Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou

Still I Rise – Maya Angelou

Venice Dreams – Marty Liboff

For Lucca Jazz Winston, 2014 – Mary Getlein

Words – Paul Beethovan

Monday, May 26 – Roger Houston

Working in Obscurity / Dying Outside Eternity – Jeremy Roberts

Street Dancing – Lynette


Phenomenal Woman
By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Still I Rise
By Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my tights?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.



Remnants of a Dream…
Strewn by the trash
Along the boardwalk
And alleys of Venice –
Torn jeans, an old book,
Worn shoes, a dirty blanket –
All that’s left of a Life…
L.A. Dreamers –
A rock singer, movie starlet, dancer,
Screen writer, painter, poet –
Fallen angels
In the gutter –
Drugs, alcohol, anger, delusion,
Confusion, prostitution, lies, crime,
Each day new dreamers
From the world over
Wash up on Venice Beach –
The refuse of the world
Searching for California gold.
A tiny few find their dreams.
Most are tossed back into the sea
To search elsewhere…
Or are tossed by the waves
Upon the rocks of destruction.

– Marty Liboff


For Lucca Jazz Winston, 2014

I look at you with grandmother eyes
my eyes peer out under my ancient folds of flesh –
my flesh is changing,
falling down to a new layer of gravity
you are doing the same:
changing from day to day
one day storm clouds move into your face –
and stay there –
then a discovery of a rare spider in the living room
changed the story –
back to being a brilliant ever-changing eleven-year-old
my grandmother eyes seek you out –
every day I’m around you
I learn many new things –
I’ve watched you since you were born
you gave me a new person to love
and the love just keeps on going –
there is no off button on my love
“There is nothing you can do –
to stop me loving you” –
old country songs wail in my head –
that’s about it, partner –
as you grow up and enjoy the novelties of
new technology and moving to Mars,
I’ll be down here on Earth
standing in your shadow.

– Mary Getlein



When I have thoughts these words
Like words written on water, will not last
I think of idyllic dreams from the past
Elves that hide in olden wood and glen
Where the soft winds blow
Maybe I will take this complex
Jig saw puzzle with me when I go!

– Paul Beethovan


15:47 Monday, May 26th, 2014, Adullam ….. I’m well below the radar, where I
soar. My flight’s final approach to where you are. As May gives way to June. On
to July. Continuum. Ongoing. Time to fly. The afternoon will let me catch my
breath. As peaceful as it gets, May twenty-sixth. There’s chatterboxes chatting
in one-twelve. Broadcast like Molly Goldberg. At my stove. Some green tea and
some oatmeal. Claim the fifth. An honor, it would seem. I’ll catch my death, Or
else I will survive. Eventually. I’ve yet to cross that bridge. Ahead of me.
We’ve landed, this bright sunbeam. Borne of star. Below the radar. Unknown, as
it were ….. Roger Houston


for Jack Micheline

Ozzy vocals weave around palm trees at Venice
& I’m on BROOKS, with the triple S:

sun! surf! sand! & “breakfast muffin w/- Canadian bacon”
at Sidewalk – making notes.

Andy would add: “$33.00 cab fare from LAX” –
which is fair enough, but the morning coffee issue is still:

What do you get for a life of work?

an 8am blonde with a broom sweeps concrete nearby
& considers her fate,

as bits of Biggie Smalls float in the haze.
party-train vendors haul hand-made art for sale

as expensive leisure clothing swans past
wanting you to think FAT never looked sexier, aging avoidable –

& it’s fashionably true, biologically not.
the pavement piano man warms up with a few extravagant gestures –

soon cut to pieces in the blades of the po’ chopper
& the waft of a doobie nicely completes the setting.

suddenly, the ultimate showman arrives:
spitting & yelling angry non sequitirs –

his words are golden hammers tossed into air.
you can watch him squeeze thru the sieve –

without a care.

– Jeremy Roberts


Street Dancing

Children of the Night,
leather-clad hunters of dark alleys,
Alert as jungle cats waiting for the kill.

They wait,
Nimble legs sheathed in faded bluejeans,
Knives glisten menacingly from hip pockets,
Leaning against a cold brick wall,
Killing time…

Stalking their prey,
A lone human shadow,
They pounce,
Sleek silhouettes displaying fancy footwork,
Beating and stabbing…

Reaching hungrily into a bloodstained coat pocket,
Satisfied smiles,
A fistful of crisp happiness
from the victim’s last breath,
They dance into the wicked darkness.

– Lynette



Categories: Poetry