March Forth, My Friends

​MARCH FORTH, MY FRIENDS
We assemble for a friend’s birthday party and it doesn’t take me long to realize all of these friends I’ve made over the years come from completely different backgrounds and schoolings with one main defining similarity. 

They are all farmers.

These friends I’ve connected with for all sorts of reasons, when it comes right down to it, enjoy nothing more than putting their hands in the dirt and making seeds come to life.

So here we are, sitting in a circle discussing a variety of tools from permaculture and the changing growing seasons, as well as what native seeds we got at the most recent seed trade and how owned land is hard to come by, so making due with squatting on abandoned land works just as well.
As the conversation moves into a reaction towards regressive politicians, the night begins to take on the look and feel of a general assembly. And as I look around me, I realize the free radicals around me are all regenerative agriculturalists. These guerilla warriors are planting corn where a rowhome burned down 20 years ago and garbage has been disposed of since.

They’re the people on the frontlines of every protest, dressed in all black, taking cracks from the policeman’s billy club. 

They’re the clowns in the background raising spirits.

In all of this, they’re the ones making moves when a lot of us feel frozen. Urban gardeners continuing to prepare for the apocalypse.
Their gardens are the next to be lost. In this city, like every city, that cares more about tax revenue than moderating development to make sure developers keep in tune with the identity of the neighborhood they rape and pillage, green space is running out.

These gardeners have already lawyered up, organized petitions, and cut locks to keep their gardens operating. Food For The People are words of revolution for them.

A day later, I’m in the streets of my old neighborhood. I’m playing trumpet in a New Orleans style death march for a cat that passed away only recently. We’re all dressed in shiny, psychedelic costumes from Mummers parades past. Some of us have drums, kazoos, fireworks and other noisemakers.

The march starts with somber notes. Slow and cold we fill the street, holding a walking vigil. I feel like I’m playing a melody that is for the death of my old home in East Kensington. We pass shoddily built condos. $450,000 4-story megahomes. They’re all ugly behemoths atop streets full of sinkholes and cracked concrete. I remember all the former lots, the former community gardens, the weird art sculptures, and the grounds we had pop up music shows in.

Some of us are weeping. A lot of us are feeling glad to feel this warmth of community. We bury the cat and our leader who is part Cherokee sings a song of returning the earth to its former glory. Encouraging the grass to grow where the burial mound now is.
A neighbor overhears one of us discussing how shitty her giant condo is. She yells, “Hey, I heard that. I heard you saying that about my house.” Drunk, the guy says he doesn’t care. He can’t wait till it falls down in three years.

There’s a lot of tension and I think to myself, “Welcome to Philly.”

Someone does eventually say, “Welcome to the neighborhood.”
At that we start marching again. This time the melodies are upbeat and raucous. “Oh when the saints…go marching in….oh when the saints go marching in.”
There are a lot of drum break downs and horn solos and the band starts singing as their followers join in dancing. 
Eventually we make it back to the house party for March Fourth.
“March Forth,” everyone yells.
A simple parade. Perhaps the beginning of new traditions.

March Forth, My Friends

The Pussy Grabs Back

THE PUSSY GRABS BACK

(photo from Earthcam on the National Mall in Washington DC)
A million women and their allies marched on Washington today. Millions more marched in cities around the world in solidarity. Even the organizers were surprised and maybe even a bit overwhelmed by the turn out. 

For those with any sort of connection to the feminine voice of our generation, we knew the numbers were going to be yuge. But being deep in it felt like finally this was the new world rising. 

A world in touch with its feminine side. A world with respect for its mothers, sisters, partners, and comrades. A world humbled by beauty, centered in love.

To be there one felt an end to the patriarchy. This system of self-destruction that has tied us all up in mountains of despair. In its stead the voices of matriarchs from far and wide came to magnify our joys, our communal struggles, and our ability to heal.

The movement on the National Mall was full of smiles between strangers, signs spouting slogans empowering pussies, and almost every issue one can think of that we face in this modern era from Climate Change to Anti-Pipelines to Black Lives Matter to Health Care As A Human Right being laid out categorically as a part of the fight.

There was a crude alchemy in the way this next wave feminism gathered its voice. Always simple and to the point with hashtag lines and meme-based illustrations. Sometimes tripping up the older generation who joined our ranks and asked questions like “What’s a Queef?” or “What is that green drawing that they’re calling Dope Kush?”

It went deeper too though. This surface jest gave way to the greatest demonstration of sisterhood that I think any of us have ever experienced. Even with a sister, as a cis male, my own personal experience of this type of sisterhood has only ever been looking in from the outside.

To be in the middle of it all, though, was absolutely humbling.

