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Discovered by Talent Scouts

Sadly, nobody ever discovered any poets at the Schwab’s Drug Store soda fountain on Sunset Boulevard.  Even Lana Turner wasn’t discovered at Schwab’s, as the legend would have you believe.  Truth is she’d ditched school to hang out at an eatery called the Top Hat Café when a Billy-somebody, editor at the Hollywood Reporter, approached her with the catchy line, “How’d you like to be a movie star?” But no one ever discovered any poets at the Top Hat Café either.   

The young Bob Evans was shored up alongside the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel – working the phone for his sports clothes business, Evan-Picone – when Norma Schearer peered over the chrome-pink rim of her sunglasses and decided he resembled a matador.  In no time he found himself on the set of "The Sun Also Rises," striving to make passes around a bull and act at the same time. No one’s ever discovered a poet lingering near the pool of The Beverly Hills Hotel, nor even at the Sahara Motor Lodge. 

But here at Speechless, a poet can get discovered.  We now have people in the field, talent scouts, sharp of eye and ear, who will be attending readings around town.  If they discover you, examples your work will show up in this column. After that it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunity.  We at Speechless can’t do everything.

Terry Stevenson Discovers Katerina Canyon    

Katerina Canyon is from Los Angeles, California.  She is currently the Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga.  She received the award of 2002 Virginia Allan National Young Careerist from Business and Professional Women/USA.  She founded the Shouting Coyote Poetry Festival.  She teaches children’s poetry workshops nationwide.  She hosts poetry readings and poetry slams in Tujunga, California, and she teaches creative writing for McGroarty Art Center in Tujunga, California.


I cleaned my daughter’s feet.
I swept the warm cloth along
her soft, Earth toned skin––she grinned
and said, “Mom, that feels Heavenly.”

Yes, I remember.

Lying on the bed like a doll filled with sand
too fatigued to move––I played hard that day.
Slightly waking to feel the warm cloth on my feet.
Mother washing the day’s dirt away.

Yes, that felt Heavenly.

My friends told me their mothers would say
we should always take care
to wear clean underwear
in case we came upon disaster.

“Clean feet are most important”, my mother said.

She explained that a woman’s feet
told the story of her life.
That on her soles you could see
the roads she traveled.

She would say, “You can measure her resilience in a woman’s ankles”

I was told that if I were to get into an accident,
dressed like a bum,
and the doctors saw I had clean feet,
they would take good care of me.

“I know that may sound silly to you”, she’d say

She explained they would know that I tried
my best to take care of myself
and that my dress was more
a matter of circumstance than of desire.

When I was too tired for an evening bath, she washed my feet.
When I was sick in bed, she washed my feet.
When we were homeless, she washed my feet.
When she felt there was nothing else to do, she washed my feet.

Yes, it felt Heavenly.

I tried out for the high school track team.
I went in for a physical.
The doctor examined my feet
and said, “Nice feet.” and approved me as healthy.

He never asked me if I had on clean underwear.

I wondered how many kids
would miss out on running track
because their feet weren’t as clean as mine?
And I thought she was being silly.

She was right.

I finally saw her.
And there she was.
Too tired to move.


I filled the bowl with warm water.
I found a soft cloth.
Picked up the soap.  Ivory pure.
The only type she would use.

I looked at her feet––so long and thin.
Dark as Louisiana clay.
Her veins stuck up like river lines.
A road map to the Bayou.

I washed her feet.
Her feet carried heavy burdens.
She walked many miles for many years.
She said, “That feels Heavenly.”

I replied, “Yes, I remember.”

Terry Stevenson's poems have appeared in Electrum, Poetry/L.A., Rattle, Spillway and ONTHEBUS. He appears in several anthologies, including Shards, Off-Ramp, Corners (all published by the Pasadena Poets), Truth and Lies that Press for Life (Artifact Press, Ltd.), 13 LA Poets (Bombshelter Press), and So Luminous the Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets (Tebot Bach). In 1999 he was chosen to read in the distinguished Los Angeles Poetry Festival/Beyond Baroque "Newer Poets" reading at the Los Angeles Central Library.