Make Art, Not War

Friday, December 10, 2010

(Happy Holidays)

Tree was fake
And sprayed with
Some pine scent that sat
Musty on the much used bulbs

The electrical current running through which caused
The oil to warm until the whole plastic contraption reeked


Festively like a slow chemical burn, incense that come cheep
Magical memories of that Christmas tree 

Way to spoil the mood.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Open Letter to the FBI

Fuck you guys.
Fuck you for Fred Hampton, Leonard Peltier and my friends the 14 (wait now) 19- check that- 23 too many to name that you're after right now. I just wanna know how many times you have directly interfered with peace and justice in this country. I wanna know how many lives...

And I wanna talk about it. I want our stuff back, fuck, I want our spy back. She did the grunt work around here and I've never seen my tax dollars so well spent. I want to talk about your budget, FBI gone unchecked since 9/11. Tailing peace activists just to bill the time and tapping phones and raiding homes...

Looking for what? Proof that we disapprove of this government? Well, we haven't been at all shy about that, have we? We show up on your Capitol lawns with our signs and our banners and our bullhorns and we SCREAM at your buildings, from behind your police lines I- I guess I should feel honored to have this much of your attention.

Tear gas in my eyes and all, those plastic zip-tie handcuffs as they round us up like cattle. And now the heat is really coming down, cause it was never a fair battle. And the Grand Jury inquisition has begun. It's some of that good 'ol fashion McCarthyism except now the red tag term is terrorism. Meanwhile, the real war criminals are accepting awards. Those torturers and wire tappers, patting each others backs at the podium.

Anyway, fuck them.
I came here to talk to you.
To ask what the hell we're ganna do now that they're kicking in doors in dinkytown looking for dissenters. They're taking down posters off the walls, calling it evidence to be used against us and you're next if you don't think so. Anybody left with an opinion. Anybody here consider themselves outspoken?
I am talking to you.

So here's a Quick History Lesson in FBI repression:

John Lennon. They tried to deport him- did you know that?- for speaking out against the war. It was right before the republican national convention of 1972 and Nixon was afraid it was ganna cost him re-election, so they tried to kick him out of the country for having a concert. You see? They were afraid of a concert.

Dr. Martin Luther King's home was raided by the FBI (now we're on to something). He received threats and harassment from them for half his Nobel Peace Prize deserving career, and was in the end assassinated. I read that he was under surveillance when it happened. That undercover police watched from across the street as King was shot. But they couldn't kill the dream he started dreaming and we are still coming ready or not (and I mean ready or not).

So give it up for the RNC8.
We've got a real movement in this state and in case you haven't noticed, it's going on right now. And hold your breath for the peaceful 3 who's reactivated subpoenas are hanging over all our heads. Don't be silent. Tell everyone you can about this!
Go to stopFBI.net and get involved!
Call the president and tell him to call it off.
We said end the war and the witch hunt, defend the first amendment.
Enough is enough!
No more attacks on them,
no more attacks on us.

Get involved: stopFBI.net

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Eulogy for a giant (old class assignment in which I am to describe a rock)

Jupiter is dead.
In it's final throws, the planet compacted
to the size of a basket ball.
No bounce left though, no, no,
no, it shattered when it fell out of the sky.
The piece I have right from
the Titian's red eye
that infamous storm that swirls
reddest where the damage
is done most. It's deepest hues
like bruises that travel out
in layers like skin, the colors-
brick and mortar.

The smoothness of it's surface is the product of time passing over it's features with a fuzzy memory.
When I hold it in my hand all I feel is gravity.
It should be heavier. It's weight some unknown sum
GAS in the heads of scientists I've never met
but when I dropped it I heard thunder
CLAP into the corners of this mostly
vacant room.

I picked it up and mourned poor Jupiter.
One of our first gods
reduced to a throwing stone.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Cause it's good for you, like exercise
like oxygen. It's good for you like
sleeping in. And with a good book there
for when you wake
to stimulate your brain.

Read while the rest of you
stays in bed, you and your head can
go off and
see the world,
solve a crime,
learn a language (or just the ways
the one you know can be used).
Read because it enriches you.
Watch how the words
and feelings are infused.
To create an experience.
Something new.

