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Rick Lupert has been involved in the Los Angeles poetry community since 1990. He served for two years as a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets, a twenty-three year old non-profit organization which produces a regular reading series and publications out of the San Fernando Valley. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, including The Los Angeles Times, "Chiron Review", "Zuzu's Petals", "Caffeine Magazine", "Blue Satellite" and others. He is the author of nine books: Paris: It's The Cheese, I Am My Own Orange County, Mowing Fargo, I'm a Jew. Are You?, Stolen Mummies (Ain't Got No Press), Lizard King of the Laundromat, Brendan Constantine is My Kind of Town (Inevitable Press), Feeding Holy Cats and Up Liberty's Skirt (Cassowary Press). He serves on the Artist and Community Advisory Council of Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, California. (Though he's not sure how that happened or what it means.) He has hosted the long running Cobalt Café reading series in Canoga Park since 1994 and is regularly featured at venues throughout Southern California. Rick created and maintains the Poetry Super Highway, a major internet resource for poets. ( Currently Rick works as a music teacher at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge and the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, as well as at Hillel of Pierce and Valley Colleges as the Assistant Director. He is engaged to Addie Schonbach, a recent import from Kansas City, MO.

How Close Was Mars?

Mars was so close you could see it next
to the moon like they were conjoined.

So close I had to duck when walking up the stairs.
Mars was so close sixty-six thousand years of

history dropped in my late summer bucket like
Los Angeles rain. Mars knocked on my door

last night. Said, in a hurried fashion
"Get the hell out of my way," Mars

You're so close, the property values are changing.
You want a glass of water Mars? It's a trick

Question. The scientists made me ask it.
Mars, a seed fell off your surface and landed in

our atmosphere. A strange tree sprouted and
grew as tall as a dozen fire hydrants. Mars,

you were so close the new gravity uprooted
that tree and it fell back to you. We're building

a chunnel to you Mars. Will you visit? Would
you like some potato chips? Don't answer!

The knowledge would give us an unfair advantage.
Mars, I remember when you were a smidgen,

a twinkle, a bissel. A pinpoint of red, just left
of the moon. Just a pinch of you in the sky

giving confidence to the Hungarians. We clutch
our telescopes under our beds Mars

hoping you'll think we're not home. We're out
eating goulash, we're not worth coming so close

Jewel of Sherman Oaks  

for Addie

You are the healthy mushroom of my late Friday afternoon
The kitty kitty kitty sleeping on my stomach
the loofa loofa sponge in the shower

You make it so I can go to Disneyland every day
cook me pasta filled with green protein

You and your comrade take my poetry
and my guitar picks. You glue them together
like art made from crumpled buildings

Your hair and legs
your shakes and noises

You may never take out the garbage
but you shouldn't be co-mingling
with the garbage anyway

You lizard lover
shaker maker
bed spooner

occasional cabinet closer
the heat of my apartment
the Jewel of Sherman Oaks

© 2004 Rick Lupert


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