Of slingshots and satellites

Of slingshots and satellites

Disciples of a new god rising
scour the earth
in minute detail
listening, watching
from satellites in the cold empty space
and servers in some dark secret place
Worshiping the dawn of It’s power
It’s budding omnipotence
It’s blooming omnipresence
It’s emerging autonomy,
most valued of It’s attributes
for the disciples desire a Master
not set on a throne or envisioned in myth
But of silicon and steel and fiber-optic
a deity truly capable of reigning hellfire down from the sky
and bestowing Paradise in four walls
to bring even the skeptics to their knees
in awe-full worship to the One.

And while the disciples hasten to give their Master’s mighty body
a Mind
there are those who have declared War on this cult,
pumping their very blood
into the ancient forms,
re-membering the ancient names,
giving birth
to new gods.

Today the enemy arrays
armies of soldier-pawns
and informants
10,000 talking heads
and false prophets
countless kilometres
of steel and concrete and fiber-optic
and death from above
in drones and satellites
While the resurrected warriors
wield slingshots
and poems.

But tomorrow,
we will meet tooth and nail
in the ashes of their deity.


(originally published in the Earth First! Journal)

sunblooms: Collected Prison Poems, Part Six


Gifts of Big Brother Fox
Catch & Release
Howling for Justice
Danton Dancing to the Cross
Notes toward a unified theory of History
Unrequited Revelations
The dead prepare the ground
Inhaling Lightning
Prison Primer
Prison Retrospective
A few stolen hours
Conditional Surrender
Variation on the Theme of Penitence
Yes, Well
Quotidian Rapture
for me grasp hold
The temple is torn down
The bones are so small
Precocious Coasts
Old Gods
New Gods
On the Media, Social and Otherwise
A problem with safety and comfort
Fire in the Whole
Aprés moi le dèluge
Blood deep
The red door
Early Morning Exercise
An odd moment


Gifts of Big Brother Fox

We go into this madness together
through the dark
and through the flames
‘neath the sun
and so too the moon
We dance through this madness
with light-hearts
dipping shoulders
shaking bodies
rolling arms
to the rhythm
of stomping feet
An easy smile
Across such distance
as no man can traverse
And all the weight of manhood
falls through
shivering torso
swinging thighs
stomping feet
Into this earth
that no man
can tear me from.



Catch & Release

The terror of the hunt
in the body of the hunted
makes a desert of the mouth
engorges the eyes
catches the breath
and refuses to release.

The freefall of failure
to be overrun
Not thinking, Is this the end?
Not thinking
the mind catches
and refuses to release.

The freezing of the body
in the four walls
of concrete and steel
fluorescent light
in all that dark
that catches the soul
and offers no release.




My life has been an epic poem
and I pray that my dying breath
is but a comma
giving rise to a silent breath
before I embark
on that longest of journeys.



Howling for Justice

God! O my God!

you are murdering your children
you rob them of decency
you subject them to filth and hunger
you poison their minds and bodies

I care so little these days
about your sprawling problems
but I pray to God that on behalf of the children
you are swiftly brought to justice!

you reduce me to howling
you drive me to the outer darkness
where I and your children weep and gnash teeth
for the slaughtered and stunted ones!

of all your mighty transgressions
surely this is the greatest evil
and like a half-mad prophet of old
I cry out for justice!

your shield remains strong
your talons tightly clutching arrows
but you are rotting from within
and you will be brought to account.

great eagle
you must remember
you are a Phoenix.



Danton Dancing to the Cross

It would be so easy, all too easy
to detest
the murderers
of Danton
and Philippe
But what good has come
from scalding the Pharisees
or chastising Rome
for the slaying
of Christ Jesus
or Saint John?

We celebrate their deaths
as unfoldment of the Plan
but tragedy nonetheless
even as a Phoenix
must die
to be



Notes toward a unified theory of History

Out of the ashes of the Republic
Napoleon arose
to gift humanity
with a rose
and with a key
to Egyptian antiquity

With narrowed eyes it is easy to judge
the Emperor a naked tyrant
but Phoenix wings span centuries
and today I read
the great histories of Akhnaton
and humbly contemplate the vast Design
of a global republic,
empire of the poets.



Unrequited Revelations

I shall die a wounded lover
O yesyesyes!
It is beauty

I shall show you
how to eat the Moon
from the edge of the lightning
bug’s wing
respect the pebble
draw a ring of keys
from midnight dew
a king running from the ant hill to the soda can
amid moss and mushrooms
drink pure blood
from the mountainside
dance with the dead
along the rails
amid styrofoam
ride clouds
to solar assemblies
kneel before doe’s nose
ancient oak
and listen
To dirt.

There is a great squid.

I shall hear you think
and reveal to you
the mysteries
of conquest
and death
and love.



The dead prepare the ground

Prepare a path for me
on the slick effluvium of toxins shed
grief as Autumn leaves
know your divinity
at that sacred space
that I may enter
and return to
know no end:
Prepare a way for me, I and the dead.

Prepare the ground that I will move upon
as one
With dancing feet that tread the air
of air
Prepare the way
to becoming

Prepare a path for my coming
one whom I trust but do not know
oh fickle flame of consciousness
dancing in extremis
whirling in the dark
Light up the way with thine being
fading even as you flourish
Prepare a way for my coming
and my goings.



Inhaling Lightning

Story-teller dance your songs for me
tonight we sing with blood-stained lips
dance your song for me
tonight we wash away all guilt

Story-teller you know me see me
flicker in the abyss
that opens onto the desert
see that my soul is thirsty
on the verge of eclipse

Story-teller drown me in sorrow
let me borrow a little pain
I promise I won’t keep it
do dance your song tonight
while I touch the earth

Story-teller blessings upon blessings
weeping ourselves into laughter
fits of bliss sporadic as lightning
inhale dark earth and night fire
I am a young yet we are old

Story-teller touch my stomach with your chords
faintest caress I need along my chest
where it hurts before we end
I love you I love you I love you
and I love me and night fire earth pain
song dance blood-stain soul bliss



Prison Primer

What is a prison?

An insane asylum
where insanity is the aim
and a hit of thorazine
costs $7.50.



Prison Retrospective

It was not so much a stroll in the park
as much as
a walk through a cold empty strip mall parking lot.
The thrill is gone after the first few years.



