Aggravated Assault

Cave Canem Submission 2005



Winner of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award
In the spirit of the natural.

Wild devil locks,
Growing promiscuously Savage,
Transfigure my eyes somehow; look more terrible - holy
Like a madman, arrogant and
Visually aggressive;
Bold & intimidating.

Animals are uneasy as my Samsonites muse at my
Uncombed masculinity�
But my naturale becomes my pride, and that
To excess,
And a rebel is born to defy the self-imagined tyranny of
Those who
Sport a more conservative style.
And I confuse the forest with the trees -
Too hardheaded to realize the real me;
Too busy being angry with an ideology;
And when I lay me down to sleep:
Headaches sore my tender head
Pulling cruelly through my wicked briar,
Raking with steel combs,
Lining my scalp with red screams, tearing violently
Uprooting my whatonceuponatimeusedtobe 
And my head bows under the weight of weeds too fine to lock
So there are
Black locks on the bathroom floor -
Silken curls of mystic power
Unlocked and losing their luster.
And though my woman is taken aback by the image of this
Seemingly emasculated creature,
I am freed of the suckers rooted in my head,
Crowding my thoughts with in grown forests�
I am transformed,
And the mirror betrays my humility.


Lack of definition splinters common sense while
brothers take up passions against each other
arguing the thing that spills blood

we've got hearts at stake
sentiments burning with echoes of guilt
for loyalties we didn't take seriously
until they were gone

so we crusade, knowing better than those
who haven't walked in our shoes
proclaiming the obvious, spitting
a scary anger in our red faces

that flag pole - a spear in the chest of
everything we claim the right to
sacrificing all others
for our cause

blinded by nescience
we stand straight, hands over hearts
hiding shame with a military stance
protecting the truth that makes us

we don't know shit, like the president

no matter what suits we wear
we're imposters to the throne
unqualified leaders running the best of us
off cliffs of fear and ignorance
leading the rest of the blind
to the mines for their prosperity

abusing every order of humanity
meant for the land of the free:
     of justice and opportunity 
     education and responsibility

home of the brave
speaking out for the slaves
who must die in the wilderness
for their children to be saved

because we've got so used to living in hell
we're no good for heaven
common sense is a hard sell
which is why the real soldiers are seen
as anti-American...


NO sun, child, crime is high - 
Jack Frost bit my mother and the baby died; 
and when I reach twenty five I�m supposed to fly upside 
down six feet of ground. 

Without a sound. 

I save my voice and the others yell: 
a skipping record plays a groove, Uncut: The Sounds of Hell. 
The Warehouse beckons souls lost in the rhythm of pain 
and I am caught up in the madness of the danz insane. 

The HIs cut through the skies of my bottled bliss 
while the bass BOOMs with an ache 
that breaks my heart to bits. 
The pieces scatter when they hit the floor; 
some of them don�t - caught by the greedy dogs of war 

( and the dogs, in a frenzy, sniff around for more). 

Static on the air comin� in so clear 
that its workin� on that place beyond my inner ear 
and my fear is that the world�s got a hold on us 
that we�ve forgotten why were lost 
and Who we have to trust
that all the bullshit in the world has made a way of life 
and, like a virus code named Wildfire, it wont be denied. 

We have masters of the game but no integrity. 
We have empty shells to teach us of posterity. 
We have leaders that ain�t nothin� but assassins of a cause. 
We have got nothing nowhere no how cause the SELLOUTS number strong! 

And my baby�s s�posed to learn of Fairness, Truth, and Honesty? 
S�posed to believe in myths called Freedom, Justice, and Equality? 
S�posed to hold out not sell out even though most role models do; 
S�posed to do what baby�s told and not do things that others do? 

Who�s sellin� non-sense so damn cheap that niggahs linin� up for years 
to bite that piece of pie that soothes the mind and belays our fears? 
What Dealer�s out there on the air just suckin� souls like he don�t care? 
No bullshit welcome here. 
No bullshit welcome here 

How you spec ta fuck somebody forever

all My life 
far back as I can remember 
yo ass wadn't never no good. 
frowned up all da fuckin� time 
lyin� an smilin� an scared cuz 
I wuz lookin� atcha 

cuz you jus knew 
soon as I got da chance 
I uz gonna bust yo ass upside jo head 
an take it all back - 
what you stole from Me. 

d'fuck wrong wit chall 
'cho ass caint git along 
wit nobody; 
always startin� shit 
no matter where you go, 

ventin� diseases 
an fectin� people widdem. 
poisonin� minds, bodies, and souls... 

fuck is wrong wit chall 
dat cha got ta lie 
steal cheat torture murder rape 
an jus plain fuck up shit 
all da got got dam time. 

everywhere y'all go 
hells on yo heels, 
pollutin� an corruptin� 
exterminatin� and violatin� 
the holiest of holies: 

caint nobody standja white ass 
fuckin� up da whole got dam worl 
cuz you got a fuckin� inferiority complex. 

but I guess you want me ta understand dat shit 
cuz I'm real good at forgivin� 
an it aint nuthin you can count on mo 
than my willin�ness to forgive 

fuck dat shit! 

I'm s�pose ta understand? 
I'm s�pose ta grin an bear it? 
hell naw! 

fuck dis turnin� da udder cheek; 
an eye fo a muthafuckin� eye's mo like it. 
its bout time I do ta y'all muthafuckas 
whatcha been doin ta Me. 

(an i know it don't make me no better, 
an two wrongs don't make a right, 
but it sho do make it even! 
an these muthafuckas done went ape shit on me! 
i'm s�pose ta take it? 
i ain�t had no sons n'daughters fo dem ta be sold wholesale 
to a fucked up world 
run by fucked up people. 
somebody got da set dis shit straight agin�, 
an if it mean wipin� these muthafuckas off the face of the earth, 
so be it.) 

ya think We don't know what the hells goin� on 
listen to ya nightmares, ya cracka bastards 
who da fuck you think is singin�? 
listen to me howl 
you sons of bitches 
I spill the curse of holy declaration 
I am the reincarnation 
listen to my terrible scream 
let cho eyes burn gazin� at My glorious fire 

y'all fucked up. 

toldja ta leave Me the fuck alone but chall some hard headed crackas don't believe... y'all done fucked wit da wrong "tar baby" an I gotcha number. so fuck yo queen, fuck yo pope, yo president, and ya muthafuckin� prime minister. fuck all y'all ya burnt up an you've earned it.

