John Thomas and Philomene Long

Venice 90291 Fact or Fiction?
Rick Davidson – January 1980

Venice? Which Venice?
West, East, South?
North Venice?

Black, Brown, Red, or White Venice?

Old, young, middle age Venice?
Just arrived or half a century more Venice?
There’s Poor Venice, Rich, or not so.
Working Venice, trying to, and unable to.
Of course there’s Venice Drugs – every kind.
Certainly political Venice: conservative, radical, middle-of-the-road.
Some that don’t even know; plenty that don’t care.

Some believe that Venice is just along the beach:
Ocean Front Walk Venice; smiling,
the Ducks never leave the Canals.

How do you judge a town?

Where I grew up they said that Coconut Grove
wasn’t a place at all, but a state of mind.
That’s how I feel about Venice, 90291.
So that,
Venice is that spot in back of the head
or top of the heart
that holds you long
and even when you’re forced to leave,
you find it’s with you still.
Can’t explain it…it’s impossible to understand.

If I had to guess at the commonality
of all the diverse Venices
I’d say it’s its


The indefinable process of living…that’s what Venice is.
Unable to be defined
it’s unable to be controlled, limited, boxed-in, dated;
unable to be destroyed.

It’s a myth.
It doesn’t exist.
Yet, fifty thousand humans sing its name.
It’s here, there, gone,
back again.
Now weak, ever strong.

Lose it and you’ve lost the future.
Find it and you’re always home.

Venice is!

– Dolan Andrews

man made myths
limping lovers
a cradle for folly.

Suck them in and puff-up
long dead hopes

This surf ever-churns fantasy
as dog krap nurtures nice tomorrows


We find love each sunny morning.
Under this grime exists a naive purity
like the fourth face of God
on the brink of a new daybreak.

And, peeling-back this foreskin of fraud
we sometimes glimpse a pink and pretty self.

God bless you Venice
It hurts to stay here
but where else could I
again hope to glimpse my true self?

Just once
For a warm summer morning
To last all year
And to always be
The first hour
When I wake up
When I fling the door open
And the softness of the beach air
Drifts over
Sans fog
Plus roses
Sans cars
Plus hummingbirds
No worry yet.
Just once
For worry
To turn out to be
Nothing to worry about
And a last sigh
Before pulling the covers over
And closing my eyes to dream.

–Lynne Bronstein – 2008

No security and no peace
I wait to die
The vision of not the essence of being human
Carefully maintained social engineering by edict
Humans killing humans for ideas
Inconvenient cultures subjugated
Lands seized words muted
Humans killed by bad policing
Always there is a battle a war
I hate you because you hate me
The never ending mind fuck
Reason and logic have no place
No firm solid base to extent from
Just smiling lying faces paid to entertain
America is in trouble
The smallest of the small controls it all
No longer are we free
Just in debt working to die
This is not the end
This is the beginning
No one or thing is your god
The skin the attitude the persona
Want and wait
Lease and buy
Disconnect and evolve
Anything that ever was is still
You know what that is
What you need to do
No need to google it
New start up
How to be human

– Ronald Mc Kinley


They are already ghosts
John and Philomene
As they pass
Along the Boardwalk
Where ghosts and poets overlap
As they pass, the gulls
Ghosting above their shadows

Everything’s haunting everything

Already ghosts
John and Philomene
Under the ghostly lampposts
Of Venice West
Their cadence
The breath of sleep
At rest
Lost at the edge of America
Already ghosts
And each poem
Already a farewell

Everything’s haunting everything
The sea is the ghost of the world

–Philomene Long


‘I do not believe in the witchcraft she practices on me …. “
we take our pleasure, it is dark and regal
and strange, she could be Guinevere
risking Hell and her crown and damn their eyes
it’s worth it ten times over and I
I hope to die at the last thrust lost
in her smell of sweat and vanilla we pause
I want her again but we pause and
casually she tears off a toenail
drawing blood then slyly tucks it
under my mattress: scary but
so moving: Guinevere
to the life
then she shifts a lazy shoulder and
Tara Tintagel Lyonesse the
whole damned Bronze Age
rolls up against me
her fingers lace into mine
on the wet tuft of her sex I
want her again our two hands become
one great paw I’m into her again
don’t know where any longer but
into her Christ! is this Africa?
I smell blood and grass I search
her face as I come the lioness
glows in the antelope’s eye

– John Thomas, from “The Selected Poems and Prose of John Thomas”, available in the Beyond Baroque Bookstore.



I, who once was proud
That they called me
“The Queen of Bohemia”
Now blush, ashamed
“John Thomas!” I call
“I’m trying to bring myself
Out of something –
To nothing…
I’m going to pray
To embrace this poverty!”

“Pray to embrace silence
We already have poverty!” he says.
“Hey. We’re doing pretty well
For a tired old man
And a crazy lady.
Tomorrow I’ll get you
A crown of rhinestones.
Do I give you enough?”

“John, to have you
For my companion
Through the glass centuries
Your diamond body
Calm, enormous land-
This is the only center
That I seek.”

–Philomene Long

A glance from you, my love,
can pierce me like a spear,
a poison-ripped spear from which
I could die . . . and I have . . . many times . . .
and a word or two, a loud, harsh word,
especially, and I’m machine-gunned,
swiss-cheesed, a holey man
no longer able to talk or breathe,
though it happens so fast
my shocked blood freezes, forgets
to gush, I reel and collapse
in a hail of curses . ..

You’re a dead-eye, a keen markswoman,
a sureshot, and I, always,
an easy, bloated, asking for it, needy
target. You split the bull’s eye,
flatten me with a volley of phrases,
right between the brain lobes, I”m done for,
done in, all done, done again . . .

I give up. I will never again draw
against the quickest puns in the West …
You’re too fast, too sharp, too deadly,
know me too well.

The hell with the shootout.
Let’s fuck instead.

– Austin Strauss, from “The Love Project” with Wanda Coleman, available in the Beyond Baroque Bookstore.


the end grain of being

evident in each living thing

life itself alive in all

each stone we touch

knows our touch

everything is alive

breathless an instant

the one sensible outcome

from tangles of possibility

– Alan Rodman


15:21 Monday, July 27th, 2015, Adullam ….. A wave. Apothecary. Pulled along. A mighty undercurrent. On my tongue. Unspoken. Invocation. One can tell. The heightened tension. Pennies in the well. Come. See the sun’s advance. Gained entry. Did. Turned tan the chocolate carpet. Green to glad. The contour of the room. The aperture. That converts to a vortex. The allure. Is buoyant in the hedgerow. And my kid. Is snoozing on his pillow. Turned to lead. But I near time for dressing. I know well. The lengthy moment’s choosing. Hard to tell. Why hours find me motionless. Among. The uneventful stillness. Pulled along ….. Roger Houston


By Being

He Accepts

Soul Of
The Wind

In The Form
Of Peace

He Has
What Others

But Cannot

– The Monkey King


After 3 Years’ Death

And 1 Year’s Luck

My Friend came Back

A Peking Duck

– The Monkey King


Categories: Poetry

Tagged as:

Leave a Reply