Category Archives: Poetry

Poems for those who like them.

Shifting Sands of Certainty

It’s overcast. Again. In an area known for its endless sunshine, clouds have put a damper on the whole year. The unusual weather is nothing new and I shouldn’t be surprised that another summer has been robbed by rain. The ever optimistic sailboat operator that stopped by this morning was still pleasant though his business suffered immensely from the rain. The flesh eating bacteria infesting the Gulf probably didn’t help, either.

The elderly couple that just left echoed the worries of everyone these days…what about the banks? What about the government? Is our money safe anywhere? The aged man opened the door for his wife twice as they were coming and leaving, a relic of an older time. She allowed it; expected it—just like when she handed him the book and tin she was holding as she went to stand up from the chair as the meeting began. She expects to be cared for as he has always provided. There was a certainty to their actions though they expressed uncertainty of the future.

The future’s uncertain and the end is always beginning. Older generations seem shocked by the uncertainty; perplexed that something that was once so stable, so familiar has been uprooted and changed so quickly before their very eyes. Kids these days…

But the kids only know uncertainty. We have to be adaptive and keep up to keep afloat and if we’re constantly distracted by the things we have to pay attention to to attend to our payments of debt then we’re too easily distracted. Distraction is our survival method and it’s not a new one, but it has become necessary.

When the only thing certain in the world is uncertainty, there’s no living in the future but there’s a lot of contemplation about it. There’s barely living in the present as woes are echoed over buying and spending and healthcare and war. There are always the wars, but they get pushed to the backburner. What about this healthcare stuff?

Well, what about it? Go crunch the numbers and try to tell me it’s not about crushing the middle class already hanging by a thread. Try to tell me how much I need a service from a broken system that will be collapsed by the time I’m old enough to receive its “services.” What can I say that hasn’t already been said better? I won’t be bitter about it, but I will defy it.

As a creature whose moods are moved by the flows of the lunar cycle you could say I’m especially moody today. Some might chalk it up to Cancerian emotionalism, but I don’t believe in that brand of voodoo. I’d like a potion; however, to give me back the certainty I had when I was eighteen.  When I got that way too big third eye tattoo on my back that admonished me and whoever read it to “Be Here Now” back then and in the future. Back when socialism seemed viable and people were naturally good. Back when I knew everything and the world was my eel to be wrapped in rice and seaweed because pescatarianism was so enlightening…man. I’d go to school for cheap, get a degree, piddle around a bit, maybe go back and get a PhD. in some literary field so I could be a professor and publish some books on the side and feel so insulated and secure in academia, perhaps looking down my nose at people who dared to watch Fox News and own an appliance business or something…useful to society.

So, I’m great at tangents, but that’s no skill and maybe there’s some eloquent way of tying it all together by the end of the blog post or maybe this one is just an adventure in itself. I’m better at beginnings and endings, says all writers especially bad ones, says me. So, this whole middle part is the part that we were taught in our English 101 essay writing to pass the FCAT class was unimportant. The part people glaze over, and doggone it you put the least interesting stuff in that middle paragraph because “people forget the middle of something and only focus on the beginning and the end.” Except that that is not what real life is like. I’m nearing the middle of my life at a break neck speed and desperately seeking meaning and direction, but have been schooled that the only parts anyone wants to hear about is the beginning and the end so should I just stop? God forbid.

There I go, I just checked my notifications on Facebook because of that old distraction. I didn’t stop thinking about what to do with what I hope will be the middle part of a blog entry, but I don’t know that I added any new information to hold your attention.

Two more kids got shot at a school today.

Two kids, once nearer to the beginning of their lives than I am, but beating me to the end. And I’m still in the present trying to comprehend what makes kids kill. Trying to make sure I survive the “boring” middle part of my life while feeding my narcissism every now and then when those kids don’t even get to enjoy the joy of banality that is presence instead of (what I hope isn’t) darkness forever.

They want another gun debate. All of ‘em. They want a solution to the debt. They want a solution to healthcare. But no one wants to know why all of these problems persist. No one wants to go back to the beginning and ask what the cause is. If they did, they would be forced to take a difficult look at themselves. Not as they appear outwardly, but the inner man who knows his secret sins. The heart of man that is greedy and self-serving and knows no other way and no matter what value you attach to this trait it is what it is; it exists. A book I was reading about how to write well (I didn’t stop reading when I dropped out of college, you know—and the author of the book hates that term), and in the PC environment which has thrived he warned the reader to avoid using male pronouns more often than female ones. So, maybe I should say, “The inner woman who knows her secret sins.” But…isn’t that sexist? I can’t keep up now, and it all sounds a little corny.

