Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 39 (My Fair City)

Finally! We had a poetry slam at Holy Grounds, the seminary coffee house. It's been over two years since I've done spoken word, so I got really excited when people started talking about maybe having a poetry night. I'm hoping it becomes a weekly thing; maybe it'll get me to start writing poetry again! I performed my favorite of the poems that I've written; it's kind of the poem that started it all for me. I had been hanging out with Poet's Jazz House, a poetry group in L.A., for a while when one of the members happened upon some traveling poets from Canadia. They performed some of the coolest poems I had ever heard and I really wanted to write something along the lines of what they did. So, this is the poem I came up with, which I performed tonight for some of my new seminary friends:

My Fair City

My family moved to Camarillo when I was in the third grade,

We were the third family to move into a neighborhood of fourteen track homes surrounded by fields and orchards

Like a fairy tale village in the countryside,

As the years went by,

Trees were cut down and houses grew,

And I want to say that it was like mushrooms popping up in the middle of the night after it rains,

But it didn’t happen that fast,

It was slow,

And insidious,

Like a fungus growing underground where nobody can see it,

And we don’t have as many fields and orchards anymore,

But my dad says that we live in a green belt,

And it can’t change that much,

But people are greedy,

And they’ll roll over for a few million dollars and what that can buy them,

So now instead of mountains,

We have a skyline of million dollar homes,

And they’re threatening to turn Hill Canyon into a golf course,

But luckily,

I still have my slice of wilderness across the street where I can go running the morning if I want to,

But I went there to play with my kids one time,

And a cop told me I couldn’t be there after the sun sets,

And I thought to myself,

This is where my taxes go,

So that a cop can patrol a park in the middle of nowhere,

Because people go there to party at night where their neighbors can’t complain,

And while we have gang injunctions,

Graffiti on churches,

People breaking into my car,

And my fair city is competing for the coveted “Most Dangerous City in California” award,

I pay my taxes,

So that a fat cop,

In a uniform that’s too tight,

Like too much pork sausage stuffed into a greasy casing,

Can tell me that I can’t play there,

And I wonder,

What is happening to this city that I live in?

The innocence is seeping away,

Like a piece of fruit that’s been sitting on the counter for too long so that the insides are bursting out,

And all the sweetness is rotting,

And it’s attracting flies,

And I just want to knock it off the counter onto the floor,

But I can’t,

Because the seed in the middle’s put down roots,

And it’s stuck there,

And it’s growing,

And it’s going to keep on growing,

And growing,

And growing,

Until it become this enormously huge peach cobbler gone horribly awry,

And I live there!

And if you come to visit me,

Then you’ll say it’s pretty,

And it is pretty,

But pretty doesn’t cut it,

Because just beneath the surface it’s still a piece of rotting fruit,

And it’s still sweet,

But the flavor’s off because you know what it’s supposed to taste like,

And in spite of yourself,

You’re gonna pick up that fork,

And you’re gonna eat it,

Because you know that if you don’t,

Then someone else will,

And that doesn’t make it right,

But that’s the way the world works,

And if you don’t like it,

Then you don’t have to live there,

But they haven’t started selling trips to the moon yet,

But I’ve read,

That in a few years,

For a few million dollars,

You will indeed be able to buy a trip to the moon,

But the only ones able to afford to make that trip,

Are busy eating my peach cobbler,

And I can’t find my fork.


  1. That is so awesome that you guys put together a poetry night! That place just keeps getting more and more Wei-fu!

    Still can't believe they called it "Holy Grounds". That's funny.

  2. LOL, you have to admit that it's a very appropriate name for a coffee house at a seminary