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Poverty

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Poverty

 

When you’re poor
you live on the highway.
Every stop
looks better than the last.

You learn to decipher
blessings in disaster,
relate deeds of devastation
in six amusing voices,
cultivate several zany images
and one of deprivation.

Shielding your eyes from the sun
one day, you look down the highway
trying to see the last dangerous curve
you traversed and discover that

the highway has become
your permanent habitat.

English: Typical Indian National Highway.

Wikipedia

 

 

The Jerry Poems

 

road

Riding Up The Thruway

Riding up the thruway
in the fresh October morning
struck by the splendor
of sun and sky and mountains
we pretended we were driving
to Quebec. Beneath my sweater
my nipples pulsated
with yesterday’s rhythms.
I was a lute
a harpsichord
a joyous screaming horn
wailing for your fingers
and your tongue.

No Miles ever played as sweetly
no Coltrane as intenselysaxophone as you
my fine musician
celebrating passion
upon this throbbing drum.

***********************************

The Same Two Years

“Two years!”
I sob into your shoulder
(your rich round luscious
brown shoulder)
For two years
I cupped delicate dreams
in tentative palms:
an offering.
Take them now,
they are yours tonight
as much as my breasts
and my thighs
for I am afraid
that tomorrow will be
the dawn of anotherladybugheart2
two years.

Finally you speak:
Time flies.

*********************************

Non-Monogamy

Do you compare us?
Do your hands caress
her sculptured thighs
rejoicing in sensation
my padded flesh denies?

Do your lips delight
in tobacco-free kisses?
Does each layer she unfolds
reveal another of my flaws?

You say there’s no
comparison. You lie:
New lovers are always
antidotes to old.

You say we’re each unique
that you love the one you’re withdaisies
but still the question haunts me:
When you compare us, who wins?

****************************

Profile

Your framed profile sits beneath
a bunch of tightly shut anemones.
By the time they blossom
you will lie beside another.

Bloody purples, pinks and reds—
even virgin whites—
will trumpet your
betrayal.

All attempts to hold you
or to leave you have failed.

I watch the tender petals spreadanemones
raining seeds upon your photo.
They open to reveal their centers,
each one brilliantly distinct.

*****************************

I Wanted to Lie In Bed

I wanted to lie in bed and tickle his toes.
He wanted to go out for breakfast.
I wanted to listen to his childhood secrets.
He wanted to hear jazz in the local cafe.
I wanted to read him my poetry.
He wanted to take in a skin flick.
I would have fed him moussaka
had he sat still long enough
rubbed his muscles
with eucalyptus oil
lathered his hair
sculpted his face
with my hands.

Now his absence fills the room
with relief. The air expands.
The horizon of my mind
stretches in the silence like rubber.

He never raised a hand in anger
or even his voice
never asked for commitmentBridal Bouquet
or demanded choices.
He respected my art
fed my cat
was patient in bed
and picked up his socks.
He just never had time
to feel.

********************************

The Last Lap

Swimming towards another shore
I pause to gaze at those behind.
Letting go was never easy
and the pain disguised as pleasure
was seductive.
How I cradled it between my breasts
pretending my yearning sighs
were of contentment.
How I studied our strokes
as we moved through the muck
only to discover
I’d been swimming alone.

Surfacing
I find you bobbing
like a piece of dead woodocean b:w
surrounded by those
who fitfully grasp
your slippery edges.
It is not you I mourn
in crossing
but the loss of kinship
with the drowning.

*****************************

White Lies

He made me feel rooted
and strong as a tree
wrapped my parched bones
in ebony silk
as if we inhabited
some other planet

but it was America
on Earth 1980
and we had been taught
white lies.
Plotting revenge
we came to despise
what we’d loved.

I curse his virtues
celebrate his faults
read books and theories
on racism.
I’ve forgotten how it felt
to sleep in his skin
and the landscape we crossed
unafraid.

heartstitchesbroken

Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones RIP

BARAKA-LargeAmiri Baraka, formerly LeRoi Jones, died today at the age of 79. Baraka was a poet, a playwright, and a political activist. Rather than write about my feelings towards Baraka or how and why they changed over the years, instead of doing the IMeMine routine, I decided to post one of his poems, saved a lifetime ago when I tore it from the pages of the Village Voice. Re-reading it I fell in love with his work all over again.

For Baraka’s bio, facts, photos, politics, and controversies, Democracy Now is doing a whole hour on him today, and numerous other sources of information abound.

