• The Fetch – John Thomas

  • Venizens of the Beach – Tim Weil

  • Crow Secrets – Krista Schwimmer

  • Washing – Majid Naficy

  • Power – Jim Smith

  • They Are Tearing up the Country – Janet Pelhan

  • The Heaven Help Us, Venice – Tina Cochran

  • NO TiME 4 HATERz – Jimmy Valentine

  • Oil 2010 – Cosmo

  • in front of Nickie Black’s Garden Green – Roger Houston


The Fetch

The mirror, and the papers in my wallet,
tell me I am nearly seventy.
This is, of course, Los Angeles — Venice —
and the Pacific’s edge whispers not far away.
The year (we know, yes?) is 2000.
The seventh of April, late evening, yes?
Outside, unseen below my window,
two young men laugh as they stroll by.
But their laughter, I must tell you,
is in Baltimore, near the end of Dolphin Street,
on a crisp autumn night in 1957.
Ah, the laughter!  My heart swells within me,
if only for these few instants healthy again (trust me)
and young, exultantly young, 1940s young!
As I write, it pumps strongly, drunk with itself,
on a soft tropic night in a port town in the Antilles.
My mind (call it that) floats abroad,
out of all time and place.  And these words:
when and where will you read them?  Perhaps
you even wrote them?  Can we know?

I must leave you now.  But listen.
Listen to the murmur of the surf,
and to the antique laughter.  Take joy
in your hotly beating heart.

–John Thomas

Venizens of the Beach

Tattoo-tarot, Tarot-tattoo
Venice Beach rendezvous

Drink your tea leaves by the street-side serenade
Of Rap-Man (Mo-Po)’s Hit Parade
Ride the whirlygig heli-copper
Exhorting citations at street vendor offenders

Tattoo-tarot, Tarot-tattoo
Venice Beach rendezvous

–Tim Weil

Crow Secrets
i know the secrets
of the crows.
i take in the strut
& the warning Caw
of the sentinel.
i fly with a murder of 40
& declare
No Mercy! No Mercy!
Watch me!
i am dark, dangerous
& loud.
i will rub you wrong
with my beak
& steal your shiny Maya.
i know the secrets
of the crows.
Tell me, do you know?
Look now at the horizon.
Two comrades beat back a hawk!
We are many, we are proud.
We know far too much
of human degradation.
Caw! Caw! Caw!
We march in our blacks
against you, on Judgment Day.

–krista schwimmer


by Majid Naficy

Only the sound of the washer remains
And our clothes are losing
Their fragrant nightly memories:
The scent of firewood and wet grass
The stains of wine on your blouse
And the blackberries on my cuffs
The fingertips of morning dew on your shoulders
And the brown mark of earth on my back
Rolling, rolling under the fading stars
And suddenly the big red ball of the sun!
Let it turn around, around
and mingle our clothes together.
Love is stainless
And its clean shirt
Always shines.



By Jim Smith
(In answer to Byron’s The Isles of Greece)

Too many tyrants have risen
and ruled heedless of our suffering.
O, to smash them down
And set our selves, our land and people free
Which of you will wield the Power
and drive away the dark?

Young liberators take action.
Ride the tiger to the far horizon
Yet, it is a dangerous game you play
Power is not free or freedom.
It has a deadly price
to pay

Power is always either here or there.
In times past with mighty strokes
we laid our oppressors low
and put all wrongs to right
then gloried in our deeds.
till time again began its march.

Slowly, slowly, Power took control
the servant became our master
Black and white became our colors
Our veins ran cold
with only the cruelest blood
and the tyrant lived again.

And tempting us still
are the gods of Homer
inviting us to slay another foe,
whose threat we will soon invent.
But what foe is greater than Power
and harder than it to slay?

Come here my friends
and drink good Venetian wine
and take this soothing herb.
For eons we have in battle raged
and still we suffer like the beasts.
Let’s play an earthy tune instead.

Comrades, I would remove my armor
and hang my sword upon the wall.
Leave me amid gardens and sparkling canals
and ocean sunsets caressing Venice.
Pray let’s celebrate our peaceful ways
writing verses in these golden days.

Yet even now I hear the sirens’ call,
the march of pickets echos in my head,
and martial chants entice me still.
Whoa Power you shall not win this day.
Your time is passing. You will not thrive.
Our human race, and me, without you will survive.

