Dear America…

photo-3-kateI guess we all go about life thinking we did the best we thought we could. I mean, no one wants to bow out carving into stone they only did it half way. Frankie, ol’ blue eyes, told us he did it his way and I guess that was a point in the history books that we had our get up and go. Those were the days, and no matter that the old films tell you, life was in living color, all the way. Black and white was another fixation.

his letter, to whomever in the future reads it, may not even know and identify with the word “American.” They (our you, to be more intimate) may find this old note (how old, really???) to be a trope, self indulgent, last-minute exhibition of a one human’s want of memory to be preserved amid the rubble of a culture you will comb through in hope for understanding.

Listen, it all comes down to this. President Trump, and after his historically brief tenure President Pence, threw this country into a turmoil that brought a much slobbered after end of days to their “holy land” of franchised and outsourced “freedoms.” It was holy hell. “Forgive them,” that weakened god-being cried out from his mythical nailed-to perch, “for they know knot what they are doing.” What a horny bullshit dream. Everyone knew damn well what they were doing, and they only did it because they wanted “change”. As the outgoing Vice President was caught saying on a hot mic just prior to the 2017 inauguration of Trump, “This isn’t a fucking Red Lobster for Crissakes, it’s a country.” Those were our sentiments exactly, Joe. Change is a double-edged sword.

I’m just writing to say I’m sorry. The election, if you can call it that, of 2016 was not a result of populist outrage, it was the greatest reflex of ignorance and opportunity even seen of such a scale. It emboldened the shit shysters around the world to act- without benefit of countermeasure- to prod with their conscience-free peckers and penetrate the systems that protect our semblance of democracy and replace it with sheer vapid entertainment. Yes, the election of 2016 was the most dangerous reality show in history. It ended history. The worries everyone had about Trump having the nuclear football were a great distraction from the risk of Pence having it. Trump sealed his fate with the most unfortunately remembered phrase in history, “grab them by the pussy,” which emboldened a generation of disgusting men, and the compromise that he’d quit once elected and swap offices once the pitchforks and torches cornered him. An even more dangerous man took the Oval Office.

Hiroshima. Nagasaki. The old war. The litany of the new one? The war against women, with the executive order that made abortion in most cases illegal and punishable. The mass annulment of gay marriages. The “bunkering” of high crime impoverished inner city areas. Then the clouds of death abroad came closer to home. Raqqa. The torpedoing of the Kennedy. Vladivostok. Then San Diego. The short lived truce allowed for scientists to run screaming from their universities as fallout’s real aftermath- no longer a hypothetical- spewed across North America and Asia. But it was too late. Anchorage. Seoul. Pyongyang. That’s when I stopped counting, and most of the world began losing the Internet. Martial Law. I lost track of the news as I lost track of my people. We were moved across the country to “strategically populate” non-targets. Famine, disorder… what else?

Do I really blame it all on two politicians? No, not at all. I indict ignorance and every single motherfucker that only indulged in the gratification of their egos when the world was burning long before either of these men allowed the Four Horsemen into the State Fair. I indict a culture that always looked for messiahs in other people or historical ghosts rather than finding any strength in themselves. But my indictment means nothing- this trainwreck has been in the making for decades, the train’s been out of the station for longer than anyone can remember. We all did this- we all made this. We all gave our tacit permission for this whenever we said “I don’t care,” or “whatever.” And how long has apathy been the balm to the world’s pains? Fuck if I know. But it’s had our frontal cortexes by the pineal the moment our dopamine decided to fire every time we saw someone worse off than us, and we patted our wallet, checked our watch, and mistook a mass illusion of control for a world.

America, shed some grace of yourself. God obviously has more cosmic matters to attend to. While my time is over, maybe whatever historian that finds this can take a moment to appreciate the day and the bigger damn picture. I hope the skies are blue. I hope the birds have come back. I hope your food grows out of the ground, not from plastic. I hope you are in charge of your own life, and whenever you make a decision, you know a million different decisions ripple outward. For whatever reason, I’m about to get a bullet in my chest.

Yeah, decisions, decisions. Good night and good luck.

