Last Thursday of November


Turkey is bitter

that’s why there’s cranberry sauce

heaps and heaps of it

to sweeten the taste and make

history palatable


so we’ll be happy

as the tryptophan sedates

the whole family

and we cheer as a pop star

sings the national anthem


and our uncle, the

racist, segways from bashing

activist athletes

to the north bound refugees

who fell from the news-cycle


after the midterms

‘they’ll destroy America’

says racist uncle

‘no illegal immigrants’

says a cousin, deviled egg


in one hand, whiskey

in the other, losing sight

of the irony

as they proceed to attack

the indigenous people


fighting to protect

everything that sustains life

from the children of

the illegal immigrants

who came here and stole far more


than underpaid jobs

harvesting the nations food,

who came here and stole

this continent, body and

soul, and used cranberry sauce


to help hide the taste

of genocide, a flood of

gravy to help hide

the truth of Plymouth,

stuffing to keep us chewing


so we can’t ask why

Governor William Bradford

accepted their food

then gave the Wampanoag

a Judas kiss. We can’t miss


the next game, Cowboys

play the Redskins, grab a beer

we can focus now

that our racist relatives

are drunk driving themselves home


and part of us cries

for them because it must hurt

to hold so much hate

so much anger, so much fear

and part of us cries because


it took us so long

to realize we’d rather

be breaking bread with

the oppressed instead of the

oppressors, even if they’re


family. We see

now that we’d rather starve than

eat turkey, even

if there are heaps and heaps of

cranberry sauce, even if


there is pumpkin pie,

we’d rather die than honor

this genocidal

folklore, we’d rather die than

celebrate the beginning


of four-hundred years

of war which has stolen names

from tribes and from chiefs

and turned them into aircraft

feared by people everywhere


as they are hunted

the way our founding fathers

hunted nations like

the Apache and leaders

like Black Hawk


and we use these names

in places we send our kids

to both traumatize

and get traumatized, to kill

and get killed, and eat their fill


in the eerily

decorated chow-halls while

watching the Cowboys

play the Redskins, while eating

a lot of cranberry sauce.


The last Thursday of

November is no longer

Thanksgiving, it’s a

day of mourning and I

join those who remain, and mourn.


Posted in National Day of Mourning, poem, Poetry, tanka, thanksgiving, Uncategorized, war, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Save Your Breath

Please don’t thank me, save your breath and thank a tree for the air you breathe and thank a cloud for the water you drink and thank a farmer for the food you eat and thank a teacher if you’ve ever learned anything and thank a musician if you’ve ever danced and thank lady luck if you’ve ever won at a game of chance and thank a doctor if they ever helped you heal and thank everyone behind your next meal and thank all those who love and support you and thank a firefighter if they ever saved you from the flames. Please be thankful everyday but thanks is more than what we say and it was never the point of Armistice Day

Posted in poem, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Don’t Thank Me

Don’t thank me, save your breath,

and thank a tree for the air you breathe

thank a cloud for the water you drink

thank a farmer for the food you eat

thank a teacher if you’ve ever learned anything

thank a musician if you’ve ever danced

thank lady luck if you’ve ever won at a game of chance

thank a doctor if they ever helped you heal

thank all the people behind your next meal

and thank a firefighter if they ever saved you from the flames

but don’t thank me,

forgive me, please

and I will forgive you

for blindly funding the war

that I am a veteran of.


Posted in america, Armistice Day, poem, Poetry, poetry for peace, Uncategorized, veterans, Veterans Day, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Over and Over and Over

Battle hymns are still played over and over and over

and flag draped boxes still arrive at Dover

and its a fraction of the casualties of World War One

but it’s still somebody’s daughter and somebody’s son

and, though technology has kept the flag draped boxes to a minimum

and predator drones do the work of soldiers more and more,

for the ones we call collateral damage,

it’s still good old fashion, deadly, awful,

ungodly, horrific, profit-driven war

as we kill more and more civilians every single day

but who will lay a wreath for them on Armistice Day?

