TOPANGA MESSENGER -- February 9, 2006

"Crap Poetry of the Rodeo Grounds"

By Pablo Capra
Artwork by Toilet

“Crap poetry is what happens to good poetry after you eat it,” Toilet says.

He and girlfriend Log are responsible for a new scatological chapbook called The Last Nowhere: Crap Poetry of the Rodeo Grounds (Brass Tacks Press). Their book comes just at the eve of the Lower Topanga community’s January 31 eviction date by State Parks, who purchased the property in 2001.

In 2002, ten Lower Topanga poets attempted to preserve and celebrate their community in another chapbook called Idlers of the Bamboo Grove: Poetry from Lower Topanga. Toilet (a.k.a. James Mathers) illustrated and contributed to that book. Now most of those poets have gone. As Toilet and Log watched their community thinning out and being bulldozed, they came up with the idea of writing crap poetry. Revoltingly funny, consistently obscene and wildly inappropriate, their intentionally bad poems are a bizarre sequel to “Idlers” and a satirical reflection of the State’s attitude towards their artist’s community.

“We, the last degenerated vestiges of the infamous Rodeo Grounds, have achieved a new nadir of utter poetic crapness that is truly lame. Put a copy on your toilet and read it while pinching one off for maximum enjoyment,” the introduction to their book says.

Inside, they explore the philistine perspective that poetry doesn’t matter. Such was the case in Lower Topanga where more than a century of history, community, and culture couldn’t save it from being wiped out. And yet Log and Toilet continue to write, humiliating themselves by composing poems with the least possible effort that they see no value in. “There’s nowhere left except failure. Our only regret is our failure to destroy all our talent,” Toilet says. Their anti-poetic approach to writing is explained in the following poem.

From “Play Hot and Cold with My Secondary Function”

The Plasmodium will Rip you to Shreds
You’ll take Back Everything you Said
But before you are Annihilated
Forgotten and Disgustipated
You’ll Produce an Ode”

The Last Nowhere is a reaction to thoughts about time, change, and mortality that have plagued the Lower Topanga community ever since 2001.

“Poetry is the last nowhere. It’s the last place that no one cares about. But because poetry is the least important thing, it’s the most important thing,” Log says.

The Last Nowhere: Crap Poetry of the Rodeo Grounds by Log and Toilet also includes 30 new illustrations by Toilet that complement the poems. It can be found at Lobal Orning in the Pine Tree Circle or online at www.lifeasapoet.com.

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Los Angeles, California, United States
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