• Untitled – Carol Fondiller
  • Time To Go – Sevan Gerard
  • 7 Dudley – Rex Butters
  • The modern becomes ancient – RF Wagner, Jr.
  • Carol Fondiller Berman, Venice Queen – Emily Winters
  • It’s Better Not to Make Friends With Other Writers If You Are a Writer Yourself – Krista Schwimmer
  • First world democracy – Matt Sedillo
  • The Race Is Over –  Jim Smith


They surround me
jostle me
with memories
I fall stubbing my sanity on
alternate reality
they flit from one dimension to another
chattering shivering, crouching in corners
they whisper indecipherable messages
unsubstance of the insubstantial grey fog
I am not afraid   my hackles lie docile against my nape.
1-800-psychic   Quick answer before
my free time is up   no skeletal fingers
beckon me or low mournful wailing   are they who they
were when they were here or are they who they are
but not as they were?
another clue.
They laugh in papery whispers hissing in my
ear distracting me from things to do
lulling me to sleep before the wrap up of “Law and Order”
only shadows of shades who knew me when
would do that   only remnants of friends lovers
relatives would nag in the language of a parallel
universe–blowing out lit candles
Crossing over does not mature them
Revenants leave cosmic
remnants of cosmic baggage
at my door
they didn’t have time to pack it all
what with the unexpected
swiftness of the
and all
I’ll bring it with
when I

–Carol Fondiller


Time To Go

by Sevan Gerard

A subtle click.
Eyes fixate for cascading light
Ears are open for bells to come
Pulse bounding, pressure up, mouth dry for some
In just moments we find out where to start our fight.

The bell goes off and a truth is told
A truth that some could not behold.
Chaos for us to come resolve
And pains for us to help absolve.

No pain, nor fatigue, nor fear can slow us
For to the fire bell going off we made a promise.
Courage? Integrity? Pride? Sure; but let’s be real
We just live for Venice and its appeal.


7 Dudley

there was no stage at SPONTOS
only performers one and all
noisy travellers milled about
that interdimensional way station
hung on 3 white walls
eye enlightening art
images blazing with the sounds
rebounding around open ears
and no walls at all
as overflow revellers flooded
out the brick street store front entry
inside forbidden image cinema
and poetry both golden and tin

a fiery light in a blackening
world of numbness

there was no stage at SPONTOS
just thick damp salty night air
roomfuls of people
hot free savory food
overloaded outlets
confusing congregation of chords
dark dada back room bachanaals
stinky skunky spicy
green goods going up
in sacred smoke
he evil elfin churlishly cherubic
his foot in the door
holding The Lady’s portal open
for gypsy artist shaman fools
barefoot sandy dancing
Her Solstice celebrations
beat crazed saints grateful
to survive another cycle

there was no stage at SPONTOS
just hyper inspired multi-level conversation
and celestial sound
the voice of a communtiy
splashed in paint/sung on drums
guitars, saxes, harmonicas
music quakes shake off
greed’s grip on Venice
if only for the night
the dream of free and open art
visible from space as a beating heart
a Temporary Autonomous Zone of our own
experimental theatre and community activism
on the still smoldering ashes of the Venice West
holy ground art temple
joyful party pit
lucky for us
we were there


11:28 Friday, January 22, 2010, parked beside the bamboo room, Cordell Hall, VUMC ….. The modern becomes ancient in the rain. The clouds part suddenly; sunlight again. A rainbow bends around, an aperture In dilation, and all this to infer Perspectives and projections still can play Like willful children on a rainy day. The steady drumming serves us to remind That further deluge can’t be far behind. And, sure enough, it falls; hail stones aweigh. Beat on the vardo’s roof, then fade do they. Coitus, in its rhythm. Slowly stir, Then mount a slow crescendo, wanting more. The aftermath, a moment to abstain. Her lips part suddenly; I kiss again….. happy valentine’s day, RF Wagner, Jr, Venice …..


Carol Fondiller Berman

Venice Queen

Through her physical chaos

Her dramatic ride of emotional extremes

Her deep caring about social injustices

Her fighting spirit

Came a clear bright mind of abounding perception and

Humor of unbelievable creativity.

Truly a loss not only for me

Not only for you

But all of Venice.

-Emily Winters


It’s Better Not to Make Friends With Other Writers If You Are a Writer Yourself
because they may write you

in their novels
in their poems
in their diaries
to be read when you are quite dead –

because writers are not
kindly folk
& are often ignorant
of true perceptions –

but mostly because
writers are highly competitive
about the wrong things –
secretly wish
you wouldn’t succeed
at least until they have long
surpassed you.

