INAUGURAL REFLECTIONS

INAUGURAL REFLECTIONS

Four years ago, today, I marched in downtown Philadelphia alongside several thousand other demonstrators who weren’t happy about a white supremacist dictator being elected into office. Before setting out onto the street, I sat with Jo Simian in his house and meditated. I was freshly returned from my time spent at the prayer camps in North Dakota and one thing, among a whole world of things that I learned there, is that going to a protest completely filled with rage doesn’t work well for my mental well-being.

It can be exhausting. Especially if there is no clear “win” at the end of a rally. Instead, I learned from relatives indigenous to this land that prayer and love can be a guiding force that steers the spirit through the tumult of upset towards a true understanding of the goals that are at hand within the heart. We faced an imperialists’ army up there in North Dakota, and though we were often shell-shocked by the tear gas clouds, mace, rubber bullets, LRADs, heat cannons, perpetual crop-dusting with rat poison, stun grenades, and all sorts of other militarized weaponry, because of the prayer our spirits remained high.

I had members of the Red Warrior Society constantly by my side, walking up and down the lines of a march or candle-lit procession, voicing, “Remember your mother. Your sister. Your lover. Think of the people you care for as you walk. Remember to stay in love as you walk.”

These simple commands were lessons that literally blew my mind and opened my heart.
Back home in Philadelphia, at the protest on Inauguration Day, I knew there wouldn’t be that type of direction from the organizers, and so we would have to be self-reliant in staying centered and grounded. Jo being the modest type when it comes to spiritual practices meant we didn’t talk too much about what kinds of intentions we were collectivizing in our meditation, We sat together in silence for 20-30 minutes and just breathed peace.

I remember, for me I set the intention for myself and for the world at large that Donald Trump as president would be the peak manifestation of toxic masculinity. He would reveal to all of us all of the ugly sides of man, and we as men would learn a thing or two from this awful reflection of ourselves as a nation. And like a peak, it would be the last thrust of this toxicity before we descended down the other side into a place of better mutual understanding and eventual healing, both of masculinity and for the victims of its tyranny.

It felt good to take that energy to the streets. Light a sage bundle and hold that prayer as we marched through this revolutionary city. A city where I’ve marched so many times before and after. To see everyone’s handcrafted signs. For me the moment was not the beginning but it was a progression of the direction I was happy more were beginning to take.

That night, I co-hosted a fundraiser for that prayer camp in North Dakota. Several bands played, a few poets read, and a group of Aztec dancers performed under the lead of Brujo de la Mancha. Maybe 70-80 people showed up. What better way to celebrate that we can overcome the rise of a fascist dictator than to connect as a collective and offer mutual aid to folks struggling near and far. The spirits were high, despite the present moment and probable future.

The next day, I woke up and drove to the Women’s March in DC. Again, I was in the streets of our nation. This time holding a sign that read “Poets For Peace”. I marched with my sister. My friend Antonio Bandalini also tagged along. Maybe 2 million people filled the National Mall.

It was hardly a march. It was more of a spectacle. The city blocks in every direction were jam-packed with people. We couldn’t have marched if we had wanted to. The organizers couldn’t get from the stage to the head of the march.

I thought, if only the organizers had planned for this the way they do in Europe, we could sit and stay and Occupy the nation’s capital for as long as it would take until the president stepped down. I guessed it would probably take two weeks. The newly elected president lost the popular vote (for the second time in recent history) by 2 million electors. We could’ve changed the law that allowed for that. But instead, at some unannounced moment, we all began to disperse. It took several hours. Some marched to the White House and hung their signs along the 12-foot high steel-barred fences. Everyone went home.

Four years later, I find it just a little odd not to be in the street today. I imagine we will be back in the streets soon enough. The rich are still getting richer while the poor get poorer. The police are still murdering unarmed people of color, while treating militarized white supremacist insurrectionists to an open door. The current president didn’t run on healthcare for all, despite a worldwide pandemic. Nor did he run on tightening regulations on wall street or taxes for the mega-wealthy. There’s hope in his policy that combats climate change, but it might be too little, too late if he’s not pushed to think bigger. He called off the Keystone Pipeline, but what about the Line 3 in Minnesota, Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia, or digging up the Dakota Access Pipeline now that a federal judge has ruled that it’s construction was illegal four years later? How about freeing Leonard Peltier?

