Bryan Mahoney

Bryan Mahoney

The plumeria tree outside Linda Garcia's house gave and gave again. Its soft, five-point blossoms pulsed color from its boughs, shining out to the sidewalk and the dog walkers who passed the house on their daily rounds.

One day, it was gone. Someone stole Garcia's fragrant plumeria tree and the happiness it gave.

Garcia planted poetry in its place.

The little box stands at the corner of her N. California Street yard. The sentinel looks across the street to Verdugo Park, where children practice sports.

It invites the passerby to open it and enjoy. About 20 copies of a new poem are put there every week or two.

"I just like the idea of advancing communication and poetry as 'still' communication," Garcia said. "I like the discipline of it and paring an idea to its essential parts."

Featured this week is "Bloodline" by Paulann Petersen, poet laureate of Oregon. Six stanzas celebrate the moon and womanhood.

She asks if I will contribute — take a poem, leave a poem.

Garcia selects "accessible" works that might inspire others as the words inspire her. One Maya Angelou poem earned Garcia a thank-you letter from a woman who was reconsidering a relationship.

"I think I need to leave" she wrote to Garcia.

It's about her readers, Garcia says, and giving something back.

"I don't care if no one said anything about it. I'm just glad they took it," Garcia said.

The poet who never gets printed: one Linda Garcia.

"Maybe someday I'll get the courage," she said.

The plumeria blossoms have been gone for a year. Their owner once watched them grow and fade with the seasons.

Now she gives out seeds for ideas. They have the potential to grow strong and tall, to someday bear the fruit of inspiration.

It is a wonderful gift, this box by the sidewalk.

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BRYAN MAHONEY writes about Burbank neighbors and the place they call home. When he's not waxing poetic, he can be reached at 818NewGuy@gmail.com and on Twitter at @818NewGuy