The Venice Boardwalk looks the Same
But the Faces have Changed-
Where are all the old Kings and Queens
of Venice?
Joseph playing belly dance music and telling all the gals;
“You’re the most beautiful girl in the world!”
Sonny writing songs for Hendrix and playing guitar with Ernie
on the Grass-
The Haaigs running the Venice West Cafe
with Poems by Beatniks-
Ruthie in the Bakery
Feeding the Homeless and even hungry Pigeons-
Dr. John by Windward with his Peace Flag
Healing everyone for Free-
King Al sitting on the Phoenix House Bench
Holding Court while puffing a cigarette-
JC, Crazy Mary and Riff Raff Ralph
Yelling and annoying the Tourists-
So many Faces have Come and Gone
Like Sand on the Beach
Washed Away by the Endless Waves of Time…

– Marty Liboff


Venice Vortex

By Krystle Shannon (Tree Girl)

Step into the Venice Vortex

Make sure your shoes are laced

Cause you don’t wanna twist an ankle

In this spinning Vortex Space


Welcome to the Freakshow

To the trippy hippy beach

Here the drummers never stop

Nor the tapping of de feet


The girls they roll on skateboards

The boys they roll a blunt

‘N unless you wanna lose a toe

I wouldn’t do any of the stunts


Welcome to the Venice Vortex

Home of the Walking Trees

This colourful metropolis

A paint rash symptom Love Disease


Just remember on your plane home

You never truly leave

This boomerang bangin Vortex

Will have you returning, turning, turning

If only in your dreams.

North On Robertson

by krista schwimmer

Early evening
driving along Robertson Boulevard
i spot the Dancing Man
stripped down to his waist
his back a hard tan.
i’ve seen him there before,
sometimes on roller skates,
always watching his reflection
in a store front window.
Once, i saw him get into a taxicab right
before nightfall.
i cross Beverly Boulevard
leaving the Dancing Man for another
familiar sight — a seated, gold-leafed Buddha,
12 feet tall, bolted down in a parked, pickup truck.
Today, he is covered with carpets
revealing only his head and topknot.
Why is he still here, i wonder,
held down like a hostage? Does he see
the Dancing Man, just two blocks south?
They could be dharma brothers
neither of them caring so much
for West Hollywood Samsara. i continue north,
turn east onto Melrose Ave,
man and statue no longer visible
in my side mirror. i sink into my body
feel the strength in my ample thighs,
and know that at last, i am happy —
just a simple, earthbound woman
making her way to work.


No Overnight Parking Districts (OPDs)

By Karl Abrams


I’m concerned with the Spontaneous Poet

that dreamy visitor who drives in to our

Coastal Venice by the sea, without warning

bringing peace in character and freedom of spirit,

Visitor or Venetian, who teaches and talks into the night

leaving a trusty parked car without OPD permit.

Perhaps it’s a Walt Whitman, a Pablo Naruda or a Mary Getlein,

who spends a tired and spontaneous night

at my carefree Venice house.

Who, after a few glasses of wine,

sleeps on my couch without OPD permission

rather than risk a life

driving back home alone.


I’m concerned with the Spontaneous Lover

Visitor or Venice rover,

who parks near the misty coast

and dreams innocent songs of Love, at most,

told by some among us

that they’re just too afraid of

his or her nightly unpermitted presence and too afraid

to let them sleep through the night

to wake again in a new and Free

Venice morning by the sea.


This poem was read by Karl Abrams in front of the California Coastal Commission at the June 13 hearing concerning OPDs in Venice

Art or Poetry

What brings you more joy, art or poetry?
I like to hear poetry performed
someone else reading it – not me
it’s hard to put your feet in the water
and get up and throw your arms around
and be all theatrical
so I watch the other poets do that
and copy them
and write my poems or let the poems write themselves
and I hardly ever throw my arms around
I used to watch Franceye perform her poems
in a condemning voice
pointing out the inequities of the world
poems are a cry from the heart, the soul:
it hurts, it hurts, it hurts
when the rest of your life is dedicated to
pretending that it doesn’t hurt
and you’re “normal” like everybody else –
content to do the same ol thing day after day
people that feel pain too easily
that can’t stand how hellish it is sometimes
what are they supposed to do
except sit down and write another poem
or let a picture come through them to the canvas?
and hope that someone out there is listening
– Mary Getlein


by: Aryn Youngless

there is a life
beyond these walls
a world
a song
a light, so bright
it will blind us all
with one glace
but we hide
in the darkness
of mundane
hoping for change
wishing for it
but never wanting to
break the smallest sweat
there is a life beyond this one
& it waits in the city
& it waits in the pastures
& it waits in the gutter
on the side of the road
choices – all of them
even the ones
we pretend we never
really had to make
they cry out in the night
and in the day
all hours
if only we would
stop & listen
out there
& it is not defined
by the shadow we
refuse to release
or the melodies that
illuminate favorite moments
it is pure
it is true
it is the person you forgot
you were always meant
to be
harmoniously, you
in all the glitter
and gold
there is
There is a life
beyond this one
waiting, patiently
like you never knew
someone could wait
because it wants you
it wants you there
so let go of the anchors
& swim into
the abyss
always remember
that every moment is life
when you are grateful
you are free


Ahhh! Spring in Venice
The fragrance of jasmine perfumery
The Venice Art Walk
The return of tourists…..
But for me spring
Wrenches jagged with
Cries of desolation and despair
Only the hungry Baby Mockingbird can manifest
Sensitized I am to their calls
For I have raised two to flying–
Amelia and Beauregard
Gobs of blue-veined plasm flesh
But when grounded, a sorry plight indeed
Baby Mockingbirds fall from nest
Insistent to fly before they even have feathers
Impatient to get on with IT!
Disobedient, adamant creatures
Unfortunately prowling Enemies
Of teeth and of claw
Hunt, alert to opportunity, those
Crows, hawks, cats, raccoons
Whadda ya think?
Baby Mockingbirds should become
Venice’s official city bird:
Composed with its disobedient citizenry
Haunted by prowling Midases
With cash to gobble her up.
– Laura Shepard Townsend

The Abyss

I am going to
close my eyes
and open the mind
to project myself
into the abyss
where the elements of perception
into an undefined essence.
at the point
where the dreams
of animals and humans
I will shed
the corpuscles of my identity
until I can see
the root of the horror and the ecstasy
of my existence.
—Humberto Gómez Sequeira-HuGóS

No Longer

By Emily Wood
The colors spin
They’ve never mingled
My head falls back
Mouth agape to drink the sky
There’s no anger
Where I wish it were
Where it used to be
Now a memory to join
My heart’s release along the sea
Now it’s complete
My senses obsolete
And you’re no longer
And I’m no longer
There’s a crash
And then a ringing
Silence softly hollowed
As it fumbles from your lips
As much as always
Familiar warmth among my finger tips
Without discrimination
But an aching
For something cool that cannot come
It’s all here
I can’t forget now
And you’re no longer
And I’m no longer

Categories: Poetry, Venice