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LA Weekly Poetry: Introduction to California Poetics

LA Weekly Poetry: Introduction to California Poetics

Flickr/Omar Omar

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 Send previously unpublished poems along with an image to go with it to poetry@laweekly.com. Check out today's poem after the jump.

Introduction to California Poetics

by Jeannine Hall Gailey

In a place of perpetual climate control

you cannot get too angry at the world

you cannot get too angry at rununculus

who throw their wide unfragrant faces to the light

you cannot be angry with the hummingbirds

who winter here, confusing feeders with fuscias,

or the girls who wear hot pants with shearling boots

in January. You cannot be angry, even with

the water crisis, with all the swimming pools

and sprinklers, with the careless swerving

of giant cars from lane to lane. You will eat

your avocado or asparagus, your citrus straight

from the tree, you will see the goats and grapevines,

you cannot be angry, with all this blue sky, dimmed

hardly at all by the brown layer of smog,

with the hard sunlight glinting off the cold ocean,

the unwelcoming skin of the date palm,

the oleander continuing to bloom along highways.

You will not wear a sweater and huddle by a notebook.

You will ski, or swim, you will hike by giant eucalyptus trees,

you will startle egrets and pelicans in a salt marsh,

you will forget you ever wrote books at all,

you will no longer regret, you will throw away your sweaters

and burn down your library, you will go mad

tearing at the easy beauty, the soft golden sheen of skin,

you will break the earth itself, turning to dust, unremembered.