I went back and forth

Flicking through channels
Snatching my eye roots from eye catching images
My thumb stuck on automatic
Forwarding too fast to stop where
My mind clicked

     I went back

And tuned in to 
A video collage of commentary
An expose slash documentary
A life hardened soldier with a cigarette and gun
Eyes of god
And only eight years old

     And forth

And cringed 
Accosted with a blitzkrieg of flashes
Monkey clowns jumping and yelling and blasted
Gold nooses and platinum shackles
Drinking expensive piss
Temples broken, minds in ruin
And addicted to shit

So I fasted for a second
And put the volume on mute
Not knowing the pictures would speak louder
And how much they would hurt

     I went back

To the front line of a desperate state
Filmed in dangerous conditions with no second takes
Catching glimpses of how brutal life can really be
When the hand wielding the weapon makes reality

Butchered bodies (cut a chicken)
Lives dispatched without hesitation and,
While I was stuck on the machete splitting a grown man's skull�
Realized that life ended is intended
Made that eight year old god

     And forth

To the commercial
Programming weaker minds
Who tune in to their god
Providing their needs

I saw thoughts being worked on
Those who never work their thought
I saw the works of gods dictating
For how much our souls are bought

So I bowed my head respectfully
A moment for the dead
Hit the mute button again
And braved the voice that filled my head

Overwhelmed, the tears welled
As they quoted the stats
That every three point five seconds
Someone's hurting like that:

     A child is molested
     A daughter is raped
     Someone's little boy is murdered
     And someone dies of AIDS

     Someone's struggling with cancer
     Someone's fighting to live
     Someone's tossing out their leftovers
     While a mother watches her baby die of starvation�

Overwhelmed, the bottom of my heart gave out
As I remembered the facts
That every day's a blessing bought with sacrifice
And I'm indebted to that:

     Protect the children and my village
     From those who would murder, steal and kill
     Comfort my elders in their twilight years
     And whoever takes ill

     Believe in Jesus, not that Jesus
     And live that God lives through me
     And love the way I breathe, easy
     And not possessively

     I went back

And realized that life ain't no damned video

     And forth

And wondered why anyone wouldn't think so.

Killing time

See, while I�m   smo          king, 
ex              h  a  i  l  i  n  g      ,    blo              wing
                                                                                          s_i_l_e_n_t    s_t_r_e_a_m_s 
from      crook     ed 
stead of  (rings)

w h i s p s   of    fan,  Tom�s  s~w~i~r~l~i~n~g,  swim 
flo   a   ting,  F
                                 G level             like a dreamy blank      et 
THICK and beautiful toxins  �  the ghostly / after 
math of little fires StinGing the throat with a 
                                                                        Hoarse        high, friendly and 
sprawled back with ArMs 
                                                         HEAVY OVER
                                                         the shoulders of an
am�biance    c a s u ally   p.i.c.k.i.n.g                                      notes 
                     and                                                                                   r i  f   t    s        with
eyes closed / the grimace of ecstasy   s  t  r  a  i  n  e  d    for
                                         on leather faces, ashes  f
                                                                                   l ing into glass
                                                                                                           Ash / trays beside tumblers kissed with scotch
J/a/m/m/i/n/g in the sweet             quiet 
                                                                  just be
                                                                         fore or after
                                                                                             �The lunch rush.�
The  s p a c e    cool   on   Polished floors
in-strum-ents   clean from use, sophisss-ti-ca-ted
                                                                                looking under track lights that make
Daytime ready for evening. 
                                                  Sexy        sax  /  a  /   phones
Hand / led          by             rolled up                                           white sleeves
                                                                  Unafraid of a wo
man�s worth,                       and brown                            wor                       king 
                      hands with                      
                                            s * p * a * r * k * l * I * n * g      pinky rings    dres-
sing swollen            
                                 knuckles. Snare                  Drums & cymbals set 
like an ALTER                                      to the                  m e l l o w      wonder  /  ful            

GENIUSES who breathe this                          Stuff. 
                   The kitchen doors swing                                back and forth
As bus boys get ready for                       dinner, set          /               ting
                                          Silver    /       ware, nap �
kins, and glasses �                                                              that Tinkling, like 
                                          post ejaculate sweat kissed
by a   s o f t     b  r  e  e  z  e .  .  .

And I sit in the corner, \   early,
                                                       W.A.I.T.i.n.g             for my lady, 
                                                       wondering                  if the music is
�Foreign� to those boys from Chile. 
                                                                         Two  /  worlds
Both a hustle.                       and me. 
                                                                          waiting for something better�

�� not guilty.�

Did you see them gnash their teeth and 
cuss and swear in disbelief and 
sob and weep and pull their hair, 
convict and act like they were there? 

Can you believe their racist pride: 
Jay�s guilt cuz both victims were white; 
the way they prejudice their view 
and spite the facts with lucky clues? 
Like demon dogs, their faces red, 
their hatred boiled inside their heads, 
and gave no ear to lawful sense, 
nor praised a life saving defense. 
Who cares that Fuhrman pled the fifth, 
and screw those damned racist transcripts. 
To hell with gloves that just wont fit, 
and lab drops lost and found (oh shit!) 

They talk about what money buys 
as if justice is color blind, 
or prosecutors never lie 
when someone�s life is on the line. 
Garcetti�s on the voting block 
and hears each tick and every tock, 
so State�s Attorney�s playing hard 
to keep at bay his �times up� card:
a million plus in pro-bono, 
the FBI and LA roll. 

G.G.: By any means we must convict 
who cares if Jay�s the true culprit? 
Our reputation�s on the line: 
lets make sure it�s done right this time. 
M.C.: We�ve got a pattern of abuse. 
What else is out there we can use 
to stir up outcry in the land, 
confuse the issues, and kill this man? 
C.D.: We�ve got a case. I�m sure we�ll win. 
G.G.: But isn�t the Rooster a close friend? 
C.D.: He�d sell his family for some doe 
I can�t respect his kind of show. 

