• living green – Rex Butters
• At the 99 Cents Store Off Lincoln Boulevard – Krista Swimmer 
• Beachhead – RF Wagner, Jr. 
•  Beachhead Loves Venice – erica snowlake
• The Heroic Age of Venice – Jim Smith
• Billie Holiday – Majid Naficy
• Spearhead with a new face – Hillary Kaye
• 8 Guys Behind A Bar – Mark Lipman

 

————

living green

By Rex Butters

you’re happy to call yourself a friend of the earth

but how much is the life of an animal worth?

you recycle plastic/you recycle paper

but when it comes to animals you’re a Green World raper

tell me, don’t you think it’s odd

you say life is sacred, except for that cod

breaded and fried in your fish and chips

unnecessary killing shines on your lips

you speak in green living platitudes

while you live archaic Abrahamic attitudes

that state animals live to fill your need

self blinding justification for your primitive greed

you’re so sensitive, so spiritually aware

yet fear drenched muscle tissue tastes totally fair

you claim to be psychic and know where it’s at

but you’ve clogged your receptors with animal fat

the tortured caged hens with chopped beaks and feet

sick and insane, to you that’s good enough to eat

use your head, try to think for a change

did the chicken die happy ‘cause you called it free range?

your wannabe Indian or pagan pretense

insults Nature with your costume party offense

you pat yourself on the back because you killed it wild

no feedlots, no hormones, no Nature defiled?

who are you fooling with your hypocrisy now?

not the deer you shot down instead of eating a cow

not the fish suffocating with a spike in its head

chant under the moon, another animal’s dead

times ain’t Neolithic, you can shop at a store

buy the sustainable nutrients you’re killing for

you drag noble traditions through the selfishness mud to satisfy your perpetual lust for blood

it’s century 21, why are you wearing pelts?

you don’t need strips of steer skin for your shoes and belts

everywhere people talk about the strange weather

then grab a stylish jacket made out of leather

it’s hotter every year, will there be no relief?

Amazon rainforests cleared to graze cheap beef

animals are beings with consciousness, too

subjugated mutilated in the name of you

remember as you suck down your spongy brain burger

how now ground cow?

meat is murder

 

————

At the 99 Cents Store Off Lincoln Boulevard

i am standing in line

at the 99 Cents Store

holding 2 cans

of shaving cream –

a pink one for me,

a green one for my husband –

& the line

is long.

A clerk opens a new line

walks over

to direct an old black man

with a cane to be the first

when from behind me

a scowling latino girl

pushes through

to leap in front.

i hold my arm out

to stop her & she does

reluctantly, mumbling

something in spanish. i hate

line jumpers & this one

was determined

to mow down the old guy.

The rest of the line

follows him

like marching ants

but when i get up to the cashier

she tells me

“that girl says she was

in front of you.”

i reply, “no, she wasn’t!”

& turn to see her

glaring at the floor.

A second mexican woman

immediately backs me up.

i am satisfied

that i have stopped

another asshole

in her tracks today.

