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Heirs of November

Poems-Prose-Protests


By KM Sharp



Copyright 2016 KM Sharp



Cover art by Robert Bram Silvey



This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



Table of Contents

Dedication

Preface

Acknowledgements

Botox and Vodka

A Monday

The Real Housewives of…

Flowers

Heirs of November**

Finger Pointers

LA Street Corner

Stopped

Them

Crossings

Chatting

The Toll Taker

She’s a Person

On Sunset

Transform the Ego***

Infant: Infinite**

Tapped: In the Name of War

Lithium Skies

Celebrating?

The Sunset Sage

Black Friday

Filling That Spot

Kings and Queens

HIStory Lesson

A Middle-Class American Tale

360 Degree Christmas

The Takeover

Too Late**

Sick*

The Caregiver

Local Genocide*

America’s Train to Auschwitz

Housing Market Crash Woes

Losing My Home

Scammed

The Last Minutes

Saved

Where Will It End?

Goodbye Venice

Stolen: What You Left Behind**

Will They Remember?**

Children of the Future

Multi-Breed: Past, Present and Future***

The Iron Gate

The (In)Visible Line

Foggy Foggy Night

A Shooting

The Prison Door

What Needs to Be Said

Protest

Burning

What’s Happening Here

Empire**

A Letter to My Elders

I Am Tired**

The Power

Back to One

My Apology

It Began

About the Author


*These poems were read at a healthcare reform rally in front of the Missouri Senator’s office in Saint Louis City (2010)

**These poems were read at Occupy STL (2011)

***These poems also appear on the 100 Thousand Poets for Change website and archived by Stanford University LOCKSS Program (2011-2012)



Dedication


To Mother


Preface



These collections of poetry, prose and protests are a reflection of my personal thoughts, experiences and encounters while living in Saint Louis, Missouri and Los Angeles, California in America during 2002 to 2017. Depicted are stories of the times and everyday life: historical, societal, gender, racial, class, economic, political, war, environmental, health, work, housing, human rights, and hopes for a better future. These writings are to be informative cautionary tales, a reminder, a call to action, and to encourage the current and next generations to ask questions, stand up against corruption, challenge the status quo, and to promote kindness, compassion and forgiveness while finding new creative, innovative and collaborative ways to instill positive change towards worldwide equality, unity, sustainability and peace.


*Please note: I encourage these writings to be read in the order presented.


Acknowledgements



I would like to personally thank and express my appreciation and gratitude to the following individuals, groups and organizations for their inspiration, encouragement, support, generosity and kindness. Sweet Bobby for his unconditional love and amazingly beautiful book cover art, to my awesome mentor and dear friend The Dressel for sharing his wonderful gifts of writing poetry and for helping me find strength to speak up, my Family and Friends for loving and believing in me. To my fellow Poets and Writers for especially Castro, Janie and Phil for being shining exemplars paving the way, Amanda for her invaluable listening, cheering and copywriting, the (Un)Stable Writers and Everyone who personally contributed to this book—you know who you are—thank you for your heartfelt conversations, feedback and acceptance. To the St. Louis, Los Angeles and International literary, music, video and art communities for all of your awe-inspiring boundless creativity, talent and for being so welcoming and loving. To Dressel’s Public House, Atomic Cowboy and Saint Louis Regional Arts Commission for providing free venues for shows and events. To all of the hosts, participants and audience members from Poems, Prose and Pints, Voices from the Underground and 100 Thousand Poets for Change. To the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock Water Protectors, Women’s Movement, STL and NFL Protesters, and All who continue to RESIST—I commend and honor your strength, courage and persistence. To all past, present and future Activists for advocating and promoting positive change, compassion, equality, sustainability and peace —thank you for your continued dedication and hard work. And last but not least, a special thank you to the Trees for providing the beautiful paper on which these and many other poems were originally composed. I grateful to you All for helping make this book possible!



Botox and Vodka


Botox and vodka

Nose jobs and chocolate

Tummy tucks, brow lifts, liposuction

Collagen, enemas and augmentations

These are a few of the things I may’ve done


When my boobs sag

When my brows droop

When I am feeling sad

I’ll simply call my plastic surgeon

And then I won’t feel so bad


Laser and Bailey’s

Facelifts and bon bons

Acid peels, butt implants, lip injections

Breast enhancements, nips, tucks stitched together with string

These are a few of those little things


I want to look like Oprah

No! Like the Dalai Lama

Just make me not look bad

Staple my forehead so I’ll look surprised

And I’ll never ever look sad


Revised


A Monday


reminisces of my son tossing about

with dreams and spit spilling out


five white stains of slobber on brown sheets

I crumple, wash and fold them neat


rushing to find all the papers due

gathering receipts and deductions too


driving with taxes but deliver to late

submit an extension to file at a later date


(truth—we didn’t have the monies to pay)


books in hand and a few writings as well

off to see my mentor to chat for a spell


afternoon moments with mother on the phone

“if you ruin my sister’s love life, I’ll be pissed” I moan


just an hour and a half or so to nap

my velvet black kitty asleep in my lap


running my fingers through jet black hair

a dip of water to calm a straggler


The Real Housewives of…


Mother and son sit in front of a therapist

talking about his drug addiction

The son an artist, perhaps

His ideals and perceptions are different from hers

His eyes tear up as he tells his mother

“You always want things perfect!”

Looking into her surgically augmented face of:

Day cream

Sunscreen

Foundation

Powder

Tanner

Blush

Sparkles

Faux lashes

3 shades of shadow

Eyeliner

Mascara

Eyebrow liner

Crimson red lipstick

Oh and a setting spritz to refresh the look

“Things are not always perfect” she says

“But I don’t think I can be the person you want me to be” he cries

The therapist chimes in “Yes, Yes You Can!”

