Michael Andrews Arts

See Announcements for details on publication of Archilochus poems in Arion Magazine.

At The Beach

Accordion bound book of poems and images relating to life At The Beach, by Michael Andrews





 

Artist Book

Accordion bound ses-a-ses, or dos-a-dos three times plus one. At The Beach totals 370 photographs, plus 14 individual end sheets, sven introductions and 150 poems. At The Beach is comprised of seven separate sections, bound back to back to back to back to back to back to back, accordion style. At The Beach contains the following seven sections:

Welcome To Hermosa: The book starts with the Welcome To Hermosa section simply because it serves as a geographical introduction and because it is the shortest section with enough room to encompass miscellaneous additional pages. Welcome to Hermosa is aimed at the new Hermosa. For thirty years one did not see a taxi cab in Hermosa until the coming of the drunks. Shortly after the ascendance of Reagan, when the greed of the elected city officials prompted them to get rich by catering to the property and construction industry they decided to convert a sleepy little beach town into the alcohol and drinking capitol of Los Angeles. And so they did. They converted Hermosa Beach into a sports bar and the demographics changed over the years. They caused the destruction of the ubiquitous one-story beach shack, replacing them with the ubiquitous and monstrous three-story condo. First came the twenty to thirty year-old rich-kid drunks, complete with their Beamers and Porsches, and they got rid of the schools since they were an impediment to hard drinking, cheap sex, tax revenue and freedom from democracy.

The Strand: Ever since not coming home from the Nam, we have lived in Hermosa Beach about four blocks up the hill from the strand. When we left the Republic I found my voice the hard way – I wrote twenty pages a day no matter what. Occassionally someone calls them prose poems. But that is because they do not know about the poet's voice.

1092: We bought the house at 1092 Loma Drive in Hermosa Beach in 1972 after coming home from the Vietnam War and traveling around the world in our Volkswagon Camper. Coming home is a standard joke these days. I took pictures instead. The 1092 pictures reflect the house, inside and out, the grounds, patio, plants and the streets where we live: one block West on 11th, one block South on Loma and another North on Loma, and, of course, Flo and I.

Hermosa: We moved from Saigon to Hermosa Beach in 1972. During the interim we stayed with my parents in Inglewood. I had been going to the beach in Hermosa since the 50's, when there was still a Pier Avenue, a Biltmore Hotel with the rings and bars that I used to work out on when I ran down from our first love nest in Manhattan Beach. We lived there before the Vietnam War and it was $80 a month.

Avenue C: After the motorcycle accident when I could no longer run or dance or play tennis or shoot the hoops and I had gone from 185 pounds down to 145 in the hospital and a year later weighed 225 pounds, I went to the gym figuring that 225 pounds of muscle was better than 225 pounds of fat. And so it was. But then Toyota outsourced me just before 9/11 and I quite the gym because it was too expensive and instead I began to pedal my bicycle to Avenue C to go up the 72 steps and down the ramp as many times as I could before the little girls and serious octogenarians embarrassed me.

Southbay: The South Bay refers to that area of Los Angeles – sort of south and west of Inglewood. It is often meant to include Long Beach and San Pedro, but east of Torrance it's a stretch. It does include LAX, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance, Gardena and that no-man's land between Gardena and Inglewood comprised of Lawndale, Lennox, Hawthorne, etc.

The Bike Path: It used to be the train tracks, but perhaps that is showing my age. Now it is variously called the bike path, the jogging path and sometimes the Greenbelt when the locals want to fight for it in lieu of more condos and traffic. It is full of joggers, dog walkers, the aged, the desperate and the smell of eucalyptus.

First Printed 2011 Limited to 7 copies plus 2 artists proofs. 347 pages. Each of the six sections is comprised of approximately 56, 8x8 inch pages on 100% rag, archival paper with no optical brighteners, including approximately 324 pigment images, printed, sewn & handbound by the author. There are two cover labels and six spines. The text is composed with Lydian and Albertus typefaces.


Photographs


                                                                                                                                                                           

Poems

Baseball Caps

I use words of one syllable only
when speaking to men in baseball caps.

If the cap is rotated backward
I just grunt, use hand signals
or speak in cliches,
the current euphemisms,
hip platitudes
and sports analogies.

If they are lip reading the sport section
or are mentally disengaged
in front of televised sports
I avoid contact entirely.
Usually the mouth is agape,
saliva trickles south on a recessed chin
and the veins are roping
along the neck and temples.

Women in baseball caps terrify me.
Backward or forward,
they look both cute and smart.
They look like they are about to
give me five dollars
to wash the windshield
of their BMW convertible
or hold their place
in the ATM line.

Whether or not
I need the five dollars
I shut my mouth
and do what I am told.


New Wine For Old Troubles

Summer came today
prying through the window,
spreading its bright cheerful cancer
like sweet jam on burnt toast.

Even before I can crawl out of bed
I want to be anywhere
but home.

I never liked asphalt.
I never will.

I get through the day
dreaming of pine and fir,
a few stones in a stream bed.

I remember the monsoons in Calcutta
endless dry dust of the Iranian plateau
dolphins playing in the surf near Thessalonika.

I am on the beach at home
watching the gulls hover in the wind
and speculate on weather.

A few boats sail to a false freedom.

No matter where you go –

there you are.