Lower Case g

Posted: February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

I debuted a poem on Saturday at Capital Slam… well performance debut, anyway. It already appeared (in a slightly different form) in my second Book, ‘Day One’.

CONTEXT: October, 2012

I have spoken about my relationship – or lack thereof – with religion here and there. One of the things I tried to get across in a previous post is my complete lack of understanding. I have found myself many times shaking my head wondering how someone can believe in that stuff.

And I KNOW this is going to come across as insulting but I don’t mean it that way. I really mean it as a total lack of comprehension. HOW can you believe it?

But then, one day, I had as close to an epiphany on the subject as I am likely to get. I sat in the Dominion-Chalmers (which IS a church but I was not there for church), listening to the Ottawa Classical Choir, and I had that moment where I GOT it. I could feel how it could be that someone could sit in that space, listen to the music, feel the energy and BELIEVE.

For me it instead made me in awe of the people who make great things. The people who made the building. The person who wrote the music. The people who sang.

(The cynic in me also remarked that this is WHY they built the building… to create an artificial feeling divinity… but as I say… cynic…)

This poem is what I wrote about it.

NOTE: I did change a bit from the book version because the book version has a section which is kind of insulting to believers. Since that isn’t the POINT of the poem, I changed it.

Lower Case g

I looked upon the face of god
With a lower case g.
Divinity within humanity
Masquerading as humility
Dropping wisdom like a
Times Square big apple,
Exploding in light.

I met a man of gods,
Jesus Dialo Akira Fitzpatrick,
A lower class g
Looking for a little melt,
Pot shotted casualty of
A war on the uncontrolled,
Living on the wrong side
Of every track –
Tracked down, arms
Fall parallel
As he just wanted a
Glimpse of that light
That never goes out.

I heard the voice of god
Beamed at the speed of neurons,
Hard-wired digital message
Of beat-up guitar and
Beat down gravel ripped across
Mic as ear
Translates life into
Something close to
Understanding.
Bic lighters up
To HEAR instead of
Just listening
When poetry means more
That Laureate literati.

I felt the presence of god
As passed through belief
So this unbeliever
Could understand why
So many could toss aside
Logical thought
And believe in
What they can’t see.
I sat on pews made of guilt
And sub-flagellation
Wondering why worship has
To be uncomfortable
When the choir sliced the
Air of mob civility
With the first strains of
Carmina Burana.
A synesthesiac painting
Of notes pinned to intricately
Cut paper planes
Leaving blue fire contrails
As eyes pull up to
Stone walls and tattooed
Glass stains.
Static leaps away
From carrier waves and
Charges skin as hair
Tries to stand at
Attention out of respect
For the divine.
And I finally understand
How stories come to life
And the other-worldly seems
The only explanation.
The birth of faith
Filling me with thanks
But not to the god of
Thunderbolts or Apollo’s
Flaming chariot.
My thanks are to Carl Orff,
The architects, artisans
And masons of the
Dominion-Chalmers
And each beautiful voice
Of the Ottawa Classical
Choir.
My faith is strong
As the unreal becomes real
And the mystical is the
Physical and meta can
Barely keep up.
I am gripped in wonder
As I remember
That all things are possible
When keeping faith in
One another
As we are the
Power and the glory,
For ever and ever,
Human

Speed Dial

Posted: January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

Poem post time!

This has been a very… off year for me. With all the other things that have been going on, whether dealing with Safe Space issues or the fallout from that, including mediation issues and threats of lawsuits, I have hardly written anything. It is also very unlikely that I am going to go out for the Slam team… which would be only the second time in nine years that I have done that. (The other being 2010 when I was Slam Master at CFSW instead.)

I really would like to get my name on the belt but I just don’t know if I could give me all to another team at this point and I don’t believe in committing to something without COMMITTING to something, if you know what I am saying.

I do have a poem backlog, though! I did this poem at CapSlam this week (and won). Prior to that, I did it at a CapSlam Semi-Final… in 2013, I think.

CONTEXT: July, 2012

Well, here is the story.

I wasn’t always the mountain of a man you see now. In fact, all the way through high school, I was pretty darned skinny. By the time I graduated I had started to fill out, but only catching up with my wide shoulders and ribcage.

I didn’t grow up with the stigma of extra weight. (I had various other stigma, but that is a different point.)

