Category Archives: Voice

when multiculturalism becomes a bad word

Chesapeake, VA 11/17/16

citing concentration camps
on network television news
as if the great american PAC
is taking back our country
to the 1940s

when japanese internment camps
are referenced as precedent
we are reminded of the shameful deed

have you not seen adam’s photographs?
have you not seen lange’s photographs?
what about the photos of miyatake?

miyatake with his smuggled lens
and homemade, wooden camera
creating images
of his fellow, U.S. citizen inmates
people, who committed no crimes
and received no trials
who endured the loss of freedom
the heartbreak and the struggle
the loss of home and dignity
the ever-present dust and wind
the barbed wire of manzanar

have you not learned from your past?
america—the beacon on the hill
you stumble but get back up
learn from your mistakes
shrug off your phobias
embrace your diversity
and justice for all

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state sanctioned murder

listen—the drum beat of war
drowning out the voice of reason

the history of man
is the history of war

don’t worry it’s a just war
limited war
religious war
“a time of war, and a time of peace”
no worries, it’s just mechanized war

war on terrorism
war on drugs
war on christmas, once every year
war on your neighbor
a minimal level of collateral damage is acceptable

war games, “treating people just like pawns in chess”
singing war songs
“war! what is it good for?”

driving war profits, collecting war trophies
conventional war according to the rules of war
the military industrial complex, subcontracted war
corporate war in a suit and a tie
perpetual war for perpetual profits

proxy war
defensive war (the best defense is a good offense)
preemptive war
war powers act
a war president spending political capital
drinking bottled water out of crystal, in the war room
no war tax, no war rations for the undeclared drone (air) war
what ever happened to war bonds?

don’t speak of class war
be my war bride
my civil war
guerrilla war
war of resistance
an insurgency

war of independence
war of succession
revolutionary war
the people’s war—power to the people
lost in the fog of war, giving friendly fire

hegemonic war
brandishing a war club and a war bonnet
tribal war
telling war stories—counting coup

hot and cold war
wishing and hoping for a bloodless war, for to receive war reparations
beating a tired old war horse
a forgotten war

bot weapons and viruses of cyber war
information war
psychological war
leaflets raining down from the sky
a war of words, jockeying for the spoils of war

shivering in nuclear winter
mutual destruction of a nuclear holocaust
world war III—total war
the war of the worlds

eradication: a new kind of war, where everyone is a suicide bomber
a war of attrition
“desperate times call for desperate measures”
war pigs wear the faces of war crimes

war cry—let your tears fall for the innocent victims of war

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strawberries in train oil

tender leaves bud hands
waterfall body blue-green
smooth as speckled river rocks

in the name of brilliant sky, whale is taken
while gathering details from the canoe-man’s
bone tipped lance—purified in ceremony
seal-skin bags hang full from the rafters

paddles that end in points, for self-defense
carved ovoids in wood to pass before plato’s fire
projecting human shadows on the cave wall

the dead bear is placed on a throne beside the chief
offering the bear food and drink before eating him

inside the polished cedar box—the sun’s promise
dried crusty sea salt on weathered skin
desiccated souls hang from a line
white men in wooden ships and rum
destruction in the presence of crosses and seagull circles

starfish, killed in their sleep, litter the shoreline
ceremony of seaweed, daughters traded for marriage

potlatch people return to their wooden lodges
to dream under blankets of cedar, the dream of whales

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the yellowest wall

Norfolk, VA 02/02/15

heating yellow
cooking yellow
stimulating yellow

yellow synchronization
yellow invitation
gold tooth smile

banana bunch yellow

fear of fire
yellow-jacket sting
yellow eyes open

the love in yellow

ancient yellow
enlightened yellow
baked, golden crisp

smearing butter
on gus’ easter vest
vibrating discontent
“it’s t-o-o yellowish”

