January 20th, 2017

“There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.”
          – W.H. Auden

I had
begun
to think
my dreams
were lost
     forever
but then

the Moon broke over me
into a billion pieces
of Mr. T cereal
and the Sun cried rivers
of whole, white milk.

Thus, with a mouthful
of crispy sweet corn
and oats,
     I screamed
to the Moon-missing Heavens above,
     
“Thank you, God,
for not ignoring me
in my darkest hour!

Thank you for forcing
your chosen son
to descend
from his cloud-cloaked tower
to restore a sheen –
     to fix the ills –
          to burn the unbelievers
          with a golden
          inarticulate.

But mostly,
thank you for sending
someone who is just like me,
a real man rich with rapacious desire
     to own everything and everyone –
          to only be
          the American Dream
          like our fathers
          before us.
          
My God!
I never knew
Democracy paid
such dividends!”

Whole, sun milk
dribbled
     down
          my
               chin,
                    and
my poor heart
     burst
from so much hope

and sugar

and grace.

January 20th, 2017

The Waterwood Box, 5

Catch up!

“Where’s your bathroom?” Leon asked Adam.

“Through the back door, take a right, go through the kitchen, down the hall, first door on your left. If you see my folks, tell them to come on out. I think we’re finished with cake.” Adam looked at Carlos, who had just served himself another piece.

“It’s so hot,” said Cory. “My dad says that if it doesn’t rain soon the rationing is going to get worse.”

“Like how?” asked Don.

“Probably have to start showering every other day or something” answered Seth.

“Oh man, we already all have to shower together at my house. If I have to see my sister naked one more time I’ll puke,” said Monkey.

Juan couldn’t pass up this opportunity. “You can send your sister over to my house to shower, Monkey. I’ll make sure she gets all cleaned up.” Again, all the boys laughed.

Adam heard the back door open and out came Leon. Mr. and Mrs. Might were right behind him with lawn chairs folded up in their arms. Before Leon could sit down at the table Mr. Might started to sing ‘Happy Birthday’. Mrs. Might and all the boys soon joined in and Adam felt pleasantly embarrassed. As the final line of the song came to a close, Mr. Might added “and many more” in a funny, high-pitched voice that sent all the boys into a fit of laughter.

“Open your presents!” they all cried. Adam looked at his mom and she nodded okay. He walked over to the gift table and the wooden box immediately caught his attention. He resisted the urge. If there’s no card, it’ll just have to wait until last, he thought. So, one by one, he went through the gifts. Juan and Cory had gone in together to get him a new video game. Mike gave him a couple of books. Even Carlos had brought him some comics. Mr. and Mrs. Might’s gift to their son was a Swiss Army knife. Adam’s smile broke wide when he opened the package and saw the knife. He looked up to his parents from the pile of unwrappings around him and grinned at them. Mr. Might saluted back. Before going on, Adam put the knife in his pocket.

The Waterwood Box, 5

The Waterwood Box, 4

Catch up!

Eight of Adam’s friends showed up to help him celebrate the big one-three. There was Cory McAry and Juan Villacruz (Adam’s two best friends), Mike Figgit (whom everyone called “Monkey”), Seth Bourder, Grant Willem, Carlos Marquez (whom Adam didn’t really like but had to invite because he was Grant’s best friend), Don Crane, and Leon Oliver. All of the boys were sat at the picnic table, talking, joking, eating cake, and sweating profusely.

“Man, I wish it would rain, rain, rain, rain, rain,” Mike said.

“Me too, Monkey,” said Juan. “Then I’d get to mow the lawn and help my mom in the garden again. Oh, God, please let it rain.”

“Whatever. Like your fat butt couldn’t stand to do a little work.” All the boys laughed. Juan and Monkey were quick to tease each other.

“Hey, Adam, why didn’t you invite any girls to this party?” asked Carlos. Some of the boys murmured a similar interest.

The question took Adam by surprise. He hadn’t really thought about why. “Umm…I just didn’t know who to invite,” he lied.

“Yeah, right. More like you didn’t know any to invite.” Carlos elbowed Grant and took another bite of his cake. “I dumf thinf I’f efah…” Carlos paused, swallowed, then continued, “seen you with a girl, man. What gives? You like girls, man?” A couple of the boys snickered but quickly stopped once they realized this wasn’t teasing like that between Juan and Monkey.

Adam was getting uncomfortable. He didn’t like Carlos and Carlos knew it. “I just wanted to hang out with my friends. That’s all.”

