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Lynne Bronstein's
Venice Poems

Lynne Bronstein

Ballad of Reading Jail

Kate Braverman

Wanda Coleman

John Kertisz

John Thomas and Philomene Long

Poems and Prose by Philomene and John

Last Days of John Thomas

The Beats: An Existential Comedy

Poet Laureate
Philomene Long

My Philomene

Illuminating the Wasteland

Majid Naficy

Van Gogh's Ear

Stuart Z. Perkoff

Clair Horner

Eavesdropping on the

by Anne Alexander

Venice Poems

Buck-or-Two Rap

Gas House beat HQ


In Venice CA




"Once I had hoped for my death to
be worthwhile, not to become simply
sand, more sand
-- Philomene Long

"At great labor I gathered the herbs
of long life; but has all my striving
made me an immortal?
-- Han Shan

she lived in the rapture of ideas

what was she thinking
feeling in those final flashes
inches from the door and freedom
seconds from the cusp of oblivion
when life pulses to the unctious
extreme where death cannot reside

was there a light from the other side
a sign from her makers she knew
heard her prayers

an illumined massage from john
her reclining buddha, a gush of joy
from stuart who waited so long

last rites from the spirits passing
through her blessed abode the cold
ellison, a sweatshop of dedication to
the purging of poverty from the spirit
on her journey to the centers of being

a last gasp no exit the sound of cells
surceasing, composing the menes of
suspension from the pain of heaven
and hell, two more days an eternity for
those who loved her knowing she'll
grace the beach sands once again
whiffs of memory marinating with
bleeding pigeon wings dopplered
jesusstreaks of terracotta salvation
waterclapping cymbals tidepools of
tarot teasers copterchords dissing the
dumpster-shamans at 3 AM

the venice beyond the door that refuses
to respect the hush of horror at the
taking of the queen of bohemia, the
herbs and spices of enchantment she
pureed into poems

the door that won't open opens onto
an infinite stretch of beach at sunrise
when nature's exploding palette strokes
the crystals of sand into an immensity
of gestating hues becoming the bodies
of everyone she touched

they encircle her resurrected shape in
ecstasy, each giving thanks for a life
that gave life before becoming one mass
and merging with the sands of time

New World Ordure

From once fashionable resort to retro-fashion-patch,
spectres of truth-seekers scrap in
the shadows of Cadillac,
drawn to throwaways in the sea-colored containers
like tropisms on LSD,
Venice is becoming a furlough for the free in deed,
exiting their multi-mil garrisons to parade with
anorexic Italian Greyhounds and pitbulimics with
Spencer's genes down Speedway,
dodging makeshift bedrolls and welcoming
the LAPD blues.


Envelope addressed by John Haag in 1963

For John Haag, the ethereal Venetian

I see John Haag on the Boardwalk near Big Daddys
lost in the toxic mime
meeting my look with those white holes
combusting Eros for the unfooled paradise in all of us.

I flash through the cackling sheen
frantic to capture this astral fume for the
Venice Historical Society archives as Eric Nord
corrals him up Market dogged by a streak of robotically
effervescing hare krishnas, pacing the parade
to Speedway and north against traffic.

Near Park it becomes a gyre of weakening whiteness
rising toward the leaden heavens to a
hovering copter
vanishing into its blades with a terminal swoosh.

As the machine lunges north like a beach crane
spotting the spume, I follow its racing rotors to a circling
slomo above Dudley where a bullhorn
berates the spectres below.

"Drop that weapon," it echoes to one street-citizen near
Spontos surrounded by slouching gorilla-stick shadows.
"that little…ape…came down from a tree with a stick,"
he blurts between blows from a scrap of paper
projected on the Cadillac Hotel façade across the way
like a pulsating monkey-wrench
swelling to superhuman silhouette.

The scrap looses from his grip unseen
sucked into the blade-whirl of particles, freeing his
fury to finish:

"…to show….what….a great brave….
was he…and told…….his...followers they'd be free….
if…they fought…his next-door enemy!!"
he concludes to an enfilade of thud-syncopated-cheers
from a roving chorus of Make America Beautiful Again.


John O'Kane has been a Venice resident since '80s, and is completing a book on the alternative culture of Venice, titled, Venice, Capital of the 21st Century, as well as a collection of poems. He's also finishing a novel based on an unsolved murder of a young girl in Iowa. He edits the magazine, AMASS.


i crave the boardwalk pumped by how
Allen Ginsberg could be so self-conscious
about society and dear to salvation so
long after Whitman's pulsing prophecies
when the freeways and freeon were our
future, stretching before us in pleonastic
purity, eons of plastic chit to laminate our
primsouls in the ubermarktchat

i float the final feet along Market street
in syrupy silence with the puckering
pigeons, the sea of body bedlam still out
of reach, seeing a cross-legged reposing
sunflowered sufi on a table flush against
the south side of Big Daddy's menu at one
with the unaversalvibe, lift his head to face
the open-air bazaar of neon buddhas and
rayon penumbras cadenced to the cackling
chilidogs, lapse into a leer and disappear

i join the swarm in pursuit and it parts at
Westminster, revealing a jordached,
turbaned skater strumming the end of the
western world as we know it, his rapid eye
movements currying the crowd through a
series of quickie nirvanas to greased palms

our eyes meet in zenic relightenment and
the crowd revels in the refried musak


of strangers straggle by from everywhere
to meet the supernal sight of a greekish
deity frescoed on the side of a beach hotel

it breaks on through our genial gazes to
the other side of nowhere, following our
moves from above, speaking to only us
about what gets us on, lights our fire

no swelling signs of the epiccures for the
sucking society, the sybaritic delights
that pushed this musical child of Rimbaud
and Foucault per verse, the satyr-assayer
of the electric folk-song, to the eeeeeeend

just bronzed sinews and locks, a lean and
pathic pose breaking frame, microphone in
hand, inviting us to gorge the Hollywood
Hellenic cockrockcorpse we made him like
necrophiliacs at the exhumation of Nero

© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman
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