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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Poem by David Fewster

JOHN REED by David Fewster

My personal hero in the large, illustrated
history of  Wallace Berman’s Life & work
“Semina Culture”
was John Reed,
a poet and collage artist
of no apparent relation to
the dude buried in the Kremlin.
In fact, he was a total loser,
a drug-addled sponger and grafter who created
a few ephemeral pieces of art
before dropping out of sight
for decades until turning up
at the turn of the millennium
as a homeless nutjob furtively living
on the Pasadena Library grounds.
And yet, just a few years after
his squalid wino death in 2001, there he was,
Immortalized Forever
with the portrait of his younger self
and a sampling of his speed freak creations
adorning the walls of a
major art exhibition and catalog.

For nearly 40 years, since I was 19, this has
always been my nebulously-conceived dream,
formulated on my long walks from
the Venice Boardwalk to Santa Monica Pier,
when I lived in a dilapidated boardinghouse
on Pico and Ocean
where I had to wear sneakers to take a shower
in the communal bathroom
to avoid stepping on broken glass and syringes.
Not for me world fame and riches
--a sucker’s game—
I would’ve been happy to die
a minor cult figure,
content to have left the smallest talisman
on the path of recorded history
to commemorate a life spent searching vainly
for Art & Love…

For crying out loud, is that


  1. You are a cult figure, David. In the Hollywood sidewalk of my memory, your voice has a print huge as Mother Teresa's heart. Keeping talking, my man: we hear you; and we matter, maybe only in a minor sense, but we do matter.

  2. Dude... I've heard you read and heard you play and joked with you in the little space between the bank and the free parking. If you have any doubts, any doubts at all, about your hero status, you should ask, some evening between daylight and dark, when no people are around, yes, you should assume your most sonorous poet voice and quietly ask your guitar. She'll surely assure you that you are, indeed, a hero.