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About this Poem 

“‘Location LA’ is part of a series of short poems on the vulnerable city I live in: climate change, earthquakes, Santa Ana winds, drought, high school dropouts, homeless, and newly arrived families. Yet, as many cities in Calvino’s book Invisible Cities, it has always remained invisible, slippery, an enigma.”
Martha Ronk

Location LA

Never arriving in a city missing in locational drift
plates shifting under building facades and whipped décor,
seas rising and falling at the edge of amusements
and surf. The migrations migrating elsewhere,
monarchs lost on their way south, children coming north
in droves on their way to anywhere else.
The city of lost souls blowing in the Santa Ana winds
and people who are not us no matter who we are.
Where is she now, he asks, what ever happened to the girl
named for a saint, the one with the ankle tattoo
the one who dropped out, lost out, & only just arrived.

Copyright © 2015 by Martha Ronk. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2015 by Martha Ronk. Used with permission of the author.

Martha Ronk

Martha Ronk

Born in 1940, Martha Ronk is the author of several collections of poetry, including Vertigo (Coffee House Press, 2007), which was selected by C.D. Wright as a part of the National Poetry Series.

by this poet

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Does staring into the black and white contours of a photo
enable a rapprochement with the unreality of one’s own life,
a way to see peculiarity as a back staircase in an old house in a city
so memorably far, dark but navigable, the stairs lacking undulation,
items

poem

Into this file must go the viewing of films so that characters leave one room
and enter another in which events happen to them in the dark.
History comes to a head in the time of the disaster that structures it.
It

poem

The tree azalea overwhelms the evening with its scent,
defining everything and the endless fields.

Walking away, suddenly, it slices off and is gone.

The visible object blurs open in front of you,
the outline of a branch folds back into itself, then clarifies—just as you turn away—