–krista schwimmer


First world democracy

By Matt Sedillo

Somewhere in America
A poor kid from the Midwest
With stars in his eyes
Decides to heed the call of patriotism
Serve his country
Do his part to win
The war on terrorism
Run up on global Jihad
With a great big yee-haw
See whose left standing
So he enlists
And he trains and he prepares
And he prepares and he trains
But when he gets there
He finds automatic rifles taking aim
At the innocent
Often old men women and children
And he stares into their eyes
Those eyes so alive with terror
And he knows he put the fear
Of some God there
And he begins to wonder
What exactly makes one a terrorist
But his training taught him
Its us or its them
So what then
Comes home on leave
Sees the town for the last time
With family and friends
Comes home to mothers house
Room just like he left it
In his uniform
He gets decked out
Shines his medal
Takes his pistol
Into his mouth
Prepares for the blast
And awaits the silence
Somewhere in America
On the east coast
Or the west coast
Or anywhere with
Enough black or brown folks
To have a ghetto
Our boy never bought
Into the American dream
But he lives in the projects
And scopes out his prospects
And he wouldn’t mind being
The first in his family to attend college
So he enlists in the marines
From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
What a great big world to see
With so many interesting
And diverse people to meet
And possibly have to kill
He gets wounded badly
Worthless to the war effort
Comes back home
Worthless to the workforce
Half alive and half dead
And not just in the body
But in the head
And he can’t keep his mind right
Long enough to fight
For the rights promised him
Sometimes he remembers he enlisted
To get his mom out
Of roach infested tenements
But these days he would be
Happy just to get back in them
See him hobble down the street
Some time around midnight
Just another homeless veteran
Up here in America
The land of the free
The home of the brave
First world democracy
The first world
The free world
We hear in the first world
We got freedom
And in the third world
They got free trade zones
Where first world corporations
Can exploit the labor of children
True enough but take a good hard look
At the real face of American poverty
See the places where
Those factories used to be
Gary Indiana, Detroit
Philadelphia , Youngstown
Then see luxury mansions
The division of wealth in
The United States of America
Is greater than it is in Rwanda
And that is not poetic license
That is a fact
Go down to Fifth Street
Downtown Los Angeles
See skid row
Then see the Mellon bank
And you tell me where’s the justice
We talk about third world countries
Well then what the fuck is this?
We got more empty housing units
Than homeless
Here in America
Where it is a crime
To take shelter from the cold
Where the truly destitute
Have to choose
Between surviving the night
And breaking the law
Where empty apartment buildings
Are under armed guard
Here in America
Where it is a struggle for many
To survive the law
Somewhere in America
Grandpa is sick
And you’re hoping the doctors
Will do all they can for him
Well you really should
Have planned for this
You should have worked harder
Or maybe worked smarter
So you could have gone to Harvard
Maybe have been a Rhodes scholar
Maybe then you could afford
The best modern medicine has to offer
But you didn’t
But don’t worry
Medicare will cover a hospital bed
A handful of meds
To keep him still through the night
Oh you wanted them to help
Actually try to keep him alive
Boy you must have stars in your eyes
This is America
We don’t do that here


The Race Is Over

By Jim Smith

Breaking news!

Scientists have discovered

there are no races –

no caucasians, no negroes,

no asians, no indians.

It seems that we are all from
a little town in Africa
we’re not only brothers,
sisters, cousins,
we are neighbors

Why haven’t they told
the KKK, the Nazis,
and all the other bigots?

Why haven’t they told
those landlords who say,
“Sorry I just rented the place.”

Why haven’t they told
the bosses who don’t hire,
don’t promote certain races?

Why haven’t they told
the police who think
driving while Black is a crime?

Why, Why, Why?

They say that nine out of ten
space aliens can’t tell the difference
between a white man and a black man,
or a woman.

Why haven’t they told Limbaugh and Dobbs,
and those who hated Martin Luther King,
and now hate Barack Obama, that
they, too, are African.

Why did they villify Paul Robeson for telling the truth?
Why did they kill Malcolm X for telling the truth?
Why did they kill Martin Luther King for telling the truth?

Why did they put some of us in the back of the bus?
Why did they put some of us in bad schools?
Why did they give us apartheid and Jim Crow?

Why did they launch the slave ships?
Why did they gather the lynch mobs?
Why did they destroy the potential of generations?

Why haven’t they told us
that without race, there can be no racism?

Why, Why, Why?

So I’m here to tell you
that even snide racist comments
cannot be told, except to another African.

Stop it now and we can all be friendly neighbors,

And if you don’t like it,
you can kiss my African ass.

Categories: Poetry

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