I just came across the work of a poet who was born in Tarzana. Her name is Iris Cushing, and here is her bio:
“Iris Marble Cushing was born in Tarzana, California. In 2011, she was a writer-in-residence at Grand Canyon National Park. Iris is an editor for Argos Books in Brooklyn, and for Circumference, a journal of poetry in translation.”
Here is her poem “Twain” from the online literary journal Two Serious Ladies:
It is Sunday evening
You’ve been out
Whose hood did you pop
Whose coozie sleeved your Bud
while rigs whistled down I-10 unheard
Whose truck has your lawn been under
Whose screen door have you sprained
Whose fingers tangled your fringe
From whose lacy things have you come un stained
Whose braids have you un done
while I was asleep out in the bed
Whose field have your boots been under
Whose longhorn has your rodeo circuitry
or prize belt your buckle cinctured
Whose boots burnt skinsnake garters
moongut skyhigh mindshaft
For all the barbs in a wire mile
Who’s been tanned by the same sun
that done tanned you
Here’s another poem of Cushing’s that I like very much. It’s from a “Poet’s Sampler” of her work in the prestigious Boston Review. I like that the poem takes the Western movie genre as its theme and MO. (See my earlier post titled “Tarzana Is A Dead-End Western,” which gives Tarzana the Western treatment.)
Start with a Western:
Thunder in the Sun or The Searchers.
A horseback fight scene:
cowboys in a dust shroud settling a score.
Start with that, and omit the guns:
Arms outstretched, men gesture with hooked fingers.
They squint first, and jolt when they seize the air.
Then omit the cowboys.
The horses run from each other, swerving their long heads.
A bronc the color of polished oak disappears into a canyon.
Omit the horses.
Omit the pressed shoeprints, hooved echoes.
A tumbleweed cushions its empty center;
the cliffs are warehouses containing their exteriors.
The river valley moves into distance.
The sun sets.
There’s wind that carries the smell of something living.
Your shadow, proof of your depth,
spills from your feet to fill the place it falls.
Then, omit the landscape.