I have faith in Deb Haaland as the head of Interior. I’m excited Bernie Sanders will oversee the Senate Budget committee. AOC, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Jamaal Bowman are all bad asses and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish. I look forward to what happens with the two new Senators from Georgia. I can’t wait to see Nina Turner join the house in a few months.

But honestly, it feels unfortunate to have the night off. To have a pandemic that still keeps us apart. I would so much rather be at a basement show or at some fundraiser at a gallery. Seeing friends and performing poetry. Continuing to build a better world. Dragging this nation forward by the underbelly of innovation available to us, who dream of a brighter future and are still restless to see it be made reality.

INAUGURAL REFLECTIONS

A Passage From New Mexico

Even from this winter cave, I feel the language of wilderness sweet upon the tongue. Chewing in my sleep. Belly rumbling amidst hibernation.

Visions are ripe with memories of late summer and early fall. But really, it’s these mountains that give beck and call. I can see their effect in every typewritten syllable.

Poems about love. Poems about work. Poems about longing for the familiar. Somehow in every turn of phrase, nature enters.

I’ve been beginning to dream again. With winter, comes a deeper sleep. But this year feels kind of different. With hope on the horizon, the mind is given space to drift and wander. Manic creations come to me in the middle eve and as I tap the keys the typewriter becomes a total dream machine full of wonder.

Ode to the psychic blues of mid-morning. Hail the passing clouds of mid-winter. Oh, how the warmth of the eternal fire spits and sputters life to find new immediate comic relief from the perpetual clutter.

It’s a long golden road to write a poem. For the last few weeks, I’ve forged each poem by the warmth of the fire. Locked away in my creative cabin south of town, the words spill outwards. I am warmed by them and so are you. To connect through this verse is to create the day anew.

A Passage From New Mexico

Columbus and Other Cannibals…

COLUMBUS AND OTHER CANNIBALS

It seems fitting that there are hundreds of Wetikos armed with baseball bats, hammers, and other instruments of recreational violence hanging around the Christopher Columbus statue in South Philadelphia. Wetiko, an Algonquin term that quite literally means cannibal, was recoined by the AIM activist and poet Jack D. Forbes to describe the mentality that Western settlers brought to Turtle Island when they stole it and then began consuming everything around them.

It seems fitting that these self-described South Philly Italians are showing up to defend this statue of their patron saint to imperialism and thus becoming inhabited by the spirit of violence he propagated during his time alive. This is a person who put the Taino people in bondage, chopped off the men’s limbs, fed women and children to wild dogs, and committed other atrocities that are well documented by his peers at the time. He is a Wetiko on a pedestal that still holds a powerful place in history that continues to shape our society today. Check out Jack D. Forbes’ book, Columbus And Other Cannibals to better understand these terms and ideas.

The reason this is especially dangerous is that a Wetiko is contagious. It is no joke when people compare racism to a pandemic. The Wetiko is the very first virus of our minds. Their rage fuels an echo of rage in those they oppress. You cannot fight a Wetiko. Not head on, at least. They will cough on you and you will get sick. To fight them, is to succumb to the spirit of violence that they propagate. You cannot stand by and peacefully let them conquer you either. They will take whatever you allow them to take.

The approach to reclaim your own body and a collective autonomy on your surroundings, must be a balanced and grounded one. It must seek to subvert the pain and violence that the Wetiko wishes to exert on those around it.

There is an easy antidote to cure yourself. John Trudell, another indigenous poet and songwriter of our time, suggests finding a peace of land and becoming a steward to its existence. The hippy generation suggests making love. Both are active ingredients to separating you from the control of the Wetiko.

But how do you spread this grounded peace to cure the Wetiko?

It takes a level head. It takes a big heart. Perhaps an energetic shield and something carried to ground the activist’s spirit. A handful of seeds? Maybe a flower. There are words that can be spoken that will spread like wild fire. A proper cleanse. So that the land within him will be chased by Fireweed, Fire Poppies, and Whispering Bells.

Kill the Man, Save The Wilderness Within.

Pull down Columbus and plant a tree instead.

Columbus and Other Cannibals…

LET US CALL OURSELVES ARTEMISIA VULGARIS

LET US CALL OURSELVES ARTEMISIA VULGARIS

The difference between us and them is we spend too much time mourning our losses and not enough time celebrating what we still have.