The son with a blank look stares off as his mother hugs him


Flowers


Flowers stained on the ceiling

From unexpected rains

Hidden rivers find new tributaries

Flowing into trains

Drips into buckets

Upon my brain do fall

Wine

Gin

Vodka

Are the answers to my whimper call

Cringing

Brows furrowed

Teeth grind side to side

Flattened veneers

Enamel lost

For worry and demise

As the entire sky releases

All but eternal doom

Waiting for my lover

Another sip consumed

Each room has its buckets

As a dozen flowers bloom


Heirs of November


heirs are what keep this town moving

pressed shirts and tailored pants

all with the desires to fool


fresh cut meats on white plates

fancy uptight restaurants

leaves one hungry for

others to play with


button down ideals

shaken by radical politics

only lead to change

something everyone here fears


rioting in streets

due to skin color

and corrupt power


leaves me empty

and saddened

for the children

for the future to come


are we so beaten down by

so-called “Capitalism”

and “Democracy”?


I do not see “Freedom,

Justice and Liberty”

in this soil

only toxins


greed scattered throughout

every seed

biological and human


a fly at my window

bangs against the glass

trying to get out

into the world


but why?


doesn’t he know

people are starving,

suffering and begging


clawing their way

through a war

of the wealthy against

the poor


a fly in this world

is only meant to be

swatted and crushed

by a hand


can’t he see

that it’s safer

to be trapped

in this house with me


or is it more humane

to let him go

by opening the door


a door

which probably leads

to his destiny


his future

may it be good or bad

either way—

it’s still living



Revised


Finger Pointers


Strange, how values and beliefs are perceived

What is right for one

makes another seethe

and pray for repentance

Because what you do

doesn’t fit into their frame of reverence

Their scheme of things

Their idealistic dreams

Who are They?

And why do They have a say?


Finger Pointers


The ones that use you to hide behind

so they don’t have to look at their own crimes

They’re the justice system—no one employed

Individuality and creativity causes them to get annoyed

They ban together and talk behind your back

Call your therapist!

Run!

It’s an attack!


Finger Pointers


Since their problems and lives are so black and white

They move through gray foggy shadows in the night

"Burn her at the stake" they cry and shout

They don’t try to give her the benefit of the doubt

“She did everything and even had a plan” they claim

At least that’s what they have chosen to see in the frame


Finger Pointers


Could I be talking about you?

Well, you could have found out for yourself —if you had asked

The person on your current “list” or even in the past

Your tactics don’t work on me

You see

Fear is where judgment lives

In that dark space there is no room—no give

So call off your dogs that gossip, prey and cry

And stop and look at yourself, just for a sec

Who’s living a lie?

Who’s a wreck?


LA Street Corner


2 men in white crisp pressed shirts

with bright colored ties + pleated blue-black pants


you know what I’m talking about


2 men standing on a street corner

with their backs

to a BMW with doors open ready to leave


2 men standing over

a six foot 60’s outdoorsy beach bum gone grizzly

dirty shopping cart sleeping bag torn sweater

covered in urine stains and California shame


2 men standing ready to leave

but not without preaching to the “loser”

a few choice words of Corporate wisdom


2 men yelling into the face of a man

with no home, no family, no support

no escape

with rounded shoulders and head turned down

as his eyes try to get lost

in the sidewalk cracks


2 men driving off in a BMW


you know what I’m talking about



Revised


This poem appears in the anthology No Vacancy (Aja LaStarr, 2013)


Stopped


Driving in my beat up run down 1984 butter cream colored Mercedes

through my old stomping grounds in St. Louis County

just a mile or so from my privileged private high school

and a block away from the Mexican food restaurant I worked at for 2 years

Police car rooftop red and blue lights spark

and a bullhorn signals for me to stop

Nowhere to pull over

I drive into the nearest parking lot

I turn the key to silence the beats of radio and motor

I sit waiting trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong

Filing through the memories of the last 5 minutes

I wonder to myself--

I couldn’t have been speeding because the turbo is broken

and the car barely moves with the gas pedal all the way to the floor

and I hadn’t made any turns or changed lanes…

In a blue shirt, black pants and shiny boots

he approaches my car

I look up at him in dismay

“Was I speeding Officer?”

“Can you step out of the car please”

Flustered I do as he asks

“Tell me this is your car!”

“What? I ask with a scrunched-up face

“Tell me this is your car!” he demands commandingly

“What are you saying?” I look at him as if he has 3 heads

Angrily he demands raising his voice “Tell me this is your car!”

“Yes, this is my car”

Flashback to 1988

I’m 18 years old driving my beat up run down silver and red Maverick

through a West County subdivision looking for my friend’s house

when a policeman pulls me over

The first thing he asks me

“What are You doing in beautiful Chesterfield?”

I come back and once again I am standing with the officer

“It is--I swear it’s my car”

“It better be, license and registration”

Bewildered and trembling I return to my car and pensively wait

When all was said and done

While driving home

completely dumbfounded, scared

and shaking from what had just happened

a series of feelings rushed over me

I felt angry, offended, disrespected, humiliated, violated, sickened

and unwelcome in my own hometown


Them


His skin is a beautiful shade of tan

Tall with black hair

He’s a muscular handsome man


They will stop him at each airport security line

Going through his bags and scanning his body to find

Removing his shoes—it’s all a waste of his time


“Those Middle Easterners all look alike”

They insinuate on the news with fright

Beware one might be on your flight!


But little do they realize that the man they pegged

He was a forth English, a fourth Scottish and half Malaysian that day

Which is technically Asian some may say


So why is the color of his skin being judged?

