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I want to put my hometown on the map because no one knows where Artesia’s at—the New Hampshire of Southern California. I don’t know if anyone famous ever came out of Artesia. But once I played one-on-one against the man who ran the dark side of the city. Big Papa and I went to high school together before he dropped out. I used to check out his Oriental girlfriend while she exercised in P.E. when he went by Louis, and when it was okay to call Asians, Orientals. I don’t remember her name, but she was more burgeoning cherry blossom than freshman cherry-picker. When we played ball at Artesia Park, I swatted Papa’s shot as if I were a Redwood, and he a meager birch. I thought, Bitch, let him win. He’s stabbed, shot, and killed people! But my competitiveness was stronger than his jumper. After the game he gave me dap, then pedaled away on his lowrider bike into the Artesian night. Towards the Artesia Water Tower—featured in a Freddy Krueger movie. Down Artesia’s busiest street, known as Little India—a mixture of saris and curry where every business on both sides of the Boulevard begs to be featured in Bollywood. Away from barrio Arta—his deadly rivals. Finally coming to a stop in his neighborhood, Chivas (which means goats in English). So he could chill with the homies and plan revenge on his rivals from Arta, which was short for Artesia, but sounded a lot more important than goats.

I wrote a book. The poem you just read is in it. This is the link to it. You should support me and buy it. 😉



About Daniel Romo

Author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press, 2019), When Kerosene's Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). I'm partial to prose poems. Alliteration. And fragments.

4 responses »

  1. Chris Gaffney grew up in Hawaiian Gardens. But he wrote a great song about Artesia…

  2. The only famous person who I know for sure came out of Artesia is Richard NIxon’s wife, Pat Nixon. However, that was when the town was fairly large. The area where she lived is now a part of Cerritos, I think. However, the entire area from southern Norwalk, all of Cerritos, that eastern section of Lakewood (where Artesia High School is), etc. used to be “Artesia”.


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