September 2008 – Poetry

• Meditation on a Photograph of a Girl and a Dog – Hal Bogotch
• Dennis – Krista Schwimmer 
• Black Buddha In A Dark Alley – Philomene Long
• Sing – S.A. Griffin
• living song – hillary kaye 
• Dark Ages – Jim Smith
• hieros 19 – Marie Lecrivain
• My ode to Venice – Lola Shalom  


Meditation on a Photograph 
of a Girl and a Dog

By Hal Bogotch

Lucy wears a blue denim hat, the brim curled up

to reveal a sleepy brow, a tired paw, a weary nose.

The dog, fifteen years old, 

is rarely seen in anything

besides a simple red collar. 

Her graying snout on the hardwood floor 

seems tolerant of the multiple affronts to her dignity:

the hat, the posing, the camera flash.

One sees in her dark canine eyes

how she has borne the arthritic pain,

the tugs on her ears and tail from a toddler girl,

the loss of her dexterous ability 

to cavort and gambol on the leafedges of dreamtime grass.

The smiling girl, not quite three, radiates cognizance, 

unbridled mischief, 

effervescent love. 

The red devil fire in her eyes 

has pointedly NOT been converted 

to the verisimilitudinous s k y b l u e

obtainable via Photoshop, 

of the Adobe family of eminently licensable software products.

Her name is Annalisa. The off-white beret 

listing perilously yet fashionably toward her left shoulder

belongs to her mother, Laura [not pictured].

Annalisa’s forearms and haunches help her achieve

a masterful approximation of a foxy Cheshire hound,

her youthful alertness in sharp contrast to the lassitude 

of the salt-and-pepper spaniel/terrier 

stage left of Annalisa.

The girl just wants to have fun. 

The dog is a prop.

The hats are window dressing. 

The girl’s smile is real, 

as are her enviably blonde highlights.

The photographer is a wordy wordsmith, 

more ironic than laconic.

He’s Annalisa’s dad.



By Krista Schwimmer

He likes to stand

on the corner 

of Westbourne & Melrose

& play

the shakuhachi flute

at night,

an instrument he made


He is a gaunt man

with deep eyes,

a knapsack,

& sinewy legs

from biking on

the streets of L.A.

Some nights

i hear his music

through my door’s grate –

ghostly notes

that stretch out

the night air.

Once, he touched

my wrist

& i felt a fire

blast from his fingertips.

It is easy 

to see

he is a man

who has seen 

too much 

who has felt

too much

who cannot

make peace

with the horrors.

Oddly, i envy him


He is a warrior

who greets

his enemy

on a daily basis

with only 

his shakuhachi flute

to guard

his questioning heart.


Black Buddha In A Dark Alley

By Philomene Long

“The Jewel of no price which cannot be used up…Its brilliance illuminates the Universe”
-Song of Enlightenment, The Zen Master Yoka Genkaku

I had dropped a can of Pepsi

In a Venice Alley

The spray of soda shot up

Like the universe exploding

Boiling up into the cold sky

It was then I saw him

Black Buddha in a dark alley

He walked with stony solitude

Nothing held him


His young face eroded

An ebony rock

The black night on his tongue

He picked up the Pepsi

And began to drink

“Would you like one that is NOT broken?”

I asked this broken man

(This unbroken man)

My voice was an empty echo

As the night rolled over my eyes

His voice: “Thank you, Ma’am,

Thank you, thank you”

His stone face smiling

Into the alley resembling a dream

Turned the night sky gold

And cut the raging rock of the world



By S.A. Griffin

harvest the wind in your hair

catch the sun in your hands

collect stars in curious 

nets of wonder

call eternity collect

leave a message after

the sound of

children’s laughter that goes

beep in the night

invest future calendars in your

wildest dreams and then tame the

universities of hate with a

toothless chain saw

put red shoes on the blues and dance

talk to trees 

plant forgiveness

give somebody your 

heart’s address


living song

By hillary kaye

I am so glad

I didn’t buy

the boat

the place

the chair

all things

I would grow in time

to hate

all things

that would

suffocate the air

the turning

the turning

the turning

of the


is with me

and its work

an effort for

my soul

the springs of time

sing out a


a dancing





Dark Ages

By Jim Smith

Have the Dark Ages come again?
Are we slipping, slipping
back down the slope?
Will we never lose the mud on our feet
and rise above the clouds?

We no longer go to the moon.
The architects have lost their way.
Children envy their parents wealth.

Lost ones wander the land
not knowing who they are
or where they belong.

Hunger is loose on the world
and peace, a forgotten memory.
Mother Earth is poised to take her revenge.

Will death, destruction and despair
overwhelm this thin veneer
and send billions tumbling into the past

Are we never to stand
on a high plateau?
And look down across the ages
of war, of suffering, of confusion,
before walking forward to civilization.


hieros 19 

By Marie Lecrivain

a constellation of scarlet drops 


across the concrete 

leads to a trail 

of faded crimson footprints 

that disappear into 

an almost virgin wilderness 

of sage, cacti, 

and a lone water tower 

all that remain 

are signs 

of the latest 

attempt to 

massacre and revive 

a demi-god 

who willingly delivered 


into the hands 

of an internal 


who perpetually 

chants the same 




 there is no god where you are 



and awake… 

 where you are these will never be 

viewed through 

blood encrusted eyes 

the blazing disk of 

the Moon 

might be perceived 

as the Sun 

but the sharpened edge 

of a lunar dagger 


the shadows of 

an endarkened,

isolated mind 

will reveal the truth 

of never-endings 

that bind him 

to the dust.


My ode to Venice 

By Lola Shalom 

I am a sinner.

I b       I broke the 10 commandants.

I d       I do not love my neighbor

H       His name is Privilege.

T        Three generations of Golf Course Signs


Screaming in indelible ink.

      No Jews Allowed,

      No blacks allowed

      No, Mexicans allowed


Unless you can clean my toilet bowl.

     A Platinum spoon baby Tarnishing from the inside.

     No polish will shine his greedy soul.

     Thank God, I do not live in his spoon.


Bully Buddy Boys in Tandem Tow. 

Following orders Gestapo style, Hammering foreclosure

Voting to abolish rent control. 

        Bullies do not play solitaire.


Justification of the modification of the renovation.

       Mutilation Crusification

Destroying Antiquity for Gentrification.

        Pinkberry is here. Starbucks is coming.

           All In the name of “In God We Trust”


I want my Venice back.!

Immigrants pushing baby carriages.

Wet nurses back in style.


Privilege does not know please and thank you.

Privilege knows take and take.

Privilege does not wait in welfare lines


Swindling the system just to survive.

Throwing Bottles in the trash way down low.

         Poverty digs deep just to survive.

         Will you please put the bottles aside?!

I am a pissed off Pussy today meow meow.

My bowl is empty and my milk is dry.

Privilege is blind, Privilege is blind.

Categories: Poetry