Venice Beach, revisited

William F. DeVault

The empty basketball court.
Not fifty feet from the pot barkers
calling out "we got medical weed"
and asking if you'd like to come in
for an assured and predestinate diagnosis.
Venice Beach is a different planet.
But the exobiology of stoned vendors
and tentative rollerbladers
doesn't change much.
The sand still feels the same
and the seabirds hop closer
as if to challenge you
to an arm wrestling match
for the last bite of the last pretzel
the world will ever see
if the homeless guy
with his apocalyptic cardboard
sandwich sign, smeared with cheese
and ancient ketchup stains
proves to be right.
And the pot barker keeps selling
the modern snake oil
to the kids and the tourists.
While I watch the Leyden jar
in a string bikini
flash by on foot-borne wings
no less synthetic
than her breasts.
But her teeth are perfect.
And there's the approaching thunder
of someone dribbling a basketball.

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