• Dr. John Michel – Catherine Andrews
  • Mayan Birds – Karl Abrams
  • Dead Poets – krista schwimmer
  • Hippos – Lulu Camone
  • Calling All Metaphors – Jim Smith
  • Graffiti – John David West
  • Historic – Mark Lipman
  • Barbara Ann – Paul D. Brooks
  • Moving Day – Lynette

Dr. John Michel

There are those who come here to help themselves
Then there are those who come here to Help

Even in the midst of struggle and hopelessness,
Of dire need and homelessness
Even though Dr. John had no home and nothing
he still found ways to help
He gave his Heart and Soul
Giving his heart out to all people in need
Listening to their troubles
Having sympathy for their plight

Every day he found ways to give,
and give he did
Arranging food for those in need
he gave clothes and counseling
encouraging his friends on Venice Beach
With the addicts – the lost children from abused homes, the families in crisis,
healing their mental wounds with counseling
and their physical wounds with his herbs
The runaway children were counseled by him and loved him
Fighting for Justice
Fighting for poor people’s rights
A soldier on the beach,
A champion for people’s rights
For those with no voice, only their suffering
Protecting homeless women and children
Fighting to keep them safe
Fighting, campaigning,
Getting knocked down then getting up
again and again and again and again
His Spirit never faltering from his Calling
All with no thought for himself and no reward

For 40 years he did this
With his big heart of gold
With nothing,
Owning nothing

Right here on the beach
In the hardest of environments

Never letting his circumstance
destroy his honor, integrity, belief in his work
And his Love of God
Always the true Gentleman
If anyone here deserves a place in Heaven
It is you Dr. John
We Love you
We are your friends who cared about you
So you could care for others
You are in our hearts
May the peace and Love of Jesus be always with you

–Catherine Andrews


Mayan Birds

By Karl Abrams

In Merida of the Yucatan,
enhanced by my lucky balcony view
of painters and gazing poets
and tropical brown lovers
in the small cocolo below,
kissing beneath the early evening,
and barely noticing the impossibly loud shrill
of 100 beautiful tropical birds
hidden in the tall branches,
Singing, crying, jumping,
screaming out to hidden Mayan gods
with explosive harmony.

Far below, beneath my secret balcony
through crowds of youthful longings,
adorned by aging beggars and proud waiters,
you can still see the feathered serpent,
slowing passing through this bird-song mystical night,
with her jade eyes in search of fire,
the echo of the sun,
Light of the immortal Mayan.

Dead Poets

It’s easy to fall
in love with
the dead poets. My first love
was Robert Louis Stevenson.
You know the poem, “How would
you like to go up in a swing,” or
“I have a little shadow.”
Next, i would count
Dylan Thomas because of
“Fern Hill” & how easy
these lines were to memorize. Of course,
Willie Yeats soon followed.
i once had a poetry teacher
get mad at me for imitating
that magic man’s style.

My women lovers came later
(just as all out sex came later.
Did i mean to hold out as long
as i could or was it sheer luck
that steered my course?)
Sylvia, Anne & i were a threesome
as i pounded the sidewalks
of New York City, pondering
if & how to join these gals in their graves.
There were other women, too –
Carolyn & Jorie & Marianne —
passing but momentous
one night stands.

How i have always hated
that William Carlos Williams
& his damn plums & red wheel barrow!

Now that i am standing
at the midpoint of my life
i am no longer interested in
who is great or not.
i only want to read
poems that roll out
as easy as the ocean tide,
that startle & leave me
as soon as they arrive.

–krista schwimmer


Hippos dancing in the rain
With their friends forever
Purple skirts flowing round

–Lulu Carmone


Calling All Metaphors

By Jim Smith

Like fireworks exploding in the sky
Like clouds on a summer day
I love metaphors!
Life would be so dull without them
Metaphors can start a war,
seduce a lover,
fill up a poem.
Metaphors are so cool
Metaphorically speaking.
Just keep them on ice
So they don’t become cliches.
Like the air we breathe (there’s one now!),
We need metaphors
to explain things we don’t understand
which is just about everything.



By John David West

Last day of high school, Marsha and Tiffany:
thought we could start a bandroom tradition with black
markers: “a goodbye wall for graduates to sign.”
Our wall spilled onto doors and shelves in black-marker madness.
We wrote, “snort;” they thought it was a drug reference.

Do you enjoy the smash-pop sound from busting light
bulbs against the sidewalk?



By Mark Lipman

We had to do something.
You know, something had to be done.
We couldn’t just do nothing.
We were better off before, sure …

But this is Historic.

We had to do it,
for like, posterity.

OK, fine.  Now I have to pay,
or be penalized,
for not buying insurance
that I already can’t afford.

It’s mandatory Mitt Romney Care.
You know, the Republican deal in
Liberal Massachusetts.

The same people, who elected
a Republican to Ted Kennedy’s seat,
in the hopes of derailing this bill.

But hey, didn’t you see
all the smiling faces
in the paper today
on Capitol Hill?

The found a way
to jump through a loophole.

It’s Historic!

They’re going to be talking
about this for centuries,
how we had to pay for this
with our lives.

Who in their right minds
would want to miss that?

It’s Historic!


Once upon a time a Poet (Paul Brooks) and an artist (Barbara Munger) lived together in Venice. The poet died and the artist went missing.
I found this poem in a box the artist left with me before disappearing.
Yours, B. Meade

Barbara Ann

Sprawled on the patio floor
Half a case of beer missing
You gaze up at me with that wide tight-lipped smile
as I stare intently at your heart lowering its eyelids
and barely audible, the sound of wind-chimes
hanging by a thin thread behind your forehead

You have to get the life back in you
Trace the stones that mark your eyes
until all the openings in the silence
reclaim their lives

Burning there in the darkness, I never leave
but beg for hands to hold the proper prayers,
hand to cup the fears in tiny rooms,
to continue whispering softly at the door

– Paul D. Brooks  7/20/81


Moving Day

In boxes marked fragile
Ominous packages on the living room floor
containing memories shatter-proof and breakable,
brimming with mental trinkets,
deluged with psychological family heirlooms,
Are these needed?
Shall I bring my tattered psyche, too?
Depressions rest heavily against the shoulders
Nervous incapacities threaten in their sensitive substance
shaky hands,
Brief moments of happiness weigh agreeable,
Intoxicating euphorias float weightlessly,
Motley objects of my childhood,
Are they inseparable treasures of the mind?
Shall I take these tarnished medallions to the new home,
to the new life?
The freight is examined and selected,
From among the corrugated containers
bulging with collected experiences
I emerge unmarked as a newborn baby
leaving behind the baggage on moving day,
Would not the present suffice?

Categories: Poetry

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