“What’s your problem, Carlos?” Cory interrupted. “It’s Adam’s birthday. Quit being a jerk.”

“Hey, I was just asking, man. Jeez.” Carlos leaned over to Grant and whispered something in his ear. Both boys laughed.

Adam looked at Cory and silently thanked him. They’d been friends since first grade and now they were about to start their last year of junior high together. Cory and Juan and Adam. The Three Musketeers, Mr. Might called them.

The Waterwood Box, 4

Country Lament #857

“Don’t be afraid of death,”
she said
right when
she squeezed that trigger

The light came then
and blinded me
as my skull and teeth did shatter

Death, oh, death
She always finds a way
With her great, white wings
And the pretty songs she sings
She always finds a way

“I’m not afraid of death,”
I thought
before I couldn’t think no more.

The blood spilled then
and sickened her
so she fled
right through that door

Death, oh, death
She always finds a way
With her great, white wings
And the pretty songs she sings
She always finds a way

Yes, she always
Yes, she always
Yes, she always finds a way
Yes, she always
Yes, she always
Yes, she always gets her way
Yes, she always
Yes, she always
Yes, she always finds a way

Country Lament #857

Listen of the Week: Run the Jewels

Run the Jewels 3, by Run the Jewels

Even though it came out a few weeks ago, today is the official release date and good god a’mighty is this a monster of a record.

“By far the best produced record of their trilogy… RTJ3 is a reckoning” 
Pitchfork

“The most buzzed-about act in Rap. Hip-hop has seldom sounded this righteous.. 5 out of 5.” 
NME

 “The greatest exemplars of righteous chaos since Ice Cube dapped up the Bomb Squad.”
SPIN

“A riot in sound… two of the era’s most gifted MC’s.”  
Chicago Tribune

Their time is now.
The Guardian

Listen of the Week: Run the Jewels

Art Uprising: Desolate Country

Today is Friday the 13th, and what’s scary is we have one week until Donald Trump is the leader of the free world. Art Uprising is a project that began as a protest for those who believe in the power of art. This anthology, Desolate Country, celebrates the voices of those who find Trump doesn’t represent their ethics. Buy it today on Amazon, and let’s make it the best-selling book of the day to show that our voices matter! Like and Share! https://www.amazon.com/dp/1946358029/

An excerpt from my piece, “America Hates You, America” lies somewhere within Desolate Country.

Art Uprising: Desolate Country

The Waterwood Box, 3

Catch up!

“Adam! Get away from those presents!” Mrs. Might came around from the side of the house, a tangled, green, garden hose trailing behind her. “You’re supposed to be thirteen years old! You can wait to open your gifts until your guests arrive!”

“I wasn’t–”

“Don’t ‘I wasn’t’ me! I saw you about to open that box.”

“Who gave me this present, mom? I couldn’t find any card or name or anything. It isn’t even wrapped. Look.” Adam attempted to hand her the box. Mrs. Might took the box and set it on the table without once looking at it.

“You’ll find out later. There’s probably a card inside. Now go inside and see how your father’s coming along with the cake. It’s almost noon.”

“But, mom, that box is…weird.”

“No ‘buts’, goofball. In two or three hours, we’ll all find out about that box. Until then – inside, inside.” She smacked him lightly on the bottom, sending him on his way.

Adam went inside and tried to forget about the box but couldn’t. He went into the kitchen where his dad was decorating the cake. The cake had HAPPY 13th, TEEN-O written on it. Adam smiled and took a swipe at the frosting on one edge. His dad was always doing stupid stuff like this. One St. Patrick’s Day Mr. Might dressed up like a leprechaun and hid in Adam’s closet, waiting until Adam woke up to find him. When Adam finally opened his closet door, Mr. Might jumped out and ran past Adam screaming, “You’ll never get yer hands on me pot o’ gold!” A goof.

“Dad, do you know anything about that wooden box out there?”

“Nosiree. Wait, what wooden box?”

“Out on the gift table.”

“Nosiree. Wait, what gift table?”

“C’mon. Quit playing around. Out with my other presents there’s a weird, wooden box that isn’t wrapped or anything. There isn’t even a card.”

“You’ve got presents?”

Frustrated, Adam left his dad in the kitchen. Sometimes goofiness was a pain. Adam thought about clicking on the T.V. for a while but then he noticed that it was a quarter till noon. His friends would soon arrive for the party. He ran upstairs to change clothes and comb his hair.

—-

The Waterwood Box, 3