Featured Poems in Mar Vista, CA

Hey there readers!

Since we'eve all been enjoying the last few weeks of summer, we'eve been spending more time outdoors than writing at the office! That being said, some amazing news has just been announced, and I'm happy to share that three of my poems are now featured as art installations at different bus shelters around the city of Mar Vista within Los Angeles! 

Here are some pics of one of the installments along Venice Blvd. 

Poem 2 out 3, entitled "Mother Sandra"

Poem 2 out 3, entitled "Mother Sandra"

Awesome to see my name and poetry group featured on the street! 

Awesome to see my name and poetry group featured on the street! 

These poems are part of an initiative aimed at celebrating and honoring the transgender community throughout Los Angeles. I was originally commissioned to write a short story about the subject, which was to be put on display in chapters, but as things developed, we all agreed that poetry would be a better outlet for readers on-the-go. 

We began this project at the start of 2018 and it's a tremendous feeling to finally see it in action. I owe a special thank you to Lenore French from GCI Initiative who helped organize the process, and also to Gus Harper who provided original murals to accompany each poem. Here is the flip-side of the bus shelter that showcases his work:

Check out more of Gus's work on his Instagram: @gusharperart

Check out more of Gus's work on his Instagram: @gusharperart

In addition to the project, Mar Vista has been kind enough to feature me in a introductory video with local councilman Mike Bonin. We got a chance to discuss the work and explain its purpose to the community! To check out the video, click this link. 

Finally, I just found today that I was also included in the city's newsletter that provides a rundown of new programs and projects happening within the community. I was asked several questions about how I got involved with the arts scene on the Westside of LA and how my non-profit (pspoets.org) provides opportunities for new and experienced writers around the world. I hope that you can check it out to learn more about the power of poetry and how it can help bring people together. 

If you're interested in reading all 3 poems of the project, take a look below and let me know your thoughts! As society seems to split further apart, taking the time to understand others and develop new ways of acceptance is important. I hope that these poems will resonate with you and become inspiration for expanding your worldview.  Plus, the next time to ride down Venice Blvd. on your bike, you'll have something new to appreciate! 

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more awesome projects and content.

Alexa/Alex

When I dream,
it is not who I am
in my waking life.

There are no breasts,
curves, slender neck
and shoulders—

but hair coils short
above my ears. 
Biceps rounded
into thick forearms.

Voice rumbles low,
a frog balloons, hops back
into the water and croaks.

Bubbles rise and percolate.
There is a thunder in my feet.
I pound instead of strut.

My mother calls
from another room.
Will you try this one on?
It’s perfect for you.

Then I wake up
and stare at the pink
dress she has laid out. 

 

Mother Sandra

When she was born,
the nurse wrapped her
in a pink blanket.

Eyes barely open,
fingers curled into
fists, she wouldn’t
sleep.

A day later, 
we went home
and tried to quiet
her down.

Lullabies, toys, rocking
chairs, food—only cries.

I felt like a failure. 

Only a few days in, 
and I didn’t know
how to help her. 

Soon after,
the pink blanket
was shades darker. 

We threw it in the wash
and pulled a blue throw
from the closet.

I unfolded it and set it down
next to her in the crib. 

She turned over—
nothing but stillness. 

To this day,
she still refuses
to wear pink. 
 

 

Clashes

A yellow moon
hangs low over
Venice.

Lavender skies,
purple buildings flecked
with starlight and passing
cars. 

Alex stands on the boardwalk
waiting for Sandra to catch up.

The waves below tumble
against the pier. Vibrations
jolt through the floor.

Sweetheart,
why did you run away like that?

On Abbot Kinney, 
Alexa was asked to model
an outfit—a pink dress
with white checkers. 

Sandra held it in front
of the mirror while Alexa stood
behind.

I know you don’t wear
things like this, but maybe
you can try it for me?

But then Alex thought,
its always been for her. 

She’s not the one
dreaming, she’s not the one
pretending. Why can’t she
try for me?

Suddenly, a man walks by
wearing blue jeans, high-tops,
black jacket, a beanie—
he passes Alex and nods.

Honey, please talk to me.
What can I do to help you? 

Alex looks at Sandra,
then looks over the railing
into the water—

Help me wake up.

 

-Chase Maser