"The Emperor Wears No Clothes" is a poem I wrote after working for a while in retail at Century City and West Hollywood. Back in my UCLA days and a little after I worked at a few department stores and expensive clothing boutiques. I was years away from getting any type of writing break, but I wrote poems everyday on my lunch break. I would write poems about the outlandish characters and comical moments I observed all day in the store. Celebrities, personal assistants, credit cards, the ironic scenarios made me laugh so I wrote it all down.
It's easy when you can hop into your SUV under palm trees...
But not everybody is a celebrity, for every VIP,
There's at least two or three that feed the children
Or pick up the dry cleaning...
Though the poem parodies the fashion world, many of the fashionistas were very cool, progressive people. They are a big part of the city of Angels. Eventually I started tour guiding and hardly frequented the old stores. But I will always remember those surreal moments.
turn their nose up at the ghetto
But wanna be ghetto fabulous at Fred Segal...
The emperor wears no clothes...
They call 'em Thrift stores off a Highland
& Vintage down on Melrose...
- More on L.A. Letters
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- Beats & Rhymes: Corruption
- From L.A. to Brooklyn and the Majesty of New York
- Beats and Rhymes: The Best Minds of My Generation
- 'Ban This!' and AK Toney's Elegy for Dee Black
- See the L.A. Letters archives
Top: Shopping in Beverly Hills | Photo by St Stev used under a Creative Commons license