Laurel Ann Bogen is the author of ten books of poetry and short fiction including Washing a Language; Fission; The Last Girl in the Land of the Butterflies; The Burning; Do Iguanas Dance, Under the Moonlight? and Rag Tag We Kiss. From 1996 until 2002 she was literary curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she coordinated the Writers in Focus poetry series and co-authored a grant sponsored by Poets and Writers, linking the museum’s education department with Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center to create a writers-in-residence program. She has been an instructor of poetry and performance for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program since 1990 and is well known for her lively readings. Selected “Best Female Poet/Performer” by the L.A. Weekly in their Best of L.A. issue and a founding member of the acclaimed poetry performance troupe, Nearly Fatal Women, Bogen has read/performed in venues as diverse as Cornell University, The Savannah College of Art and Design, The Knitting Factory (NYC), The DA Center for the Arts, The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, The Museum of Contemporary Art and LACE. The recipient of the Curtis Zahn Poetry Prize from the Pacificus Foundtion and two awards from the Academy of American Poets, her work has appeared in over 100 literary magazines and anthologies including The Misread City, California Poetry From The Gold Rush to the Present, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Stand-Up Poetry: An Expanded Anthology, The Maverick Poets, Poetry Loves Poetry, Grand Passion, Gargoyle, Rattapallax, Pearl, Solo, Bakunin, Yellow Silk, Mississippi Mud, Jacaranda Review, Los Angeles Times and Chiron Review.

Vocation of the Chair

It longs to be the one
who holds you, keeps you
from falling, its curved legs
shapely as a bride.
The chair that would be saint.
martyr, acolyte. Your little
sins of omission and false pride
cannot sway it -- the chair believes
in you. It grows taller in the dark.
Soon it will fill the room,
its cushion of praise all you need
in the crude and faithless light.


Psychosis in the Produce Department

It is all
too much
rub red
against the flesh.
There is danger
in their eyes
as the carts
chart collision courses.
Killers are everywhere,
mushrooms disguise
as evolution.

I keep the juices intact,
encased in animal skin.
We pick out food
for ripeness and color.
The cucumbers smirk
and beckon.
My veins pop
like grapes between fingers.
I wheel metal
through bins.


Washing a Language

Scrub the pitted roll-call
naming of parts
voiced in smoke and honey
or chattering wildly
never enough never enough

Bleach and soap and rinse
cold water to soak the stained
vowels -- you cannot make crisp
linen from a polyester blend

and I call myself that
throw out your microscope
the unrepentant bacteria are everywhere
an amoebaed city teems
in the dictionary of your brain
midnight laundry
what hope is there then
for absolution?
Fold, stack
(goddamn the rinse cycle's
love of those adulterous detergents)


Laurel Ann Bogen Moonday poetry reading

© 2007 Laurel Ann Bogen

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