March Against The Disease

The President isn’t the disease

he’s only a symptom

and the disease isn’t new,

it’s not worse now

than it was a couple of years ago

or a couple of decades ago

or a couple of centuries ago.

The disease isn’t about hatred and bigotry

or violence and war

it isn’t about immigration or deportation

or healthcare or education

it isn’t about student loan debt and abortion

or women’s rights and human rights

it isn’t about racist drug laws

or cops killing without just cause

it isn’t about police officers and private prisons

or more money used to incarcerate than to educate

 

It is now, and has only ever been

about fear.

Certainly, it’s also about greed

but where does greed come from

if not from a place of fear?

and not the fear of one man

or the greed of one man

but the fear of a nation

and the greed of a nation.

The President is not the disease.

Bernie or Oprah can win in 2020

and, while things will certainly seem better

and things will certainly look better

and things will certainly feel better

and, of course, things will be better

that’s only because the terrifying symptoms

will have subsided

but just beneath the surface

there the disease will be,

and just out of sight

there the drones will fly

and the bombs will drop

and the civilians will die

just as they do today,

just as they did a couple of years ago

and a couple of decades ago

and a couple of centuries ago

and so it goes…

but it doesn’t have to

me and you have the power

you and me hold the key to Eden

you and me can stop the disease,

we have the cure

and I’m sure

because I’ve seen

with my own two eyes

how fast a fire dies

if you stop adding fuel

I’ve caught a glimpse

of the golden rule

and this I know

symptoms come and go

but the disease will continue to grow

though it may slow from time to time,

marching on Washington

and shouting rhymes

won’t bring rights to women

or stop civilians from dying

in Baghdad or Baltimore

oh, I wish I was lying.

Marching, holding signs

is a cathartic drug

but the disease will always linger

until we pull the plug.

 

No, the President isn’t the disease

the disease is a nation

conceived in greed

and birthed in slavery and genocide.

We can avert our eyes,

and try to hide from the truth

but the truth will always blink Morse code,

the truth will always let us know

that something isn’t right

we will never find peace,

will will never feel quite right

as long as we buy the bombs

that drop out of sight

wrong is wrong,

and right is right

and civil rights should mean for all

and human rights should mean for all

and women’s rights should mean for all,

but we always fall short, don’t we?

somehow, we just can’t see

that Sandra Bland was a woman

and Tarika Wilson was a woman

and Renee Davis was a woman

and Loreal Tsingine was a woman

and there are countless other women of color

killed by the state

and there are countless sisters, daughters, and mothers

killed by hate

there are countless missing indigenous women

ignored by the state

but somehow, we just can’t see

that America was never great

and somehow, we just can’t see

that there are women in Iraq

and there are women in Afghanistan

and there are women in Palestine

and there are women in Yemen

and there are women in Syria

and there are women

in every single country

that we occupy and bomb

and we’ve killed far more women

than Saddam

and many other awful despots combined

how can we be fine

just speaking out against .77 cents on the dollar

and not about the unending list of women

killed by the taxes on that dollar.

Don’t march against a symptom,

MARCH AGAINST THE DISEASE

march for the cure…

and please, stop funding the slaughter

of countless women

countless grandmothers,

countless mothers,

and countless daughters.

Posted in poem, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

This is why we fight

Early December years ago

cramming for finials, I was braving the cold

making my way through the court yard to the library

making my way up the stairs,

and who do I see

being harassed by campus security

but one of my professors…

a black man with a PhD

being treated like a criminal

because he was wearing a hoodie

and was wearing a hoodie

but in the eyes of the security guard

I belonged there

and he, well he couldn’t possibly

be seeking a degree

much less could he have a PhD…

only he did

and the security guard just couldn’t see

you see, my professor had forgotten his ID

in his office

and he was about to meet another professor for coffee

and me, an undergraduate student in a hoodie

I was able to vouch for him

not because I showed my ID

but simply

because I’m white

and walking into the library,

I was grumbling, ‘this isn’t right

but my professor responded,

“this is why we fight”.

 

 

 

Posted in poem, Poetry, racism, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Humanity’s Blight

I am the shackles

on the legs of history,

the whip on the skin

the smallpox on the blanket

I am original sin.

 

I am the bullet

that pierces the quiet night

ignorant, I fly

without rhyme or reason or

sight. I’m humanity’s blight.

 

Posted in haiku, humanity, poem, Poetry, tanka, time, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

It’s a Privilege

Our grandfather was a roofer

and he spent his whole life busting his ass

to provide for his working class children

and then his working class grandchildren

and then, when he was 68 years old

he was repairing a chimney

a couple stories up,

finishing up work late on a Friday

still busting his ass at almost 70

because there were still bills to pay

but, late in the day

the chimney fell to the earth

and so did he

and he spent the next month

in a medical induced coma

and then he died

and we cried.

 

For a long time, because of this

and other reasons

it was hard for my brother to see

the reality of white privilege

and it’s difficult for a lot of folks

to see their privilege

when they’re surrounded by alcoholism

and addiction

and health issues

and poverty

and what seems to be

quite the opposite of privilege

but the simplified version

that I told my brother years ago,

the example that I gave him was this:

When our grandfather fell off the roof

and the homeowner called 911

and the police arrived

and the paramedics arrived

they delicately loaded our grandfather

into the back of the ambulance

and raced him to the hospital

at least giving him a chance.

But his ancestors came from France.

If he was black, there’s a good chance

they would have looked at him

laying there on the ground

and without pause,

they would have fabricated just cause

and shot him.

It’s a privilege not to be shot

for falling off a roof

it’s a privilege not to be shot

for holding a cell phone

it’s a privilege not to be shot

for smoking cigarettes

it’s a privilege not to be shot

for driving your car

it’s a privilege not to be shot

standing outside a crowded bar

it’s a privilege not to be shot

for answering your front door

or for jogging

or for shopping at the hardware store

and, besides the policeman’s bullets

there are countless other reasons

why even working class white folks

are privileged beyond our wildest imagination

are privileged beyond comprehension

and that’s not to mention all the “collateral damage”

killed in the war’s we fund but refuse to see.

At the very least, it’s a privilege

that we won’t be murdered by the state

for merely existing

and until that day comes

for everyone

I won’t be loading bullets

into government guns,

I’ll be resisting

and insisting that this privilege

be erased

because, like Bob Marley said,

“Until the philosophy which holds one race superior 

and another inferior

is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned

everywhere is war

me say war…”

 

 

Posted in addiction, alcohol, america, american dream, Black Lives Matter, civil rights, death, family, government, grandfather, Howard Zinn, human rights, humanity, MLK, poem, Poetry, poetry for peace, poverty, racism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ocean

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The ocean swallows

capitalism and pukes

the truth on the beach

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The Wind

The wind picks up sand

and carries it to the east

ink can’t stop the storm

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Forests and Deserts

Forests and deserts

mountains and lush green valleys

cross borders with ease

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