�The DNA!!� They cried out loud. 

J.C.: The vial of blood was emptied out. 
Jay volunteered a specimen 
which disappeared with strange white men. 
DNA proved what we knew 
the contents from a lost test tube 
why argue if the blood was his 
if science says, of course it is! 
The issues how it got around 
so many days �fore it was found. 
Just a plain coincidence? See: 
circumstantial evidence. 

But it�s so far fetched someone would plant 
the gloves and socks and evidence! 
No one in this world would frame 
an African-American with a household name! 

The difference of experience 
�tween black and white and class and sense 
is illustrated in the books: 
from Kennedy to common crooks. 

He beat his wife for heavens sake! 
And let his friends enjoy his take. 
And bought a franchise for Nikki�s pops. 
And financed cocaine party drops... 
Lets turn Jay�s ass to horsey glue; 
to hell with truth, that�s what well do 
This is the public�s demand: 
white is right to lynch this man! 

They say that justice wasn�t served; 
boy, do they have lots of nerve. 
Are lynchings all they dream about? 
The devil�s finally coming out.

Surrounded in nostalgic recreations of comfort

I remember intentionally
and singularly long to return to those moments
which have blessed me with the sweet warmth of adolescent love
I inhale scents of circumstance
and imbibe from the reflective pools of desire's liquor
floating in the dream waters of memory
reaching for pieces of yesterday
I am haunted by tasteless recollections
of precious moments I once knew to be intoxicatingly delicious
and ephemeral intimacies
from my own mythology
while time cuts its way into the shores of my life
defining my banks with its rhythms
I cry for the things it has taken away
leaving only the wind to carry my remembrances

Afterthoughts of love


In the dryness of the desert
the sun was never more beautiful
than when it stared at you

Even your heart felt like
a sheet flapping happily in the wind
your hair playing in your smile

Though I was aware of the entire sky
the motion picture of your face
was like looking at life.


Under the black umbrella, under low gray skies
sad trees and wet streets depressed everything
but you

The raindrops that clung to the tip of your nose
laughed like playful children
when your eyes brightened my face

I never noticed the cold
only the tulips
that bloomed behind you


When our home is dark
but for the light of the bathroom leaning in the hallway
the scent of your cleanliness relaxes me

I wait on soft sheets
for the weight of you beside me
and the softness of your lips

I don�t need to hold you
to dream about you while you�re beside me
is all I�ve ever wanted

To love herself

She was never really any good at
Letting me be
Loving me 
Like people who get something spiritual
From watching a sunrise
Or sunset

She didn't really understand my ebb and flow
Tolerated me more than she knew me
As if I were some adorable child
She wasn't responsible for

So every time I stretched and
She stood too close
She was bothered that 
I wasn't more reserved around her
Like she wanted me to laugh quieter when I found something funny
So as not to embarrass her

While she accused me of being inconsiderate
I found myself drawing in my boundaries
Until I felt claustrophobic in her love
Questioning what was more important to me

She wanted me to sacrifice my life for her and
I was only willing to protect her

It wasn't long before I couldn't suffer her anymore
When I tore away from her
She, offended/rejected, cursed me
I saw the witch in her eyes

She had persuaded me to believe love
Was defined by her dictionary
And wanting to love
I listened

But where I gave my love
I could not find hers
And after sweating her love
I only wanted to breathe mine
And left her
To love herself


is a mean word
like hot sticky tar peeling off the back of your brain
or icicle pins stabbed in
testicles aching because they thought
that smile meant

she grabbed that cord of gristle in my neck
between her forefinger and thumb
and pinched angrily
the skin between her eyes bunched up
like a migraine or a balled up piece of paper

and I yelled, hardly breathing
the smooth pipe tube of a needle stabbing my shoulder muscles
because she was trying to tear something in me
wanting to cause some real damage
and make me pay
for daddy in my voice 
Genius without courage

Got ta wait a minute to catch it, cuz it�s new.
But you know there�s something about it
And you like it, lookin� around to see who likes it too;
Cuz, quiet as it�s kept, there�s a little bit of you
That follows the crowd for reassurance
When you ain�t quite sure about which direction you want to go �

Whether you feel brave enough to lead
Or want to risk it going alone
Looking back and finding that you�re out there
With no one around to share your new interest.

And sometimes, for the sake of security, you return
Go back to where you came from because they weren�t ready
And you weren�t willing to be by yourself:
What peer pressure is really about �
Coming from within, not without.

And so you turn your back with one last look
At that treasure that has to remain undiscovered,
Because it�s not time for it to be loved;

And you hate that you were ahead of your time
Having seen the future
And choosing to live in what you know to be the past.
That�s the tragedy of genius without courage
And vision without sacrifice �
Tomorrow won�t come without you...

Repetition�s addiction

Repetition�s addiction
is the familiarity of rhythm.

Knowing the fulfillment of anticipation
releasing endorphins
piggybacking on adrenaline
�Til you�re doped up on automatic�s
taste of infinity,
hinting at immortality
that you can see and feel right now;
a bohemian rhapsody of 
hedonistic indulgence
where the pattern becomes habit -
a sacred mathematics
worshipped with a drive
that won�t give up that sensation of movement

A hook that won�t quit,
a catchy melody that sticks,
pregnant with possibilities
for creative deviation/variation.

An elation that�s like food from heaven;
water you never get tired of drinking;
pure genius without thinking;
a rut lined with gold;
a heartbeat

Ghetto neighborhoods

ghetto neighborhoods are
communities with so much life
flooding front yards into the street
loud like ugly cicadas

fireflies were mass-acred in killing jars 
by children mesmerized by living light 
burning bellies cut off with fingernails 
to make magic bright yellow rings 

mosquitoes stole their revenge 
like death angels hungry for blood 
and summer heat and sweat and bites 
made for a dirty bunch of kids 

alley lights and wooden poles 
stark white �luminated air
gnats and moths and garbage flies
dirt roped off for grass to grow

magic is an empty word
when time to go hides magic's proof
car doors slamming at the front
follow quick goodbyes at dusk

screen doors torn from overuse
heavy laughter from inside
thick with smoke and alcohol
food sits out on the table

one more hug for grandmother
I can't find the toy I had
I swiped a pop from the kitchen
to drink before I go to bed

brake lights glowing in the street
waiting on a bathroom need
cousin leaning on the car
my auntie needs to be dropped off

firecrackers pierce my ears
even as we drive away
leaving extra family there
to clean the mess we left today

The responsibility of being

You don�t peddle truth to assholes,
Beg them to take you seriously so you can eat,
Plead with them to change their minds,
And make promises you can�t keep
Because you don�t believe anymore
Sore from having doors slammed over and over and over
In your face.

