Scott C. Kaestner's Angeleno A Go Go
"Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles," said Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect who designed the lovely and sinister-looking Hollyhock House situated in Barnsdall Art Park, right in the heart of Hollywood, the cinema (formerly) epicenter of Los Angeles. Landing on the side can gift one with a unique perspective, as the Beats discovered by turning poetry on its proverbial ear. Scott Kaester's new collection Angeleno A Go Go (2006 Wasteland Press) continues in this tradition.
Kaestner weaves simple, lyrical rhythms with metaphysical observation to express his deep infatuation for the weird, fractious, and labyrinthine nature that is Los Angeles. As a poet and L.A. resident, Kaestner paints a portrait of L.A. that is earthy, but magnetizing. From the poem "Land of the Lost," an ode to L.A.'s freeways where motorists who travel the roads are hurling ourselves toward a conclusion/we'll never know; to "Urban Dawn," where the break of day in Los Angeles is a divine yet surreal phenomenon/a burst of light amidst darkness; to "City of Angels," where the poet laments yes, los angeles/you have become my home/this swollen city of angels/has swallowed/another lost soul, but soon becomes aware of, and accepting of the nihilistic beauty of L.A. where from the ashes of hope/under clouds of congestion/under the veil of broken dreams/lost angels wander in busy streets/lost angels swim in the unknown/somehow hoping to find their way home.
If L.A. is a wasteland, as many people (mostly Right Coasters) continue to maintain, then Kaestner has shown that it's possible to live within the glitz and glamour that L.A. has unfortunately been saddled with. If one, like Kaestner, is patient and willing to indulge in the esoteric art of contemplation, Los Angeles will reveal itself in all its terrible, wretched glory.
Angeleno A Go Go, Scott C. Kaestner, copyright 2005 Wasteland Press (http://www.wastelandpress.net/) , ISBN 978-60047-014-1, $8.00 (+ $6.50 shipping), 36 pages