Do the bankers or the developers or the fossil fuel execs worry about losing everything? No. They’ll work themselves bankrupt and this whole world into lack if there is a chance there is some sort of profit to be had. Shit, even when they are bankrupt they’ll work the system to bail them out. I mean, look at it this way, a man who lost $10 billion and has bankrupted more institutions than should even be possible in a single lifetime, is now our president. That is “them”.

We need to have that kind of fearlessness to protect what we still have. We need to develop that kind of fluidity to let go of what is already lost in order to save enough so that we have ground from which we can rebuild it. The radical left needs to become more agile. More able to take a blow and regroup with a new defense. We need to carry multiple flags, multiple hats, and at the same time refuse becoming too structured, too able to be cornered and had. Bought and sold. Our tears only more room for their profit.

We still have the Earth. We have her to lead us. Does the Earth mourn the loss of a single flower at the end of every summer? No. She puts all her intentions into the roots and accepts the cycle of winter, knowing the shadow is necessary before next year’s growth.

We must be more like the Earth. The Earth is the only true radical, and we are hers to hold. Our roots are still yet to be cut. Until they are, we must hold strong and be like the garden weed. Be like the mycelium. A network of roots springing up through out the ground, never to be dug up or struck down as long as the Earth still holds us.

We call them the Black Snake, but what is our antidote?

We must be less like gardeners and more like the actual roots of our garden. Let us call ourselves Bindweed. Or Morning Glory. Or Artemisia Vulgaris. Turn this whole land back into a swampy meadow.

LET US CALL OURSELVES ARTEMISIA VULGARIS

THOSE KENSINGTON BLUES STILL RATTLING THROUGH

THOSE KENSINGTON BLUES STILL RATTLING THROUGH

Something about the Kensington Blues. The way the L train yo-yo’s through everyone’s backyard. Toxic grit and refuse spattered across abandoned lot lawns. Contrast between condo and dilapidated dive bar. Brooklyn style gastro pub and abandoned warehouse. City of shells quickly being filled with new hermit crabs.

The setting for what once was a community of strong guitar savants. Those who stuck around seemingly rising to nostalgic fame. And yet, in their songs you can picture them sitting by themselves in their living rooms twiddling away on some chord progression that has the harmonics and melody of this desolation of peak capital.

Over and over again the same chord like a drone. Causing the body to whirl like in a dervish. An opiate nod between K & A. Soundtrack to post-apocalypse. Wild westerns just across the border in East Kensington.

It’s three or four songs in when the Solar Motel Band really starts creating some electric friction, and Chris Forsyth is shredding his guitar cable against the fret board amassing a wash of noise that shocks the inner core, when I realize all this while how the musicians of this corridor have developed not just their own style, but a pseudo-language in which they respond to one another. The former music scene that used to reside here now dispersed, replaced, growing up with new parts, but still these guitar heroes offering up their twin stacks full of feedback. I wonder if this song now being spun is a nod to Purling Hiss or Birds of Maya or going back even further in the lexicon to acknowledge the art warehouse foundations scoured by Bardo Pond.

The language in its current evolution a pop rock that speaks to a wider audience, and yet sets it on repeat in order to break it down, piece by piece, until the whole shit has gone up in flames, and then they rebuild it. Bass rumbling through a fine walk around town, while guitar flutters between verse and solo and static and wall of frequencies both angelic and alarming. The audience stuffed into a dark, low-lit room, with an open window to the L train and Front Street as the backdrop to the stage. A “Renaissance painting” of viewers looking in from the outside.

Almost five years gone by since I left this neighborhood to the vulture capitalists, only to come back and find the artists have dug into their trenches and become even more prolific.

There are dream tones in the Kenzo Haze that impregnate even the most obstinate transplant. Perhaps the language between these guitarists is not theirs, but the land’s. Open terrain that was consumed by a wave of development, and yet still there are still these white elephants of warehouses glowing brightly under the moonlight full of such brilliance waiting to be repossessed. The great art factories of the River Wards.

It’s almost midnight and the song, at least now an hour and half long continues to hum out into the open air. It seems to say, “This ain’t the Grateful Dead. This is the Grateful Living!”

I wonder what the passengers on the L train rattling through these Kensington Blues are dreaming of tonight.

THOSE KENSINGTON BLUES STILL RATTLING THROUGH

The Urban MYTHOS

THE URBAN MYTHOS

The Zen Lunatic sits at the center of the garden and pulls at the mugwort. His motions are deliberate and fluid demonstrating how he is one with his surroundings. This little patch of Earth amidst the concrete chaos surrounding it. Attentive to detail, over the years he has carved out this niche for the concrete to rewild.