I was actually somewhat of an athlete. Not a top athlete or a jock type, but I played soccer for five years (which followed four years of baseball). I actually got somewhat good at it. I was invited to try out for the Under-16 provincial team at one point (thought I didn’t make the team). I also used to so some long distance running.

I also had the metabolism to match. I ate a lot. I remember when my friend Shawn and I would head out on a Friday night, driving around, and come back to our house to order two-for-one extra-large pizzas. That was one each. I used to buy McCain chocolate cakes to have as a snack. I used to eat poptarts by the box… straight out of the box.

But I never put on weight. I just kept getting taller… though that levelled out.

Then I moved to Ottawa. I had started putting on weight before that, but nothing too extreme. When IO moved to Ottawa, I kept jogging since that was my only real source of exercise since I stopped playing soccer.

Then winter hit. I had planned to give jogging through winter. The cold didn’t bother me too much. I figured I could tough it out. The first time I tried to jog after it snowed, I got about a block before I slipped on some ice and twisted my knee. It wasn’t really bad, but it was enough to stop my jogging for the winter.

You know what they say about good habits, right? How they are easier to break than to create? Well, winter ended and jogging didn’t come back. I was also dealing with some pretty major depression, which didn’t help.

By the time I moved to Calgary, I realized that the way I saw myself was no longer accurate. (To give frame of reference, I once performed in a musical version of the Wizard of Oz. I played a Kansas famer who was – more or less – the analog for the Scarecrow. That is how I saw myself. Gangly.)

Calgary wasn’t good for me, generally. I did start going to a gym but I just got stronger. (That is one thing I can say about being the size that I am… I am pretty strong, physically.)

Have I tried to change things at times? Can I honestly answer yes? I mean, I have tried somewhat, but I have never really put a full effort into it. There is just too much tied in with it for me.

When I am happy, I eat.

When I am unhappy, I eat. (And with the depression I have been dealing with, the latter is much more common.)

The only time this works in my favour is when I am ‘in balance’, but that is not a place I have been very successful at spending much time.

I am who I am.

I once read a comic that was otherwise unremarkable. It was an Annual for the late-80s Justice League. In the regular comic, Blue Beetle was going through a story where he was gaining weight. He is an ‘athletic’ hero, with no actual powers and teaming up with people like Green Lantern had meant he wasn’t actually DOING very much other than flying their plane.

The Annuals that year were flashing ten years into the future. In it Beetle had bottomed out, sold his costumed identity and just couldn’t get himself back on track. There was a scene where he gave himself a little speech about how things were going to turn around and today he was going to start a new life. He then ordered a pizza.

Shitty comic but that scene really hit home.

I am NOT telling you this to ask for pity or help. In fact, if you read the poem you will see how I react to that sort of thing. I am just telling you this so you can know who I am. If I get anything out of poetry it is that… going through life feeling like nobody understands you is not a good thing, at least for me. I did that for a very, very long time.

So, here is the poem. It is a performance piece so when I get to the point where I talk about pizza, picture me taking an invisible phone out of my pocket to place the order.

Speed Dial

They say good things come in threes
So you can enjoy that
First blessing more than the
Last knowing you have
Two more lining up for you.
Ignore triple sixes and call on
Triple A to hit that triple axel
Of roadside assistance.
Then there is Triple X,
Either on a cask of over-powered
Illicit hooch, or brown-papered
Adult entertainment, but
What about when Triple X means
Extra, extra, extra
With an extra L hanging
Around my neck, with an
Abandon hope all ye who
Don’t fit into the ‘standard’
Size of merch shirts.
My Triple X comes with different
Judgements than hardcore videos
But it is still a hard chore to
Walk past that mirror and not
Recognize who is
Looking back.
When your mential image
Remembers the high school
Stick fig where those Xs
Stood for xylophone as you
Could tap out a tune on
Nature’s musical ribcage of lean
Athletics and hyper-metabolisitc
Swing.
But that teenager learned
Mitosis without the fission
As two of me stand
Stuffed into one sun-sheltered
Membrane.

The life of the
Above-average man leads
To awkward pauses and the
Search for corners to fit in.
But when the 3 stands for
300?
No CGI ab-enhancement
Can make more – or less –
Of an army of spartan swinging
Scales that flash back the
Weighted truth and
‘Tonight, we dine on…”
Hey, I could go for pizza.
Hold on a sec.

“Yeah, it’s me – give me the
Usual – an extra-large with
Everything.”

What? Doesn’t everyone have
The pizza place on speed dial?
Sometimes a guy has a whole
That CAN be filled-
Or at least glossed over.
And now I tell you this,
Which is dangerous as now
When I place my order
I will see that look of
Well-meaning judgement
And pity, “Did he forget he
Is unhappy? Why would he do
That to himself? Does he really
Need that extra Coke?”

Well FUCK YOU
And your eyes that say
More than your mouth
Ever will, thinking you
Can change me by
Telling me how to live.
As if it were SOOOO easy
To… just… change…

But the eyes are not yours.
The incriminating looks are
Not yours. The scrambling
For excuses like maybe my
Father didn’t love me enough
Or the babysitters loved me
Too much – searching for
A release or excuse that
Can be repaired or forgiven
As no look of repulsion
Could match the anger and
Disgust that coats the
Inside of my skin.
The black clouds that
Shutter my three eyes
And convince me that
Beauty is skin deep
And a reflection of your worth.

But when I get down like this
There is always a cure that
Pretends to be my friend,
Hiding hate behind a smile.
So you don’t need to worry about me.
I keep the number on speed dial.

2014 in review

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Greatest Canadian

Posted: December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

So I recently decided I wouldn’t be going out for a team this year. The recent stressful situation regarding safe space violations within our scene along with a spurious lawsuit AND a bit of general disillusionment with a few things have made me decide to AT LEAST take a year off.

I am still National Slam Master, so I will certainly be AT CFSW. I will also keep performing and slamming… whenever I feel like it.

So, since I decided that, there have been two CapSlams and an Urban Legends that I was at. Guess how many times I slammed?

Yeah. Three.

Twice, I had no plans to slam. At the first CapSlam and at the UL there were short numbers so I stepped up to help out. So, of course, at the CapSlam, I won.

I had no plans to go up, but I had my books and was willing to read so I asked Jenica to pick any poem for me to perform. She said “the one where you are walking”.

The Stranger it was.

It went incredibly well. I ran over it, realized I still knew the non-team version and when I performed it… it was really moving. I got lots of compliments afterwards AND I got a big score.

So I went back to Jenica for round two and she offered up Angst as a suggestion. Not quite AS strong, but plenty good enough and I won.

Then I went to Urban Legends to see Andre Prefontaine perform and ended up volunteering to slam. I did Joe DiMaggio, which I had debuted as a sac at the CapSlam earlier, and Angst again. I didn’t win (I think Gavin Russell took it), but it was nice to no longer be able to say I had never slammed at Urban Legends.

This past weekend, I also wasn’t going to slam. But during the day on Saturday I got the idea for a fun little poem that played off Frosty the Snowman called Rusty the Slammer. It was now or wait a year, so I went up and did it. I also dropped a first time slammed poem called, Greatest Canadian, that I will post here.

I didn’t get anywhere near winning but it the Rusty the Slammer poem prompted a slammer/carol punfest for some on-site prizes and facebook wackiness.

Here is the poem…

CONTEXT: June, 2012

Do you remember the CBC poll to crown the greatest Canadian? Yeah, that happened. I was personally pushing for Norman Bethune, but I think Tommy Douglas, who eventually won, was a great choice. (The fact that Don Cherry made it right to the end was ridiculous.)

But it got me thinking about… you know what? Everything I was about to explain is spelled out very well IN the poem.

Greatest Canadian

There is always a pecking order,
Not for getting the best seeds
Or spreading the same
But ladder climbing isn’t
Restricted to oxygen-deprived
MBA drones with well-polished noses.
To everything there is a
Hall of Fame – even if only
Apocryphal.
Those shining lights
That tower above – almost
Always with a retroactive
Beside the point.
A few years back there
Was a nationwide poll to
Crown the Greatest Canadian.
It came down to
Tommy D of the NDP
Facing off against Goon Squad
Coach Supreme, Don Cherry.
Which either showed
This country’s sense of humour
Or its complete misunderstanding
Of priorities.
Either way, the right one won,
Which is to say the
Left one was left,
And public health coverage
Was shown as the
greatest legacy.
But it made me wonder
About greatness every day
And how high you can climb
When somebody else provides
The ladder.
What is more impressive –
A neuron-firing science genius
Riding high on scholarship
Breaking new ground –
Or a skid row addict
Sweating out day four
of the need for
The fire that comes via
Syringe and medical tubing?
What of a charismatic leader
Who uses those powers to
Move the country in a
Better direction
Or the person who
Wins the fight to put their
Feet on the floor each day –
Choosing between never
Giving up and never giving in.
But even if we accept the
Traditional version of success and
Acknowledge that Tommy Douglas
Has done more to mold our
Positive perception of Canadians
Than any ‘more successful’
Politactician or polimagician,
I still reserve the right to
Amendment as we name him
Tommy Douglas, Greatest Canadian,
SO FAR.
Because I am not ready to
Pack it in and accept that
Everything great has already been
Done, said, or dreamed.
The greatest poet, ukelele player,
Mathematician or bio-geneticist
Might be reading this right now.
The Greatest Canadian may
Be in a kindergarten class in
Flin Flon with no idea that
She will one day show the world
That we CAN succeed working
Together instead of in a
Zero sum, capitalistic miasma
Of pushing and pulling.

I am asking a lot.
This is like offering an
Olympic level high jump
Chance to someone 4 foot 9
With one broken leg and
Pockets weighted down by
Every ‘no you can’t’,
And ‘know your place’
And wrapped in the
Chain links of implicit
Conservatism and
Fear of change.

But one thing I AM sure of
Is that things will NEVER
Get better if we don’t try.
So here is my pledge to you:
I will never be called
‘The Greatest Canadian’,
‘The Greatest Speaker’ or
‘The Greatest Poet’ but I
Can do my damnedest to be
‘The Greatest Rusty Priske’
There can possibly be-
And if we all did that,
Maybe it wouldn’t seem so
Far-fetched that this world
Could be better than what
We see.

Why Beard?

Posted: November 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

Another poem post?

Well, kind of…

CONTEXT: May, 2012

Rather than put an explanation here, I think I will connect through to where I have already explained it.

It isn’t the BEST parody of Why Art? ever done. (That would be Nathanael Larochette’s ‘Why Fart?) But it was still pretty epic.

But, now, I am going to include the cam-footage of the blessed event.

Why Beard?

I heard asked,
“Why Beard?”
At first I couldn’t
Understand the question
As Why Beard sounded
To me like
When your ears or
Where your nose.
Then I realized they meant
Why grow a beard eschewing
Razors and having cream.
I think that is the wrong musing.
It should be, “If not for
Beard, why exist?”
Facial protection needs to persist
As people look for a covering,
Something less galling or appalling
Then one of those over-groomed
Chin-strap things.
Whether it is a wizard flow
You bring from an upper lip
And a chine of a devil’s fork
You grow to pretend at
Sin.
Since we were apes
We knew to not be nude is to be
Covered, furry, shaggy and fuzzy.

So is it beard for beard’s sake?
Life without beard is breezy and chilly.
Clean shaven is childish and silly.
Life grows beard, shows beard.
We stroke it every day,
Admire it in every way.
Beard coats us,
Covers us, disguises us,
Protects us from windburn and
Snow chill and unfettered
Face slaps.
It takes your cheek and
Gives it a sweet caress,
It takes your lip and covers it
In a fuzzy mess.
It takes your chin,
Sprouts your follicles
Until it is full of a curly
Garden of copper and rust
And maybe some moist remnants of lust.

So is it Beard for Life’s sake?
Do beards just get you through the day?
Morning to night just to say
Job well done, its purpose served?
A fuzz for a chin preserved
Like an orangey apeman face
To make up for a receding hairline
One inch at a time.

Beards makes cold cheeks warmer,
And spongier, and even softer!
They can look distinguished
But don’t have to be,
They can be grizzly
But that’s not all they can be.
They can be chaotic and tangly,
Playful and meandering,
Pointing the way ahead
Or growing down the neck
Or thrusting to the sides,
Nowhere to hide
Except behind beards…
But beards expose instead of disguise,
Or is it the other way around?

So is it Life for Beard’s sake?
Do we like to just grow our chops,
To be unique and warm-cheeked,
Loved and be-fuzzed.
Are profiles adorned
With majestic man-fuzz of
History and the promise
Of chin weasels to come?

Beards as adornment
Remember only the outward
Protrusions, ignoring the
Trimmer, shaver, barbers
With razors.
Beards extend from ear
To lip and chin,
Beards show our face
And hide your sins.

Beards are Life
And Lives are Beards.

They cannot be
Artlessly shorn
Like a dwarven version of
Samson as
Gandalf reminds us that
Beards impress, egress,
Flowing and showy.

All that is manly is beard,
No matter whether grown or
Put on with an applique.
A grizzly adams is a beard.
A goatee is a beard.
That little tickle on the
Curve of your cheek,
The nape of your neck,
Or the insides of your
Thighs
That tells you…

Oh… HE is the ONE-
BEARD!
To ignore beard is to
Ignore wife,
So Why Beard?
I’m afraid I’m going to have to
Start regrowing one.

Joe DiMaggio (new version)

Posted: November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

The other day I posted a poem called Joe DiMaggio.

After I posted it, a talented fellow poet of my acquaintance (Meme), pointed out that the juxtaposition of the content of the poem with the title didn’t work. There was a story behind the title, but DiMaggio himself had a very troubled history filled with abuse, especially towards his one-time spouse, Marilyn Monroe.

I read up and couldn’t agree more. I considered changing the title of the poem but instead I added a verse.

Here is the new version.

Joe DiMaggio

Where have you gone, Bob Dylan?
We could use the
Call from the wilderness
And a voice of a generation
To stand up and say
Enough is enough
And it is time for a change
But be careful
Because not all change is
Progress
And the times they are
A’changing back
To a simpler time
When men were men
And women knew their place,
Birth control was god’s will
And abortions were kept in
Back alleys.
Workers were just parasites
And Lady Justice had
A direct line to societal
Cheques and balances
Where a verdict was tied
Closer to bank account And skin tone then
Facts and evidence.

Where have you gone, Margaret Sanger?
We have come so far
Yet watching the systematic
Dismantling of women’s rights
Under the guise of
Financial conservatism
And religious determinism
Feels somehow unreal
Like watching a parallel
Dimension where
Don Draper chauvinism has
Remained static for forty years
Instead of being forced under
Wraps behind a veneer of
Progressive civilization.
They are building a
Sexual prison where
Women’s bodies are public property
And roles are proscribed and
Atwood-esque.
All aided and abetted
By well-meaning men
Who think that dictating
Dress and behaviour and
Calling it freedom
Isn’t another word
For misogyny.

Where have you gone, Tommy Douglas?
As Stephen Harper lines up
His strike busting goons
Carrying briefcases
Rather than axe-handles
Forgetting than a union
Is a joining of strengths
And an attack on unions
Is an attack on people,
But when the right
Doesn’t care about rights,
Cries for a fair deal
Are all that is left.

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
As the nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you?
Conflating talent with heroism
While not all obsessions are created equal.
A career of piling up the hits
Didn’t end with him hanging up the glove
But we keep protecting damaged men
Instead of dealing with the damage
Without concern for those women
Not wearing the away team’s uniforms.

And where have you gone,
Martin Luther King Jr.?
Oh wait, I know that one –
He was gunned down for
Saying things that challenged
Society because
Words can be dangerous.
But how far have we come
If now all a black man named
Martin had to do to be shot
Is wear a hoodie
In a community designed to
Keep him out?
We inherited a world
Moving away from wives as
Property, workers as serfs
And pride in a White America
And we have sat back and
Watched a backslide to
Regressive double-speak
Like Family Values and
Moral Centers.

Do not be complacent.
The snake is speaking in tongues
And it whispers stories of
Fear and control.
Do not be complacent
As the right continues
To plow us under
Using economic leverage
To get us to agree to
Anything.
Do not be complacent
Or the world is already theirs.

Joe DiMaggio

Posted: November 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

What’s that? A new poem post?

Well, I usually wait unit I have slammed a poem, but that may to change to when I perform a poem. At least that is the case right now and I did this piece as the sacrificial poet at CapSlam last night.

CONTENT: April, 2012

Wait, did I call this a new poem?

This shows you how far behind I am in slamming. Whenever I spend time on a team or whatever, I concentrate on working poems for that team and just get further and further behind.

One thing you may notice, if you have my latest book, This is Day One (plug, plug), is that the poem here is slightly different from the version printed there.

The wonders of Spoken Word!

Here is a story. I was at VERSeFest (a poetry festival in Ottawa that I used to help organize) talking to one of our features (good friend and amazing poet, Mary Pinkoski) as we heard one of the ‘page’ poets say (more or less): well, I am not sure I like the ending. I changed it back and forth a few times but now it is the book so I am stuck with it.

Mary and I looked at each other and said: uh no. You can change it whenever you want.

That is Spoken Word. We can change it whenever we want.

One of the strengths and drawbacks of Spoken Word is that people can’t always see what you are saying as part of the bigger context. Not everybody listens intently to every word so there are certain things that are hard to pull off while assuming that everybody will understand what you mean.

One of those things is sarcasm.

So, as I was memorizing this poem I realized that I had a couple of problem spots. In print, I was pretty sure what I was saying was crystal clear, but out loud, I wasn’t so sure.

One of those lines was “Abortions stayed in back alleys where they belonged”.

I thought in the poem it was pretty clear that I didn’t mean the “where they belonged” part. Out loud, I wasn’t so sure, so I dropped that part of the line.

There also is a line “When men were men and women knew their place”. I left that one is because I figured in my performance I could make it clear what I was saying. I think it worked. (There are other small changes as well.)

Now, let me tell you about the name of the poem.

You may wonder why it is called Joe DiMaggio where there is literally no mention of Joe DiMaggio anywhere in the poem.

Well, there used to be. When I was initially writing it, I used the ‘where have you gone’ motif as a hook. I took that motif from the song Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkle.

(That is the sort of song you used to not have to explain. I am getting old…)

The first line of the poem WAS “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” When I worked the poem up, however, the DiMaggio section DIDN’T work. (I also need to add the Margaret Sanger section.)

So I dropped it… but kept the title. Why? In-jokes amuse me.

So, does everyone want to know who all the people named in the poem are?

Learning is fun!

Joe DiMaggio

Bob Dylan (and the song reference)

Margaret Sanger

Tommy Douglas

Stephen Harper (boo hiss)

Martin Luther King Jr.

Trayvon Marton (the ‘black man named Martin ref)

So, here it is…

Joe DiMaggio

Where have you gone, Bob Dylan?
We could use the
Call from the wilderness
And a voice of a generation
To stand up and say
Enough is enough
And it is time for a change
But be careful
Because not all change is
Progress
And the times they are
A’changing back
To a simpler time
When men were men
And women knew their place,
Birth control was god’s will
And abortions were kept in
Back alleys.
Workers were just parasites
And Lady Justice had
A direct line to societal
Cheques and balances
Where a verdict was tied
Closer to bank account And skin tone then
Facts and evidence.

Where have you gone, Margaret Sanger?
We have come so far
Yet watching the systematic
Dismantling of women’s rights
Under the guise of
Financial conservatism
And religious determinism
Feels somehow unreal
Like watching a parallel
Dimension where
Don Draper chauvinism has
Remained static for forty years
Instead of being forced under
Wraps behind a veneer of
Progressive civilization.
They are building a
Sexual prison where
Women’s bodies are public property
And roles are proscribed and
Atwood-esque.
All aided and abetted
By well-meaning men
Who think that dictating
Dress and behaviour and
Calling it freedom
Isn’t another word
For misogyny.

Where have you gone, Tommy Douglas?
As Stephen Harper lines up
His strike busting goons
Carrying briefcases
Rather than axe-handles
Forgetting than a union
Is a joining of strengths
And an attack on unions
Is an attack on people,
But when the right
Doesn’t care about rights,
Cries for a fair deal
Are all that is left.

And where have you gone,
Martin Luther King Jr.?
Oh wait, I know that one –
He was gunned down for
Saying things that challenged
Society because
Words can be dangerous.
But how far have we come
If now all a black man named
Martin had to do to be shot
Is wear a hoodie
In a community designed to
Keep him out?
We inherited a world
Moving away from wives as
Property, workers as serfs
And pride in a White America
And we have sat back and
Watched a backslide to
Regressive double-speak
Like Family Values and
Moral Centers.

Do not be complacent.
The snake is speaking in tongues
And it whispers stories of
Fear and control.
Do not be complacent
As the right continues
To plow us under
Using economic leverage
To get us to agree to
Anything.
Do not be complacent
Or the world is already theirs.