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?CHIRON IN LOS ANGELESThe 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.