On “Chiron in Los Angeles” (#31)

This is the poem that started it all.

John and Martin were friends, but John, who had only recently begun writing poetry after eighteen years of nothing, had no idea Martin had established quite the respectable track record not only as a writer of novels, short stories, and screenplays, but of poetry. John was stunned to learn of Martin’s two Pushcart Prize nominations. John wanted a mentor and an artistic partner in crime.

So on May 23, 2009, John asked Martin in an email:

What are the next two lines of this poem?

The stuck homeless horseman bled
roughshod over the terracotta tiles.

Martin responded with two more lines. John added two on top of those. Martin responded again. Something gradually took shape. Something became a poem, the first in a series of fifty.

Despite being the first poem written, “Chiron in Los Angeles” took some time to find an appropriately stable home. It first appeared online, in Calliope Nerve on April 15, 2010, where it remains today. (Unfortunately, it looks as if the poem is currently printed in black letters on a black background. After clicking on the link above, Select All to make the text visible.)

“Chiron in Los Angeles” is thirty-first in the final order of poems in Poets’ Guide to America.

About poetsguide

A former altar boy and a former U.S. Army interrogator, respectively, John F. Buckley and Martin Ott were born and raised in Michigan, meeting each other at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before separately migrating to California in the early 1990s to attend graduate schools, their friendship evolving into a writing collaboration – what they refer to as poetic volleyball. They both currently live in Southern California, John with his wife, Martin with his wife and two children. John teaches English composition at several local colleges, while Martin works as a marketing strategist for a global company. John still affects a strange piety; Martin still finds himself asking a lot of questions. Individually and together, their writing has appeared in over 150 periodicals and anthologies, garnering three Pushcart Prize nominations for Martin’s poems “India Ivy” and “When Bridges Fall” (available in his collection Children of Interrogation, which has been a finalist or semi-finalist in eighteen poetry prizes) and John’s “Poem for Christy’s Daughter” (available in his collection Kinks in the Hose). Martin has also optioned three screenplays. His chapbook Misery Loves was published on Red Dancefloor Press. John’s chapbook Breach Birth was published on Propaganda Press.
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