Poor Sam

At the corner of Heartbreak Avenue, when the clouds overhead begin to clear,

There lies a girl sitting there, waiting for the bus every day for 3 years:

Poor Sam has passed by the stop and has never seen

In the silence of morning the splendid scene.

 

There’s a text of enchantment; what bothers him? He sees

The bloom of flowers and the budding of leaves on trees:

Spring has come, and with it, the couples too,

Holding hands and taking pictures, memories anew.

 

Cheesy coffee dates he views in the midst of the mall,

Remembering he enjoyed them too, when he was small,

He arrives at the movies, his favorite place to spend his time,

The only place he goes by himself, always a quarter past nine.

 

He looks upon the screen, and his heart in memories that have faded,

The couples look unhappy, the single ones are jaded,

Flowers begin to rot, the clouds begin to form,

The colors have gone dull, he didn’t wear a jacket for the storm.

Review:

The poem above is based on”Poor Susan” by Wordsworth, in an attempt to mimic the rhyme scheme of the original poem while also paying homage to the ideas of romanticism and bittersweet nostalgia. My rendition of “Poor Susan” is meant for the modern audience as well as the simplified version of Romanticism among the youth. The story tells of a man who is oblivious to the opportunities of love; he romanticizes couples and relationships due to theatrical representations of love but ultimately views a film and gets a text that changes his perspective. He starts to see the grim, the faults and imperfections within couples. It’s sort of a slap of reality that hits him in the end that he wasn’t prepared for. This choice was meant to speak to the values of young people in the 21st century who romanticize realtionships and idealize them to an unattainable standard.

-Daniel Corral

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Pasadena, 2017

While I mostly reside in East Los Angeles area, my higher education brought me close to Pasadena; a city that truly holds history, charm, and plenty of old money. I tie this to Wordsworth’s London because it is a city that is starting to get out of control with all of the luxury condos being built and expensive shops like Tiffany and Co., and Tesla, and Apple. Despite the city being a suburb northeast of downtown Los Angeles, homelessness holds a strong foot at many of the lavish retailers that line Colorado Boulevard. Home to Cal Tech, the Norton Simon museum, Neighboring city to NASA JPL, the famous Rose Parade, and the Rose Bowl where the UCLA Bruins play and famous people like Beyoncé perform, are some of the many attractions Pasadena boasts. To me, I have always felt like an outsider when I first would step foot in the city because I commuted in from the rougher Los Angeles area, El Sereno.  To us, it is seen as the close Oasis, and the first real city with white people that drive expensive cars. With that, I express a poem which I free write as I feel it more accurately captures what I felt: overwhelmed, intimidated, inferior, exposed, opportunity, foreign.

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Delightful roses blooming and growing

A record-breaking crowd, flowers they’re throwing

A city dazzling, camera ready, and made to impress

The husband wears a suit, and the wife wears a dress

Not a single dispute with their teen kids that memorable day

because after all, it’s the famous Rose Parade

A day has passed– with smiles and laughs…

now it’s up to someone to clean up this trash

filth is picked up by city workers with tans

The homeless fight one another off for the bottles and cans

Understand, it’s ok because these people have no significance

It sounds ridiculous, but it’s ok because our record sales are killing it

 

-Daniel Estrada

 

Orosi 2017


 

The poem I choose to mirror is William Wordsworth’s London 1802. In the poem I will discuss the idea of the town I was raised needing a mayor and leadership just as Wordsworth  states that Milton was needed in London.

 

 

Mayor! Where are you? where is he when you need him?

This town has been long forgotten

and the agriculture now  smells of rotten

All children are promised an equal opportunity

the case is different for a struggling community

In the summer pick ,pick, pick, cotton

Many fail to see the unity Its’s within

With proper leadership changes of success would not be as slim

Mayor when will you make your entrance

the town lacks leadership

Someone needs to step it up and steer this ship

Oh come help us!

