Bea Garth   © 2015 All Rights Reserved

            after Larry Levis

“Almost everyone is born a genius and buried an idiot.”

You can’t find me now. You’ll just bother
the guy in his teal house on Longwood Ave
near the 10 freeway
who wishes the kid who
used to get his ass kicked in that old bathroom
didn’t get so damned famous.

That wasn’t home anyway, I was always
at the LA Central library, losing myself
in torrents of words penned by men who had articulated
the unlit halls of my future.

If I was still around, it would be in the red/blue lights
scrimshawing shadows among the broken glass
spread over the Santa Monica Freeway at night like confetti at a wedding,
the great wide glittering miracle of us.

I’d be in the screeching engine rubbing itself raw,
the threadbare carpets in Hollywood apartments,
the spider rebuilding the web the teenagers keep burning.

I wouldn’t be in the grace said before meals, in morning papers, ball games,
or anyplace else where beauty is confined.

I went back to the Longwood house once as an old man and wrote
about the beatings, sitting in the same bathroom
where the world lifted its mask.
I haven’t returned there since, but I’m sure the paint still peels,
the grout’s still perforated like my skin, and that door still won’t close tight.
The smeared windows are my eyes, dulled with time
and defined by the way the light frames the damage
into something strange and beautiful.


Todd Follett
Copyright © 2015  

Todd Follett is currently enrolled in the MFA Writing program at the University of San Francisco. His previously published work includes an interview with the poet Alan Kaufman titled, “The Necessity of Outlaws,” which appeared in Switchback.

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