Read. Because information is what you need.
read non-fiction and history and poetry,
read great people's auto-biographies,
read fantasies


(And vote too, damn it.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A spell to gather them

Calling all heretics, blasphemers, advocates.
Calling all heroines, witches and miscreants.
Join us in defense
of our right to dissent,
and pay attention to this!

Get involved:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some real optimism

My my my. That last post is no good. Honestly, I don't know if I can excavate any more old poems. They are all so bitter and without hope. I have done a lot of soul searching and self finding in these last few years and I have turned around on a lot of opinions I used to have about myself and my life. Mostly, I just like myself a whole lot more. I used to live like there was nothing to get up for everyday. It was no fun. When I think about her now (this person I used to be) she scares me. I would not like to meet her on the street. I mean, I would like her to change but she did, I did change.
Anyway, I will probably write over that last post another time. I'm just having trouble because I haven't been able to finish these poems I am working on and I haven't been able to write anything new. Sometime when I can think of better things to say, I will edit that dreary shit out.

Instead, I wanted to tell you I got some new journals today! I ordered them online and just got the package in the mail. I buy my journals directly from the artist who designs them (one Ms. Jill Bliss) and I love,love, love her stuff. Her journals are beautiful (with colorful illustrations of flowers and herbs) and functional (some pages are graph paper, some are lined, some are blank) and she really cares about the environment Plus, my journal's name is Ms. Bliss (how cool is that?) I tell her all the things I want in my world, which is to say: choose bliss. They inspire me to create. I keep one in my purse and carry it with me everywhere I go. I just got four new ones, which should last me at least six months and I'm really happy to have a small pile of something that makes me so happy.
So, more to come! There's been a lot going on for me lately, with the FBI raids of my AWC friends (and our office) and I hope for some trully inspired revolutionary prose soon. Now that I have proper supplies it's time to get writing!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Excavated from my smoking days

The smoke fills my mouth
enters my cavities, my lungs
full of poison. I justify the levels
of contamination by saying
"it's better than this" or "it's
better than that" like a junkie.
But it hits the spot.
A twinge in a long dead limb, a
feeling through the numbness
like a zombie.
I confess to messing around with this
but it's better than
Living just gets long anyway,
when really it's quiet short.
We are all on our way somewhere
and this just fills the time.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grow Tomato

Grow tomato,
Ripen red in the
Swell with summer's
and become.

Gulping sunlight
sucking the
dirt dry
limbs hang thick like
loaded guns
tucked into your shoulder to
steady, you
seeds in the flesh
on a mission.

Grow tomato- you know
your time has come.
Grow until you reach
the place that
each of us
is from.

Monday, July 12, 2010

having trouble coming to

God, the mornings are the hardest part.
Those gasping, grasping, groggy mornings
(and I'm talking 11am when I say that still and it is too much)

I've never understood "morning people"
Those people that get up extra early
to go jogging or even just sit there.
I'm told it's quiet.

But I can tell you, so are those wee hours
that they miss when they are sleeping.
Yeah, I've disowned the night life too
so I guess I'm like a vampire now.
The one who doesn't sleep.

Except then I wake to near-full sun
and cough up a frog and run
out of the house to get coffee.

Those people ahead of me in line are
already on their 2nd or 3rd cup
and they are wondering
where I've been.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Love, I wanted to say to you
for sure this time
it broke my heart
that imaginary line between us
that feels everything
split up was gushing
the room flooded
the muck stayed, love
I spent weeks on my knees
scrubbing it out

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Practice compassion

I want a government that practices something like the "Take a penny, leave a penny" system.
And there will come a day, but either way I'm for that "rain or shine" kind of activism.
The committed, who don't shed tears but collect them, weaving them into meaningful tales,
We tell each other stories of bravery and compassion to keep ourselves warm.
To keep our hearts burning.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Lazarus come back
to the city.
Tori and I have been
spending our time remembering.

I died again and came to
Red headed.
I have dyed more times
than a cat has lives
and yet it

doesn't compare
(or come close) to the shade
from the West facing window
or those songs that we played
and we played...

