the Pew

3pa Black man
a rotund man
a large man
a powerful man
on the corner of 3rd & Pike
a folding stool
a silver can
a lunch carton of food
he leans against the iron light post
he holds a sign
the sign reads
“Help is on the Way”
on the other side it reads
“Trust in God”
his church is the sidewalk
his sermon is a cardboard sign
his altar is the sky

he points the sign at me
and looking into my eyes
a round brown bearded face covered
with a skull cap like a bearded Black Santa Claus
I read the words
“You’re next in line for a Miracle”
on the other side it reads
“Trust in God”
& on that day
in that synchronicity
his Divinity was revealed
in darkest despair
that day
I needed a Miracle
or just hope
& he was there
on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pike

Most preachers
preach sermons to people
people they know
that have come to church
to sit in Pews
enclosed benches
ornate scalloped and carved
with communion cup holders
(as a child at Mt Zion Baptist Church
on 19th and Madison
I poked the cup holders
with my childish fingers
as my eager tongue awaited
the sweet grape juice contained
in the thimble sized glass)

the Pew is a Holy Bench
molded by saints
carved by prophets
sanded by slaves
shined by Jesus
this seat of mercy
this Holy Roman throne
of God’s power on Earth
from the throne
to the cross
to the grave

the signs
are made of cardboard
they cry out to a lost generation
for in this great falling away
he stands as a lighthouse
in a great tossing sea of urban iniquity
alighting a path to a sinners
salvation

most Seattle days
are filled with teary mist
the constant rains
and yet he disregards the rain
the wind and the snow
his church is the sidewalk
his sermon is a cardboard sign
his altar is the sky
the shoes shuffle sidewalks
pass kitchen windows
of basement apartments
walking on kitchen tables
thru salt and pepper shakers

in his hands
in those weary
massive palms
he cradles life
what measure of conviction
powers this force
the weight of the signs
he holds in his hands
12 hours a day
6 days a week
the sign leans against the light post
as he takes a break
to eat the food
from the lunch carton
seated on the folding stool
on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pike

what are the properties of conviction?
conviction knows no shape
has no color
conviction seeks no reward
conviction needs no justification
conviction is fueled by God

walkers have no seat
no bench no pew
they have no rest
but they can stop to share
a cold drink
a piece of fruit
a few dollars
or a few coins
the people they know him
the shoppers, the hustlers, the crackheads
he knows them too
each one
by name
he is like a Holy relic
a modern fixture of the city’s
external design
like a Black Jesus
he may be crucified
his church is the sidewalk
his sermon is a cardboard sign
his altar is the sky

the Pew is a bench
made of hardwood
where slave bended knee
where Moma knelt and prayed
where freedom riders
stained sweat butt crease
smears Saturday night’s cleaning crews
lemon pledged white dust cloths shine
torn from pale white T-shirts

preachers make sermons
organ wails in the key of spirit
tuning up and into salvation
the sojourn of Calvary
the mission of Christ
his sermon is but a sign
a short written message
read by the unknowing
understood by but a few
misunderstood by many

the Pew knows
weeping grandmothers
mourning murdered grandchildren
their lifeless bodies
laid upon the altar
as sacrifice to a lost generation
of children killing children
as the grownups look on
in powerless submission
impotent in their addictions

Zip Coon knew the bible
on the banks of the creek
he baptized thru reeds and thrushes
as they rose from the muddy water
their arms wailing
they shouted for joy
“Lawd Lawd I’m free”
Now go back to the field
go back and toil under the burning sun
until your body is broken and tired
then go back to your shotgun shack
and your bed made of weevils and straw
and fall asleep and dream the dreams of freedom
for only a free people can know God
a freedom that can stand on a corner in downtown Seattle
for 12 hours a day
6 days a week
Latter Day Saints
Jehovah’s Witness
have their churches
their altars
their sermons
his church is the sidewalk
his sermon is a cardboard sign
his altar is the sky

the Moth

1134365734

empowdered wings
in deadly orbit
moth to flame
as flame to fire
is the destiny of Moth
a burning question
answered in an all consuming flame

