Thursday, July 30, 2015

All too often empty.



photo by An Ta


When birds prey
           they give their wings to the wind;

all I have are these hands,



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Acceptance in the age of imperialism


photo by martin fisch


ATTENTION!
ATTENTION!
ATTENTION!

                                      LOOK AT ME!
                                        Look @ Me!
                                            Look ---

I have a message,
as much as the message has me,
is becoming I // for those who have eyes to see
I am the pupil,

dilated 2 centimeters
ready to birth --

i am                   unimportant,

                                        look @ a tree,
                             what do you see?

A trunk, some limbs - the beauty
of the leaves / stability - oxygen to breathe,
a home for birds / a house for you, a fire to keep
warm ---
                 but what of the roots?

hidden beneath
                       & without which nations would fall,
                             are the frame which holds the canvas
                                and yet
all we see
are the colors the painter paints with
across the surface / make believe
as make up /
                     it plays to our comfort
                     zones apart from our differences

Whole scriptures have been written on the lips
of lovers, only to twist into whips from bully pulpits,

                                       tolerance
                                    is the new love,

You may exist,
as long as you don't mess with                ME

the castle i've built in the sandbox,
                               dam-ing tides
                               with superficial acceptance -
our art is lines drawn
like fences on the prairie / to keep out / to keep in
our content-ment in the contents
of our parcel of the cont(in)ent

                                      but the grass betrays us
                                      ever greener on the next hill,
                                      so we cain Abel,

                                                  in just war,
                                                  because

Comparison kills
in ways
                compassion
                can only envy

History is no one story building,
but has elevators

                                                   it's all about
                                                     de(a)(p)th
                                                           &
                                                     ascendency,

displacing whole peoples for the benefit of     US
& them - well they will be fine,

                          it's a new place,
                          just for them - within lines
                          drawn by US

so generous,
we send aid - to those that support
                                                               US
or will convert
to our,
               be baptized in
               the CULTure of      US
              
           (call now and we will include a free cosmetics kit,
                 that reflects the diversity of our thought
                          pro-cess-es)
                
WHERE IS YOUR LINE?

I've got mine.

drawn in chalk
so when the rain comes
it washes it off

                                                              even then
                                                              I'll draw it again
                        &reign
                       
&rain
                        &reign


Monday, July 27, 2015

The DiRT



photo by raul hernandez gonzlez


It begins in the soil,

a natural body / pedosphere / mixture of minerals, organic matter,
liquids, gas & every creeepy crawly thing that slinks
                                                                  through it

a tree falls / becomes a meal / crumbs fall from the mandles
of beetles & roots finger a crack til the rock breaks / rain
washes away microns at time, depositing them,
where they will
                            grass is written on the hill of my chest,
ants form a colony, which cities inside my head,
two flowers blossom & i can see,
                                                     embracing the bee-ings,

if a tree falls & no one hears it, does it make a sound?
more than the dead bodies, everyone slows down for
on the freeway, but turn away                                from

plant a soul and soil / toil to till it / & understand
our agragrian grandfathers bents&wishes               (switches)

the river sings a love song to my veins, spreading its legs
around rocks & rejoining, taking seed,
                                                             sand, silt, clay

                LO - AM  (loam)          (eye)                   (loam)  (i)

meditate on what we cultivate in a culture contained in glass /
a reverse green house / supplement-ed by taking pills
to artificially replace
                                            
what's in the soil / we are all on a journey to becoming  (in death)
a reflection of sound / back to the beginning

                                                          

Friday, July 24, 2015

You




     I don't know answers
          to any of the questions,
                                     
                                        except one;



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Poets Untidied


art by Kenny Cole


If poems were pistols
                     I wonder if we would pull the trigger
                     as often,

Or feel the weight of our words,
                     21 grams for each dead body
                     in our wake

                     Streetlamps are Earth-bound stars
                     coming through Atlanta - mid-nite,
                     everything golden
                                       against the dark
                                       building backdrop, shadows
                                       creeping on tip toes
                                       til at the very edge of pools

A lone black arm spilling out a white sheet,
                      on the exit ramp - a patrol car,
                      cop out
                                   shooting the shit
                                             w/ another, waiting

Surely he's a poet ---
                     or met one, considering the amount
                     of crimson flowing

But perhaps,
                      if poems were pistols it would be good
                      we'd parade
                      around the mall picketing
                      our 2nd amendment
                      rights ---