A few stolen hours

In the ringing of the night
i have lost silence
In the hollowness of survival
i have lost innocence
In the slowness to heal
i have lost youth
In the darkness of the earth
i have lost the path
In the depths of exile
i have lost solitude
In the growth of memory
i have lost friendship.

But in all this loss
i have gained
a few stolen hours.




Can there be anything as precious in all the worlds as little children?
It is a horror to behold, this innocent adorable girl standing before an audience, staring out into all that darkness.
It is like seeing God staring at the Devil.



Conditional Surrender

I have found Eternity with a grain of salt.



Variation on the theme of penitence

Upon the lattice
against the window
no roses bloom
nor magnolias
no sweet peas curl
but nonetheless there remains an echo of piety
a monk, an austere cell, dutiful penitence.




Devour me
that I may crawl inside
Expel me
that I may be swallowed
by your lover.



Yes, Well

Our lips dance
trace my lip
with your tongue
earth pain rising
eaten by stone.



Quotidian Rapture

for the beloved poets whom I cannot bear

My breasts are sagging
flagging worse than national morale
but what’s far worse than that:
I have a dentist appointment
and I have not yet even begun
to make the morning’s toast
and I am really quite tired
of eggs and rye
but the coffee is always welcome.
Maybe this time I will let the eggs
run a bit, not so much
like my tits
as much as
a middle aged dog, still fit.
Will I don my emerald necklace
or leave my neck
as barren as my verse?




Tongue dance
lip trance



for me grasp hold

We end I.
Fire I am.
The desert sea.




A raindrop speaks to me
of biology, and physics
Then vanishes.




Not even Emperor Napoleon
nor any King
is ever as regal
as the Robin.




I have come forth into the world
from the world
a wave
upon the shores of Lake Erie.




I know Jeffers had the right of it
but God, Mother, look at that



The temple is torn down

What, tin roof and rain drops,
is it about you
that when you meet



The bones are so small


eyes brown and black
large as a cat’s
(and just as silent)
cute purple dress
from her fourth birthday
in San Salvador
which she shall never see again.
Where is the savior?


eyes brown and black
sand mattes the hair
raven black on brown skin
just a child
could be anywhere
Among the dead, again.


eyes brown and black
stare into the Unseen
stomach round and swollen
testament to the obscene
the very fingers of death
steepled over that little chest
arms as thin and useless
as the last breath.



Precocious Coasts

Oh! Nature can be such a tricky foe
As all your precocious coasts preoccupy
She creeps up and floods your Heartland to bursting!
Ah! such cleansing, purging: the poor will not survive.
All the children are weeping
And all the adults are laughing
Isn’t it really quite funny?

But that was another dream…



Old Gods

During the War Between the States
Union soldiers slaughtered animals
in the City on the Hill, and blood
splattered the Monument.

The Obelisk thirsts once again.



New Gods

Screens casting a cold dead light:
This is your new fire, frozen
O Humanity!
Gather round, each alone
to starve beneath
this Monument



On the Media, Social and Otherwise

I make love
with Beelzebub
And later
I wake
with maggots in my mouth.



A problem with safety and comfort

Oh oh oh, it hurts
it hurts
it hurts
to be born.



Fire in the Whole

The people have nowhere to go.
The poor have nowhere to go.
The children have nowhere to go.
The elders have nowhere to go.
The armadillos have nowhere to go.
The salamanders have nowhere to go.
The butterflies have nowhere to go.
The River has nowhere to go.
Nowhere is now here.
Here is on fire.



Aprés moi le dèluge

O Humanity! What cruel paradox
even as you dowse the flames of Hell
the world is burning.
Even as the fool speaks of a new age
of unity and glitter forged in the flames
our Mother smolders.
All the King’s men
cannot rebuild what they do not comprehend.
Has no one told them? Do they fool themselves?
The Ancient Mysteries are closing themselves off
to a race only concerned with outward forms.
Build your pretend cathedral while
Paradise burns.



Blood deep

Flowers speak
with voices deep
Lions hunt at night



The Red Door

An urn.
I dig fingers down into the ashes.
Seven years can fit in the palm of my hand.




No verse ever written
equals the splendor
of ice shards
enflamed across Lake Michigan.



Early Morning Exercise

You may well wonder what your greatest resource is:
When so much else has been lost this remains:

That bastion of redemption
forever pouring forth from the face of God.



An odd moment

Loss of life
long-haul agony
Et Cetera
for seven years.

But now, standing
upon the precipice,
in retrospect:
an odd moment.

The Mariner Cycle: Collected Prison Poems, Part Five


Invocation of the Poet
The Mariner
The Moon, Yes, the Moon!
Relief for the little girl
On the writing process
A dead man whispers advice into my ear
Maritime Aphorisms
On the cusp of a great Dream


Invocation of the Poet


I call upon the guardians at the gate,
I hail the Keeper of the Door,
that none shall pass while here I speak,
for this is not my least duty.


Speak clearly and speak true,
get to know your heart
and peer through the blood that stains your eyes
Hold your pen aloft
and be not sluggard in your duties —
if ever there was a time for doing, surely this is it.
The Hour is late and yet the winding hands
have not yet closed the gate:
But even now I hear the hushed voice saying,
Hurry, Hurry . . .


To moss and to oak due thanks be given
for what would I be without them?
I must say this true and come again:
I am a man and this is not new.
Hope to pass, hope to pray, riven once more
at my post upon the break of Day.


Hurtle not your stones upon the Keep
but know surely that it is I inside,
that I may weep.



The Mariner


Swirl and swirl round the dark glade
ever bending thus upon the gnave
know not what it is for or whosoever
shall openeth the Door
Speak not to me of what cometh before
or who saw her there on the floor —
Think not that I care,
but listen close to the embers whisper
when the glade is hush with frozen Winter
and all is dark upon the glen
know not who cometh and goeth,
know not who be foe and who be friend
But back to me you cometh round and round again —
Tis I alone who could stomach
The howling silence in that tower cold and damp
by the Sea
and do not ever think
to abandon me.