Ten hours in prison

“Oh, we just fudged”


No sorrys—just sent on his way

He is free for now

Until he tries to fly on another day


Crossings


My journey stalled in the middle of the street

I see her for the first time in 4 years

She looks good and sober

But she doesn’t see me

She only sees the brand of car I’m driving

and comments over and over on how “well” I must be doing financially

Even though my car is ten years old and on its last leg

and dead in the middle of the street

I ask her how her life has been

She pulls out a newspaper clipping of her son

Not a happy expose

Now he will serve 25 for robbing stores, banks and people

Her eyes well up with sadness but she states

“At least I’m not using”

Nothing can shake her foundation today

since hitting rock bottom herself

Spending several years in prison has taught her life lessons

No one should have to learn

“Stop your chit-chat!” he demands from behind me

The man helping me jump my car battery is angry and frustrated

“Stop talking and get this car out of the street!”

He doesn’t acknowledge her presence

He is annoyed that I even care about her

But he doesn’t know that we love each other

That we’ve spent many days together

through the hardest times

We are connected

I offered her a ride that ends around the corner

“Sorry, the car needs another jump”

We hop out of the car

and are met by the man with the jumper cables again

I try to explain that I can’t drive her to her destination at the moment

but if she waits…

“Don’t help her” his eyes scream as he huffs and grunts

She cowers in his presence

I feel the tension so I release her from the ride

“Good luck, I love you and I will keep you in my thoughts”

She offers me the same with a smile and a hug

then wanders down the street

The car starts again

“I’m gonna stop and give her a ride” I announce sharply

pulling the car door shut

I set the standard for him to be quiet

Finally on my way

I turn the corner and search for her but she is gone

but her gentle energy and perfume still fills the car



Revised


Chatting


one cannot even see that the hate they spew

spew with every gossipy tale they tell of another’s demise—

just old habits of storytelling gone awry

truth

they say

told because it makes them feel better

better about their own situations and paths chosen

the same paths of lost dreams and childhood resentments

resentments crusted over by anger and sprinkled with despair

these cages of banter cause more pain than good

and yet we welcome the forked tongues with open mouths

ingesting and regurgitate it once again into the ear canals of our children

so our children can then in turn toss the verbal seeds of destruction

into their own fresh rivers and streams of young peers

tainting, poisoning, saturating minds with fatalistic lore

which flows seepingly back through tributaries of hate

dumping lingual sewage into societies Grand Ocean of false memories

so, I ask you—is gossip just chatting?

what have you heard?


The Toll Taker


He says he is annoyed by the Toll Taker

Every day for the past 10 years

sitting outside the convenient store

asking for a dollar as he holds the door open

Right off of the subway

in a nice upper-class neighborhood—


Guilt makes him angry

Angry that he has to see the Toll Taker

Angry that he, as a wealthy person

is obliged to give to those who are not

Angry that the Toll Taker doesn’t work a proper job

even though he has a fine work ethic

Shows up every day for 8 hours

Angry that he has to be reminded

that there are those less fortunate than him

Angry that he doesn’t care

Angry because he will be judged as selfish

if he doesn’t go along with the Toll Takers demands

“I Want Him Gone!”

A human being that cannot stand the sight of his own kind


Could it be that the local people have wanted

and kept the Toll Taker there for the past 10 years?

Maybe he is a reminder for everyone of others in need

Or what could happen to them if they don’t work hard

they too could end up poor and begging

Or maybe the Toll Taker actually has friends there

that he brings humor and laughter to

Those who spend lifeless days filled

with paper walls, computers and high-rise sunsets

Does the Toll Taker represent the duality—

who is living the better life?

Could he be resentful that the Toll Taker has a better existence?

Maybe the Toll Taker is not a scammer or slacker at all

but liberated—


That kind of thinking makes him angry


She is a Person

(For Moche)


She’s a ho

She’s a ho

That’s all we know

Stompin’ the streets

Flashin’ her gold


She is a human being


Beneath

She cries + feels so deep

The same as we do

Usin’ drugs helps her see the day thru

She’s livin’ a different way

It’s all struggle and survival

in this world today



She’s a ho

She’s a ho

That’s all we can see

But she’s so much more

then what we want to believe


She has kids and an old love and she wants to provide

but she can’t work from 9 to 5

Doesn’t have the education, clothes or even the looks

She took a wrong turn

when she was supposed to be hittin’ the books

You can see the sadness in her hollowed eyes

as she waves down the next car

hopin’ for a drive

People say she’s all used up

She’ll screw for a few bucks or a hit off the pipe

If that’s her luck


Alone, hungry and about to freeze

parked in a car behind a building

you’ll see

As she holds a knife under her sleeve

If an intruder tries to attack or rape

She’ll use that shiv so she can escape

Wanderin’ streets day and night

Lookin’ for food and shelter

Avoidin’ street fights

Out on the pavement

you’ll never see her cry

That part of her is hardened + cold

She’s just tryin’ to stay alive


She’s a ho

She’s a ho

That’s all we’ll ever see

Stop judging her!

That could be you

If you didn’t get what you pleased


She has beauty and light within

But she still might stab you from behind

It’s the drugs that take over that make her blind

Even if you were the one who gave her food + clothes

You’re a blank faded face now

No one she knows

Wait a few days for the trip to pass

She’ll be knockin’ on your door to hide

while her pimp is lookin’ for her ass


Clean her up

Give her what she needs

She’ll go out the door to do the same things

She’s got nowhere to go

and all her friends know

how to find her

To drag her back to the life

that surrounds and binds her

No way out for a ho in this neighborhood

So she better go do her job and make good

Or we will see her on the news floatin’ in the Missip

“Dead Ho”

Reporters don’t write about that shit!


She’s was a ho

She’s was a ho

That was all we could see

Someone could’ve helped her

Someone like you and me


On Sunset


I wept for you

On Sunset

as I stood at a street corner

Cars moving at highway speeds

Road raging

Horns HONKING

People SCREAMING

FUCK YOU!