Bring back the orchard essence

There are far too many issues, all too difficult to discuss

 

 

-Luz Zepeda

 

 

 

 

SF 2017

I did an almost line for line rewrite of London 1802. The hardest part was keeping it in iambic pentameter, maintaining wordsworth’s rhyme scheme, and switching to the 11 word/line section in the middle. I feel as though I didn’t have to rewrite much of the poem’s meaning, because so much of it already applies to SF.

SF2017

Get up! Arise awake it’s time to go.

Your world, our land does flood we need your aid

The water sits, the church becomes unmade

Heroic souls have come and gone to show

That lack of wealth a seed to plant and sow

To find true joy we must relinquish our trade

And should we be revived and raised from the shade

With virtue and freedom and power in tow,

You soul was like a star and lived far away

You had a voice not unlike the ocean

As pure and free as pure and free and high as the heaven

And so you did go forth as life led on

In such a cheerful way, and yet your love

Upon herself the worst of life she’d don

 

-Ross Koppel

San Diego, 2017

I decided on trying to mimic Wordsworth’s “London, 1802,” in terms of rhyme scheme and content. I allude to the recent election and prototypes of the wall that will be built just south of San Diego along the border. While Wordsworth is essentially romanticizing the past due to the current events in France, I do so similarly but not too idealistically. I also include some of my nostalgia for past, in terms of how simple it used to be before I grew up. Given our time isn’t exactly in the same situation, the election has affected the Hispanic community in various ways, springing deep fear for their safety, their economic security, and social representation. The murals I mention are that of Chicano Park, a park underneath some bridges in Downtown San Diego that has beautifully painted murals depicting Chicano culture and its most recent addition being a political image. I will attach pictures of the mural below as well as translations to look alongside the poem. As a Chicano myself, my poem displays my thoughts on recent events.

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Youth. Scars of swing sets and sunsets in Spring,

Laughter lifts the likes of lonely people like me.

Rust lines the lockers of a high-school sea,

To that transient tenderness, do I still cling.

Murals move my heart, still aching, still breaking,

Pausing, only to plead my principal plea:

Cease the construction, do not let it be,

He will not divide us, fists still shaking.

Barriers enclose, they do not protect,

Convicted citizens, families deported,

This is for you, a heartbroken ballad,

For the fearful, the exiled, the stolen,

And hatred for the treacherous architect.

Adulthood. Friends and family, never forgotten.

-Daniel Corral

East LA, 2017

For my creative poem I decided to take inspiration from Wordsworth’s London, 1802. While the poem itself does not directly mention my hometown it still has key elements that would apply to my hometown. East Los Angeles is a city that is known for it’s high population of low-income households. For many of its’ residents it can be challenging getting by day-to-day when the opportunities of financial success are close to being nonexistent. The poem underlines a call to God because I wanted to address a highly viewed figure in my community and, at least the way I grew up, God would be the first thing or “solution” I’ve been told would listen. Additionally, the means of production was included in the poem because in a city where its’ citizens have to work nonstop in order to survive it becomes unfair when our “leader” gets to enjoy the benefits of financial success. While our leader enjoys these luxuries there are communities such as my own that have a hard time breaking this cycle of manipulation because it’s unfortunately all we see. Overall, the poem was intended to address that issue and the beginning of the poem was also meant to captivate the audience’s attention. It’s not a literal death occurring but rather a figurative death due to our placement in society. The placement of a community that has difficulties breaking away from our leaders’ policies because it’s what we have grown familiar with.

 

God! When will thee resurrect?

This world is pure chaos; one too many slaughters

A contemporary world full of red waters

So many sins that I can’t correct

Without the possibility of some misdirect.

You may be weary but we are not corrupt

We promise to not be abrupt

What we need now is guidance and equal trust

Because it has gotten too far

One too many scars

So many lives that can be pure

But instead they turn into manure

In a world where our leaders are obscure

About policies that result in destruction

We need to seize the means of production

Before God decides he no longer wants to provide

Any sign of stride in order to survive

 

