No Place Like Home

This is my home sick poem. I have been in my current city for 5 years, the longest I have lived in any place since college. No matter how far I go , no matter how much time passes and even in the face of all the many conflicting feelings home brings ups for me…. I will always love it like no other .

Listen and read below. The track in the background is entitled E Minus by Artworks via Sound Cloud.

No Place Like Home

I miss the East like a child misses the smell of mother’s hair
I miss the East like the poor miss fresh air
I miss music and laughter roaring from crowded stoops on congested blocks, loud honks, and greasy cheesy cheese steaks
Folding chairs on wooden porches, climbing trees and building forts
Playing horseshoes, back yard BBQs overflowing with big brown smiling faces and my mom’s world famous pasta salad
I miss real bagels with cream cheese and fresh Lox
I miss my baby boy’s grin and my mother’s grunt of disapproval laced with love
I miss high notes in choir pews, poetry in dark lonely rooms
tear stained pillows and sizzling dreams soaked with passion.
Fantasizing about me satisfying her, him holding me…. smiling and doting like no other lover could
I miss praying I’d wake up with my very own morning wood.
Writing from the heart, praying from the depths, working with my mind, focusing my spirit
Life devoid of sex filled with creativity
living in extremes.
Openly hidiing
Searching for balance.
Thirsty for love.
Commanding voice.
Sharp mind.
Shy heart .
Dealing with others emotions keeping mine bottled up
I miss words flowing in my sleep and dancing through my mind
Unable to finish sentences until each word resonates with the man within
No cursing, no sex, no drugs, no alcohol, no women, no men, no mention of the man within
No peace, no purpose, no place like home.

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Powerlessness

Its bubbling up and I don’t know what to do.

Tears

Usually tears from my eyes

are like blood from an apple

today they are welling up freely like the wind in chi city

Rolling over my body threatening to push me off my path

Bear down head first and lean into the pain

Just walk into the wind

Keep moving and you’ll be alright

Today it doesn’t feel that way

The well is over flowing

winds blowing and blowing

pushes me back, knocking me down

drowning in my own tears

can’t breath

Only tears

Mouth wide open I gurgle more tears

Where does such sadness come from

Life is good I’m happy

But so sad sometimes

I ache for others

Ache for the pains that surround me

For the suffering I’ve survived and I know others still wade in

I ach for the pain I know my children will face no matter how may

Protests I stage or poems I write.

Powerless ness

this feeling

this knowing that there are things bigger than you

That you can’t control

things

People

systems

That eat at your peace

Constrain your joy

Powerlessness wells up in me sometimes

Silently invoking tears even on the happiest of days.

Tired1

This ballad lamentation prayer is for the generation lost to the non for profit nightmare

 The professional activist 

Stuck between their pay check

Grant outcomes 

And the real needs of the people 

Our movement has been co opted by donors and funders

Bleeding heart hipsters 

And self loathing gate keeping POC

Fuck you 501c3 your a joke to me

How was I ever dumb enough to think

Something you register through the government 

Could be where  I challenge this government 

And actually contribute to the movement

Maybe I’m just another burnt out dreamer 

That naive dude who just wanted to be a warrior for justice 

In the shadows of the King drum major

I just wanted to be a warrior activist poet educator liberator

A teacher of tomorrow’s 

World changers

Starting to feel like maybe 

I’m to sensitive for the fight

Sometimes it just feels like to much

Waking to visions of the blue devils stoping and frisking  the boys on my block on my way to boring meetings about how we just don’t have enough funds

The fearful stares of my neighbors my beloved elders cower or mean mug as I walk by.

Is just weighting me down. 

The daily grind. The sum of my choices where the pursuit of professional 

Activistism has led me

Face to face with limitations of the system 

And the failures of those who opened the door for us

The same ones who compelled us to fight 

Down a road of struggle and neglect in the belly  of the beast 

On the front lines in the chi city

I just wanted to be a race man

A person who lived for his community

Who dedicated his creative intellectual physical energy 

To the fight

More than just another Moe trying to get a piece of the pie

Naive enough to think he could change the flavor

To make an impact for my people for all people

 in the movement  the struggle to make this a loving world 

Those words are starting to lose their bite

I’m crumbling under the pressure of trauma mastery 

Caught in the same crosshairs as my advocates

Who do I run to when I need support? 