Post Script

I’ll allow a songwriter to do it for me:

After the Tweetstorm

No Standard Miracles Here


Deauville, Rehoboth Beach DE

There is space between each grain of sand that holds me up…
Each lapping midnight wave unlike any other a cohesion of subatomic history
The peach light of the moon is a trick of the trade in swoon
And this breath I’m taking, divined air of salt and murk, a plentiful oratory.
Ordinary isn’t a word, there are no standard miracles here,
This, the thin veil of skin and blood that is the birthplace of ancestors unnamed
Ten minutes of return to my childhood beach dissuades the I;
Experiences collectively forming my perception, the Universe’s imagination untamed.
We are flickers of light, the darkness in between, and all that jazz…
The reflection kneeling, summoning the sea to wash over the hands, becomes placidly small
Pronouns dissolve into the accepting tide- me, we, you, all returned
Even as lungs heave the time to go, the child within kicks sand, in the dark of the ocean all becomes all.


Stop The World

636031542435573841-DSC-8549Amid fireworks, they shot a black man down my street last night-

Nobody knows the trouble between the first heartbeat of wrong

And the last breath as he was knocked on his feet in plain sight

Of kids in the projects playground, seen enough of this, first person shooter,

Bang bang you’re dead motherfucker was once a game now an angry song.

This brutal world stops for a moment to remember, till the next headline

Throttles us into indignation but the ivory towers know we’re content

To feed on scraps of justice thrown from on high, the sorrow sidelined

Distractions of Caesars and Brutuses reenacting ad nauseam the takedown

As we spin seemingly helplessly, lowered shades too dark to grasp the portent.

A night later, the percussive eve of Independence Day explodes over this part of town

The bombs bursting in air proving through the night that turned backs were still there

The projects locked down tight, and as boots scrape asphalt eyes cast awkwardly down

Nobody knows the trouble of living on the edge of knives and bullets from a comfortable distance

Yet when faced with a mirror, our fist is thrust to stop the world, only to see ourselves in the raining shards of our town.



Andy and Charlie

Andy and Charlie

Two homeless guys, sheltering under the awning of an urban church

They don’t complain

The streetlights oversaturate their weathered bodies, harsh shadows of scant rest.

Andy and Charlie

Don’t ask for much, I don’t know if they are “good” or “bad,” but they are alive that is chore enough.

The streets are cruel

Rich kids throw soda at them, people walk in wide arcs, yet we’re all justiced up with causes celèbre

Andy and Charlie

Are American refugees- ignored, because we own the conditions that make their beds cardboard

No cups for change

Too dignified to beg, just looking for a place to sleep; will those doors open unto weathered men,

Andy and Charlie,

Perish the thought that the last shall be first if we have mantle to muster more than just this,

They are not the least of these,

Andy and Charlie are us, bereft of the American dream, under streetlight glare, holding out for hope.


Bang to the beat of the drum

Bang to the beat of the drum

Bang to the beat of the drum, we’re gonna

Bang… to… the… beat… of… the… drum.

Bass notes have floated countless times through this body

Vibration on the cabinet speakers, boom, boom, boom, boom,

Taking headtrips to ancient lands where the dancers around me

Jumped and leapt and intoned magic through fire, the pounding

Driving us all on, thriving together into a mass where no one’s looking,

Some crazy iteration of one flesh in the heat, a single surrounding, resounding,

Beat- a heart beat- a pulse that runs deep, beyond even blood, lost in the dance.

And yet our blood gets spilled, our pulse is stilled… I’ve lost the beat.

The lights in the club go out, the music is off, all is dark,

Bring that beat back.

Naturally we cower when overpowered,

Yet our music from those towers is too damn sweet

Bring that beat back.

Fire up even a single candle, because when you have the light,

It’s the darkness that becomes afraid of you

Bring that beat back.

On with your fabulousness, on with your glitter, on with your strut,

This family is so big we are all the glue

Bring that beat back.

God I’ve been struck down, my pulse shaken- someone always found the beat.


People we gonna illuminate da house, show the world that love’s got no last call

One thing we heed and timeless is its creed- we take care of not one, but all,

I have risen from the broken glass ceilings reeling yet feeling not my fall

A strong flight of resistance, the unfurling of spine, not back to wall

Dash the flames with newfound feathers the sky is your birthright

Wings upon the crimson sunset, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh,

Take up thy body to dance celestial, shimmer over the city

While we…

Bang to the beat of the drum

Bang to the beat of the drum

Bang to the beat of the drum, we’re gonna

Bang… to… the… beat… of… the… drum.

