My vagina and Venice Beach

both of which

are no longer that Xanadu

subculture of old school grooves and funk –

there’s no more riffing with Morrison,

no sonic hey-days

spent skating figure eights.

 

My vagina and Venice Beach

are haunted by the laughs of men

who’ve gentrified Bohemian-sweet virginity

with basil-honeysuckle soap

and brute celebrity.

 

My vagina and Venice Beach

were plowed by lucrative

boutiques, Silicon Beach, and tiny

yellow ghosts pulling out.

 

My vagina and Venice Beach

went from roller dancing to race riots,

Dogtown to Blue Bottle Coffee –

the boom boxes were stolen,

and the gondoliers

bought homes in the Valley.

 

The First Baptist Church of Venice

sits vacant and boarded up

while residents hold Sunday morning vigils

protesting the billionaire

who’s determined to make it his home.

 

V is for the vigil

I hold between my thighs.

 

by Candice Kelsey

Candice Kelsey’s poems have appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, Sibling Rivalry Press, and Wilderness House — and her work has been incorporated into multiple 3-D art installations. She has been accepted into the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Virginia Quarterly Review’s Writer’s Conference. She published a successful 2007 trade paperback with Da Capo Press. An educator of 20 years’ standing, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

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