Thursday, May 6, 2010

MY FIRST POEM, because Mary asked!

As I mentioned yesterday, I was inspired to write poetry by scribbling down a rant about the gentrification of my beloved Venice Beach, where I lived in the late 70s. I didn't know it was a free-verse poem until my friends Marcia and Jesse and my daughter, Riley, told me. The original went on for about five pages; this, lucky you, has been edited from that first version. Thanks for asking, Mary!

Venice Beach Now and Then and Now Again (1979/2008)

We were free spirits, flowing with our Karma
Floating in a pot-scented breeze
But now it’s all money disease
Dis-ease about security sucks marrow from bone
Creativity from full-blown, fine, eclectic minds
The intersection: Hollywood & Vine… correction: What I Owe vs. What Is Mine
In your soul, the blues; on your mind, the dues
Paying for the right to live here, by the whispers of waves
Near palatial pavilions of the potently paid
Praying we could once again live back then, back when all was sensual, all serene
And the Venice Boardwalk a little less Green
Rave all we want, the money’s moved in
It’ll never move out ‘til tsunamis tumble Venice back to the trashy look of hash-clouded,
bearded marginals
Undulating madrigals with open guitar cases
Accepting quarters from faces unlined by gotta do gotta go gotta take this call
It’ll take the fall of L.A. to get it back to stay
No matter how much money they spend, there’s always more expense
for parking meters, Margaritas, Mercedes-Benz
What became of the real-deal drifters, grifting their way
through a shroom-filled haze
Jingles and Frank and ragged reggae days
Muscle-bound bods of men well-oiled, well-pumped, unshod
Stores with honey-drenched Haagen Dazs in paper cups with wooden spoons
A pennyweight on a Mylar balloon – we sent it skipping ghostlike
toward the Venice Canals
They’re now scum green
But the ducks don’t mind, they’re doing fine
Today I said hi and they called back
Money can’t make ‘em go anything but QUACK
If ducks = local charm, then why not beach bums, doing no harm?
Charm, like beauty, in beholders’ eyes
No room for human clutter, sweep ‘em in the gutter
like Rudy’s 42nd St., makes me shudder
The rich have L.A. well in hand
No handouts, no hand-me-downs, just put ‘em out, put ‘em down
Set down roots upon roots much deeper, roots of hippies without beepers, laptops, Blackberry speakers attached to the ears of societal sleepers
Cops in Oakwood busted humble places - put those grandmas on their faces
Fat cats watch the breaking story - 5:00 talking head in her glory
Unless it’s your grandma’s face on the floor, it’s a sound byte, nothing more
And folks who really give a shit don’t have time to protest it
Scrimping, scraping takes its toll – staying, praying Rent Control isn’t eaten whole
by well-heeled leeches who want their condos near the beaches
Rich vs. Poor, at the boiling point
God, this city needs a joint

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


  1. Bravo, Amy....that is some first poem! Powerful free verse. I'm honored that you included it here because I asked!

  2. And thanks so much for asking, Mary! Still trying to backtrack to your site, so I'd love the address!