You don�t peddle truth to assholes
You carve your way out of that nothingness they thrive in
You break the lines of their minds they don�t cross
By looking through them
Stand on your truth.

You never ask for permission when you believe,
You just do it
And your forward movement will rip them out of their 
Life support systems
And then you�ll see if they were meant to live!

Call them by name
With that voice God gave you
And state your being clearly, without question
That they may know, whether they acknowledge it or not
That if they want to hold on
They�d better do it somewhere else
Because this is where you are coming through

No need to make threats like a constipated volcano
No need to rumble like a sudden earthquake
Be and they will become
And if not
They�ll feed the future


Blame is the fire of hell
Screaming babies for sale
Veins infested with entangled IVs

Television makes incisions
For the cables it weaves
Injecting opiates and painkillers
�Til zombies can�t bleed

Rocking lay-z-boys
With images they cannot believe
Magic meant to deceive
Flooding all who receive

Antennas burning
No sieve

Overdosing on entertainment
Without reprieve

And I�m standing at the window
My computer on fire
�Cause I�ve pulled down satellites
And found my blood in the wire

Soldiers marching in my community
Their riot gear on
Something �bout the sound of boots
Crushing my dandelions

I�m allergic to the winds of change
Not having caught up
Barely learned the new tricks of the trade
And now my time�s up

I�m pulling triggers aiming at the mirror
No weight in my hands 
My meds expired last month
My insurance? A scam.

Pre-pay, co-pay, they say my way or the road
I�m lugging loads of debt, upset
I hate the life I borrowed�

The UPS driver and the Black man

When the truck comes, I run
To the window, excited, on the chance
It might be for me
With absolutely no reason at all to believe
Other than wishful thinking
But I wait,
Listening to the door downstairs�

      And I swallow Georgia dust in my eyes
      Wearing my Daddy�s shoes, full of rocks, 
      Jeans flagged: a dirty red bandana flapping
      The pickup backfiring
      My heart falling down behind me 

What a job, I think, staring at the door-less big
Brown truck. Especially when the weather is nice
Like today, with a nice breeze�

      Cattails and pussy willows and chewing straw down by the pond
      Talking to myself �bout when I grow up, how things are going to be
      Sun glaring off the water like a dream
      Water on fire

All the driver has to do is
Stop, drop, and roll

      Crosses, houses or cousin Tiny
      A big ole �boy�
      Smelled like hell, burnt

When he�s back in the driver�s seat, someone else
Has noticed the big
Brown truck. A man with a slip
Catches him with questions

      Flashlights, red, white and blue
      Blinding bright like radio noise trying to drown out
      Prayers said miles back
      Because just us might not make it home

In his high chair, he listens, and I sense
Something strange
When he apologizes for someone else�s
And I smile

      Because the grave yard�s full
      And they can�t hide it no more
      They got to answer

My mind rides the breeze, sniffing the scent
Of private libraries: post cards and mementos
Of a darker museum � those photographs!
And I listen, wondering what it is white
People see

      Mary had a little lamb
      Little lamb
      Little lamb
      Mary had a little lamb
      Crucified just like me

They� he tries, stuttering
Adrenaline stinging his chilled pores
Over-explaining an honesty,
I think,
Uncomfortable with historic consciousness

      And Judas couldn�t take no more

What do they do� does he, see
In this face of inquiry
An undeniable strength in its brownness
Eyes clear with intention
Voice warm and
Like a father

      Our father
      From way back, going back, get back to
      Where we came from
      Hot sun made strangers of them

His hands sweat, chest tightening
Embarrassed, angry, and little
The echoes of lynch mobs
Somewhere in the sound of the trees

      Picnics and 
      Pick a nigger and
      How could they?        
      But limbs don�t creak over my weight no more
      There are angels in them trees
      Like Jesus outside the tomb

Politeness comes easy
A shield
The effort, though, sticks
And he can�t get away fast enough
When the man is satisfied
When the engine starts

      You can hear the gears of a hundred years
      Turning, grinding it all over
      Growling like stomachs in the morning

I wonder what it is white
People see

What do I look like
Then and now and
What do they carry 'round
In their big
Brown trucks


Why white flowers
skin cool, bones are delicate
her fingers play

the air

a bite of ginger sliver
mouthing fingers with 
a stranger�s lips 

a vulgar, daring love
the frame adores the picture, makes it beautiful�

a cuticle of blossoms
shaved with silk
a dove

her thoughts are water colored
gasps are sweet, hairless
and slippery

the snow of love is stained
with pink jelly
her tears, scentless blessings

her gentle guesses, folded hands
politely loving 

soft, immodest smile

a lily washed in morning glory
blessed virgin dew

why white flowers
ivory and jade
starched cotton folded artfully

hem sharpened, linen blade
her ankles covered so neatly

Centrality of being (poetic motives, fakirs & leeches)

Mechanics are spiritual people unless they've memorized the book
biting into ripe peaches for the juice to spill down your chin
having your breast sucked on Madison Avenue
honesty is the excuse of the insensitive

people with pens imitate mechanics
while I can't count how many times I've broken lead
worn out erasers
angry with the same as
just like
only a little different...

while I can't count how many times I've broken heads
people with pens held like scepters
pretenders to the throne
conspiring cousins fornicating and giving birth to 
deformed bastards that ask to be killed with innocent eyes

I hold my penis when I sleep
like a loaded gun for the first time
heavy and nasty minded
conditionings from porn I got headaches from

cause you can't sterilize the mathematics of language
but poetry is like having your senses saturated
and then ejaculating on rice paper

