“cleaning house”

for the proprietor of Ultra Lounge who chose to vacuum during my poem in the middle of the set...

for the proprietor of Ultra Lounge who chose to vacuum during my poem in the middle of the set…

when the show ends
when the glitter wears off
the vacuums come out
they pack away tables
like we ever needed anything
but our voices
like these amplifiers and stools
stood for anything

we are poets
these words are for the living

if you truly understood
the temporal briefness of your life
in comparison to the mountains
or the rivers that cut through
the land we share
and often destroy
you would show reverence
for these words
or the planet
like rude fools with vacuum cleaners
cleaning the room while the poet spits
we ruin the lakes, scorch the sky
make landfills where there ought be homes
waste water,
bomb villages full of children
in the name of justice

shame on you
for the violence in your rude incivility
better you drown
in the burning timbers of a forest fire
better you sleep in a bed of stingrays
and drink rubbing alcohol
than live a life devoid of words
absent of poetry
my pity is for your soul
angry and full of contempt
I know these muscles
have trained them well
being better than you
is the only thing
I can take away
from our interactions

thank you, universe
for deliverance from
passive aggressive rage

or maybe that is what this poem is about
and I have learning to do

I don’t know

what I do know,
is, “I ain’t the old me”
he would have ran across the room
snatched the plug from the wall
called you out your name
but getting better
comes in stages
if these words are growth
thank the moon for growth
and the newness of the sunrise to do better…

“night lights” or “your smile”

dedicated to my friend and contemporary Miss Dia upon the event of her birth…

God bless your smile
your heart as large as the wind
fragile your sweet soul,
yet fortified with molten wars of contrition
have watched you
spin webs of wisdom
tucked inside that petite frame
beats a lioness

heart troubles, disloyalty, loss
a small thing
to a mountain shaped like
“thank you God, good job”

you are words
plucked from the gutters
a fine china goblet filled with the holy ghost
you are the fantasy
that tugs at a men’s loyalty
“did you see that dress and those shoes”

you are…

an event that must be witnessed
a cure for the sickness that eats away
at your believing
you bring faith to those who have walked
like you, been in the clutches of the “wrong one”
made a bad decision
or thought they couldn’t surviveMissDia

aren’t you regal
Queen?
isn’t those incantations you scribe, lessons
Teacher?
Hasn’t your son grown quickly and loved,
Mother?

Yes, and a thousand times more…

dance with me underneath the moon
let the glow from heaven
silhouette you
you are perfect in the sun
but when the night light
crosses your visage
you seem more sculpture
more stone
the night lit conversations
we shared
in the company of scribes and posers
when the only words that mattered
were yours
have forged myself a locket of these memories
sometimes I am alone
and the monsters under my bed are restless
then I remember your light
your glow
your smile
and I am sure everything will work out fine…

“They sleep, We Grind”

for M’reld Green

“write me a vision?”

she said
as I swallowed cold, “day old”, coffee
still half hung over
I had been up typing
writing & arguing with myself
it awoke her so she engaged me…

“you are a poet, tell me where it comes from?”

this is the dust rolling across the land the white man pillaged
this is the last buffalo that roamed free
these are the tears of a mother
cutting her son down from a noose
this is morning count & prison yards
this is electric bills and Quest cards
this is graffiti artist “getting up” on legal walls
then stealing a few paint cans and tagging city hall
this is the last sip of brandy you take before you black out
this is cutting off your hair, picking up a book, and trying to do “write”
this is rows of families at the food pantries in their work clothes

this is carnations that bloom out of season
this is going to pick up your last check
this is eviction notices
the shame of your whole life fitting in a book bag
this is turning yourself in because no one will hide you
this is 6 months to live and no one to share it with
this is dedicating your love to a fiction
this is believing a lie
this is falling for the “okie doke”
this is the shame, tears and anguish of a lost dream
this is the untimely death of your grandmother
this is losing all hope
drinking
screaming
while laughing at the same time
this is hurried love notes
that you are too scared to deliver
this is the fear of rejection
this is noticing that no one is noticing and being furious about it
this is hours and hours of self inspection
this is sleepless nights
this is phone calls you have been waiting weeks for
this is burying your child
this is burying your parent
this is reflections of past lives
this is a sea of temptations and not knowing how to swim
this is losing everything
including your mind
being at the job staring at the cash register
contemplating taking the drops
and stuffing them in a bag
this is being robbed by your own family
trusting in people who only wish you harm
rice paper friendships
the dishonor in lying to God
this is trying to make amends for past sins
this is knowing that you don’t know anything
and admitting it publicly
this is the panties and bra of the “side chick”
at the motel staring at you from the floor
when your cell phone rings at 4am
this is coming to grips with the reality of your mortality
this is forlorn grey,
florescent yellow smiles
rhubarb red lust that consumes you
this is what it feels like to miss someone so much
you break into tears at the mere mention of their name
this is Moses announcing to Pharaoh
what God said he must do
with authority
these are the words you will remember
when my corpse is rotten
my children’s children’s children asking about their linage
this is growing up afraid, insecure and lonesome
this is trying to forgive
this is giving in to something bigger than you
this is arguing with the stars

this isn’t stages
awards
accolades or achievement
this isn’t rockstars
popularity or competition
this isn’t even a slam
that was an illusion
just a trick to keep you listening

this is what we do to keep from giving up
this is giving in, sometimes
the Calvary
the ship that finally finds
the Skipper and Gilligan
and takes them off that fucking island
this is trying, searching and praying
to find your way home…

She nodded…
turned and smiled
“Keep writing”
she said,
“but keep it down, a little, it’s late. Some of us are trying to sleep”

“and it won’t mean a thing in a hundred years”

the gun fired,
faster than sound
death
forced its way between breaths.

everything stops.

do you say goodbyes
pray to god
or accept that this is over

have heard
your life flashes before your eyes
have heard enough religious promises
to fill a church
before the suicide bomber
blows a whole in the congregation

Having lost enough friends
to guns
to wrong place,
to“them fools”,
her baby daddy
to the trigger pulled exit wound of muzzle flashes
weary the cigar ash I have left to smoke
in this carnival of misfortunes and broken promises
that is my life

maybe it is better that death come swift
unexpected
maybe laying here doing nothing
and waiting to die
staying “here” too long
is worse
children not visiting
CNA’s gum popping
and talking like you can’t hear
the torrid debauchery
in their squandered youth
being over drugged and bed sore ridden
a better escape

I hear at the corner there is a man
selling you “eternal life”
for 10% of your income
I haven’t been

All I am sure of
these days
is today
this breath,
in my lungs
while I write this, is a thing
and the hope to share the next with you.

I have seen death, tasted betrayal,
walked the tightrope over the lava pit
in ballerina shoes
carrying everything I owned in my pockets
I know when “everything goes wrong”
could draw you a road map to
“how not to do it right”

foolish mortals
with our tricks and trade in affections
or fickle hearts always searching
for a feeling
that ought be inside you anyway

suffice to say
my confidence dwindles
I am left with the conclusion
that none of it makes sense
and trying to figure it out
gives me nightmares

Oh! the innocence of a child

that wonder and magic
before I knew that Lee Majors was the Fall Guy
when I believed
Hulk Hogan
was the strongest man on earth
and that my father would get off drugs
and everything would be alright…

black roses and muddy water
torn Prom dresses and spilled beer
too much whiskey
lies
land “minds” everywhere

I wish I had the answers
or
this damn dog would quit barking
so I can get some sleep…