krista schwimmer

————

Beachhead
By RF Wagner, Jr.
08:27 Sunday, November 9, 2008, Meter #1937, Ocean Avenue, SMonica…….Imagine, forty years. Remember well,/ do I, to Sixty-eight. How I could tell/ much younger souls of magic in the air,/ a permeation, stretching everywhere./ Four decades. Anniversary has come/ to rest a laurel. There is time for some/ reflection, celebration; let the drone/ of residents declare this Beachhead Zone./ Oh, Venice, you have this bright jewel, at home,/ so totally accessible. So, come,/ and recognize your voice, four decades here,/ announcing and protesting, as it were./ A voice of the community, to spell/ it’s truth, column and line, and free to all……………………………………
23:19 Sunday, November 9, 2008, Meter #2224, Ocean Avenue, SMonica…….Four decades have flown past. In retrospect,/ I guess it took a while. One might expect/ time’s elongation, as we forward gaze./ Beyond our shoulder, seems that better days/ already passed us. But there’s still Beachhead,/ a noble cause, I here note that it’s said/ by some: in forty years it carved a niche/ into the local woodwork. Seemed to catch/ a glint of golden sunlight, so displayed/ as to assure survival. In this trade,/ it takes that special quality, bright rays/ of hope, dark indignation; count the ways/ of sharing all the news, and here inflect,/ suggesting four more decades to inspect……………………………..
12:30 Monday, November 10, 2008, C-3, Westchester H.S……..As timely now as it was, way back when/ that first edition printed, and since then,/ four hundred-eighty issues, all in all,/ have been conceived since that first one, to tell/ each bold account, each drama to unfold,/ each series of events; each page was filled,/ composed in sweat and blood, truth found its way/ out of deep thoughts, well-hidden. One might say/ that tears were mixed with ink, each time it spilled/ upon the type, well-set into the mold./ Another forty years? What seasons spell/ themselves eventually, each year to fall/ into brief increments, attain a Zen./ We’ll wait in expectation, until then……………………………
Humbly submitted to my dear friends at the Beachhead from an honest gypsy
————
Beachhead Loves Venice
By erica snowlake
nights around the long table
wax eloquently
wane inelegantly
wise words written whimsically woeful
tall tales told theatrically humble
reckless poets and homeless rebels 
decreeing politics of peace
simply by being…
offending perhaps provoking
those with blood money tokens
to burn shamelessly
we defend our (un)Holy Grail
Immaculate Stone
Virgin Saint Goddess Crone
Chumash and San Gabrielino
seeded willful of Her Own.
collectively conspiring 
Her rising and shining
in starry-eyed multi-versed tidings.
heart-yolk of freedom teetering
on the edge of the Pacific sea
spiritually unbroken
birthing light free…
at a news stand near ye.
Hey! we know the funk rhymes
last time we looked 
it wasn’t a crime.
————-
The Heroic Age of Venice
By Jim Smith
Justice for the people I sing, who forced by fate
to abandon their homes and flee
the vast wasteland of mediocrity 
Now filled with haughty boors of unrelenting hate,
Expelled and exiled, they came to the Venice shore
O Muse! what adventures each may claim
in their native lands, now turned against them
Let them tell their tales
We will listen for a hundred years
They flocked to our quiet haven 
which sheltered and healed the damage
to those who just wanted to be left alone
But even here, the fearful guards of propriety
hounded and harassed the holy men and women
Who could not still their creative daemon.
In small cafes and on the broad beach
they cried out their laments against unfair existence
In a land that valued wealth not wisdom.
The poets shouted: “stop this madness
I will not be a part of it.
Leave me be in tranquil Venice –
Y’ll not have me for your war machine”
They jailed our bards, Stuart and Frankie
But it only made their words stronger.
They and Tony, John and later Philomene
said, “This Venice you shall not have.
It belongs to the Lady. Beware!”
And many more gathered to defend sacred Venice
They rallied around the Haags – John and Anna
from far off Roma, worthy successors of Aeneas
who long ago also came from far away
to fight for freedom for his people.
And soon they were joined by the quiet architect
Rick Davidson and Carol of two names, Berman and Fondiller, and a mighty pen;
Jane Gordon, Maryjane, Mary Lou, Marvena and so many more steadfast and sure
who rallied for a Venice with freedom to love and create
They rose in the thousands from the cafes and bungalows
to fight for fair Venice’s survival, struggling to throw off the yoke.
of landlords evil as marauders who have no thought except for pillage.
The people marched, again and again
to save their homes, to stop a freeway, to protect their canals
and always for freedom, a concept their enemies could not grasp.
Our heroes said there must be peace, in Vietnam and Venice
and all of us must be equal to live and love side by side.
We will not sleep until the killing stops, they said, 
so all can live free of fear.
But, the black shirts came to sweep the people from the beach
to stop the poetry and the music that soothed and enlightened so. 
In 1967, a piece of Venice spread across the state
to bring Peace and Freedom to all who were awake.
“This is good,” said John, “but how do we spread the word?
Here at home, the barbarians from the city are at the gates.
They intend to destroy all that is good and just
for they hate that which is different and denies their profits.”
How to let our people know? 
Our heroes debated long and hard.
Some said we must have a radio station to be heard.
But most agreed that it was a newspaper 
that must be made to serve the community
and be its voice.
John answered: “We have made a beachhead in our town,
Like the one in Normandie, but this time for peace not war
Let us inform our readers what precious things we’ve made
our poetry, our art, our comradeship, our gentleness and hope
Truly a beachhead in a land that needs it badly.”
Long did they labor those dark nights of November 68.
But on December First, our heroes gave birth at last.
The Free Venice Beachhead – 10,000 strong
proclaimed for all to see, “this paper is a poem.”
Freedom and truth are our watchwords
and let the chips fall where they may.
And through the years, hundreds more joined in
to add their Beachheads to the growing pile –
three million – and even more – copies since 68!
When did our heroic age end? you ask.
We will tell you when it does!
Forty years have come and gone
Many heroes have fallen, but others rise up to take their places.
We struggle still, for freedom and just to be left alone
The outcome is far from certain, but we are determined
we shall not fail to heed the call –
We shall be human until we fall.
We will thrive so long as beloved Venice
is truly a beachhead, a beacon upon the land
for all those who value a beach more than a bank
and friendship more than commerce.
And we will know our community is strong, 
its people well and loving. 
as long as the seagulls sing Chee Wha Wha
and our treasured Beachhead is surviving still.
————-
Billie Holiday
By Majid Naficy
 
