Poems and Prose by Philomene and John
Last Days of John Thomas
The Beats: An Existential Comedy
Eavesdropping on the Boardwalk
Gas House beat HQ
Her four chapbooks are Astray from Normalcy (1974), Roughage (1977), Thirsty in the Ocean (1980), and Border Crossings (2004).
Bronstein writes about beauty, sex, fear of pregnancy, eviction, playing football, origami, and such mundane matters as jobs. She writes about how poets are categorized - Black poet, woman poet - and why. Life, according to Bronstein, is a concert where admission's free if you've got money and five dollars if you're broke.
She writes about Venice Beach, O'Mahoney's bar, the Comeback Inn, the poetry readings at the Old Venice Jail. She writes about cruising the bars and drinking the same beer I used to drink.
Other topics are Barbie & Ken, menstrual accidents, Mary Wollstonecraft, and God as the great Jewish Mother in the sky. One poem is made entirely from the titles of the disco hits of 1978. She reflects on being called "honey" and asks such questions as, Why can't I stop my friends from destroying themselves?
Bronstein writes a frequently and positively about lust - the heart is what beats between the thighs.
One poem is about a woman with 400 lovers. "Poem on the Railroad Ties" concerns extremely casual sex in the vicinity of Electric Avenue, where she imagines telling a cop, It's all right, this man and I are both poets.
When it appeared in the Free Venice Beachhead, this poem elicited a crank letter.
You can tell that early on, she formed the ambition not to grow up to be a nice Jewish girl. She did grow up to be a rock critic and journalist for such papers as the LA Free Press, the LA Times, and Venice Beachhead, covering things like Survival Sunday. One 1978 rant in the Beachhead scolded the mass media for declaring the death of the counterculture. Another article for the same paper expressed disappointment toward an exhibit of work by women artists. She found it weak and wimpy and counterproductive, with too much pink and too many references to ironing. It looked to her like a group of human beings who happen to be female went out to speak softly and carry small paintbrushes.
I believe there's
a time and place in which the loud, the brassy, the strident, the urgent,
© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman