Beats and Rhymes: The Emperor Wears No Clothes

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

"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...


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...

Story continues below


The majority of our funding comes from individuals like you. In addition to our many shows both streaming online and broadcasting to your television, we are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Many online journalism sites are moving to paid subscription models. We feel that it's important to continue to serve southern California and beyond with coverage of arts & culture, news, and extra stories to support our programs.

Public media stations need your support more than ever. Please, become a Member today and help us continue to serve you.