-Kristy Frausto

South Park, South Los Angeles, 2017

I chose South Los Angeles as the city subject to write my poem on, I chose specifically the neighborhood South Park (not to be confused with the TV series), where I grew up most of my life. The population in that area is divided of mostly minority class such as Latinos and African Americans. But there is a huge division created by the class.  The neighborhood has a park that is named Southpark which I refer to in my poem, which is seen as an escape way for both troubled kids as well as trouble adults and it has been stagnated in this cycle that the poverty is seen as normal. Not so far from this neighborhood is the private University of Southern California (USC), where their environment is in a bubble, away from the true nature of the neighborhood of South Los Angeles. If only there were more interactions with the neighboring communities they could bridge a better community and dismantle the class race.  So In order to express this idea I tried to imitate Wordsworth’s “London, 1802” sonnet form that can look back at how race and possibly even class wars can lead to something like the Rodney King Riot that occurred in the year 1992.

South Park, A South Los Angeles neighborhood landmark.      

Filled with Childhood laughter,

But fade away in the dark after.

Homeless and drunks conquer those nights

While in the day… they are still in sight.

What else is there to say?

Well, money’s in the way.

Not all races are considered pedestrians.

Private knowledge is there as an offer

But only at a price.

Lines are drawn for pedestrians to suffer

Still, 1% want minorities to be nice.

Still, they are told the be tougher.

Enrique Ramos

Santa Barbara, 2017

The city I choose to write about was Santa Barbara, my hometown. I remember a romanticized version of the place I grew up: one that was clean and quiet. Every time I go back I am always disillusioned because it seems like there’s always a new building up, the streets are dirtier and more crowded. I would just like to preface with I am terrible at writing poems, but I did my best to stick to Wordsworth’s “London, 1802” Petrarchan sonnet form. It’s not iambic pentameter, so I apologize in advance.

 

I once knew a harbor: humble, quiet and blue;

Where the sun’s celestial rays shone on

Clean streets, palm trees, the freshly cut green lawn;

State street and the beach were pristine and new

One could roam about downtown with the crew

And see familiar faces, a neighbor

Oh! raise us up, return to us once more;

Give us that once beautiful haven too

Too littered is the ground I now walk upon

Stoges and cracked bottles scatter on the street

Sinful heathens who gnaw my town like meat

They steal its beauty, not caring it’s wrong.

This evil plague is something we must beat.

 

-Sara Nuila-Chae

San Francisco, 2017

For my poem I drew inspiration from William Wordsworth’s “London, 1802”,  because like Wordsworth, I too see the city I love changed be for me. Wordsworth saw London gert transformed by the Industrial revolution. This rapid growth was fueled by child labor and coal. due to London 700% increase in population homelessness grew rampant as well as the class divide. the Tech boom from the Silicon Valley has been causing San Francisco to change and experience a further class divide like Wordsworth illustrates in “London, 1802”.  So, by producing this poem, it show me that some of societal issues that Wordsworth sees in london in the 1802 still exist today. I attempted to show how San Francisco’s culture has been altered by the high tech industrialization, but also, their still are communities that remain unchanged. I tried to show how polar opposite San Francisco can be, by placing this poem lf in Chinatown and then in the embarcadero. These two area of San Fran are completely different due to the difference in class.

 

Crowded markets, to get counter service, wave the big bills.

They speak broken english, but fluent in the green.

Pound of greasy cheap chow mein, slammed in rat riddled allies.

Fortune cookie factory neighboring a halfway house.

Every store, just ask for firework and knifes.

Selling product made in their Homeland.

Resisted assimilation, and now

Their culture and community attracts the onlookers.

Graffiti marks every block.

Graffiti in 2 languages.

But in 5 blocks.

Everything changes.

tech yuppies drink 15 buck brews.

On private patios overlooking both bridges.

Oblivious of their impact.

And Oblivious of the displacement.

The city on the bay.

So, diverse and iconic.

But, this new money has changed you,

It worries me but, I still call you home.

 

-Conor Morgan

The Intertwining of Universal Chance

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For my response, I propose to look at The Monk by the Sea (1809), by artist Caspar David Friedrich, and The Idiot Boy, by William Wordsworth (1800). I chose these two completely at random because I truly believe that all interpretations have merit, especially those which you allow to develop sporadically. To explain further, romanticism seems to be all about blending. It’s kind of a hot mess or art and literature that’s overlapping and colliding with one another to form this beautiful Hodge-podge of “savage” “normalcy.” Why can’t a story about an idiot boy be poetic? Why can’t a monk standing all alone by the sea be romantic? I would argue that anything (really, anything) can be both poetic and romantic. Therefore, these pieces were chosen at random and their intertwining is simply by the elements of universal chance.

