Jerry Garcia
        Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jerry Garcia began writing poetry in the 90’s. He is now a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets; his work has appeared in Poetic Diversity as well as many other publications, and his chapbook is called Hitchhiking with the Guilty. Jerry’s work is quintessentially LA; it both emulates and disdains the glittery meretricious world of the Valley and the West Side. It is also quintessentially male, though in one of his poems he finds a place to admire a transvestite over all the real women in a market. He writes and reads with passion. I hope he won’t mind if I quote from his wonderful essay “Why Poetry?” published in Poetic Diversity. I would recommend reading the whole essay. Here is how he starts:
        On most days I wake up and ask “Where am I and how did I get here?” After a hot shower and hot coffee, I even ask the poignant question, “Where am I going?”
        I am age 52, balding, graying, and growing in girth. I am trying to balance a career in motion picture post-production with my life as a husband and father. These grownup duties produce a sometimes-harrowing schedule of deadlines and impediments. Despite the weight of responsibility, I am enjoying a new adolescence.
        As a poetry student, I follow contemporary poet geniuses such as Laurel Ann Bogen and Michael C Ford. I take inspiration from the likes of Ferlinghetti, Corso, Levine, and Collins. I run with a crowd of artists that are either young enough to be my children or old enough to be my parents. On this journey, I write poetry, recite poetry, and listen to poetry in the Los Angeles scene. I study what is good, ignore what is bad, and encourage the other serious student’s of poetry who ride at my side.
        On neat bound pages, on the Internet screen, through sibilant sound systems, so many words fabricate so many images that I wonder if I should really be adding to the din. Do I really need to be a poet? In the dry-eyed, nasal congestion of my morning rituals, I shout a resounding “Yes!”


Shopping While Fifty

The temptation row
of alcohol and ice-cream
are under lock and key
at the Salvation Supermarket.
A transvestite’s figure looks
better than all the women
in the produce aisle
and spent lottery tickets
slither under my slippery soles.

By the frozen peas
I thought I saw a woman smile at me,
but Botox had shaped her wrinkles
into a permanent grin,
the cold had made her proud
and my hunger led me on.

Now, I wait at the check-out stand
of no regret
fighting the urge to go back
and squeeze some fruit.



First published in Poetic Diversity.


2010 Jerry Garcia
Jerry Garcia was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the January 2010
Second Sunday Poetry Series.