Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Poet Is Born ("I Was Pissed")

Robert Lee Brewer prompted us to tell the group how we got started in poetry. This came flowing out in 15 minutes. One hundred percent truth, and baby, I have witnesses! Thanks to Marcia, Jesse, and Riley for urging me to keep at it.


Back in Venice Beach after 20 years
visiting my kid, my gears whirring
I was cheerless beyond belief
There were no familiar haunts left

Like visiting the City and not seeing Grey's Papaya
at the corner of Amsterdam and 72nd
But in this case, Dupar's Diner was gone
and in its place was a T-shirt shop (made in China)

A great historic Black neighborhood
(full of low-income folks, natch) was
going to be razed to make room for condos
and Starbucks were breeding like bunnies

All these thoughts swirled in my head
I ducked into a bodega, bought a pad and pen
and ranted to the empty page
that my Venice was dead, or on the verge of being

vivisected by the rich, disembowled like William Wallace
until only bones would be left to be
picked clean by whoever survived the onslaught
But what do you call something that's

five pages long (later edited) and possesses
emotion and some semblance of alliteration and
internal rhyme, but no format resembling my
well-constructed songs, jazz and gospel?

I read it aloud that evening to some friends
Read it with force, conjuring emotion from
the ocean of words scribbled in haste
and they said, "Shit, Amy, that's some powerful free verse"

And so a poet was born


  1. I like this poem, Amy. I am wondering if you still have the first poem, the one you wrote about Venice Beach.

  2. Starbucks were breeding like bunnies - lol - and oh-so-true - have you ever heard Lewis Black's bit on Starbucks? It's enough to make you pee, honestly ...

  3. Poetry and jazz - gorgeous

    Didya ever hear Lenny's parody of "Poetry and Jazz"? called "Psychopathia Sexualis" ("I'm in love with a horse that comes from Dallas, was the first line.")

    OK< you're goading me into writing .

    You am a big inspiration! - el Mosko