If Only They Knew They Were Slaves

Following the justified amazement at two hundred years of technological progress, if Harriet Tubman were alive today, she’d likely be confounded by the current religious reverence afforded to contemporary currency. If you haven’t already heard, there’s a petition to replace Andrew Jackson with a woman on the $20 bill. There was a competition to select a candidate for this “honor”. Harriet Tubman won, and now my heart hurts.

Harriet Tubman was more than a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she was a symbol of hope for freedom. It would be inappropriate to then situate her on a symbol of an apparatus that systematically enslaves billions. Continue Reading →

Horseback Riding at Wawona

All of the horses seemed reluctant to begin the ride, which is understandable. I am equally if not more difficult to dislodge when I am grazing. I was riding a horse named Pony. We were slow throughout the ride, but adequately brought up the rear of our group.

Pony lost her footing several times, slipped on the rocks, and was hesitant to walk through the water. On the last grade before crossing the stream to return home, Pony stopped. It was a steep path. I prodded her and she began. She paused and then took some tentative steps backward. I knew we were in trouble.

She looked back at me, and shook the reigns. My left foot slipped out of the stirrup. We inched forward, then she seemed to collapse beneath me. As she sat, I made a graceless exit into the brush. Continue Reading →

Antidote for Misfortune

I wrote a goddamned poem because a goddamned book told me to.

Upstairs, City Lights Bookstore

I shed some time upstairs in,
Poetry again,
In the rocking chair, in the rocking chair,
In the rocking chair.

A woman across the narrow alley,
Violently reels in laundry strung across an escape,
A cellist plays for no one, and drunks,
And for all of the lonely vagrants.

Outside there is a constant alarm,
Ringing a constant tone,
I gasp and grieve at someone else’s words,
For all of the unwanted freaks,
For all of the unwanted brutes.

I wouldn’t leave until I drew out,
And delicately held in my maw the prey,
That is, until I could discern what was being hunted,
But not actually captured the thing itself.

At some unclaimed tick, the constant alarm,
Managed to foil my attention and abandon itself,
But I can still hear it, I can still hear it,
I can still hear it.