I love hearing Chinese people speak
even in English
their woods smell better
beautiful to visit

wolves and trees waiting, listening, feeling...

throwing rocks at cheap windows
hurling bottles in the street - crashes that make you smile, crying
sniffing gasoline fumes and dreaming of sugar
squeezing that fat booty
that has your tail wagging

spreading that smell around

hotel bathrooms have more mirrors
the light is more flattering, warmer
and there's nothing wrong with banging your fists on the table
denting someone's car door with the heel of your boot
or peeing your pants on the bus
itching wet in the winter

just watch the teeth
or just get me something to eat
that makes my stomach swell over my six pack
taking a good shit in the summer
with the bathroom window wide open

and taking everything
because when I walk into the place
the red carpet is mine
and they all come
to see me


Oceans of air spread wide inviting open thoughts
create their own breeze
pulling cotton shirts and skirts like kites
snatched into the wind

Seagulls drift, feathers combing the air
a mile or so
off a plantation balcony
just outside of New Orleans

Chipped white paint brags shamelessly of
delicate fingers wrapped around
its railing
hands the color of baked vanilla cr�me

Ice cubes slip sideways
giving up on one another
feet wet in a backwash of mint julip

Heat holds you like a big man
covered with a sweaty grit
you go limp to stay cool
remembering the streams that fell
from your armpit
beneath that itchy wool sweater

Summer�s sting gnaws at each pore
trying to find the birthplace of every hair
while you swallow hot breath slowly
the magnet of sleep just close enough
to pull away your daydreams
in flashes

Ankles stained in that sharp color
wear the scars
of an angel who has learned not to scream
her mouth soft, firm
eyes flinching, sometimes
salt washed away
in the wounds of a birthday�

Variations on Essandem

Tighter than sunshine pressed against new cement
I love scraping myself against you
the sandpaper of your soul
gives me something to stick my heart to:
hot asphalt against the bottom of my gym shoe

And when you stab my eyes
like rays breaking through the leaves
and catch me bleeding that Visene joy,
I hate that you always make sure I know
you�ve seen me
looking at you

And biting your lip
like it was a hotdog with everything on it,
especially that sweet relish,
is better than anything I�ve ever had to do...

Except for that time when I tasted the honey of your tongue
or when your nipple peeked at me like it was on fire

Sweeter, because I love it when you pull away
and everybody thinks you are for real

So, straightjackets and jerks aside,
nobody can hold me back from this fight
to catch you naked if I have to
after tearing through all my clothes
and the bruises they gave me, protecting you

Because the last time I woke up in "the hospital"
your merciful face made me horny as hell

Cancer�s beautiful


I've licked the dome of her skin covered skull
aching to taste the thoughts she keeps
her baldness, smooth and beautiful
though meant to make her soul to weep

on shores of dream's volcanic sands
a stolen mannequin you'll find
a puppet in some morbid dance
wearing the veil of shattered mind

as heaven hangs, burnt black with fire,
the razor thin horizon slices,
the maestro bids her play death's lyre:
chemotherapy devices

nightmare's silver gelatin
etches this eerie scene again...


Awake, my hands stroke carefully
her contours of fragility
her eyes, stark naked, wet and sad
explode with life desperate to last

her mouth, lips too tired to complain
I kiss as if to steal her pain
and promise, while she's conscious still
with all my warmth, the cold to kill

her twin, mocking her, wearing death
the twilight of her consciousness
would steal her hope that morning comes
so I will not leave her alone

and bear with her the stark domain
that haunts her when sleep calls her name...

New definitions

that which I see is meant to be scene
and the scene, but a stage for the truth
and truth, being seen, may be hard to discern
so my senses on spirit rely

         sometimes seeing
         means closing my eyes

in my wisdom: the grace of my knowing, for I
am blinded by what is apparent
through meditation's revelations I see
what I know is a gift seldom granted

         and knowing brings bliss

that which I see is meant to be scene
in my seeing however, proof lies
my assumptions are tied to a singular sense
and that sense makes no sense but to I's

         and my needs
         hide the tears in their eyes

I discover my focus, my vision narrows
peripherals blur, I see clear
intentioned with insight I
see more than is there
and lose my perspective, too near

         and suffer a headache
         right here

that which I see is meant to be scene
a canvas of telling projection
a chart testing vision for stigmas, betraying
my need for corrected prescription

         my lenses need new definitions

Her secret

her secret
never minding men, their jealousies
privileged to choose to pay
attention became her
her profile was a curiosity
and sometimes curious
allowed herself to taste of more
without the inhibitions framed by language
meant to define her

their words she found deceitful
tricks to rob her opportunities
determined to have everything
burned her useless dictionaries

deciding to be free
she breathed
receiving what was offered her
she came and went, untied
and tried anything that appealed to her

the myth of moral standards
was abandoned
for the smorgasbord
that promised a variety of things
she'd never tried before

discretion was a means and not an end
her "friends" could only get
as much as she would give them
her decision
she controlled the bet

her secret
never minding men
who gave away
what she deserved

her secret
never knowing
but believing it a waste
to love.

Daydreaming without clocks in summer

burn, sweet fire, chili
peppers and dark chocolate
the bathroom door is grained and washed
I count to know the year it died

Charmin's quilted laughter soothes me
there's tequila on the floor
too many seeds in the brownies
not sage, thyme or oregano

silver trays and dried up weeds
rice paper and rose petals
glass pipes blown, desire's tint
Kravitz on the radio

her spit, still thick with craving 
for that milky cream, that alpine white
I flush, her eyes still glazed
breathing like asthma was a quiet fight

the skull I hold, jaws broken
is my helmet hiding shame
and my effort loses one drop
clouded jewel of sunlight strained

stained glass windows throw light on the wooden floor
the faucet squeaks, 
I wash my hands and dry them on the see through blouse
she is wearing

drained, the syrup clarifies the darkness
spilling bottomless
the echo carries sickness
like refrigerated saliva 

I pull her from the floor
her mouth meets mine, her lips cold, delicious
Marjorie knocks on the door
and says we've been in here too long

raking spinal cords
fingers locking knuckles domino
the joints connect and bones rattle
the whip is clinking, sound hollow

another pipe is lighting, I fall on the couch, reach for my glass
Marjorie is upset Charmin's gone
and Rachel starts to laugh

bite fudge, kill the whining, swallow
tear the jugular, damned kids!
snap and crack the crying ligament
and suck the broken leg

Sylvia and Rozalyn
experiment and breathe
the fan blows the lace curtains
Rachel stares, softly intrigued

the process of discovering was innocent
and pleasure driven
curiosity inspired our tastes
we wasted everything...

