Stories from the Community: Sprawlsong

Each month KCET Departures features a community initiative in which we ask our readers for submissions on a particular topic. So far we've asked for stories about skateboarding, punk rock, and poems for National Poetry Month, to name just a few of our initiatives. We are currently running The Power of Place: Map Your L.A. contest.

Although the deadline for some of the contests have passed and not every month can be dedicated to the art of prose, you can continue to send us your stories--we want to provide an outlet for anyone with an interesting story (or poem) that they'd like to share. Each week we will highlight a story that you may have missed, or that have never been published.

This week we feature a previous unpublished poem submitted to us by performance poet E. Amato. She is a member of the 2011 Los Angeles Slam Team and her first poetry collection Swimming Through Amber was published in 2010.

E. Amato - Sprawlsong

I'm like a flea on a bar
looking for a little sugar
in the form of spilled alcohol.
I am hungry. And seem to have all the wrong notions of what might fill me.

In this town without sensuality
where girls look like boys with two knobs added
to be tweaked for better reception
from its inception a place of curved lines
straightened in defiance of nature and Time
A swig of moonshine
chosen over aged fine wine.

Time is the Enemy.

Welcome to L.A.
where streets named sunset
lie promises of suns rising
ripening lives to star fruition
pretty girls drive leased melodies
over syncopated potholes
faces worth a thousand tunes being
nickel-and-dimed by streetlife
Makes you wonder what relax might feel like

But the pretty girls get it injected right out
before they fade
so many sad wanderers
looking for endless donna summers
and waves of 15 minute fame cruising curves
dangerous for pretty boy on benders
driving porsches and benzes

mid-season replaced by endless
low speed chases on fallacious freeways
feeble foreplay to thrusting Mattel plastic legs
above generic shallow heads
to obtain maximum angle and depth

B-side to the citysong
I never wrote to my old lover Manhattan
instead I just cover Luscious Jackson
When I'm about to go crazy that I'm still living here

Where frustration's got me on speed dial
calling me up while I'm in traffic,
or working for scraps,
tying my loose ends in knots
'til I'm stealing toothpicks from sushi places
to carve out my own happiness like I
am some kind of joy archaeologist
Meanwhile over at Spago...

fine meals reflux their way
through restaurant plumbing
numbing taste buds.

I have a hunger. Hunger for slow.

Slow walk down a street with indigenous smells

San Gennaro festival sausage & pepper heroes
fried dough leaves lips powdery sugared-sweet
ready to be kissed and tasted
a world scented and to be savoured
not instantly replicated base needs sated,
yet never truly satiated.

I am hungry for anything that matters.

Hungry for irreplaceable
for traces of tarnish in the corners of bright & shiny
that want to share with me their little stories
of lost luster and heartpieces left behind.

Hungry for any story that says
not everyone and everything is interchangeable
that defies this cultural social emotional Alzheimer's
that makes happiness forever unattainable
leaving me hungry for something that exists,
has existed and goes through changes
has some dynamic range to it
doesn't keep eyeing me
like a total stranger.

I am lost
in a landscape afraid to touch
afraid of lips that kiss and spit
hips that course and sway
breasts for which nobody paid.

Maybe it's all gotta be so straight
cause the people are so crooked.

What do I know?
I'm just a flea on a bar
looking for a little sugar
in the form of spilled alcohol.

I am hungry
and seem to have all the wrong notions
of what might fill me.

Previously on Stories from the Community:

Do you have a story to share? Tell us here. Visit our community page for more opportunities to share via initiatives and contests.


'Dreamscapes' by D.J. Waldie


'West Side Life' by Christianna Rheinhardt