Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Microdream // Grey

A black man asks me for money
So he can buy a fish sandwich from Captain D's
With a practiced tone I respond

"I'm sorry dude, but I have no cash on me."

In spite of his hunger
Or because of it
He lashes out
To provide a criticism
Often heard
And never forgotten

"You sound just like one of those white boys."

He walks off
As my beautiful, ugly body
Wilts in the dusky, summer heat
Torn between this world of black and white
With a voice white as snow
And skin as black as ash
I walk back to the bars
Down the grey, forgotten corridor
Between identity and isolation

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Confederate Comparison (Elegy for Three)

We are gathered here today
To reflect on the cognitive dissonance
that allowed a flag the benefit of
the doubt not afforded to black lives
The benefit of being judged for the
content of its character and not
the color of its fabric.

Its permutation of red, white, and blue
Is a gross misrepresentation of the subdued
heritage stitched into its cloth.
A legacy of Negro men and women
whose black skin baked like Confederate clay
in the Georgia heat as they picked the cotton
That financed the Southern pride that
That flag clings to.

See what we have here
Is an example of a history
That has been weaponized
A stretching of the truth
A narrative that has been bent
Into a convenient badge of honor
To the deny the horror of its origin.

I can assure you
That the last exhalation of breath
That carried Eric Garner
From this world to the next
Drifted into the wind
That allows that flag to fly
So freely over your
state capitols, your churches,
And in the back of pickup trucks
Like a tacky souvenir
That you should have never
Bought in the first place.

I can assure you
That while Freddie Gray's spine
Was severed from his body
That flag was standing tall and proud
Supported by the stubborn rhetoric
That the war was about the states' right to choose.
How convenient then that that same bullshit rhetoric
Forgets or ignores what the states were choosing
in the first place.
The right to dehumanize and an enslave
An entire race of people.

But I guess
When your skin is the same color
As the skin that baked in that Georgia heat
The same color as the skin whose fingers picked
that cotton.
You are not allowed the luxury of forgetting
or the privilege of ignoring.
Not allowed the benefit of the doubt
to be judged by the content of your character.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Microdream // Marriage

Over the horizon we watch them marching
The white they wear co-mingling into a flaxen flood
Surging off into a sea of progress and equality
Lily petals and dove feathers dance with a frenetic grace
Around their bodies like cosmic confetti

In the distance we stand on the fringe
Arms linked not in matrimony
But in morbid curiosity
Bonded by a different love

Hoping that this ceremony heralds a beginning
And that their love will not be the end of us.

Microdream // Egg

A skilled chef expertly cracks an egg with one hand
With the same hand, he opens the egg
And spills the protean yolk
Onto the sizzling pan

How convenient it would be
To be able to crack, split, and spill
An egg deftly with one hand

So I try

My underdog effort fills in as an ersatz substitute
For the expertise of a trained chef
I crack the egg but as I try to split it open
Shards of ivory shell crunch into my fingernails
And the viscous yellow drips along my sable fingers

This is not the protein I meant to spill on my hand today
Funny how yesterday
I dreaded the birth of this day
As if it were a dark black tongue dripping heavy like tar
Into the back of my throat

Yet today
The only thing I have to worry about
Is this egg I tried to break
For this loser's breakfast

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Microdream : Sink

The metal faucet
Drapes over the moonface
Of the white porcelain
Flowing a splash of water
That will need to be scraped off later

It disheartens me to think
That when I heard the word sink
I imagined going to the bathroom
And seeing what needed to be fixed
Yet when you heard the word
It was a feeling lodged deep
In the prison of your chest

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Echoes of Your Leaving

 (For Clay Seymour)

The echoes of your leaving
Bounce off the vaulted walls
of this room.

Shimmering the air
and the atoms between
in existential crescendo.

Like the soundtrack
Of the movies
You told me
We would make
To resound the voice
Of a generation
Even as your voice
Fell in timbre
And turned to sigh

(I remember the first time you introduced me
to your roommates. You told them, while we
sipped whiskey with coffee beans, that I was a lot
like you, but with a resilience of which you
were dispossessed.)

It gets better (right?)

