Lyrical Poetry or Poetic Lyrics? A new form of poetry? New Poetry Collection THE HOLLYWOOD HOMELESS out today on Amazon and Smashwords explores these intriguing notions


Lyrical Poetry? or Poetic Lyrics?

I explore this notion in my provocative second collection of poetry titled, THE HOLLYWOOD HOMELESS, released today on Amazon and Smashwords.

This poetry collection, my second,  is an experiment of sorts. In addition to my novels, short stories and poetry, I have also written song lyrics since my mid-teens. However, not being much a singer and having no musical skills, my lyrics stayed hidden away in file cabinets or inside my computer. I was fearful to show them to anyone and had no way to share them not being part of a band or knowing any musicians who I could collaborate with.

Not too long ago, I came up with the idea to turn my lyrics into poetry and to put them out as a series of poetry collections. The idea seemed so obvious and I have no idea why I didn’t think of it years ago. However, I mostly maintained the original content in converting my lyrics into poetic form. The rhymes and verses were nearly kept the same way as I had written them, but the lyrics are laid out in stanzas and choruses and verses are not spelled out. I also didn’t try to turn these poems into free-form poems or follow the rules of rhyming poetry. My main objective to share the content as honestly and straightforward as I could. This is a compilation of my top lyrics I have written since I began writing again in early 1998 after a 10-year hiatus.

I loved music and songwriting for as long as I could remember. However, hearing Bob Dylan’s HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED at the age 18 changed my life. That level of storytelling, the wild, powerful descriptions as I found in novels, films and poetry, but in song form, fascinated me. Also having a similar impact and influence on me at this time were Bruce Springsteen’s BORN TO RUN, DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, and the RIVER, Tom Petty’s DAMN THE TORPEDOS and HARD PROMISES, The Band’s first two records, John Lennon’s solo works and work with the Beatles, Paul Simon’s early solo records, Curtis Mayfield’s SUPERFLY, Elvis Costello’s MY AIM IS TRUE, THIS YEAR’S MODEL, ARMED FORCES, GET HAPPY, TRUST, Sly Stone’s THERE’S A RIOT GOING ON, Marvin Gaye’s WHAT’S GOING ON , Joni Mitchell’s early records, Patti Smith’s HORSES and EASTER, Neil Young’s RUST NEVER SLEEPS, the Clash’s LONDON CALLING, the Pretenders early albums, X’s LOS ANGELES and WILD GIFT, among many others. There are really are too many to mention. Actually, music was and continues to be a huge influence on me. It is more than an obsession.

My lyric writing is different from my poetry. My lyrics explore more storytelling techniques, and attempt to explore tales of the down and out, disenfranchised, people on the edge and left out of society’s prosperity. For them, the American dream is a sad illusion. In these lyrics, you’ll discover stories about runaways in Hollywood (THE HOLLYWOOD HOMELESS, STEAL YOUR CHILDHOOD AWAY, TRADING DAYS FOR NIGHT), homeless people living under freeways, barely surviving (IS THERE LIFE AFTER YOUR DREAMS DIE?, A CASTAWAY IN AN OCEAN OF CONCRETE), a Latino couple trying build a future for their family out of society’s trash (THE RECYCLING LIFE), forgotten African Americans who came to California to work the fields in search of a better life (LOST IN CALIFORNIA), an Iraqi War veteran struggling to cope (JIMMY ROWE), a frustrated retail worker (WALMART BLUES), drug mules (FULL OF DOPE, FULL OF HOPE), immigrants risking death for better opportunities (DYING OF THIRST), a patient worried about losing healthcare (EIGHT YEARS TO MEDICARE), Katrina survivors (THE LEVEES BROKE, BEING POOR IS OUR ONLY CRIME), war’s aftermath (IN WALTER REED), a failing prison system and drug war (PRISON TIME, INCARCERATION NATION, DRUG WAR BLUES), Native Americans poisoned by radiation (MY RADIATION PRAYER), political grandstanding in the wake of 9/11 (THE 9/11 BLUES), indifferent politicians (DRIVE-BY POLITICIANS) and even singer Hank Williams traveling the dark lost highway (HANK DRANK).

These 100 poems also explore the dark side of love, loneliness, Hollywood dreams, life in Southern California, economic inequity, death, and life’s mysteries and hard-fought victories. I never try to sugarcoat life in Los Angeles, which is both beautiful but heartbreaking at the same time. You can read these as poems, but don’t forget these are lyrics as well. So, my book’s subtitle: “Lyrical poetry or poetic lyrics for a band to be named later, Vol. 1” is partially tongue in cheek, but also truthful. If any singers or musicians out there are truly serious about collaborating to transform these lyrics into songs, I would, of course, welcome the opportunity.

Much credit goes to graphic artist Dancinee Jennings creating another brilliant cover for me. Her cover went beyond the vision I had for the cover and truly captures the controversial and intriguing aspect of my poetry collection.

Please remember dear reader, these lyrical explorations can now finally be read as poetry as well. It feels great to finally reveal another side of my writing pursuits. This will also be the first of many of my lyrics collections as I have written more than 1,000 songs through the years. I can’t wait to share them all.



Today my first poetry collection BACKYARD POETRY is available on Amazon and Smashwords


Today I launched my first poetry collection BACKYARD POETRY on Amazon and Smashwords.

This book is a long time coming as it brings together many of my long form poems dating back to the late 1990s that I have shared on this poetry blog BACKYARD POETRY and in smaller pieces on Twitter as @gpwriter.

