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Kate Braverman

Lynne Bronstein

Lynne Bronstein's Venice Poems

Ballad of Reading Jail

Wanda Coleman

Eavesdropping on the Boardwalk

John Thomas and Philomene Long

Poems and Prose by Philomene and John

Last Days of John Thomas

The Beats: An Existential Comedy

Laureate at Ceremony

My Philomene

Illuminating the Wasteland

Majid Naficy

Van Gogh's Ear

Stuart Z. Perkoff

John O'Kane

Clair Horner

Venice Poems

John Kertisz

Zendik poem:
Buck-or-Two Blues Rap

Gas House beat HQ




In Venice CA

Linda Lou

at the far end of today's
flash and glam
movie-set soundstage caricatures,
lived the 1950's venice beach
ocean front walk low-rent slums
muscle beach founding father gym rats
cartoon weight lifters
greased like coppertoned monoliths
grunted sweat dripping down torsos
as they lifted steel and flexed
for the men, the women
and each other

further down
a small child placed on scratchy
blue wool blanket
played with toys and dollies
in the sun
while daddy tossed small black object
into wall with gloved hand
handball they called it
at the end of each day
he'd take her to the sand at water's edge she'd sit
waiting and watching daddy braving the sea
he would always fight it
swimming horizontally against
the sea's logic of lapping, cresting waves
when she was old enough to hang on
he placed her on his back
as weight for that saturday swim
that child got it then
her love of the sea
the honor of its depths


later in that decade
in between handball sets
but still every single saturday
of her life so far
he took her up to the playground
swinging, 'higher daddy', she shrieked
hot steel sliding boards burned thighs
old bent merry-go-round dragged
some unfortunate ones
each and every time as it spun
'round and round to dizziness
plastic horsies to bob on
back and forth more daddy more!


in venice ca circa later
dark beats with forlorn horns
blaring from curtained art studios
gas light and venice west corner jived
bleary-eyed beats in black screamed
raw art onto walls into skulls
words like fire like tsunami crashed
into creation of
what is hip


later haight street moved south
all the daddy's little girls rode their
bikes over howland canal bridge
back to venice beach
with flowers in their hair
seeking hip
it was love and peace
music and bells permeated
tinkled in air song of us like no other
life teemed in and out of
that ocean in and out of our minds
we swam
naked feet crossing hot sands and concrete
no where, but nowhere, man
could you find LIFE like this love like this drumbeat bongo sounds
echoed as heartbeat companion keeping time
keepin rhythm of us with us
like this
in the faces of
the crowd there were no strangers
soon all were brothers and sisters
like this!
smoke this! drop this!
need a place?
need a hit?
need some food,
some free-box clothes?
need me, baby? on scratchy wool
blankets and un-sheeted funky
mattresses young girls lost
virginity to vagabond boys
with beads around their necks
long hair tickling places
daddy never told them about


old clanky trams hit pavement
one nickel rides from venice's
oceanfront up sidewalk north
to santa monica pier's
merry-go-round and back all day long
in venice then, the beats sat on worn green sidewalk benches
next to retired
old synagogue refugees talking story
watching the freaks' sideshow
our poet elders in black sat nodding
from the excesses
they too had


like all good things
somebody's gotta take it down
gotta take paradise
and fuck it up
the next gift haight street sent south
were nasty, mean biker boys in black carrying bags
of crystal meth
speed shootin through too many veins
too many vietnam vets comin' home
to that first hit the last dose that sent them over their precarious edges
all the true hippies dismantled magic theaters
linnie canal 27th avenue and west washington communes
headin' for the hills the country mountaintops there was land to work babies to birth promises to keep to retain a culture a love a magic like no other
all that remained
were the empty-eyed and strung out
shuffling up and down venice's
empty sidewalks


then greed knocked
developers got wind of beach town
slums ripe for the pickin
houses on sidewalk streets
sold for a song remodeled
venice "revitalized" come buy your new condo
build your four story beachfront homes in paradise!
the realtors the land barons
became the new culture
block all the views of the sea
with monster high-rises
that nobody could afford
except for movie stars


like all good things
venice ca died again rose up like phoenix from smoke and ash
reborn rebirthed morphed again
into something unrecognizable
to my eyes
movie sets, disco roller-skatin' models
in bikinis
everybody hawkin and selling somethin
tourists crowd ocean front walk now
holding children close protecting from sideshow freaks not quite normal
uneasy gangstas and wannabees
eye each other's signs from low-ridin
old cars cruisin speedway alley
and all the little girls who used to
ride on daddy's back in the sea
are gone now
damaged old women unrecognizable
from a past
like venice's streets
circa today


Linda Schram-Williams

© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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