Weimar in L.A. (303)

Bertolt Brecht, “Hollywood Elegies”


The village of Hollywood was planned according to the notion

People in these parts have of heaven. In these parts

They have come to the conclusion that God

Requiring a heaven and a hell, didn’t need to

Plan two establishments but

Just the one: heaven. It

Serves the unprosperous, unsuccessful

As hell.


By the sea stand the oil derricks. Up the canyons

The gold prospectors’ bones lie bleaching. Their sons

Built the dream factories of Hollywood.

The four cities

Are filled with the oily smell

Of films.



The city is named after the angels

And you meet angels on every hand.

They smell of oil and wear golden pessaries

And, with blue rings round their eyes

Feed the writers in their swimming pools every morning.



Beneath the green pepper trees

The musicians play the whore, two by two

With the writers. Bach

Has written a Strumpet Voluntary. Dante wriggles

His shrivelled bottom.



The angels of Los Angeles

Are tired out with smiling. Desperately

Behind the fruit stalls of an evening

They buy little bottles

Containing sex odours.



Above the four cities the fighter planes

Of the Defense Department circle at a great height

So that the stink of greed and poverty

Shall not reach them.