I initially fell in love with writing poetry in college while attending California State University Long Beach in the mid-1980s. Sure, I had read a lot of poetry in high school, but I never dared to write it. During two poetry classes at CSULB, I was not only asked to try my hand at poetic verse, but I also learned the basics and poetry rules. The responses to my poetry in these classes was promising, but after leaving college I abandoned writing poetry (or anything except journalism stories) for 13 years. In spring 1998, I finally broke through my fear of writing and tried my hand at poetry once again. What followed was a torrent of poetic words that are the basis for this poetry collection.

Twitter has also been a revelation for my poetic muse allowing me to share my work and gauge immediate reaction. Overall, the reaction to my Twitter poetry has been inspiring, but this collection returns me to my original goal of publishing my expanded poems. I initially sent an earlier version of this collection to various literary publications and publishers who responded with indifference or even snobby hostility. The inspiration for my poem BACKYARD POETRY came after a snotty note from some poetry editor, criticizing the honest and political nature of my poems.

So, in the following collection, you will not find poems that adhere to poetic convention either in subject matter or execution. I believe literary rules are meant to be broken.

In my poems, I explore controversial subjects of modern life in intriguing ways such as wondering if the Crucifixion would have been televised, or reimaging ethnic cleansing and Guantanamo Bay as the subject of sardonic ads. My challenging poetic works feature the same honest, unflinching style and prose as my novels MONOGAMY SUCKS,  RELATIONSHIPS SUCK and DEAR HEF.

Above all, it is collection seeking to strip away poetic pretensions.

Or as I write in the first stanza of the title poem BACKYARD POETRY, “I despise the poetry of exclusion.”

Kudos also to graphic artist Dancinee Jennings for putting together the book’s cover. She has also created covers for my previous novels, MONOGAMY SUCKS, RELATIONSHIPS SUCK and DEAF HEF.

BACKYARD POETRY will be the first of many poetry collections I will be launching in the coming years.






The other day
a woman was
by a crowd of
Christmas shoppers
at a Wal-Mart.

They were making
a mad
dash to buy
$29 DVD players.

consumer lust
no one stopped to
help her.

So much for the
Christmas spirit.


This was real life

When the crowd
the woman was found
laying unconscious
on top of a DVD player.

A Wal-Mart spokesman
said he hoped
the trampled woman
would continue
to be a customer
after she recovered
from her injuries.

Maybe next time
she’ll lose her life
over a TV.

All in the name
of rabid consumerism.

File this under the horror section
in your local reality store.

Later it was discovered
the woman may have intended to
fake the whole thing as she done previously,
but this time things went horribly awry.

Sometimes justice does come to those who wait.

George Pappas
Copyright 2016




Trick or treat?

Neither is what they seem.

The scary things don’t hide in closets
but in our hearts and souls
as we confront
our lost dreams
our twisted hopes,
our love turned so bitter inside.

Left alone in the darkness of our imaginations.
We are the bogeyman and the bogeyman is us.


Tricked for treats?
Treated to dirty tricks?

The scary stuff?
Your best friend
letting you down over again.
Your lover hurting you because they can.


Treats and trickery on All Hallows’ Eve.

The real horrors of human nature
to contemplate.

There are zombies, vampires, and monsters
everywhere you look tonight.

They are always there.

You work for them.
You try to love them.
You struggle to understand them.
You call them family.
You regard them as good friends
and trusted allies
who are selling you out all the while
with handshakes and smiles.

Trick or treat?

Neither is what they seem.

George Pappas
Copyright 2016




Holy wars
with unholy consequences.
Lost souls everywhere
buried in the rubble
of our towering dreams.

Air rage.
Retaliatory strikes.
No place to hide,
living every day now on the front line,
wounded to the bottom of our frayed souls.
The silence is deafening.

Caught in a vicious circle of rage we can’t shake.
Is cruelty all that remains?
Kill or be killed
our familiar shattering game.

Buried under mountains of dust and blood,
so many passionate dreams.

In the aftermath,
civilization feels like a folly,
real enlightenment a fantasy,
even love seems a cruel conceit

Waging ancient battles
that are never resolved,
lost in the dark ages again with
suspicion and mistrust as our only friends

Picking up the pieces again.
Caught in a vicious circle we can’t seem to shake.
Is cruelty all that seems to remain?
Kill or be killed
our familiar heartbreaking game.

George Pappas
Copyright 2016






Contaminated water.
Contaminated hearts.

They polluted Surf City
and said the water was poison.

I believe it was more than a sewage spill.

It was the bile from
our contaminated hearts
and souls which polluted the Pacific Ocean.

Poisoned waves crashing on a dirty beach.

We are the human virus
polluting the water,
polluting the beaches,
turning our oceans
into dirty cesspools
of contamination
like our cities,
our ghettos,
our suburbs,
our land,
our streets,
our sewers
our homes,
filled with waste
from our polluted bodies
flowing everywhere.

I am drowning in
polluted water
which has spilled over
from my contaminated heart.

Cowabunga, dude.
Surf is down in the sewer.

We can ride poison waves
to our dirty demise.

George Pappas
Copyright 2016

A Hometown Refugee



He’s lost.
A refugee of this country.

and discarded
at freeway exits
like trash.

His grizzled
broken face
as he holds up a cardboard sign


He has a million mile stare,
gazing beyond the passing cars,
the freeway and concrete
into a world only he knows.

It’s a place
beyond sadness,
beyond anger.

His is a soul obliterated
beyond recognition.

His tattered clothes
hang loosely from his bony frame.

He’s waiting,
for some sign of charity.

On patrol,
he springs into action,
deceptively quick,
grabbing meager
offerings from the drivers
waiting at the stoplight.

His reconnaissance continues throughout the day.

Where’s the TV cameras documenting his plight
as with the refugees in far away lands?

Here’s a refugee
in a country
he once defended.

A defender of our broken shame
even if he no longer has a home to defend.

Just what does the
ultimate sacrifice
mean to him now?

George Pappas
Copyright 2016