Beware The Poem

By Jim Smith

Beware the poem.

If you are seeking comfort

in clever words

you’ve come to the wrong place.

Beware the poem.

It is a stabbing light

that cuts through the thickest fog

And shows what we don’t want to see.

Beware the poem.

It tears down the walls

that hide us from the truth

of the onrushing abyss.

Beware the poem.

It will find us

no matter how far

or how fast we run.

Beware the poem.

Its edges are knife sharp

and its essence

is the future.


Study of Marigolds

by Aryn Youngless

It’s all a bit of mayhem

Craziness wrapped in cellophane,

Crispy and see through

And we run around in circles, lost

Confused by what has happened

And what hasn’t happened at all

Then we wait for someone to guide us

What else it there to do?

The absurdity is just

We are just, aren’t we?

I am just, when I can be

And the world spins on

Befuddled, bemused, demoralized

Music swells

Everyone dances,

But the jagged coughs make my chest burn

How did we get here

Dizzied and confused

Fingers digging into the dirt

Grasping for the earth

As it spins us, like a rotor

Pasted to the wall,

The floor falls out from under our feet

We hang, groundless

Helplessly waiting for the something

The one thing, that should rescue us

From calamity and woes

Never realizing we have our own capes

We are our own heroes

Rise above the fraudulent imagery

Move past the intricately placed words

And we find, life

Spun into the duality of a cocoon

Warm and comforting

Hot and suffocating

Choices woven into the silken threads

We over look for we think should be

The something that never was

Rest, or panic

Meditate, or run

Stand alone, but stand strong

As you look to them, they look to you

The earth will spin, and they will dance

And the burning will fade with time

Is it real, or is it a dream?

It’s before you, for you to decide

What will become of what was

And what will never be at all?

Inside the mayhem are the marigolds

Puffs of beauty and color

And in their simplicity, the answers lie

But you must sit and listen to the nothing

For as long as it my take

Minutes, hours, years

And then the answers will appear

Put on your blinders, then you will see


Oakwood Mothers

this is dedicated to all those single Moms

trying so hard to raise their kids up

hold down a job or two

who sacrificed things they wanted for their kids

bought the kids new clothes before they bought

for themselves

the ones who believed the hype:

if you just get your kid through school

their future would be so bright

some of those kids never made it –

shot and killed by their neighborhood,

by the colors they wore and didn’t wear

by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Is this Venice? you ask

Hell, yeah –

it sure ain’t the bedazzled coating they put on everything

behind all the glamor and the glitz

kids grew up in Oakwood, with not much money,

not nearly enough

the real stories are there to be found

single Moms, just barely out of their teens,

trying to raise their babies to be successful

when they didn’t know what success looked like.

leaving their kids home alone so they could work

and make the rent

grandmothers and aunties filling in the gap

so proud of their kids –

and some of those kids are not here now,

since the gang war, kids were killed and taken away.

now people are being evicted, businesses are closing,

because of the greed taking over Venice.

this is our community, what’s left of it.

the closing of businesses,

the evictions of people

people gone away, forced out of here by greed

the greed of the developers and politicians

now we’re asked to vote for new politicians,

to replace the old ones

carpet-baggers, can’t wait to get in on the money

taking away the flavor of our community

making everything cost so much

people can’t afford to live here,

in their homes, in their spiritual homes.

single moms and their kids,

don’t they deserve to live here?

their mamas lived here and their grandparents,

but not them

people becoming “displaced people” in their homeland

treated like the Palestinians in Israel

everyone forgets their history

but they were here first

and now Oakwood is filling up with white,

upwardly mobile screenwriters and actors,

leaving “ordinary people” with no place to stay.

apartheid of money, not skin color,

but the result is the same:

separation of people by income levels,

not skin color

so where is the “diversity” that Venice is so proud of?

it’s priced out of the market, ok?

it can’t be “diverse” when it looks all the same.

the yuppies with their expensive strollers

hey great, they are colonizing Venice

just as the Romans did to most of the planet

it’s all gonna look the same –

it already does.

– Mary Getlein



She looks down and wonders

if she feels at peace.

She looks down and wonders

if she’s what she needs.

She looks down and wonders

if she’ll ever know.

She looks down and wonders

how fast she’ll grow.

She looks down and wonders

if she’ll sleep tonight.

She looks down and wonders

if she’s doing it right.

She looks down and wonders

if she’s in any pain.

She looks up and wonders

exactly the same.

For my mom, coincidentally on Mother’s Day.

I love you.

By Emily Wood


order of merit

the scum rises also in the swine pool

that is the venerated joke

a pig in a proverbial poke

bought for some by yet some other fool

Christopher Mulrooney


12:51 Monday, April 15th, 2013, Adullam ….. The fence beyond my window is

alive With vernal growth, and barely time to save, Before the surface breaks

over the bow, Beginning the descent, to rest below. Or seated in a box at Ford’s

Theater; A demon comes to visit from the rear. Supposing T.S. Eliot was right,

This Ides of April won without a fight. Capitulated, I, gave in to fear Of

tragedies to come. They’ll find me here. Of blessings and of curses, I don’t

know The one from other, opening my door. The lilacs in my churchyard shade my

grave, Like herald angels, singing me alive ….. Roger Houston


Like an Animal Without Faith

Believe and you shall, inevitably, become the object of fury and suffering when the entity whom you allowed to seduce you and to whom you surrendered your will fails—despite the power that you attributed to it—and does not satisfy your expectations of pleasure.

Believe in god and accept your suffering as the natural consequence of your sin and you will satisfy his condition for being worthy of his love. This is the terrible condition that incites theist belief.

Believe and suffer. Suffer and believe that your suffering has a value that you can exchange for redemption. Your pain is your merit. This is the perverse tramp—created by the church and adopted by the state—in which cardinals and senators exploit the ignorance (fear and impotence) and bury humanity’s suffering.

The logical understanding that life is unsatisfactory leads to the conclusion that its impermanence is a condition that can not be altered by belief. Consequently, the human being who possesses this knowledge is free to reconcile with the nakedness of its nature and endure the suffering required to stay alive and die serenely, like an animal without faith.

—Humberto Gómez Sequeira-HuGóS, the Antigen

Categories: Poetry