I saw women complimenting each other on their beauty. I watched as they assisted each other to have a better view or to get where they were going. The crowd made way for disabled marchers in wheelchairs and with walkers. Even with a million people amassed together in a small space, there was hardly anyone pushing up on anyone else. The few times I was bumped into, I was surprised to hear an apology.

These are still surface details.

What I’m talking about is a million non-male identified people and their allies stood on the street together and created a space that felt so safe, even the voices that might typically keep to themselves were made loud and clear. 

These are the mothers who have let the world of men throw their temper tantrums and still at the end of the day they offer warmth. The partners who have suffered abuse and emotional vampirism, and yet still find a way to forgive. Those that identify as queer or identify as trans or identify as uniquely themselves and are patient as the rest of us stumble over the simple request of stepping outside of the binary in our pronoun usage. Friends disenfranchised and attacked because of the color of their skin, being vocal on how we can stand beside them in their fight for their lives.

Sisters who give way too many hints that they’re not interested in the dudes hitting on them at bars, or catcalling them in the street, or in their homes, or work space, or wherever men are around, and yet still include men as victims of the patriarchy. Survivors of rape and sexual assault who rediscover their power and share it with the world. Drag queens and earthen goddesses. Nasty women and Black Bloc anarchists.

This safe space was their vehicle.

And as a fellow activist, it was exhilarating to see so many of these warriors standing up, some for the first time in a public forum. But we all know, they have been standing up for us for our entire lives. 

Since the moment we were born, our mothers have nurtured us. Doing this while secretly hoping the next generation would understand the love of its mother and not fall into the false egotism of its father. If for whatever reason not our biological mother, this mother planet which we stand on. To be more compassionate and caring. To take on the weight of the world and fight until it is brighter.

This is why I march. My mother. My sister. My planet. My earthly sisters. We together will overthrow this toxic masculinity. We will rally together around justice and peace. It will be the end of the patriarchy. A better world lies in the female heart of tomorrow. I see it on the horizon. It wears pink lipstick and shouts “The Pussy Grabs Back!”

The Pussy Grabs Back

2017: The Year of The Clown

I’m calling it now. 2017 is set to be the Year of The Clown. 

Day 1 and you already have some junior tricksters turning the whole state of California and part of the internet upside down with a simple prank of turning “Hollywood” into “Hollyweed”.

More importantly you have two brave Water Protectors climbing into the rafters of the US Bank Stadium in Minnesota, a thousand feet above the audience, in order to drop a huge banner saying “DIVEST / #NoDAPL” calling on the city and state to pull their money out of US Bank who is invested hugely in the DAPL pipeline. My favorite part is these brave warriors don’t pull out after the banner drop. They begin twirling around upside down and smiling for pictures like a bunch of circus clown acrobats. Adding extra drama to entertain the audience with something more empowering than the game of football happening on the field below.

Then there’s this class clown bully who a bunch of people elected to be king, and who has got together a whole insane clown posse to fill his cabinet with chaos and destruction. These clowns remind us not all clowning is fun and games. Sometimes The Clown can be the court’s worst enemy. Sometimes he can throw the whole world into a state of anarchy. But only if we give power to his antics and let him get away with his insanity. 

Clown tyrants are easily tamed and put back in their place. It requires the people sticking together and healing his tirades with hearts full of love. It requires unity.

In all of these cases, it’s important to see The Clown as merely a reflection to our own state of being. Their comedy often reveals the underlayers of our own humanity and brings light to all those traumas that may not otherwise be brought to attention. They do this through tactics that often go outside the box or approach an idea completely backwards. 

Their arguments are poignant and yet sometimes so simple. The Clown gives us a good laugh where maybe we really need to cry. Both emotions tug at our hearts and both can be incredibly healing, but only one is still full of light as the spirit goes through a cathartic shift, leaving the mind even more ready for action. 

This is the gift of The Clown.

Everyone needs a little motivation in their life. The Clown is the first step towards taking that Fool’s leap into a higher realm of consciousness. 

No looking back now. It’s 2017. The Year of The Clown. The only place to go is forward. 

Take that leap and learn to fly like a Golden Eagle.

2017: The Year of The Clown

Fighting For A Bloodline

Ever since I traveled to Ireland in July, I haven’t stopped thinking about my bloodline. It was maybe a couple weeks after I got back to the States, when the bulldozers started rolling through sacred sites including burial mounds, cairns, and other humanmade formations in North Dakota.
The pain this gave me is indescribable.
I had just been to a tiny island of a country filled with similar cairns and ring forts and burial mounds and druid rock circles preserved for thousands of years, some since 5000 BC, initially out of fear and then out of reverence for a people’s past. Some of these were registered as world heritage sites with UNESCO, but most of these sites were in people’s backyards or on a farming family’s land and no one touched them for that entire period.

Not with a tractor. Not with a shovel. None of the stones were displaced or removed in all this time.

