By Dan Mazur
Photo by Katie Dalsemer
Idlers of the Bamboo Grove: Poetry From Lower Topanga Canyon was published in October by Pablo Capra's Brass Tacks Press. The 62-page booklet includes the work of Capra and eight other writers from the area, as well as illustrations by
Capra, who has lived for 22 of his 23 years in the Rodeo Grounds in
"The poems reflect what people are experiencing and feeling," says Capra. "It's an artists' community, so it reflects how people are making art out of this experience. They have a lot of strong things to say that they don't get considered by the state."
Love of nature and loss of home are the major themes running through all the poems, including Capra's own "Rodeo Grounds Poem." Now ecstatic, now despairing, Capra's paean to his boyhood home is full of youthful nostalgia and creative longings and features an apparently comprehensive list of all the
David Hayward expresses the anger of the residents facing loss of community at the hands of environmentalists in the opening lines of "A Rout of Squatters."
The Eco-Fascist will always oust
a verse dreamer, a phrase blower
the dreamer caught gazing thru
a sun-faded mandala
stuck on an eighty year old
windowpane forty years ago...
The grievance process for the
"I don't have a lot of expectation for what it can change," he says, "but I think it stands as a legacy for what this place is, and, if it goes down, what this place was. I think it's really worth remembering."
As Catherine Holliss writes wistfully in "Maybe When,"
State Parks flattens the home
the hikers will pause at the foundation
and maybe wonder who lived here
and what were their names and
dreams and deepest secrets
where are they now do they
still have a community...
Idlers of the Bamboo Grove is available for $5 at the Howell-Green Gallery, as well as at Dutton's Books in