They Are Tearing up the Country
For my father, James Phelan
Whose journalism also broke the rules

They are tearing up the streets
where we once lived
You walk across the broken asphalt
over the exposed conduits
of power/water/fiber optics
through a rent in time
You are as strapping as a Viking
your blue eyes unclouded
your typewriter unsheathed
You pick me up
and twirl me like a baton
above your head
I squeal with delight
and then I remember
you are long dead
long buried
almost, actually, irrelevant
They are tearing up the streets
where I played chalked-up hopscotch
they are tearing up the house
where you taught me to be fearless
they are tearing up the city
where I once roamed wild
they are tearing up the country
where we took refuge
they are tearing up the planet
which once was the garden
the cracks deepen to fissures
the temblors shake the temple
they are tearing up
they are tearing up
they are tearing up

–Janet Phelan

The Heaven Help Us, Venice
Ohh, They – CHOPPED Down the JASMINE!
And, they PLANTED ‘sawed-off POLES!
They – CHOPPED Down the Sweetest Smelling Shade
The Heaven knows…

They call it: “Valet Parking”
They say that: “Money Talks”
(Heaven Help Us, Venice – Heaven Help Yourself!)

Ohh, They “barrel down” the Board Walk,
Anytime – Of Day or Night!
“The King of Beers”, “The Dairy That Cares”?
L.A. LAW – in Black and White!

A Law – No One Enforces!
(Only Pigs? and Horses?)
(Heaven Help Us, Venice – Heaven Help Yourself!)

Help Save ‘THE CIRCLE’, from the “circle jerks” in town!
Help Save ‘THE CIRCLE’ – keep it Simple, Keep it Round!
Stand next to THE STATUE! Circle slowly. Head held high!
Feel – ‘The Spirit, that is Venice’ – While you still can see the sky!

Ohh, They Build Those Mighty Condos,
On Those Tiny Cottage Lots!
They make more walls, of money,
Between – The “haves” and the “have nots”!

They wake the Sleeping Homeless –
NO MORE SLEEPING – Day or Night!
They “make beds” for new flowers.
They paint the palm trees white!
(Heaven Help Us, Venice – Heaven Help Yourself!)

Ohh, They padlock Thee Pavillion,
And They CLOSED The Venice Pier!
They keep – Giving “drunks” those tickets,
As THEE LANDMARKS disappear!

They “folded” (down) THEE CARD ROOM,
While the Restrooms ‘Go To Pot!’
Now, Thee Oil Wells stand empty,
(Heaven Help Us, Venice – Venice Help Yourself!)

Help! Save “The Pagodas” – Sweet Green Temples by the Sea!
Save “Our Pagodas” – a Home away – For You? and Me?
Blessed Shade and Shelter: Sharing Soup and Breaking Bread
Save the past, that can be saved, Before ALL Color’s Dead…
Ohh, Help! Save The People, Save the Pier, and Save the Walk!
Save The Small Green Shelters, Where God’s Creatures come to talk…
Where, The Weary Traveler, finds a “way” away from home…
Where, The Venice Spirits, Free and Restless come to roam…
(Heaven Help Us, Venice – Venice Help Your Own!)

–Tina Corcoran


By Jimmy Valentine
There is no time for haterz.
i have no time, or space there .
i repLace your waste of taste, in
Haste, with the upMost grace.
i will not reside with, or by that
Bitter vibe.
RefLecting bLue skies into my
Eyes, i bark YES-I!
Like a pitbull on watch for King
One Love is true, those are my
I’ve watered those roots, since
A small youth, with a Love for
Life despite the abuse.
For everyone bears a scar, weather near, weather far.
Denounce the fear and the darkness, with every ounce of
PerpetuaLLy grasping for the

Oil 2010
By Cosmo
Our liquid desert is filled with oil,
the beginning of the downward stroke
upon ourselves,
unrelenting destruction
at its worst phase.
Death at every turn,
a sunami of liquid gold
that reaps all life from our planet,
an ocean of dead.
I pray and bless each life force,
miles of creatures,
dying as I write these words.
Where does it end?
We just quickened our own extinction,
A couple of notches.
We are fed only bits
of information of what is really going on.
If life starts in the Oceans,
It also ends there.
The upside to this is,
Nature almost always recuperates.
The gentle balance
Has been broken
For the moment.
It is up to us to help
Heal man’s insanities
of what is right or wrong.
At this time we must be
More pure and honest
And caring with our actions,
Or our liquid deserts will all
Stop and die with us.

13:40 Tuesday, October 19, 2010, in front of Nickie Black’s Garden Green…..Release my soul; rise up to meet the rain, As near to Heaven as I might obtain. Cast off my ballast, and my mooring lines, Release my spirit as my faith consigns. Release my body from captivity, But not before you free the real me. Swing wide the doors and let me go outside. Extend angelic wings. Give me a ride. Among the teeming, huddled, who must flee Oppression, masses yearning to breathe free. But give me lasting freedom, of designs No despot can defeat, my poor soul pines For freedom, everlasting. Once again, Grant me my leave to rise to greet the rain…..Roger Houston, Venice

Categories: Poetry