Beautifully Ugly L.A.

Class Poem from English 2600, Literary L.A. Spring 2022

Oncoming cars dash

Look at your blindside quickly

You don’t want to crash. (Edgar)

The city of Los Angeles

A place where it’s never quiet

From the cars on the freeway

To the people walking the street with


The families in the parks playing to the people begging for food and water.

Los Angeles is never quiet—there is always a buzz somewhere. (Andrea)

Beaches, sunsets, palm trees

The beauty of Los Angeles

Yet not the most exciting adventure

Placita Olvera

Los Callejones

Little Tokyo


Places with amazing cultures and food

The ones not as appreciated as they should be.

LA isn’t just traffic



Santa Monica

Beverly Hills

Every corner has its story.

The city of angels

The city of memories

The city who never sleeps (Andy)

The warm weather, the beaches, landmarks like

Hollywood and Beverly Hills

Los Angeles is the place where you can

Find both beauty and horror—

Beauty in the people who walk the

Streets, trying to get to their destinations

(flooding the city like ants, taking home sugar cubes

From the sweet city that is Los Angeles)

Walking with backpacks, strollers, food &

A lust for life in Los Angeles

At the same time, people struggle to find

Their way…

Lost people wandering the streets (Daphne)

Los Angeles lies

Bright scenes hide what the city means

Hollywood is fake (Sean)

Next to Dodger Stadium, where friends meet

The drugs

Or the dogs running down the drop to

Find the ball

The sun shining on my face isn’t enough

The lovers at night meet the lust

Los Angeles view that creates the love

The greenery of a city of mistrust

Brings hope that one day it will be us (Gloria)

Maybe they’re talking about a different Los Angeles,

Maybe the one they see on the big screen

But that’s not the Los Angeles I know.

Perhaps they’re talking about the Los Angeles

They see on social media

The posts that are only ten seconds with

A filter to not make the city look so grey.

Grey, like the water has become on our beaches

Grey like the polluted air you can see when

You admire the skyline of Downtown LA. (Jasmine)

LA is beautifully ugly

From Rodeo Drive to the dark

Streets of Skid Row.

From the privileged princesses in Beverly Hills

To the genuine kindness of the Santee Alley street vendors.

A place not only diverse but

Separated. So many gorgeous, exquisite land marks with such

Horrifying histories.

A city of not only angels

But demons.

LA is dangerously stunning. (Lexy)

The local Goliath, the San Gabriel Mountains

Overlooking the kingdom, Los Angeles

Its sights reaching all the way to Catalina

Yet it keeps a tight grip on a certain bubble

The Crescenta valley.

La Crescenta

A made up word with a strong culture

A corner not many Angelenos know.

A hidden mystery, not one to show

The gates to Angel’s Crest

An escape from modernity

Constant uphills, houses on the mountain

The roar of the 210 like a constant fountain

Angeleno wilderness, more than abundant

To stay in downtown would be redundant.

Scents of Bulgogin, Khorouats, and hot dogs on a grill

The vibe, culture, and environment. More than chill

A hidden gem in the city of Angels

One to be protected by an archangel. (Chris)

Los Angeles City of Angels

A land full of opportunities

Where people from all over the world

Come chasing after their dreams.

Los Angeles City of Angels

A land full of fame and money

Where aspiring artists sell their soul for a minute of attention

Leaving their old lives behind along with their passion for their work.

Los Angeles City of Angels

A land full of poverty and depression

Where a dying person is not as important as being late to work

Where a person could be bleeding out but won’t be spared a stare

Los Angeles City of Angels

So fun and aesthetic seen in movies by many

But what they don’t show behind the camera is the pollution

Where a single inhale of the smoke can leave you fighting for your life (Zoila)

LA is my dream…

Because it holds my culture’s history.

LA is my dream…

Where every step is an adventure.

LA is my dream

because its where I call home.

I walk around the city  I will have and see the disconnection between people.

Malibu Barbie runs away from the alleys but

Claims to embrace LA culture.

You can’t embrace LA without acknowledging its flaws! (Nancy)

Whittier Boulevard, once a place that all people wanted to go to.

Now a place that might look run down or poor to some people.

Others may look at it the same as they did 15 years ago.

The history still stands with Whittier Boulevard.

The cruising of low riders, street vendors all around.

Whittier Boulevard wasn’t once what it used to be but now may be seen the same by many. (Angel)

Los Angeles shouts my name

Los Angeles the city where we imagine money and fame

It’s the city where many come to live within the golden sunset

But for many a dark cloud resembles when they are oppressed.

The city where many have the American Dream they envision

However many  discover hardships  in this city and realize this isn’t fiction

The vendors make up the smell of this city

Through diverse foods and spices it attracts noses

The restaurants and stands on the sidewalk filled by tourists

The waves show off its finery at the beach

With the sun standing from its’ golden color that is rich

While Los Angeles still shouts my name (Jesse)

Los Angeles is haunted

It is haunted by the ebbs and flows of lost and found

It is haunted by memories that no longer make a sound

Los Angeles is haunted.

The whispers of untold stories surge through a body of starving people

The whispers of untold stories feed the egos of depreciating people

Los Angeles is haunted.

No matter how hard people forget,

No matter how many times time resets

Los Angeles lives with the dead. (Bella)

West coast awareness

Teenage woman finds herself

Amongst the Metro

Every morning (Laryssa)

Los Angeles, a place that gives a broken dream to those

Seeking the American dream.

A place full of riches yet many people come

And can be deceived.

Homeless people walking on the streets with

Nothing but their bare feet

Take a ride on the Metrolink then you’ll see

What I see

People of different cultures surrounding the streets.

LA, LA is so special to me. (Tamia)

Los Angeles, a city where immigrants come in search of the American Dream

Only two and a half hours from the Mexican border.

We see its roots within our vendors

Taco stands, flowers, oranges, and other items.

Their children become First Generation students

In search of a better life.

Not for themselves, but for their families.

“Para los que llegaron sin nada, y me lo dieron TODO.” (Ashley)

Immigrant bodies exhausted from the sun

Brown, light brown, dark brown

So many colors, so much hate for these colors.

We all have a beating heart

One full of hate

The other penetrates with confusion.

Why do you hate us?
We do you no harm.

They leave us no choice

But to suffer in silence.

We stand high, with our heads down low.

Color is beautiful in any eye

Brown, light brown, dark brown

Why does the healthy eye choose blindness?

Color gives the Angeleno life. (Yahaira)

Thanks to all the students in English 2600 for your pictures, words, and your contributions to my understanding of L.A. Literature–you are awesome!

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