Posted in Armistice Day, poem, Poetry, poetry for peace, Uncategorized, veterans, Veterans Day, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The Poppies Are Everywhere


Marx called religion

the opium of the masses

but we pray to Gods of war

and the poppies are everywhere

and we pretend to remember (and care)

and we feel so much better now

and we won’t dare question the reasons

that we wear these poppies

and we won’t dare question the reasons

that we need this opium

we’ll just enjoy the numbness

and cheer on the parade

Posted in addiction, Afghanistan, america, apathy, Armistice Day, death, god, government, history, Howard Zinn, humanity, Iraq, opium, poem, Poetry, poetry for peace, poppies, reflection, religion, remembrance day, Uncategorized, veterans, Veterans Day, veterans for peace, Vietnam, war, world war one, world war two, writing, WW1, yellow ribbons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Only The Bible Is Allowed To Be Sacred

Not even with a thirty meter telescope

will we be able to see

all the damage done to the āina already

we won’t see polluted aquifers and an ailing reef

we won’t see the monk seals and turtles

laying on beaches filled with torn fishing nets

and sun bleached plastic

washing up by the ton with every storm.

Desecration has become the norm

but you want Hawaiians to conform?

you want Kanaka Maoli to trust you

as they sift black plastic from the soil

of the old pineapple fields

where native forests used to grow?

you want Kanaka Maoli to trust you

as they watch the ocean bleed red

every time it rains and the land melts into the sea?

you want them to stand by and trust

that you will be good stewards of the aina,

like you were with Kaho’olawe?

‘Progress’ has never paid

for these descendants of great navigators

who were taught to revere Columbus in grade school

who were taught to pledge allegiance

to the same government that drew a target on their backs

for Imperial Japan

and draws a target on their backs

for the North Koreans

the same government that sends them to kill farmers in Afghanistan

the same government that sends them to kill fishermen in Yemen

the same government that sends them to private prisons in Arizona

the same government that wants them to believe

that their real history began with statehood in 1959

the same government that wants them to believe

that ‘we know what’s best for you’

and that only the bible is allowed to be sacred

just ignore that part about ‘thou shalt not steal’

and ignore that part about ‘thou shalt now kill’

ignore all the dead bodies that are still piling up

all on account of the west

all in the name of progress

just fall in line

and dress right, dress




Posted in Afghanistan, Aloha ʻĀina, america, collateral damage, earth, environment, farming, fishing, government, hawaii, Japan, Kaho'olawe, Korea, Mauna Kea, poem, Poetry, solidarity, Standing Rock, stars, taxes, Uncategorized, violence, war, war tax resistance, world, writing, Yemen | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not From There: Ode to Mauna Kea

They want a shining summit

on top of Mauna Kea

and they’ll say that you’re

anti-science if you’re in

defiance of ignorance

aimed at Hawaiians

but who understands the stars

more than Kanaka Maoli?

We’re crazy to think

governments have good intent

and that peace was why

America sent people

to the moon. It’s all about

rich exploiting poor

and sure, there’s more to it than

that, but not a lot.

We’ve poisoned our blue-green dot

now we’ll focus on the stars

and maybe colonize Mars…

there is no reason to trust

that anything good

will come from this telescope

sure, we can all hope

but our taxes buy the rope

used to hang cultures

out to dry, as mother earth

is sliced like a pineapple

so a few bad men

can add more zeros, can add

more of this sacred

mountain to the legacy

of Cook, so we can find more

places to exploit

for resources, for money

in the name of greed

but I suppose it makes sense,

we have to honor our God

so we’ll prostitute

the soul of those we conquer

and teach them about

Elvis Presley instead of

George Helm. We’ll teach them about

white navigators

like Columbus and like Cook,

we’ll tell them they need

to look at the stars, but we’re

fireflies in jars trying

to enlighten them,

we’re just a street lamp

believing that we

can enlighten the moon we’re

singing out of tune, while they

are in chorus with

nature, with the stars and sky,

it’s a blatant lie

to say that the only key

to the future is held by

the same people who

have monetized the planet,

who have filled oceans

with plastic, and fill the world

with starvation and warfare.

No, we don’t deserve

a closer look at the stars

especially not from there.




Posted in hawaii, Mauna Kea, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment