• Venice – 1963 – KL Bratton
  • Ode to Tom Waits – L.E. Mintz   
  • Untitled – Roger Houston
  • Belly-up – Vanessa L., Lexi, Eric, and Frankie
  • That Woman – Joanna Silva
  • Pink Cloud Poem – Philomene Long
  •  The Freaks of Venice – Jeremy Roberts
Venice — 1963
I’m visiting Dad
at his bookstore on 
dudley – it’s summer
and I’m outta school –
we take the oceanfront
train for 10¢ all the
way down to P.O.P.
I get a fresh pink
cotton candy to eat
and make a spin-art
picture. King neptune
is in the fountain
surrounded by copper
pennies, we go thru
the turnstyle and into
the sea side magic
of rides and sights
In that moment, I’m 10,
holding your hand and 
all is well and wonderful.
a milton and kitty memory
by KL Bratton
Ode to Tom Waits
By L.E. Mintz   
Like sandpaper soaked with stolen colors ripped off an Edward Hopper canvas, the silent piano player wearing a torn and tattered bloodstained turtleneck tuxedo drunk from heartaches mouthed his song in broken tongues while a pencil thin prima-donna danced, frozen in time. As dawn sliced open the cover of night, his mind drifted off on a warm summer breeze and as a young lady laughed hanging upside down scantily clad in a pair of transparent ideas, his body was buried beneath a bed of unspoken lies.
03:11 Saturday, March 24, 2012 ….. The weariness says “no; just go to bed.” As useless, too, to quote chillable red. I listen to the Silence, whispering Her secrets, to unveil some hidden thing. I pause, reflecting on the day’s events For hours; found oasis, pitched my tents. The night finally wins. My shoulder’s pinned Against the mat. Sleep’s fiery furnace fanned. And in the lengthy interrim, my sense Gets totally anaesthetized; a dense, Dark hedgerow swallows up my everything. Then, as before, Silence comes whispering Her secrets. Our prenuptuals are made. Exchanging vows, Silence and I are wed….. Roger Houston
Clean fingers raking profits
Knee deep in overdrafts
Pinky rings a glow
Fists full of dollars
Clown frowned faces
Market pirates snatch
Plundering transactions
Needy pockets
Empty hearts
Everybody loses
Written by: Vanessa L., Lexi, Eric, and Frankie
That Woman
that woman worked tenderly around 
to clean and fix all of the broken things. 
her eyes upon the slivered lives scattered 
around, she tried to focus and find.
The lives emerged
and she pulled them together. 
it took so long
and it didn’t make any sense. 
but lives rarely speak clearly. 
in the end 
she with heart and love
offered piles of splinters to them
the same as they’d called her to clear. 
they said, she protested. 
pieces go somewhere
words are woven, colors composed
broken things are mended
lost – even lost, is here, is home. is here. 
nobody knew anything. 
everybody wondered. 
and we are all
and we are all so tired. 
–Joanna Silva
Pink Cloud Poem
By Philomene Long
I walk out on the beach –
only one pink cloud
and it above my head –
low in the sky.
Such silence!
I raise my writing book
as if it is a chalice
and pen
for the cloud to give me
a poem
A soft rain fell.
The poem fell
onto the page –
Such silence!
The Freaks of Venice
the roar of the jets
is the roar of the ocean –
& that’s all you need to know about 
God’s plan.
the freaks of Venice Beach 
meant to write that down & sell it 
in day glow paint – 
but they’re too busy, being freaks
chewing the scenery – with the status of 
movie-stars, who never sold out
spewing confessional sound bites 
which bounce off cruising black & whites
& slide all over the body of tattooed Marilyn – 
who leans against walls, everywhere
in assured, iconic empathy.
ah – their screams: 
drunk, stoned 
or straight as an arrow
they snuggle neatly around that lizard tongue 
which still licks Ocean Front Walk 
clean of irony.
as you wander around
feasting on coffee & cinnamon rolls;
that Chuck Norris only ever has two speeds –
walk & kill
how forty bucks can get you a “legal marijuana” certificate
observations of kinetic malfunction 
at Muscle Beach – are free
& the beachfront apartment sign that says 
I can make it to the fence in 1.5 seconds – Can you?
is not a joke. 
it’s while you’re checking out t-shirts of the dead & spectacularly 
you realise    
fame just might sink into the sea 
here at Venice –
leaving fundamental humanity.
but we’ll still have the freaks – 
who always have their shit together –
even when they haven’t. 
even though their humanity is 
a pure karmatic truth of often haunting 
pictures –
psycho-derelict shadows, sparkling filth 
& shifting registrations
etched deeply into the lens…
they understand that 
& when they’re tired? they just lie down 
a little bit harder than most 
on the concrete pillows of a system they are deeply 
rooted in
the freaks of Venice:
life-splattered players & jittery receptors
playing out their moment, by the waves 
beneath that year-round Los Angeles
as if it was some divine beach ball – set on fire  
& kicked into the sky –
& because they know 
the Pacific Ocean has already 
swallowed them all.
–Jeremy Roberts