Classical KUSC Arts Alive Blog

Arts Alive Blog


Arts Alive Poetry Contest Entries: Traffic

Posted By: Kelsey McConnell · 5/2/2013 3:01:00 PM

Every day this week, we're posting entries from the first ever Arts Alive Poetry Contest and on Saturday, Brian Lauritzen will pick one to read on Arts Alive.

So far we've posted poems that capture the experience of listening to Los Angeles, going to the Hollywood Bowl and poems that travel the Southland. Today, a set of poems that deal with that most LA of phenomena: traffic.


by Bejamin Toscher

Rolling wheels and rolling waves
Steel and glass sets SoCal haze

Bumper to bumper, stop to stop
Gridlock might make my head just pop

Then a tune rolls from the speaker
Like water to desert, truth to seeker

Washed over by the grace of tone
Cleansed by song on the way home

Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven
Masters mend what has been broken

Where traffic disrupts a flowing peace
There reconstructs KUSC


My Classical Southern California
by Lucy Guerrant

I live on a dot on the map in fear
Of SoCal freeways, and so it’s clear…

That those lines connect the dots… to spots..
Where I am missing lots and lots …

Of culture and concerts and dances and such…
But … life would be missing twice as much,

If it weren’t for great works that accompany me…
On Musical, Classical KUSC!


by Alexis Quental

Everywhere I go, I take classical music with me.
Whether on a CD, or on KUSC.
            When traffic becomes troublesome,
            I put on some Mendelssohn.
And I can arrive to work safely.


My Take on KUSC
by Sam Chen

KUSC listeners are blest
With classical music that's best.
It tameth road rage,
Savage beast doth cage;
The classiest station in the West.


Haydn in Los Angeles
by Timothy Steele

Surprise!—My off-ramp is closed!
As if to underscore
What’s happening, the drum stroke
In Symphony 94
Bursts from the dashboard. Adding
Insult to irony
I’m late now, and “The Clock”
Comes next on this CD.
But that’s the way with Haydn.
Uncannily, he frames
Conditions on our freeways
In his symphonies with names.
During “The Hornsignal”
I’ve been honked at from the rear,
And “The Miracle” played one morning
When the 405 was clear.
While speeders have blown by me,
I’ve listened to “The Chase.”
(Perhaps “The Lamentation”
Solaced them when disgrace
And the CHP overtook them.)
Rightly or wrongly, I feel
“Il Distratto” applies to drivers
Texting at the wheel.
Too stormy and stressy for purists
And for romantics too prudent,
Mentor to Mozart and teacher
Of Beethoven (one tough student!),
Dear Haydn, your wife and patrons
Made you at times despair—
The former snipping your scores up
For paper to curl her hair.
Yet your symphonies still console us
And enlighten us as we drive—
One-hundred-and-four of them.
Or rather, one-hundred-and-five.
The last one’s imaginary.
It features a plaintive flute
And a furious finale.
It’s commonly called “The Commute.”

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