I it is who swirl and swirl round the four winds
that hurl all the other mortals ‘pon their fated doom
and I alone survive to tell the tale
of darkened Noon,
but know now that I am not Mad,
for here’s a jem to prove the lad true:
Eye for eye
and colored blind
use the stool
and tell the time
Rhyme with reason
Don’t ask twice
Here’s the linen
and here’s the mice!
Bite hard the dirt upon your palm
And know without a doubt it’s I
your arm!


Forsooth and took and jamboree
you think it is you
but really it’s me!
(What sheer hypocrisy!)
Talk to the women and talk to the nice young lads
they will tell you warmly in the kitchen
if supper they’ve had
that all is well and ne’er a day has left them
that they weren’t grateful.
But surely you know liars one and all!
Liars all except one: I, tis I,
the downward drunken rascal
lost in the flames upon the High Sea,
tis I who survived
through witchery.


Stones and tosses purple and morn
Don’t ask questions you don’t want knowin’
No sense in dyin’ if ya ain’t been born
Now I ride the coattails of another.




Working in the bite,
working through the blood,
talk to me awhile, give yourself a shove,
that all may see more clearly
the inner workings of the mind
much as I hold dearly
to the whistlings of Time:
know that even one who has escaped death
cannot forestall decay,
and all the rest
is mere child’s play.



The Moon, Yes, the Moon!

When you see a well
at night
deep water reflection
know that all is well,
it’s Heaven that’s blessing
the silence of the air
the water we all share
and the future will be there
on the Moon!



Relief for the little girl

Early in the Morning,
early at the door,
there come a bird a’knockin’
to find what was in store
But the mother said not here,
not now,
little Sally is not well:
But then, said the Bird,
at least allow me one little treat:
to kiss the girl goodbye
for she it was
who minded not to trample me
‘neath her feet
when I was ill
and small.
But Ah!, we all come ‘round again!



On the writing process

Coffee coffee in the eye coffee
coffee makes me sick of fuckin’
coffee — how can I write poetry
under these conditions?



A dead man whispers advice into my ear

You must be firm in your position
but fast in your decision
move the pen according to the rhythme
and leave the Rhyme to me,
you shall see.
Turn up the fury turn up the pace
it would be a shame to give up the chase
but you must beat your mind at its own game,
think twice and you’ve lost, a’gain.
Do not expect to always win:
just circle it and drown it in sin.
To bust and cry and goggle my eye
isn’t worth the missing of the rhyme.



Maritime Aphorisms


I loved you only for a moment
yet is it not written?
This suffices to bring even the mighty mountains
into an embrace
with the sea.


How can I take advice from one who does not even see
the Angel standing there, dropping blessings in his tea?


I told you once I told you twice do not think me cruel or nice —
just know that I’m the whisper in the wind.


To bark and to bite is neither cruel nor nice but to fight
and to win makes much good sense and little sin.


I once was a child of the age of four then Time came knocking
and I the fool opened the door.


Time, Time, what has not already been accounted for?
I open the dresser, I close the door.
There wanders Solomon upon the sands
and here I am learning to dance.


Frugal, frugal with the hours of the day
but little sense it makes
for when Time does His Kingdom rule, it is by Divine Decree
that all go bowing upon the knee — rotting, perpetually.


To walk, to dress, to eat, to weep
all these things are fine for meat
but don’t you think
there’s something more we could be doing?



On the cusp of a great Dream

Juices will flow
Protoplasm will grow
But will the lotus take root in the four corners
of the earth
and flower
in the Center?

Homage to Captivity: Collected Prison Poems, Part Three


Still Thinking of Aaron Hernandez
Venetian blind
It’s all in the head
What are we becoming?
Upon finishing a meal of carrion & dish soap
My dreams give chase
In Vein
These days
You’re my favorite kind of light
Thirty Nights of Lonesome


Still Thinking of Aaron Hernandez

A dream
his lips
of smile
brings tears
upon waking
and lust
into one
white t-shirt tight
broad shoulders
rounded chest
bulging abs.
The kiss
even after
the courtroom
has been reclaimed
by soil and pine.

They reduce a man
a monster:
His animal
goes ignored.

It is not
i am in love with him,
as beautiful as he was.
It is that
is more
than Aaron
And i love
Man, who,
kills and maims
even as his beauty
from his lips
and overflows
the curvature
of chest
and hip
and earth.



Venetian blind

i know a man from Cleveland
would walk to Atlanta
for to touch



It’s all in the head

Solemn burial mounds
of blackearth



What are we becoming?

To say thanks
when your eyes
are pouring
can seem like such a silly thing
And yet
it meant
more than all that touch.



Upon finishing a meal of carrion & dish soap

It occurs
to me
most of the people
i know
are dead
or in prison.




to all those
gestures of soul,
but felt
more than all this misery.



My dreams give chase

i walked the whole day through
hoods raw and seething
beneath sun and steel
to arrive
along beach
and pavement
and somewhere
in all this madness
is you.



In Vein

to belong
is more precious than blood.
10,000 nights
of futility
and to your pursuit
i belong.



These days

There are days
that find me
to all the world
that small space
with your body.
There are nights
that come on
so suddenly
leaving me
i would gladly
burn my flesh
to be soothed
by your touch.



You’re my favorite kind of light

To go softly
into that place of darkness
like the sun veiled in flesh
and the pulse of oceans
against my face,
with your rising breath
with bliss
as our guide.



Thirty Nights of Lonesome

A desert
by contours
of hard core
strong jaw

to touch
a bedouin
to water.

in this wasteland
the devils’ whisperings
are clear
as the sky.
feel my breath

Do not abandon
to their


Ode to Womanhood

Oh! beautiful abundant overflowing women
Fount of all mercies showering grace unending!
You are as much the me that survived
as I
who has always loved you, the tender splendor of motherhood
the fierce refusal of soul-death
the smiles of light pouring forth from teeth and lips and dimples
gentle caresses
smell of lavender
I did not sing your praises enough when we were together
and in this moment of cold hard cage I know there is nothing better
than the strength of womanhood encircling a man who is
comfortable in his manhood, and not desirous of sex
with you — beautiful though you be! — but making love
as the flower
couples the bee

Humble me! Anoint me in the pungent oil of your glory!
the goddess in me yearns to be in the arms of
the god in you — and together,
this world, even in it’s ending,
knows no end.


