Monday, 5/27/02: Honku L.A.

Since the honku story appeared on the front page of last weekend's Los Angeles Times, there's been an influx of high quality, creative material on the Lamppost Bulletin Board. I've really got to hand it to these west coasters -- they're good. They bring the perspective of a highly advanced car culture to honku. And their concerns have evolved far beyond mere horn honking:

Rest thy weary honk!
Our gridlocks are silent - so
Stoned on smog are we
-- MikeD

In fact, horn-blasting doesn't really seem to be a problem for them at all. Instead, Angelinos are trying to navigate the confusing relationship that car and driver have to public and private space. The driver sits in private space. But the car moves through public space. Thus, you end up with confrontations like this:

Guy in SUV
throws gum wrapper out window.
I throw it back in.
-- Jane

Which, in L.A., can end in confrontations such as these:

Honk! Honk! You moron!
Why rush to get nowhere, Jerk!
Please do not shoot me.
-- Glen

Honk Honk Honk Honk Honk
Honk HonkBANG! Welcome to L.
A. Motherfucker.
-- MikeD

Though I try to keep my own honku as civil as possible and not use profanity, that last one is a beaut. It really paints the L.A. picture in a concise 17 syllables. It also makes me think that perhaps we'd have less honking here in Brooklyn if more drivers carried guns. Bottom line: When it comes to loud, jarring noises your typical L.A. poet-driver is far more concerned about gunshot than car horn.

The L.A. freeway culture that comes across in this latest batch of honku is so rich and yet... so barren. Here's an evocative little image that I never could have come up with here on the streets of Brooklyn:


Out here in L.A.
Plump kids stare slack-jawed at the
SUVs big screen TV
-- lily kitten (note SUV is pronounced as a word and not an acronym here.)

And, of course, all of this leads to the inevitable East versus West exchange. This one gets pretty good if you follow all of the back and forth between Jane and Aline:

This Brooklyn native
feels for you but wakes up to
birdsong...in LA.
-- jane

Finally, one Angelino invented an altogether new form that probably deserves a web site of its own: The SUVonnet:

Compatriots! On Eastern Coast afar,
amirror to our tale of strife, you hold.
The value of a So-Cal driven car
is using too much space and too much gold.
O, soccer moms, and your Suburbans grand,
care ye not for your child's blackened lung?
O, teenage boy, with your Rover of Land,
the party ends, your life is not Wang Chung.
For as your cell phone rings upon your dash,
your bumper hogs a second parking space,
you take part in our nation's quest for cash.
Our planet's oil does vanish with no trace.
For as you deeply dig our planet's ditch,
you make Bush and his mideast friends quite rich.
-- Lara

Nice work, L.A...

--Aaron