Ed Rosenthal: “Landlady”
I can’t get a straight answer from her but I don’t mind
my mind being bent by beautiful turns of phrase
Quilts of words with soft stich less edges wrapped
in overlapping designs from one side to the other.
Word bouquets imitate petals bent in the breeze
crinkle like the pink edged white roses
she grows that carry the eyes away and back,
away and back from sheltered green hedges.
I don’t care if I get a straight answer all day
gives me time to peruse her giant desk glossary
Let her pretend distraction by her workers
whom she runs like a Catholic Nun with a ruler
that I wished was applied to me if I only had gone
back sixty years erasing the business corridors
and the engineering obsessed technical academy
and metamorphized to a girl in Catholic school?
Then when I’m ten and had fully studied Mythology
History and Judeo-Christian Spirituality, I’d see
a silly boy like I was riding his bicycle hard along the
black wire fences in a web of spokes and shadows.
I’d know what type of trick question to ask myself
Just like she does, seemingly simple but devious,
Tricky but not odious, not malicious but ensnaring.
Something like this, I’d ask the silly boy:
“Boy, do you think you can catch the sun like that?”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Unlike giants of 20th Century Modernism such as Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot, businessmen who kept their day jobs at a seeming distance from their poetry, Ed Rosenthal “Poet/Broker of Downtown Los Angeles was known for successfully integrating his writing and real estate. Poet Broker presented real estate issues in classical verse as his concerns ran from social justice issues to the practicality of closing deals. The Wall Street Journal published a series of his rhyming couplets in which he admonished short sited developers. LA Times cited his “Poetic Request for an Extension of Escrow” as an important contributor to DTLA redevelopment. Ed was the only poet to be published in the prestigious Urban Land Magazine where he penned two poems raising the concerns of minority contractors and the needs for affordable housing. His performance poetry at public events reached a peak in his peon to Lula Washington Dance Theatre, delivered to three thousand listeners at the Orpheum Theater in DTLA in 2002. The survival of a harrowing near-death experience in the Mojave Desert in 2010 abruptly altered his focus away from economics toward the spiritual realm. The change is beautifully memorialized in his poetry manuscript “The Desert Hat” Published by Moonrise Press his series of nature poems for the Sierra Club and pieces in local anthologies Altadena Poetry Review and Beyond the Lyric Moment.
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