Blessed Be The Music Makers

This poem was written and performed for the benefit of the Rosser family in Asheville, NC

Long before a people could sing

There were winds

Long before the first harmony plucked a string

Gusts resounded through canyons

Before there were ears to hear it, Earthsong was such a thing.


Can you imagine the first band jamming a million years ago?

Music exuding from fossil throats now studied under glass

Feathery folktunes, gorilla gospel, amphibian ambient

The rhythm, the movement, begat our bloodlines, down to the first vibrato.
Along we come, toe tappin’, vocal chord rattlin’,

Hollowing gourds for drums, primordial shouts and hoots,

Finding… our… VOICES! Refining reeds for flutes-

Circle dances around fires, lutes and lyres, sacred village incantations,

Orchestras, wandering minstrels, choirs.


Even now, the music still finds itself in everything-

And the musician found in everyone,

Even with the hand quavering over the eager piano key;

With the throat quivering with the permission to sing FREE!


“I got the music in me, I got the music in me, I got the music in me…”*


Here’s to those who uplift music from the heart;

To those who summon up vibrations for this art;

To those who struggle so others may upon this path, start;

To those whose hearts feel broken, the love they reflect surrounds;

With many hands, broken hearts are mended, sweet music forever abounds.


*”I’ve got the music in me” (c) 1974 Bias Boshell, performed by Kiki Dee

Liberate versus Discriminate

“We do not discriminate.”

We do not discriminate against gender, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical ability, mental illness, history of addiction, criminal background-

Except when we do.

We do not discriminate against looks and body types, expressions of self in the Universe, those who’ve earned their way up, those who’ve lost everything going down, accumulations of merit, karma, or doing the right thing-

Except when to do so isn’t good optics.

Pat me on the back, what you touch isn’t a demographic

A life not lived as a statistic to take back to the team and gauge the metrics-

We all sort and strategize, this we know-

Reduce me to characteristics most beneficial to power broker eyes and
I’m a number lost in a sea of tactics

When I’ve really always been a single word flying a sky made intergalactic
in letting all these classifications pass by,

Needless distractions need not ask why in the horizon they fade as we glide
to an expanse of wordless, label-free, beingness to boundlessly be.

See, these worlds we parallel here aren’t interchangeable

Filtration down to the most valuable iota,
or uplifting to the most universal quanta

The only gray area we have ‘tween these two is the one from which they emerged.

Discriminate against this cloud of atoms so I can freely be.

I’d rather you not choose me so I can be free and pass it on…

The fuck has been discriminated out of everything- drained of any passion,
stripped to bits of productivity and actionables for the higher ups. Fuck that.

My only no is to the naysayers-

So that I may participate in loving charges to translate restrictive words into one single YES and every passing moment seized to liberate.

Stand beside, walk astride, come inside-

No signs hang on the doors of this heart.

I Am- Myself- Enough

Written and performed as a component of “My Intimate Companion, My Body” by Community Choreography Projects, Barrie Barton, Artistic Director
Presented as delivered verbatim, 15 May ’16,


You man enough?” 13041415_866460496796949_593443273963548002_o

There’s a box to check, M or F, the crossing of chromosomes X and Y,

And of my time, how to measure that?

All those rites of passage, and the wrongs left behind?

Categorically I am male, Caucasian, American by persuasion

I prefer Earthling-


I’ve been many things in this lifetime…

I’ve been tadpoles, black holes, bottle rockets, holes in pockets,

Birdfeather, turbulent weather, purple flowers, passionate hours,

“How much adds up to make me man enough?”


The answer, I think, is more in the soul’s eye and the mind’s dreaming than in a

Banner’s star spangling or whatever’s anatomically dangling,

It’s your own meaning, your own re-birth panging.


My feet are tree roots that pulse to the heart of the Mother-

My guts: clusters of garnets and rubies, my lungs:

Sails of ancient ships plying deep waters-

My head is in the stars, from whence it came.

I am just like everyone else.



Men, Women, Trans, Genderqueer,

The time is now to forsake duality, and flush the fear.

Let not your body be concealed by a shroud of should-be,

Be unbound, fly the sky infinite, beyond the what, where and why

Of the ordinary to classify, to have the power to say

“Spirit is the gender that I identify.”

Receive these words as an invitation, an exhalation… [exhale]

Spirit is the gender that I identify.

Find a box to check- for that.


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