Once I had a poetess friend
who read her stuff
at various
odd venues
around LA

The one I mostly recall
was at the Celebrity Centre
an old brick castle
on Hollywood Blvd
east of 101
in a part of town
where they allow the leftover
human excess to float through life
atop a drunks vomit
on the middle of the sidewalk

There was a big crowd that night
My poetess friend was up in an hour
so I ventured into the scientology gift store
I tried out a few of the gizmos
they sell to monitor your emotional response
on the path to becoming clear

I couldnt help but wonder if
a clear scientologist
is able to cheat a lie detector test
but was afraid to ask the counter person
for fear that she would lie to me
with a straight face

My poetess friend performed
rueful domestic goddess poems
mining humor from a harsh sense of loss
and ninety proof regret
Her exhusband caught her cheating
with a fellow poet
and took the kids the house the money
and left her with only the poetry
and a monthly bill for alimony
and child support

I came mainly to keep her sober
and from going home with
another poet
who might moonlight as a murder rapist
–in LA you can never be very sure–
I can tell you there is no stopping her
when she is drunk
Her lips will find you somehow

The domestic goddess received polite applause
and sat down
Next up was a creative writing professor from Cal State LA
He was clearly the star and very loud as he recited
a passionate verse about the absurdity
of poetry readings

I became aware that he was speaking
directly to the domestic goddess

I like your stuff
I like your stuff
I like your stuff

he chanted too loudly
His face all reddened exertion
staring at her wrecked face
His hands cupped as he recited
willing them on toward her breasts

I got up suddenly needing to breathe some fresh air
I stepped out to the parking lot behind the castle

You could walk down the hillside south of Hollywood Blvd

far as the eye could see
among thousands of backlit bungalows
still redolent of Nathanael West Charles Bukowski
and all the poets laureate of LA despair

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