The Venice Primer – by Marti Liboff
Beyond All This – by Aryn Youngless
Social Soul – by Ronald K. McKinley
Whole Life is Black – by Jax Zepnick
Homing in – by bETO Perez
Back Street Life – by mt
Roger Houston
Amiri Baraka: Never Forgotten – by Anthony Castillo
The Venice Primer-
Walkin down da Venice Boardwalk
Everyday people Talk
Venice can be a Menace
Cops may kick yer Ass
Skateboards zoomin By
Everyone gettin High
Bikes runnin down old Ladies
Segeways hittin Babies
Some hawkin Crap
From all over da Map
Thugs stealin Stuff
Hookers sellin their Muff
Movie stars and the Rich
Starvin homeless sleep in a Ditch
Ain’t it a Bitch
Dogs of all Kinds
People losin their Minds
Gang bangers Bangin
Suicides a Hangin
Pigeons and seagulls Shit
Even on Jolie and Brad Pitt
A pit bull walks with a Crook
Another tourist Took
I can write a Book
Every drug to make ya Insane
Lost a job Again
Drinkin Gin
Bein homeless ain’t a Sin
Sleepin in a Garbage Bin
Hippies smokin Pot
Some have & have Not
A thief sellin a bike that’s Hot
Phony Healers
Drug Dealers
Fortune Tellers
Worthless Fellers
A crazy in the Head
Cold without a Bed
Lookin to be Fed
Until you’re found Dead
Gays & Lesbians
Screwin producers & Thespians
Loonies & nuts Yell
Yer all goin ta Hell
Tourists run from their Smell
Jim Morrison singin to Charles Manson
The Beach Boys writing California Dreamin
Musicians play all Day
Krishnas & Christians Pray
Tourists Pay
If ya sleep in yer car ya can’t Stay
Hunks showin their Nuts
Sexy gals showin their Butts
While walkin ugly Mutts
Sick & in Despair
No one to Care
Is a real Scare
Waitin for Obama Care
Beautiful empty sand & Sea
No one wants to swim in feces & Pee
Young & old Fucks
Water is 5 bucks
Man,that Sucks
Pigs beat yer Head
Yell,You’re better off Dead
Cause the cement’s your Bed
Some with & without Talent
Ain’t got a Cent
Can’t pay the Rent
Rent used to be 100 dollars
Now its 5000 Dollars
& everyone Hollers
Drummers bangin da Drum
Drunks drinkin Rum
A billionaire dancin with a Bum
Whites,Blacks & Asians
Hangin out with Martians & Vegetarians
My arrest was Wrong
Just smokin a Bong
My poem is too Long
Shoulda been a Song
Venice has it All
The small & Tall
The sad & Mad
And every Fad
So just be Glad
To be Livin
Venice is Hell & Heavin…
Marty Liboff  -c. 2013
Beyond All This
By Aryn Youngless
Beyond all this
There is more
There are new beginnings
A new day & time
Filled with laughter
& friends
Beyond all this
There will be sunrises
& sunsets
Cascading stars
& moon lit nights
Songs with harmony
& sorely out of tune
Yes, life
Beyond all this
Are new beginnings
New endings
1000 do-overs
Gallons of tears
Mingled with smiles
& glorious food
Beyond all this
Are more reasons to try
Than give up
To forgive, than regret
To embrace, than let go
& to let go
When you must
Beyond this moment
There will be more
With each step we can
Tailor, trim
Envy & love
Beyond all this
We can always
Start again
Social Soul
by Ronald K. Mc Kinley
Man is a social animal
An animal
Organized around madness
Cover for children
And bearers of
Isolation physically
or intellectually
Man/woman become unbalanced
Grouped together to get her
to get him
Assembled to make laws
In session to interpret laws
Elected to enforce laws
All can be perverted
Vigilance made worst by prejudice
Peace on earth good will toward men
A collective prayer is a wonderment
When there is a massed moment
For good
Man can truly be social
Whole Life is Black
by Jax Zepnick
Nothing really mattress
When you are strolling down the street
With your tattoos
Covered head to toe
And the art,
That changes weekly–
A free ticket to a gallery
If you’d just open your eyes
And enjoy.
Step on the sand,
Take a sip,
Watch the sun,
Ride a wave,
Ride the pavement,
Ride your life–
Escape your life,
Because the blue skies will persist
When your whole life is black
Because Venice Beach will be here
When you need yourself back.
Homing in
By bETO Perez
having no ground to retreat
my back up hard against
my home grown presidio,
mask almost all splintered
scattering to the 4 winds
no dark passengers left
I repeatedly rebooted
moved to la Ciudad De
Nuestra Senora La
Virgen De Los Angeles.
Back Street Life
I lived the backstreet life.
Traveling unmarked roads hidden from view.
Tasting lives lived out of sight
and out of mind.
Being a welcome visitor into the secret spaces
inhabited by rare and dangerous souls.
The backstreets of the cool, dark hours.
The times and places where passion, courage
and inspired lunacy prowl and hunt
and dance.
Where open eyed love is made to the vast glory
Of a universe unfelt by the safe and unknowing
in their beds on main street.
The backstreets are filled with beginnings and
The middles are for somewhere else.
22:10 Saturday, January 18th, 2014, Adullam, commemorating the 50th anniversary
of Ed Sullivan Show  featuring John, Paul, George, and Ringo …..Flashed past,
the decades. Things have come around. Was only yesterday. First heard the sound.
I was but ten years old. Ed Sullivan Revealed them to America. Began A spiritual
adventure. Rock and Roll Was back on track. I heard the bell’s bright toll.
Still vivid, those fresh faces, the delight Of hearing their renditions. Sunday
night Would never be the same. Down in my soul. I understood the little girls.
Control Was cast aside. Part of the master plan. No turning back. The future has
begun. It was just yesterday. They still resound Between my ears. My soul was
fertile ground ….. Happy Valentine’s Day, Venice, Roger Houston
Never Forgotten: Amiri Baraka – By Anthony Castillo
On January 9th at the age of 79 famed poet, playwright, teacher and activist Amiri Baraka died in his home state of New Jersey. Born Everett LeRoi Jones, he began as a Beat Poet alongside Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. He published his first major collection of poetry “Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note” as LeRoi Jones. He wrote his 1964 play “The Dutchman” dealing with racial tensions, and it garnered wide critical acclaim.
But it was a trip to post-revolution Cuba along with the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965 that politicized the then-LeRoi Jones and transformed him into Amiri Baraka. He became a Black Nationalist, a self-proclaimed Marxist, and distanced himself from the a-political Beat Poets, leaving his old life as LeRoi Jones behind him. Besides his name, the biggest change could be seen and heard in his poetry. Baraka started using Jazz and Blues rhythms as the foundation of his writing. He developed a freer, loose, almost musical style in his reads. He would often read over Jazz tunes and write his poems for specific songs. His revolutionary politics were ever present in his writings till the very end of his life.
It’s one thing to read an Amiri Baraka poem, but it was quite another experience to hear Baraka read his work live. I had the chance to see/hear him read in Leimert Park a few years ago, as well as speak with him afterwards. It was an amazing evening, one I will never forget. Luckily there are many recordings of Baraka reading his work, so future generations can be inspired by this influential, creative force.
Baraka had 50 books published, including his 1984 book “The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones.” He was Professor Emeritus of African-American Studies at the State University of New York Stony Brook for 20 years. Baraka won numerous awards for his writings and fought many battles as an activist and revolutionary.