When We’ll Worship Jesus
Amiri Baraka

We’ll worship Jesus

When jesus do

somethin

when jesus blow up

the white house

or blast nixon down

When jesus turn out congress

or bust general motors to

yard bird motors

Jesus we’ll worship jesusimages

when jesus get down

when jesus get out his yellow lincoln

w/ the built-in cross stain glass

window & box w/black peoples

enemies we’ll worship jesus when

he get bad enough to at least scare

somebody—cops not afraid

of jesus

pushers not afraid

of jesus, capitalists racists

imperialists not afraid

of jesus shit they makin money

off jesus.

We’ll worship jesus when mao

do, when toure does

when the cross replaces Nkrumah’simages-1

star

jesus need to hurt some a our

enemies then we’ll check him

out, all that screaming and hollering

& Wallering and manking talkin bout

jesus, jesus in a red

check velvet vine & 8 in. heels

jesus pinky finger

got a goose egg ruby

which actual bleeds

jesus at the apollo

doin splits and helpin

nixon trick niggers

jesus w/his one-eyed self

tongue kissing johnny carson

up the behind

jesus need to be busted

jesus need to be thrown down and whippedimages-2

till something better happen

jesus aint did nothin for us

but kept us turned toward

the sky (him and his boy allah

too, need to be checked

out!)

we’ll worship jesus

when he get a boat load of AR-47’s

and some dynamite

and blow up abernathy robotin

for gulf

jesus need to be busted

we aint gonna worshp nobody

but niggers getting up off

the ground

not gon worship jesus

unless he just a tricked up

nigger somebody named

outside his race

need to worship you self fo

you worship jesus

need to bust jesus (& Check

out his spooky brother

allah while you heavy

on the case)

cause we aint gon worship jesus

we aint gon worship

jesus

we aint gon worship

jesus

not till he do something

not til he help us

not till the world get changed

and he aint, Jesus aint, he cant change the world

we can change the world

we can struggle against the forces of backwardnessimages-3

we can change the world

we can struggle against our selves, our slowness,

our connection with the oppressor,

the very cultural aggression which binds us to our  enemies

as their slaves.

We can change the world

we aint gonna worship jesus cause jesus don’t exist

Xcept in song and story except in ritual and dance, except in

slum stained

tears or trillion dollar opulence stretching back in history, the history

of the oppression of the human mind

We worship the strength in us

We worship our selves

We worship the light in us

We worship the warmth in us

We worship the world

We worship the love in us

We worship our selves

We worship nature

We worship ourselves

We worshp the life in us, and science, and knowledge, and transformation

of the visible world

But we aint gonna worship no jesus

We aint gonna legitimize the witches and devils

the spooks and hobgoblins

the sensuous lies of the rulers to keep us

chained to fantasy and illusion

Sing about life, not jesus

Sing about revoltuion, not no jesus

Stop singing about jesus,

Sing about creation, our creation, the life of the world and fantastic

nature how we struggle to transform it, but don’t victmize our selves by distorting the world

Stop moanin about jesus, stop sweatin and cryin and stompin and dyin for jesus

Unless thats the name of the army we buildiing to force the land finally to change hands.Unknown

And lets not call that jesus, get a quick consensus on that.

Lets damn sure not call that black fire muscle no inivisible

psychic dungeon

no gentle vision strait jacket, lets call that peoples army, or wapenduzi or simba

wachanga, but we not gon call it jesus and not gon worship jesus

Throw jesus out yr mind. Build the new world out of reality, and new vision

We come to find out what there is of the world

to understand what there is here in the world!

To visualize change, and force it

We worship revolution.

Poetry

Posted on

This first poem was written by my friend Joani Reinmuth, an artist who makes jewelry, and who doesn’t consider herself a writer and never wrote a poem before this one. Coming from someone who isn’t “a poet” it blew my mind.

A Day Really
By Joan Reinmuth

Before visiting summer we get Mothers Day,MothersDayFlowers2
the revising a draft day,
a saving and backup day.
24 hours of reference to no specific work or detail
just like the plug in a socket.
As if all transactions and reactions occurred on one
day, words borrowed and same day credit given.

Whatever happened to the daily fiddling,
critical thinking, pop-up engineering,
and all other problematic comparisons.

Who pressed flowers in the cast iron frying pan,
did homework with the dog, and
used a highlighter to assess and change the plan.

And, for a clearer idea, who else every day,
all day shoves the monsters back into their cave.

This next one is mine.

Strange Blues

Hildy had strange blues I mean she had
some mighty strange blues after Janie died.
Hildy knew all about the blues—
death blues & love gone bad bluesUnknown
no moneyfoodorliquor blues
homesick blues and Momma blues
Daddy blues and too old to tango blues
but these blues were nothing like those.
These were strange blues.