As he pulls at the roots, he talks about the herbs and medicinals and wildflowers that surround him that most people would consider weeds. He talks about the dead nettle and the red clover and spring mint and of course the mugwort.

“Last year, I really whacked away at the red clover and I don’t think it was too happy with me. It just didn’t flower that much, even where I wanted it to.”

“But I thought we gathered the red clover last year.”

“No. That was two years ago.”

“Oh, I thought that was last year.”

“No. That was two years ago.”

“Oh.”

“This year I’m just going to let it do what it wants to do. And I think we’ll both be happier”.

He motions me over to where he’s standing and points at the pathway in front of us.

“I think the plants have finally figured out where they’re supposed to grow. They’re growing in these borders around pathways and then where people walk there’s more of this groundcover type stuff that lays low to the surface.”

He kicks at the ground to show how low lying the plants are where there is a pathway from people consistently walking on it over the years. Then he shows how the ground is sinking in some places.

“I want to build a multi-level terrace around here leading down to where this tree is growing. But I might need a team for that. I could probably do it myself, but it would take a while.

“That’s something that always impressed me about this land. It has so many interesting contours and subtle slopes for the plants to navigate.”

I snap a photo of a pair of red Air Jordans hanging from the telephone wire glowing orange in the golden hour of the setting sun. It’s interesting to me how the background of the photo is what makes the photo. The shoes alone describe the setting, but they need pieces of the setting like the one-liner tags sprayed on the concrete wall in the lot across the street and the water tower a few blocks away beside the back sides of several dilapidated rowhomes to describe perfectly what the shoes represent.

I snap another photo of the new Comcast tower downtown framed by two abandoned row homes and a whole bunch of wild space from where we stand. I talk about how I could post these photos on Instagram but I don’t think the audience there understands the language they work in.

“It’s like an old language that I was used to when I first moved to Philly that you could find all over the place in publications like Megawords, but I don’t know if anyone pays attention or knows how to read that language anymore.

“Like the language is saying this is blight and that is the ivory tower of corporate powers that profit off the poverty here. But there’s also beauty here. Like the land is rewilding out here. It’s free. It’s a jungle. It’s a type of landscape the people that live over there have no understanding for.”

He leads me over to the mugwort border wall near the entrance in front of the Aztec sculptures that greet all who enter.

“Look at this pathway here. The garden grew this one all on its own.”

It’s a natural zig zag in the clover and mugwort. It’s like a giant snake slithered and sidewinded through the garden recently. I look at the dragon sculpture next to me glowing red and orange with a beard made of flames.

“Hey, man! I think it’s that dragon. He came to life and slithered through the grass.”

“Yeah, man. It’s like the garden grew a tail.”

The Urban MYTHOS

POETS FOR PEACE, TOUR NO. 8: DAY 2 – RECAP

POETS FOR PEACE

Tour no. 8

Day 2 – Blacksburg, VA: recap

on the road with Marian McLaughlin (@marianmclaughlin) and Erin White (@movedtomove)

Morning ceremonies at the James River in Richmond. Reflecting on all the generations present at the reading the previous evening. Everyone from Erin’s parents and her father’s bandmates to the youthful presence of a 6 month old, wailing along to the Appalachian chords of his father playing the banjo.

We offer several marigolds to the James. A decree of peace to meet these tidal waters’ flow. Spring warmth at our shoulders. The future ahead of us.

The drive to Blacksburg is long, but gorgeous. Blue mountains. Green gables. Magenta redbud blossoms. Gradients of ecology expressing ecstasy. Virginia is for lovers.

The Hahn Horticultural Garden offers a backdrop of tulips and crocus. Coy pond trickling by. Lights and magic as the sun begins to fall behind the horizon line. There’s a report from the front lines of a movement stewarding the land in opposition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline. We hear the statistics of climate change. There are natural made scents passed around to go along with the poems. Poems about personal experience and bouts of sadness. About maintaining the sovereignty of the body. About a love so passionate it makes all the woes of modern society go away. The birds singing to the sun’s retreat. Collaborations between poets and nature.

At a certain point, the midsummer night’s dream is awaking. Marian McLaughlin providing the chorus. This is the type of place where magic is upon the eve. We like sprites glow purple and pink, as the moon rises above to light the scene.

POETS FOR PEACE, TOUR NO. 8: DAY 2 – RECAP

Poets For Peace, tour no. 8: day 1 – recap

POETS FOR PEACE

Tour no. 8

Day 1 – Richmond, VA: recap

on the road with Marian McLaughlin (@marianmclaughlin) and Erin White (@movedtomove)

An ease of being settles upon the car as we leave the congestion of DC and enter the South. We write haikus into the car register, noticing the redbud tree blooms and the state mantra, Virginia Is For Lovers. Romance is on the horizon with the fabric of nature waking interweaving with the road.

Richmond is a green city with trees growing out of ruined mills and the James River flowing through providing relief for the 80 degree temperatures. Our host for the evening @earthfolkrva is a giant farm in the middle of a residential area of Southside. The residents are out working the land and already the land is rich with herbs and produce. We have several stages to choose from between an old farmhouse built in the late 1700s or the backdrop of a vintage camper. We decide to use the white facade of the garage for projections as the sun goes down.

Fellow Earth Folk arrive, and soon the night kicks off with a special charm. The White family is there and Erin’s father has brought his bluegrass band to set the mood for the get together. Appalachian lilts that set the spark to light the bonfire, as golden light reaches the trees from the sunset and all the birds above cry out from their roost sharing an excitement towards the evening’s warmth.

Erin and I perform haikus with accompanying movements and behind us a pack of Coydogs start to howl and wail their approval. This little patch of forest. Maintained by noble stewards. There is talk of the land and its original inhabitants. Meeting grounds between the Powhatan and Algonquin. The exchange is scored by Marian McLaughlin’s odes to the change we are seeing to the planet in our lifetime. Receding wilderness and extinction of species.

The open mic begins and in the voices I hear how synchronous it is the folks who have gathered here. True Earth Folk. Fellow Earth Lovers. Truth Seekers and Fairy Kin. Their words describe the experience to be one with nature. Wild Folk fearless before Late Stage Capitalism. The spirit they offer to the land is enough to save it for future generations.

Poets For Peace, tour no. 8: day 1 – recap

WE’VE GOT THE POWER

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WE’VE GOT THE POWER

The lights dim and you can hear the soprano sax in the stairwell echoing a rambunctious discordance. It provides background to the dull hiss of the noise track the DJ’s cued up and everyone who talks over it.

A musician walks out with a kora, handmade from the driftwood of the Delaware River.

Another musician walks out and starts kicking the keys of an upright piano, the not-so-subtle signal for the crowd’s dull din to slow.

Sounds of the saxophone descend the stairwell and enter the darkened hall. Held by a hooded figure, an African Lion in a cloud of fire emblazoned across the breast of the player, who is busy summoning the heartbeats of the ancestors with squeals of lightning struck out by his every puff of thunder.

The room is shook to pause. Everyone frozen as this chieftain rounds the room and takes his throne. From there he begins to strum the winds to storm. The kora like a sorcerer’s staff bending under the weight of all the years casting spells. He does this till everyone is properly stewed and mind’s are blown.

Then the golden soprano sax is again drawn. It lights up the room all on its own. Staccatos and frequencies that jar the audience to life.
The whole crowd snapping fingers, shouting, “Yeah, man! Go!”
Kicking legs, toppling drums. Piano again kicked to riff some dreams to be born. The whole sound cosmic. Like Sun Ra re-embodied. But this ain’t the Marshall Allen show. This is the midnight after hours post-show. Desert to a five course meal. It has some of that same soul and takes it further with elements of magic exposed by the light of the moon.

The sparks fly upwards. West Philly atmosphere grows. All those healing tones. And everyone knows…these moments fill the spiritual impact of all this city’s potholes. Chemistry for the heart chakra.

Zip! Zoop! Doo bop! Beep! Bam! Boom! Go Man! Go!

The machine can cut at the life chords. Stomp on this city’s residents’ souls. Pound away at them with all that concrete gloom and doom. Tear away at the pieces that are dearest to hold. But no one’s got the power to make the legends grow old. They’re not dying, no. They’re growing more power, full! Feeling the call. Blasting those spiritual hymns and tones. The jazz that’s needed to take us home. Back to our hearts immemorial!

Reminding us, we’ve got the power! We are the power of storms!

