braggadocio to let you know

braggadocio to let you know

 

This is a Drone not Drones poem

A making broth out of bones poem

A poem so fresh it probably never had a home phone

Peace summit at the Pizza Shack with Vice Lords, cops and Stones poem.

A Yanez verdict burning straight up systems overthrowing poem.

This shit’s self published and collected in its own tome.

This poem’s grown.

It groans, moans.

A bright light shone on all the places where you won’t roam.

Dig a little deeper and discover that this loam’s foam.

You’re thrown, holmes.

Your seed sewn.

Put your ear to the universe and listen to this poem’s ohm

Vibrating tectonic plates till we’ve all got our own thrones.



 

Big Sales Pitch and Sneak Peek Poem

I heard a podcast the other day talking about how the idea of sound might be somewhat unique to earth, that in space it might mean something very different, based on things like atmospheric pressure and a bunch of other science I barely understood. 

But it did make me think about how, when we try to communicate with The Others, we do things like sending gold records into space.

Sometimes I wonder if these blog posts are gold (silver?) records that I'm sending into space.

And while that may absolutely be the case, it is also possible that all the space records get intercepted. Maybe it's 2078, and despite every medical advancement, I have somehow perished, but somehow the internet has persisted, and you, dear reader, have discovered this site. 

First things first: congratulations.

It seems only fair that you should be recompensed for your efforts. I offer you, below, the poem "Hole in the Wall" from my inaugural chapbook. Please, if you don't already have a copy, get in touch with my estate and demand that they sell you a copy. Lord knows those bastards are probably making a mockery of my legacy.

The Hole in the Wall was a real place, located in what used to be called the Warehouse District of Minneapolis, but, through the miracle or realty is now known as the North Loop (because it is just north of downtown, presumably, but I can't for the life of me understand why it's a loop -- this is not Chicago). It was an actual hole in an actual wall along the railroad tracks that abut downtown and head west to Willmar and east to Somewhere Else. 

In its day, as I understand it,. the Hole in the Wall was a famous homeless camp for the sorts of made-classy-by-history railroad tramps that likely frequented the nearby skid row (itself a casualty of 1960s urban renewal). 

I got these stories as hand-me-downs when, at 18, I was working for the Salvation Army out of its Harbor Light shelter on a truck that delivered sandwiches to those homeless citizens who didn't want to come in to the shelter (and in those days, at least, I can't blame them -- it was chaotic there at best, and I didn't ever really feel too safe there). It was a hard spot to access by truck, as I recall, and so we didn't go there too often, and, on many occasions, struck out when we did.

But then we heard about a family who was staying there, and we visited them a handful of times, delivering sandwiches and whatever else we could. I don't remember much of those visits, except that there were kids, and a mom, and that everyone seemed generally on edge, furtive even. I can't blame them. 

Twenty years later I'm almost certain that the Hole in the Wall has been razed,.sealed off, or otherwise been made inaccessible by the construction of Target Field and the march of progress. It's a difficult internet search, too, for what was purportedly such a famous homeless camp, but the one link I did find features a guy I knew back in those days from another camp.

I should also acknowledge that the poem features another character from the streets, Thumper, who was a real person. Her real name (if she and/or my memory are to be believed) really was Diana, and if she's still out there somewhere and ever has occasion to do so, I hope she'll forgive me for taking liberties with her story here. I don't know if she ever camped at the Hole in the Wall. 

I also want to say that, while the paint huffing part is not fiction, Thumper was extremely kind, exuberantly so. It is not my attempt to demean her in any way, only to shine a light on realities that I think many of us would prefer forgetting.

Hole in the Wall

You meet all kinds of people on the streets —

One Thumper, nee Diana, flecked with gold,

The remnants from her favorite way to fly.

 

That week that Marco spent with her in camp,

Along the railroad tracks outside downtown,

A place those in the know just called “the Hole,”

 

was six days longer than he’d planned to stay.

The holidays had brought him low again,

to drugs, to sex, to life away from life.

 

A place has never been more aptly named;

a wall, a hole, a cellar long forgot,

a world apart, lived mostly in the dark.

 

They’d met at Harbor Lights in line to eat,

scored drugs from someone she knew at the desk

and walked the railroad line back to her “place.”

 

They’d both smoke crack and she’d huff paint all day,

and here and there they’d find the time to fuck,

and that’s how Marco spent his lowest week.

