• ALL THAT’S LEFT – Jack Hirschman
  • Untitled – Roger Houston
  • City of Dreams – Hillary Kaye
  • EVERY POEM I WRITE – Philomene Long
  • COLD ELLISON VI – Philomene Long
  • THE GHOSTS OF VENICE WEST – Philomene Long
  • To Philomene –Krista Schwimmer
  • Philomene recites a poem – Jim Smith



By Jack Hirschman

All that’s Left

in the world

–whether in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia

as well as in China, Japan, the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa–

all of them cannot,

despite their resistance,

despite their refusal,

stop this march of death

because they,

as well as all that’s Right

in the world,

despite their refusal,

despite their resistance,

already are counted among these

in this last parade.

Communists and progressives,

nazis, fascists and reactionaries,

zionists and anarchists of every stripe–

none are excluded, none can evade the march.

This one’s not coming

with hammer and sickles or swastikas

or flags of any land.

This one’s the march

all wars surrender to.

But when?! comes the unanimous cry.

When will it happen?

If death is peace,

when can I truly die?

You will never know, and yet you do,

because you may already have,

and this life is your way

of paying homage to the power

that loves you enough

to have taken your life away

and left you with the taste

of immortality on your lips.

Nothing mystical: no Christ,

Allah, Jahweh or Buddha in the wings.

Even lying on your back you’re marching.

This is not a cynical or pessimist

or nihilist poem. Join death

to your life and you will live

as if there were no drum to march to.

There is no march at all.

You’re there. All will be well for all.


We went down to the ocean, had a walk Along the concrete barrier, to talk In language inexpressible, we two Just let the ocean speak, as though we knew What we would say before the words came forth. Intuitive, I guess. I think it’s worth My mentioning, and so I duly note Our silent conversation. There’s a lot That never gets recorded, such as growth Of our transcendent bonding, or the hearth That blazes here, between us. In a few Short years that we’ve been partners, ever true Your character, as nobel as the milk And honey of the scriptures, when we walk

– Roger Houston, Venice


City of Dreams

By Hillary Kaye

City of dreams

workers imagining themselves

in good hands a new President- the lies

the greed the fascist tv fades into

the back of our skulls the easier softer world

appears magically before our eyes

The rhythm of sucked up resources the

sky’s the limit mentality the war

ravaged countries – the armless faceless

legless bodies – not adding up the souls

The victims – the victims but you

don’t think about yourself that way

You have achieved self satisfaction

in a dying world

megaton bombs

created out of the fury of demented


indigenous ways of life

torn off the face of the earth

No crying now no crying

No faceless no voiceless crying

out any more

the perfect scene now is silence.



Why, he has misplaced more songs

than most people have ever written.

Cut another slice of humble pie.

The moon must rise.

A scribe must scribble.

Strike a melodic, harmonic octave.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seen Bob Dylan.

He is no Bob Dylan.

A chip off the old Guthrie.

Weisenheimer accordion hero.

Guitar and harmonica stalwart.

Catfish virtuoso.

Lampooning Village Glen personalities.

Digging fingernails into angst of heartsick

migratory waterfowl.

Sound Effects.  Strumming.

Lyrics. Lighting.

Let the show begin.

– Hal Bogotch



By Philomene Long

Every poem I write

Is a suicide

It will say

“I am your death

Hidden in a spasm

Of clay

Dazzling, ferocious

Now only a

Flame in your hand.”



By Philomene Long

“As for me, I delight in the everyday way,

Amidst wrapped vines and rocky caves.

Here in the wilderness I am completely free.”

Cold Mountain — Han Shan

Silver days at the Ellison

Longest rainstorm in ten years

Beneath the slippery sky

The Ellison glistening

Dangling raindrops

Silver sounds


I slip out to the sea

I am the only person

On Venice Beach

Grey sea, grey sky, grey seagulls

I am wearing a bright pink raincoat

The seagulls believe I am the sunset

They turn their backs to the sea and face me

They assume their sunset viewing positions

Chests forward

Motionless. Except for

An occasional scratch of the ear

The flutter of a wing

We watch each other

I act like the sunset for them

I raise my glowing pink arms

I stand motionless for a long time

Kneel, then recline upon my heels

Alone on Venice Beach

It is all so slow, so simple

Being a sunset

Back at the Ellison

Alone at the black iron gate

I look up

Soft rain sliding

Over the red bricks

Two red brick wings open

As if to embrace me

Two ghostly shimmering red wings

We watch each other

I look at the Ellison

As the sea gulls looked at me

I love this old building!

I love this old building!

Ah! yes, Kukai, the gulls and

Yes! Even these stones

Will become Buddhas



By Philomene Long

They are already ghosts

John and Philomene

As they pass

Along the Boardwalk

This highway of poetry and death

Where ghosts and poets overlap

As they pass, the gulls

Ghosting above their shadows

Everything’s haunting everything

Already ghosts

John and Philomene

Under the ghostly lamp posts

Of Venice West

Their cadence

The breath of sleep

At rest

Lost at the edge of America

Already ghosts

And each poem

Already a farewell

Everything’s haunting everything

The sea is the ghost of the world


To Philomene

There is a minature portrait

of you, in black & white

that perches on my desk

containing a single

poem of yours.

i keep it there

this tiny chapbook —

conscience musing over

my own work.

We never met in life.

i learned of you only in

your death, only through your poems.

Poems that pierce through

the reader,

that generate a presence

that is of you

not about you.

i wish i could tell you

in person how

you made me howl with laughter

by becoming a pink sunset for the seagulls;

or cry silently on LA Transit buses

as you wrote mercilessly about

Cold Ellison & its roaches.

Now, you are among

the immortals, having made the Great Escape

first in life, then in death;

your spirit no different

than Han Shan’s spirit,

your words on Venice walls

like his on the rocks of Tientai Mountains.

You’ll be happy to know,

the Lady still resides in Venice

(though i have yet to see her)

and that you are remembered

deeply, sweetly

by those who you knew

and those who wish

they had once met you.

–Krista Schwimmer


Philomene recites a poem

By Jim Smith

Philomene stalks her prey

She approaches the microphone

innocently, slowly


like a lioness

her mane flying

she pounces on the unsuspecting poem

teeth flashing,

she bites, tears and slashes

the flesh of every word

every phrase,

every nuance

is ripped from the page

and floats in midair

for all to see

even letters are not immune

from being stretched

across long moments of time

Her bite goes deep,

sucking out every morsel of meaning

no wonder she was cast to play a vampire

when she is through feasting on the poem

it will forever be hers

never again can it be read

without thinking of Philomene

Categories: Poetry