Los Angeles Through Our Eyes

Class poem 2021, English 2600 class, Literary LA

Written by students, arranged by Professor Jenny Hicks (all images except those credited to Marisol=Jenny Hicks, summer 2020)

Los Angeles 

The city where we all run to for greater opportunities that’ll allow us to flip our life around,

where we can drive to mountain tops, visit pretty views, walk down the busy streets,

all while we forget our responsibilities but it doesn’t matter as long as we watch the sun go down. 


Los Angeles has so much more to offer than what we see from our eyes.

Los Angeles has a deeper meaning and more imagery and hidden gems than meets the eye.  

Los Angeles is more than what we see

Alexis H.

LA is like an onion with many layers that are just waiting for the right person to peel it back.

It draws everyone in, but not always in the way you think.

It has held many names, but no one can settle on just one,

Diverse and unique,

Inspiring and eclectic,

And that’s the beauty of LA.


A city once full of faded life,

but now all that I see in the streets of Broadway and Union station

are those who are alive, yet full of death.

Perhaps the life that was once seen outside is now inside.

Perhaps our current conditions, a deadly virus, a mishap of vaccine deaths, and downfall of morality is keeping some back to what we once were,

that being, closer to one another.


Lost Angeles

A city of hopes and dreams

which isn’t what it seems

A city of poverty and separation 

heading the wrong way

Waiting to be found. Marissa

Los Angeles the place where dreams and hopes come true,

but for many teens its where we become overwhelmed,


over pressured,

and overdone.


Los Angeles is the place you can find everything but still get lost.

The place with so much diversity yet so much separation.

The place where it can be really bright and then really dark.

The place that makes sense sometimes and doesn’t other times. 


The cycle of poverty is inescapable for Angelenos.

Working a 9-5,

First gen student in higher education,

ignorant on finances and savings,

 falls back into poverty. 

But education is a way out of poverty right?


LA is crazy.

There’s everything and anything.

 LA is a city of many cultures and lives.

Wherever you turn you’ll meet someone new, it’s amazing really.

But it can also be a dark place

People struggling to get their next meal.

 There are also those who have no home but still many believe this Is a place to make it big


The smell of hot dog stands; poverty crippling LA inside,

 and pushing Hollywood out the other.

certain aspects hidden by big celebs and fancy things, used to mask the true LA.

hard working Angelenos, poverty, people working pay check to paycheck.

 the traffic and the mass amount of people flowing in and out of LA each day.


Los Angeles is the place when the city means more than all of its dwellers

Los Angeles is the place when the city is not a city but a brand

Los Angeles is the place that you either hate or love

Los Angeles is not the USA


Or is it?

Los Angeles, yeah, you’ve heard about it

Where you think the A-listers would be walking about

on the Walk of Fame

When really it could be anybody

with a unique name 

City of Angels, but not everyone’s a saint 

To honor someone, on the walls we paint


Los Angeles is more a group of people than it is a place.

It is broken souls on city streets,

traffic thick with people dreaming,

calloused hands,

 starry eyes,

a murder house,

 a place of daydreams and nightmares. 

It is brown skin,

warm sand,

sun baked roads,

music pouring down sidewalks,

stars shining beneath shoes,

and silver screens. 

Come stay awhile. We rely on you who like to look for the famous roses among thorns.


This city of angels is prettier than just the skyscrapers and beaches you see in movies.

 In Exposition Park, you can visit a rose garden that looks gorgeous in-person.

 In DTLA, you’ll find a headless sculpture from 1990 with something important to say.

Over in the Bunker Hill district, you can pay for a one-way or round-trip on the trolleys of Angels Flight.


 Los Angeles a tough city

but its people tougher having to defend such a beautiful city

is only getting harder each year as people keel over and leave in search of greener pastures

those who endure the struggle however reap the benefits of a not shabby nightlife

 accompanied not too far by the occasional siren or homeless encampment,

 beautiful weather that prompts fire,

great food charged at inflation rates,

plenty of room built atop homes of people forced to leave its a bittersweet city

but it’s my city I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Los Angeles is a city of dreams and hopes.

A city known for its Hollywood sign and horrific traffic.

 Where now going a metro bus through DTLA it consists of so many homeless people. Where rent has become unaffordable.

 Hurting many of those that lost their jobs during the covid-19 virus.



As the vaccines being to spread its wings, Golden Eagles begin to soar


Photo credit: Marisol

Los Angeles, home to the LA Lakers and the LA Dodgers

 2 teams that brought championship titles home in 2020

 and 2 teams that brought the Angelenos excitement during these hard times of covid 


Los Angeles is home.

 After days, weeks, months of traveling off to places unknown,

 there is so much comfort knowing that at the end,

I’m coming home to Los Angeles.

The city of dreams,

the city of angels,

and so much more.


Photo credit: Marisol

The City of Angeles, where new journeys begin. 

While others fight to find their escape.

Where you’re categorized through what you wear. 

Generations that care more about trends, than the real world. 

A place filled with so many opportunities but the focus is drifted elsewhere. 

A city of hope and a city of broken promises.

But the people of LA, are undefeated, whether it is alone or TOGETHER.


And now some images from last summer of this city I love:

For Carey McWilliams, and the story of water and LA

Thank you to my wonderful students in English 2600–it has been a pleasure to work with you, read with you, and write with you. Thanks to Mike the Poet and Luis the Gracious Grad Student for your help.

As Mike would say, this city is your city–share your stories, and keep learning about the place we call home.

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