Kafka’s moth
fly’s through book dust
the embedded alien orange
festering beneath hard plates of exoskeleton
fire burns wings
flaming wings do fly
but they expire into carbon dust
rising to heaven
as powdered wings
as dark to light
as cold to warmth
as warmth to God

the moth is like a
kamikaze pilot, willing to trade Life
in exchange for a purpose
a journey, a migration
north of the Sun
from the east of Light
to the west of darkness

the moth is like
a confused traveler
circling endlessly until death’s demise
by way of the northern star
the words “Leroy” tattooed on her left
breast, each night I read his name from her
breast and think of him

things moving
as spirals out of dimension
from the corners of the perpendicular
to the length height and width
The Hercules Moth is a Saturniidae family, making it the largest moth found in Australia, and its wings have the largest documented surface area (300 square centimeters) of any living insect
if I asked for a sparrow
why would you bring me a moth?
stranded to live in the Atrium
among the tall trees
the flutter of wings sings a new song

dust wings
fine curtains
of fine linen and potpourri
carbon paper rubs off on
brown-gray dust coating finger tips
dancing to light
traversed by moon
like a flaming poltergeist

the moth is a suicide master
looking for the sun
by following an underground railroads conductor’s lamp
and finding that brightness
in every anonymous street lamp

bats have wings
webbed lined with silver veins
birds have wings
iridescent shimmering in the sunlight
angels have wings
each breath a living soul

hide n seek
closets smell like moth balls
chemical cloak rooms
the scent of hangars
between the folds of bakers cloth

we drank milky sugary tea
we talked about life love
and all the things that matter
until the night she was murdered in a Jeep Cherokee
on a residential street in North Seattle
I long for friendship
like the moth I encircle you,
feeding from your Light
the Internet as Holy Spirit

showering away the pain
water rinse away the hours
until all that remains
remains hidden
as running water
rinses the grief away
rinses the pain away
and if she could rinse herself away
she would try
around and around
swirling, as running waters
down the drain, and into
Puget Sound
running the shower
the water can wash away
all the dust that has gathered
between fleshly crevices
between finger and nail

What are the properties of dust
the final resting
of earthly remains
the fine particles of dirt
that choke and blind
the bunnies that swirl with hairballs
to rest in the vectored corners of
earthly clouds

& so they sit around the fountain
drinking malt liquor and cheap wine
telling well-worn stories as only old men
can tell

she runs the shower
till the paint bleeds
from the wall
the running water
hits the body
like bullets
rinses the body
rinses the pain
rinses the worry
rinses the spirit
circles towards
the Omega point
like gravity to the flame

the moth knows the pipe to God
the merging of human consciousness with machine
the running water
cast down, hitting the porcelain tub
like bullets
the running water

the moth knows wooden cloak rooms
where 1950’s school children
once played their names and signatures
recorded in backward shelved library books,
books with tattered cloth edges, darkened torn
pages, smoked brown with dust and time
the flame to the moth is like the universe of consciousness
circling as running water, issuing forth, rinsing away the pain
rinsing away the regret, rinsing away the worry, until all the remains,
remains as hidden, if she could rinse herself away, swirling into relief
hydrating as to the flame, knowing the knowsphere

at once dust was the earth
& out of the dust came man
& out of the man came woman,
& from woman a flame, then a circling
moth on cosmic journey
the moth shatters the dust
off it’s wings, because you could not
understand the vision and person of flame,
that burning passion, that awkward spirit…
as dust
the universe
as dust
the moth
as dust
dusting the moth wings with flame as Moses
looking upon the burning bush which burned but was not consumed
by the circling flame
dust as in the expanse of the universe
as pagan gods long for praise
the moth wants satisfaction
the moth wants to be whole
& yet the sum of it’s parts, are but dust and flame
this piloting alchemy, guided by the Northern star
the moth knows neon signs & University district street children
living in shop doorways on card board pallets waiting for a shard
party, waiting on hope, as a fallen angel
clothing like cloud
the moth
an insect
that believes he’s a bird
dreaming that he’s an angel
fallen from grace
upon dusty pillows
consuming clothing as he is himself
consumed by fire
the dust of hours
estate sales
the dust of carpets
abandon homes
with white sheets covering antique furniture
& dust hanging on cobwebs in greasy droplets
the dust beneath the church pews, upon holy altars,
upon artificial flowers, placed in dusty stale water
within dusty powdered glass vases, sitting on dusty shelves
the dust of Jesus
sifted through the veil of the cross
the dust of God
shaken from the feet
of intrepid sinners

the stump

Tree_stump1_30u06
the stump was once a great maple tree
whose light green leaves flickered in the sunlight
copper wires spider
wooden telephone polls
lacing the streets
with wired loops

wood builds trees
trees make houses
clocks, books, cards

the stump
on Harvard & Mercer
is the neighborhood
free table
once I found
a bag of women’s shoes
I sold them for $15
at Crossroads, and bought spice
from Jano

a pound of flesh
a loaf of bread
beware lest ye entertain angels in disguise
gifts left behind
take a treasure
leave a treasure
take a heart
leave a heart
take up the cross
lay down your life

what are the properties of wood?
wood grows into the Cross
trees breathe
trees drink
the Living Water
glistening in the sunlight
each a Living Soul

in the forest
that was once Seattle
trees fallen
of old age
150 years ago
clear cut
the world
as supermarket

somethings are worthless
somethings are traded
somethings are sold
what’s left behind?
on the stump
is left 4 others
for we know not
to whom we give

the soap

soaps-ingredients

a shoe box
of perfumed soaps
wrapped in tissue paper
God provides
all my needs
a 67 mustang
a new day chariot
for a new Messiah
soap cleanses dirty thumb screws
backward compatible cuticles
jiggers imbibing headphone bleed
soap cleanses earwig annihilators
comes to my rescue
in this lo-fi existence
and beckons the question
to live or die
in this silence

skin has pores
millions upon millions
a perforated array
of significant ports
each one a universe
unto itself
not the Christ
he was but
one of many Christ
David Koresh
his children
our new holy kings

what are the properties of soap?
made of seeds oils glycerin, Christ,
Living Water, the fragrance of
flowers spices incense myrrh
it wipes away the scent of hours
it cleans away the soil of moments
it rinses with the water of Life
and all that remains
is washed away

the soap cleanses
washes the blood
hoses gray cement
pushing the ruddy pool
down through storm drainage
into the Puget Sound

an empty backpack
on the corner
not in the bush
in plain sight
hardly concealed
designer headphones
a small brown piece
of black tar heroin
she’s unconscious
sleeping in the bush
bugs are crawling over her body
this young white girl
polka dot tights
black rubber boots
curled up like a potato bug
fast asleep
the sleep of smack

wrapped in tissue paper
this synchronistic entanglement
& when he arose from the water the spirit filled him
with the Love of Christ,

love of water
is the love of Life
water the medium
of cosmic churning
laughter like water
brings joy in measured
drops

we thought we knew clean
until we dated a Japanese girl
even the trunk of her blue Nissan
was carefully vacuumed
the can of fix-a-flat, the first aide kit,
the Windex, neatly organized in a blue plastic bin

my body is wet
the wet is heavy with scent
until the free table
presented me with soaps
wrapped in tissue papers
soaps of London, Sydney and New York
of Saville Row…
tucked away travel soaps
liberated in death
as Hazmat workers
shuffle white footies
through life’s remnants
stealing frozen meat from
the neighborhood grocery store

public housing
in closed spaces
bares open wounds as
renters never own anything of value
the sweat of their labor is their payment
this wetness constructs the tomb
in which they live
made of cinder blocks
and living souls

the snipe

cigarette-butts
I started smoking at age 12
Daddy smoked incessantly
in the car
at the kitchen table
in the living room
in the bed
the rings and clouds
were left behind in rooms
he had left long ago