WE’VE GOT THE POWER

POEMS FOR THE PIGS

I jump into the fray again. This time unintentionally. When I show up to Santa Fe, I find out the republican governors from all over the country are meeting at the conference center to discuss conservative policy. Somehow I didn’t get the memo. There are protestors on every street corner. But it’s nothing like Philly in 2017 when the GOP showed up a week after the inauguration.

We protested for over a week, with snake marches leading to organized marches, leading to dance parties, leading to tens of thousands of people surrounding the hotel all those pigs were hiding in. Inside, the traitor in chief probably told everyone that his supporters had come to celebrate his victory, but outside the energy was livid. The marches didn’t really lead anywhere, but that was the beginning of so many activist groups finding alliances in the streets. It was a time to see each other and find hope in the multitudes that love was still possible even in tyranny.

In Santa Fe, things are a little more low key. Mostly Women’s Marchers sans pussy hats holding signs that outline that Santa Fe is a sanctuary city and accepts refugees. No action, but frankly, it’s just exciting to see so many signs walking through the streets, mixed in with the usual amount of summer tourists, heading towards relieving a group who’s held a corner for a few hours or stopping to take a bathroom break. The retired mothers of the city taking their time off to push through some progressive messages to the backwards Man, himself.

They stand outside the El Dorado hotel picketing the buses full of governors’ aides that pull in. They stand outside the Cathedral of St Francis de Assisi catching the evangelicals who want to see architectural history. Anywhere where the buses drive through, they are there to greet them.

I set up my typewriter in the plaza next to a group doing a silent vigil for the children at the border separated from their families. They hold signs with simple mantras like “Free The Children” and “Everyone Welcome”. In front of them there are a dozen or more baby shoes. The symbols there are heavy.

Meanwhile, I write poems for children about dreams of mermaids and family road trips. The dialogue being translated through poetry. It doesn’t escape me how there’s no difference between these children who get to live out their freedom and the ones currently locked up in cages, maybe never seeing their parents again.

An afternoon turns to evening and I change my location several times, till I find my prime spot for the late night dinner crowd, and that’s when it happens. I’m not quite paying attention because there’s so much going on. But out of the corner of my eye, I see one of those huge busses pull over and a dozen or more suits get off of it. They are surrounded by police and secret service, who seemingly appear out of nowhere. Suddenly, the streets around me have been cleared.

It’s Mike Pence who stops and reads my Dream Poet For Hire sign. He’s chatting to Susana Martinez, who I guess is giving them all a tour of her state’s capital.

“Write a poem about me and my wife,” he says.

Obviously, I’m boiling over with malice, but I’m the Dream Poet and with my mask on I put on a good show entertaining his midwestern interest.

The poem writes itself, keys mumbling away. It talks about how love can’t be defined by time or place, age or gender. It’s a spark that speaks beyond the limits of our patriarchal understanding. Love thy brother, love the human race in all of its manifestations, love thy mother, love this planet and all the ways she holds us in nurture. Love is love is love and hate for the love between two men or two women or two people who choose not to define themselves within a binary does not erase the divine essence within that love, something that is so magical it inspires all of us to keep living through the madness.

I fill the page and read it back to him. His icy eyes look at me with a smile that says he knows I gonzoed him, dropping the bill in my case anyway, and slipping the poem in the breast pocket of his suit jacket. He moves over for the next one, which happens to be Governor Martinez.

“Write a poem about immigrants,” she says.

Again, I smile and put on extra airs. The poem coming full throttle. I write about the state of New Mexico still being a foreign country. How families are just moving between their ancestral homes. I write about the Pueblos. How this is their land and our borders hold no power. I write about the railroads, about the white settlers, about the slave owners. I write how an elected official in a state that is still Mexico, and before that stolen land, better reflect on who she represents. Amnesty for all refugees, I write. Open the borders.

There’s a silence after I read the poem and I think I’ve gone too far. But again, there it is the bills dropped and the poem stowed away somewhere safe.

Next it’s one of their aides.

“Oh, you write haiku, I see. Write a haiku about Washington DC.”

Sinkholes everywhere
the swamp sinking as it drains
swamp things go kerplunk.

Someone asks, “Are you related to Brett Kavanaugh?”

“No relation. The Kavanaugh’s are a proud clan of peacemakers. No way he’s really one of them.”

And then that’s it. They get bored and move on. And I’m left there wondering if it really was even them, or perhaps just another tour group of Texans.

POEMS FOR THE PIGS