• On Returning to Venice – Stuart Z. Perkoff
  • On the Boulevard – Malcolm H. Ball
  • Venice West – Don Johns
  • Make me your lover – Jasper Schubert
  • A solstice has occurred – Roger Houston
  • Venice you bleed – Philip Chamberlin
  • Two Lives Lost – Mary Getlein
  • Somewhere – Jim Smith
  • Cool, Smooth, Nocturnal & Universal – Hal Bogotch


On Returning to Venice

By Stuart Z. Perkoff
time is confused on the streets of my city
returning, it is now & always as i walk
thru footsteps of memory

fog limits vision, & my eyes turn
inward, where birds fly the feet
over paths of intricate memories

ghosts over my shoulder do not push or press
rather, their eyelessness peers to pierce
the veiled images of the future, or
the flowers ballooning from the clouds of mist
all is not voice
or vision. real walls
separate the rooms
within which movements
are limited by space. & the bodies
within it

what endless histories
walk each separate flesh
each mind touching
its own
which goes beyond, encompasses
boundaries & isolations
within rigidity
the flow of continuity
o ghosts
o my past
the face i wear

o my city
my flesh
the space given

yr voices in my ears
yr tears in my eyes
hands touching
songs ringing
from room to room
in the houses of my mind

On the Boulevard

I see him
Limping back and forth along the traffic island at an intersection on Venice Boulevard.
Smiling at the cars waiting for the light,
Waving with one hand, the other held out.
He is deeply tanned about fifty, his cloths ragged and filthy.
I cross over with the red light handing him my change.
Better than nothing.
–Malcolm H. Ball

Venice West
Do you remember?
the chess game  in each reeling bar
on an oceanfront walk through surreal night
when the “gas house” was aflame
with ideas and smoke
from weak home-grown dope
and poetry was chanted
to the off-beat wail of a tenor sax
in the beat coffee-house  “venice west”
how you would call a party in your tumbling pad
haunted by psychedelic doges
of the grand canal & tributaries to a fix
and sing and party til next week’s dawn
cause neighbors never gave a shit
and if they did they would just fall by
and have a drink or toke
to ease their restive souls
or a bit of crystal to wake up
how when properly lit some would fashion a raft
from the front door to the pad
that was always open
and drunkenly float on this swamping craft
whimsical gondoliers
singing off-key grand opera arias
polling up and down the slimy waterways
where the cops rarely came
for at least “it” was contained
they figured
they had “it” pent up
in a place where the main stream didn’t flow
the infamous canals
where bikers   dopers   poets   drunks
and other misfits maintained
when venice was still
a restless slum-by-the-sea
no shit     do you remember?
–Don Johns  reprinted from the March 1987 Beachhead


Make me your lover
I will be most beautiful
built on each sequence fluently
watch me blossom between your weeds
nourish, cherish, keep me close
I will never wilt
give me passion
embrace me with words
And I will be the last rose in the desert of your life

–Jasper Schubert


23:32 Tuesday, June 21, 2011, Behind the Talking Stick….. A solstice has occurred, the spring gives way To glorious summer in a single day. A solstice has arrived on fiery wings. A nightengale, far in the distance, sings. Concentric circles turn, change of the guard. Without discerning, noticing is hard. Eventual, inevitable, turn, And light this midnight candle, let it burn. A solstice has come forth to strike a chord. Millenia have passed, unspoken word. The shortest night gives rise to other things. The nights so slowly elongate, it brings December twenty-first, near Christmas Day, The opposite, a hemisphere away…..



Venice you bleed,
and your blood will not clot.
Your vital juices ooze
under the yellow caterpillar blade.
And I can not stop them.

The stormy husky brawling city of big
is come to cart away your corpse.
They wait but for your heart to die,
your flame to go black,
And I cannot stop them.

With contracts and proposals they ploy
your evisceration.
When development has done with your soul
we will not need autopsy to ascertain
your cause of death.
The cause is plain as the smashed glass
and fractured rafters of a wrecked out bungalow.
As clear cut as the mighty cedar they doze up
by the root.
And why can I not stop them?

Philip Chamberlin
reprinted from the March 1977 Beachhead


Two Lives Lost 

For Salvador “Junior” Diaz, age 18
       Allan Mateo, age 19

two lives lost at Penmar park –
two boys raised up by loving parents
cut down by another youth –
three lives lost, really
because the shooter is now a killer
and will end up in prison, if found
The parents of the slain boys
were anticipating graduation –
total horror, total chaos instead
in the tiny village of Venice
cries of sorrow and pain are heard again.
an altar is left on the bleachers
candles burning in the dark,
drinks and Gatorades left for the boys
flowers and rosaries all around.
prayers are our only consolation
children killed at our playground:
The obscenity of war come home to us.
–Mary Getlein



By Jim Smith
Somewhere in this wide universe
There is a Venice
where Abbot Kinney’s son
is known as Thornton the Great
for saving the canals
for rebuffing the L.A. mob
for using the oil revenue
to build stately little bungalows
for one and all.

for teaching Venetians
how to keep their city

for endowing the arts and letters
for inspiring the entire world.


Cool, Smooth, Nocturnal 
& Universal

By Hal Bogotch
It starts with low notes
barely a rumble
a melody flickers in
what’s being played
is more
than what’s on the page

it’s the clink
of champagne glasses
it’s horseshoes
clopping on cobblestone streets
it’s a tinny tiny bronze hammer
chiming the hour in the park

it’s the dim roar
of skywriters
pumping a pair of white heart clouds
it’s the arcing spray
from a broken hydrant
on a noon hot august night

it’s the twirl of unwinding
a bandage    after a baton
busted a post-bop blower’s top
it’s miles away from birds
and dizzy dreamers
it comes clean in the night

it’s nothing but
nothing but jazz.

Categories: Poetry

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