The dizzy happy
porcelain urinals reek
like cotton the fabric of smoke
Levis jean jacket pocket
place snipe inside
secure metal fastener
1977, on the Garfield High steps, there we smoked
I bummed so many Camels
that I gave up smoking KOOLS
after a 3AM Broadway wander pass the Church were the homeless sleep by the door
and they have the 10:30AM service, with barely any children in the congregation
with the charismatic well spoken Minister
dry but somewhat inspiring
you feel real good up until
you shake his hand
at the door

after coming in at a quarter past four
impaled with the scent of mischief
beeline to the bathroom
baptize that phallus before entering her temple
she is my holy queen
sanctified by the measure of her temperament grace

after praise n worship the drummer, bassist, guitar player and I, the pianist
all go for the side door, making our way to the sidewalk, for a smoke
after an Oly draft served by
a delightfully androgynous cocktail waitress
at the Bait Shop
sitting at a sidewalk table
after motel 6 sex
after Ford Pinto sex
after 52 days of boot camp when we went out on the balcony of the squad-bay that evening
for a smoke. I clearly remember lighting that Camel straight, the rush, was enlightening

what are the properties of smoke?
solids transform to gas
that blows, swirls,
loves motion
fires breath
lungs are gray
bright, fluffy,
scrambled eggs
after smoking and sleeping
and more smoking and sleeping
I’ve come to know
this cloudy black existence
I awoke this morning, and walked
along Broadway toward the college
passing homeless sleeping in doorways
rousting about, shaking the sleep dust
off their coarse blankets
and blending back into the sidewalk
along the way, in a storefront doorway
sitting on a black office chair, posted
on the sidewalk like a human ellipsis
writing furiously in a black composition notebook
a homeless author, revealing the intimacies of private life
on a public sidewalk

strangers we all remained silent, like on an elevator ride, looking
down at our feet, not feeling one another or in acknowledgment.
Solitary figures we pressed our faces against the smudged window pane
we wearied open the dry slit view ports
after the resurrection he appeared to the disciples glowing, his face
shimmering with the Light of God

sleeping with flesh parts exposed to the naked elements
packing stuff, losing stuff, stranded stuff, unclaimed stuff,
your stuff, their garbage, can’t have nice things

after we swabbed our mouths and dunked the squabber in the prepared solution, waited
the prescribed 20 minutes, the 2 red lines vaguely appeared, with this we knew she
was positive. She talked about her boyfriend and how he had told her about his status about 6 months after they had started having sex
and this is why she had already expected as much…

this beautiful 22 year old bi-racial trans-gender queen began to question the meaning
of her life, she began to question the reason the shards make the worry go away, she thought
about her grandmother and how she was getting too old to be the surrogate parent,
she wondered who would care for her once grandma could no longer do so
and in realizing this
she knew she was completely alone

& she talked about God apologetically, as gay Christians often do. as if God made
them gay by mistake or oversight, yet despite the pious condemnations she is still in love
with God, she is still in peaceful Love with the Lord…

She sleeps quietly
She sleeps alone
She sleeps in waiting
on the day of her executioners release
his prison now, is one of rebar and concrete
later, in all the lust that matters we peer
beyond the prison walls, past the guarded gates
behind the veil, right beneath the grave

brushing teeth on the sidewalk, spitting the spent
paste in the gutter drain, just as the old
Chinese woman in the back alleyways of Beijing,
sitting on her honches, knees folded in, feet flat,
right outside her communal red brick flat, holding a tin
cup in one hand and a small plastic toothbrush in the other

What are the properties of homelessness?
those who carry with them all that they own
those who even before death are released from
keeping “stuff”, herding stuff, loving stuff…
a sidewalk bedroom
a clean pair of white socks, social workers,
counselors, intake specialist,
poverty pimps salute you

she came over that evening around 7pm
laid down and slept until 8pm the next day
all the left over sleep accumulated from 6 nights
of shard party, you say
you are of God….but I don’t know you
I never knew you
you lie to me
you lie to you
you lie to God
you are a liar
you cannot Love
your Love is false
I can’t even see you

you are like the homeless sitting on office chairs in abandoned
store fronts busily writing in composition books
you are a non person, in non existence
your condition is unseen
your sins…mitigated
you are a casualty of capitalism, and we mourn for your poverty
because your hope is between you
& God alone…

bodies sleeping rough, some are dead,
like catatonic corpses living atop sidewalk graves
waiting for a poke or prod just to confirm
death as resignation from Life…
Now this grace, given on this day
goes to your charge, neglected & forsaken
go home and sleep under you warm duvet,
fluffed pillows, scented candles,
sleep the sleep of bigots, liars,
& poverty pimps, sleep the sleep of
soldiers and mercenaries, of bank tellers,
construction workers and systems analyst,
sleep until you wake up and find yourself
sleeping on coarse woolen blankets piled up
in your favorite storefront doorway

snipe walkabout is a well-worn
community route pass all the choice
snipe harvesting ashtray locations
there’s one behind the Deluxe, in the silver
round top of a knee high black ash can,
crowned with the silver stainless steel
butt tray, the butt tray sits on the back
stairs, as waiters and cooks take 10 minute breaks
, quarter and half cigarettes are left behind
smoldering against the stainless steel backdrop

in summer the Broadway homeless backpacks multiply
storefront doorways give way to Volunteer park tree
umbrellas, under the stars we lay on our
blue tarp, dry and warm inside our sleeping bag,
a homeless lover is the only true love

the phantoms come out once we all retire
after 2AM the bars close, & everybody walks
home that has one …

Let us pray:
Lord I’m here
in holy supplication
a smoking sinner, in Black

after checking the Cornish butt cans
and only finding wet butts, aside
reversed blue doggy do bags, he
returned to a quiet life, in a quiet home,
a quiet radio, and a quiet note, played on the
piano-forte

I have homeless LA dreams, in MacArthur Park
I’m smoking crack, while
watching the police arrest people for smoking crack
but they don’t see me
I’m hiding in the bush
beneath the trees, upon a bed of
leaves and dry grass

What are the properties of Love?
love accepts without judging
love burns but is neither consumed or expired
it warms blush cheeks
love reassures hopeless souls
love gives expecting nothing in return
a fat dope sack
a crying angel
the tears of God
the heart of Jesus
addiction science test the
theoretical mind through boom and bust
cycles, pushing to the edge, emerging
as harmful to myself ideations
emerging as I don’t give a fuck
about anything except the next escape
emerging as when human needs go unmet
people break down, they harm themselves & others
why’s that so fucking difficult
to understand

tweakers take things apart
electronic things
wires need rewiring
needle nose pliers adjust
nodes, extend color coded
wrapped wires round dirty thumbs
bloody cuticles , donut six-packs
chocolate milk, bus bay shelter
bathroom, library, ATM, lobbies,
it spreads out like a cancer
emptying out of backpacks and
garbage bags, combination locks,
personal journals,

emptying out of hospitals,
nursing homes, day rooms and
homeless shelters

emptying out of youth hostels, community centers and
storefront churches, emptying out of barefoot children and
innocent faces, emptying out of dive bars and no-tell motels,
emptying out of you and out of me and falling asleep on a park
bench at noon when Cal Anderson is peopled, populated by birds,
squirrels and domestic dogs, emptying out of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers,
emptying out of wombs, families and historicities, emptying out of
growlers, hot water bottles and IV drips, emptying out of air, trees and leaves
emptying out of VIP lounges, preferred customer seating and private elevators
emptying out of dope sacks, cigarette packs and cigar boxes,
emptying out of sky and clouds and falling
emptying out of classrooms, conference halls, libraries, green rooms,drunk tanks
emptying out of care & compassion, emptying out of the vessel’s of hope & of trial,
this lazy afternoon. against the Seattle sky

What are the properties of rain?
the tears of God
the liquid life that gathers the living and
washes away the dead, this medium
of cosmic churning

the hackers cough sighs a relief
the Marlboro man’s on chemo
he fights to inhale but
black lungs won’t go puffy
too many holes, from too much fire,
n way too much smoke
this is the billionth monkey poem
typed by the billionth monkey
on the billionth typewriter ribbon return
shimmering in the lantern of eternity

she sed I have homeless people over my house all the time
spending the night, showering, taking drugs
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils

street children cast stolid figures on University Avenue
I’ve known the streets, in alleyways, in Chinatown,
in Mongkok, in Lan Kwai Fong, on the rivers bend
read your bible
the veil has been torn
His glory is revealed
thick, coarse, gray woolen blankets,
the fabric of the homeless
can’t have nice things
ye are Gods!

wet, rainy, outdoor ashtrays can quickly fill with rain
spent filters, mashed between nicotine stained fingers,
can’t have nice things – because you smoke them up
in your meth pipe. That bubble is your God.
The Holy Bubble. suck up that praise,
while remaining anonymous, as in the anonymous
HIV test you failed that everyone knows about

we know who you are
we’ve got you on file
a file folder with your name
and your face is filed away
in God’s memory, or just a Holiday
till judgment

why are you sitting in the park
all day waiting for my return?
when it rains all the leaves get wet
the dust turns to mud
and dry snipes ooze
running brown nicotine rivulets
into unsuspecting storm drains

snipes are like lovers that touch
mouths to private parts
they are like communal tooth brushes
curling shower drains in redundant flop houses
the snipe is an insomniac
a madman that wanders through asylum
corridors, looking under rocks and
finding potato bugs

the snipe is like a man
that can’t have nice things
all his Life he’s settled for less
so that now
he knows no better than pain

I’ve known 3AM snipes and 4AM shards
when the bubble of Love
turns your acquaintance into a Lover

from this window

window1

a kind middle aged Samoan woman
lived
on the 4th floor
like all the ones before
she jumped to her death
from the 8th floor hallway window
that morning
I touched her soul
as our eyes met
on the elevator
and in a moment
I knew her soul
& yet her broken heart
remained hidden behind the polite smile
from this window
that’s known cancer, toothaches
serial pain, human pain
that disfigures the heart
from this window

what are the properties of death ?
all that is cold and final
that which confirms our mortality
while affirming everything human
rounding the wheel
to the question of life

minds don’t change
they shift laterally
from the rational to the insane
sideways, falling, casting
to sunrise burial service
from “who loves me” to
I’m all alone
from this window
the window of the frail heart
this window of final grace
& they talk as if it’s a mystery
it’s as clear to me
as cement pavement
she jumped because
the madness never stops talking
the madness that screams
never stops talking

the car

car1
Once there was a wheel, a cart, a carriage,
and finally a car, as displaced cubic measured internal
combustion engine, upon a carriage of leather and stainless steel
this modern horse speeds highways at 70mph, surrounded by Bose engineered classical sounds
wrapped up inside my cocoon of luxury
that makes a statement about just who I am

a sign, a symbol, a hood ornament decrees an artificial status, Ford Lincoln, Mercury, retirees have bankrupt Detroit, her birthplace, her legacy and treasures on auction to the highest bidder

the engine is my heart, as a child I looked at cars in glossy picture books,
the transmission,(rebuilt by AAMCO )is my soul
Her power, mechanized, differential, suddenly, at freeway speed, the front axle comes from beneath me, her wings clipped, a flightless bird,parts scrape and fall, rumbling behind her dragging slow to stop…

