Annette Sugden
    Like much of the work of Frank O'Hara, Annette Sugden's poems are products of both the big city and a quirky, hyper-caffeinated mind. Her poems are like 
the bull when you first see him bursting out of his enclosure at a bullfight: his nostrils are flaring and he’s pawing the ground and dashing every which way. The brain of the reader—or listener—is assaulted by cerebral images, esoteric references, urban angst, ancient myth, hectic relationship-drama and Southern California magic realism.  As soon as we hear Annette’s work we realize she has not had an academy-trainer who’s browbeaten her into writing like Elizabeth Bishop. But for all the Beat energy of this writing, there is also much that is private and closed-off: Annette asks us to work, she asks us to enter the exotic caverns of her thinking, yet she lights the way to these places with fun, with humor, with a beleaguered pop-urban spirit we recognize from our many walks through Los Feliz, Little Armenia and Downtown.  While as a performer of her work Annette is very conscious of her audience and making her words come alive, the work itself does not set out to compromise or entertain. That’s not what we’re about here, and Annette knows this. She is on one of those odd LA word-odysseys far from the bright lights and the honking horns yet always in some way mindful of them. It is news from this odyssey that she brings us in her writings and public readings. It is a news-saga that is always unpredictable and unique, but unlike the news it doesn’t get old; it charges on with power and dynamism, a force of nature. No one else writes quite like Annette Sugden.  


when there was Nothing
I moved in with fire-eaters
stumbled the stratosphere in
their indigo star bus

2 shows a night; 3 on Sundays
6 minutes of heaven
in the back
for a little something extra

fed my lovers
molasses coffee
from a thimble
full of jewels

until the 1-eyed
man of swords cut
me in 12 and
I wasted a million
years in a dark well

where I poured wine into
newspaper nightmares
collected heads up pennies
tranced on tarot traumas
broke my heart on
potato chip postcards
feared frustrated fish

damned to dead dreams
only to find what was missing
under a pebble
in my shoe.

Gave Mr. Constantine a Card

He said, “if we get married, I’ll still call you Ms. Sugden,” but the first
person I wanted to wed was Donny Osmond. I was 5 or 6. Next
it was Shawn Cassady. After that my taste improved and I fell
in love with David Bowie, then in rapid succession, 3 different members
of The Clash, but never Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. I did have a thing
for Gary Oldman, especially after Dracula – something about oceans
of time. Actually I saw him last year at work. Then there’s
Viggo Mortensen. I tried to meet him at a party, but he ran away
before I could open my mouth. I still wish I could talk to Gary. Brendan
is fine too. Yep, I pretty much am a puddle for any man who appears
smarter than me and has more than one accent.

2010 Annette Sugden
Annette Sugden was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the August 2010 Second Sunday Poetry Series