The suffering of our sanity

We stand skyscrapers
Heads thrust into the blinding sun
Pillars/monuments/erections against
Indifference. Apathy.

Children spread their arms, faces pressed against our cold stone
Eyes closed and smiling
Listening/knowing our secret heart,

Even while their mothers, dressed in haute couture,
Wipe the dog shit from their shoes
Against our corners�

Men have died for less.

Beacons slashing upwards
Leaning against a moving sky
Condemned and ignored by hard headed workers
Who see our modern ascension
As some ancient magnificence of life
    A coliseum, perhaps;

Pale blue skies suggest a clarity
Flowers open to
And only the children see us pointing.

We hold our breath against the rising stench
Of the living dead
Defiled by the madness we must inhale
That burns our lungs like finely ground razor blades.
Blood runs and rusts along our inner walls
While our heart slaves like Samson
To maintain our fortress

The stone of our flesh is
Vandalized with holy graffiti �
Adolescent restlessness, unwilling to accept fate dictated
    they don�t read, they write,
and their scriptures condemn this world�

We stand boldly
Braving the shame of the earth - 
Disparaged and mocked, beaten by the winds of contempt
Even crumbling...

We stand
Fighting the madness 
With the suffering of our common sense
Hunted viciously by ignorance, indifference and apathy:
The detriment of our sanity 

We stand defiantly
Because our truth isn't in the world we have, 
But the world we want.  

I�ve never seen a tear so beautiful


... because never was there 
so profound a want -
every whisper of the gentlest wind
terrified me, 
having never been able to hold onto a dream...

Death adored us
like an absent-minded friend
leaning and laughing against my heart
when I betrayed that secret pain 
of first meeting you

heaven breathed over my shoulder
I turned
and found you destroying everything I've ever believed in
replacing it with an aching emptiness
that could only be filled 
by you

yet there was nothing there
in your unnoticing eyes -
your turning away from me pulled my soul out of my gut
and I fell forward
even before I could find the words

I should have been committed then;
nightmares of never seeing you again
clawing their terror backwards in time and
bursting through me desperately 
right there
in the middle of day

   I must have looked parched
   white mouthed / despicable
   even as you pitied me
   offering nothing but the mirror of my hurt in your eyes

before I blinked
afraid of the wind again.


I am nothing
A gaping wound of madness
having found you before I knew beauty could not be possessed
killing you often with my jealousy
that prison having raped my mind
of anything worthy of you

why else would I have found solace
in disgrace
burying my anguish
in the blindness of my imagination
carving intimacy out of self hatred
loathing myself by despising you
for loving me

Me, who proved his unworthiness so shamelessly
possessed of a bitterness that refused to believe
in the beauty of your love

until I broke your heart...
I've never seen a tear so beautiful

Poets tic

I listen to the self flattery of the ones
getting high off their own supply
trying to breathe life into dead words
grave robbers with tastes which are absurd

There�s no nutrition in the stuff you�re dishing
but I�m the fool for listening

While you ramble on
singing songs with no melody
writing lyrics with no rhythm in reality

Jagging off in that fantasy
where you can be
socially exclusive
rather than 
creatively inclusive
got your truth confused with your own brand of popularity

While me?

I�m a poet. 
and poets tic. 
Rock back and forth like verbal metronomes
at home feeling the rhythm of that autism that drones
vibrating the inner clit of their soul
�Til they � ahhh! Electrocute themselves
with that pneumatic static of speaking in tongues
some call Braille
�cause when it comes
your fingertips go pale �til the writing is done

Become one with yourself
your health depends on it, not those so and so�s 
some call doctors
who practice because they don�t know
for whom repetition is a substitution, a means to an end
that end, your pen, writing your destiny
free of any imitators conspiring to
make you haters of yourselves

Who tells the lies you believe, deceived
selling everything you need
buying what makes you bleed
that precious star seed

forget they are stars, furiously blinding with wars
against the very nature of who they are
while behind the screams of suns� intelligence
moons reflect a softer brilliance
guiding the lost out of darkness
while suns rest
gone too far

Too far into that
Poets tic.

Know that my life is not less, but much more

Hunched over and staring at the floor pushing up at me
Rocking back and forth in a rocking chair of 
Conflicting wills and rhythms
I can�t seem to get off this pot
And God won�t stop
Aggravating me, bored with waiting on me
To get my shit together
Let go
And let Him�

Picture perfect promises
Presented as inheritance
If only I can take the chance 
To step out on His word

Loud and clear is the confusion of my stubbornness 
Egocentric tantrums insisting that I am grown!
I can do this on my own!
I tell myself
And listen to the cathartic backwash with a frown on my face
Because of the aftertaste of consequence
Having already been warned not to lean
To my own intelligence

The Book�s been read before
But I got caught up loving the tongue and teeth
Hearing my inner preacher preach
Swaying to the rhythms and intonations of it�s
Silent speech
Instead of studying the lessons it was meant to teach

So I keep reading
To stop the bleeding of my soul
I keep reading
To indelibly impress upon the rest of what remains from
Having over-entertained some insatiable appetite for
Stimulation �
I keep reading to make up for
All that I gave up for
Not wanting to be still�

The sensation 
Kills me

At least that�s what it feels like
As the heat of my energy builds up and suffocates my spirit
Got me sipping cool air while stretched to my limit
It�s hard to be patient when you think so much is 
Going on without you�

All about you
The winds are racing
Circling, chasing your thoughts in every direction
Stampeding conjectures on lectures you only thought you heard
Words un-fathered by wisdom
Given birth through the prisms of your most selfish desires
Fires you mistake for divine inspiration
Without question
Mad in the absence of self-control