Yes, the Irish are a superstitious lot. If any of them had come and removed a stone they would have had a penance to pay with the fairies that would’ve struck them down.
But this “fear” eventually translated into a sort of respect.
In a few days, I will finally be traveling to North Dakota to pay my respects to a people that have been so disrespected in the last 500 or so years since the European invasion of 1492.

I consider these folks family in so many different ways. I am not a First Nation person. But I relate more to the roots of this continent and the roots of my own tribal heritage than anything that has come since then in the way of thought.

Western society is cruel and sadistic. I have always found a separate peace in the Earth and the Moon. The Sacred Mother and her Luminous Sister. The way the trees grow tall and the wind brings simple wisdoms.

It is 2016 and it is about time the people of this current nation make a stand. No to industrialization. No to petty jobs for petty wages. No to digging up death to stunt the growth of cleaner and safer technologies. No to genocide.

On Monday, I will leave the Tiwa land to go support the Dakota land. I will find folks from all over the world there. Together we will be rising up, but really we will be supporting each other to get there. We will be friends… allies…friendly. Our hearts, which are all made of the same earth, will guide us.

On the surface, we will be defending the Earth against sadistic tyrants who seek to ruin us all for profit. In a much more radical way, we will be ending a centuries long war against a people that were here since the dawn of time. We will be defending their culture, their heritage against invasion, so that they can again walk upon this land and teach us all how to celebrate this existence.

We will be fighting for the bloodline. Theirs. Ours. The Earth’s. Everyone’s. In the end, this old-new way, this dying way…will have to listen.

Fighting For A Bloodline

Working on the Novel

(photo by Ras Jiro)

I’ve been writing poetry for 3-12 hours a day for the last week and a half. Sometimes working on a novel. Sometimes just working. Not always for myself. Sometimes behind a typewriter in the plaza and getting paid. Other times at home and in the backyard at my writer’s desk and drinking tea.

When I’m in the middle of writing the novel, I fill with envy for my future self who can say he is almost done and has less to write than he has written. Sometimes my head spins with how much I have left to write. Other times my head spins with all of the other novels I have left to start writing.

When I’m in the street, my mind taps into something outside of myself and I see the words typed in front of me come out cleaner and clearer each day, giving me this sense of pride for the poems people walk away with.

When I’m at home, I’m filled with this desire to share with someone what I’m writing. To just have it done and published already.

Sometimes I wonder how Kerouac did it. I wonder how Miller did it. I wonder how Thompson did it. No one ever taught me how to do any of this. I feel like I’m past the point of making it up for myself, and almost at the point of finding the things that actually work.

Today I bought 4 poems worth of groceries. It’s enough for the week. I’ve been thinking about upping the rate I suggest. People really value spontaneous poetry. I see the romance it inspires. I see the hope it gives. I feel first hand the connections to the earth it creates. I’ve written birthday poems to people’s grandmothers. I’ve written love poems to people’s wives. I’ve written surrealist poems to old beatniks who tell me about the time they saw Gary Snyder walking a purple poodle. One guy asked me to write a poem to his enemy and I wrote an apology. None of this can be translated to dollar signs.

Someone has been leaving pennies underneath the rosebush where I write in downtown Taos. The first time I thought it was odd enough. The penny was old and dirty. It looked like it had been sitting there for a while. But I’m there 3 to 4 days a week, so I would’ve noticed it before. Oddly, this was the first or second penny I’ve found in months.

The second and third time, the pennies were even older and dirtier, as if they had sprouted from the ground and were young seedlings. And there were more of them. 

They weren’t there when I first sat down.

I found the pennies after writing a poem that really struck a chord. A poem about heart consciousness. A poem about spreading abundance.

Perhaps the rosebush has been tipping me. 

I believe in magnetism. I believe in abundance. I feel absolute gratitude. I wish there was more time in the day. I wish I had more energy. I wish my focus was stronger. I wish I had the words to describe everything I dream.

Some days I realize this is the life I lead. I realize it is leading to something greater. I realize if this is all I have at the end of it, I’m okay with that.

My words continue to give smiles. These smiles continue to give me what I need to continue. 

My dream is to finish writing these stories I’ve lived, so that I can again be an open slate and experience new ones. Until then, I write endlessly.

Working on the Novel

The American Dream Is Trending…

“The American Dream is trending…”
Hunter S. is rolling out of his grave
“We almost found it,” he says
“The American Dream. It’s not dead.”

But look at all those 
who have died to claim it.
Alton Sterling. Philando Castille.
Sandra Bland. 
The people of Nice. 
The people of Orlando.
The people of Beirut.
The people of Manbij.
and for more than two decades
the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American Dream is not peaceful
it is not something you bring home
to your wife and kids
the American Dream is all the hate
and greed we read in a RNC speech
it’s the leader that gives our children guns
it’s the media that turns us against ourselves.

