Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Going with the Flow.

Sometimes I think the researching is nearly as much fun as the writing. I'm working on my series of "Eve in L.A." poems and got to the section on the L.A. River and came across a great essay, written by a landscape architect. Am digging his writing as much as anything--now I just have to figure out how to steal--er, adapt--it to verse:
Though there is strong advocacy for the river's renewal and restoration, there is as yet little constituency for understanding the river as it is and as it will be in the future, for the infrastructural sublime, for the freakological, for the river as artifact. Certainly, it is unfair to compare our river to the popular Edenic conception of "river," with all its associated expectations and tidy bourgeois sentimentalities. Rather, we must reassess the very definition of "river," expanding our idea of "nature" to include the parrot, the shopping cart, the weed, the sludge mat, and the stormdrain apartment. We must develop new narratives and vocabularies for our vital urban freakologies for these are the ecologies of the future.
--David Fletcher, "Flood Control Freakology: Los Angles River Watershed" in The Infrastructural City: Networked Ecologies in Los Angeles

He had me at "river as artifact," although, man, that part about the parrot (which roost all over my poems right now) is amazing stuff.

Next, I get to read about the gravel pits of the San Gabriel Valley: "Irwindale's 9.5 square miles are a hodgepodge of margins, non-places, and land not wanted by the neighboring cities of Duarte, Azusa, Baldwin Park, and El Monte" (Matthew Coolidge, "Margins in Our Midst: Gravel"). Can't you just hear the poetry?