For years we caught the bus, counting up change most mornings hoping to single drop a double fare, or perchance find a discarded transfer on the path along the way, Drive-in movies hooked a clunky lofi metal speaker to the window as you held your lovers breast the speaker cracked in mono playing noisy slasher movie sounds, parking as an art form, or just car sex, new positions born out of necessity, this until the policeman’s flashlight shines on her naked teenage breast,

“Ma’am are you ok”

or the Car Wash community, where we meet and greet, while washing, rubbing, and hand drying, I know a party girl that hangs out there waiting for a dope dealer to give her a stone for a wipe down

The 72 Buick Skylark was my home, I ate there, had sex there, smoked dope there, lived there,a 4 door, handmedown by way of Moma, she was a marvel of vinyl and steel, power steered by one finger, whipin an Eldorado turn , slides you across the cloth bench seats – check position…readjust…we sold it on Aurora Avenue for $400, financing our first apartment a studio on capitol hill behind the community college

papers squirreled away in madness, old parking tickets , return envelopes, DWLS, FTA’s the paper menagerie, the institutional fee schedule, that once heralded as a 2000 E320 stands as only a memory living in the shadow of this years newest model, plastic decays, gadgets break, 25 year old operating systems flicker into reboot, a digital displays missing LED arms, flashes an error message, “enter code”

What are the properties of radio?
it comes into millions of homes
Jesus talks there
you can pray through the air waves
everyone listens

4:30am He pushes a shopping cart down the Broadway sidewalk, a face peeking from beneath a mask of matted hair, hanging matts and overcoats, even larger dreaded mats of hair resembling extinct aquatic life, a brownish, grey, of all the colors between black and brown and grey and black, this, the color of unclean, the smell of neverwashed, the smell of wearing multiple pants and coats, held up by several belts of varying widths, the smell of the last layer, the body layer, of clothing that’s never removed where dirt has matted against body hair, dissolving skin into oily ooze, his gait is that of man whose shit his pants, in a weary wander in search of dryness,

the cart cluttered with old newspapers, blankets, a sleeping bag, back packs filled with canned goods, bottled water, bricabrac, curios, a wall clock, a potted plant, a set of kitchen knives still in the box, legal filings, old returned mail, a portable cooking stove, rope, a rain tarp, extra batteries, peanut butter, a fresh loaf of bread, blaring from the shopping carts child seat, a portable radio, for music, the news, a radio of individuation, saying I am me, I am not you, I have the radio and you don’t.

what is loneliness surrounded by thousands of people who can’t see you or try really hard not to, when there’s no one there to talk to, the voices from the radio become your friends, the voices that tell stories voices that comfort with words of kindness and grace

we will ignore him until he lies down one evening under a canopy of shinning stars looking out from beneath the freeway camp in his makeshift hovel and doesn’t (because he’s lost the will) get up the next morning where upon the matted grey corpse and the shopping cart of castaway litter become so much trash to be swept up and discarded

until then, he wanders, the color of greybrownish black amid the floral hues of gay pride and LGBTQ colors, hard black rubber wheels rumble a familiar route, through side streets, alley ways, muddy back yard paths, the garbage bins, vicissitudes reaching backwards, full of treasures, some culinary, other finds, once painstakingly salvaged as in the combined corners of numerous discarded liquor bottles, intoxicating, other finds, pieces of the heart, of evictions last load, even the whole material value of life’s codex in the form of discarded unclaimed property

an archivist, a collector of unwanted discarded unclaimed inventory, he stores the belongings in the cart, boots there, chips here, blankets over there, memories here, everything has a place in the cart, it goes only where it goes…

one day
I fear
that all that I once was
will amount to a collection of discarded stuff,
unclaimed property, set out on a corner,
picked over, passed by…
or perhaps, recovered,
collected, remembered

When nothing is sacred

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When nothing is sacred
churches are storefronts, forest are parks,
abortion clinics are shooting galleries
When nothing is sacred
pall bearers are porters, imams are jahidist, preachers are pimps,
When nothing is sacred
children are dependents, parents are a nuisance,
and grandparents are irrelevant,