                      WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR POEMS
                      WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR POEMS

                      or with the right permit,
                      conceal them

                      in holsters between our hips,
                      around our ankles,
                      just in case some thug feels lucky

                      & band together under the banner of NPA,
                      the National Poets Association,
           
                      paper our cars with bumper stickers,
                      like:

                      POEMS DON"T KILL PEOPLE,
                      PEOPLE KILL POEMS

                      or

                      THIS PROPERTY OWNER IS A POET
                      THERE IS NOTHING INSIDE
                      WORTH YOUR LIFE

Fathers clapping sons on the back,
                      saying "WAY TO GO tiger!"
                      when they popped their first poem's
                      cherry

We could start a PAC to support candidates that verse,
                      elect a president that at least knows how
                      to rhyme, so the State of the Union
                      would be tolerable  to watch   -   maybe

                      teach our children how to strip
                      & clean a poem
                                               with their eyes closed,
                      because the time is coming
                      when a revolution
                      will be the only thing
                      keeping poetry                        free

How beautiful it will be seeing all the poets
                       proud to be
                                         & defending each other's liberty
                                         through reading -   (as if we really
                                                                         were literate)

                                                                        what
                                                                        unity?

No, this would not be good,
                       it would be TERRIBLE in fact,
                       so many poems around & new ones every day
                       smuggled in from outside the country-
                       sold on the lam, cheap as a tit,
                       they'd be on T-shirts, in every movie,
                       on billboards down broadway,
                       sold in the produce aisle @ the grocery,
                       a whole new psychiatry would rise
                                                        for those that can't,
                       perscription pills,
                                                   metaphors
                       it would be cool --

                      which is the death of things.

 no, No, NO                      I will keep my poetry,
                                         ugly
                                         as it is,
                                                 odd as underwear,
                                                                     well oiled
                                                                     & ready.

Come and get me.
                                  
                     

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Some crazy galactic sh*t, & stuff


art by damieko


There's this place
always just around the next corner
where the the cats congregate
                                           each night --

I been there
once.

A big ball of furry bodies
snuggled, in
constant motion

putting off enough static
e-lec-tricity

it floats

feet off the asphalt;
its own little forgotten planet,

hum'n
in purrfect harmony
                     w/ all the secrets
                          of the universe.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dead or alive



photo by Michael Beckwith



A girl at the bookstore, by the magazines
& a boy, he leaning in ready to inhale whatever
falls from her lips, her eyes
                                            full of wonder
if this might be it & already unwrapping
wedding presents, keeping a list
of who to send thank you cards,
                              complete with what they gave --

they are having sex
w/ words
                              not the rough kind, but
                              where rhythm & touch, rhythm & touch
                              rhythm & touch are pre-dominant
                              creating a loop between t(w)o          be-ings
                              letting go the reins

"and then there is toilet tag"

she says,                                          laughs
                                                        to fill the pregnant mom-
                                                                                           ent

"but that is something
for only those you know intimately"
                                                                   "--awkward positions--"
"I did it with a roommate
once"
                                       
                                she's back pedaling, trying to catch him
                                as he leans away//
                                                          distance grows


It gets away from you,
                      though you have every intension ---
until all that's left is smoke
                                                r   i   s   i   n   g,
                                                  empty track

I hopped a train once
in college - we jumped from a bridge
as it slowed to pass
                                the air pulled at us as speed picked up
                                clack-clack - clak - clak
                                clak - claklakalak, every nerve
                                ending alive, grinding metal
                                on metal
                                               the city giving way to trees,
                                               over rivers 100 feet below
                                               & you're gone

easy as that -
til you have to get off
                            before it's too far

                                                        that's when it hurts
                                                        most.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tangled in history

photo by william cho


She holds me in her mouth
like a promise to keep

until her tongue grows tired
& falls asleep

I lay awake, an eternal flame
trying to sustain
                                    memory

                     ---

what is skin deep
                     wears away,
    bones
                                speak,
                  inscribed
                       w/
                         being
                                & mystery,
   set dancing,
               a seal on the envelope
                         of my own
                                         lips.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Gas station on State Street

photo by tom hall


The flag in the window has flown

             too long,
             so long

the red stripes have faded

             to all white,
             and beyond          (white)

there are no more bars

            to hold back

the field of stars

           they are free,
           but still taped inside the frame
           obscuring the view

                                         & fading fast.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A philosophy of being (yX)



photo by Les Haines


I take my name for a walk, round the block,
down side streets laced with hip hop beats,
up car lots,
mom & pops, past stock boys @ the grocer,
smoking cigarettes on back docks,
                                     awaiting trucks --
to the gate
where we've partitioned greenspace,

