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
No one’s ever discovered a poet lingering near
the pool of The Beverly Hills Hotel, nor even at the Sahara Motor
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.
Larry Colker Discovers Teresa Willis
Teresa Willis, host of the
2nd Friday Poetry Series at the Eagle Rock Community Cultural
Center, is a native of Kentucky, a transplant to New York and
finally a resident of Los Angeles. Her chapbook "Heart Closet" was
published by Cassowary Press in 1999. In addition to her poetry,
Teresa writes songs, plays and screenplays. She also performs with
Vox Femina, L.A.'s premiere women's choir, and with her band Third
If Only My Boyfriend Would Slick His Hair Back
he'd be a
detective in a hour long sixties TV series
a rebel PI with leather shoulder holster and big gun
and fast red car to do chases in
with a hard last name like
Chud or Martinak.
If only he
would slick his hair back
I'd be Peggy or Gail or Julie
his innocuous Gal Friday
the only one to say his soft first name
Jeff or Steve
loving him quiet from behind a desk.
Nobody knows I only have one leg
'cause I never get up.
And we would
run for six seasons.
America would love us on
Wednesday nights at 9/8 central.
He'd grow a mustache in the fourth season
but America would write in
and he'd gladly shave it.
And when the
network said we were cancelled
the writers write a two hour finale where
he confesses his love to me
after shooting three drug dealer scumbags.
We have a wedding.
They shoot around my missing leg.
Then the show
ends and off-camera he loves me too
for years now and we live in Malibu
all rich and syndicated.
We are so happy.
But guess what?
He won't slick his hair back.
has co-hosted the weekly
Redondo Poets reading for five years. His poetry has appeared or is
forthcoming in RATTLE, Spillway, Pearl, Solo and Cider Press Review,
among other journals, and in anthologies from Tebot Bach and the
Valley Contemporary Poets. His chapbook What the Lizard Knows was
published in 2003. Larry taught at USC for several years before
turning to technical writing. He lives in San Pedro.
Terry Stevenson Discovers Virginia Anderson
Virginia Anderson was publisher and editor of
Daybreak, and her poems have appeared in many journals
including Rivertalk. She’s participated in the Ojai Poetry
Poet and essayist Terry Stevenson selected the
following poems from her October reading at The Sunland/Tujunga
Library Series, sponsored by Friends of the Library, with support
from Poets & Writers, Inc., and curated by Elsa Frausto.
“When I was a
teenager, my friends and I liked to imitate gangster talk from the
movies of the day. This was long before “The Godfather”.
Dey was some real mean
guys in dose days,
Dey spoke outa da sides
of der mouz
da way I’m doin’.
Richard Widmark was one
of da meanest.
He pushed da ole lady in
down da stairs and didn’t
try to pick her up after.
He was dat mean.
He was meaner dan Edward
G. Robinson, George Raft,
meaner dan James Cagney.
When dose guys didn’t
like ya, you
was soon wearin’ cement
When dey come after ya,
ya was good as dead;
ya was nuttin’ but meat,
Dey called it “bein’
You always knew when dey
it began to rain and no
Dey was always askin’
The Shapes of Silence
(Ansukido is a combination of prayers and laying on of hands, a
ritual used to exorcise a demon.)
Korean missionaries were sentenced to state prison for their roles
in a deadly exorcism performed upon a Korean woman, Kyung-Fa Chung.
She was beaten to death during the
ritual known as Ansukido. She had been arrogant and disobedient to
her husband; it was said, and therefore suspected of being possessed
by a demon. Los Angeles Superior Court
Judge, James A. Albrecht, cleared the missionaries of murder charges
and they were charged instead with involuntary manslaughter. –THE
LOS ANGELES TIMES, April 25, 1997
room opens its windows
traces of you
walls are newly painted;
hours of Ansukido
one mentioned you.
must have spoken
day, the day before,
tumble of sounds
cooked or shopped
murmuring their names.
must have been
read the story,
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.)
and 13 Los Angeles 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