She was a Stranger accordin’ to the law.
That’s what she was to Janie said the judge.
(He called her ‘The Deceased’.)
They weren’t spouses. How could they be spouses?
They were both women, each having 2 boobs
one pussy and no dick on the premises.
Thus there’d been no wedding no license no cake
no spouses and what about spice?
Hildy could still laugh but
Legal Strangers said the judge
pounding his gavel.
That’s what you are by law: A Legal Stranger.

That’s what gave Hildy the strange blues
for sure. She’d held Janie’s hand
‘til her spirit left her tired body
so how was she a stranger?  No, said the judge, not
a stranger; a Legal Stranger. Look it up.

So she did. Hildy looked under L and S in the big dictionary
in the living room and the paperback dictionary
in the kitchen with the cookbooks
and she looked under the catboxes and
in the bookshelves and in the drawers of
all four desks. (One for each grownup, one
for each kid.  Intellectuals, friends used to tease.)

In every dictionary she turned to L and then to S.
but could not find these Legal Strangers
giving Hildy  strange blues tonight:
real strange blues.

Get out your guitar
and strum the Legal Stranger Blues.
Betcha can’t. Betcha won’t.
O sure, you can play the Sam Cooke blues
the Ray Charles blues   Aretha blues
Johnny Cash blues and
the last of the red hot momma blues
but music doesn’t do the Legal Stranger blues
or know ’bout Legal Strangers
only Strangers in a Strange Land
of judges no spouses no wives and no rights.

To Write or Not to Write: Is That The Question?

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If you’ve got to  if after trying to
give it up (Like smoking or Nembutal)

Photo: NY Magazine

Photo: NY Magazine

if after swearing to  shut it up   it keeps on
yakking (that voice in your head)…
o then   consider yourself doomed to.

–from Bitter Pills for the Dark Ladies  by Erica Jong (Photo)

You can probably predict the tone at least of what I’m about to say. Actually, I haven’t thought it out, and I’m writing directly onto WordPress (I usually write on my computer first before posting). It was only a few weeks ago, maybe two months, that I posted a complaint about not having the bandwidth to write–and now, a short time later, I’m trying to stop myself from blogging. With good reason: I can sometimes spend an entire morning, 3-4 hours, blogging, at which I make zero money. Nada. Zilch. I’ve tried, oh, I have, every so often I have a fit and try to figure out how to, as they say, monetize my blog (a recently invented word, one I actually like). I tried linking to products on Amazon and lingerie shops, putting up ads for baseball posters (only to have them removed by WordPress), begging my readers for handouts/donations, and anything else anyone suggested. I had a long talk once with Susie Bright, who figured it out for herself after a couple of false starts. Sometimes I think there are people destined to make money and others who aren’t; I certainly seem to be one of the latter.

DParker

Anyhow, that’s why I’m trying to squelch my blogging urges, and using the time to look for writing gigs online. Applying for them uses up about the same amount of time–especially since I’d been getting work without having to look for over a year, during which I hadn’t been keeping up with the job search variables. I’ve had to update my publications list and my resume (being sure to put the tildes into that word in cover letters, like so: résumé). I’ve had to readjust to inevitable changes in format and rules on the job sites I use, spiff up my profiles, and look up old passwords. Some days it takes all morning to apply for one gig–which is okay, since there isn’t more than one a day worth applying to.

Moneyhouse$$Being a writer and having the chutzpah to try and make a living at it was always hard, but these days we’re in transition mode, moving away from print and online instead. This has created quite a bit of chaos, at least for serious writers. Making a living at this is even harder than it was before. Articles I used to get paid $100 for from a venue like, say, the SF Bay Guardian, are what online moguls want to pay $10 for now. I kid you not. Okay, maybe they don’t want them to be as long as print articles–but so what? It always took me longer to cut than to write, since I frequently go over word count; it’s easier to be verbose than precise. I do the same amount of research, thinking, interviewing, and fact checking for a 300-word story as for one that’s a thousand words. And we used to complain about the Guardian’s rates, or any venue like it–local,

The New Yorker

The New Yorker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

alternative, progressive–as compared to the 3-5 bucks a word the New Yorker or Vogue pays. The online moguls from India and Japan–and the States too–wanna pay me ten! No thanks. I’d rather blog, so I can write whatever I feel like, with nobody telling me what I can and can’t say.

I’m going off track now. The point is, I cannot and should not spend so much time blogging, and I intend to do less of it. I won’t entirely succeed–see Jong’s poem and other writers’ testimonials; take a look at my list of Writers Quotes. But I will be blogging less.

If anyone cares–I’m sorry, readers, but these are the facts of life as we know it in America on Earth 2013.