February 2008 – Poetry

• The Empty Blues – John Thomas
• So Odd Is Venice – Jim Smith
• Allen Ginsberg – Hal Bogotch
• The Ladybugs of Venice Beach – Krista Schwimmer
• Obituary of Man – Exit Homo – John Kertisz



The Empty Blues (circa 1960)

By John Thomas  


46 hours no sleep no
food either
except for chocolate pie & coffee in San Luis Obispo
I’m up in the empty hills now
north of Paso Robles
(always a badluck town for me)
eating dexedrine smoking cigarettes
up in the hills & empty cold
cold cold & the night
slams in my face cold
now the big tandems come barrelling by
ZOOM BAM gone in the night
hours & hours & I curse them for not stopping
finally get the 
Blues the true
Empty Blues
what is it
46 hours no sleep no food just leapers
so I feel cold & dry & empty
not bad quite
but I know
nothing will be right I
KNOW all I have to do is hope something
& it won’t ever happen––these
are the Empty Blues
oh, the trucks don’t stop
on El Camino Real
so I’ll never get there
no no
& when I do
(big diesel rig
knew it
they never stop on 101
be here all night I know
Got the Empty Blues
what is it
a kind of knowing
–I know all about it
don’t even care
just know
I know I’ll never get to San Fran
& when I get there
it’ll be just like here, I’ll stand
till two in a bar
watching the barkeep drink Bromo
he’ll drink Bromo all nite
with a stiff arm 
& the Bulova on his wrist
won’t it shine? Oh yes
I know
I’ll stand in the bar & watch those
girls blasé-ing down the street
they never stop
& when they do
oh no
I’ll even sound the barmaid
& she won’t
& when she will
she’ll live in some Filipino hotel
doormat shackled to the wall
bathroom way down the hall
don’t tell me
I know it all
these are the Empty Blues


So Odd Is Venice

By Jim Smith

What an odd city
we have.
Where poems seep out of our
city hall.
And murals run round the walls
of our jail.
Our main street has no cars,
only people.
And to the west
we can see eternity.



By Hal Bogotch

Howl busted the yawn wide open, broke it down
into the screaming hysterical hip hop city streets,
ran naked over the Golden Gate Bridge at dusk
and plunged into the icy cool stream of consciousness
of America worldwide.
Go Daddy!, big Daddy, go Sky Father
of the tiny pieces of paper with wings
Yo! Pop Daddy of the wide round mouth,
big and tall books, and large magazines.
Yo! Give it up for the Grandmaster,
the luminous name of the poet Allen G.,
the man, the one who laid it down 
and laid it all out, yeah, the man, Ginsberg,
he who sang with a big voice, a huge brain,
and a giant heart, who sang for sex and pain,
for madness and truth, for life and the death
that spikes that crazy immortal paradoxical elixir,
yeah, who else could sing and rave, 
rage and shake his fist at the tight-ass Five Stars
who overcompensate with Greek god missiles
for what they can’t give to their women at night,
yeah, Mr. A.G., that’s who (look it up in Who’s Who,
page 4 – 1 – 1), he who knew what time it was,
yeah, he who knew when to ‘dis’ the establishment,
when to throw a bucket of splash 
on the wicked witchy parliamentarians, 
yeah, Allen G., that’s who, who else had the funk
to freak the system, to speak up and speak out
for peace, to open the eyes of the masses 
and not pander to the pandemonium,
nobody else said it like him, with wisdom, serenity,
stone cold chutzpah, and a harmonium. 


The Ladybugs of Venice Beach

By Krista Schwimmer

We met in a huge
parking lot off the beach
forgetting to tell each other
exactly where, but 
it was alright & then
we walked south towards
the Marina, out two men
gradually moving ahead
as men will do sometimes. 
Lisa was quiet & observant
the first to notice
the ladybugs along the shore.
at first, it was one or two,
then hundreds right where the tide
has been. Further up
I spotted 2 small crabs
the first I had even seen in 6 years
& we watched them,
making sure they returned safely
to the water. We walked & walked
the men pulling ahead more & more
& just before we reached the Pier
Lisa & I decided to rest
laying down before a flock 
of sandpipers & plovers sleeping.
it was gray then & I felt a trance
upon me, the men now at the Pier
gazing at the passing sailboats. Ladybugs
crawled on is as we looked
out to the sea, the two women born
a day apart—lucky ladybugs
calling forth our deepest wishes.

We caught up to the men
& returned home via
the canals where there was
a golden eyes haron
fishing on a row boat
& a lone egret tickling
the water of catch fish.
he was at the end of the canals
& let us watch his hunt
until 2 loud girls startled him
with their enthusiasm. Still
we had seen enough—
enough beach
enough birds
enough ladybug magic
for one day.


Obituary of Man – Exit Homo

By John Kertisz

Rain is on its way…
Stillness persists in icicle cold
As boulders await a tumbling
On pulsating path…in rhythm to the sea

The cat sits astride, one moment in time
The dog sleeps…eternally sublime
The elephant mourns each death of its kind
While man destroys all, for power in crime

Now to speak as voice of Mother-Earth-Nature
Telling all men…no wars can be won
All battles are lost…until Man can see
Futility incarnate…engorged with power

You came from me…will return to me
Sooner or later…an absolute certainty

Chances are…your extinction will be soon
another species will appear…perhaps in tune

You were clever fellows…made it to my moon
Yet never could see…my flowers in full bloom

Sadly, I must say…though life can be fun
Only the misery…seems to have won

Thanks for the memories…such as they are
Think while you can…I don’t need Man.


Categories: Poetry