Now, whether as some claim greed is good or greed is evil, it matters not. We’re all greedy on different levels. We all want what we can’t have and we all want to prevent others from attaining things we feel entitled to whether or not we admit it. As much as I don’t want to admit it, that curmudgeon Ayn Rand was right. And yes, a good many of us simply want to be left alone. We want to go to work, get home safely, be loved by someone or many someones, eat, shit, and get some sleep. The minor disruptions will be ignored even if they are kind of major. We’ll pay the penalty for shitty “healthcare,” we might bitch about a war, but we’ll keep trudging along until we can’t anymore because it is at our front door in a suit wearing black boots.

Life is moving so fast and sometimes all I can think about is what will happen when I can’t keep up anymore. When I can’t have 30 tabs open absorbing different nuggets of mostly useless information to store in the vast infinite amount of grey matter in my mind (or my brain? Has anyone figured out that one yet?). When my husband opens the door for me as I delicately walk into some office and ask a much younger person what they think will happen. They don’t know, either, but hopefully by then I’ll be less concerned with finding certainty. Hopefully, I’ll have kids of my own that weren’t sent to public school where they were made lambs to the slaughter before they reached the age where they got to know everything and then realized they knew nothing and yet couldn’t submit, for knowledge then would be so attainable and yet so far away.

Kind of like it is now.

If I’m to obey my mistake tattoo completely, I have to let go of this worrisome uncertainty of the future. But we were never meant to. I am different from those old folks and closer to those kids in varying degrees of certainty. How could they have possibly gained anything from being aware in the present moment when they were shot? But I was so certain when I got it hammered into my skin that the mantra couldn’t be wrong and so many people remark on how “deep” it is. It isn’t deep. It isn’t shallow. It just is, and not in the pseudo-metaphysical kind of way. I can’t ever “Be Here Now” except in the flesh, and am thankful that only the flesh can be stamped with the kind of regressive ink that is a tired saying by a dying doctor. My mind, though, is always doing somewhere else later.

I have to reconcile this anxiety with action and becoming comfortable with uncertainty is paradoxical. My mind understands the need for it, but those pesky emotions always seem to get in the way. Don’t worry, I’m working on fixing my hormones I promise, but I’m just a lady. Am I still allowed to use “lady?” I’ve always been fond of the word, but that author might disagree. Is becoming wholly comfortable with discomfort the real singularity? In our mind we can justify any belief and use mental gymnastics to prove it is true, but is action the proof that it is solid? I know many brilliant philosophical nihilists, but how often do their direct actions align with their beliefs? Same for any extreme stance, many that I personally hold. If I can comprehend that uncertainty is the norm and I must adapt to expect it, the obvious hard part is being prepared physically. And that’s the beauty of the paradox; we are all inconsistent sometimes all the time in regards to what we mentally accept and what we physically act out. So, while I can make a declaration that my generation is better prepared than former ones for uncertain times, it doesn’t make it true (though a compelling case can be made).

Am I ever going to get to the point, now? It seems like the boring middle part is over and now it is time for the explosive end, the clincher, the “aha” moment. But maybe I don’t have one. Maybe I’m still searching for how I can keep sane in this overcast town, maybe I am connecting why so many good writers move to such dreary places to be productive, maybe you’re just reading a therapy session for someone who doesn’t have any answers. Someone who doesn’t know anything, but has a lot of opinions. Someone who tends to keep quiet when something monumental happens until more evidence comes out and whose silence is mistaken for judgment and whispers are overshadowed by the howls of those more vocally extreme–the ones who write headlines that generate controversy and are adored by those content to follow. The one whose words are louder than their actions when they don’t know anything, either. The ones that those old folks look to for answers and instead of saying they don’t know they instead give advice that they can’t follow themselves. If anything, I’m striving to be genuine in an insincere world and am sometimes genuinely insincere. I wrote a poem about it, maybe I’ll post it sometime. Until next time, I’ll be trying to align my beliefs with my actions and trying to get comfortable with paradoxes because maybe someday, probably tomorrow, the sun will be back.

And I’ll be on solid ground again.

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Filed under Inspirational, Poetry, Srs bsns

A Dedication to the Many Victor Steens

This is an old poem I wrote in 2009 after a black boy named Victor Steen was killed by City of Pensacola police deputy Gerald Ard on his way home from a friend’s house where he was working on a gospel song. He was unfairly portrayed as a troublemaker by the local media, and there were some seriously suspicious circumstances surrounding his death that are included in the poem. I met his very kind family who was being constantly harassed and intimidated by local police to the point where they were afraid to leave their homes and their employment suffered.

It was shortly after the murder of Oscar Grant and other police brutality cases, and I found it particularly relevant as these instances seem to be on the rise. I included the video from the cruiser, so you can see for yourself how this officer broke numerous laws simply to harass a terrified boy who had done nothing wrong. The officer was given a paid vacation only to be reassigned to the area despite public outcry and other complaints of formerly abusive behavior. The family did end up winning a lawsuit against the city a couple years later, but the money they received can never replace the life of their child.

The debate was centered on whether or not it was right for him to run from the cops. Anyone who has experienced harassment from the police knows the intense fear associated with their interaction, and I fault no one especially a young, black boy in the South who decides it is in their best interests to avoid any altercation with them.