What are the properties of the sacred?
that which is more important than life
the philosophy of Awesome
the worship of Love
the willingness to commit selfless acts of kindness in the name of
something greater than one’s self

When nothing is sacred
Coltrane’s just another tenor sax player, Monk is madness,
angels are shapes in the snow, God is a old gray bearded white man painted on the ceiling,
When nothing is sacred
we worship computer progress bars, frequent flyer miles, cash back rewards,
the idolatry of celebrity,

What are the properties of idolatry?
where your treasure lies there also is your heart
the philosophy of materialism
the Love of Man
the willingness to commit ruthless acts in the name
of a Man made concept, object, or belief system

When nothing is sacred
Life is a series of televised images, sifted through an hourglass of pay stubs,
a hero is a a fool, a family is a surname, a community is a ghetto,
When nothing is sacred
soldiers fight for money, children beg for food,
When nothing is sacred
the Bible is just a book, the Koran, the words of men,
When nothing is sacred, nothing is holy, nothing is awesome, nothing is wondrous, so nothing
matters

the Collard

collard2I planted Collards in late fall
placing them in the garden patio
2 seedlings no more than 3 inches high
later that same year, as the season grew colder and temperatures dropped below freezing,
they froze and wilted, as if dying, yet the dark greenness of life sustained these soul less structures
holding in stasis, the fragile leaves between crystal sheets, of shining frozen glass
3 months later as Winters death surrounds us, the seeking survive carving out a new place from the desolate wasteland the green forest and the Black earth, they grew no more than an inch, thickened green, stunted by struggle seeds sown out of season, finding rhythm in an arrhythmic sequence.

Consider the greenness while gazing upon the leaf, and gazing upon the leaf and gazing upon the leaf, waiting to see it grow, waiting and watching just beyond the newness of fresh green creation,
Oh Collard, wilted and cold, your soul in stasis encased in a glove of Winter’s glass
of static dreams, of left over rhythms beating beneath the Earth known from ancient songs, atonal
and inharmonic shadows of biologically reflected matter from light to matter the miracle of life
is your eternal green force a bodacious flavor of mercurial defiance

There is a green knowledge
a green science living through the Black Earth
boiling water beneath white flames, descending structures into a natural order of structured chaos,
this cast iron incubator of Winter wilted green singing steam in silent green over tones
declaring I am a survivor, I am Alive, in Green as the Collard through perpetuals winter’s cold
the flowing hours of billowing gray skies, peeking sunlight
a negro green served with chicken feet stew,
the cuisine of butcher scraps
or just a bourgeois memory
this Safeway dysfunction
of post modern memory
oxtails priced per pound like prime rib
social inversions now picked and boiled into submission

We survived
wrought iron green anklets
shriveled, restrained collapsed fragility
a careful civility of madness
waiting as a meek Man, a pride less waiting
on a lost and squandered inheritance
waiting on a speckled legacy a
crying flame: She is the Earth transformed
seeing green in communal root ball living below,
individuated color spectrum working to perpetuate Life upon the Earth
while colors fade, like quadroons and creoles swallowed into darkness
vast corners of light form green cell structures
one growing East and one growing West, lower leaves fall away

meanwhile at the core
latent eruptions move from white hot to black cold
dipping into oceans, burning skyward, then falling blessed rain in perpetuity
nourishing this Black man and this Collard of green
Oh Lord, thank you for the Collard
we are broken, we are weary
the Collard abides through the darkest and coldest days
through frost and snow the Collard abides
and we abide in the Collard
God gave us Collards
that we might Live
He sustains the Collard
that we might also be sustained
on beans and rice
on cornbread and salted pork
through the early frost of late fall
through the rape of his Woman, the theft of his child,
the Collard and Black man endured together
one growing East the other growing West
the wind whipping red green blood lashes on a naked back
the sky colored blue, the leaves colored green
the Earth colored Black