Daily Archives: November 23, 2014

Left Left Right

Originally posted 3/1/2010.

Left at the top of the stairs.
Another left, then a right.
Here’s the blue room I lived in for years,
the room I drywalled and painted for myself
with my father’s help.
It’s still small.
It’s still blue.
I chose the color 
and the embarrassing blue shag carpet.
I helped to lay the oak floors that underlie that —
beautiful wood I covered with blue shag carpet.
Hours fitting new grooves to the just laid tongues,

nailing through the new tongues at the right angle.
I used to smoke dope out the window
with a pipe I made from a radiator valve
listening to my first FM radio,
freeform programming, late 60s,
Mickey and Sylvia after Rashaan Roland Kirk.
I stopped thinking the world was rigid and orderly.
No one’s vacuumed since I left.
I found a cannabis seed in the blue shag carpet.
One time I dropped acid here 
and decided to stare at myself in the mirror 
for too long. I took a piece of notebook paper
and wrote a whole story 
that sounded pretty much like this one.
If I lived here now 
I’d tear up this rug
and see how the oak planks have held up
and if it they were still good 
I’d stain them and polish them
and that would be the floor.
I’d paint the walls a different blue
and when I was done I’d play the radio 
and smoke a big joint
in plain view of the windows
while thinking about Rashaan Roland Kirk
who owned the blues and one working arm and no sight,
I’d follow up by singing
“Love Will Make You Fail In School”
like I haven’t in years.
It’s still true, I can vouch for that;
I wrote about it once,
long ago, with a blue pen
on a piece of blue lined notebook paper
while the carpet wiggled and writhed.
My eyes wouldn’t stay in my head.
They might wander off again right now, my eyes might.
Take a left, left.  Take a right, right.
I could be blind on a cold oak floor
if it meant I could feel free again.

The History Of History

Originally posted 11/4/2010.

They’re coming for us. 

Again, the sound of death-bees in the air. 

Again, batons and the hiss of tear gas. 

Right back
to the bright red world of vigilance
we should have been shed of
dozens of, hundreds of,
thousands of years ago.

Hunters are coming
with traps and guns and laws. 
Our ears are to the ground,
listening for the tumbling of their wheels.
There be giants coming for us — 
god-henchmen, blue hungry curs;
every one wolf-eyed,
expert and patient.
They’re coming in new hides,
new weapons, new uniforms,
but they have the same old saber teeth,
they’re the same old giant bears
who thought we were made
for their survival needs, they think
we’re the same old prey that got away,
and they’re thinking, “Not this time.”

We thought to outrun the past,
but it got faster.
We’ve got to get smart
the way we got smart 
the last time this happened. 
We learned fire and song then,
learned to shout directions to each other
on the run,
learned when to turn
and make a stand.

Time to pick our hands up
off the hoods of our cars.

Time to talk to the neighbors,
talk to each other,
talk ourselves to the battle.

They’re coming,
but it’s nothing new
and nothing we haven’t defeated
a thousand times
a thousand times.
Inside every last soft one of us
is still the Hard One
who long ago
got up off all fours,
looked the Hunters
in the eyes and made
the first ever Political Statement:

Not this time.”