The splendid body is meat, flexor
and flesh pumping, pulling, anti-
gravity maverick just standing
upright all over museums and
in line for the bus and in the laundry
aisle where it’s just standing there
smelling all the detergent like
it’s no big deal. So what if a couple
of its squishy parts are suspended
within, like beach-bungled jellyfish
in a shelved jar, not doing anything?
Nothing on this side of the quantum
tunnel is perfect. The splendid body,
though, is splendid in the way
it keeps its steamy blood in, no matter
how bad it blushes. And splendid
in how it opens its mouth and
these invisible vibrations come
rippling out—if you put your wrist
right up to it when that happens
it feels somewhat like the feet
of many bees. The splendid body
loves the juniper smell of gin, loves
the warmth of printer-fresh paper,
and the sound fallen leaves make
under the wheel of a turning car.
If you touch it between the legs,
the splendid body will quicken
like bubbles in a just-on teakettle.
It knows it can’t exist forever, so
it’s collecting as many flavors as it can—
saffron, rainwater, fish-skin, chive.
Do not distract it from its purpose,
which is to feel everything it can find.

Copyright © 2023 by Rebecca Lindenberg. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 27, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

          I am alive in Los Angeles!
          I am alive in Los Angeles!
Here in the wild, wild west..
The warm wind hits my face,
I walk across stained concrete,
I cry tears of joy on Flower Street..
I watch families dancing
on their porches on Christmas Eve.
I smile widely.
I move thru the city,
my heart beating swiftly
as sirens speed by me.
I revel in the sadness—my soul is deep
I take full responsibility.
Give me everything!
It hurts—it's so beautiful!
The universal
Soulful multicultural
Emerging worldwide
tribe people
          I am alive in Los Angeles!

          I am alive in Los Angeles!
Where the angles change like isosceles.
Citywide topographies
undulate across massive landscape
moving from chain-link to palatial gates into
separate economic states with rising birth rates
below hilltops in the streetscapes.
One can barely even equivocate
the fluctuations in rent so evident
all across from block to block to block.
Extravagance and adversity interlock:
palatial spots, crosswalks, burrito shops,
housekeepers are hanging out at bus stops,
the Country Club's all walled off.
The city's blowing up like a molotov
even when I'm in the shower
I hear the horns honk.
          I am alive in Los Angeles!
Whether I’m listening to Miles Davis
or electronic music
I move thru traffic
loving the inner-city dynamics
the midcity magic moves
from happiness to tragic,
adversity to extravagance
like seeing Korean grandparents moving slowly
Catholic school children crossing fearlessly
I saw a stray dog that looked like Spuds Mackenzie
by the Belmont Tunnel on 2nd Street
live and direct in the Rampart District.
          I am alive in Los Angeles!

All the people stopped stifled up in gridlock.
Everywhere roadblocks cause charged reactions.
Waves of chaos are collapsing
keeping people bottled up.
Tempers are rising up,
desperate drivers look for shortcuts.
There's no way around it.
Congested walls keep surrounding,
surrounding coming down around us.
Claustrophobic intensity
stuck in the web of density,
people have a propensity to have anxiety.
It's daily with so many people in one place.
Interacting face to face to face
with different destinations.
Everybody keeps racing
in this fast-paced nation.
          I AM ALIVE IN Los Angeles!

The neon crowns glow
above the City of Angels,
haze hovers after another
nuclear sunset, I love it all.

          I AM ALIVE IN Los Angeles!

Copyright © 2015 by Mike Sonksen. Used with permission of the author.

No use telling 
         the dead what 
you’ve learned since 

they’ve learnt it too— 

how to go on 
         without you, the mercy 
of morning, or moving, 

         the light that persists 
even if. 

✶ 

Beauty is as beauty 
         does, my mother says, 
who is beautiful & speaks 

loud so she can be understood 
         unlike poets who can’t 
talk to save their lives 

so they write. 

✶ 

It’s like a language, 
         loss— 
can be  

         learned only 
by living—there— 

✶ 

What anchors us 
         to this thirst 
& earth, its threats 

& thinnesses— 
         its ways of waning 
& making the most of—

of worse & much 
         worse—if not 
this light lifting 

up over the ridge

Copyright © 2023 by Kevin Young. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.