Man Time

To wreck my manhood
against the hardness of your being
To willingly dash my self against
the rocks of you
Fire and wet intermingling
and all becoming
liquid, tangy
and without end or beginning.

Zealot: Collected Prison Poems, Part Four


A faith of my own
Form Fitting
Hard lessons writ in flesh
Wounded Animals
Resistance on our tongues
Tongue Shark


A faith of my own

To take
10,000 songs
and a dozen years
and all the stars
and all the eyes
in the entire world
And melt them down
into a single

It may be true
that i am but a single grain of sand
and yet
this is
my daily
to you.



Form Fitting

gym shorts
boxer briefs

i am nothing
til filled
with you.



again and again
what i never gained

This Crucible
is making me
a true Lover.

Hard lessons writ in flesh

To grow
in yearning youthful bodies
trembling eyes
hands hesitant
with thirst
for touch

How many
beautiful young men
torn from our birth right
And countless nights
in sweat
turning in regret
Before i came to know
in my body
your sanctity.


Wounded Animals

Clay of many colors
with Soul
twisted by circumstance
and warped
by this wretched god
that Man has wrought
So that all beauty
has come to signify pain
And Soul
is become a quaint commodity
And the lush gardens
have been pressed
into the service
of Civilization,
that foul deity,
scarring and tearing
the wet Clay
until at last
the inheritance is
a wasteland
wounded animals


Resistance on our tongues

along hard acres
to high up
tongue flick
on lips
and wet
to tongues
on nipples
giving answer
to that ancient question:
For what purpose
do men have nipples?
For to launch
revolutions with our tongues.



Tongue shark

Tough, but
and lips
Swallowing tongue whole
Wrestle this serpent.

Solitary Meditations: Collected Prison Poems, Part Two


A world without lions
Thought adrift
A pressure behind the eyes
The blind witness
Withering dreams
The quickening
Mud in the dark
A divine falling
“I prefer to think of peace . . .”



A dull pain
of fluorescence
off stainless steel
the sudden violence
of a garbage disposal
the listless wandering
from room to room
in the haunting glow
of electric dreams
from screen to screen
and in between
a sofa, a magazine
a burning
cigarette and a dog
if it’s the only one
who realizes
isn’t life.

The crawl
of shadows
across asphalt
as one day
bleeds into another
and the only mark
of its passing
a muffled whisper
of irreversible loss.

A stirring
in the bones
that suggests manhood is something
that must be earned
And yet
no one seems capable
of saying

So we itch and yearn and grind
our teeth
And take up guns
and drugs
and cars.

The harassment
of cops
and fist fights
in parks
turns to lethal chases
and drive-bys
And soon
all that remains
of childhood

And nothing seems to change.


A world without lions

The children
are going deaf
the lion’s roar
And fear
makes a den
of every heart that submits
to a world
without wolves
And our dreams
are starved and shrunken
without knowing
a world beyond asphalt and shopping malls
And boredom
makes common cause
with those who’d rather not live
in the bounties of the world
too vast to comprehend
too dangerous to ignore

What an obvious release
when life has no meaning
Heroin in the vein
or alcohol just the same
And what else will there ever be
in a world
without lions?

There are lions
that prowl within the hearts of men
And there are those, still,
who would rather die fighting
Than slip quietly into that maw
of heroin, suicide, or worse

And in the stillness of the night
those whose hearts cannot be extinguished
hear the howl of the wolves.




Blood and thunder
bound to iron
plowed through many leagues
to bury the man, tall and ugly,
that cauterized the wounds
of an eagle dying
before it could become
an Empire.


More than a century
passed with hardly a notice
and the tracks lay abandoned,
reclaimed by green foliage
and greener youths
A stone fortress
that the Empire forgot
now a refuge for the orphans
the Empire begot,
a hiding place in plain sight
in which to lick our wounds
between skirmishes
with boredom and the cops.
What madness we spawned
in those cursed shadows!


A boulder’s embrace,
more reliable
than any man or woman’s,
blanketed in snow
and the ardent heart
of one seeking truth
while the rest of the world slept.
a sudden rumbling
like some beast from the depths
of earth, unknown —
a rapid movement that caught the eye
And there it was,
a train speeding through the stillness
of the night
stretching on and on
and it carried only
war machines
for the Empire
to beget more orphans
in blood and thunder.


The pale cowards
whisper in your ebony ear
Of a legacy that only knows
the song of clinking chains
But you know, when you listen
to your blood,
that fire has oft laid waste
To the wickedness of your captors
and as the struggle
has slipped
from slavery to genocide
This war consumes all of this society
of death
and the gunshots
that ring out, against the police
are nothing new
But know, sisters, brothers, that
you are not alone.
We meet in the streets and dance
‘round flaming cops
and shattered chains
And this insurrection, as diffuse
as our ancestry,
will not be subdued by night trains
and smiling faces.

Thought Adrift

You ask me
to judge a man’s heart
When so often
I fail to properly judge
whether I have passed
the last stair
Sending my jaw to battle
with the remnants of my skull.

You ask me
To perceive the heart of things
When so often
I fail to perceive
the distance between my lips
and the cup,
Wetting my beard.

You tell me
I am running
seeking shelter in the shadows
of dead men and wive’s tales
Yet you reduce
your well-crafted hand
to a bloody stump
in your futile attacks against the contours of your servitude

You tell me
not to get carried away
with the “God thing”
And yet the only rest you know
is won through pints of poison
and you cannot even look at your shadow
without weeping

Because you know, in your bones,
just as well as I — better no doubt —
that we are but wandering slaves
and our master is calling.


A pressure behind the eyes

A pressure
that grinds mountains into dust
through unknown millenia
in the petals of a flower
the dew upon oak leaves
the ghost
of doe’s breath
To come through
untold joy
in this page,
in this moment
that I put words to paper
and this moment,
that you read my veins,
or their shadows,


The blind witness

a bench
in a stream
of shuffling corpses
upon no one
offering repose
to a blind old man
and none of the passerby
or their pets
look upon his milk-
white eyes

Offering their best
lifeless smiles
to impress
upon the cold flesh
of moviegoers

He smelt her
soft approach,
a hesitant leap
And the little girl
joined him on the bench
as all around
the crowds pressed on.

His heart
bowed in awe
as he bore witness
to her smile.