I imagine this thought echoing
Through the spirals of your brain
Mobilizing the grey matter
To perform this darker act.

As the cord tightens
As the pills take hold
As the bullet plants the gift
At the crucible of your consciousness

Your soul ascends
To light's apex
And you are gone
And I am here
Haunted and wondering.

(If you could not make it? How on earth can I?)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chrysler Dodge Neon

Riding in your car
Our yelling drowns the music
And you raise your hand
Like you do when your angry

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Genocide in the Senate

There was a genocide in the Senate
And although no one wants to admit it
It goes by many names
SB 458, ICE, nativism, xenophobia
Many people think you need Germs, Guns, and Gold
For there to be genocide
But genocide can be the hand that steals the pen
From someone who wants to learn how to write
Or the burning of a book in front of someone
Who wishes they could read
Genocide is banning someone from a university because they were born
On the wrong side of a border
As if there was some natural order
That draws the line
Of human rights
At asinine geographic sights
And it disgusts me that we have yet to shake the yoke
Of the manifest destiny encouraged by James K. Polk
So we are stuck in this mentality of give and take
Give them hell and take their heaven as they tremble in our wake
I don’t think it’s such a big deal
That the red, white, and blue
Can be the rojo, blanco, y azul too
This is a war of conflicting interests and cultural suicide
Where pride and dollar signs shine brighter
Than the hopeful eyes
Of first generation undocumented students grasping in the dark
For acceptance and equality
But the gleam of self-destructive bigotry
Steals the light and leaves darkness
Where once was flame
Breaking down onto long, weary knees
And shuddering sighs because that’s the only way dreams
Can die
Not with a bang, but with a desperate cry
Of Dios why?
And the desperate howl
Of What now?
Who gave who the right to take mine away?
Is there ever going to be a day
When the same political blowhards that cry parasite
Will realize that the New World was founded
On the parasitic usurpation of murderers
Like Hernan Cortes and Franco Pizarro
And Christopher Columbus 
And With every bill they pass
That prioritizes humanitarian values last
They continue to walk the footsteps
Drenched in blood
Upholding a sordid tradition of disenfranchisement.
Where is the red, white, and blue in this?
Where is the poetry in this?
The world is growing restless America
And your creed is becoming nothing more
Than heedless words.
There is no affirmation of life found within the parchments
Of your Constitution.
There is only evidence of death
This is genocide.
This. Is genocide!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Basilisk Boy Redux

Basilisk Boy Redux


You have a great smile
The nurse says
As I walk into the clinic
Her tone tuned to a frequency
That is accustomed to frequently
Relaying bad news

I am an intruder in this
Hall of needles
Defiling this anti-septic
Sanctuary with my
Hypochondriac anxiety

Sensitive to the ritual
Of point plunging into plasma
Pulling out my blood
Less like a test
More like a dark ritual
To some passover god

For the next few days
I am living in the shadow of this virus
Counting back possible exposures
Refusing food -- unsure
If I would be eating for one or for two


Today is a day that the basilisk hath made
The news slithers into my inbox
Emissary of those needled halls
The result earth shattering

Negative - You are Negative
You are not yet the King of Serpents
That crooked crown may not rest upon your head
You are not a walking epidemic
Your breath is not miasma
Your blood is not acid

You no longer have to walk
In the shadow of this virus
Disease is not your destiny
No revolt lies waiting beneath your skin

The ritual is complete
You have been passed over

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cardigan in Raintime

You and Me
Walking in the rain
Taking refuge under
My blue cardigan
And I am
Proud for this
Momentary Victory I
Could protect Us
From the weather
But I couldn't
Protect us from
You and Me

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Call and Response

In the tradition of
African-American gospel songs
There is a musical element
Known as call and response
Shout out and shout back

We shall overcome
A song that never ends
But only echoes
Louder and louder
Reverberating the call
Like a hymn within the vaulted walls
Of a church long burned down to the ground
The same ground watered by the blood
Of bodies deemed too black
To have ever known light
So we skirt over the issue
Until the uprising ensues
And we are screaming
Discordant and dismal
Over the sound of our
Common Humanity

Because when you water the ground with blood
The only thing that grows is blame

The only thing that grows is media coverage
That has hijacked our call
And engineered our response
The call: We shall overcome
The response: Black Lives Matter

Blue Lives Matter
All Lives Matter

As if we can give away meanings to lives
Like their gifts on one of Oprah's fucking talk shows

Your life gets to matter!
Your life gets to matter!
Your life gets to matter!

