You may have seen him around Venice. Short, stocky, sandy hair, thick glasses. Limping along with duffel bag slung over his shoulder.
Or maybe you’ve noticed him seated on the sidewalk at Rose and Main as he works on his latest Poem.
Perhaps he’s offered to sell you one of his efforts for a buck or two.
His name is Paul Beethoven and this is not an interview with him.
I’ve bought poems from him for several years. They come hand-written on lined, yellow legal-size paper. So one day recently I got the idea it might be interesting to interview this Venice street poet for the Beachhead. I was sure he’d find the experience validating or something.
But when I approached him and asked if I could interview him, he just smiled, pointed to his notebook crammed full with poems, and in a Texas-toned voice said: “If you want to know about me, it’s all in there. I’m in my poems.”
And I realized he was right. The artist is in the art. The rest is just bullshit. I put away my little note pad, realizing I’ve just been taught a valuable lesson.
However, I couldn’t resist one final question.
“How’s business, selling your poems to people?”, I asked.
“Not too good. But some folks show interest and that makes me feel good,” he said, gathering up his belongings to shuffle off into the morning.
– B. Meade
Poem to Philomene Long
Up, up and away like a red helium balloon
She flies so high as other balloons
Just get stuck up in trees
Barbed wire or get popped by powerlines!
Fly high disguised as a Nimbus Cloud!
Ramble over hill and dale
Til you reach Whimsyland
Where all the pink clouds are!
– Paul Beethoven
A virtual vampires banquet as red blood
Sprinkles across the landscape!
Beige peonies all over, and yet, a
Few Indian Paintbrushes here and there
A half sick joke, a joke name
Given as a gratuitous, small gift
To an entire race of people
Bowed down in humiliation and defeat.
– Paul Beethoven