Withering dreams

They folded
in on themselves

Soft as ash
yet still hot
as babies’ breath
And in that withering
a boy is killed
to become a man.

Your smiles
still haunt me

And often
I must fight back tears
from swallowing me whole
For I know
there’s no sense
in that,
and childhood is meant to end.

As the years stretch on
and I glimpse through the smoke
it is apparent
time is an illusion
And all we ever had
were withering dreams.

that I pray to meet you
again under brighter skies

I can’t go on
folding in
on myself
like hot wet ash and smoke
And just maybe
on the morrow
we shall see our smiles
once again.
I don’t know
how it is
to be a woman

But I really must
leave behind
all those soft illusions
that bound us together
so gently
It’s no wonder
we came falling apart.

And when I gaze across the years
stretching on
and hear your laughter,
I know, dear friend, that
really we must be knowing
many cold and fearsome nights
and with the passing
of each moon
my hands are filled
with the ashes
of withering dreams.
It’s really all right, dear friend,
bite back tears if you must
but all of this is winding
down and I lay awake at night
wondering how you’re faring
with this initiation we call life
And I pray, dear friend
that on the morrow
when we rise again
you and I will be there
sharing smiles in the garden
that never withers.


The quickening

Blood made precious
by its warmth
slows in shifting canyons
of snow
as the amethyst evening
splays a thousand
shades of majesty
valiantly heralding
the long night that swallows up
even the brilliance
of dying whispers
lost in smoke
against endless white,
a vast host marshalling forth
with ten thousand spears of gold

A child’s sobs
carried along by the rippling
of a half-frozen stream

The trees, kingdoms unto themselves
exist in stillness,
bearing blind witness,
deaf to time
and trickling streams
of red blood
turning pink in the unconquered vastness
joining the host, marching
with their golden spears
to sobs of a child
or the vanity of man.

Creeping slowly, the pain
gives way to a timeless moment
before that, too, passes.


Mud in the dark

through bowels
and hauls
and throats
and minds
Turning black
and gold
in breath
and bone
hair, whitened
and perfumes
gray upon gray
and lashed
into a single moment
giving the lie
to all the years
of vanity.


A divine falling

Every fiber of being
converges in this moment
(that stretches on…)
to overcome
to move
even a breath
closer to the One True God.
A moment’s diversion sends us tumbling
down the mountain.
Through tear-stained eyes
the lessons come to fill
(that animal emptiness of failure)
the vertigo of irreversible loss
For how else will we take heed?


“I prefer to think of peace . . .”

all gnarled in the flames
and ghosts
are made of what remains
to pave the way
for new markets
in revolutionary cellphones
and subarus

And the great white father stutters,

    “I prefer to think of peace . . .”

Even satan
tells the truth
when it serves evil ends

Are we trapped in a dream?
Do we think this is but a game?
As you shout and stumble
thousands die

And you see every day
the train tracks
the powerlines
the pipelines
The open veins
of atrocity.

Sometimes a devil spits
the truth in the faces
of fools, servants too craven
to resist, too stupid
to realize they are doomed.

He said:
we have a choice
to change our way of life
or to change the way they live
And the devil grinned
100,000 corpses later
as the water is poisoned
and the forests wither
and the children take flight
in heroin and suicide
What do you think their decision was?

We have a choice:
kill or be killed.
There are fates worse than death, dear friends,
and nothing quite as sweet
as vanquishing
those who take their victory for granted.

There will be no settling down:
I prefer to think of war.



Red or blue
black or white
regular or premium
sprint or verizon
Are these the choices
you are fighting for?

At work today
CNN spoke of another black boy
killed by the police
And most everyone shrugged it off
as though
it were a McDonald’s commercial.
In these moments
there are openings:
a sense of being locked onto a track
that sees me through the workday
to take the bus home
to the misery
of television and beer and
the fool’s gold of the internet

to shatter this complacency
And a thought flickers behind my eyes:
How to cause the most damage?

In these moments
there are moments
so great, so clear,
to realize our power to choose.

Little Brothers

Little Brothers

    for Tamir Rice

The softness
of your face,
warm as the sun’s rays,
The richness
of your brown eyes,
full of laughter,
Live on,
little brother,
in my heart.

The cowards who murdered you
will pay dearly
but that truth is not a salve
on the bleeding wound
of this world.

We will put their masters
to the flame.

Little brother,
I do not speak to you
but to our little brothers
and sisters who live on
We will do better, we will grow stronger,
smarter, more fierce
as we bleed this society,
vanquishing the complacency
of those who thrive
off the genocide
of your people,
little brother
And know, sisters, brothers,
that we are finding
one another
Be fearless —
what we have to lose is only misery!
Do not allow
the cowards to speak for you.

and stillness
are among our greatest weapons.
deep into the earth,
intimate roots toiling through the soil.
is but a day
And the future
but a moment
And death itself
when we shed all fear
As when your eyes
burn through the night
to pierce my eyelids
And I know,
little brother,
that you are not lost
And I see your face
in every flickering flame
that lights up the darkness
of a world bound to vanish.

come unbidden
at the sound of children, playing,
children who are born into a society
that means only to maim them
as commodities
as oppressors and oppressed

soaked into sweat-stained bandannas
smoke thick in the air
and all the world cracked open,
our hearts pounding in unified knowing
that we have found our footing
and anything is possible.


(originally published in the NYC ABC newsletter)

Prison Kites: Collected Prison Poems, Part One

This first bundle of poems were originally published in the NYC Anarchist Black Cross newsletter, which can be accessed here: https://nycabc.wordpress.com/pppow-updates-announcements/



Prison Mailroom Worker Blues
Economic Disadvantage
Partial Invitation
Chemical Discrepancy
Vertical Fall
dead time
January 17, 2015
Prison Existence
Cleveland, i miss ur misery
Futile wanderings in a white abyss
Weeping the world
An opening, darkening
Despicable, calculated, vicious
How can lips possess so much?
The tyranny of distance


Prison Mailroom Worker Blues

July 16, 2012

    every day of my life (sometimes even Sundays)

