July 2008 – Poetry

• Fire in the Lake – hillary kaye
• Summer of Bukowski – Krista Schwimmer
• The Mountains –  Jim Smith
• He’ll Eat Your Breakfast – Hal Bogotch
• My Government Won’t Let Me – Mark Lipman 
• Poem After Living In Jazz Films – Lynne Bronstein 
• What Safety Means to Me – erica snowlake
• Is Venice Seedy? – Mary Getlein


Fire in the Lake

By hillary kaye

when I expose myself to the


when I ask again and again

for love and am denied

when I couldn’t break out of myself

and blood poured out of

every orifice

when I demand the truth

and am scorned

when I am homeless

and helpless

and bereft

when wrong is made right

when evil is made


when vision is blinded

when hope is an escape

when things pile up

and can’t be dealth with

when love is lost

when friendship spills to

the street like sewage

when angels walk among

us in agony

when light is spellbinding

when when when

things are wholly


when things are

wholly changed

& the roof & the

floor & the walls

are split apart

and then becomes a beginning.


Summer of Bukowski

By Krista Schwimmer

The summer of Bukowski

was hotter than normal

even for Venice. Determined

to swim in the ocean

i bought cobalt swim shorts

& three different tops

i never swam.

Instead, i found my way

into Bukowski’s world

through his poetry

& let the heat take me.

Soon, i discovered other Bukowski

lovers – friends i had known

for years who had kept him

a secret from me.

“When i first read him,”

Shawn disclosed, “i took armloads

of his books from the library!”

(i had already done this myself.)

There was a hidden world

of his fans as well.

As i passed out Hank’s poems

to those worthy of his wit,

another friend exclaimed

“Bukowski possesses your soul!”

True, i wanted to run to his grave

on his birthday, but again the heat

the heat just took me where 

it wanted & so i remained content

to soak long hours in the tub

with just Bukowski – 

to read him on the toilet –

to wake up with him

first thing in the morning.

My husband not a jealous man

at all.

Now the summer is almost gone. The heat remains

in early October.

And so does Bukowski.


The Mountains

By Jim Smith

Woke up before sunrise

to the east, there were huge mountains

just where Los Angeles used to be

It’s gone. Who can say why?

Now, in the shelter of these cliffs

we are free to be a beach town

Our arts, our city, our selves

can all flourish as never before

in the absence of the megasprawl

Hooray for our beautiful mountains!

But when I looked again,

I saw that they were only clouds


He’ll Eat Your Breakfast

By Hal Bogotch

Jerry Springer, bolt your chairs to the floor.

John McCain is mad. Rip your head off,

snap your neck mad. McCain is so mad,

he’s forgotten he’s against torture.

He’s got Nancy Sinatra quaking in her boots.

Larry King is chalk white with fear.

Word to the wise: 

walk on eggshells

when John McCain is this pissed.

He’s got the eye of the tiger, 

wrapped in the stars and stripes. 

Leopard McCain’ll never change his spots.

Hey war hero, why the short fuse?

No Charles Keating trip wire booby trap

henchman end game is foiling your plans.

No vixen lobbyist head turner mother double

marriage spoiler imbroglio is blowing up

in your face like a black lace cherry bomb.

Well, then — what has gotten 

John McCain’s temper 

past the white-hot point? 

What was served on a plane: 

large curd cottage cheese. 

He likes small.


My Government Won’t Let Me

By Mark Lipman

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

The trains are on strike

And the cabs look at me funny

I can’t get a ride 

Even though I have the money

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

I’ve heard a lot tonight 

And I’ve seen even more.

I want to write it down,

But my government won’t let me.

I’m out of my district 

And dressed rather strangely,

No one here likes me, 

Because my hair’s kinda mangy.

There are police on the corners

And men lurking in doorways,

No matter where I turn,

There’s an obstacle before me.

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

I want to go home

And empty out my head.

I want to lay down

On a warm safe bed,

But my government won’t let me.

By speaking my mind, 

They hate who I am.

They prefer me to be blind,

Than a liberated man.

They threaten my life

And scare me to death,

Till I cower in a corner,

Holding my breath.

They get in my head

And mess with my brain. 

They want to convince me

That I am insane.

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

They tell me to trust no one

And I will be safe,

Just like a prisoner,

Behind the walls of a cage.

Hatred and fear,

They consume everyone.

But if we can’t love each other,

Then we have no one.

I’m shivering now,

As I write these last words,

Still looking for a cab

And feeling absurd.

But if I don’t say it,

Then that leaves no one.

The moment you are silent,

Your government has won.

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.

I’m tired, I’m cold, I wanna go to bed,

But my government won’t let me.


Poem After Living In Jazz Films

By Lynne Bronstein

Jillian dialed her trillion-sparkle cell phone

But an unfamiliar sound came out.

It was the Harmelodics of Ornette Coleman

and Company

trilling and drilling away.

“Monkeys shrieking” she thought and dialed

for operator assistance but

she got Sun Ra in hippie beads

creating the beat of ancient Egypt in modern America.

“Nothing in Nature

repeats itself” Sun told her.

Jillian, disgusted

Threw away her phone. She plugged into

her Ipod.

But her preprogrammed consultant-spooned choices

Had been usurped by the poetry

of Allen Ginsberg.

She got rid of that Howl

and ran home to turn on her radio

but Jack and Jill

had given way to

Miles Bird and Trane

all together

ganging up on the non-natural

repetitive focus group format.

When she escaped to the TV

American Idol had been taken over

by street musicians with assorted git boxes

and thousand year old blues voices

singing of hard work and rough love.

Jillian reached for her comfortable old slippers

but they had turned into Blue Suede Shoes

that grinned and shook like Elvis

and told her “Don’t Step On Us!”

And Jillian screamed

“This can’t happen here!

“This is America!”

Said the Shoes:

“It’s America. And it all happened here.

“But you’ve had your ears

plugged into oblivion.”

“Oblivion” Jillian mused.

“Is Oblivion a hit?

“Can I download it?”

(from Thirsty In The Ocean, poetry by Lynn Bronstein, 1980)


What Safety Means to Me

by erica snowlake

venezian plum tree

immortal free falling fruit

sharing abundance


Is Venice Seedy?

By Mary Getlein

Is Venice seedy?

R U shittin’ me?

Venice has always been seedy.

People been dropping seeds here for centuries

all kinds of seeds

plants, sperms, super seedy behaviour

the guy that invented LSD just died

was that seedy behaviour?

picking up a new drug and trying it?

And him a scientist, too?

Venice is a vortex – 

an idea, an ideal

a place to finger paint, get your feet wet,

jump off into new ideas

find a new way to play a guitar,

beat a drum, yell some new poetry

It doesn’t matter what year it is

It doesn’t matter what new law they’ve 

just voted in –

It doesn’t matter how many times they tell

us we just can’t be that free – 


We can be ourselves –

There is room for us

There is a place for us –

This is our West Side story –

Allic Allic In Free – We’re Home –

We’re Here and we’re not going No Where!

Categories: Poetry