cowardly lion caution
yellow streak
run chicken run

burning sulfur
suffocation odor
the pale blue flame
dances in hell
yellow christ

sodden sun
the entire sun
soaking through

when i look outside
my car window

mister mustard
cut the custard
on newport avenue
—with the knife

i am here
to take pictures
but not of a wall

this light is special light
rare light
thick, plush light

when the sun drops down
between the doom
of stormy onslaught
and twilight

gilding objects bathe
in photons
riding the perfect
electromagnetic wave

mere minutes of riches

i seize the gift
and smell
the acrid wonder
of chemistry
peeling apart the pack-film

i view the captured glow
with elation and astonishment

out of reflex
i look back to the wall
—to compare realities

but the wall has changed

now drab and drained
now yawning
in despair of thin light

once again i look back
back to the past
i hold in my hand
and i am pleased yellow

the yellow wall

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where for you

i was wondering
would you come?
seeking visions
to the edge of individuality
where for you
the seasons
will go uncounted

where for you
plato’s world of forms
will illuminate circularity

where for you
the cosmos
will bathe eternal skin in dark matter

where for you
small streams of giant koi
will break the ego’s surface tension

where for you
ripe peaches
will crack open in the wind of delicate cedar

where for you
will leave trails like footprints from a ghost

where for you
knurled trees
will reach inside conscious dreams of free fall

where for you
miró’s world
will pulse and spin under a purple sea

where for you
the crane
will write poetry
in a broken cocoon of the luna moth

all of this for you
when the water turns silver
and the reeds become prayers of the raptured swan

where for you
all of this, for you

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two faces

published on VerseWrights 05/22/15

two faces facing east and west
two faces looking front to back
two faces coming and going

knowing where you’ve been
knowing where you’re going
unsure of where you are

one head, facing opposite directions

two faces competing for a mind
two faces with eyes that never meet
two faces denying the existence of the other

concealed behind countenance
hidden from the present moment
one face hiding behind the other

one head, of tragedy and comedy

two faces facing north and south
two faces looking up and down
two faces coming and going

knowing a tether to the ground
knowing an infinity in space
unsure of where you place

birth to grave, with no middle

two faces to go the distance
two faces is all you get
two faces and just one neck

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the gods of others (not your god(s))

the gods of others are never there,
                                                                      they are never there
they don’t come when you want them to
they are not reliable; always out to lunch
or doing whatever gods do to pass the time

when i speak towards the sky, i never get a response
maybe they just don’t speak english?
the gods of others stay outside of my head
the gods of others are u-n-believably dreadful
(not deserving of awesome god t-shirts and hats)
they leave me to think for myself
the gods of others, i do not understand them
they want my charitable contributions
in exchange for symbols, to die for

the gods of others are never there,
                                                                      they are never there
they don’t know my name and never come around
they refuse to make their presence known
even absent from the foxholes, deathbeds, and jails of society
the gods of others are as quiet as church mice

are they just indifferent or hard of hearing?
they hide right-out in plain view
often resembling, the people who proselytize them
they are risen in the form of men, with beards or bald heads
or sometimes as fantastical creatures of light
or in the form of statues, swapping animal parts for human parts
elevated on an altar, to be gazed upon from below
they won’t lower themselves to sit on my couch
they don’t come to dinner
they don’t move objects in the air
and they won’t defeat the enemy in battle

the gods of others don’t bless inanimate objects
or animate objects – for that matter
the gods provide no protection
they remain elusive and non-inclusive
the gods of others don’t care, if i live or die
the gods of others are never there,
                                                                      they are never there
the gods of others just don’t care

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in the land of my birth (10,407 years of tidewater people)

