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The Sadness of Some Leaves

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Dirty Flannel Collar

I am ten years old.

It is spring.

The grass has begun its transformation

from brown to green.

I am getting out of school.

I walk six blocks home alone,

creating stories of moving away,

being asked to join a boy band,

my mother getting transferred,

my father getting a real job.

There is a box of clothes on our porch.

There is no note.

I know who left it.

I drag the box inside.

It’s the first warm day since snow,

mom won’t be home for an hour,

I want to be outside, in a tree,

living someone else’s life,

but I stay inside until mom gets home.

I follow the rules.

Jake is supposed to watch me,

Who knows where he is,

Micah drops off his book bag,

Heads to the park,

He does not invite me.

When mom gets home I tell her about the box,

Run to the park and climb my favorite tree

the one that defines the makeshift end zone.

I imagine it is my home.

I am no longer a boy,

But have mutated into a tree person.

I cook and clean our branches,

polish the leaves,

raise the seed’s,

until my tree husband comes home

and he makes love to me like a redwood,

sturdy and strong.

I hear moms whistle,

jump from the tree and race my brothers home.

The box of clothes sits in our sunroom all summer,

while I am driving from field to field

moving water so my father can grow money.

I swim every day,

My skin has turned a deep brown.

I am surprised at how white my thighs are.

Tornados break the monotony of farming.

My brothers wash the boat.

My mother packs the food.

We take the camper to the lake.

My dad skis.

I watch him fall

I build sandcastles, swim with the fish,

and run around in my life jacket.

I am happy here.

Before school starts

We make one final trip.

Mom hates school shopping.

We buy only what we need.

I am limited to one pair of shoes

that will be worn during P.E.

I will wear Jake’s P.E. shoes from last year.

Micah will wear mine.

Noah will wear Micah’s.

When we get home,

we sit down and go through

the boxes of clothing

that have accumulated in our house.

They have started to overwhelm mom.

The boxes are sorted between the four of us.

Pants we don’t have a choice;

if they fit, we wear them,

no matter the condition.

But I get to choose the shirts.

The rejects become rags on the farm.

I take the stack of clothes to my bedroom,

carefully place my new wardrobe in my dresser

like it’s a collection of hope diamonds.

I am fifteen years old.

I have held my own job for three months.

I am in Old Navy.

I purchase my first brand new t-shirt.

It is blue, I wear it til the thread

in the seams break and the sleeves fall off.

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codeine and contac ( are you Syriaous? )

*

the abstractions and distractions 

have been swept into the corner pocket

of the nine-ball, role call and response docket

*

tunes are playing for the rocketed

hemlocked recipes not fit for humans

filed under “you don’t get to tune in”

at the feet of the cosmic seat, where

flutes are piffling and trumpets bleating, 

men-o’-war work-steadily meeting and competing

for that which should bear no repeating

*

whipping up their custards of humble pie

served to diners in greasy dens  

who didn’t pass the muster, why? 

because our heads are still reined-in

from saviors singing and phrases pinging

though head spaces of mental cases of incremental

changlings, their party sickles dangling across the board 

walking it through to attain the genuine article

*

at any cost, cutting or head butting; we’ll have to 

resign to be assigned a reservation at the testing

station, where you wait and cogitate on your role

as the cog-au-vin plate, served daily by the billions,

twerking, slaving at the privilege of ‘the millioned’

collecting, disrespecting, self-protecting, world-neglecting,

claiming godhood while genuflecting, to baal-istical statistics

and paramilitary mystics in lipsticks

*

when will we come to realize and see the writing on the 

wall-eyed wally of the airwaves of weebling wobblng people 

falling down blind alleyways like sheeple,

going where you lead em, just as long as they think you’ll feed em 

into the slaughterhousing five-point a’gon and on and on and on, 

beat don’t stop til they say it’s done, but the battles seem to go on and on

maybe cause they can’t be won - dimensional, two-dimensional, 

three-dimensional four, so sick and tired of all mention of

a sick and tiring war…

*

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Queer Blind

This poem begins with a quotation

“love is love is love is love.”

Found on any Pride Parade t-shirt.

 

Some of us love like broken records

like prairies, like devotions, like hurricanes

like food fights, like drag queens, like tides

like broken bed frames, like monsoons.

Some of us love like sandy beaches.

 

When you show me a picture of skeletons

and say “I don’t see the difference”

you are saying that I am only bones.

That my muscle and organs, and tissue

and veins, and blood, and brain don’t matter.

You cannot disregard parts of my being

for the sake of your rhetoric, please use all of me.

 

Placing images of two men or two women

with the words ‘love is love’ over it

not only limits the identity of queer people

to gay and lesbian, but also fails to recognize

the types of love a person experiences.

The way I love a partner is different

from the way I love my mother, is different

from the way I love my best friends,

is different from the way I love my audience.

Love cannot be measured or compared with love.

 

These statements are intended to show similarities

between people regardless of sexual orientation

or gender. They falsely assume everyone

has the same dreams, while passing over

the life experiences of queer people. 

You can’t neglect someone’s sexuality or gender. 

When you say love is love you are failing

to recognize your own sexuality and gender

denying my experiences with oppression

and your experiences with privilege.

 

Some of us are bi-racial bisexuals.

Some of us are polyamourus multisexual.

Some of as are gender confused pansexuals.

Some of us are homo-romantic transgirls.

Some of us are Asian-American lesbians.

Some of us are Latino queer ally’s.

Some of us are white gay men.

Some of us are questioning.

Some of us don’t have the right words

Some of us are outside the language we create.

We are not ghosts you can stare through

we are valid and demand to be seen.

 

Being blind to the queer community

is a shame mechanism. I want you

to see the rainbow spilling from my mouth,

being gay has colored my experience

the same way a kaleidoscope turns

the world upside down, the same way
the brain changes our perception of

what we see in the mirror, the same way,
the wind creates the landscape of deserts.

Speaking of another person’s sexuality or gender

does not make you ignorant or offensive

it makes you conscious of our differences.

 

This movement is attempting to say we are all the same

but we are not the same and that is the beauty in humanity.

Christians and Muslims never discuss how they both

believe in one God, a virgin birth, or heaven and hell

instead they kill each other over which is supreme.

Understanding and recognizing differences creates

a safe and welcoming ecosystem where the tenants

of my sexuality are not persecuted into blood and ash.

 

Some of us love like broken washing machines

like dirty pocket change, like silver spoons,

like mud wrestling, like latex and leather,

like building a house, like we depend on it.

Some of us love with our whole bodies.

 

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Think of the children

Funny that they always say
"Think of the children"
But when they turn 18
They'll hand them all guns
And send them to die
In their pointless wars
And that's all
They're protecting them for 
They'll send our sons
Marching to battle
Meat for the slaughter
Like herds of cattle 

I can't even look at the flag anymore
Because I'll think too much about politics
I can't even look at the flag anymore
Because it makes me fucking sick
Red for all of the blood that we shed
Blue for the tears of their mothers
White so we can pretend we're clean
Of all our country's murders 

"I'm sorry ma'am
I really am
But at least your boy
Died for Uncle Sam
Spreading democracy
To far away lands
That never asked us
To lend them a hand" 
We spend 12 million
Every hour 
Just to maintain
Our military power
Almost 2 trillion
That could be
Spent on renewable energy
My guess is
They feel winds of change coming
And they don't want us
To have windmills running

Now how would you rather your money spent? 
I only ask you "think of the children." 

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ectrocution by elocution… by richard lynn livesay

Bucolic variations re-verb my rock'n lullabies

twisting minor strings of D to breaded butterflies

instant empathy crossed with leopard’s thighs

in banquet halls serving Boston Pop with rib eyes

 

sweet sounds of Ruby's lips drip lonely, silent notes 

with hopes of flutes and lutes encouraging Billy's goats

yet we warn the waves a-floating through the hall

no more wonder-boats that I could not stand at all

 

a bed-time story of Kings reveal a hidden moat

the long dead King’s ghost will play in plays remote

theatres grew as Greek beliefs rewrote their quotes

and sent a message, there is no option in Dante’s boats

 

so strut and fret as clowns as time runs a race in space

and toast the heat as war is turned upon the human race

then  melt the wall so writing appears without a face

and wails while lands of beaches sink with such disgrace

 

we elect nothingness as we cast votes for cleaner garbage

politically robbed of our false money as players forage

claiming, no resolutions or fixed solutions are in store

as a lynching mob just broke thru the cabinet door

 

…and the current was amped up

as swords are used for words

in the chambers of death                    

 

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For Charlie

Charlie, the night you clawed

your lifeless body down the hall,

found your way through the dark

to your neighbors phone booth,

three men detached your door,

tied your hands to the bedpost,

ripped clothes from your body,

took razors to skin, carved lesbian

across your stomach, painted

the walls queer, let gasoline

flow across your floor, to burn

your forest to the ground

 

thousands gathered on the steps

of the capital. lit a sleeping town alive.

Refusing to blow out the candle

that was ignited with you. You were

the victim of the worst kind of crime.

We gathered on the meadow for you.

When the news shared your tale

your shaking voice swelled our throats.

we held your hurt in our Adams apple.

 

But it was you who bought the zip ties

that bound your hands to the bedpost.

Carved faggot across your own chest,

hands lined with gasoline.  You wept

when the ambulance took you away

the tears you shed were forged

from dried up streams. The pain

was self-inflicted . Police found

white gloves on your living room floor.

You wanted to be the catalyst for change.

Now, you face up to a year in prison.

 

But we are still here, sitting

on the steps of the capitol

waiting for a something organic

to bloom gay rights across the Sandhills.

We will still be here, but not for you.

When they hand you their verdict

in the most precious envelope.

A community of people could have used

your story to show how much hate

is harbored in the good life.

 

You are a selfish martyr;

a counterfeit hate crime.

You can be the catalyst for change

without deconstructing Stonewall

brick by brick, without tearing

the seams of the AIDS quilt.

