• A Cold Proposition – Carol Fondiller
  • “when in the course of human events…” – hillary kaye
  • Lady Venice–Myra D. Goodley
  • Whale Song–krista schwimmer
  • Swami X Speaks, Collected on Ocean Front Walk – Judy Lent


A Cold Proposition
By Carol Fondiller

Outside, brittle cold shatters the fragile
or gone dreams of Southern California
into icy drafts that
claw their way beneath the door.
Inside, the heater growls
Saharan breath on us.

Fingers laced beneath your head, as you lie at ease –
You say, that those who study the
vagaries of Earth on Her constant
axis say,
That a new Ice Age is just
around the corner
and faster than we think
We’ll be there to watch Hell freeze over.
The lens in the camera’s simulacrum eye
cracks, unable to record the
sight of rubbled buildings
that thumb’d their noses at the sky,
the steel that girded them to stand
erect and sway with Earth’s
erratic dance,
now broken by a steely whim of ice.

Hard-edge artists and their lawyers
shiver over frozen hot tubs
plundered of their Condo-dreams.
I listen to your talk of withered fruit
shattering as it hits the frozen
aborting seeds before a
Spring that will not come now for
a thousand, thousand
Vegetarian hordes storm zoos
killing kinkajoos, camels, elephants,
and wallabies,
plunging chilled hands into
the hot, still throbbing guts of
wide-eyed deer and marmosets,
koala bears, stately swans,
shoving gobbets of soft bunny
flesh into famine-bloated bellies.

My eyes trace glacial progress
of blue veins across the
country of your body.
Your quiet voice goes on about
the cold-crazed future.
The muffled cadence of your heart
counts off the time
Until L.A., with its Jungian
Reichian avocado incense primal surfing,
Hare Krishna poem trees EST Macrobiotic
encounter Zen group veggie-burger illegals,
existential off ramps, interfaith healing
communes accucolonic commie gay red
neck sushi bars, and isometric muscle

building Synanon Kosher mandarin
taco halfway house denim
gas stations
Congeals, unified homogenized
at last under a thick white
that stills all
shrill dissent and
self advertisement.
And oh, my honey, let’s make love
before the Sun withdraws into a sullen
frigid star,
before Cold shall  take the fine
grained sand, compress it
in his fist to boulders,
and shucks us in his hands
of skin of breath of arteries.
Our skeletons pressed like brittle
gardenias between the pages of
Browning’s sonnets,
becoming delicate fossils
lacy Valentines to mark
forgotten time.
And oh my honey, let us taste our
sweat and suck each
other’s funky breath
and let us rub each other with
‘til we come in tropic hotness,
melt the
Polar Ice Caps
and save the

(originally published in February, 1978 issue)

“when in the course of human events…”

By hillary kaye

from the
we don’t need a president
of the united estates of america
we don’t want a world government
a slave nation or any other nation of slaves
we want to be free
from the
of a system
from those in desperate need
to those of enormous greed
we stood by
land of the fleeced, home of the knaves
and watched reagan destroy our unions
we stood by
land of the fleeced, home of the knaves
and watched clinton and nafta take away our jobs
we stood by
and watched in horror our country
wage Obama war after Bush war
we stood by and let
our states be robbed
land of the fleeced, home of the knaves
our taxes our money
born out of our own flesh
was taken to kill others
let us secede from this
let us separate ourselves
so we can face ourselves
50 states owe 160 billion
war costs 600 billion
a better world is not only a necessity
it is possible.

Lady Venice

Oh Venice,
Sometimes you’re such an old lady,
groaning under the weight of change;
And then, on an autumn afternoon
you’re a beautiful nymph,
seductive in your pulsating energy
and rich with colorful people who are;
sipping cappuccino at The Sidewalk Cafe,
skating at sunset on Ocean Front Walk,
singing Simon and Garfunkel songs for
a few tossed coins,
shucking and jiving down the beach
(most jiving),
working out, biceps bulging near the
paddle tennis courts
where several bronzed residents are
whacking the ball with studied vengeance,
In this scene too are:
down and outers (the usual older drunks
and young stoners) unaware of the day,
the time, the planet,
would be shamans of the Holistic Age
(post Aquarian) practicing T’ai Chi,
exchanging knowledge of pressure points
and herbal teas,
street people selling their rags, rugs
and miscellaneous treasures,
artists and artistes;

All this on an autumn day at sunset
(tangerinish pink),
palm trees sharply etched against
the horizon –
this could only be Venice/West,
everyone’s fantasy at one time or
temporary paradise, a place to dream
where the very ground simmers with
untapped energies.

–Myra D. Goodley
(originally published in the April 1978 Issue)

Whale Song
for Hena Akter

When her spirit comes to me and my kind, I am startled.
We are so different, you see. She is clothed simply, with long hair, dark like purple laver.
I ask, “what do your people call you?”
She says, shyly, “My name is Hena Akter. It means Gracious Star.”
“You are young, Hena,” I tell her, “to be alone in my ocean sky. What brings you here?”
Hena hesitates, and then whispers: “I do not understand why I am here.
I only wanted to relieve myself at nightfall as I was taught.
I do not understand what happened to me next.
Can you tell me why my own relative dragged me into the forest and raped me?”

“I am sorry, young Hena, my tribe cannot explain such a terrible crime.
Surely, though, when you told your mother, she took you up with her own body and kept you afloat? Surely your village sang a song of healing over you?”
Hena sighs, and again says: “I do not understand what I did wrong.
The clerics in my village decreed a fatwa of 100 lashings –against ME, not him.
But I did nothing wrong, nothing at all.
I tried so hard to take the beating, to find a way to live through the rape, through the fatwa.
I am only a girl. I could not live through such pain.”

Her spirit floats closer to my pod, her arms open.
I tell her, “Come, then, Sister Hena of the Stars. We understand your pain.
We know what it means to have your children murdered before you, for no good reason.
We will record your story as we must all such stories and carry it out to the world in song.
For now, come ride with us to the sanctuary of the ghost whales.
Let us be the mothers who buoy your spirit body up.
Let us be the brothers who keep your spirit body safe.
Breach this world and ascend with us to a haven where all spy hop and sing
deep in the heart of the Milky Way.”

And Hena smiles, climbs on my ancient back, and grasps the barnacles there.
As we start our ascent, I begin sounding out the Song of Hena
telling all of our kind her tale, wave after wave
telling all of your kind her tale, wave after wave
so that her wounds may heal
so that her spirit may rest
so that no other little girl ever suffers
like Hena Akter again.

–krista schwimmer


Swami X Speaks, Collected on Ocean Front Walk

by Judy Lent

Hey, Swami, you ever been busted?
Have I ever been busted?
Did I tell you about the time
I got busted? It was in
Sausalito.  I was
hitchhiking.  It had taken me
all day to get out of Frisco,
and there I was on that lousy corner
when the cops pull up
and bust me.  The judge
fined me $36 for hitchhiking
and $6.50 transportation tax.

Give us the $42.50
and we’ll let you go, they said.

Give you forty-two fifty!, I said, Hell,
if I’d had goddamned forty-two fifty,
I’d have taken a motherfuckin’ taxi!

(first published September 1978 issue)

Categories: Poetry