Poetry – Page 9

  • Letting Bluebird Out – Krista Schwimmer
  • Impressions of Cuba – Jim Smith
  • Temescal Canyon Road and the PCH – RF Wagner
  • Imposing Democracy – Mark Lipman
  • Santa Monica’s homeless population dropped from 999 to 915 – an 8 percent decrease! –  Peggy Lee Kennedy


Letting Bluebird Out
(In memory of Charles Bukowski)

When you let bluebird out
it is true, there is always
danger. Underneath the hawthorn
where he makes his nest
snake could be considering
his breakfast. High in the sky
eagle could gaze down and decide
it is time for another snack.
At night, raccoon could rub his hands
and say, “yum, yum,” just before
he climbs the tree to invade
bluebird’s nest.

Yes, bluebird with his cloak
of opal fire, has many a nuisance to face
each day when he greets the sun.
“Sun,” he sings, hopping from
limb to limb, “thank you
for waking me another morning.
Thank you for the luminous arms
you stretch through my uncertain world.”

And what if you chose not to let bluebird out?
How then would you taste
the red chokeberries blooming
in the five petaled flowers?
How then would you learn the secret
of the Nightway Ceremony
or that like bluebird
you are a descendent from an ancient goddess?

Go, then, let bluebird out.
Though he cannot dive like eagle
or shed his skin like snake
or mask himself like raccoon
when he flies, he paints the sky
with all his blues and disappears
into the work he creates.

–krista schwimmer

Impressions of Cuba
By Jim Smith
Shattered dreams
Replaced by grim realities
For us, for Cuba
for the world.
Come back Yuri Gagarin
We need you.
Tropical Cuba, an island,
a world to itself,
on a small planet
rotting from our excess.
Cuba, entwined in a dream,
of heroic guerrillas
DeSoto convertibles
and erotic music
O Cubans,
Beware the raptors of war and finance
who would gladly crush this island
if they could.
Above La Habaña
Che’s floating on a cloud
built by a banyan tree.
09:31 Sunday morning, March 15, 2009,
Temescal Canyon Road and the PCH…..What might this pen have written late last night,/ had I but had the stamina for flight?/ I might’ve launched description of the spot/ where we had parked, however, it turned out/ that I had not the wherewithal. My mind/ was cluttered with a nihilistic kind/ of emptiness, and I was not disposed/ to giving voice to characters that posed/ a momentary challenge. I was blind/ to seeing anything that I might find/ rhetorically well-suited to take note,/ and so postponed ‘til dawn. Then words were caught/ in my dream catcher in the morning light./ But what might I have written late last night?…..
–RF Wagner
Imposing Democracy
By Mark Lipman
When you have to
Terrify your own
People into giving
Their freedoms away,
We say it’s
Guaranteeing security.
When you invade
Another country
To steal their wealth
And establish your own regime,
We call it
Setting people free.
When you bomb
A tiny village
While all its people
Are fast asleep,
That is known as
Collateral damage.
And when you rob
From the poor
To subsidize
Your rich friends’ wallets,
Well, I’d say that’s graft,
But maybe you’d call it
Paying homage.
When there are
Police at every corner
No, that’s not repression,
It’s maintaining order.
When all the news
Tells you to follow
The government line,
They say that freedom
Of the press is doing
Just fine.
When you’re not
Capable of an
Independent thought,
Then you’ve received
A good education.
And when your health
Care runs out,
That’s just the benefits
Of privatization.
When we hide our
Sweat shops in China
We say that slavery
Is abolished.
And when your vote
Isn’t even being counted,
There are people who
Would call that
Universal suffrage
When a baby is shot
By a stray bullet
Maybe it’s officially
An accident,
But just try telling that
To the mother
And when the ice caps are melted
And the air is polluted,
No, that has not a thing
To do with your profits.
When you say
We’re at war,
I ask you
When haven’t we been?
That’s their version
Of peace without end.
Why is it that
The rules suddenly change
When you’re on
The wrong side
Of a color?
And while you’re at it,
Can you explain to me
How life in prison
Without a trial
Could ever be
“For their own protection?”
And when you get to choose,
Who has the right to live,
Is that what is meant by
“Having God on your side?”
When judges are allowed
To hand out the jobs
Is that thanks to having
Free and open elections?
I don’t know
What you think
About all this going on,
But if that’s democracy
Then something is
Very, very wrong.
Santa Monica’s homeless population dropped from 999 to 915
– an 8 percent decrease!
By Peggy Lee Kennedy
Wow, what a success. They housed 20 people.
That is what they said. 20 people.
What about the other 64 or maybe more?
The SM Police Department moved them out?
Venice, now planning to undertake a similar “successful” process.
Venice, housing 20 homeless people?
Not likely.
BUT Venice homeless number did drop by 1
the Venice way
he passed away.
Dave was 60 years old
He had an old dog named Junior.
and a pocket full of tickets from the LAPD.
He lived in Venice most of his life.
So Now the LAPD does not get paid with our tax money to ticket him
Now the local social services do not get to sit at desks and call him service resistant
Now housed neighbors will not call the council office or the LAPD on him
from inside their million dollar homes
Now our public officials do not get to pretend that they really care about his plight
Now I do not have to worry about what to do when he gets picked up for warrants
Now he is not sick and living on the street
And I am pretty damn sure
even if he lived to see this new big bucks thing being done to homeless people in Venice
he would not have been housed
would not have ever been separated from his dog
and he would not leave his home

Categories: Poetry