I dreamt of you

On Sunset

as I tried to sleep

tossing and turning

in a ‘gray box’

The same kind of box Black Elk

and his Indigenous Brothers and Sisters were placed in

after their people were murdered and their land was stolen

Brick and glass couldn’t keep out the heavy energy

as you beat each other up on the strip

night after night


I walked looking for you

On Sunset

up and down the strip

You only stared to see if I was famous

and when you realized I wasn’t

you ignored me

As you passed me on the street

when I said hello

not even a nod


I sat at a coffee shop and waited for you

On Sunset

I sipped on an Americano

and then you noticed

You pulled up in your car and parked

came over and sat down next to me

Some of your friends even joined us

and then you got on your cell phone

You weren’t present for a half an hour or so

as your friends and I waited for you

After a short while you became restless and bored

You jumped into your vehicle

joined the fast rivers of cars

and became one with them again

I felt your energy leave

as the rapids consumed you

and the street became lonely once more


I am sitting here waiting for you at the coffee shop

On Sunset


Transform the Ego


The Ego

needs to be broken into tiny little pieces

and fed to billions of people

so that all can be equal and share a common thought

=Compassion


The Ego

needs to be pierced in the eye

with acupuncture needles and twisted

until the meridian flows of milky nectar

=Love


The Ego

needs to be melted and smeared across continental lines

and flushed through sewers pouring into the center of the earth

where molten lava can scorch and harden around it like an island

=Hope


The Ego

needs to be transformed by understanding and acceptance

shared through finger tips, crossing lips and forgiving arms

so that all can live together

=Peace



Revised


Infant: Infinite


When a baby is born, everyone around her or him uses gentle

Speech

Touch

Gaze


When a baby is being held, everyone around him or her uses abundant

Care

Compassion

Consideration


When a baby is nurtured, everyone around her or him uses unconditional

Love

Acceptance

Encouragement


When does a baby become so unlovable that he/she should be killed?

When the baby begins to grow

Legs and arms lengthen

Eyes see more than just smiles

Body feels more than just caresses


When does a baby become so grotesque and despicable?

When the baby starts to

Speaks

Questions the world

Think for herself or himself


When does a baby’s life become no longer precious?

When the baby becomes like those around him or her that are

Angry

Sad

Selfish + Lost



When does a baby become heartless and uncaring?

When the baby internalizes this world’s

Rejection

Hate

Racism



When is a baby ready for war?


Tapped: In the Name of War

(Dedicated to Snowden)


Tap Tap Tap


The GOV know where you’re at

What you said and how you feel

It’s all part of the US deal


Tap Tap Tap


So be careful what you say

They’re taking notes to use against you on another day

Info to turn others against you so they won’t care

When They put you away in the name of terror


Tap Tap Tap


So unplug your cell phones, computers, TVs and cable too

That’s how They eavesdrop and peer on you

It’s the price for safety and freedom They claim

But in the end the US peoples will be the ones to pay


Lithium Skies


no one looks up

born into it

or just accepted as the norm

streaked skies

with grates of checkerboard clouds

leaving a gritty film on cars

stuffy noses and coughy lungs

curious dense shrouds trailing

seaside and city fog

with no wispy cool moisture or dew

days of dizzying haze settling in

the sun blocked

a crazy chemical concoction

the drug of the Oppressor’s choice

geo-engineered to “fight” climate change

or a humane way to conduct a war

to keep the meek weaker

to shut down the opposition’s voice

to create a slumbering mind

to give in and give up

and not to care anymore

causing listlessness

with a left side slump with tipsy spins

like a childhood memory living in Pruitt-Igoe

or maybe WWII or Vietnam

look past tree tops leafless and bare

you now see

planes with two tails spraying

look way up

shake the dust from your eyes


Of course, war and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings. We should think carefully about the reality of war. Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering.”


Quote by His Holiness The Dalai Lama


Celebrating?

(A Sonnet)

The Star-Spangled Banner symphony starts

Flags wave for those who were wounded and died

People rise and place their hands over hearts

Jets soar and dive across skies and wide eyes


The 4th of July fireworks explode

Recounting our plight and win of freedom

Dynamite shaking ground and windows

Sounds of battle showing “how we beat ‘em”!


Celebrating freedom or ideals of war?

Teaching children to fight and kill others?

To be competitive, keep score and take more

or to treat others like Sisters and Brothers?


Could we instill Love, Compassion and Peace?

Could we stop war and just live=Be Free?


The Sunset Sage


Across the glass

Big orange letters proclaim


PEACE LOVE JOY


Those who want this are drawn into the Thai restaurant

Seated by a smiley pleasant man who brings us water and menus

I tell him how much I enjoy seeing these words

displayed on his window

I ask him which one he thinks comes first

He answers

“Peace of course—

Because one has to become silent

long enough to recognize the feeling of Love

then true Joy can be experienced”

I had never thought in this way before

He told me that

he and hundreds, thousands, millions

and maybe even billions of

People meet daily around the globe

Meditating

Praying

Chanting


PEACE LOVE JOY


In hopes that the World will find a new way

Without hate or war

Through inner quiet comes

Connection

Kindness

Compassion

in their hearts


Peace will come


Love will reign


Joy will be


Revised


Black Friday



Filling That Spot


she slips out of reality when the door opens

and the bell of the resale shop rings

aimlessly wandering the store isles singing along

to that old favorite song she seems to know all the words to

searching searching searching

for that one thing

that object among the shelves of other’s belongings

from unknown marriages and homes and lives lived

searching searching searching

to find that little something that embodies

all of the happiness and the comforts of this world

she wishes for in her own life

trinkets furniture jewelry clothes

icons: Buddha Jesus Mary Saints lots of Saints

each piece she adds to her clutterful collection

stored: in closets on table tops in corners in the basement in the attic in the garage

logically she knows not even one of these purchases has changed her life

but she puts these thoughts away as she walks down the main street

day after day after day

peering in display windows and strolling through shops

searching searching searching

for that one item that she says

“I’ll know it when I see it”