But no lives matter when we're
Beating each other black and blue
Missing the point
Missing the all-encompassing point
That we can't all be encompassed by
the politics of respectability
Because respectability says
If you just follow the law
You'll have nothing to worry about
If you just heed Jim Crow circling above your head
You won't have to worry about the noose circling around your neck

Have you ever seen a lynched body hanging from a tree
The way his legs sway and his mortality echoes
Such a heavy piece of strange fruit that the bow
Threatens to break
And how it doesn't
It just listens
Because it knows the sound of a lifeless body
Isn't a gospel song

The sound of a group of people
Telling you that they're being killed
Isn't a gospel song
There may be a call
But they don't need a response
Sometimes they just need you to shut up and listen.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bed (No Longer a Battleground, But a Resting Place)

"They call it night.
They call it night.
And I know it well." -- Beirut, Gulag Orkestar

I am grinding down the bones of my hands into salt
I am spreading them around the frame of my bed
Watching them drift slowly
With the feathers of my pillow
In the light of the pale winter moon
Invoking angels and night-whisperers
To weave protection songs around the frame of
my bed and reinforce the lattices of my fragile hopes
To ward off the threats that pervade in the night hours
When it's so dark that even God
(or the suggestion of God)
must strain his eye to see
Me a pillar of salt at his bronze feet

Give me a sign
That the sky
Will not open up to swallow me hole
That tomorrow is not just a bridge
To another tomorrow that is not just
a bridge to another tomorrow that is
not just a bridge to another tomorrow.....

The marrow in my bones
Is rich with the anticipation
Of the ritual burn
Of the clairvoyant candle
Darting out like a serpentine tongue
of flame to lap up some ripple of the future
With me epicentral to this extrasensory event
Shaking anxious and aware like a conscientious earthquake
Regretting its own aftershock

Give me a sign
That the Earth is not a jealous lover
Waiting to take me back under
And turn my bones into fountain fodder
So I can enjoy this affair with life
For what it is, as long as possible
With no specter perched on my shoulder
Whispering doom disguised as pessimist's truth
So that every victory feels like someone let me win

I am grinding down my bones into salt
My feather pillows into angel appeal
For a breath of fresh air
And a hope that is fragile and enduring.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dual Heart

May your feet march to the war cry of your impending victory
Ambition thrust up like trees lancing through the sky
Like arboreal spears planted into the ground
As seeds were they, so you are too
For as they try to bury you
You grow and thrive, not to be denied

The red, ravaged heart
Beats for peace, beats for healing
Sanguine and hopeful

My mother once told me
That you will meet many a man
Who thinks himself Colossus
Who will want to tower over you like you are Rhodes
But you are not
You are Olympus, and gods dwell indelibly in you

As all stones wither
So Colossus will crumble
He must yield to time

We all yield to:

Time   and space
Light  and darkness
summer and  winter

We all yield to the oppositional forces
That reflect the all-encompassing duality of our nature
To remind us that we, in our imperfect nature, know nothing of love and hate
Yet designate our places on these spectrums as either good or evil

Playing angels' advocate even when angels look down on us with pointed toes
asking: "what are their hearts?"
Playing devils' advocate even when devils sneer up to us with pointed tails
asking: "what are their hearts?"

What are their hearts that their souls shrink
In the presence of information that can expand their minds?

Who, in the span of their short lifetimes, imagine they can understand
what it means to deserve to go to Heaven
And stand in the presence of those iridescent gates
To join that sanctimonious fan club

Who, in the span of their short lifetimes, imagine they can understand
what it means to deserve not to go to Hell
And stand pitiful over that pit of incandescent flame
To join that iconoclastic fan club

Angels flap their wings
Devils whet and hone their forks
We stand inbetween
Knowing nothing of either
We imagine all.