It was not running from the cops that ended this boy’s life; it was a flagrant abuse of power by a determined agent of the state that was known for causing trouble in the area.

The headline read, “Tragedy, but not a crime”
When it was a travesty, cop outta line
But who polices the pigs?
Who do you call when a cop kills a kid?
Do we need cocktails Molotov
When a cop breaks the law?

Policeman passes prevalent prostitute in pursuit (silently)
Of a boy on a bike whose skin color
Was suspicious
Passing a construction site getting closer
Suspecting the boy could steal
A bulldozer?

Who polices plotting, planting, paramedics,
And truth hiding fire trucks?
Who cops the cop outs drop outs in the courtroom?
With their cigarettes and scorn, thorns reaching upward tearing truth…

It takes a lifetime to recover from a loss
And just seconds to gloss
Over
Turns, and speed limits, and curbs, and guns, and bullets
Finding their way into a dead boy’s pockets
With no prints…
Well, someone had the gloves

Mrs. Piggy and planter paramedic switching bunks
And reversed testimony from trust fund punks
Laughter from hearts of shrunk
At the video of a boy falling
Falling up
Into the accelerator of a justice abater

::::::::::“Hey that cop killed that kid!”
“Nevermind, we could get in trouble, it was
Unavoidable!”
Judge says,
“No crime here, let the chief deal the fear.”
(But you better not dismiss Piggy Ard ‘cause you’ll have
The fraternal order of police to deal with)::::::::::

I have seen the little piggies in their
Starched blue black shirts
Getting worse and worse
With time
Brothers forever, regardless of the lies

Inconsistent delinquencies
Well, I see why
How can you see the truth
Behind the fire truck guise?

My town, you never fail to depress me
When defending a hog
Through racist emanations
In the newspaper’s blog
Like,
“Good job Ard,
One more thug off the street.”
Lacking the time to meet
The mother who lost her son
The sisters who lost their brother
The brothers who lost a friend

God knows it’s not a sin to
To ride a bike at night
With darker skin
Or take flight
From cops too lazy
To use legs right

We would like to make
A citizen’s arrest
‘Cause if the cops won’t police themselves
It’s up to us to attest
To their power filled delves

Better yet, let’s know our rights
And make this an intellectual fight
Point and shoot cameras at night
Until the truth comes to light
We’re still in the dark
As long as our bite is weaker than our bark

Too often “to serve and protect” means
To rape and neglect
To hate and eject
To shoot not reflect
To lie and inspect
To kill,
No regrets

The abuse of power behind badges runs free
But don’t listen to me
Read your headlines and your by-lines
But most importantly
Read between the lines

The headline read, “Tragedy, but not a crime.”
When it was a heresy along the blue line
But who polices the pigs?
Who can you call when a cop kills a kid?

*Author’s note: I wish to apologize to the animals in the genus Sus. The domestic pigs as well as their wild counterparts are highly intelligent and mostly peaceful animals; only lashing out in the case of real threats. It is insulting to them to equate them with abusive Persons In Government.

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Soapbox Idol Rant at Porcupine Freedom Festival X 2013

This video is of my spoken word rant for Soapbox Idol. I used to write a lot of political poetry, but had to throw a lot of it out once I reassessed my political beliefs. The contest had me super nervous as I had to follow some amazing ranters that I have a lot of respect for. The ending was even more surprising as we had to improvise a one minute rant, and it really had me shaking because I had spent a considerable amount of time rehearsing my poem but am not very great at coming up with something on the spot. (The joke about the f-bombs at the beginning of the second rant was in reference to their frequent usage by the three men who preceded me.) It was an honor to be alongside such passionate folks. My focus has shifted slightly, and I want to start doing more spoken word so I can focus on how I am getting my message across. I’m in love with the way words can be arranged and expressed to clarify intentions and move people to action.

Being at Porcfest inspired me to focus more on activism and informing, but also to get back to my roots as a poet. Art has always played a significant role in my life, and I truly believe that using art in multiple forms to express controversial thoughts is pivotal in any movement aimed at changing hearts and minds. I also want to find a way to utilize hoop dance in a similar way to my writings. I picked a poem of mine that was originally about the unethical drone warfare taking place all around the world perpetrated by the U.S. government. Realizing that it could be broadened to include other topics, I added some verses and a non-rhyming couplet ending that hit on some of my other concerns as someone who has grown up in a post 9/11 world and views the future with concern tinged wonder. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, but I don’t want to only write; I want to resonate. A special thanks to Drew Phillips and Red Pill Recording for filming and editing this video.

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June 30, 2013 · 8:29 pm

We Can Do It

We can fight and die
Together brothers and girls
Bombing the dying

We can do it, girls
We can kill the enemy
Formed in our mind’s lie

With drones from afar
Killing and drilling children
Under oil sands

Let’s get you drafted
For the wars of tomorrow
‘Cause…equality

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