scarecrow poetics/essays

Sunday, March 19, 2006


After Richard Hell in West Hollywood...

For Michelle Murufas

It’s coolish outside standing on the street—fall night
in West Hollywood—but the little bookstore in which
we just saw Richard Hell read from his novel GODLIKE
is hot and stuffy

So, not wanting to go back into the cramped airless bookstore
to stand in the long line to get our copies signed,
we walk down the street a ways to this bar we saw on the
way to the reading—where we sit on the patio so Michelle
can smoke—and order draft beers and a plate of fries, which
we’re enjoying as out of the corners of our eyes we watch
1960s-era Bob Dylan sing on the giant Tower Records video screen
across the street, while we talk warm and personal about things
that really matter to us, like why love has hurt us so much and how
we’re somehow moving on from this pain and I think about
how surreal the Richard Hell-enormous Bob Dylan-
West Hollywood night probably is, even though
I’m not really noticing this because the conversation Michelle and I
are engaged in is so easy and truthful and without pretension
that it’s actually drowning out fucked up Hollywood,
actually emerging as something that’s usually impossible:
everyday life triumphing over myth …

“Do you want another beer?” I ask Michelle

She does not, but I do, so I order one from the
silly L.A. blonde waitress who I can tell is
a little annoyed by the fact that I care only about
Michelle at this moment and am not noticing her bleached
“beauty” which she needs to be sure is so much more attractive
than Michelle’s coffee-and-cigarettes post-punk pallor,
while I feel happy because I’m so locked into this
conversation with Michelle and also because the waitress
is interested in me enough to be jealous and because
everything is just so perfect that I wouldn’t change one
moment of the simple humanity we’re somehow discovering
in ourselves on Sunset Boulevard of all places …

Richard Woodard © 2006.

ROB WOODARD was born in Anaheim, California in 1964 and raised mostly in the nearby Long Beach area. After graduating high school, he dropped in and out of various community colleges and worked mostly in restaurants in southern California, Hawaii, and Australia, while taking breaks to wander aimlessly across big swaths of the globe. During these years he wrote consistently in search of his voice as a writer. Frustrated by his lack of progress, he returned to school and eventually obtained bachelors and masters degrees in anthropology from California State University, Long Beach. After a brief stint as a college professor, he returned to working in restaurants and writing. Burning Shore Press recently published Heaping Stones, his first novel. What Love Is, his second novel, is scheduled to be released by the same house in the summer/early fall of 2006. He is currently writing poetry, book reviews, and a journal.



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