Venice — 1963
I’m visiting Dad
at his bookstore on
dudley – it’s summer
and I’m outta school –
we take the oceanfront
train for 10¢ all the
way down to P.O.P.
I get a fresh pink
cotton candy to eat
and make a spin-art
picture. King neptune
is in the fountain
surrounded by copper
pennies, we go thru
the turnstyle and into
the sea side magic
of rides and sights
In that moment, I’m 10,
holding your hand and
all is well and wonderful.
a milton and kitty memory
by KL Bratton
Ode to Tom Waits
By L.E. Mintz
Like sandpaper soaked with stolen colors ripped off an Edward Hopper canvas, the silent piano player wearing a torn and tattered bloodstained turtleneck tuxedo drunk from heartaches mouthed his song in broken tongues while a pencil thin prima-donna danced, frozen in time. As dawn sliced open the cover of night, his mind drifted off on a warm summer breeze and as a young lady laughed hanging upside down scantily clad in a pair of transparent ideas, his body was buried beneath a bed of unspoken lies.
03:11 Saturday, March 24, 2012 ….. The weariness says “no; just go to bed.” As useless, too, to quote chillable red. I listen to the Silence, whispering Her secrets, to unveil some hidden thing. I pause, reflecting on the day’s events For hours; found oasis, pitched my tents. The night finally wins. My shoulder’s pinned Against the mat. Sleep’s fiery furnace fanned. And in the lengthy interrim, my sense Gets totally anaesthetized; a dense, Dark hedgerow swallows up my everything. Then, as before, Silence comes whispering Her secrets. Our prenuptuals are made. Exchanging vows, Silence and I are wed….. Roger Houston
Clean fingers raking profits
Knee deep in overdrafts
Pinky rings a glow
Fists full of dollars
Clown frowned faces
Market pirates snatch
Written by: Vanessa L., Lexi, Eric, and Frankie
that woman worked tenderly around
to clean and fix all of the broken things.
her eyes upon the slivered lives scattered
around, she tried to focus and find.
The lives emerged
and she pulled them together.
it took so long
and it didn’t make any sense.
but lives rarely speak clearly.
in the end
she with heart and love
offered piles of splinters to them
the same as they’d called her to clear.
they said, she protested.
pieces go somewhere
words are woven, colors composed
broken things are mended
lost – even lost, is here, is home. is here.
nobody knew anything.
and we are all
and we are all so tired.
Pink Cloud Poem
By Philomene Long
I walk out on the beach –
only one pink cloud
and it above my head –
low in the sky.
I raise my writing book
as if it is a chalice
for the cloud to give me
A soft rain fell.
The poem fell
onto the page –
The Freaks of Venice
the roar of the jets
is the roar of the ocean –
& that’s all you need to know about
the freaks of Venice Beach
meant to write that down & sell it
in day glow paint –
but they’re too busy, being freaks
chewing the scenery – with the status of
movie-stars, who never sold out
spewing confessional sound bites
which bounce off cruising black & whites
& slide all over the body of tattooed Marilyn –
who leans against walls, everywhere
in assured, iconic empathy.
ah – their screams:
or straight as an arrow
they snuggle neatly around that lizard tongue
which still licks Ocean Front Walk
clean of irony.
HERE, YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE & WHAT YOU KNOW
as you wander around
feasting on coffee & cinnamon rolls;
that Chuck Norris only ever has two speeds –
walk & kill
how forty bucks can get you a “legal marijuana” certificate
observations of kinetic malfunction
at Muscle Beach – are free
& the beachfront apartment sign that says
I can make it to the fence in 1.5 seconds – Can you?
is not a joke.
it’s while you’re checking out t-shirts of the dead & spectacularly
fame just might sink into the sea
here at Venice –
leaving fundamental humanity.
but we’ll still have the freaks –
who always have their shit together –
even when they haven’t.
even though their humanity is
a pure karmatic truth of often haunting
psycho-derelict shadows, sparkling filth
& shifting registrations
etched deeply into the lens…
they understand that
EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE LED TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW
& when they’re tired? they just lie down
a little bit harder than most
on the concrete pillows of a system they are deeply
the freaks of Venice:
life-splattered players & jittery receptors
playing out their moment, by the waves
beneath that year-round Los Angeles
as if it was some divine beach ball – set on fire
& kicked into the sky –
& because they know
the Pacific Ocean has already
swallowed them all.