August 2008 – Poetry

• A Walk through the Walk – Maria E. Montano
• Old Memory – Mary Getlein
• Philomene and the Lady – Jim Smith
• To The Guy Who Painted Graffiti On The Freeway Overpass – Sherman Pearl 
• Third Populist Manifesto – Mark Lipman 


A Walk through the Walk

By Maria E. Montano

A bus roars by, and

A duck quacks,

Again and again.


His reflection

In the muddy canal waters.

He’s a Venice personality.

He is the duck from the Grand Canal.


A pigeon sits down on the pagoda roof.

It’s a sunny day,

Many people, lots of waste.

He’s a happy pigeon.

He makes his nest under the roof.

He brings food for his young.


I see a crab

Taking in some sun

In the middle of the rocks.

He’s playing dead now,

He thinks no one can see him.

He sleeps.

The roar of the waves

Soothes a sleeping mind.

The crash on the wet sand,

Resonates from afar.


It is the ocean,

A door to aquatic life.


The end of a day at the shoreline

A blanket of bright oranges,

Where life flourishes

And creative love survives.


Old Memory

By Mary Getlein

It’s an old memory

Of a child gone out to play

Who never came back.

She went into a stranger’s car

And was found dead,

I didn’t get into the car.

But I watched her get into the car.

I didn’t do anything – I told her not to.

But she got in the car anyway.

Two detectives came to my house to question me.

I told them what I saw! Two old white guys,

Hats on their heads, overcoats on.

We lived in Wisconsin. It was the 80s.

I don’t know what they looked like, really.

I saw them for a minute, only.

Years later: my brother says: the past for us is no good.

It’s not good to go in the past.

We know what is waiting for us.

Monsters wait there to hurt us, again.

Monsters that used to be parents.

But turned into monsters and scared us,

And beat us, and screamed at us. And

Threatened to kill us, and we were little and

We didn’t know what to do, and besides,

They were our parents.

During the lunch his eyes never met mine.

So when they finally did, they were scary.

“Do you remember dad before he turned

into an asshole?” No, not really

I know he did something to me

But I can’t remember.

We took acid and I think we had sex

And he went away

And we never talked about it,

And I went away and stayed away.

And after I became homeless he never helped me.

And I asked my sister: why didn’t anyone ever

Help me?

Because I was homeless? I stopped being your sister?

And she didn’t really know why.

And I know it probably has to do with the title!


and they see you in the stereotypical way:

drunk, dirty, filthy, screaming on the corner

at the sky!

Cut off from humanity.

Especially the original family you come from.

Crying to the wind!

Where is my mother? When is she coming back?

And she never comes back.

And you’re still cold, dirty, wet, lonely, drunk

And cut off from humanity.

But you’re home, in Venice

And sometimes people come by and feed you

And someone gives you a sweater or a coat

And somehow you make it through.

And you sleep, somehow, on the streets of Venice.

Homeless, but at home

Philomene and the Lady
(A year ago, on August 21, we Venetians lost our poet laureate, Philomene Long. This poem is dedicated to her memory)
By Jim Smith
Just what was the relationship
between Philomene and the Muse?
It’s true, the Lady showered Philomene 
with gifts of inspiration
And the Lady had honored Philomene
by showing herself, gliding above the sea.
But in the end, did she grow jealous 
– and gods can get very jealous –
of this mere mortal who understood
each of the seven realms of wisdom?
Philomene once said, “I don’t talk about Her much.
You have to be very careful.
She is, after all, the Angel of Surprise.”
Stuart Perkoff, who knew the Lady
better than anyone in Venice
Said: “Poets be afraid
she is coming for you.”
Philomene and the Lady
Do they now walk across the beach
invisibly and hand in hand?
Or do they float past each other
without even a sideways look?
Philomene dressed all in white
The Lady dressed all in black
To The Guy Who Painted Graffiti On The Freeway Overpass
By Sherman Pearl
My car zooms under your words
(or whatever the hell you’ve scrawled up there)
and at this speed
I can’t decipher yur language or fathom
how you managed to balance above the traffic
while aiming your fearsome spray
I drive past
this limb of the city’s skeleton
but my mind screeches to a halt, imagining
that a caped super-hero
had swooped down, paint can in hand,
not to save us from evil
but to startle us out of complacency; or that 
some dark angel had reclaimed
this road because we’ve failed to beautify it.
Most likely you’re just a street kid
come to remind us you’re here among us
up in our rafters, down in our basements.
No space is safe;
you’ve tagged all the walls
we’ve erected against you; now it’s the clouds
you’re writing on.
I think of you suspended above the danger, the law,
the humdrum, I picture myself beside you 
risking all for art,
tied to the girder with strings of nerves–
creating something larger than art, more powerful.
I’ve never been that high, kid,
but I think I’m beginning to see what you mean.
golden sun
by hillary kaye
I have been lucky to have
shared the company of
Angels and I have been
lucky to have seen
Visions too beautiful
to express
I have held on to
tears & let them
flood the
ground around me
and have
forbidden fruit
wild berries
& golden suns
I have stood up to
the darkness
more than once I
have fought
it & won
I have survived
a country
I am disgraced
by and
I have
places small
in which
to thrive.
Third Populist Manifesto
 By Mark Lipman
The sons of another
Whitman awake
Retake the word
Retake the song
There is no time now
  for sleeping till noon
    in your shuttered rooms
There is no time now
  as New York crumbles
    beneath our feet
     under the trampling
      of a nation of sheep
  as Kabul is wiped
    off the map
  as the Palestinian
    follows in the footsteps
      of the Native American
  gone with the echoes
    of a thousand mother’s cries
      everyone asking “Why?”
Not for freedom
Not for democracy
But for a new kingdom
ruled by philanthropy
Yes, blood is thicker
  than water
but not as thick
  as oil
How many must still
  be killed
  to keep the drills
Where are the new Ginsbergs
  the new Dylans
  the voices of a new generation
  with their cut-up jeans
  and back packs
Where are all the great
  minds of today
Still roaming their
  dark alleyways?
Yes, Ferlinghetti is still alive
  but so too is Berlusconi 
The usurper is still
  in the House
And all the voices
  remain silent
How many Kyotos
  must be rejected
How many Johannesburgs
  over-ruled by a party of one
How many rulers selected
  and promises broken
before we stand up
and speak out
and take back
what should be ours
  guaranteed by birth
Whitman’s wild children
  are all alive and well
So put down your demise
  and pick up your pens
Get on your buses
  all going “Further”
And let your voices
   be heard.

Categories: Poetry