a winter of potential energy

from a trip north while looking out the car window on the highway.

a winter of potential energy

waterfall of icicles
stranded against the chiseled rock.
along the highway bookends
even gravity can’t get you home.

tire tread, yelling with oldie road songs,
feet hanging out windows, hair in the wind,
elongated landscapes drenched in sun,
across hills and prairies from ocean to ocean.
these are the legends (myths?)
built in our heads from birth to death,
our mystical journey west.

the moving itch, ripping up roots
transplanting to a perceived oasis
seems in white america’s genetics,
anything to hit the road, away from home,
free from responsibility, accountability
some seek a defining experience,
a place to mirror sensibilities,
an individualistic tapestry of wondrous imagined communities.

rhythmically spirited
in an open flow
beyond types,

a voice as soft as a pillow on an ear
calling out magnetically to the far corners,
frozen arms stretch to touch the granule texture below.
bulking up, leveraging and questioning
the tested tradition and girth of iced midsection
til the tipping point, the vibrations
from a paradigm-shifting earthquake.
a clean break from what defined
all that came before.
and as we, I, the icicle heads toward pavement,
what will the shattered scattered pieces mean
when they melt and coalesce
in a rebirth of form,
absorb in soil until collected,
cradled under the bedrock,
biding time as thousand-year erosion
turns to explosion!

Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 7:59 pm  Comments (1)  

dusk in atlanta

dusk in atlanta


the natives lay back down,

returning to encumbered slumber,

after a sudden, hollow vacation

from grassy parks and peaceful nooks

prompted by the unwarranted eviction

for square tents named justice and democracy

that disappeared as if industrial smoke–

a mirage of rainbows, beats and voices–


where folks briefly assembled

from across the land

said in their name,

“we must end poverty,

we must end injustice!”

relaxing in thirty-second floor rooms

and sitting in workshops

with ice cold water pitchers

and brains stationed back home,


yet here,

all around

there are families

sitting upright in shelter lobby chairs,

children contorted on mother’s lap

while the laws of the rich snicker,

deny woman the need

for respite from the cold.


energy and smiles abound

below sycophantic minds

citing short stays, self-imposed impotence

while walking past a curled up human

scavenging for shade under sycamores—

in too many eyes

blending in with the shadow.


what mother allows her children to grow up on the streets?

in these shelter lobbies?

put on those bootstraps,

apply oneself,

the American dream, an uplifting movie

where the guy who lost everything fights hard to get the job,

almost loses his kids to the state,

but perseveres without stealing, maintaining morals, morale.


film’s veneer, each opaque promise

destroyed in the rhetorical heat

of the political projector.


the same mother who was orphaned at five,

the same who was forced to prostitute

herself to survive Reagan,

the same whose mother was evicted

from public housing for private development,

the same whose mother died at home from a preventable disease,

the same whose mother spent their life savings to migrate

north with the promises: better, fairer treatment, wages

the same whose debts from the sharecropping slave system

forced the family into urban slums,

the same mother widowed by her husband’s lynching,

the same whose mother was denied 40 acres and a mule,

and the traitorous use of the 14th amendment to give

corporations individual protection still owed minorities,

the same mother whose voice rendered silent, visibility a shadow

with the dismantling of 1877 and the taking off of the crow,

the same mother who tried to escape thru the railroad

only to be snuffed out by dogs as if she were one,

the same mother, resilient in spirit

passing along African traditions

of song & dance

before they slipped from collective memory,

who faintly remembers her parents

on a wooden platform,

kiss her and hug her, embracing her as tightly as possible,

as thick translucent skins tore the family

north, south, west.



words cannot be the only course

people cannot wait

people look and feel and are broken

yet people survive


in systems where equality flows

like water at the bottom of a shallow well

in sight, but not touching one’s lips

where the bucket ripped from one’s hands

by a white master

prevents quenching a thirst

rightfully due

to all of black or brown or reddish hue.


when those tents and faces and speeches return

people will still be wrapped in blankets

creating a safe space

where they don’t have to see

all of the hypocrisy.



be united–

fight for justice–

let tents descend on space sensitive,

resolving to prove that presence practices

the same solidarity it speaks.




we came and left much trash & doubt

why did we come but to

shake your hand,

listen, talk,

break bread,

shut down afflictions

overcome divisions


you, the mother of all of us,

the children

of all

of us.

–july 3 2007

in the aftermath of the united states social forum. i stayed for three extra days in atlanta and walked through downtown, the mlk historic district and little five points neighborhood.

Published in: on August 8, 2007 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Last July Evening

Orleans Parish Prison – July 12, 2006, approx. 10:45pm – three of us were conducting exit interviews of people who had been arrested & jailed. Seeing if they were getting water, food, how long they were kept, if they were harassed, how many people per cell, conditions of cells, etc.


The sloppy words below were written entirely in less than five minutes about 15-20 min after a friend’s arrest* for:

“disturbing the peace”


view from the sidewalk

Between the door and the sidewalk

Trash bins on the wall, insides full

Of cig cartons, soda cups, fuckin’ trash.

Drive-in spattered in grunge, oil spilled

Butts, and and unjust footprints stamped

By those in uniforms & boots.

Where minutes earlier

Ricky put in cuffs,

Why? For asking why.

For asking why a cop is breakin’ the law.

For asking why a cop presents no evidence

On who complains against his company.

There was no harassment, as he claimed,

Drinks were brought, discourse & conversation

In low, controlled voices,

Sympathy & empathy of attentive ears & understanding nods,

Until Henry asked us to leave,

Giving no rational reason for us to obey,

We, and all the others who came before us

To support the mistreated trumped-up arrested,

Have a right to be in that room,

That white, hot, fly-ridden, godforsaken room

And sit amid loved ones of those ill kept

In holding pens and chained to polls,

Bruised and forbidden water or medical attention for hours.


Ricky on the fast track last we heard,

His arrest illegal like many others—

For merely walking, suspected of wrong,

Traffic violations & speeding;

But what PRIVILEGE white folks have

When he can get out in half, in a quarter of the time.

Of course you take it, right?

Any wrong should—no—must be corrected,

But why yours more than others

Never let that privilege, that fast track,

That sign of your skin, that sign of your power

Built through an inhumane system

Of value of skin over hundreds of years,

Never let that satisfy you,

Let your rage find form to deconstruct

The power they think they wield.


*he was eventually released after two hours in a jail cell. he pled not guilty and walked free after a court date in which no police witnesses appeared.

Published in: on August 8, 2007 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment