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Phil Taggart: California Poets Part 3, Four Poems

Phil Taggart

June 25th, 2021

California Poets: Part III

Phil Taggart

Four Poems

Dreamtime and the 101 just past the 405 going south a neo dharma bum stickered hybrid SUV passes us last night I dream of Rick in the upstairs room on the left a hidden room always there passing Vivid, the Ford Theater I saw the Pogues there graphitti crosses knocked down road signs in this dream, Rick is leaving I gather up what is needed our paths are so close a convergence of brothers we cross into Hollywood the Knickerbocker the Beatle’s capitol more crosses the Shangri Lodge Destiny Inn the crush of downtown we are on parallel paths like moving sidewalks drawn close we touch then drift a part Gronk and Spring Street J-Town Aztlan Brew 102 and beautiful bridges Rick , Rampart and Tommy’s I wave the car hurtles down past the 605 South Whittier and on Rick is absorbed and distant he waves back goodbye

The Satyr Sleeps in Light Raining —Perseid meteor showers He drives Old Woman Springs Road looking for a place free of man’s light once the satyr floated on his back in a Palm Springs pool Perseid rained light in water salt buoyant like a dream it quiets him he remembers Perseus from back then the man was angry violent the satyr was probably drunk that was millennia ago they changed they grew up he’s taking time off work driving the Mojave Lucerne Valley Landers a dirt road aims right out past past it all he parks carries an old canvas cot camp chair six pack of beer climbs a small rise sets camp thinks about humans growing up he is supine canvas stretches and he encounters star dust burning occasional coyotes howl and of course gun shots always gun shots

She is sitting on the sidewalk collapsed into stucco wall of a bike shop she says hi when we pass sweet voice red hair a woman passed her before us eyes concerned looked back the girl tilts her head up smiles scabs freckles cover her face she’s new the homeless tan hasn’t darkened toughened her skin red shirt bicycle patrol calling for help? calling the police? the girl lifts up off the sidewalk straightens gathers her stuff walks on she’s maybe 16

Teacher Poetry Out Loud—2017 Zayan says she was detained at airport security on the flight from LA to Sacramento she is here to recite poems in our state capital I am her teacher this is the last day of competition she’s ready to go I ask how often are you searched about every time patted down waiting hands dusted for explosives this is travel for this small 17 year old girl brown skin a hijab pulls you out of line about every time first poem flawless then intermission time for last words this is the poem she came for a song a prayer for America what about the poem? she says pride where is the poem my heart I offer betrayal is here too let’s hear it one last time I return to the gallery Zayan the Senate floor waiting her turn she places herself in front of the mic and starts she is pitch perfect the poem rolls through the Senate tears roll down her cheeks tears fall through out the chamber after the show the crowd approach her parents with compliments glowing Zayan finds her way through the crowd stopped and stopped and stopped she did it and now is off to the airport with her family into the arms of the TSA Homeland Security America

Author Bio:

Phil Taggart is poetry curator at the Artists Union Gallery in Ventura and from 1991 through the present, started and ran several poetry readings in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Camarillo, including: Ventura: The Insomniac, Nicholby’s, Cafe Voltaire, The Daily Grind, The Art Gulag at the Plaza Players Theater, Art City 2 and co-directed The Ventura Poetry Festival. Santa Barbara:The Green Dragon, The Perch Gallery and the Santa Barbara Poetry Series at the Contemporary Arts Forum. He’s producing and compiling poets reading on video through the ASKEW video/poetry project and was editor of ARTLIFE from 1996 to 2005. Publishing credits include: SOLO, Brick, rivertalk, Sirens Silence, ZamBomba, sicviceverse, San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, F.T.S., Lummox Journal, Voce Piena, So Luminous the Wildflowers and on a t-shirt for Café Voltaire. His book of poetry, Opium Wars, was published by Mille Grazie Press.


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