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vermin on the mount oct 30

Join us for a night of irreverent readings with Sesshu Foster, Andrea Kleine, Janice Lee, Allan MacDonell, David Ulin and your host, Jim Ruland.

BOOK SHOW, 5503 North Figueroa St, Los Angeles, California 90042

7:30 PM OCTOBER 30

Jim Ruland asked me to note “an unusual event that occured during a reading”:

At CSU Dominguez Hills after a reading I gave, there was a line of people getting books signed, saying hello or asking questions. One tatted rockero kid with shaggy hair said, “You know, in your book, City Terrace Field Manual, you wrote about a woman who was murdered. That was my grandmother.” I didn’t really know what to say, or expect what he was going to say next. “My mom told me to give you this letter. She asked if you could give it to your mom. She said to thank your mom for being so kind to our family after my grandmother died. She always remembered your mom’s kindness. She said she made my mom’s Halloween costume, and helped her get to summer camp. She could’ve come tonight, but she’s in Washington D.C.” I did give the letter to my mom, who is now 90.

California, once you were 8th largest economy in the world with resort hotels looking west over the Pacific sunset then you turned to a desert.

California, once you were 8th largest economy in the world with resort hotels looking west over the Pacific sunset then you turned to an derelict mall at the edge of the Nevada desert, by the L.A. harbor.

California, I stood in the wide fields under the endless wind, California, I saw you flying, I saw you hover, vast, above me.

California, I stood in the wide fields under the endless wind, California, I saw you flying, I saw you hover, vast, above me.

California, we scribbled in your crowded little classrooms, we believed everything you told us,

California, we scribbled in your crowded little classrooms, we believed everything you told us, “See—children—Abraham Lincoln, he studied by candle light in a log cabin somewhere in wild Illinois so you could become anything you ever want to.”

California, where the parents dreams and hopes were mulch in the soil, were chopped beneath the trees, evaporated like fog on a sun-blasted beach. California. Where parents watched tiny figures in the distance and wondered if that was their kids.

California, where the parents’ dreams and hopes mulched in the soil and the medians, were chopped like bark spread beneath the trees, evaporated like fog on a sun-blasted beach. California. Where parents watched tiny figures and wondered if that was their kids in the distance as the sun set.

California, those were some great, golden times. I heard they turned the old apple processing plant into a shopping center.

California, those were some great, golden times. I heard they turned the old apple processing plant into a shopping center.

California,

California, “Cumulus brilliant against the blue sky, fog blowing through the groves and orchards,” that’s what it said on the gate.

Some cities were labyrinthine marketplaces where animals were flayed alive for your delectation, some cities were mazes of astonishment--- barren avenues and boulevards where imagination was reduced to ashes and stubble in the faces of the young. Calif.

Some cities were labyrinthine marketplaces where animals were flayed alive for your delectation, some cities were mazes of astonishment— barren avenues and boulevards where imagination was reduced to ashes and stubble in the faces of the young. Calif.

Calif. asphalt stench of pavers laying new tarmac first thing on a still cool summer morning, before everything heats up, before the sunlight is crackling, electric... Calif.

Calif. asphalt stench of pavers laying new tarmac for miles first thing on a still cool summer morning, before everything heats up, before the sunlight is crackling, electric… before the kids spill out of the rows of white clapboard houses into the sunshine, yes, Calif.

California, how did we know you'd genocided the Indians in your mind, you'd used the skulls of their children for teacups, in your Victorian shit shirts.

California, how did we know you’d genocided the Indians in your mind, you’d used the skulls of their children for teacups, in your Victorian shit shirts, in small rooms with velvety black curtains of tradition.

Of course, Calif., the mythologies of La La Land, pioneer days and free enterprise for all turn out to be stitched from human skin, still wet on the inside.

Of course, Calif., the mythologies of La La Land, pioneer days and free enterprise for all turn out to be stitched from human skin, still wet on the inside. Manzanar, Tule Lake, Poston.

Oh Calif., that's where my dreams and imagination was born, in the blood at the corner of Mickey Mouse's mouth, in the trickle of saliva or tears slapped into and out of a girl's face, into and out of a boy's face, into and out of a dog's crushed spine, into and out of regular moments on ordinary streets.

Oh Calif., that’s where my dreams and imagination were born, in the blood at the corner of Mickey Mouse’s mouth, in the trickle of saliva or tears slapped into and out of a girl’s face, into and out of a boy’s face, into and out of a dog’s crushed spine, into and out of regular moments on ordinary streets.

California, I was speeding along when I felt the wind through a tunnel in my mind, bitter mountain chill of glacial time exiting through the back of my head as I rushed forward, Calif.

California, I was speeding along when I felt the wind through a tunnel in my mind, bitter mountain chill of glacial time exiting through the back of my head as I rushed forward, Calif.

Calif., really you know, some people were so decent, so decently they watched their children crushed, dangling like eucalyptus leaves.

Calif., really you know, some people were so decent, so decently they watched their children crushed, dangling like reddish eucalyptus leaves.

Calif., I admit I just stood and watched to see what you would do; not so pretty, not so pretty, illusions you didn't even believe.

Calif., I admit I just stood and watched to see what you would do— not so pretty, not so pretty, illusions you didn’t even believe. Mist like cigar smoke of war.

Calif., the death penalty you instituted but didn't believe it, the mass incarceration you enforced but could never reflect on, the destruction on all sides you allowed but could never consider, the people, Calif., the people... in their generations... you buried them under freeways and movies. Something like movies but was a machine you attached en masse via sound.

