Category: poems

Now/Time + Thoughts/Prayers

Why do we have Time if Now is never it?
Why Think and Pray if thought does not permeate
and the sacred is without bond to the day?
We are dashed upon the rocks relentlessly,
a daily chore of the grime and your offering is this?
If this be the epitaph you pretend to write…
for your teeming victims’ garland of overdue supplication…
may the inkwell be overturned in convulsed mourning,
and the paper meeting fire be the light guiding our meager way.
Listen now, sanctify this:
Relent the hourglass from your battle-stiff’d hands
let it all shatter and walk the perilous yet hallowed path.
Unclench your faith-sick hands to let them know purpose,
in the joining with fingers which have traced
the world with yours, together having known
every continent of covenant from heart to heart, from sea to sea.
Let every embrace be when we pray-
let every moment be when we think,
let every bond be sacred to the day.

Our Lady of the Highways

Hurling in inattentive abandon towards ye
At speeds in disregard of physics-
Are your sweet arms always
open to scattershot spirits?

We dodge limits, everyday improbabilities
As if protected by a storyline-
What will your myth take if I
crash in an accident divine?

Always a light at the end of my tunnel vision
Because you’re always there-
A man asks how he can be like
you, and you reply “but where?”

All the world has hallowed mothers watching
The children are always in a hurry-
Successive generations here, there
cover not thy face in realized worry.

Our Lady of the Highways, Cecil County Emm Dee
Homeland tugs the northbound lane-
Whip the curves, then back in history
One more border to cross, mystery’s gain.

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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.

Pulse

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.

 

Listen.

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.”
Listen.

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

Spirit is the gender that I identify.

Find a box to check- for that.

 

Refugees

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Tell me about your telescopes and what comes back

When your photon-intent gaze settles upon a patch of darkness-

Do you see nothing, do you see gradients of time, do you see a waiting-ness?

My own eyes cannot fathom the sky- I double over in a holy if unwhole incomprehension

Knowing the dark is a way of summing all I cannot know, after being wowed I bow in submission.

Yet the dark is a populated place, not just shoulder to shoulder with stars, but it is the canopy

Of a tattered tent for a million names, voices murmuring in ancient rhythm with the winds

Homeless yet by heritage bound to soil proudly staked and blood-dabbed in bouts

Yet now drought-caked, cold tired huddled masses fenced in by barbed rhetoric

Yearning is for a suchness beyond the babe’s muddied face, it’s a gasping

Grasping for humanity upon cold shores, dim fires and inshallah charity

Bread, just bread, maybe currant juice, the children will take anything.

Tell me, what is darkness now, and what is lightness, and of you?

It is the bulk of the Universe, and the shield under which

Scores of refugees run for their very lives; your mystery

Is their shelter, their shelter is our perplexion, and

Even now the safest of us fall to the street for

Crumbs in the night, be they as stars-

For they shine as such as to grace

A moment of hope, may we all

Be so blessed as no one is ever

Safe from having to seek

Refuge, from ever

Having to be

Called a

Refugee.

Poem Written On The Treadmill At The Gym

The body is a short term lease agreement between the ineffable infinite
And the phenomenon that bears your name.
Here you are, bold enough to persist through every conceivable trap
To make another day, a something from nothing.

Incarnation- what gives us the right?
As it is to us Creation is a commodity for the scavenging
Upon closer examination it’s indivisible eternity
As are we, smoothly faceted in deep reverie gazing, ravaging!

Some day, I return the keys of this body undistracted by the security deposit;
It’s how I leave the space, and hoping the vibes
Feel good when the door is opened- this life, it’s one big welcome home
A split-second housewarming for each of us over and over.

Thirty Nine Feels

Whoops, thought I turned it off. Instead, I entered the monolith.

“I feel” is now.

“I feel” is that I am.

“I feel” is not a crime.

“I feel” is factual; disprove it.

“I feel” is not in opposition to logic.

“I feel” is not a defense, offense, or diagnosis.

“I feel” is harmless unless you choose to be harmed.

“I feel” is the testament of my inmost temple, it is my truth.

“I feel” is brave, fully valid, created by the world but made by me.

“I feel” is not for sale, cannot be copied, but is free to be shared with attribution.

“I feel” is my drum; here, put your ear upon my chest, it cannot be denied even after I die.

“I feel” is my origin, my first name, my Eden, the tidal pools, the swamps, treetops and fire-lit caves.

“I feel” is no less real than a touch, an embrace, a chokehold, checking for pulse (I feel yours, do you feel mine?).

“I feel” is not your scapegoat, to be thrown under the bus, shall not be moved like a rock upon the shore, shall not be…

“I feel” is appropriate for the workplace, crying from the schools, seeping into laboratories, and dancing in the damn streets.

“I feel” is what there is to cling to at the end of the day, staring back from the mirror, but unlike anything else, changeable.

“I feel” is the river of my life, never the same water, ever changing, ebbing and flowing, sustaining and flooding.

“I feel” is not made of words, even breath, but everything my awkward body summons to look you in the eye.

“I feel” is not defensive, cannot be labelled wrong, segregated, outlawed or killed- it outlives me in you.

“I feel” is an awkward wallflower at a party and a fecund wildflower bursting with late-spring pollen.

“I feel” is a journey that took so long for me to begin; call it foolhardy, it’s too late to stop.

“I feel” is frequently dizzy, needing time to adjust back to now from all the turning.

“I feel” is informed by everyone, every experience, how can you judge that?

“I feel” is no greater than any other being- it’s constellated thusly.

“I feel” is just one half of the upcoming untelevised revolution.

“I feel” is fully completed when I wholly affirm “You Feel.”

“I feel” is spread wide, from my bone to the moon.

“I feel” is subject to change without notice.

“I feel” is not a free pass for stupid.

“I feel” is a receipt for existence.

“I feel” hopes you understand.

“I feel” won’t replace “I think.”

“I feel” is Holy and Profane.

“I feel” is my first thought.

“I feel” is to be my last.

“I feel” serves me.

“I feel” will be.

“I feel” was.

“I feel” is.