Lazarus, I'm convinced
it just isn't the same.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Cable News Network as equivalent to Attention Deficit Disorder >OR< CNN = ADD

Never lived in a one horse town.
But I figure we’ve got the suburbs now
(it’s all about how you get around)
It’s the poor out there in the middle of nowhere that get the real shit deal
They face prejudice everyday with no resources, no choices, no chances to heal
So, I finally made it to the city, feel the grime on my face
People packed closer together-
Same shit, less space.
I wanna burn down every million-dollar
deal I see and
break every television teaching
that only want is free
But there are rules in place
to keep us moving single file
the education of our children not to
touch that dial or
“Whiten that smile!” the Happy Meals brought to your door
are worth killing for (it’s worth drilling for)
The daily grind a reminder that time is money spent and the debt
of cavities, lazy worker bees and
rent are accepted conditions, casual addictions
not to be mentioned except in passing cause some day we all are ganna die
and you know it’s not just time that’s
passing you by, right?
So now the WAR to end them all
is already begun
design a new Nintendo version, teach them “kill for fun”
They’re screaming censorship in Jesus name his children that he loves, but we’ll
pump them full of Ritalin for all this acting up, and I’ve had enough
throw back the crutch and they fed you lies and pesticides and pretend to
try to clean it up?
(come on, let’s try to clean it up)
Of Injustice, Imperialist False Security
how about just vulgarity? It offends me that you think you understand, man
you’ve been at it for centuries like this was always the plan
(and I too caught up in the mystery to lend a hand)
New plan: everybody use what you know,
do what you can.
everybody in it for all
cause we’re all in this together and
this ship’s not going down without a fight, that’s right, I said
I’m here to get some work done
I’m in it for the education so that I can use these tools, my two hands
to change the world and then
change the world again
I’m SO SICK of everyone acting like some coming revolution’s the only
time and place to take a stand.
If something’s not right right now you can, but then
nevermind, I find I am up against the American attention span
so what else is on? And what have you done? And what are we
ganna leave to the generations to come, because all I came here today with was this question
-begging revolution

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Art Wall 2010

So, I put my shit up at work. Makes me feel like swearing. As you can imagine, I have strong, well articulated opinions about censorship, but I do respect the idea of a work environment. I considered putting CNN=ADD up with the curse words blotted out, but I didn't. I stretched my luck enough I think with "nippleless" and all the anti-religious stuff around Easter (Actually, the only reason I put up the Christmas tree one is because it's nowhere near Christmas).

And now my poetry is up there for two weeks to be scrutinized by my co-workers. I worry that I've missed spelled something. I should be taking a much more optimistic approach but with the grant, and the continuing mellow drama of poetry slams, I'm feeling a little like all my chips are in (or all my cards are down or something). I feel like I am made of paper, and if anyone says anything too abrasively (good or bad) it might tear right through me (there, does that imagery work?). I worry that i will have to answer questions.

But there it is. A wall full of words and I really do hope someone enjoys them. The first time I did this (which was a lot more nerve racking) I thought it was important to include poetry in people's definition of art wall art. Lots of people have put up paintings and photographs, sculpture, crafts. I wanted to broaden the scope, so to speak. And also, I really wanted to share. I'm always writing when I'm at a register, and I never show or tell. Except once a year like this, and then I'm easily aggitated and defensive about it. Hahaha. I do it to myself.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Ok, so we all had the talk
about how Barbie's not
anatomically correct.
Women don't have
nippleless breasts
thier legs aren't two fold their torso
her eyes aren't the size of her fists.

But we all played with her as kids
we grew up with complexes that beg
the question
"Why are we still pretending?"
I mean, hairless legs is one thing
what about the silicone? Little
Botox for that expressionless smile?
The matching bra and panty ensembles
and the shoes (ah, the shoes)
because everyone wants to be pretty
don't you?

So you brush her perfect platinum blonde nylon for hair
just like she were real
and never wonder if Barbie feels it or about
the power she has over you
(you think it too, in the backround somewhere) perfect hair,
pretty shoes.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This Spring: Grow the Resistance!

