Saturday, April 09, 2005

Pavements of San Pedro

A comment from Long Beach poet Louise Mathias (hi there, across the water from San Pedro!) reminded me I've been meaning to post some of the poems that generated my memoir, ROCKET LESSONS. The poems ultimately were too distinct from the memoir to be combined. Now I'm considering them as a separate book. Here's the first part of the first poem.

Pavements of San Pedro


Each paving square lies akimbo from its mate,
a stubborn plate that won't lie flat under skates
as I cruise pavements cascading down
our hill-sprawling, port-hugging fishing town.
San Pedro's streets careen from Portuguese Bend's
cliff-hanging country club to Beacon Street, spanned
a geography as whichway and zigzag
as my ride down teeth-rattling sidewalk slag.
Our pavers lollop and roll
through suburbs growing more bold
and numerous. Streets spring up from dirt
like creeping weeds ascending the hilltop, pert
new streets, their black rivers
weaving through grass. In slivers
between sidewalk and curb, in cracks
sprout tiny sand dune flowers, taking back
their beach wilderness. For years I race
twilight downhill. On skates I chase
the wind. I paint the stones with blood
and kneecap skin, leaving with each thud
my subtle imprint on the town,
making San Pedro my skin-and-bone own.

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