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New South Pasadena Poet Laureate Pens “Ode to South Pasadena” with Community Input

Post Date:10/08/2018 7:00 AM

Ron Koertge, South Pasadena’s first poet laureate, has written “Ode to South Pasadena.”  It’s a commemorative poem about the city, looking back as it also celebrates South Pasadena’s vibrant present.

 A widely published writer and recipient of many awards, as poet laureate Ron is an ambassador for poetry, reading his poems and poems by others at various functions all around the city. 

Along with more than sixty poet laureates from all over California, on October 6 Ron appeared at the McGroaty Arts Center in Tujunga for a free, public reading. 

As he was composing the “Ode to South Pasadena,” Ron asked for ideas from the community and the response was enthusiastic.  So in a sense, the ode is a collaborative effort. 

 Ron’s most recent book of poems is Olympusville, from Red Hen, a Pasadena-based independent press. He can be contacted by e-mail at ronkoepoet@mail.com.

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Ode to South Pasadena

Ron Koertge

South Pasadena Poet Laureate

Water made the orange groves possible though all that remains now is

the name of a boulevard that celebrates them just as Mission Street

and El Centro celebrate the heritage of the city.  Today kids in orange-and-         

black drink root beer floats at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda

Fountain as they flirt with their phones.  Parents wait for a table at Gus’s          

Barbeque, and grandparents snap pictures of toddlers around the

enormous Moreton Bay Fig Tree by the library as they remember when they  

were children grinning into their own fathers’ cameras. The Cawston

Ostrich Farm is just a memory but the Dinosaur Farm opens at ten a.m.            

Waiting on the shelves at Vidéothèque are films that debuted at the

Rialto Theater in 1925.  Hollywood has a second home here, transforming

Rialto Theater in 1925.  Hollywood has a second home here, transforming         

parts of the city into Indiana or Massachusetts.  Then crews dismantle

everything the next day, leaving the neighborhood intact just as relentless    

freeway fighters kept the city whole and undivided.  Beauty is

everywhere in South Pasadena. Early morning light, yellow and mild like           

a shawl that has been laundered a few times, falls across joggers and

commuters.  It wakes the parrots that circle and squawk.  Passengers on

          the Gold Line put on their sunglasses.  Just below Grand Avenue,

a pair of coyotes make their way back to the arroyo. As a truck bound for

Trader Joe’s rumbles by, they slide into some shrubbery and

disappear.  On the lawn a sign says HATE HAS NO HOME HERE.  

          A house sparrow and a robin land and begin to sing. 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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