                                       like a garden,
                                       like Eden,
                                       like  zoo cages
                                       we keep animals in
confusing dominion
with oppression, giving submission
a bad taste
     
                    we don't say much,
but mean
                   e v e r y t h i n g

drawing echoes from creation's ring
to Cain & Abel's reckoning ---

I had a dream
once til it became too much to fit my back pocket,
until it outgrew the picture frame
in the flap of my wallet,
                                       too heavy to carry
& everyone had a METRO card
W/ enough credit to ride
til their heart's content

& the contents of my heart were not meant
for the upper crust
                               of this planet,
dig your fingers deeper
into my being and you'll find the ancient
river - much older than you can name

I hold my name
                          in trembling hands,
under the surface of the water,
til my reflection settles
                                     & wait
til the last syllable
                             bubbles up -
because it's just another way
to define me
                
                       keeping only one letter,
                              until it too
                                                     becomes too much.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An American selfie (iii)


photo by anne worner



Bicycle Bob goes everywhere on two wheels,
fills the wire basket on the front with odds & ends,

rotund legs thrusting the pedals away from him
one at a time
               in an easy rhythm,

never breaking orbit.
A wisp of silver hair whi-whi- whipping,
does little to protect the burned moon
scalp,
       like the bush-stache does his lip,
       he says

Gas can, gas can, gas can

as he passes, as if ---
on a scavenger hunt for madness,
or seeking a lost pups
& there is
no desperation                  in his voice.

We pass each other
at the railroad tracks, I footing into town
he heading out - a styrofoam cup
from a fast food joint, a small ball & a cucumber
riding in the front,

gas can, gas can, gas can --- a disfigured angel, wings
clipped, in a town of ships, with bound sails,
scuttled in their slips,

he is a subway with no tunnel & plaid shorts,
a collared chartreuse shirt, tan loafers, toes scuffed
& leaving, out the North,

I see him again near the laundro-mat,
a deeper shade of man - still glowing teeth forming
constellations under those silly ass eyes

a little fuller basket, things buried
in a nest of newspaper - the bell on his bar
tinkling with each bump
                               & tires
of unsung asphalt
melodies

Don't go home man,
there is still time
                            before the shadows
                      long enough
                  to swallOW us ---                           gas can

                                                 Sail on!
                                                 Sail on!
                             

Monday, July 13, 2015

The thin line running through



photo by darkday


I walk to remember                          ( I am the hawk )
how far it is & how long it really takes
                    to get there                           (any where)
 
in the heart,
of the city, on the back
street, behind the old plant repurposed
by graffiti artists              ---                   a park, hides
                                            forgotten, as most things,
                                where i play  pipes with a hammer
               & thrum drums by touch to a beat - the creek
      sings to, as it burbles under the bridge // homeless
men gather at     --       to breathe the same sun's heat.







words: hawk, beat, heart, artist, touch, breath

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Language//Rights


photo by logan campbell



My son runs L drills - d
                                        o
                                        w
                                        n,
                                            o u t,   (turn)
                                                       (hands up)
                                                        THWAP
it's all coordination & timing,
when done right - the ball is there, his hands
ready & --- he glistens / shimmers,
his long hair hangs in strands
still slick with amniotic fluid

How many times has he been too slow,
took a ball to the face //  gut,
doubled over backward from a tackle // to early,
until he gets it,
                          blood and calouses,
pulled muscles and deep aches
form a new testament, truth:

We are what we practice,

& we practice dismantling - call it understanding,
as we turn the screwdriver, lay another face
plate to the side, a thin wire, a nut - each part
greater than the sum of the whole; race,
gender, religeon - multiplication as a means
to division - & no one remembers how

to put it back together again,
or if we should - or build something new,
a pale shadow of what once was - in our own image,
complete with property lines & street names
like Elm, Pine View, Oak Branch,
as epitaphs to trees that gave their life,

It's no wonder our kids are joining ISIS,
in record numbers - they'll follow anyone
that believes
           
                    Something     //       Anything

& actually lives it,
                               Practice

will be over soon,
all the kids are huddling, howling
in unison, chanting in rhythm

Tribal

as our nature - unified
as only the divisiveness
                   of our constructs
                                                        allows.