When I feel my candle Burning at both ends

Definitions, Apologies, and the Status Quo

Angela Davis

Feminism and Abolition, public lecture by Professor Angela Y. Davis on Friday, May 3 @The University of Chicago

last week I was lucky enough to attend a lecture by Angela Davis one of the movements’ master teachers. She touched on so many great topics doing a great job of connecting the FBI’s recent attacks on Assata Shakur to the current struggle against police brutality, increasing incarceration and violence in POC communities. With all that she said it was her queer studies informed reflections on feminism and the prison industrial complex that stirred up so much within me. Her words brought me back to the moment when I first fell in love with the phrase Africana Womanism.

It was amazing to hear this former political prisoner and black panther assert that it was the feminist movement’s challenging of patriarchy, sexism, and oppressive  gender roles which opened the door for trans, gender variant and pansexual identities to be as as visible as they are today. I almost fell out my pew when she said at the vanguard of the prison abolition movement is a critique of the prison system through the eyes of transgender women. Not only are their struggles from within the PIC inherently feminist but they are also effective strategies for social justice.

Her lecture was refreshingly current, relating the same themes she engaged as a young black panther to the struggles of youth today. One of the reasons she has so profoundly been able to make these connections is her ongoing relationship with youth today. It was affirming to hear her passionately speak about the need for elders and adults to listen to youth and be open to learning as much as they think they can teach. Moreover to witness someone of her generation and continued activism connect the trans community to the social justice movement and oppression in general gave me life. Her words reframed my urgency within the struggle for social justice and encouraged me to bring all of me to the front lines in the war on poor people of color. As I struggled to write my reflections in essay form the last few days the piece below bubbled up…

Definitions, Apologies, and the Status Quo

right now they’re calling us transgender

but in another 20 or 40  a 100 years

they will have another name

and hopefully a better appreciation

for who we are and what we bring to the human experience

We are another stroke on the canvass of humanity

walking art

a beautiful body of politic

millions upon millions of differently the same blends of masculine feminine

that many are just not quite ready for

though we’ve always been here

My varied expression of  masculinity

they seek to label deviant

because my reality challenges their truth

it refuses to fit in any either or box

my reality

my variance they take as a challenge

to everything they’ve been taught about what makes them ok

and what makes them better and

deserving of whatever they have told themselves they deserve

because they are not like me

them or any other other you choose,

this is the the slippery slope

of defining yourself in opposition to

in order to control

they take me being me

as an assault on the pedestal they’ve built to maintain their privilege

our varied definitions of She, He, Ze…

our constant redefining of we

defies their definition of self

pierces patriarchy threatening sexism with a fatal blow

defiling the status quo

my queerness is mine to be defined or not

my trans ness is translucent and undefinable

the personal is political

and though I didn’t choose my identity or experience

I do fiercely and with all political intentionality

choose to be true to whatever direction it takes me in

and to never again apologize for not fitting in

Remembering The Childrens’ March

This month is the 50th year anniversary of the Childrens’ March. The moment in the “civil rights movement”  when brave black bodies, as young as  4 years  old ,stared down dogs and firehouses to fill the Birmingham  jails and brake the back of segregation in one of the bloodiest cities in the country. Watching the movie Might Times was a powerful experience. I was coming off of a busy week and the visuals of the politicized black children being beaten  compounded my emotions.  Below is a excerpt from a longer piece that speaks to where remembering the Childrens’ March took me.

mightytimes

Looking Back 

This Knowledge it overwhelms me

Twists and contorts me

This information each new sentence

Makes me want to burst

placing my perceived intellect in a hearse

Life transforming, Knowledge destiny  bending visions

Glimpse into the past

bring doubts about how long freedom will last

if it ever really was

it hurts to recall the memories

To reminisce on the past

History our story is a sweet bitter pill