Beats and Rhymes: The Emperor Wears No Clothes

"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.

In the city of fantasy too many ignore reality...
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...

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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.

Bourgeois bohemians drinking espresso
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...

Top: Shopping in Beverly Hills | Photo by St Stev used under a Creative Commons license

About the Author

Third-generation Angeleno Mike "The Poet" Sonksen is a poet, journalist, historian, tour guide, and teacher.
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