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BAS Poetry: Virgin America

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Broke-Ass Stuart is now accepting poetry submissions to be featured in the BAS Poetry: Arts & Culture column. Written & curated by Corinne Avganim.

Culver City Sign City.Expert Photo

Okay, this is bizarre. In an older post, I mentioned how BAS Poetry has turned my inbox into a treasure trove of pleasant surprises. The latest gem – an email from a middle school friend who I hadn’t heard from for close to 20 years. While we only knew each other well for three-ish years, he made a sizable impact on the person I am today.

We were teenagers. Walking balls of emotion. I remember him singing Fill Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations and strumming his guitar as I walked down the hall from History class to English. Sometimes my mom would pick us up at Coombs Park after school, and we would hang out at my house until dinner. Our friendship gave me confidence. I don’t remember exactly why we stopped being close. Probably a mix of changing schools and the unavoidable, unspoken tension between young platonic friends, who in middle school had the ability to put you down as far as they built you up. All I know for sure is that he pulled at my heart strings then, and still does now. I hope he does the same for you.

Bjorn Winberg writes, walks, and does music in Los Angeles.


by Bjorn Winberg
Los Angeles, California

I’m window, seatback screen off,
my neighbor snoring at Robert Downey Jr.

who motormouths through a C.G.I. mansion
on a bluff above the Pacific

at Point Dume Preserve. It’s been like
ten seconds and already Bob’s flying

down P.C.H., so I’m bored at the pad
with my thumb drive, which I plug

into a wall-size touchscreen: Reading Camus,
swipe, Watching Whales, swipe hard, The Moon/

Tequila/Teen Sex, tap. The white t-shirt
the girl peels off the boy

and throws over the camcorder might say
too dumb for n.y.

too ugly for l.a.—and yeah, I fail to bronze
what stays clothed, but at least blowup

rings local when puss-gold streetlights
swell by a few night miles south

of scrawny me ditching sandy virginity
where even with his glowing

white nuclear chest cracked and flickering,
Iron Man squeezes just

enough juice to sputter back and
plummet through his roof.

Oh Snap! Bracelet

Snap! I can’t imagine who or what will pop up in my inbox next, but look forward to finding out. Stay tuned here for more, or follow us via @brokeassstuart and the hashtag #poetryisvoice.

To submit a poem, email with your 100% original piece of work, full name, age, city, links to social media, and (optional) biographical blurb.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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