The American Dream is an abusive relationship
it’s rape, 
it’s pillage, 
it’s psychic vampirism for the cash-strapped and homeless,
it’s shoot a man and leave him for dead
then give itself a paid vacation.

The American Dream says, “All lives matter!” then fears and kills those that don’t look like himself.
The American Dream says, “I love the Blacks. I love the Gays. The Hispanics love me.” then throws them and everyone under a bus, or behind bars, or deports them to drown in the ocean.

The American Dream does not know how to love.
The American Dream does not know how to live.
The American Dream is one of the worst episodes of reality TV on television.
We shouldn’t allow it to be our waking reality.

The American Dream is trending…
The American Dream is dead
and we can kill it
if we stop feeding it,
if we don’t let it consume us,
if we hear it shout those last desperate cries as it hangs onto the edge of a cliff, 
and we let it go free and fall.

The American Dream is dead.
It’s time we wake up from this nightmare
and dream of something else.

The American Dream Is Trending…

A Fool Kisses The Blarney Stone

I follow the Blarney witch to the top of Blarney castle. I can’t help but be arrested by that coy smile beneath soft silver-pink curls. A smiled flash of freckles, with stories recounted of travels abroad: The Great Pyramids, Mayan ruins, Vietnam. I follow those long golden legs shouting kicks of bliss at eye level in front of me as they climb ever higher up narrow staircases, forcing my pursuit into even steeper passageways. 

I feel adrift. Perhaps from the height and elevated heart. But intuition tells me this witch has cast a spell. Perhaps not consciously. Perhaps it is the magnetism of inner lights. Or maybe I’m just crazy for some girl again. 

I run through the paralells of each of our realities. Different travels bringing us to the same place at the same time. A magnetism, where though she caught my eye much earlier in the gardens below, I soon forgot her until ending up in line behind her, as if it was perhaps a requisite test to earn Blarney’s gift of eloquence. Well, do I talk to her and if so, what do I say? 

Before the Blarney stone, we stand. The beautiful witch and a bumbling fool. And I wonder what the clown poet could ever receive from the gift of gab. Perhaps an award winning novel. Or the royalties from a subsequent film. Or maybe just the delight of a kiss with this gorgeous lass. 

But alas, she passes just out of reach. Up and over and under the brick wall to kiss the stone, and then back on her nimble feet rushing towards the exit. I lay down and do the same, and disoriented with my eyes closed, I start to kiss the wall.

“You’ve got the wrong stone,” the man holding my legs calls down. “No, not that one either. A little lower now. Yes, there you go. That’s the Blarney stone.”

So what does it mean, when a clown kisses the wrong Blarney stone and with his eyes closed. I start to wonder. I taste a mixture of earth and salt lick in my mouth. I’m still pondering this when I end up in line again behind the witch and her stepfather, this time heading down. 

“They should bring David Mitchell up here,” the step father says, making conversation.

“Oh, I think I read some of him. Not writing, so well lately?” I respond, still daft from my head upside down and letting the gab sink in.

“He’s a great writer. I got to see him speak in Houston once. I found his first few books a real treat. But the last two, he kind of lost it.”

Slowly, I recognize the subtle gift of the conversation. Minutes after kissing the Blarney stone, some one is telling me to read David Mitchell. A book by him with “Dreams” in the title. I have the foresight to write it down. But the girl is pulling him onwards, with that usual embarassment children hold for their parents striking up unusual conversations.

It takes me the whole flight down the stairs, still lost in a revelry, to realize that by being in line behind her and kissing the stone after her, I indirectly had my first kiss with the Blarney witch.

I go seeking her in the Druid ruins somewhere west in the castle gardens. There’s rock circles, rock piles, and all sorts of places to make wishes. I climb through a cave and out a hedge maze. Eventually, I find the Witch’s Stone. Here she’s represented more in her faery tale form. A stone formed to look like a much older witch with a long nose and severe eyes. The pink-silver hair has turned completely white. Upon her head is a pile of change, so there is where I leave my tithe. 

The blarney is still rushing through me, so there’s no wish I find to recite. I merely think “abundance” and go walking on into a garden labelled “The Faery Realm”. Through twists and turns I wander. Past golden flowers and fluttering streams. Eventually the maze has surrounded me. 

I come to a bend in the path and there lies upon a rock, the full wing of a magpie. The rest of the bird nowhere to be found. The blue, black, and white of the wing shining up under the sun. In my fingertips the feathers fall away naturally and I gather them up for a future dream catcher or some other craft. The witch sure has blessed me.

A kiss and some feathers. The gold in these Irish castles has my type of charm. I look back on my day of wonderment and laugh at the eloquence.

A Fool Kisses The Blarney Stone