So I keep reading
To stop the bleeding of my soul

Back and forth like the heavy part of a pendulum
Swung too hard in a lopsided case
Bracing itself so it won�t crack the face
Of invisible black hands and feet
Which take one step at a time
One step at a time
One step at a time

And whether that rhyme discovers bumps in the road
Or prints in the sand, even a blind man can see
The line under his feet
Where the molecules of hard soles disagree with those of the floor
And the complex mathematics illustrating the facts of his being
Can be summed up nicely in how he is feeling

Stealing attention from what matters 
By introducing facts that add clutter to a mind already filled to capacity
With ideas it will never truly understand

But for the sake of having a taste of metropolitan delights
We fight for our right to live our lives the way we want to
The world be damned 
If it tries to
Impose regulatory standards on our
Self-important values�

Hedonistic bruised and spoiled fruit
Stinking in the culture of its own excess and self abuse
Oblivious to the hearts that mean to heal
Avoiding any mirror
That would show them what is real

I sigh

You�d swear she knows better
But she can�t get her letters to spell anything
But bitterness that ferments into madness
And that mess causes so much stress
Its ridiculous

He knows the thoughts that transcend time and 
Conceive realities still meant to be
Are the age-old promises he has yet to read /
That there is nothing new under the sun
And that God wants to live through everyone

And gives us a million and one chances to accept Him
And we reject Him
Because our parents weren�t perfect enough for us
To believe Him
Not totally, unconditionally and obediently
Because we�re still stuck with appetites
We don�t want to be free

Tastes acquired giving in to curiosity
Experimenting with the generosity of others� misery
Wrapped in shiny paper to look like candy
Sugar coated bullshit, 
There�s so much of it
We feed our faces and swallow whole
Might as well be pinching our noses
And so we ignore the belch that confuses
And dare not admit we�ve been hooked on some shit
We�re ashamed to say we need
Embarrassed by our addictions, fears and failures - see, 
We get so deep
We have to make it seem

Hell is the absence of God
And God is love
And learning to love your self
Is the greatest love of all

And we get so deep
We have to make it seem

But who loves themselves and eats shit?

Crying like a crack head rocking back and forth
Soul torn, worn out and empty with pain
Life stains caked at the back of the brain
Clogging thoughts that can�t translate all the hurt
Into praying

�Our Father�� for the lives it took for you to be here
You are the pinnacle of a pyramid of a billion years
The blood that�s in your veins is as old as the sun
And the spirit that you are is part of everyone

One of a kind
And blessed are those who know it
And since God is an exhibitionist
Blessed are those who show it

You can�t see things exactly the way I do
With the feelings and issues that define my view
Nor expect me to be more while you can be less
Excused from the responsibility to live at your best

Embrace every one of your beautiful scars
Embrace yourself with all the courage that you�ve got, for you are
More beautiful than a sunset, an aurora, or rainbow
You are a gift of God to all of us,
The universe, and so on�

Relativity is a reality that stretches my mind
And belief is the wife of my love, even blind
So, though you see me staring at the floor
Rocking back and forth
Know that my life is not less, but much more


High in the mountains of Alamut
above the Caspian Sea
beneath an Iranian moon
the Fedayeen sat quietly

Birthrights tear the womb of love
levers moved by counterweight
the crack of dawn betrays the night
it's mourning wind deciding fate

Loyalty to tradition
stirs the righteousness of men
and love irrational destroys itself
with Hashashin

Justice is only a word
in the mouths of men possessed
fury's scent the dogs will find
in clouds of cannabis

Shia's daggers gleam beneath
the crescent moon and star
Isma'ili's dream of paradise
the myth that plants the war

High in the mountains of Alamut
above the Caspian Sea
beneath an Iranian moon
the Fedayeen sat quietly

The resin smoked the wind away
and blotted red, their eyes
heaven never knew their hearts
divided, their soul's died

Cascades of colour

Crystal clear water chimes bird aviary echoes flowers beautiful peace sanctuary
Blossoms petals fruit puddles reflection pool sky stars moon crescent
Stark naked cool chilled thirsty drops lips refreshed
Clean fall asleep dream night early morning dew grass 
Breathe deeply rhythm flowing air 
Gentle touch blow ear whisper 
Warm love glow inside smile 
Sigh relaxed soft 
Blue mistress 
Fairy dust 

The love of flowers

bring me no flowers
ripped from the ground
clipped from their life giving stems

I will not receive
the flower which bleeds
from the selfish gift of violence

roses or violets, pretty indeed
prettier while they still grow
why one would shorten their lives
for one smile
is noteworthy. I guess,
just for show

but I�ve seen them wilt
suffer, hungry for soil
dried up with good intentions
living only long enough
to serve someone�s conventions

the illusion of life
in the presence of dying
distills in one terrible irony
so the orchids will only
describe for the lonely
the gross exhibition of morbidity

is it worth it to kill
such wonderful colors
just to prove love is sincere

stolen from view
for some selfish review?
Let them be beautiful
and free of your fear. 

Stupid nag

feels a hot fat nasty gray
cloud pushin� �gainst
da back o my eyes

dry as oven heat

an stingin� like a bitch of a wasp;
ret ta bust out my face
like a mad-as-hell witch on fire,
an spit acid on all the stupid shit around me

: eatin� it up with a snap! crackle! pop!
down to  mucus stains
(like what snails trail behind 'em)
stickin� to da concrete
da way burnt barbacude chicken flesh sticks to a grill...

The thing  is that it sticks.

an I can't get rid of it.
all I got is a worn out broom with a short stick
to get up the mess I'd leave
if I agreed with myself
to have a split
and blame my other
side for smacking
her mouth swole shut.

I could sweep forever and it'd still be there
like rancid tree
sap gone hard
spilled & tacked
to hard
wood floors that'd never be what they were again. 

My thoughts are like black tar
boilin� & rising to the lip
of my insanity
an all I can do is breath in the sharp dusty air around me
and hope like
a fat man with a heart condition hopes the pain in his chest is only heartburn,
that the knife behind my sinus cavity
is only a migraine.

I don't know what happen'd
that the voice I called good
(cuz I could never call it beautiful)
suddenly seems so sour
like spoiled garbage juice.

I don't even know what she's bitchin� about.

Shiraz II

On autumn roads
I listen for the birds,
leaves rustling along the street
waiting for nothing
just breathing in the moment
knowing moments are special
because they do not last
like life
and love
and missing yesterdays
that will never be again.

Hold out your hand

Above the mountains
and below the clouds
I have found the breaths I breathed when I was a child
pretending to be in heaven
and they kissed me
and went away again smiling
like butterflies free of me
free to be all that I dreamed
when I was a child

Take care to let go of your breaths
that they might go to God
and return
blessing the earth
with the beauty that lived in you
when you wondered in awe
at the beauty of rainbows
at the sparkling of snow
at the scent of wet grass
and the morning mist�

Give God your best
and He will bless the world with it.

Being because

What is clean and neat that hasn't been touched
waves crash and water drops flash in the sun too fast
for my eyes to catch and drink and study the flavor of

but the haiku is a knife
a quiet and serious killer
carving epitaphs artistically
for a nod


fresh buds stink
moist life is obscene
molest it

and people's minds will rip to the news
infamous celebrities and the backs of milk cartons
... the warm mulch of spring 

or diarrhea from sulphuric water
smelling rotten
dandelions tickling assholes
while rabbits watch from behind trees

not a poem, you say

and I snap my fingers at dragonflies
clutching some off guard insect
all that little bitty squirming
that gives me the creeps 

close my burning eyes
hot from the glare of the sun
and weed through everybody's voices
until I hear the one
that says I�m safe 

doesn't matter if I'm laying under a tree
or in the middle of the asphalt parking lot
trying to gauge how close runaway shopping carts are
life has always been right now
and the only person I ever feel the eyes of
is God 

Mirage (for Georgia O�Keefe)


Along the line of the clouds I�ve streaked with satisfied longings for nostalgic scenes and
Visions, I�ve drawn imaginings, free falling through the light blue air
A nakedness opening me up to kisses
From the smooth virgin lips of the wind

A nakedness opening her
The wind blowing softly between her bald parted knees
Caressing the smoothness of her inner thighs
The veil of her sundress absent minded
In its infatuation with the air

I�ve smelled ghosts and listened for their footsteps in the swirling dust trails
Dancing along the canyon bed

The sun ignores me, along with the desert lizards
Wind passes me on its way to nowhere


Ice cubes in my glass fall suddenly
Melting in the laziness of a deep breath

Where the soil is cracked and parched
I remember her dress flapping in the breeze,
Sun kissed honey dripping from her fingertips,
Smeared across her lips

In the hold of my sweat and musk
I turn my head slowly beneath the shadow of the brim of my cowboy hat

A scorpion crawls, minding its own business, across my foot

Salt dripping from my forehead stings my eyes
The delicate scent of her freshness
Flirting with me

She is a newborn woman beneath her dress
The light behind her silhouette making me appreciate the art of her
And I thank the sun I can�t see her eyes

Dirty, silent and waiting for rain
Too hot to love her



because I was a child
I cannot forget
what it must have been like
for my dad to watch me grow up
with life teaching me
bought with time he tried
to save for me

even as my daughter gives me
blank stares
frustrated by my frustration at
having tried a million and one ways
to be clear
and still
missing her


children enslave you
to what you inherited
from both your parents

try harder
lose more

let it be
be there

love wins

when you were a child
everything you needed
was found in a hug 

Blaming Eve

Adam was

I have seen something

I have seen something
felt through words an insight looking forward
to things to come / possibilities
potential evolutions of

Jesus said, �even greater things��
and I look out my window at the leafless trees of winter,
the order man has thrown up so chaotically,
and I wonder, looking at a dirty fan,
if there is a jewel hiding in this squalor

There are leftovers in my stomach
and a thirst that must wait for water to pass
and while my mind waits in that heat
to break into a fresh morning
to breathe clean air
I wait for the flower to bloom

I have seen something
in the madness of a poet I have found admiration
and sit listening to the cacophony of man around me
wondering if I too will get there
if I too will get back
To being drunk with God.

The mother (for Gwendolyn Brooks)

Pimping ain�t easy on the soul
And you�ve killed with kindness
Your blindness, a mask worn like a mother
Whose grown children think she doesn�t know any better
But you do

God can�t be taught
Only lived

So you forgive the ambition of your children who dream
Oh so wonderful dreams
You encourage their schemes
�Cuz in happiness, truth is a patient belief

And adopted or not
You give all that you�ve got
So your little ones can
Fulfill their business plans

For what good are the gone
If their daisies won�t grow?

I�m cool, though, you know?
I remember your flow
And how age made you more beautiful

That�s you
Maya was singing about / to

While your daughter cries to your
Wiser ears
Years yours to see for what they are
Torches to be passed
Your past becoming history
To tell
Because no one else will
                                                 Be heard
So you give your word
Back to the people, publishing hopes
That more will come to the first beat of the drum
Rallying to the cause of
Appreciating ours
For our sake, not their take
So we take from you
And endeavor to make better
The book written for our children
In our words�
Your words
Almost forgotten.


Sacks of dead, bodies littered in a morbid sleep
Smother the fire of fear, extinguished minutes ago
The smoke of grief chokes me

The heavy blade of this sudden shock carves away my understanding
My throat forgets my heart 
Boulders give birth somewhere deep in my ribs
I refuse to believe these
Silent red screams

There are children here, elders
Women and friends

Somewhere not far from here
Perhaps little more than a few hours away
Is floating the memory of sunrise
The mmmmmm of my wife turning over to kiss me good morning
Her breath comfortable with me
I wish it would come back

The sound of my shoes on the dirt
Stirs up the dusty commotion of life slaughtered
Still carried in the breeze
Even the bugs tsk tsk tsk
That this was the doing of men

People aren�t people anywhere
They are starving animals hunting and eating each other

There is no sense, just emptiness
The frown of my words being choked
And as the clouds pass by
And the grass waves goodbye

Death doesn�t frighten me
It�s just that he had no business being here
My anger
Is his invitation