Oh Billie, I dance with you
Holding your waist with my hand
I circle around on tiptoe
Your playful rhythm leaks into my veins
And the salt of your skin sinks into my blood
The sea is far but I hear its sound
The sea is big but fits in my body
Let us cast off our shoes
And step on its sandy carpet
The little waves grab our feet
and draw us toward the green waters
Oh Billie, I dance with you
Holding the hem of your long skirt
I walk gently on the skin of the sea
The wandering wind wraps around our bodies
And the albatross opens its wings on our shoulders
There, across the sea is the land of my childhood
With fragile trees that like the tips of your fingers
Are now growing all over my skin
The sea is borderless but beats in my heart
The earth is vast but fits into my skull
Tonight no border can separate you from me
But… suddenly my hand lets go of the radio antenna
The blues singer begins to whine
Ah, my dance partner is not imaginary!
I hold her waist as before
Her velvet voice rises again
And takes me back to the nightly dance
————
Spearhead with a new face
by Hillary Kaye
 
This is my country
burning its fire
lighting its light
in the name of desire
allegory and empire
raging and
crude
The bull in a china shop needed a new face 
Some symbol for us 
with more gallantry guile and grace 
what a relief to find one no matter what race 
who can rule the world with a smile
and kill with good taste
————-
8 Guys Behind A Bar
By Mark Lipman
 
So, these guys walk into a bar
and they sit behind it
sit behind the bar
behind the bars
the bars
the bars of a prison cell
in the joint,
for smoking one
isn’t that a laugh?
now, you’re a laboratory experiment,
stuck in a cage,
and they’re gonna teach ya
just how to behave
in polite society,
to lie,
to cheat,
to rob,
to steal,
all the skills you’ll need
to survive on the streets outside.
Once there, you find
you’re not reformed,
but that shouldn’t be
such a big surprise,
it’s not you they want to change after all,
you’re just fine,
in fact, getting better
it’s everyone else
that’s the problem,
you’re controllable,
and most likely without
the right to vote
and probably wouldn’t use it,
if you had it.
No, they want to make
the others just like you,
heading back in the stock,
for round two,
the school of higher learning,
where you get qualified
to rape
and kill
before setting you loose
to reek more mayhem.
Ah, if they could all be like you?
Screw the middle class!
They’re all pushing
into the Rich man’s backyard,
besides, we’re getting
our workforce oversees now,
they’re a hell of a lot cheaper,
than Mr. Suburbanite
we just need to keep enough of them
employed to make the numbers
look right to our stock holders.
They’re the ones who pay
for us to make X-rated,
head decapitating video games,
for us to sell
to every twelve year old,
with a twenty spot
to drop,
just a drop
in the bucket
and it helps to keep
enrollments up
at State Pen U.
your old Alma Mater,
but now, you’re in the Fed-Pen
sitting on a death row bed-pan
because you offed some
nameless Joe
for what was in the register.
So what, if your court appointed lawyer
slept through half the testimony,
hey, that’s just how it goes
in a capitalistic society,
and we’re not about to try
to fix you,
you’re a valuable commodity,
you help keep insurance rates high,
and We can afford to pay
for the security to keep
You away from Us.
Haven’t you realized it yet?
nothing ever gets any better,
only worse,
and we’re here to make sure
it stays that way.
Sure, you can say,
that one day,
it will come back around
to bite us on the ass,
but that’s just hypothetical,
and off in the future,
besides, by the time
the effects of all
the damage I have done
begin to materialize
I will already be dead,
it’s not my problem,
so blame my kids,
I don’t give a damn!
That’s how it is,
and how it always has been.

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