LA Weekly Poetry: LA, Our City [Video]
LA Weekly is now taking poetry submissions. Interested in having your work posted right here on our arts blog? Send previously unpublished poems along with an image to go with it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Major bonus points if you send us a video of you performing your work in a public space. As today's poet, JP Martinez, a.k.a. Poet John Paul The Third, did. In his own words:
"JP Martinez is a performance artist, poet, and dreamer that seeks to create an experience of words, imagery and emotion that can invoke in each person the inspiration to believe in themselves as brave artists and bold creators exploring their truest path. Born and raised in Los Angeles, JP began performing in venues from L.A. to the Inland Empire. He currently lives in Northern California and is working on new material for his next book and set of performance pieces. For more info on his work and writing you can visit his blog at www.poetjohnpaul.wordpress.com."
Check out the video and text of his poem after the jump.
Video by Maxey Fish and Sea Reels
LA, Our City
By JP Martinez
Listen to the heartbeat of the city.
The Helicopters hovering in the air pounding out the bass of war time anthems
While the stitching and sewing of garments mimic rhythms of modern day slaves
So when sirens sing our songs of salvation, from whom are we being saved?
And when the choruses from which we cry justice are rendered silent
by the raging rivers of indifference,
How then can we ride waves around your city lines
To repair your broken halo and transform it into a yellow-line rail road
From Boyle Heights stretching to the West Side
Anchored at the ports of San Pedro wrapping around the Hollywood sign
Carrying forth our hymns of justice across your divide
From here to there, then back and forth
Until the dizziness of our scattered consciousness
Can no longer hide beneath the sounds of this cacophonous existence
LA, your songs have been sung by shattered souls
While the refrains from tired voices cough out broken smog filled notes
Our lungs expand to reverberate into traffic jammed echoes
Inching along the highways of hope
Searching desperately for singers to sing songs of your hymns and hers
For poets, to stitch together forgotten lyrics of your lost souls
For painters to recall the delicate details of the devils you have danced with
For you LA are the most beautiful angel they have ever danced with.
So it was here,
The edge of Pacific Ocean where they forced you to bear a whole city from your womb
Here, a fallen angel cradling the only thing you have left your children
Here, our questions rise to the skies wondering
why we are a whole city full of angels, born with only one wing.
And why our attempts at flying in 65 and 92 result in songs of uprising
being written off as nothing but brutish violence
Why our stories of righteous struggle enter though downtown skyscrapers
And exit through the pockets of wealthy politicians are being sold off in silence
Why finding another wing to fly with in a whole city full of angels
is a lot more difficult than you might expect
And why broken feathers and empty bottles of whiskey lay barren on skid rows street side beds
LA, your children have unwittingly become enemies.
Turning songs of violence and apathy into broken ceremonies
And in the space between you speak to us about the mysteries of our existence
And we, your single winged runners in our selfish attempts at flying
are made deaf to the whisper of your secrets but if we would just listen
We would hear them in the tears of struggle from your single mothers
In the laughter of your silenced sisters
In the freedom of your imprisoned brothers
As your cries for justice rise into the skies giving life to the heartbeat of this broken city
LA, you have tried to teach us your song from the beginning we just never bothered to listen
And if we would just listen, we would hear you sing us this lullaby,
"My children. Each of you are angels born with only one wing and only by embracing each other will you learn how to fly