I Asked America How He Was doing


Don't fuck with me
I'm a desperate man.
I have within me the volumes of mania.
The books, leaf by yellowed leaf,
of caged animals.

Of naked, spider infested, strung-out Christians.

Pick-up trucks of countryless patriots
skidding unholy errands past the black church mothers, 
shrieking slogans of the bent cross.

Dairy farmers, white to the elbow,
sick in puss and sad, infected, groans of beasts. 
Sick of elevation of church mothers so he elevates his brothers from beneath a white sheet.

I covet, in my chest, the text of fury, and I pace this slab in toxic, ink sweat.

I am the verse, and I am the cursory dismissal of verse, 
in the name of spit.

Chasing Grace


I'm chasing grace these days.
I'm starving for it.
Wide tongued,
lapping at the morning drippings
of dream lessons,
obliterating in the full wattage of dawn.

The news says
there will be changes.

I'm chasing, graceless,
half dressed and inebriated.
Any God who will listen,
I am your acolyte.
Show me the peaceful war.

The news shows children
with ash in their hair.

I'm changing, un-gracefully.
I'm not eating properly.
I think I'm in love
with a wish for love.
I'll spin the prayer wheels,
or light the votives,
I'll bless the wine,
or bleed on the altar.

The news says
they say we are not people.

The Current


Painting through window, "The Spirit of Our Time" by Pam Douglas

Painting through window, "The Spirit of Our Time" by Pam Douglas



Instead of ordering my alternative-milk latte, and sitting crouched at a table, buried in my iphone, I stood at the coffee bar, facing into the shop.

At first I felt vulnerable, because eye-contact is not the social currency anymore. The social currency is virtual, inherently anti-social. Social grace is speaking well of something after it has already happened and been filtered to look faded, like it happened in the late 70s.

Social propriety is public isolation, so, silently bearing my face to a room full of strangers, I felt like an animal. One or two people glanced up from their phones or laptops, only for the instant it took to estimate my level of sociopathy. 
I started to enjoy myself.

I started to notice things in the room. 
There were 4 balloons separated into two corners, purple, with orange strings. There was frosty paint in the front window, with symbols suggesting pine trees, snow, and menorahs. My brain caught a current, and I experienced a profound, bird’s-eye zoom-out: somewhere, there are huge Coffee Bean warehouses. Stucco, ugly, rolling metal doors, loading docks with reflective tape on the bumpers, bored men minding the edifices from daft morning hours until fuck-off PM at night. Surrounded by corn fields, or urban sprawl near freeways, flat, gutter-bordered roofs, landed on by the occasional off-duty UFO. These bunkers are full of all the seasonal Coffee Bean paraphernalia, year round. Currently, they are all stocked with purple balloons, orange strings, and plastic “multi-faith frosty window” decals. All the Coffee Beans are in synch with these details, maybe they’re subtly altered locally or by district. I looked around at the permanent décor, the long-drop light fixtures are seasonally neutral, retro-60s meets polished, sea-crustacean flotsam, in a harmless, glowy tan.

I was glad to be having thoughts.

But I was still a little bit nervous. It is an affront, these days, to be without a ready shield of media. My phone was in my back-pack, zipped in. I decided to dig into my apprehension and figure out what it was. Didn’t take long. 
I was frightened of who I thought all of these people were, because I didn’t know them. They were strangers, and therefor, may be dangerous. They may be politically at odds with me, which, these days, may mean they think a person like me shouldn’t be considered American, or even a person, at the far right. But these were assumptions and, powerful as they were, they were baseless.

I held my position, bodily, and tried something new, mentally. I looked at each patron in the room, one by one, and thought “I have a reason to love you.” There was a blonde in earbuds and a full yoga get-up, and I knew that there was some way, if I knew her, that I could have love for her. She might have ingrained societal privilege that I do not, she may have more money, may be skinnier, bigger boobs, but at her core there is somebody, continuously waking up, trying like hell to breach the light, like me, and I love her for it. There was a heavy-set man in a striped shirt, breathing over his laptop, gristly, ruddy, looked like a joke about your creepy uncle, looked like a hundred guys I’d seen with “Trump that Bitch” T-shirts, and I knew there was a way I could love him. Next to him, a black man, maybe in his 60s, similarly paunchy as his neighbor, looked tired, fixed on his laptop, reminded me of my dad a little, old sweater, Duke Ellington’s under-eye bags, I imagined his center like a filament bulb, and I could love him. Unkempt hip-bearded guy who checked me out as I walked in, I read him as angry when I entered, impatient, short fuse, I bet he would parse the fuck out of a dinner bill, but there is a way to love him. Black woman with purple glasses, 50s, serious, typing, has a whole set-up with phone next to computer, mess of wires spaghettying out of a back-pack, knit cap, I love her.

I sent this thought to everyone in the room. By the time I’d gotten through everyone (about a minute, short exercise), my fear was gone. I knew nothing more about anyone in the room, but I was primed to meet them the way I would want to be met. I had everybody’s back, whether or not they would have mine. Even better, for a moment I forgot about myself, and the gauntlet of self-evisceration.

So, I’m sitting outside now by the fire-pit, this Coffee Bean has a fire pit. There are Coffee Bean fire-pit construction bits in warehouses across America. 
The fire is hot in patches, unpredictable and wild, like fire. 
I have no internet right now, so I feel like I’m telling myself a secret. I’m about to tell you, but I’m not ready to go offline from the world yet.

I just connected again.


If She Would


If she would drop the mask,
and show her lines.

If she would sleep through one night, with all the screens unplugged.

If she would ask for directions when she’s lost,
instead of bombing the road.

If she would own her “colored” drinking fountains,
as much as she owned her game shows.

If she would explain to the poor, disillusioned, whites
that she does not know them, because she does not care.

If she would allow herself the pain,
she would see the holy ghost
on a crosstown bus
and realize she has spit on numberless manifestations of The Savior.

If she would allow herself the pain,
she would wheeze with Watts and Harlem and Ferguson
until she heaved up the blood from all that asphalt.

If she would hold my hand when I’m dying,
without charging me the pennies for my eyes.

If she would allow herself the pain,
she would be bleak
and drained as salt flats,
and opened,
at last, 
to a bruised, and hobbling,