Shelling

Afterwards

Children resume

The street soccer match

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Check Point

It is the mosaic scene on the ceiling 

that helps you bare the line. & then you 

notice a single colored body building a 

nation amongst a hard-hat army of white. 

You recall receiving news of a relative that 

made it elsewhere, via waves, on a vessel too 

small to hold its burden. You imagine some 

ancestor must have made it here, via waves, 

to build a nation not their own. But you didn’t 

make it here with the trauma of a journey. Your 

journey was via wings, belongings strapped on a 

shoulder & rolled on four wheels. & after an officer 

inspects your passport & your body, his phone call 

escorts you to a separate room, while the mosaic 

scene observes the episode from the ceiling above.

Negative Thinking


––For Herbert Marcuse

The arts––

Contesting what is

Envisioning what could be.

Exit

The following piece is an edited version of my contribution to a collaborative effort called Poets for Peace on the blog ForgottenMeadows. To learn more and to contribute to the fabulous initiative, visit forgottenmeadows.wordpress.com.

When blood
Is a river

Drowning itself
Rage a wave

Self-harming in
Violent crests

You & I forge
Solace in the

Dove’s Oak
Branch alto

The swaying dance of
Resurrected blossoms

Stone parishes chanting
Vespers & intonations.

Together we dwell in &
Out of time

A present exit, so to speak,
From reverberating blasts

On breaking news abroad &
Popping clips & sirens nearby

Our space is  collected
in ourselves

In the union of
Our souls

Where we hold close,
At least for now,

In growing pains of
Our times.

#PoetsforPeace

Mid-season Crucible

Mid-season Crucible

Locked out in the Commons;

Squatted, shivering against

Ghostly patterings of seasonal flakes.

A maple tree leans over you,

Its ice-thin fingers fracturing the sky,

& chugs you across the Mason-Dixie Line.

To bony hands picking through

Sizzling seas of cotton stems.

A shadow descends upon these hands,

Animated by the Southern drawl

“Pick that cotton boy!”

& a crack like static discharge

That makes those hands contort & contract.

A searing sting chugs you back

To that same squat, shivering

Condition, that same place.

You wonder if there’s still family

In those post-Confederate states.

Stumbling up and forward

You pray you have enough to get

from Boyleston to South Station

& a Greyhound to Macon.

Forced Removal

Forced Removal

I speak aloud

for shattered door frames

silent screams echoing

against grimy hallways

the pan of rice and beans

burning on the stove

the splintered chair upended,

staring into space

chipped plates and cups

assembled but still starving

visa papers browning in the dust

the overturned candle,

melted wax veiling the Lady’s face

For a home uprooted and torn in two

I speak aloud.

Pushed

Pushed

A rapturous beam

encapsulates her self.

Swollen, free speech

defines her heart.

Her being shields the truth

of a life on the skids,

of a social status

pushed to shelter corners,

bread-line spots

and undefined zones

between overpass and parking lot.

Yet still she remains,

her beam and voice

embodying the hidden voices

in the subscripts and footnotes–

the no-names interned in the margins.

 

Notes on Inherent Traits

Notes on Inherent Traits

I’ve have become you. I replicate your style of tower heels and little black dresses;

I suck Camel Cigarettes till smoke discharges like factory fumes from my lips;

I guzzle down cheap spirits till I’m dancing with paper-thin linen curtains;

sway to the symphonies of Chopin and Haydn till they noose around my sanity;

make love to suave saxophonists who seduce with the raw moan of Coltrane’s Naima.

But still, I’m crushed by the relentless maw of emptiness.

This must have been your sentiment after hearing an old man on his hospital bed

confess, between dry breaths gasping for life, that while sheltering my family

from the creeping tide of war, he coldly exercised their demise.

You must have questioned the meaning of it all–leaving them to fight abroad–

let guilt bathe you in its agonies, even as you leaped to greet the concrete street below.

It’s morning. I let the light of acknowledgement kick start my stalled emotions.

Donning my dusty habit, I take to back-country roads with unanswered purpose

as civic cars grumble past, and life itself fades into shades of silver, grey and black.

3 Haiku

These three haiku came out of my experience working for food justice and access in Boston over the school year.

He asks for food.
my wallet’s empty
is my heart full?

Month’s end:
      Neighborhood market––
      No SNAP Accepted.

Midnight
recalling the barren fridge
hunger.

Mental flux

Mental flux

There’s exploded coffee

on the floor, walls,

ceiling and sink

––––

The bathroom reeks

of virgin coffee grains and

aging liquid congealed on the floor

––––

The scent bites hard like Humean

musings on our natural lust

for dollar-fisted elites

––––

As a layman of honest words

I observe them as a passive

thinker with silver-plated dreams

––––

They are the culmination, the ambition

in many of my folks’ lofty sights.

Ever looking they be beyond

––––

this post-modern reality

where the ideal of the self-made

is held by the fortunate few

––––

while absurd cycles of crime,

racial violence and poverty

do death dances around them

––––

From the vantage point of the

double-disadvantaged, I watch them

as I watch the fluxed coffee of the floor

––––

Ignited toward action, yet stalled

by uncertainty of where the income

ladder leads and leans