We have gained so much momentum,

your brakes have backed up cars for miles.

Most already hate us, you are giving

them one more reason. You are drying

the blood that has already been shed.


We need you here beside us,

marching with us, fighting with us,

instead of boxing yourself into gloves

that can never be removed.

We need you here.

We want you here.

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Just South of Paradise


         
                       I


            Step back your Honor &
        Ask why, if you don’t mind,
                                Rape
Is the most unreported crime
In these United States of America

        Is it because judges weigh sexy dresses,
Come hither smiles and dark and silken tresses
That alert boys to Nature’s fundamental demand

“Miss Skank, even blindfolded Justice can see
That you’re a big legged country girl with silky hair
Followed by a beautifully proportioned derrière. 
Tell the Court how’s a man to behave acceptably
When you so sashay as you pass so seductively?”

            Step back Daddy &
        Ask why the perpetrator of the crime
Doesn’t top your list of promised retribution hits
Rather than your daughter
        (Who will later slit her wrist)
Who knows men share coffee, hookahs and conspire lies
Fathers and brothers multiply the heinous crime then hide
Their daughter’s or sister’s crime with an Honor Homicide

            Step back Shaykh &
        Ask why loved and respected
Women deserve to wear the fear laden form
Starkly black intent (To hide themselves within) as
Desert Arab tents, secure from strangely non-restrainable
Thus blameless men, naturally vulnerable to devils and jinn.
Please, Shaykh, hold a public seance for the forsaken
Ghost of the girl sentenced to death
By the hands of those whom she loved most.
 

                        II

    Remember when
Adam told God that Lilith was a skank
Had the nerve to think she held his same rank

When God saw that Adam had coerced her to leave
He cloned from Adam’s bone cage his Ribeye wife Eve

The Age of the Goddess ended when Lilith had to flee
Ribeye Eve assented to a slavish yoke, never being free

Adam flipped the Original Goddess Paradigm;
Goddess became Skank and God took Top Rank

From cosmic energies to those of blood and war
Because of an inexplicably eaten apple core?

A talking snake with a convincingly devilish tongue
He recruited Ribeye Eve for the ruse as she was so young

An echo of Adam’s soul, a reminder of Lilith’s demanded role
Before the ancient world reversed its heavenly pole

    Remember when
The Aztecs ritually sacrificed their timed out
Personated god & goddess, ripped out the beating
Human god’s heart, live eyes on dead ones;
                   decapitated the goddess,
Removed her skin then another
Priest donned her skin then brother priests
                 dressed him in the goddess’
Robes and sacred crown as the new Aztec Drag Queen
Priest then paraded through a celebrating town


                            III

Look ahead
The dreamt end may seem strangely out of time,
This too long endured silent conspiracy of rape,
Amidst the marriages of the blended and the gay
The lesbian, the transgendered and our new
Bounty of lovingly inventive families

Look ahead
There is a place just south of paradise,
Around the moral bend
            Where we’ve been
At least once. Before 
We lost our original
Cosmological paradigm

Look ahead
Where goddesses are known as
Some badass motherfuckers, able still
To punish in the great extreme or
Peremptorily elect to kill feckless bitch-ass punks
Pursuing feloniously misanthropic schemes.

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Darken Their Harvest Sun

                              An Ode to George

When one people fall victim to another in war
Revenge’s shadow falls across the victor’s door

You must kill the sons of the bravest ones
You must forever darken their harvest suns

This is the transforming backbone of our tragic story
From marauding madmen to mythic tales of heroic glory

You must kill the sons:
Seminole Braves stumble drunk in the Everglades
Uniformed casino clerks with hybrid Anglo name tags

You must kill the sons:
Stylized Samurai coded symbols on Toyota autos
Recall two mushroom clouds darkening the red sun

You must kill the sons:
Sons of West Africa and islands along the coast
Pace inside invisible cages dripping from syringes

Possessed by the ghosts of hooded paddy rollers,
Pale faces in uniform and their shielded vigilantes

Believe in the expediency of this American tragedy
Older than the Good Ship Jesus and its slaver legacy

Bound now, tightly as yin and yang, the dark
Defines the light, while love defines the hate

This is the transforming backbone of a tragic story
From marauding madmen to mythic tales of heroic glory

You must kill the sons of the bravest ones
You must forever darken their harvest suns

An enemy with a lost harvests of brave sons slain
Becomes docile like a once fierce bull now on a chain

When the world’s power rolls into the hands of another
They will find your sons, they will smile and pretend

Then they will darken forever your harvest sun
They’ll convict and execute your last begotten one.

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Say No to Drugs

We're from a generation
That was always told
"Say no to drugs"
While they shoved
Ritalin down our throats
Force fed pharmaceuticals
Until it seemed normal
To alter your mind
Until it seemed normal
But no you see the child has A.D.D.
I think we need to have him take these
And then he’s quiet for a while
So you sit and smile
Thinking you’ve done what’s best for your child
But eventually you’ll be
Wondering why he’s on ecstasy

It’s just what you taught him