Venice Beach Poets

The Venice Beach Poet’s Monument consists of four concrete walls engraved with 18 verses written by some of the neighborhood’s best-known poets. Jim Morrison and Charles Bukowski are among the more famous scribes represented,

Also represented, Wanda Coleman. Here is a sample from her published work.

About God & Things

By Wanda Coleman
i want to have your child
cuz upon losing you
i’ll have more than memory
more than ache
more than greatness
i’ll have laughter

Daughter by Isabel Winson-Sagan


on your brow I see
the maps and flags of places
you’ve never been– human migration
across tundra and the sea.

You wrinkle your nose and cry like a cat


perhaps last time you made that noise you were under the stars, people in tents with goats, cutting themselves with sharp stones.

Everyone who holds you
ss unnerved by your fragility, your newness

but they’re forgetting

you were born in blood

pulled on a rope

memories lovingly
washed away by Charon before
setting foot back on this side.

You leapt from unborn to newly born
you walked across a narrow bridge
without fear
and all you know is strength

my tiny warrior
my heart
my woman for a new age.

Haiku by Alan Summers

mythical river

the colors of the sun

up to moonrise

This haiku is very evocative, but it has hidden subtlety. The description of the river as “mythical” seems to put us in the realm of the fairy tale, or imagination. And yet I am reading it as a real river, made supernatural by the play of light. The colors of the sun can be day merging into sunset until the moon rises. Both sun and moon share the sky, which is in itself archetypical–a kind of East of The Sun and West of The Moon feeling. These cosmic sources saturate the small poem and it is colorful–although none of the colors is ever described directly. It is the reader who provides this reaction shot.
How lovely!


A beautiful peacock flew into my daughter’s chicken yard, and then my daughter went into labor. I’m sitting here, Saturday night, watching the baby sleep. Her name is Grainne Rose Nausica, and she is going to spend the rest of her life spelling that.
My friend Ana and I talked about the human genome on the phone today. Ana and I come from ostensibly very different places–she from the border and I from New Jersey–but our outlook on life can be very similar. And her thinking has certainly influenced mine. She talked about the Celts of Galicia in Spain, and how she loves bagpipes. I talked about how maybe my family was more Sephardic than we realized, and how my dad followed flamenco. Both our daughters married men from different backgrounds than ours. We hold our stories tight just as they open to accept other histories, other flavors.
The peacock probably came from a wild flock that evolved from domesticated peacocks that were freed some decades ago. They are part of the ecosystem out here in the basin land, eating snakes and lizards, big and fierce enough to not usually fall prey to coyotes.
I was a somewhat casual mother, but bossy. I don’t know this baby very well yet, but she seems like an amenable sort. I do believe in autonomy–connection too–but autonomy perhaps more than most mothers. I can’t help it, and it has served me well.
Tonight, I got to see the peacock perched very high in a pine tree outside the coop, where he likes to roost for the night.


I’ve been following Desert X since its inception as land art in some remote arid sites. By their nature, these works are exposed to the elements–and audience or critics. Now this news:

“Eric N. Mack’s “Halter” stunned us all with its beauty. While we don’t yet know the circumstances surrounding its disappearance, and are all deeply saddened by the loss, we are privileged to have had such a powerful and moving piece as part of Desert X 2019. Eric N. Mack Photos by Lance Gerber Studio.”

There is something even more haunting about its disappearance than its installation. I hope the mystery is solved, and the artist isn’t suffering too much.