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LYNNE THOMPSON: Hello! My name is Lynne Thompson, Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles and I’m so happy to welcome listeners to this installment of Poems on Air, a podcast supported by the Los Angeles Public Library. Every week, I’ll present the work of poets I admire, poets who you should know, and poets who have made a substantial and inimitable contribution to the art and craft of poetry.
LYNNE THOMPSON: Alongside prize-winning poet Patricia Smith, I had the honor of editing the 29th issue of the Southern California journal Spillway. We were proud to publish poets writing in California and beyond, one of those being Chloe Martinez. Martinez is a scholar of South Asian religions and the Program Coordinator for the Center for Writing and Public Discourse at Claremont McKenna College. She is currently at work on her first monograph, a book on religion and autobiography in pre-modern and modern South Asia.
LYNNE THOMPSON: Today’s poem is "To the Fossils Embedded in the Floor of the Met’s Medieval Galleries" by Chloe Martinez
To the Fossils Embedded in the Floor of the Met’s Medieval Galleries
patterned curls in dark stone portals in your time you were common as anything pampered the prehistoric seafloor in my time my parents pointed you out I stood in the middle of the hallway delighted, nine, people parted like waves around me they were heading for the angels and the damask-canopied beds and I with my magpie eyes moved inefficiently through the world looked down at the secret treasures in the floor stared out the window at a branch watched the baby sculpture reach up for Mary’s nipple and in the wood-paneled studio inspected the trompe-l’oeil parrot for a feather-rustle all these things held equal importance nautilus, trilobite, ancient cone: I never passed you with wanting to stop strangers and reveal you right under their feet your ocean / your soft body / that time many lifetimes gone
LYNNE THOMPSON: The Los Angeles Poet Laureate was created as a joint program between the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Public Library and this podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening!
- Back to Poems on Air: Episode 44
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