Kings and Queens


Kings and Queens they’re trying to be

Adorned in designers and diamonds for all to see


Out of neighborhoods and towns they rose

Some with holey shoes and paper-thin soles


Proving to others their place and worth

By flashing their wealth and increasing their girth


Simple jesters for the Corporate court

Entertainment while white lines they snort


Dubbing themselves Kings and Queens

Among the glitz and glamour clamoring to be seen


Writhing in puddles and piles of gold

Promoting products with a soul to be sold


But to us they are Brothers and Sisters we’ve lost

Friends got caught up in greed with envied costs



Revised


HIStory Lesson

(Reflection on the “Slavery at Jefferson's Monticello: Paradox of Liberty

Exhibit at the St. Louis Missouri History Museum 2013-2014)



The Man had the privileges of wealth, presidency + slaves to boot

He also had one slave that rose above the rest and wore a suit

He even took The Man’s last name

He called the shots to ensure the shackles and chains

were kept on the people owned

over whom he held power and controlled

The slaves all thought he was one of them

but he was actually working for The Man

His smile like white and his mask iron tight

so no one could see he was a slave with special privileges and rights

The seat given to him in the center of the White House square

had invisible binds and chains under his chair

He was given royalties, a false sense of freedom

and full run of The Man’s beautiful kingdom

He held his head high like a proud king

but those around him were the ones really pulling the strings

Truth is—

he was the plantation owner’s right hand man

The only guy who had insight to the entire plan

But what did he do?

Sold his soul for all things new

fine coats, colorful ties and shiny shoes

To eat without worry and drink without care

and all along he continued to watch his own kin suffer in despair

Had he forgotten the Sisters and Brothers who helped get him there?

Those poor and struggling that were barely making it from day to day

Had he forgotten he was sent there to make change

and to help free his own people--the slaves?

Or possibly that wasn’t his plan

Maybe he himself became The Man

I wonder what his reasons were and what he would say--

if he was alive to tell us today


A Middle-Class American Tale


A professor’s son

Ivy league graduate

Recruited by large Corporation

Transferred—

Ten years living abroad

In Japan and England

Dedicated

Successful

Loyal


Employed


Burnout

Plans to quit and travel

Intervened

Coaxed

Big Money

A “promising” future

Fast track to VP

Next stop

St. Louis


Employed


Office meetings

Large budget monies

Emmy nominations

Luxurious parties

High-end restaurants

Corporate jets

A new wife and child

A house

The best year ever


Employed


Let go

Fired

Anger

Some relief

Why?

Didn’t play the game right

Not part of “The Good Old Boys Club”

“What high school did you go to?”

Cronyism


Unemployed


Calls and emails

Contacts friends by association

Needing support and referrals

No answers

No invitations

No golf

No parties

No jets

Finding out the truth


Unemployed


Personality tests revealing

Zero points

Cares not what others think

Caring for employees=soft

Compassion=weakness

Good Ethics=not producing

No good management skill

Doesn’t fit in the Corporate world

Can’t play the game


Unemployed


New information

Twisting

A found self

Hard to hear but enlightening

Questioning the life he was living

Forming a new self-perspective

Wondering where to go from here

Developing a new framework

Transformation


Unemployed


Finally after 15 years

Vacation

Files unemployment

Applying for jobs

Hours

Days

Weeks

Months

One year


Unemployed


360 Degree Christmas


for the past forty years

during the holidays

each employee received a honeyed ham

and a cash bonus

but this year

everyone received a tin can full of popcorn

with a comment attached

“Be thankful you have a job!”


The Takeover


An Old Man started a small business with a loan from his local Bank

A Bank that prided itself on having a heart with Christian values and ethics

That’s why the Old Man chose to work with them

After 17 years of hard work and time

the Old Man’s business grew into a profitable company

One day he was offered a huge buyout sum

multi-millions by a company out of Asia

But the Old Man turned it all down

because he wanted to ensure that the people he employed had job security

A Banker working at the local Bank heard of this possible windfall

and his eyes got enormously filled with greed

and he wanted that gem of a company all for himself

So the Banker came in with an army of lawyers and paper guns blazing

and took the company right out from under the Old Man’s nose

The Banker made himself president

and offered the Old Man consulting work and pay

which he accepted

The Old Man recounted

“The day after the contract was signed

the Banker, a hatchet man, fired my two children

and that broke my heart”

But quietly Old Man went back and worked diligently for 7 months

but never got paid

Then the Banker let the Old Man go on a stipulation

based on a single line hidden among words deep in the legal papers

A clause stating that Bank could give the Old Man

$1

at any time and could seize the company

So, the Banker did just that

Not living up to the contact

or giving the Old Man the monies for his past work

or even the

$1

In fact

the Bank started suing the Old Man for everything he had

All of his material assets

5 lawsuits over 9 long years

he paid and paid and paid

The Old Man said

“They were like vultures circling and picking apart the pieces”

He was almost broke when one day

another man at the Bank reviewed the case

and he called the Old Man and asked him to come meet with him

The Other Banker wept as he apologized and begged the Old Man for forgiveness

Admitting that he and the Bank had done him wrong

The Old Man forgave him right then and there

And the Other Banker was so thankful

that he promised that he would make everything right

and would get the Old Man the money the Bank owed him

And the Bank offered the Old Man a settlement

but the Old Man turned it all down

Why?

“It wasn’t a sufficient sum--a minimal offer”

Not even a multi-millionth of what they owed the Old Man

and if he had accepted

the funds would have been taken in another lawsuit by the Bank anyway

Was the apology enough?

