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Laurel Ann Bogen: California Poets Part 3, Four Poems

Laurel Ann Bogen

June 25th, 2021

California Poets: Part III

Laurel Ann Bogen

Four Poems

Route 66 En Garde Kicked-to-the-curb America is packed and headed west — who cares what litter-strewn history it leaves in its wake? Let’s trash the whole damn place, smash every knuckle we have down the throat of Lady Bird’s beautiful spaced out skies. Families or not, all wheels on the move for adventure, a handshake and opportunity across a seething desert with no air conditioning. Static whines on and on. Bugs kamikaze the windshield With their yellow and green pulp. Somewhere a triceratops guards the check-in office on this highway of truck stops and dinosaur-themed motels. We look for arrows of neon search the horizon for a signpost toward our own personal Twilight Zone one where a dude with a skinny tie points us to Next Stop Miniature Golf, This Ramp Fresh Beef Jerky Two Miles to Tumbleweed Cafe over the edge to anywhere but here We are in the back seat of privilege singing with Dinah Shore See the USA in a Chevrolet. Black and white TV told us this was the dream, and it alone the dreamer.

In the Place But Not Of It Within the silence of the past but not of memory: desire I call out speak to me and wait in the silence for more silence no echo but palpable darkness surrounds me with webs hidden from sight part of this place but not of it The distant pinprick of transfigured light narrows through caves of my own making there is no happiness in this — unaware of self let go the wounded self

Jonah at Five Months Wiggling sprig, let the world Wind up its delight machine You newfangled sprout You sloppy kiss You whirling carousel of abundant shebang All is yes and exclamation! Who can deny you? Not the wind — humming Its lullabies in your ear at night Or that October sun Waiting for you each morning All butterscotch and honey Let it spill over Ooze Gold laughter and joy sweet sweet joy

The Somnambulist’s Lament 1. Had I noticed sooner, I still would not have believed it. No matter how I’ve shuffled — then reshuffled — those old ghosts, at best, it was an inconvenience. The scratching in our walls became commonplace. I got by, sleeping. Then one day, insects claimed majesty. First the air soured crisped the edges, only the edges of breath, then banked toward the unsuspecting heart. 2. Two days before exposure I swallowed untruth because it was easier than to face his spray-on rage, grind my jaw to tune him out, and dab the foundation Flesh #5 before the cameras roll. He could pass for human. Just cover up the slime with a bad comb-over camouflage that belly behind red silk lies. But remember, stealing the art in the still-beating heart will not save him.

Author Bio:

Laurel Ann Bogen is the author or 11 books of poetry and short fiction, the most recent of which is Psychosis in the Produce Department: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2015 from Red Hen Press. A native of Los Angeles, she has been an instructor of poetry and performance at the Writer’s Program at UCLA Extension since 1990 where she received an Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award. Well-known for her lively readings and a founding member of the acclaimed poetry performance troupe, Nearly Fatal Women, Bogen has read/performed in venues as diverse as Cornell University, The Savannah College of Art and Design, The Knitting Factory (NYC), The DA Center for the Arts, The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro-Rail), The Museum of Contemporary Art and LACE. Her work has appeared in over 100 literary magazines and anthologies including The Misread City, California Poetry From The Gold Rush to the Present, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Stand-Up Poetry: An Expanded Anthology, The Maverick Poets, Poetry Loves Poetry, Wide Awake, Gargoyle, Rattapallax, Pearl, Solo, Bakunin, Yellow Silk, Mississippi Mud and Jacaranda Review as well as being translated into Italian, German, French and Spanish.


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