To accomplish this close reading, I would like to direct your attention to page 247, lines 288 – 306, which read:

“And now she’s high upon the down, / Ad she can see a mile of road, / “Oh, cruel! I’m almost three-score; / Such night as this was ne’er before / There’s not a single soul abroad.” / She listens, but she cannot hear / The foot of horse, the voice of man; / The streams with softest sound are flowing, / The grass you almost hear it growing / You hear it now if e’er you can. / The owlets through the long blue night / Are shouting to each other still: / Fond lovers, yet not quite hob nob, / They lengthen out the tremulous sob, / That echoes far from hill to hill. / Poor Betty now has lost all hope, / Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin; / A green-grown pond she just has pass’d, / And from the brink she hurries fast, / Lest she should drown herself therein.”

In this section you can clearly see how this painting could be representing the scene depicted with “Poor Betty.” Firstly, Betty can see “a mile of road.” This implies that the world is still open, or stretched out in front of her. However, she remarks this sort of openness is actually mockingly “cruel” as there is “not a single soul abroad.” Not relying solely on her sight, “she listens” and yet she “cannot hear” any one either, further developing this sense of loneliness or isolation. Not only does she not hear “the voice of man,” but she also does not hear “the foot of horse.” This implies that not only is she removed from social society, but also the companionship of animals. Alas, she cannot even hear “grass” “growing,” even though in this moment of complete silence and isolation she should be able to “hear it now if e’er you can.” This depicts, like the painting, a further remove of loneliness and isolation. Just like in the image, even nature is barren and discomforting.

When at last Betty does hear something, it is the “shouting” of “owlets.” It’s interesting to note, she does not hear owls, but their younger, immature counterparts. This sets up the dynamic that even if Betty is able to reintegrate into society, she will be like a child, incapable of interacting in a mature and fully formed manner. This concept is continued in the lines “fond lovers, yet not quite hob nob.” This implies that the lovers are premature, not fully connected or familiar yet. Still, this implies distance, even between lovers, who should be the closest of companions and the cure to loneliness. The next sound heard is an imagined one of a sobbing so “tremulous” that it “echoes far from hill to hill.” This again points out the vastness of unoccupied space, as does the image, and drives home the singular nature of isolation.

In the final stanza, we find out what is the result of all this isolation: “Poor Betty now has lost all hope.” It goes on further to say, “Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin.” Although here, one may assume she is contemplating on past wrongs, it become obvious in the next few lines that her thoughts are actually “bent” towards a literally “deadly sin,” that of suicide. Just as in the image, Betty is faced with a “green-grown pond.” While in the poem, she “hurries fast” “from the brink,” the image captures the moment in which the decision to live has not yet been made. It captures the extreme levels of depression caused by isolation, and the desire to “drown herself therein.”

Like in the poem, the image seems to depict a very melancholy, almost inviting or accepting disposition. The lone monk and poor Betty do not seem frazzled, but calm, as though they have a deep-rooted desire “become one with nature” and thus leave behind the life of the living (the constraints and cruelty of society). In the painting, this idea of life and death being in balance, in a yin-yang type cycle, is depicted through the use of colors in the image. The monk’s head (or upper body) matches that of the sand (the lower portion of the image), whereas his robes match the water. This conveys the concept if only he would upend his life, and enter into death, then full unity could be achieved.

However, this concept of ultimate oneness, or inclusion through separation is such a terrifying thought not only for those living in the romantic era, but for people alive today that it’s not surprising that when confronted with the option of embracing death, poor Betty flees from the brink. The absoluteness of death, for many is a terrifying concept and I believes keeps many running in an endless cycle of desperation, past the brink, wishing perhaps to slip into the depths, but being too frighted and uncertain to drown themselves therein.

Elle Lammouchi