The Old Man replied

“The apology didn’t right all the wrongs

but it enabled me to find forgiveness--

even for the hatchet man”


Too Late


I feel sick

I feel angry

I feel sad

This mixture is becoming remarkably bad

My liver cries out in excruciating pain

trying to regenerate

as I pour liquored poison onto this fleshy frame


Replaying a plan in my mind

a plan that I have devised

Confusion

like my lover describes

flipping a deck of cards through his head

Another workday he dreads

as he drives to the job that is bleeding him dry

of all hope and happiness

=his ultimate demise

Sometimes I wonder if he will survive


We had a friend who was healthy and young

He went out for a typical morning run around a lake

it was an amazingly sunny day

until he dropped dead—

He was only forty years old but twenty in his head

Why was his life shorter than most?

Was it all schooling he had always discussed with a smiling boast

or the laboring work in an office that gave him that strange smirk?

Did his Capitalistic lifestyle take its toll?

Why is America so set on using its people until they’re worn out

or rotting in a rectangular hole?


Young and old are searching for new ways to live

in other countries where Socialism seems to offer a life less glib

Places that at least give free healthcare and rest

One needs economic support to live a normal life

=life at its best

Not a life like in the U.S. that causes your organs to bleed

It seems as though our society has chosen a new creed

To use its children and adults to generate more for their unlimited greed


What happened to family and love as a goal?

Where is the meaning in life?

No one really knows

Why is our worth based on what we do?

And when you are through working

you’re of no use


I predict the fatal health of our land

People and souls will suffer greatly if we keep with this plan

I propose we slow down and stop staring at the ground

Open our eyes and take a look

Take a really serious look around

Now

Realize that we have all become the exploited minorities

(although technically we are the majority)

We need to reevaluate our lives and grieve our priorities

Soon

Or there will be nothing here but a swollen burning red balloon

A war ridden existence

Run by Corporations, Banks and Government goons

Our Earth

once beautiful and alive

will slowly die

as pain, anguish and as the people cries

begin to fill our heads, our ears and our mouths

It will be too late

there will be no time to get out

And there will be no one left to hear our shouts



Revised


*Read on Literature for the Halibut hosted by Phil Gounis on KDHX Radio 2010


Sick


Suffering

because of some ignorant comfortable fools

Who think they can call all the shots

and make all the rules

Selfishness and greed

are their fundamental tools

While people lay sick, suffering and dying

Well who’s helping them?

Seems like no one’s even trying—

While half the country parties and celebrates

=drowning out those crying

for equality and essential human rights

So all people can have healthcare so they can feel secure

and children don’t have to worry and parents won’t fight

So they all can sleep soundly throughout the night

“Well that’s ‘those people’s’ own poor choice”

Cries the collective conservative voice

That argument doesn’t hold up—ya know

We did not all get the same start

Statements like that reflect cold and rigid hearts

To believe people strive for mediocrity

to live in tattered old dives

As they work ten times harder struggling to survive

trying to keep their families alive

I don’t think so!

Little do they realize that fruits and veggies

are luxury items for the wealthy

Piled so high on plates to excess

=waste for the healthy

The leftovers tossed in the trash are now

dinner for those whose credits a mess

and savings lost in the Dow

A feast for those who can’t afford much anyhow

Stuffing our children with fast food drenched lard

No one ever told us life was going to be this hard!

So, those of us with little sums will continue to

Wait in line, chewing two-day old gum

Stealing from our children’s piggy banks

Hoping we can climb back up in the ranks

Back to where we once were

Whores for a little medical coverage

and ensuring the wars


The Caregiver


he loves her


the man

who has a wife

with Huntington’s disease


at times, he cannot find her

for her mind and body wander

through white winter woods


in the cold he finds her

comforting with a cloak

he guides her shoulders home


she leaves again

long trips

in her thoughts


in her world

of vacant stares

baths, naps and meals


daily talks with God

accusations of murder

refusing to eat


he loves her


the man

who has a wife

with Huntington’s disease


dedicates his life

24-hour care leaves no time

for his dreams and work


bottles of medication

medical and hospital bills

pile on tables tops and windowsills


unable to provide

almost emptied bank accounts

he must sell their home


his wife worked and paid taxes once

flying with the “Friendly Skies”

shouldn’t that count for something?


he reaches out in her name

asking the government

help--a humbling request


denied

she is not entitled

what will he do?


full care--only available

if she becomes a ward of the state

divorce is the only option


he loves her


the man

who has a wife

with Huntington’s disease


Local Genocide


How do you explain to the people in America

that they are the contributors to a local genocide?

That their choices to live the status quo and not accept change

is killing people daily and causing others to struggle + claw to survive


Survival of the fittest is the new religion

Let the Poor

The Old

The Sick

The Weak

Suffer and Die because their voices can’t speak


Send them off to Canada or Mexico to get their drugs

If they can’t afford them—

“Not our problem” they shrug


When did we become so selfish in greed?

When did we stop helping our neighbors—

our neighbors in need?


Is that what Jesus, Muhammad or the Buddha would do—

Stand over a dying body staring

while drinking and eating their food?


Our values need to change and be revised today—

If people started caring about one another again

We would have less suffering and the pain would end


So please, I beg you to open your eyes and your ears—

to witness my anguish and look at my tears

I am your Mother, your Sister and even your Kid

Not just a nameless face, statistical number or worthless invalid


So please, please I beg you to change your hearts

And be open to Universal Healthcare reform today


So when you or one of your own family members gets sick

Someone else will not have the power to say

whether they will suffer or not

or get to live or die that day


America’s Train to Auschwitz

(My Journey After Being Denied Healthcare)

I am on America’s train to Auschwitz because I have been labeled ‘sick’ and ‘worthless’ by a large group of the American pubic; they believe that healthcare should not be Universal and that only those who can afford healthcare should receive it. I share the train with many others who are called: the sick, the old, the poor and the children. In societies eyes we have no names, just identified by numbers and the diseases that define us. And we are being punished and killed, not by gas or gun but by denying us the care that we need: withholding medications, operations and access to doctors because some believe we don’t work and contribute any longer=we are viewed as takers and therefore expendable.


