighborhood bartender
who calls cabs, even at 9:00am.

I know the Los Angeles of no judgment.
The merciful, beautiful, outline of a city
whose insides are unknown and private.
I am not the one to diagnose and dissect
those hidden places. I am the photographer,
catching her in a pure dream light and calling
her home.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Alfier is a five-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Her seventh and latest chapbook is The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press. Her collaborative full-length collection, The Color of Forgiveness, is available from Mojave River Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (


If you’re in Long Beach, California, on Saturday, Jan. 31st, head over to Gatsby Books and help celebrate the launch of Joan Jobe Smith‘s latest memoir Tales of an Ancient Go-Go Girl! 

WHEN: Sat., Jan. 31, 2015, 3-5 p.m.

WHERE: Gatsby Books, 5535 Spring St., Long Beach, California, 90808, 562-208-5862

WHAT: Launch party for Tales of an Ancient Go-Go Girl by Joan Jobe Smith. Please bring a poem to read in honor of Pearl Magazine editor Barbara Hauk (August 1937-Dec. 2014).

ABOUT THE BOOK: In Tales of an Ancient Go-Go Girl, poet, historian, and Bukowski confidante Joan Jobe Smith endures ordeals and challenges — and survives to tell the tale. This picaresque true story spans the 1965 Los Angeles Watts Riots, near death at the hands of a homicidal ex-husband, the counterculture go-go swinging let-it-all-hang-out 1960s and 70s, single motherhood, and feminism. This memorable and moving tale — which ends in 2014 with Joan dancing to Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger — is told with heart and courage and humor. Don’t miss it! Find Tales of an Ancient Go-Go Girl by Joan Jobe Smith at or purchase a copy at Gatsby Books


Tongue & Groove — a literary variety show tonight of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, spoken word & music produced by Conrad Romo — tonight (Monday, August 26, 2014) features Taylor Negron, Tonya Ingram, Carlos Kotkin, Ann Buxie, and music by Logan Heftel.

Taylor Negron is a comedian, novelist, playwright, and a damned good cook. As an actor, he can be seen in the upcoming films Pledge This, Retirement, and Surf School, which he also co-produced. He just got back from an off-Broadway show The Unbearable Lightness of Being Taylor Negron, and was met with standing ovations. Visit him at

Carlos Kotkin is a monthly contributor to the online literary magazine Smalldoggies as well as a featured performer on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour, KCRW’s unfictional and the popular podcast Risk! He is a 10-time Moth storyslam winner and author of the recently published humorous memoir of romantic misadventures Please God Let It Be Herpes: A Heartfelt Quest for Love and Companionship. Learn more at
Ann Buxie is a poet/storyteller raised in Yuma, Arizona, who now lives in Malibu, where she produces the wonderful home concert series, Tales by the Sea.


Tonya Ingram is the 2011 New York Knicks Poetry Slam champion, a member and cofounder of NYU’s poetry slam team, a member of the 2011 Urban Word-NYC team, and the 2013 Nuyorican Grand Slam team. She is the author of Growl and Snare. Her work has traveled to Ghana, California, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., New York, The Literary Bohemian, Cultural Weekly, Upworthy, Youtube, and season four of Lexus Verses and Flow. She is a New York University alumna, a Cincinnati native, a Bronx-bred introvert, and a hopeful Los Angeles flower-child, where she will be pursuing her MFA in Public Practice at Otis College of Art & Design. Learn more at silenceturnedshotgun.


Logan Heftel is a producer and singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles. Visit him at


Conrad Romo grew up in L.A. short, stocky and swarthy. He is the producer and host of the literary reading series Tongue & Groove, now into year 11. He is also a cofounder of the NoHo Litcrawl and earns his daily bread as a salesman. His writing has appeared in Los Angeles Review, Wednesday Magazine, Noveltown, Tu Ciudad, Brooklyn & Boyle, Palehouse, Huizache, and Latinos in Lotusland. Visit him at

WHAT: Tongue & Groove Literary Event

WHEN: Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 6:30-7:45 p.m.

WHERE: Annenberg Community Beach House 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, CA, 90402



On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Tongue & Groove — a monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, and music founded and hosted by Conrad Romo — features readings by Jim Ruland, J. Ryan Stradal, Dinah Lenney, Rolland Vasin, Cathy Schenkelberg, and a performance by musical guest Jeremy Bass.


Jim Ruland is the author of the short story collection Big Lonesome and co-author with Scott Campbell, Jr., of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch of Giving the Finger. His debut novel is Forest of Fortune (Tyrus Press). Learn more at



J. Ryan Stradal volunteers at 826LA and co-produces the literary/culinary event “Hot Dish,” and works in TV, most recently as the Supervising Producer on the A&E series “Storage Wars: Texas.” He likes wine, books, root beer, and peas. Some places where he has been published include Hobart, The Rattling Wall, Midwestern Gothic, The Rumpus, and McSweeney’s. His first novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest will be published by Viking in 2015. Visit him at


Dinah Lenney is the author of Bigger Than Life: A Murder, a Memoir, and co-authored Acting for Young Actors. Her essays and reviews have been published in a wide range of publications and anthologies, including LARB, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, AGNI, Creative Nonfiction, the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, and Dinah serves as core faculty for the Bennington Writing Seminars, the Rainier Writing Workshop, and in the Master of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. Her new book The Object Parade was recently published by Counterpoint Press. Find out more at


Cathy Schenkelberg is an actress, singer, mom, and all around bon vivant. She will tell you how she feels about spending nearly one million dollars on Scientology services for her bridge to freedom and then some.


Rolland Vasin, third-generation American writer (pen name Vachine), has been published in Open Minds Quarterly, Gnome, and Found and Lost, and is an active open-mic reader at venues from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Big Sur, California. He has appeared at Los Angeles’ World Stage, The Rapp Saloon, and Cobalt Cafe, among others, and dabbles in improvisational theater and standup comedy for which we was recognized as the Laugh Factory’s 1992 3rd Funniest CPA in Los Angeles. As a day job, Rolland’s CPA corporation audits youth and family charities.


Jeremy Bass is a singer/songwriter, master strings player, and a published poet and literary critic. He is the Musical Director and Bandleader for the bicoastal cabaret The Secret City, and is  touring this summer in support of his debut album, TENANT, set for release October 7, 2014. Visit him at

WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, 6-7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Hotel Cafe, 1623 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

TAB: $7.00 at the door

ETC.: Come early! Seating is limited and the event starts on time! There are parking lots on Selma as well as Cahuenga. Meters need to be fed until 8 p.m. Avoid Cahuenga street parking. The signs are deceptive.

On Sunday, July 27, 2014, Tongue & Groove — a monthly offering of short fiction, personal essays, poetry, and music  founded and hosted by Conrad Romo — features a stellar lineup:  Jervey Tervalon, Dan Fante, Laura House, Mike O’Connell, and Cynthia Romanowski.


Jervey Tervalon, born in New Orleans and raised in Los Angeles, received his MFA in Creative Writing from UC Irvine. He is the author of six books, including Understanding This, for which he won the Quality Paper Book Club’s New Voices Award. Currently, he’s the Executive Director of “Literature for Life,” an educational advocacy organization, and Creative Director of The Pasadena LitFest. His latest novel is Monster’s Chef.


Dan Fante was born and raised in Los Angeles and lives in West. L.A. An author, poet, playwright, and screenwriter, his work is published in eight languages. Son of acclaimed Los Angeles author John Fante, Dan’s latest book is a detective thriller Point Doom. Check him out at

Laura-House-150x150 Laura House is a comic, writer, and meditation teacher.  You can hear her regularly on The David Feldman podcast and radio show. She performs stand-up & writes for TV & film. Her essays appear in several books, including Anna David’s True Tales of Lust and Love. Learn more at

FILE0570-150x150 Cynthia Romanowski holds an MFA in fiction from UC Riverside’s low residency program in Palm Desert. She is a former prose editor of The Coachella Review and a regular contributor to Lit Central OC. Her short stories have appeared in The Weekly Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, MARY: A Journal Of New Writing and The Whistling Fire. She has been a featured reader with Dirty Laundry Lit the New Short Fiction Series. Visit her at


Mike O’Connell is a comedian, musician, poet, actor, writer, and host of the Drunken Tales of Glory and Shame at Monty Bar on 7th near downtown. Visit him at


WHEN: Sunday, July 27, 2014, 6-7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Hotel Cafe, 1623 1/2 N Cahuenga Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

TAB: $7.00 at the door


ETC.: Come early! Seating is limited and the event starts on time! There are parking lots on Selma as well as Cahuenga. Meters need to be fed until 8 p.m. Avoid Cahuenga street parking. The signs are deceptive.

Congratulations to founding editor Joan Jobe Smith and editor Marilyn Johnson on the 40th anniversary of Pearl Magazine. Help Joan and Marilyn celebrate at a birthday bash on Saturday, June 28, 2014.

WHAT: Pearl Magazine‘s 40th birthday celebration

WHEN: Saturday, June 28, 2014, 3-5 p.m.

WHERE: Gatsby Books, 5535 E. Spring St., Long Beach, CA, 90808

WHAT TO EXPECT: Poets featured in the pages of Pearl will be on-hand to read their work.

To check out Pearl Magazine, visit

IMAGE: Pearl Magazine, Issue 46 (2012), cover by David Roy Scott.



Poets Suzanne Lummis, Laurel Ann Bogen, and Linda Albertano (shown left to right in the photo above taken at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles) will perform on Friday, June 20, 2014, at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California. There will be poetry slung. There will be dancing. There will be props and costumes! One night only!

WHAT: Nearly Fatal Women (Linda Albertano, Laurel Ann Bogen, and Suzanne Lummis).

WHEN: Friday, June 20, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Beyond Baroque, 681 Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

TICKETS: $12 ($7 for seniors) at

For more about this performance poetry troupe, visit

Photo by Penelope Torribio. Visit the photographer at