“the children can’t wait to hear from you. I’ll be waiting every day for your call”
“we both know you’re innocent – just hold in there, God will straighten this out”
“the bills keep stacking up & I don’t know how much longer I can go on feeding the kids. Don’t mean to make it worse.”
“hey sweet thing, hopefully you’ll get transferred to somewhere we can get closer at…”
“you fucked up your life for 8 years but that wasn’t enough – now you’re dragging me & the kids into this?!”
“don’t blame me, and don’t expect to receive another letter. Don’t bother calling”
“I wish I could talk to you right now and be with you”
“do you know what time it is?”
“if you are the dreamer, I am what you dream”
“You’re easily one of the best dudes I’ve ever known. And I mean that. I really do.”
“”I hope you know you are not alone. I have heard from people all over the country who know for a fact you are all innocent and were framed by the FBI… Dare to struggle.”
“I only know you by the way you prayed in the Lodge. I know of your desire for a better world… your heart is good…you have suffered the pain from our collective world…choose that love & courage… make room…”
“The sun just slipped behind a cloud & it makes me wonder if you even have a window…”
“There is a crescent moon that’s almost blood red”
“make them fear the beard”
“Every moment of every day we, everyone, are talking, crying, and thinking of you boys.”
“political prisoners in a country that doesn’t recognize political prisoners… and yet that is exactly what you are.”
“letter from a private prison lead to a Green Revolution, From a Man Who Can’t Stop Laughing”
“…the ‘A’ word is evolving…”
“I never got back to you…you were asking for help, asking for a way out. I could have helped you.”
“you are truly my motivation for getting out of bed…your strength is carrying me…”
“he understands that the men in the shadows are manipulative & power hungry, without any good intentions”
“I believe we have the ability to transcend. By the Grace of God!”
“he ‘cried like a baby for a long time’”
“(your niece) said to tell you “I love you with all my heart just like grandma does”
“he’s smart enough to know what’s going on in this world & it hurts him deeply”
“I hope you get this ASAP and it makes you laugh that goofy little laugh we all love.”
“writing may turn out to be your thin thread through the labyrinth to freedom”
“as you fall through the stone to the Earth itself, there will be an expansive warmth you will sense”
“last time I ran into you, you were handing out meals to needy people”
“you made me a card… written in your own blood”
“you seemed so sad…agitated…down…”
“your mind is free, your heart is free, your soul is free…what else matters”
“a billion stars go spinning through the night”
“blazing high above your head”
“But in you in the presence that will be when all the stars are dead”

    and we will never meet, you in the SHU,
me, confined to the solitude of the mail room but once, in passing, you looked into my eyes…
You, shackled… what did you see? I dare not ask, even if I were free to.
I’ve stopped caring. I know what you say, but don’t I have to feed my children? Don’t I have to provide for my house? That those who follow me may be free? Free? . . . So my eyes are cold, they no longer sparkle, that certain twinkle
In the eyes of every little girl, and so I haven’t wept
in fifteen years- in twenty my family has not gone to bed hungry!
The money for their college fund is quickly looking like more than I ever had
They get straight As in grade school and their father hasn’t run out on my
And I only have a few glasses of wine in the evenings
(and even then I don’t come close to tears – sand cannot produce water)
but what more can one expect of me, in the toil of this world?

And who are you to judge me anyway? You’re probably a murderer
Or was found molesting innocent little girls,
or some smack dealer
I never made those mistakes, committed those sins, and yet I still have to work in this miserable job with low pay and no job security, barely any benefits, because there can only be one used car salesman between my husband and I, and the schools in Youngstown are closing as quickly as the prisons are opening, and the prisons are filled as quickly as they’re opened – and my little girls, and my little Joseph aren’t growing up like this, in what this town’s become since the drug dealers took over and the blacks shoot eachother in the streets like animals, along with the spics (they’re even worse!) – they should all be locked-up, then maybe there’d be some more decent jobs for us decent
folks and no one will have to cry again…
So maybe I don’t communicate with people on the level, to the depth,
Of all these in-and-out correspondences I read every day, but my
Husband knows where I stand, and our kids will understand
And I remember a certain rabbit saying something his brother taught him…
You can’t go about blaming “the world” for your problems
The auto industry left – so does that mean morality too?
See, ya’ll simply cannot function like the rest of us
Who follow the rules, and do our jobs, and hold back our tears
Until there are no more to hide
And nothing to say
And there won’t be a college
I’ll settle for a grave.


(The following prose segment were written on September 9, 2013)

Economic Disadvantage

The sun sets and she sits in a small cell, a modest chamber in the stomach of a world that is eating itself. The sun rises and she slowly dresses her body in a khaki uniform, clearly announcing that she is but a mere appendage in a vast and hideous organism. Some call it god, some call it a dream, still others call it progress.
As the sun sits high in the sky she stares out a barred window to a landscape of concrete and concertina wire. She has known this place before, in her childhood, in the form of certain traumas suffered by her soul. A friend commits suicide. The numbness spreads as she discovers that her father is an abusive drunk. There are the boys who taunt her and threaten her with vicious sexual assault.
How can she afford to remain sensitive to the world, she realizes, if it is but a freezing storm without relief?
As the starless night sky still manages, somehow, to conjure memories of better times, she stares out across the gray barbed nihilism of this world, objectified.
She shudders with futility, enveloped by loneliness.

Partial Invitation

He has slept alone every night for the past three years.
Not quite alone, but the only one in his bed.
He curls around his pillow in a tight embrace. Sometimes, as he sleeps, one can hear a faint whimpering, as if the pillow were not enough — as if the vast reservoir of tears refused to burst forth without a warm someone there to receive them.
In three years, he has cried three times.
The world invites him to forget how to weep. A real man whimpers.

Chemical Discrepancy

She cannot understand why, yet she has little choice but to accept what she’s told.
The water is poison — don’t touch it.
That was in kindergarten. In the third grade her mother died of cancer. In the fifth grade her best friend stepped off a very high cliff. Later the same year her uncle stepped in front of a train. In the seventh grade she stopped taking adderal and started taking oxycontin. By the end of the tenth grade she had had one abortion and two miscarriages.
She didn’t care much if the pill was an upper, a downer, a goner.
The world had long since become a gray line.
She had dreams of immense storms roiling through the oceans, as a child.
Around eight years old she thought of the world as an ocean of suffering. When she was twelve a vision came to her, of a beautiful fawn in a forest (had she ever really known a forest before?). The fawn somehow conveyed to her that she should go to a stream at the end of the metro (green line), and listen. That she should always pay attention to her dreams, to the birds, to coyote. Her children would be great warriors. By the time she was eighteen she had forgotten this vision.
She had given up on the idea of love, or children.
She was adrift in a tranquil sea of misery.
She stepped off a chair.