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz but my train car looks like my bedroom and when I look out of my window I see a dark dying world taken over by Greedy Individuals, Corporations, Banks and Governments. The others traveling with me, well their train cars look like their bedrooms, homeless shelters, and hospices and sometimes even gutters. We are all here for the same reason=illness and lack of healthcare.


America, America why have you forsaken us?


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz and those among me are mostly women, branded ‘uninsurable’ because women’s issues are not seen as important because we are considered by some the “lesser gender”. We have been kept quiet=silent. As the steam from the train engine begins to build and blow from the years of simmering pain with missing breast and diseased uteruses. There are so many of us here on the train that the axils are actually beginning to bow and the wheels have worn thin.


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz; which pulls slowly to a stop at the next station and hundreds of families who have just lost their homes clamor and claw to find space among the sick and dying. Children’s worn eyes witness their parents suffer from pain and illness, loss of income, shelter, humility and selflessness. And I stare at the ceiling in my room wondering why anyone would take the homes of people who have already lost everything—where will we go? Where is the compassion, the love, the caring--we all have been striving for as a country, as a people—an ideal we were raised to believe and share in? Where is the justice?


America, America why have you forsaken us?


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz and since the trains is moving so fast down the tracks and the sneaky shades pulled down so tightly over the windows. On-lookers can’t see the haunting faces of the passengers that are suffering or the smell of death that dances through the rooms daily. Death seems to be the only welcoming committee when the train reaches each stop. He is always waiting on the cargo pad ready to grab individuals, families, homes, dreams and futures from those who have suffered to long and have given up.


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz and from my bed I hear the faint listless whimper of a woman begging her God for relief and salvation. This is the same God that her fellow Americans pray and chant to as they picket for our demise on street corners, in front of state capitols, on TV, on the internet and in the newspapers. I see them angrily waving hate signs when we pass through cities and small towns--they scream for “patriotic justice”—and promote the idea that healthcare is for only those who can pay—and that those of us who can’t afford it should die. As the train rattles on through the mountains we lose thousands of people to the cold and the night. I wonder if the picketers would be pleased?


America, America why have you forsaken us?


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz and my womb will not stop bleeding and my eyes pour out tears of anguish from the pain. I beg for help but no one answers because they are going on with their everyday lives pretending that the others and me don’t need assistance. But, I know really why they do not respond--they too are worried for their own futures as they scrimp and save for their children and retirements in hopes that their own health will not be compromised as well. And the train keeps rolling picking up new passengers who have lived in polluted cities, with tainted water and everyone’s getting sick because the same companies that offer the cure are dumping their toxins in our air, soil, food and water and I think to myself--they are going to need many, many more trains.


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz and we begin to talk amongst ourselves and agree to standup for our rights and for those who have lost their voices and their will to live and for those who have passed on. With every word we speak, we are beaten back with sticks of elitism and told the U.S. Government is in gridlock debating over whether or not our lives are important or worth saving. And then the arguments: that Corporations will not make enough money on us, that taxes will go up, that there will be longer waits to get medical help, and the worst--God forbid--that we will have to help one another! Money was the topic, not the people—not you or me. And I still couldn’t believe what I had heard and wondered how this could the same country I grew up in--where human life just does not matter. And then it dawned on me that maybe this problem has always been here all along and I just never noticed until it was happening to me. Pulling the covers over my head, I cry myself to sleep as the train chugs along.


America, America why have you forsaken us?


I am on America’s train to Auschwitz and we receive the news that our government finally made a decision to reform our healthcare system. Giving those who of us who do not have healthcare insurance more options: although it is not a perfect remedy like Universal Healthcare and the insurance companies still get rich off of the sick but it is a beginning. We celebrate our win for a few days with hugs and smiles return to faces for a short while. Then we all realize that implementation of these new laws will take many months, maybe even years and that the critically ill will never receive help and will continue to suffer and die waiting. That those who may need help the most might not be able to get it for another 4 years or more and those who are against the reform will continue to fight and delay the changes. Unsure of our future, we huddle together hoping that what is promised will happen as the train continues to swiftly travel.


I am on the America’s train to Auschwitz and I began to review my options: If things do not change here soon, I might have to go to another country the medical support I need. They have already started sending the prisoners to countries that the US made deals with that offer medical support--I do fear for my future and for the others as well. Suddenly, the train stops and I’m summoned, my belongings gathered to be transferred to a new train labeled ‘Medicare’ and I board. This time my boxcar looks like a hospital room with a bed and a doctor and nurses scurrying about and I am finally noticed and heard. I have my operation and take my medications and I begin to heal. But, I still worry about the others on America’s train to Auschwitz that they won’t get transfers to the Medicaid and Medicare train, they may never see a doctor, they may never get the proper medication, they may never have a chance. They may only end up traveling on that same train destined to die and their bodies tossed on the side of the road, buried or cremated along with hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of others—just as we all had feared.



Note: The first marginalized group to be murdered in the Nazi Germany Holocaust was the community with physical and mental health issues and disabilities. These people were labeled as “useless lives”, “useless eaters” and “life unworthy of life”. During the Euthanasia Program, an estimated 200,000 to 275,000+ children and adults were killed by Nazi medical doctors and staff, who intentionally denied them medical care and ensured death by forced starvation, poisoning, drug overdoses, lethal injections and gas chambers. These discriminatory guidelines set many of the standards for the Nazis to determine who would be executed and exterminated by the same methods, which resulted in the horrific mass genocide of many marginalized individuals and groups in concentration camps throughout Europe. Most notable were the tragic murders of over 6 million+ Jewish people and an estimated 900,000+ of those deaths occurred in Auschwitz.


