• Among Them - Hillary Kaye
• Shady Characters - Laura Hemmer
• A Cannibal in Venice - Sharon Shapiro Snow
• American Griots (with substantial history) - Rebecca LaRue
• Beyond the Boundaries - Rebecca M. Frey
• The Great Adventure - Jim Smith
• Thanksgiving The First - John Haag


By John Haag

The Indians, as we called them, were always
ready for a party anyway,
so Thanksgiving suited them as well as
any other giving. Besides, they thought
maybe we’d come finally with our
pigtails loose. Fat chance! The elders
would see to our decorum; but any
feast is good for the belly, and surely
doesn’t hurt the disposition any.
Even the elders might crack a smile.

So we communicated with our savage-
looking brothers (in our own King’s
English, you may be sure) generously
embroidered with the native pantomime.

On the day appointed the whole tribe
came dolled up in such finery as we’d
never seen before: eagle feathers,
bead and bone breast-plates and brightly
painted robes and tunics whose colors
were new to us.

The chiefs led
a glorious procession followed by braves
with longbows and multi-colored arrows.
Of course, the women carried the goodies
and shepherded the children, shy as deer,
with sudden, sweet smiles and decked out
as lavishly as their elders.

Our own
elders in their black frock coats and
plain black hats stood still as graven
images as the procession neared.
I wondered if their excessive stiffness
were not a touch of shock, either at
the magnificence of the display or maybe
the irrefutable dignity of our savages.

Their war chief stalked directly to our
leader and without words broke a
decorated war arrow, tossed the pieces
with disdain upon the ground, then held
up crossed forearms in their sign of
friendship. He then made the gestures
meaning, “Welcome to this land! We
have waited for your coming, to enrich
our lives. May your children and ours
live together in the arms of the Great Spirit.”

Our elders later found all kinds of
fault with these heathen sentiments,
but at the time I noticed eyes
glistening with more than the brisk weather,
and that evening under the harvest moon
there were joinings between them and us
that were not spoken of afterward.

Among Them

By Hillary Kaye

among them
among the joyful
among the heartaches
among the blistering sun
among the cool stars
among the remains of ruin
among the young buoyed by hope
among the old at peace
among those losing their way
among musicians and songs
among poets and painters
among them
liars and thieves
among them
the polite and the passionate
the rich
the poor
the with it
and without it
among them
all knowingly or unknowingly
sitting on the broken bodies
carrying on to a chorus of screams


Shady Characters

By Laura Hemmer

(re: The trees on 2nd and 4th streets in Santa Monica)
Chop them down
chop them down Now
They are thugs and gangsters.
It’s shameful how they hang out
on the street day and night.
You can’t even be downtown
without seeing them everywhere.
A lot of them have tattoos
The birds sit in their branches
just waiting to poop on the
heads of citizens and visitors.
It is high time the city cleared
out this major blight.



They came like locusts
Devouring our homes, our hopes and our dreams...
They never stopped
To see our tears
or hear our screams.
The cannibals came without warning...
at Christmastime,
destroying our sacred sanctuaries
where we had lived
and loved
for many years.
corporate greed
was the seed!

– Sharon Shapiro Snow

American Griots
(with substantial history)

By Rebecca LaRue

God Bless Alleys
Peaks and Valleys
Everything I know
And everything that got me there.
That is America’s potential.
To remember the past
And look to the future
And not deem anyone
More important then the other
Yet still
Make them both

Beyond the Boundaries

By Rebecca M. Frey

I was impressed
by a young friend yesterday
She told me
she wants to be
an astro-physicist
she’s very pretty
not the kind
one would think
would use her
brain so big
for such noble things.

I saw a child today
wearing skulls on his shoes.
It was sad to see
how society had
already shaped him.
Too early to look towards death.

We met a couple
pregnant and ready
to bring a pure new soul
into this intense world.
They were giddy with elation,
brave, no fear.
Of man’s creation
or the grave times we're in.

As artists, we see
beyond the boundaries
there are no colors
but the rainbow.
The music we play
is for all ears,
the tears we cry
are for all the sisters and brothers,
and the fears we have
do to all apply.

An old woman
came and asked for help.
She brought her son
to translate her need.
Though their language
was different from mine,
their hearts were good,
they seemed kind.

Some poor homeless folks
asked for some change.
I wish I could give them
the kind they really need,
the kind of change
that abolishes greed.

I heard a white-washed snob
spouting off some blasphemy,
prejudiced against her
own global family,
and I have to wonder,
how long will it be
before people see clearly
that there are no
real boundaries.


The Great Adventure

By Jim Smith

Someday soon
I’ll be off on the Great Adventure.
It’ll probably be over before it starts
But just imagine that
one-in-a-million chance
that we can slip out of
this mortal coil.
and sail across the universe
in the wink of an eye.
I’ll drop in on the purple people
on Alpha Leon for a muscatel.
And sit in the center of a sun
to warm up on a cold winter day.
I’ll come back to Venice, sure enough
and relive it’s history in real time.
And after that, and just for fun,
I’ll do handstands on the back
of a brontosaurus


Posted: Thu - November 1, 2007 at 01:55 PM