So yesterday was the 7yr anti-war protest/concert. I got to perform my little 5min. bit right before Guante in the line up, and you know what? I did alright. My voice was shredded from leading chants during the march, but I managed to stir up some energy I think. Steph was moved to tears, Jess said. And Guante seemed to like my stuff. I did mention that a wrote Make New Friends in response to seeing him perform for the first time. He said he was flattered.
Frankly, I'm glad he wasn't weirded out. But I basically got to share a stage with my own local idol and broadcast a message that the resistance is on the rise! So that was cool. It was everything I said I wanted and a hell of a way to spend the 1st day of Spring.
As for the demo as a whole, it wasn't bad. Over 500 people came out (they had 5,000 in D.C. and in San Fancisco). The community we marched through seemed highly interested in us, too. I'm glad it wasn't the same old parade through Uptown this year. We definately started some conversations in that neighborhood. And as for the concert (which was meant to appeal to new youth in the movement) well, hopefully everybody had a good time. Hopefully someone shows up at our two upcoming events. I would be thrilled if someone said they came because of my poetry. It would be such remarkable validation, I don't know what I would do.
Either way, April brings more sunshine and more poetry slams. And here it comes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A bit of a rant

Just got my 2010 US census. Still just one kind of white, I see. What really struck me, though, was the question before. "For this census, Hispanic origins are not races" sounds like scary immigration reform to me.
It reminds me of a story I heard once about some people living in California, where they'd lived for generations as Spanish speaking natives. He said "We did not move across the boarder, the boarder moved across us."
Oh, the conquered peoples of america. It is time to stand and be counted.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Words are for Things

I walked in imitating The Star
then I receded from the room
waning like a moon
but I’ll just try again
another night of dreaming
oughta do it.
There are so many redundancies in my numbers
my conflicted sign and I are having two too many answers to each question
my answer “there are so many possibilities” doesn’t go over often
you seem to want a reason (just one?)
but this sky keeps on
and predicting the patterns for centuries cannot prepare the mind
for eternity
for everything
like humanity can really answer it
meat bags on a pile of rock
pounding out new ugliness
I aspire to be a concept
So poet, give me my own definition of cliché
and I will walk the Earth unburdened
by matter in the form of motion
light and sound waves aging
and the sight from these eyes that merely interpret.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reportback on yesterday's protest "Let Marjah Live"

At yesterday's demo, I was having trouble coming up with chants that fit the mouthful "Afghanistan" into any kind of beat. So I sort-of accidentally wrote this poem. I call it "What rhymes with Aghanistan?"

Afghanistan, Afghanistan
more lies about the Taliban
Obama's on TV again
oh, Afghanistan.

Quick- what rhymes with civilian population?
Complete and total devastation
(Oh, Afghanistan)

What's a pipeline doing running
right through the middle of our foreign policy?
Don't know? (really?)
Well, just ask any Afghan citizen
(Oh, Afghanistan, Afghanistan)

They're selling war at every convience store
and all the prices just went up again.
Oh, Afghanistan
Ok, all humor aside, my heart goes out to those families in Marjah. Thanks everybody who made it out to the protest. Now we build for March 20th!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Make New Friends

For that dam-breaking sense
of acceptance
the SURGE of interest
in a world outside ourselves so big
it holds everything as one

I've come to learn what you can teach me
and to show you these things that I've seen
to tell you the story in this, the only way that I know how
and to deliver the message:
that you are not alone, my friend
you have allies in the hear and now

Let us begin, let us discover
what we can about ourselves and each other
because together we are greater
than any # of our individual weaknesses combined

Let's find some new way to communicate
that other's can emulate for years to come
what we created
carried on

Because our voices carry us forwards
and yours soars
I heard you from across this concrete jungle
like a lion roars
It brought me striding through
new open doors to find you
to contribute to the collective mind
that you remind me I belong to
A choir of sorts
and maybe not angels, but agents of change
and I don't think that's so small a charge
when you consider the great pain of living
the daily overcoming that it is to be alive
to choose this path, gladly, and say

"It was nice to meet you"
Which simply does not convey my excitement,
my tongue-tied desire to begin, so until next time
my friend, until next time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It was sort of a crash and burn scenario

        Let me tell ya, when you hit a
        brick wall it doesn't always
        stop you-it's just in the way.