Friday, July 10, 2015

The dangerous tryst of books (or something else entirely)


photo by _FXR


The last page,
                     last word

dangling precarious
from our lips

final punctuation,
like a dimple on our cheeks,
nice & neat

in feigned complete-
ness
           we close                   the binding,
as if to contain
                      & shelve it ---

relieved it will always be
there,
         should we want---

to go back,
                 revisit,                never changing,
just as we left it
 
                            (as if ---)
unless
 
we give it away,
so it can wreak havoc
elsewhere

but it never leaves
us.



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Inside the circle


picture by Alex Grey


She's the river bed & when she touches skin
silt swirls -
                        strands of her hair, pitch black corn silk,
                                                               catches wind
dancing
                   drum - d - drum - d - d - drum

(breathe in)

                     Da old man, rump - a - bum,
got rags tied to him,
                                  He is the mountain
                                  they are his flags
                                  bring him Mahomet

how many billions will never have a monument,
and in a hundred years - it will be torn down
by revisionists
                         he hums
& the ground shakes
                                        rah - ha - bum
                                              rah - boom
gramma  - ra - shoom,
someone's son, daughter, mother, lover,
shorts, jeans, leather, long hair,
horse & tight bun

                              10 - 30 - 100

hearts beating at once like tongues
                                  all with one voice,
                     but separate
& no neck ties,
                       cuff links or dollar signs
                                        to measure worth / make one less
or oppress - lose your life to live it,
but you gotta live the life - or bow
dow-n to the golden cow
                                   this is the America - n   dream,
in which capitalizm married democracy   a republic,
cause they all look like & represent US,
                                           what---?

                                              We,
                               Vandals, savage, kings,
                                       broken things
                               all shattering at once
                                         to mosaic //
                                  eclipting our fictions

Ditta - d - dah - ta
rum - bidda - run - bidda
Ditta - d - dah - ta

She turns the earth on her palm,
                                                   effortless ---
how can you not be moved,
                                flowers spring forth, breath
His hands keep us,
                         warm - our lungs
                                are wings - we won't use
                                          but fly we will

when fingerprints are the currency
in the pangea of our minds.
                                                       bum - dea -
                                                           ba - dum


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Grass growing under bare feet


photo by ravencypresswood



I play on the fire

                in the smoke,
                run my hands through its substance,
                send signals
                                          (i pre-tend)
                                                                    you
                                                                  will
                                                          receive
                                    cup
              some
                         in my hands
                                  like clay & form
                                           the untouchable
place it to my lips
& blow
                        ---sending them on their way,

in the Himalayas,
they place prayer flags
in high places / on the ridges
to be
                                                 closer to the heavens,
                                                 fill the land with
                                                 & everytime the wind whips them,
they sing the song,
                                anew.
                     


Sunday, July 5, 2015

The depth of our vowels



photo by Poster Boy


How enamored we are with our   -isms
& blind
              they leave us

              to anything beyond
              beliefs prescribed them

( I don't even
   need to give you a picture,
   we all know them
   & none                                 haven't fallen )

                                                prey
                         prey
Prey

that your god
will notice - when you look
                     in the mirror.

                                                Tomorrow.



Saturday, July 4, 2015

What the nothing


photo by Jonathan Petit


Write your love in sidewalk chalk,
            as we did when we were kids,
            only with the maturity that knows
            running fingers

            over our scratches fills in the cracks
            and all the places we forgot,
            blends, like make up,

            to become our skin tone
            & hides points of contact

            beneath.
            when it rains,
            the rivers

            leave in so many swirling colors,
            cleansing the world.

Do you ever wonder where all the bodies went
             after Noah?

The next time, use spray paint - for permanence,
             aesthetic, & when it runs
             only adds to - the chaos that is love,
             everyone is a tagger
                                 w/ street names
              not to get caught,
              but known
                                by those who know,

              until covered by the next unknown
              name - or the city
                                         pressure
                                                    washers
              in an act, not unlike
                                    free speech

Nothing is permanent

              in the material world --- we call it progress,
              upgrade,
                            send a text,
              i'll check it
                            when I get a chance,

              the government's already read it
              & they like it
                                             
              Like that.
              Like that.

No, seriously - Like that,
              with the button below,
              because that is the extent of our commitment

              to convention,
              we retcon our foundational principles,
              rewrite our symbols -

History is just another ever changing story

              Re-use
              Re-duce
              Re-cycle

              to fit whatever is politically or publicly correct
              in this moment,
              truth is a metaphor for something else ---
              & last night,

              I could have, but came home
              to you.

This--
         is the ultimate act
         of our Independence.