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This recording of my poem, "I Am Alive in Los Angeles!" is the remix produced by Chris "Presto" Douglas. Founder of Concrete Grooves, Presto is best known for his 2008 album "State of the Art." Influenced by DJ Premier and Pete Rock, his execution on this version is a Southern California summertime mix akin to War's "All Day Music." PhiLLHarmonic has a verse in the middle that's punctuated by his line, "Third world pockets in first-world nations, L.A.'s got me gassed up like a station."
Being alive in Los Angeles means driving. It means having friends in a hundred neighborhoods. Every day I figure 8 my way thru the blood & bones of the city. I love geography - these journeys invigorate me. Connecting the dots is what I like to do, from the hilltop parties to the Watts Towers, North Long Beach to Frogtown, there's so much flavor - landscapes & characters. I love it all.
Over the years I've zig-zagged the L.A. region with meticulous precision, and to this day I still find new pockets. Los Angeles is a puzzle to me that I have spent my life putting together. Somewhere along the journey I started writing it all down so I could remember.
Being alive in Los Angeles means heat waves in December, countless afternoons eating some incredibly spicy food and loving every minute of it.
The real Los Angeles is enjoying home-cooked meals in backyard bungalows from Glassell Park to Cudahy, Huntington Beach to Inglewood. Carne Asada, Sushi, Pho, Falafel. 213, 323, 310, 562, 714, 626. I soak it up like a sponge. I am alive in LOS Angeles!!
where the angles change like isosceles.
undulate across massive landscape
moving from chain-link to palatial gates into
separate economic states with rising birth rates
below hilltops in the streetscapes.
One can barely even equivocate
the fluctuations in rent so evident
all across from block to block to block.
Extravagance and adversity interlock:
Palatial spots, cross walks, burrito shops,
housekeepers hanging out at bus stops,
the Country Club's all walled off.
The city's blowing up like a molotov
even when I'm in the shower I hear the horns honk.
I am Alive in Los Angeles!
- Growing Up in the L.A. Underground
- Beats and Rhymes: Dancin' Times
- Writers, Riots & the Expo Line
- L.A. Letters Guide to Finding Poetry in Los Angeles, Part Two
- See the L.A. Letters archives
More on L.A. Letters:
Top: Los Angeles at Night by Mozul used under a Creative Commons license
- A Los Angeles Primer
- Arrival Stories
- Block by Block
- Engaging Spaces
- Green Justice
- I Am Los Angeles