I was HIGH as a kite, and good thing too
cause it was all that        lying        
                              under      -inner-
mumbo-jumbo, you know?
critical thinking questions
-thick stuff-

I was paying my most adamant attention, thinking
I am thi--s close to shutting  the whole
(so don't you dare me)          down.
I wasn't going to be affected
by the weather anymore
I was in for

                                   a lesson, alright.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Beautiful World

I have lived my life in fear and found no solace there. I learned that even with your head in the sand your other end is left blowing defenselessly in the wind. I have also learned since not to go marching into darkness just to prove you're not afraid of things you should be. I'm on guard with good reasons these days (knowing the worth of my own dead weight) and I must balance my values of freedom and dignity on a regular basis. Minneapolis, war-front that I love.
I have learned the importance of community, having support systems in place to watch our own backs and back alleyways. And the 1st use for society is survival. Skills shared openly and resources for everyone not owned, sold or traded. Or at least I imagine it could be like this. I've learned the power of our dreams and local politics.
And I have learned to be patient, and when not to wait around for permission to change because change is inevitable and the only question is direction, and yes, I am here today with an agenda. I wanna set it right and see what happens. I want to get it right, and give it some room. A little sunlight and attention to bask in, to bloom.
See what becomes of creation when you give peace a chance. A plot of land in a shared space under my care can flourish. We are so rich when we work together and for everyone. We are so rich when we work together and for everyone that it bares repeating. I go on, believing this and then making it come true. And I've seen it work and so have you. And isn't it a more beautiful world when we do?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The truth was...

The truth was her hey day
wasn't so great.
Got a lot a minor
details piling up and
going hungry's never coming
into style. Meanwhile,
the clock is counting off
sounding off like a line of
fresh soldiers to the front.
Ready for glory and settling
for a gun.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Generations to come

My hopeless parents
put your faith in me, for I
have abandoned you, and your ways
I watched you fall long before
I ever learned the word for

To the generations to come: wash
the lie from my stories
and pardon my ignorant blunders- the ones
I learned from the hopeless
long before you ever found
the debt we left you in.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Life without TV

There is a triangular park across the street from my apartment window and in the summer, sometimes, the homeless sleep on the benches-all out in the open-and I watch them, and they watch me. Or sometimes it's just the skaters and their film crew. The occasional strolling mom and toddler pair, there to play in a patch of grass in broad daylight.

Its winter now, so the statue wears a shaggy white coat like pigeon droppings gotten out of hand. The boot prints pave the many ways already taken. Put them together to make a dance. My favorite tree is stark and frigid, naked in the winter cold, but deep below the earth she is preserving. We dream of spring together and we are making plans. I admire her practical use of time, but she has so much more of it. I wish her luck.

I watch the park from this vantage point and think we are all lucky to be alive. The cars go by. The day draws to a close and it's too cold to go out, so it sit here and contemplate the park instead.
Beats re-runs of Seinfeld, anyway.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New York city: an introduction

The people on the streets in New York City are forever new and they are from everywhere. They ask you for directions in many languages, assuming you might know, and you give them what you have, gladly, and wish them luck. So many "I (heart) NY" T-shirts. This city sells itself.

I wandered around in a daze that fit snugly with my sleep deprived mind and my sense of what's holy. I was lying on the ground beneath a canopy of trees, watching the light break through. and I took a picture because there aren't enough words to describe it.
Central Park in late August, the lush green season.

We spent very little on the trip, save for the ticket out & back, the bus & train fare and the street vendor food. Took the free ferry out to see the Statue of Liberty and I must say she's quite a bit smaller than this idea I have in my head. But I guess all the monuments are like that. All hype and mostly hollow. I was disappointed.

But the rest of the city was alive and breathing!  Suffling, exchanging, repeating. Spitting on the pavement. We found a water fountain and stayed a while to watch the children play (and the mothers watch) and all in the big circle like that around the water- I felt a part of something.

In every subway car, a million stories a day. As an afterthought I began to worry about the cleanliness of this place, because I had not closed my eyes since we arrived (not even to blink it felt like). I was missing precious ticks of time, straining to take it all in-as much as I can get from those hours- that I would pour over later and process for days, months, years I imagine. I have had my first taste of New York city and now I can close my eyes and remember.
All the better to dream of return.