Revised


For more information and resources please visit: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website at https://www.ushmm.org/collections/bibliography/people-with-disabilities


Housing Market Crash Woes


Contingency contract--

The buyers must sell their house today in order for us to survive

Knocked down the sale price and still nothing

The buyers live in transitional housing

An apartment

A company brought them to St. Louis and yet they cannot settle

the market will not produce a sale


Most of our savings used for my medical bills and pain pills

Our finances are dwindling

two large mortgages

In hindsight--

poor decision making on our part

rehabbing houses

trusting the Banks

What will we do?

Tapped into our 401K

only to piss it away on medical bills and more pills

We are being drained of our savings

How will we survive?

We pull our tails between our legs

Asking for help is humbling, embarrassing and makes me ill--

sick to my stomach

I thought I’d be giving back by now

not taking

We have very little to start with

I make the call

Stress tears clog my throat

I can hardly speak

What have we done?

I can’t breathe


“Can we borrow… That is a lot of money, I know”


Relief comes

We are taken care of today

But we will make it through this economic crisis?

Years of work to save

lost in moments—

taxed at every turn

I feel chaos taking over

we are digging a huge hole

Will we be able to get ourselves out?

I feel defeated and yet still hopeful

My partner’s dreams are going to be dampened and postponed

I hate that I cannot contribute

Illness has a grip on me

One I’ll never shake


We’ve watched many of our neighbors short sale and lose their homes

And others have lost everything and now live with very little

We appreciate our families and their support

but pride and ego keep us hard and callous to admit our faults

We asked for help today and we are rescued

Fear has a two-month rest

I will begin to sell my belongings

I won’t miss them


Losing My Home

(Thoughts While Gardening One Morning)

yawning


the sun is crisp sheer

clouds inch by

forming pigs laughing

and frog wings leap

through blue air

over tree tops

leaves breezing


wandering


youthful buds sprout plants

spread on hills mulched

roses and climbing vines

wooden fence blooms


digging


spring dirt crust broken

pressure from hands and feet

shovel hits roots


reminiscing


past summer

fruit ripened succulent

fully rounded to taste

lips cupped tenderly on

peach fuzzy skin


thinking


lost in my head

not knowing if—


realizing


collapse to knees

tears well in eyes

my broken voice calls

to an empty yard


imagining


soil that dog paws don’t greet

morning birds with no seed sprinkled

squirrels peer in hazy windows

grass growing sleepy frowns

Sunday afternoon lawnmower silent

lonely cardinals in Rosebud stare

fence panels tilt fallen

monkey grass on flagstone overgrown

ivy climbing up over

porch dusty webbed

rose bush on rod iron reaching

doors knock echoes

no answer


I don’t live here anymore



Revised


Scammed


In American history a scam has been repeated again and again

To unsuspecting new generations getting their first break

And will continue until justice ensues and puts this to an end

I’m sharing this with you, so you don’t make the same mistake

I hope you will please take note and pay close attention…


The mortgage Banker told us with a trusting smile

while placing our construction loan into a file

that when all the rehab work is done on our homes

they would consolidate all debts into a 30-year loan


So with refinancing in mind as the final expectation

when the work was finally done and without hesitation

we headed back to Bank

The Banker said because the housing market had tanked

that they wouldn’t refinance and all had to be rearranged

And to our discontent

they raised our APR to almost 10 percent

All this was done despite our pleas and arguments

Our fault=trusting the Bank

and not getting the future refi agreement in ink

Now with the monthly mortgage bill set so high

and our saving dwindling and almost tapped dry

we couldn’t continue to pay

And our neighbors--neither could they


Then a national crisis arose

Fear that the Banks might fold and close

So the US President comes up with a plan

“Banks are Too Big to Fail” was the slogan

That he should send the Banks the taxpayer’s monies

To keep them afloat and running

The Banks agree to assist homeowners in return

by offering lower refinancing rates as they discern

The bail out monies were sent

and the Banks stability was established and met


So we call our Bank

and give our information at length

No reply

And we try and try

Every time we call they said they never heard of us

and that filling out their paperwork is a must

We send in more information

We call and try again

Sorry they say--we have never heard of you

Stumped and not knowing what to do

The more and more paper work we present

We call and get--sorry please try again


Eventually the Bank says we qualify

for the President’s program to refi

but in order to be accepted and not denied

we must go in default

bring our mortgage payments to a halt

So we reluctantly stop paying our bills

We call the Bank—no answers still

They say they’ll call us back

No word gives us anxiety attacks

We fear these issues will have no end

We call again and again

Try to make a formal complaint

Our file is being processed--they say

Check in with us at a later date

Weeks and months go by

We call a few more times

No word

Finally a letter comes in the mail

Foreclosure in December

All attempts had failed


The Last Minutes


drinks never tasted so sour

poured down throats with lumps

night after night winter toiling windows rattle

squirrels scratch on the gutters of our brains

foreheads rubbed raw from anxiety

going over and over in our minds

recounting how we played the game

with debts of costumes, props and stage

roof slates fall off past decisions

drinks never so drunken sloppy

mice nibbling concern on couch cushions

coming soon—house auction on court steps

candlelit backed cockroaches dance

dust blows silent shame in corners


Saved


10 days until house auction

A Good Samaritan

Lawyers

Bank deals made

More monies paid

Papers signed

House saved


Starting over

Can’t afford the house

Rent it out

Work hard

Pay mortgage

Begin to save again


Go to refinance

Pull credit report

File says FORECLOSURE

Lawyers


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