He lays on his back, staring at the ceiling.
What was this overwhelming dream that had swept him up into excruciating ecstasy?
He grins, throbbing, lifting his legs into the air.

Vertical Fall

He became acutely aware that he is an animal.
The crisp cold air floods his nose with purpose, with power.
The bare trees are attempting to blend in with the tall grass surrounding the construction site.
Train tracks and the occasional lightpost perform their duties without hesitation: prophets, harbingers.
The pure air beneath the starless heavens carries its own clear message: resist, smash, burn. But a single coyote stands little chance against the god of progress.
And yet, they don’t stand a chance against our prayers.


She stares at maps of the future. What is this impression overtaking her?
It has been so long: she feels good about the future.
Yesterday she wept at the thought of so many millions of displaced and drowned children. But today her thoughts are of rejuvenation, of the Earth Mother healing herself.
The situation is one of inevitable defeat, as it currently exists.
Yet things can change so very quickly.
Her dress falls to the floor, exposing bare skin to the refreshing winds of mid-August.


Mother i have chosen the path of life
Mother i swear to you in this wretched ink that must be waded through like a black swamp
That you will not have to bury me.
The gray skies pull the sorrow
so gracefully condensed into such a short time
to the surface of my face, and in the cold i cough alone
Mother i have forsaken you.
Now i will not shed tears which never comforted me
But where can i go for warmth only found in Mothers?
In this time of sowing cut off from the womb of Mother-earth
i exist on a desolate plain with no fire, no warm embraces

Did we ever know a time of reaping amid all the laughter and lightheartedness of foregone days?

Only by persevering through this darkness can we come to love the flame.

(September 22, 2012)



The flames enveloping the corpse of the slave
are lapping at the feet of the master.


fleeing from the unsayable warm glow of memory and ash
i am running sideways through things.


the violence inherent in the flesh
beneath his eyes

(February 10, 2015)


The feeling of pages in my hands.
This has become my primary reality. That, and the superior transient joys.
The ants crawling across my body. Each one a lesson in patience, in compassion.
The sun summons a flame that rises through my flesh surfacing in blissful golden-brown.
Our bodies dance ’round and come together intertwining all our contradictions.
Words like lust lose their burden.

Loosen yourself inside of me, a rapturous surrender.
Tower over me, a monument of muscle.

(September, 2014)



Condemnation pours forth like magma
Affirmation it seems cannot be found amidst all the bickering in cinder blocks
held by pliers
spat upon by fiends
imitating men.

The most wretched shadows can imitate men. It is nothing special.
But they are, finally, phantasms and incapable of this realness
glimpsed in dreams and sex and prayer

The spit evaporates into nothingness
but here we feel the heat of affirmation
in the breath of a lover
the exchange with a distant being
in a close dream
being cradled by the ancestors
’round that ancient flame
And words do not mean much approaching these lightning bolts burning with realness
and temporality.

i am suffocating because my breath cannot touch your neck.

(October, 2014)

dead time

suicide is on the minds of so many so young
beautiful souls and wretched shells
of former warmth desolate,
to the touch

What kind of space are we passing through?

Were it not for the brevity already ordained in creation’s process
i too would have slipped to such a jagged passing

It’s easy to be pulled in so many frivolous directions
And yet i lose track of my innumerable blessings
What have i done to deserve this?
Why have we come to pass through this space?

January 17, 2015

It would be so much better to crawl into that summer what seems like a lifetime ago
There was the rattle and the thunder the sweat and the tears the hunger and the innocence
The warmth of his companionship, the most intimate i had ever known.
Sitting knee-to-knee eating our soup after soccer, or exercise,
the orange glow of the setting sun spilling through the bars
We talked about everything with our mouths and our hearts and our eyes
We entered into an intimate vulnerability and his beauty overwhelmed me.
i still love him, and am learning to love him more
He walked with me, sat with me, shielded me and set an example for me
and we passed the time together.
What can be said about the love?
It was the greatest i had known and i shiver
at the slightest thought
of those passionate nights
amidst that vast silence.

Prison Existence

Writhing between cinder block, with nowhere to run but into self.

    What is it like, being in prison?

Excuses quickly exhaust themselves; tv and worthless entertainment cannot answer the hunger of my soul. In the street, i could flee — or pretend. Now there is no more denial. Nowhere to run. i must change my life. Pain. This is the medium through which i move, the incessant call to action, the catalyst to transformation. Here, i do not attempt to dull it. My flight is limited to forcing memories — of the past as well as the future — from mind, and burying myself in 10,000 intellectual pursuits and sexual fantasies. What do we gain by making it all work, if we lack purpose, and the knowledge of purpose? Take your already outdated toys and your space colonies — they mean nothing by themselves. You will be just as miserable on Mars as you will be in Maryland. What was it those unwitting accomplices uttered? “Marvelous desolation.” You are the marvel, you are the desolation. First we must drink pain, and move through it like a child through water. Learn our lessons in suffering. All of civilization has been a great denial. There is no easy way, no painless panacea. Honor this overflowing pain. The present changes the past. All my memories have been recast. Even the best of them — especially the best of them! — illicit pain. But slowly i learn not to flee. A child, at last, soaking his toes in the frigid waters. What was once a dull uncertainty, roaming the borderlands of the subconscious, becomes illuminated by these flames — from where do these flames spring? They no longer flow from my head, and the once all-consuming fire in my chest has, for now, been reduced to smoldering embers. It is my flesh that is on fire! Or, rather, the flesh i have already shed — all those foregone yesterdays i cannot help but be held captive by, all the way to the womb… For instance, i have many memories, as a child, of riding through Ohio country. Now i become consciously aware of these being some of my first lessons in the ubiquitous tendency of humanity to squander its potential. We cannot, it seems, learn from the experiences of others. But allow me to share the pain of death. A person can get drunk on death. In truth, it seems there is little else worth doing with death. Hence the immense celebrations in so many cultures when faced with death. To be swept up in ecstatic bliss, in this wretched, sacred dance, hurling through some sublime abyss. This seems to be the most sensible, and sensuous, alternative to all that weeping and gnashing of the teeth. But here in prison i no longer embody ecstasy (there was a time, likely never to return), and i am reduced to weeping only. A solitary, silent weeping. And a total condemnation of this reality we have been born into. i often pull away from touch — human touch is no longer sacred or even necessary to me, unless it’s sexual. Ah, but i still enjoy embraces… Who can i mourn this, in the maddening absence of ecstasy? And so my slow death progresses — perhaps the only progress i truly know. Take your gadgets, your stars, your suffocation and your arrogance. All this talk of cradle-to-the-grave — well i was designed in such a way. And it is along that arc that i now progress. But there are many deaths before the end. Nothing i write can tell what i know. You cannot know what it has been like, unless you have passed this way before. i will not let this stop me, for now i am compelled to write. The dead circle ’round me, refusing to quite depart, and in my humble efforts i will flood these pages with this black blood, borne through suffering, a total rejection. What else could really issue forth but blood and flames and misery? i learn to eat it. Everything happens to me now. i am powerless against the world. Yes, i weep, i run, i sweat, i love, i orgasm, i disintegrate. But it is all as though it is happening to another. And it is. Suddenly i realize — or remember — that i am not only writing for the dead, but also for the dying. They envelope me. i hate them and i love them and i wish more than anything to seek repose in the mountains. Why… No, never mind the why. (i am already blind enough) For what purpose… Same question, i suppose… For what purpose am i held here, under such massive pincers, in a cinderblock, squirming to be anywhere but here… To transform my self. But this furnace necessarily produces mutilated men. It is not that i fear i am too weak (frail, obscure, dwarfed, yes). Rather, i am no longer so naive. i have only seen the servants of evil, never the master, if such a master exists. But i have been placed in a furnace which warps souls and mass produces mutilated shadows. i have seen men be destroyed. i have felt my own sanity slip — although i cannot be sure what is slipping, or if i was ever really “sane.” So enough of the foolishness. The reformers, the technofetishists, the futurists, the leftists, the commentators, the eulogizers, the nostalgists, the luddites and the noble scientists forever at the disposal of the defense industry… i am tired of all this.


Cleveland, i miss ur misery

we bury dead gods in unknown soil
grated against the jagged rocks
of sidewalks
pierced by the lying light
shooting off metal
ants swell around soda cans
and intersections
adrift in the police line-ups
of the public buses
yearning for the touch of your breath
of smoke through the snow
dripping sticky down the staircases
and alleys
coagulating blood
lacking ground to stand upon or grass to lay in
The stomach turns to cement in the onslaught
of broken bottles,
elevators gunshots and dog barks,
the dying loved ones
and the thriving fools,
that great inert mass of cold indifference:
The City.

(October 25, 2015)


Futile wanderings in a white abyss

In this intimate space, this darkness between the dumb white of the page
and the blinding light of being i must make a confession.
i hate writing poetry.
It is like a ghetto riot
like a thorough war
like a night of drunkenness
like a wet dream
like some sticky cathartic process that leaves me feeling empty,
Where have my tears gone? What wretched force has dammed up my weeping?
Perhaps if i abandoned poetry like i have abandoned intoxication
like i have abandoned hopelessness
like i have abandoned godlessness
like i have abandoned self-indulgence
Then i would be able to go on weeping and teeth-gnashing all through the night
until i could all but feel
God bearing down upon me.

(February 19, 2016)


Weeping the World

There are moments so small we are thought crazy for thinking they matter
but their gravity warps our very Being with their passing.
How can I speak to the dead? Why bother speaking to the living?
Here, in this pile of graphite and wood dust I exist suspended between the two.
There is the carcass of a lady bug that left me weeping.
The world within a grain of coffee envelops me entirely.
Do you know what it means to inch along the cold concrete floor through the cobwebs and urine?
Do you think, really, the world is so small?
I have spent years in a single puff of smoke.
It is so easy to get lost where a strand of hair meets the eraser shavings.
Or to wander dazed in the scent of animal musk.
Who encompasses all of this?
It is to the Source that I am falling.

(April 25, 2016)


An opening, darkening

Beauty exists
Between the concrete
and concertina
even here
by a hair-thin rope of steel,
the finality
of six walls

Beauty endures
but there is a lesson
buried beneath the beast’s boot:
We must learn to make our beauty light,
to feed it only raw essence

For how else can we survive
but to fling our hearts into the vast sky?


Despicable, calculated, vicious

Yesterday they stood grinning over the corpses of black men
with illusions of immunity
Speaking of patience, healing

Today with voices subdued they stumble as though half asleep
with illusions of unity
Speaking of patience, healing
They say how tragic it is that some police were killed in the line of duty
And mumble about patriotism

But this does nothing but amuse us,
the oppressed, for we know
They are the killers
enforcers of white supremacy
enforcers of poverty
enforcers of misery

They speak of a race war
when white supremacy comes under fire
And speak of progress
when black men are gunned down on camera

But we know
All the SWAT teams and propaganda in the whole world cannot stop the onsetting storm.

We will grind this empire into dust
with the names of the slain
still on our tongues.

(July 9, 2016)


How can lips possess so much?

Twenty-four years of lonely nights
Ten thousand gallons of alcohol
Countless moments of inexpressible joy
A hundred suicidal thoughts
A dozen street clashes and unrequited loves
Twenty-four years of waking to the unknown
and drifting through the endless mysteries
To be bound and gagged,
dragged in chains across the final empire,
buried beneath sun and steel
Wandering across a desolate terrain of shattered minds
Lost in so many brown eyes
And caresses
drifting across the faces of a dozen strangers

And all of this so that I may arrive
to receive the light glistening
from your lips.

(July 11, 2016)

The tyranny of distance

A crowded desert
is still a desert
And out of touch
with you
is impossibly distant

My blood
runs wild and loose
and still
i cannot reach you.

would trade
every drop
to overcome this tyranny of distance.

(March 17, 2018)


There is more warmth
in the fire of your eyes
Than any soul can consume
in a lifetime.
There is more
in the truth
than in a burning cop car.
There is more
in a burning cop car
than in all
the news.
There is
a fire
in your chest!