Earlier this month, Arts Alive announced its first ever Poetry Contest. We asked you to help us celebrate National Poetry Month by sending us poems about music and Southern California. We've received nearly an inch of entries (about 70 poems) and they're still coming in (the deadline to submit a poem to firstname.lastname@example.org is tomorrow at 5PM). This contest has confirmed two things: KUSC listeners are a creative and thoughtful bunch and Southern California is a great place to live, especially for music lovers.
Here are three poems that capture the experience of listening to Los Angeles.
MY EYE ON L.A.
by Sally Currie of Pasadena
Was that the music of the spheres
Descending on my waiting ears?
It throbs with vibrancy, loud and shrill.
Sirens, trash trucks, traffic will
Create the kind of city sound
It's sometimes hard to be around.
But urban living has its pluses.
You can leave your car and ride the buses.
In little enclaves, cultures thrive;
From around the world they're kept alive
With their music, festivals and food,
Exploring them is always good.
Hollywood is also fun
With sidewalk stars to walk upon.
Opera, dance, the L. A. Phil,
Al Fresco concerts give a thrill.
Street musicians add to the mix.
A clarinet croons some groovy licks.
While shining waves that I adore
Beat crashing cadence on the shore.
KUSC keeps the blues away
I listen to it every day.
Tho' a country girl, I am committed
To loving L. A, until I'm "obit-ed!"
touch me, rubinstein
by Leah Schweitzer of Valencia
there are these concerts Mom takes me
these concerts at the Philharmonic
on Fifth and Olive because I play the piano
and she wants greatness for me
she manages somehow to stash enough money for tickets
in the coin purse hidden all the way back
in the bottom drawer of the vanity
these concerts the bumpy ride the red trolley
screeching its way downtown
matinee tickets the musty dark brown balcony
seats in the last row
these concerts don't get me wrong
I love them I really do
but sometimes as I listen and watch
my mind wanders and I wonder
what's going on on Rogers Street and Norman Place
while I have to be in exile from Myra and Steve
and Stanley whom Mom calls Stalney
this one time--a chance to hear Rubinstein!
we get all dressed up and even from up there
heaven-high my eyes follow how his arms
fly over his head and come crashing down
on perfect Chopin chords all this power
and perfection thundering through us
you'll get his autograph! Mom says
a wild look in her eyes as she marches me
to the stage door where a swarm of us get turned away
we begin our walk to the streetcar
doing it slow when Mom looks up
and there he is most of him hidden
in this thick black coat
moving toward us at a fast clip
his hands in his pockets
probably his wife on one side
probably his kid on the other
go ahead ask comes the command
and I'm pushed forward to block his way
the woman with him kicking up this fuss:
no, please, he can't his hands, you know
at which point I hear Mom's immigrant voice
ask: well then could he maybe just touch her?
I want to die I turn away I cannot face him
or his smile or his shrug or his kind eyes
as he looks for my hidden face
and says softly I'm sorry
I'm sorry but good luck
good luck to you my dear
Music in the Air
by Joan Shulman
It soothes me, it calms me,
It caresses and charms me.
It heals things that ache me.
It cradles and awakes me.
It’s classic and timeless
And frequently rhymeless.
The music of Bach, Vivaldi, and Copeland,
Beethoven, Chopin, Debussey, and Gershwin.
The Hollywood Bowl, the Chandler Pavillion,
Walt Disney Concert Hall is one in a million!
Mark Taper Forum, The Ahmenson, too,
Greek Theater – Music with view
Resounding here in the home of the Stars,
Dudamel, The Phil, Classical Guitars.
Master Chorale, The Opera, Ballet,
Resplendent harmony, the sounds of L. A.
We'll be posting more poetry contest entries here on the Arts Alive blog all week and Brian Lauritzen will pick one to read this Saturday on Arts Alive.