Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
  • Home
  • About
  • Archive
  • Bio Notes
  • Bookshelf
  • Contents
  • Submit
SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

State of Grace

by Michael C Ford

Grace juggles java cups
inside morning Las Vegas
steak house. But “inside”
looks like breakfast in a
Long Beach greasy spoon.

Outside, there’s the glitter
of neon drugs, the dead
gamble of non-organic
light, dope of money. It’s
like being in Shoshone

Falls and making it Niagara.
Grace is the dark movie with
Marilyn Monroe in black silk
slip behind blind windows in
a motel room of honeymoon

kicks compared with a hot
summer stutter of curvy,
maverick street-corner tricks
on Freemont Street. And too
many compromised newcomer

University sanctioned scholars
had, already, poisoned the prior
purity of academics at UNLV.
And, all the while, we’re feeling
like they are, in an abstract logic,

somehow, now, engaged to all the
showgirls reading Jean Paul Sartre.
Maybe Grace is the only one who
knows the nausea and how easy it
is to turn into a lifetime of menus.

And here we are back, again,
in some cigarette hotel room
amazement and there is enough
smoke to scorch a blueprint
on future places like this one.


—Previously published in a slightly different form in Ford’s Sleepless Night in a Soundproof Motel (Mudborn Press, 1978); appears here with author’s permission

SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

Michael C Ford

A legendary voice on the L.A. poetry scene, Michael C Ford has produced a steady stream of print and recorded products since 1970. His debut spoken-word vinyl, Language Commando, 27 tracks of air checks on alternative radio produced for SST Records, earned a Grammy nomination in 1986. His 1998 book of selected poems, Emergency Exits, was honored with a Pulitzer Prize nomination on the first ballot. His first CD recording was Fire Escapes (New Alliance Records & Tapes, 1995). His most recent recording in both CD & vinyl formats is Look Each Other in the Ears (Henhouse Studios, 2014), and his most recent print product is Women under the Influence (Word Palace Press, 2016).

Author’s website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury