Asking a poet to be humble Is an act supremely stupid In my humblish opinion For what tops in arrogance The idea that you let brain Sculpt the wretched pulp into words By the heat of spent synapses There is no humble poet Just pretenders: shy performers Ever wishing someone will Play out their craft for them Basking in the applause of their genius But if contrived verse with phrases Like “the heat of spent synapses” Keeps you from the snares of the forsaken Then you Must do Your thing Just be worth saving
All the things I think I get All the plans I think I laid All the folks I think I met All the hands I think I played Everything feels like a dream All suspended in the air I don’t hear it when I scream I don’t see it when I stare Then the I-ness of existence Hits me right between the eyes It’s the craziest inversion Of the sum of all my lies All alone with all my I’s
“Go stand behind the guy with the grey hair.” “That’s gross. Did she actually say that?” Set my buzzer on the chair right next to me Among the crumbs where a crumbled someone sat I meander out of the loyal meter Of the country-western number playing back. Egg and cheese on an Asiago bagel Verse contrived like my Sunday morning snack. And this light roast blend Is sure to send My senses into spiral With no sobering end. Fake smiles Keep them together Moods change Like the Chicago weather. Got to go.
I wrote this in honor of a friend of a friend who has entered the last stages of a 10-year long battle with Benson’s syndrome, a visual variant of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is dedicated to all those enduring the many forms of dementia out there. Peace and love. It doesn’t matter what it is It doesn’t matter why it’s there What it’s for or where it goes Or how it got upon that chair All that matters is your heart Playing softly in your chest Celebrating all you’ve got You’re so different from the rest Sweet and sinless is your breath Drawing circles in my hands Home is past the stream of death Where the sun is in the sands Let the moments come and go Each a lifetime on it’s own They don’t matter now, you know All that matters has been known Smell the flowers, grab the sky Hear the laughter, even cry God is greater than it all You will get to ask Him why As will I
It’s hard to be a Muslim in these times When random border checks have gotten cold With camps and waterboarding on our minds And neo-nazi haters walking bold Like foreigners in lands we hold our own We’re dust on maps dividing us apart Unfounded fears turning hearts to stone Impelling policy bereft of heart We hear the names of prophets tossed in vain By voices on the left and on the right But can’t submit our intellect to gain Admission to a Garden wrought from Light It’s hard to be a Muslim till we see That Muslim is just all we need to be
Freedom’s fallen to her knees And she’s got no strength to stand When the voices of a nation Fall like salt upon the sand Muted by a call of hatred Ringing all across the land All her screams for gentle mercy Stifled by a tyrant hand Look around you, there are signs In the flower and the tree in the river and the sky For an eye that wants to see Come together, join as one Ocean of humanity Here and now, remove the shackles Here and now: set Freedom free