TRAIL OF TEARS

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Are we ever able to accommodate
or are we only ever
going to grab our chance
to forge a trail of tears?

Did it matter at all that
the Celts were over-run by the Romans
(who am I?)
or that the Cherokees were / are
put out by the new world
Americans?

We have museums to our dismay.
Museums that tell pithy stories
for children
so that adults don’t need
to grow up.

The stories have to start long,
long ago in paleo days
the longer away the better
so far across time that our
hearts don’t even care
when confronted by the
living museums nestled by
the graves of the survivors
taking a tourist
dollar to keep old craft alive.

So lovely.

The stories have to finish with
the proud image of ones who
made it good in the world
where the tears have all dried up
on sculptured faces near casinos.

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Malcolm X Boulevard Harlem June 2018

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A long lean room
bound by an unclad red brick wall
and a smoothly painted plaster board
wall with hanging art and plants
and advertising coffee and food,
was a short step of relief
off the broad street and footpaths.

The summer sun and humidity
climbed with the circuitous
walk through the panhandlers
and the fast movers out of the 125
subway stop to the Markus Garvey park,
up the small hill and back
to the Malcolm X boulevard
towards Central Park.

The crowd thinned to a
few retailers sitting under
apartment buildings.
In Il Caffe Latte pairs of white people
took coffee and brunch.
Two black women ran the kitchen.
A young white man served patrons.
Jazz played quietly thru speakers –
Miles, Coleman and others.

A black man came in, ordered coffee to go.
I wondered if he was busy
or whether I / we left a bad impression.

A white young yuppie type
came in, ordered coffees and
rushed out.
He had ginger hair.
I didn’t care what he thought.

Down the road
outside Harlem Coffee Co,
two young black yuppie types
stretched their legs at the sidewalk
table, drinking lattes at ease.

I JUST WANT A GUN

Sitting in convivial conversation
at the evening meal in west Asheville

pop …….. pop. ……. Pop….

‘How was your day?’’

Pop… pop…. Pop… pop …. Pop..

‘’Is that?’’
‘’Yeh, sounds like gunfire’’
‘’Oh, the police just turned up…

Pop..pop..pop..pop..pop..pop..pop…

at my daughter’s place’’

Poppopopopoopopopoppoppopopop

‘’What ARE they doing!?’’
‘’Can you even shoot in a neighbourhood?’’
‘’Must be the new guys that moved
in down the road.’’
‘’Someone from her apartment complex
made a complaint. She’s freaking out’’
‘’Yeh, we are outside the city limits, here.’’

Popppoppopopopppopppopppppppppppppoppopopoppppoopopopppopopooppop!

‘’They are probably target shooting
against the hillside behind their house.’’

Epigenetics is the environmental encoding
onto DNA after significant events. It can
express itself several generations later.
620,000 of the ancestors of eastern US Americans
died in the (un)civil war.
The north sustained more casualties than the south.
The south lost the war.

‘’(I) just want a gun.’’

Dance Salad – BeBe Theatre, Asheville 2018

Dance Salad BeBe Theatre June 2018

It was the ugliest thing.

Women choked and punched each other.
A brawny man with tattooed arms,
in full female ballet regalia,
stalked across the stage with demented menace.

Cancer.

Soldiers in samurai skirts and shrapnel proof helm
fought, died, loved,
in that order.

Not in order,
the women turned and lifted and fell,
heads cosseted on laps.

Something tried to burst out of my chest.

It was beautiful.

Notions of Gravity

I live in a well
in the matrix
a mass called
theeconomicsofcolonialcapitalism
balanced at the other end by
theapathyofaconsumerswarm.

The wells sag so deeply at each end
that the matrix, between, sings
like a well-tensioned drumskin.

Climbing the well, I saw a bird
with bright and trailing plumage,
swoop low.

Catching a tail feather,
and soaring up,
I got excited by the plain
appearing above the rim
and, unprepared, dropped heavily
in a bounce
so hard I tumbled clear across
and fell
into the other well.

I am nothing if not persistent, though,
For I HAVE SEEN ……
so i spend my time running
in a circle of inertia
like a circus motor cycle acrobat,
grabbing for a tail feather
that it might lift me to a more
perspicuous elevation above
the bustle of hostility.

Come with me!
Come test the gravity!
Hitch a lift!
and help me find purchase
on that vertiginous plain.

Let us make another indentation,
a nest of peace,
a dimple of care,
a valley of creativity
a new mass against
the old, deep wells.

Come on trapeziers and surfers!
Risk it all!
Leap out above the chasm
and grasp for the unseen cord,
and soar.

Speak no more of sadness
of living in the well of
perpetual and fading twilight.
Speak not of some abstracted place,
some heaven for the good.
Speak of what you have created new
where you dance across
the endless rolling fields,
forests, and soaking skies,
where I am so grateful that you helped me
with my vertigo.