Lyrics: New Poetry by Lewis MacAdams

December 26, 2009 § 2 Comments

Everything I did for twenty years I
hoped would follow me down to the river
as a blessing or a curse.

– Lewis MacAdams, from The Horse on California Street

Lyrics by Lewis MacAdams, Blue Press Books, 2009

Lewis MacAdams, founder of the Friends of the Los Angeles River, has a new poetry chap-book just out. It’s entitled Lyrics and available from Blue Press Books for $10.

Fans of “River Boy!” MacAdams are probably already familiar with his previous Los Angeles River poetry, including The River: Books One Two & Three (also available from Blue Press Books.) MacAdams defined the still-all-too-slender Los Angeles River school of poetry… and grandfathered the contemporary movement to reclaim, restore and revitalize the Los Angeles River. I count him as an inspiration, mentor, and friend.

The new volume features a cover painting by Ed Ruscha. Pieces inside are more about bittersweet love than urban hydrology… but our maligned river and the Los Angeles in which it malingers are definitely there. There are taco stands, downtown street people, and even (not) a cornfield. It’s a collection of the melancholy of missing connections, punctuated by moments of sweet reprieve.

Here’s the poem I liked best in Lyrics:

Stranger Than Kindness
I still can’t believe
neither one of us knew any better.
I mean, that wasn’t the first time
a brick wall dressed up
as the Stairway to Heaven.
Now that we’re both numb
we don’t have to pretend
that it all made more sense
than it actually did
when the sunlight
poured through your
curtains like a caramel-
colored coffee,
and I rolled over to see your
wild curls poking out
from around
the face of a stranger.

(All this poetry is, of course, copyright 2009 Lewis MacAdams)

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