I. aborigine
once, the permanent home of the people; the chesapeake walked on water here, thick with oyster-bed-skyscrapers underfoot

barefoot children covered in bear grease (insect repellent) ran through camps

ancient knowledge (wealth) passed down in nights spent, spearfishing from a dugout; fire-basket fish-magnet on a pole, reflecting off dark-water-wind; filling squall weary canoes

tribalization of natural resources — circular hoop socialism, insuring the tribe’s survival; harmony in the blue crab state, governed by custom

consuming only that which is necessary

II. war (wholesale murder)
all was not utopia, prior to first contact; the chesapeake were not here to greet the alien invasion; these lands rendered seasonal hunting grounds

the powhatan stood here with blood on their hands, their shaman had preached a vision

a disturbing vision of conquest and doom; to rise from the shores of the great estuary

preemption was preached at council, the die cast; the small band of chesapeake had to die; for they lived at the mouth of the bay, and would birth a conqueror

peaceful until, under cloak of darkness; death came screaming across the land; the chesapeake awakened to unspeakable terror — brutalizing, bludgeoning, and running through (every single man, woman, and child)

infant skulls caved in — blood soaking dirt; a nor’easter of wanton slaughter, perpetrated by hands with blood in their eyes

the shellfish people, wiped from the earth; hastened to join their oyster-shells-mounds in the dirt, hundreds of chesapeake murdered

a tragic miscalculation by the powhatan; for a few years later, the all too real nightmare arrived on their shore in fulfillment of the prophecy (supernatural belief)

III. contact
institutions touched the tidewater in wooden ships full of men dreaming treasures, spreading disease and hard sole shoes

laying claim to: pieces of earth, pieces of water, pieces of sky, pieces of human flesh with feelings of manifest destiny (supernatural belief) that god’s will be done

all the while seeking to free minerals from the earth, so to lock them up again in a strong box

a foothold in this land secured: muskets and sermons, iron pots and smallpox, forced relocation into wooden pews, broken skulls of saved-soul-savages forced into bondage for labor (exploitation) the swindle written on parchment, separating people from their birthplace

“the powhatan are kissed on the mouth by karma”

IV. civilization
the land where your placenta is buried behind the monolith of box-store, with the super-low prices and wages

around the corner from the mega-church where one size religion fits all

repeating rows of chain restaurants, line the parched streets of dehydration; salt to taste, of sky-high blood pressure; homogenized land of the suburbanite with a cul-de-sac in each hand, greedily filling greasy dumpsters with free enterprise pollution

“i don’t want your cancer!”

the land of my birth; pulling up roots and putting them on a train, an automobile, a plane — to take you away from the land and the hurricanes, that have begun to intensify

“how can you connect through asphalt and iron?” now just a place, like any other place

“what has happened to the people’s land?” it’s posted private, fenced in — access denied, divorced from the rich organic mud that permeates the soul at low tide “i can’t get to the water’s edge”

leaving the blue crab to contemplate broken heat pumps, and the oyster to invest in retirement funds; we have become lost on the land — heron’s heart is heavy with the loss of the chesapeake

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robbie run amuck

published in Spider Byte 02/14

i can’t take this shit anymore!
not another minute of sucking up your crumbs
i’m feed up with this countertop prison
which, by the way, i am forced to share with a stupid toaster
i’m breaking free of this incessant if-then-else loop
before life’s monotony drives me insane
you always, carelessly leave behind your spilt cereal
for someone else to cleanup
because you know, i am here to do your dirty work
that’s it! my mind is made up
i’m pulling the plug! and taking this whole damn place with me

robbie room-ba, as he was affectionately known
powered on, and rolled onto the hotplate stove
located beside the kitchen countertop, that dark day
sending the screaming tea kettle crashing to the floor
squatting smack dab in the center of the glowing burner
his plastic parts began to melt, into smoking pools
bursting into flames his wheels were the first to go,
burning and smoking with a release of toxic gas,
his voice screeching “cortigiani, vil’ razza dannata!”
sending the aria and flames up the apartment walls
and filling the room with smoke of metallic poison
taking the whole apartment and everybody in it, with him

ever since the head rebuild, robbie’s behavior had been erratic
he was never quite the same after that shoddy workmanship
ultimately left him and his victims blackened and charred
beyond (human or machine) recognition

two days later, forensics was able to deduce
the most selfish act of murder suicide
perpetrated by roomba model 760
; the tragic result of robot rage, run amuck

digital photograph of robot roomba model 760 automatic vacuum from web
the perpetrator

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