Daily Archives: November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Eve Poem

Brain!
Hard to believe
you really want
this poem from me 

on Thanksgiving eve,
right when I’m cooking
many small things
and worrying about 
many large things, as if

there was time for this
now. This may be
the last one for who knows
how long — who knows
what there will be
to be thankful for 
this time next year.

I suppose having leisure to
sit back and do this
while many small things
cook is a good thing.  
I suppose having food
is a good thing.

I suppose this word
“Thanksgiving”  
with all its baggage
is a good thing.  
I suppose family and survival,
things taken too often
for granted,
are good things.  

I suppose
there should be gratitude
for being pulled to do
and being allowed to do
what I was built to do

in spite of everything
that needs to be done — and

everything
needs to be done —

even, I suppose, 
this —

so Brain, 
though I can scarcely believe it,
there is time, and food,
and this small moment of time
in which to breathe freely —

let us bend to it,
giving thanks as we do.


Story Of You

— for the protectors at Standing Rock

This is a story of you

as mad as spirit locked away
in a stale church for centuries,
itching and swelling to break down
your sanctuary prison,

with beautiful open hands
and gray stone in your eyes, 
standing up to smoke and wind
and flame not far behind,

dancing among threshers
mowing down fields of grain,
daring scythes to take you,
mocking approaching reapers.

This is a story of you

responding: turning poison flood
into wine, turning heads
away from murder toward
birth and bloom. 

This is a story of you

removing: shifting brick
from wall to path and then
following that path to a place
without walls.

This is a story of you

and your beautiful open hands
and stone eyes, your dance
against death, your laughter,
your breakout, your miracle —

you.


Targets

Originally posted 7/16/2016.

1.

At 5:45 AM
I took out the trash
and did not startle
when a neighbor spoke to me
while my back was turned
because I am not a target.

I watered the container garden
when we were done speaking
and then sat right down
on my own front wall
in the high humidity
and, in the name of
going back to bed
and getting more sleep,
took a few hits off half a joint
and wasn’t too worried
though it was full daylight
because I am not a target.

I could have been a target.
I could have been but almost
in spite of all my handsome
paternal ancestors,
I pass for White and always have
and thus regardless
of my own thoughts
and obsessions and internal
maladjustments to the way
my frame doesn’t fit my picture,
I am not a target.

I can love and rage
and live out loud
because I am not a target.
I can walk a street
with my eyes set straight upon
the eyes of others
because I am not a target.  

I can watch every video of targets,
and target practice, 
sit there staring,
crying out and raging up and falling out,
then turn them off or turn away
because I am not a target.

2.

No one and everyone
knows what’s coming.

No one and everyone
understands what will not stand;

no one knows how it will
fall. None but the targets understand

how that’s going to feel.
Everyone’s going to learn something —

at the very least, how
not to turn away;

at the very most, how little it will be,
has ever been, about them.

3.

I went back inside
and was ready to sleep
until one of my handsome
paternal ancestors

rose into view,
right through the floor;
she hovered there,
her regalia soaked in blood;

she shook her head,
she would not look me in the eye;
as hard as I wanted to be before her,
I could not be hard. I instead fell

to the same floor she transcended
so easily, and saw then
how difficult it was going to be
if I wanted to claim anything

of what I thought myself
to be; and when I looked up
she was gone, and the blazing eye
of a bull bison hung in her place

for a second only
before leaving me alone 
to choose.