 

and its noon

or its midnight

or its thursday

and with every inhale

every droplet of perspiration

beading

pregnant on the brow

and thumper pregnant too

the immateriality of time made manifest

beneath warehouse district streets

tasting the darkness marco is green

stealing the last of the holiday decorations

from his souls interior

and little cindy lou who

cheek smudged with dirt

books in her hand

coming or going from school

through the hole in the wall

and marco didnt know there were kids

he didnt know who was there

in the haze of no light

forms in the dark

rodents and humans and ghosts of each

mythological conflations of the two

he didnt know and then he did

and what the fuck and hes green and

the contents of his stomach present

themselves at the girls feet and

marco is out

out

out

out of the hole and

running

sweating

running

freezing

at the river

at the trestle

and almost over

almost over

almost over

marcos lowest week is almost over

 

Por un Futuro Mejor

Archbishop Óscar Romero's birthday was last week. My family marked the date with a trip to a pupusería for dinner, something I know some other friends were doing a couple time zones away. I know that the Catholic church is in the process of beatifying him, which I think is maybe how you become a saint. No longer a believer myself, I'm only glad that I was able to pray at Romero's tomb while in El Salvador in 2002.

Americans would do well to understand that our current refugee crisis with unaccompanied Central American minors has everything to do with the atrocities against which Romero bravely preached and U.S. involvement in those atrocities.

Por un Futuro Mejor

When asked about the war
Miguel lifts his shirt to show
a tangle of scars from
a homemade bomb.

Imagine Miguel in conflict outside
el Museo de la Revolución Salvadoreña,
tracing the lines on his stomach,
which is now so uneasy.

A neighborhood of sadness and struggle,
como la linea.

La Linea where he makes his home,
a sprawling slum from San Martín
to Soyapango and beyond,
a sea of shacks on a decommisioned rail line.

Miguel remembers it wasn’t always this way.
He tells a story of a boy he grew up with
who lost his legs to a speeding train.

“The existence of poverty as a lack
of what is necessary
is an indictment.”

Miguel never heard the Archbishop’s words
broadcast on rebel radio
while fighting on the other side,
but he can’t get them out of his head.

Imagine me in Morazán
outside that same museum.
Me and Miguel and Monterrosa’s ghost
and a myriad of unanswerable questions
about life and death, wealth and without
and history’s immutable thirst for blood.

Ferguson

Ferguson

I saw Dunbar's Mask in reverse:
black journalists don't choose the news
anymore than the rest of us.

A straight face can be hard to come by
when talking about black protesters,
majority-white police departments,
and efforts at community relations.

He imagined the press bulletin:
Terribly sorry about how we reacted
to how you reacted
when we shot and killed that kid.

This is not a justification.
I believe in stoicism
where the news is concerned.

But let's give the newsman his due.
He kept it together until he couldn't,
till it started to crust and sugar over.

And there, nearly imperceptible
at the corners of his mouth,
glass breaking in the night.

 

Sanford Florida Public Works

Sanford Florida Public Works

They’re ripping up the sidewalks,
cardinal calls drowned out
by jackhammers, bobcats.

You can’t weaponize a sidewalk
that isn’t there.
No more crime scene photographs,
no more guns discharged.

This is a peaceful place –
and don’t we all deserve
some peaceful ground
to stand on?

Soft and grassy,
surrounded by gates
a worn path in place of pavers.

A word of caution:

This is our life.
People not from around here
who make us so afraid
that we go towards them
instead of away –

They don’t get a warning shot.
This isn’t Tallahassee,
this is a peaceful place
where we do what needs doing.

Bring on the jackhammers:
We’ll walk on the grass
if we have to.

New poem after long hiatus... first draft... crowdsource workshop!

HCP

This poem sets up on the floor
no pretense, no bullshit
preferring a basement, 
eye level.

The secret handshake anyone can learn,
this poem is not interested
in selling
or in being sold.

It is the lyric sheet passed out
at the outset,
because the words fucking matter,
a butterfly pressed in your pocket.

This poem is the moment there by the water heater
that you realized both your privilege and your potential

Right

Before

The

Mosh

Part

Took

You

In

These are loud stanzas, and, okay,
a little abrasive,
but they know that's not enough.

They are also starry-eyed,
and why not?

Nothing good ever came
out of anything that wasn’t.