Calif., the death penalty you instituted but didn’t believe it, the mass incarceration you enforced but could never reflect on, devastation on all sides you allowed but could never consider, the people, Calif., the people… in their generations… you buried them under freeways and movies that perfected the narrative origins of schlock. Something like movies but was a machine attached en masse via sound.

Calif., the facts you point to over and over hid the truth and nothing but the truth, the facts just cockroaches scurrying about crates down on the loading docks in the produce yard.

Calif., the facts and refined kernels you point to over and over hid the truth and nothing but the truth, all the facts just cockroaches scurrying about crates down on the loading docks in the produce yard.

What you love is obvious, Calif.

What you love is obvious, Calif. and it’s not you—it’s not you, California—you don’t love your own strange soul.

You look out in the darkness and we see your eyes, California, from the other side of it.

You look out in the darkness and we see your eyes, California, from the other side. East of Eden, Calif.

All the bodies have been released into space, between the stars, between electrical bonds and fiduciary bonds, between the Americas, California.

All the bodies have been released into space, between the stars, between electrical bonds and fiduciary bonds, between the Americas, California. All the wisps of gas from bodies and mouths, from fissures.

The white people were in the front room eating, California, while we looked out across your face, Calif.

The white people were in the front room eating, California, while we looked out across your face, Calif. And, what did we see besides Chinese food, besides canned spaghetti, besides the U.S. Army, it was you.

You gifted us the sweet fragrance of some kind of promise, promise of mud and cement, promise of glass and bone. Little stories, snatches that you thought somebody ought to believe, but you didn't pretend to. Calif. with your earthquakes.

You gifted us sweet fragrances of some kind of promise, palmed off the promise of mud and denim, promise of glass and bone. Little stories, snatches that you thought somebody ought to believe, but you didn’t pretend to. —Calif. with earthquakes.

So that's why I love your bleak chill to the end of time, to the bottom of the Pacific, rolling at me, at us---someone paid the highest price.

So that’s why I love your bleak Calif. chill to the end of time, to the bottom of the Pacific, rolling at me, at us—someone paid the highest price. Shaking out of their bones. Out of the world.

Monday everybody gets up to go to work, until the end of this world, Calif., end of this continent, end of this civilization, end of this thought.

But then come Monday… Monday everybody gets up to go to work, until the end of this world, Calif., end of this continent, end of this civilization, end of this thought.

California, Jim Morrison is buried in Paris but his dreams were flipped at UCLA and turned on on Sunset Blvd., Ray Foster's ashes scattered east of the General Sherman sequoia, at Fisherman's Beach in the Marina Headlands, and under the blood orange in my backyard.

California, Jim Morrison is buried in Paris but his dreams were flipped at UCLA and turned on on Sunset Blvd., Ray Foster’s ashes scattered east of the General Sherman sequoia, at Fisherman’s Beach in the Marin Headlands, and under the blood orange in my backyard.

Calif., those tortillas you have been eating have turned you into steel.

Calif., those tortillas you have been eating have turned you into steel. Under the palm fronds, under the eucalyptus, under the smoggy scrub hills. Tortillas of adobe.

Here I come California, what're we gonna do now? You know neither of us forget the right way.

Here I come California, what’re we gonna do now? You know neither of us can ever forget the right way. I hate my dreams are so lame, so stupid, worse than anything you can finagle.

Tingle-ling-a-ling, Calif., let's get everybody fed, let's go., Calif., you know that you know.

Tingle-ling-a-ling, Calif., let’s get everybody fed, let’s go., Calif., you know that you know. Everything is everything, and we gone. This is where we went—you and me.

Aljazeera America profile, September 6, 2015

“As gentrification sweeps the city, Sesshu Foster has quietly become the poet laureate of a vanishing neighborhood”

http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2015/9/sesshu-foster-los-angeles-street-poet.html

photo by Jessica Ceballos

photo by Jessica Ceballos

see also:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2015/09/featuring-the-vital-sesshu-foster/

maybe when they were attacking—black & white—a man on the run—another man with a big gun, a man in the shadows with shining eyes like glowing tubes in an old radio, girl in slinky attack hair, watch out—keep alert for further details on a secret channel, so they sent flying saucers, they sent Godzilla and gargoyles, flying monkeys with bat wings, they sent John Wayne and Robert Mitchum, they sent fleets of aircraft carriers and destroyers, B-17s and B-52s, they sent secret agents, laconic cowboys and martial arts experts who could smile with a devilish grin, they sent guys with snake-oil pompadours like the spokesman for General Electric, they sent waves of super heroes with magic powers, women in bikinis and stiletto heels, Fu Manchu and Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney and Charlie Chan—they were all sent into the nightmare of burning cities and collapsing continents, through the bubbling mists of sinking Atlantis and Lost Kingdoms of the Congo, they sent Tarzan and Jerry Lewis, they sent Bugs Bunny and all the rest of them into the fiery maelstorm, they sent guys driving fast cars even faster, they sent musculature of Mister Universe and Hercules, they sent tough guys growling out of the corners of the hat pulled down over glinty eyes, they sent wave after wave of attacking Indians and Nazis, Japs and barbarian warriors, Zulus and big-headed aliens all falling in a hail of late night static, in a blizzard of bad reception and rabbit ear antennae, they sent them all (even dancing girls, slapstick comics, dashing leading men) to other planets and outer space, they sent them all to hellish combat against sneering villains with cruel mannerisms, lame-ass dialogue the only thing they had to defend themselves, and “yet against all odds,” against even imagination and reality both, against both actuality of human lives as they are lived (so-called, “the human condition”) as well as more imaginative intelligence, they somehow prevailed—they won! this world was saved. yay.

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September 2015
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