• 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
I have held on to
tears & let them
ground around me
& golden suns
I have stood up to
more than once I
it & won
I have survived
I am disgraced
Third Populist Manifesto
By Mark Lipman
The sons of another
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
but not as thick
How many must still
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
Yes, Ferlinghetti is still alive
but so too is Berlusconi
The usurper is still
in the House
And all the voices
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