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24 political poems
Wicker Pk. Sonata
writers musicians artists try to hold on
like the previous tidal wave of realtor shock troops -
the hookers and dope lord trainees
who did their jobs and split, on schedule.
i know how often a funkytown becomes
a Sandburg Village,
so i claimed early my piece of disinterred sidewalk,
put it in a box next to shards of stolen Berlin wall.
the homeless here have more roots than any
passing platoons of carpetbaggers;
they bear unwilling and taciturn witness,
trudging under the neutron-bomb afterglow
of phony gaslights,
ignoring the sparkle from fresh parking meters,
gleaning loose change as the place mutates
in presumed fashion:
broken-in hood to donut hole to
becoming Hollywood backdrop
becoming second-hand Seattle drowning in
and Starbucks Blue Note Blend(tm).
the lumpenprivileged howl in...........protest,
anticipating the epitaph:
"apres moi, le deluge.".........not yet.
not while one sixth of six corners keeps shutting down;
not while the shuttling suits still stick out in the afternoon
like tired Conquistadors lost in the underbrush;
not while the neighborhood's dark half stands firm
against Gold Coast stench
and doesn't give a damn who's alderman, now.
there are still melodies visions whispered nightmares in the mortar,
waiting for breath....
some of us walk softly and stand on corners,
sounds like a standoff to me.
500 Years of Chump Change
it's time to talk about time;
half a millennium of self-righteous celebration
and half-hearted excuses.
new terms like
time to remember who owned the land,
who killed and cheated for it,
who poured blood into it.
time to talk about monuments to greatness,
about empires that crumble from within
because the official stories no longer staisfy.
it's time to talk about us, wasting time -
blaming Jewish banks Arab liquor stores Korean fruit stands
etc. etc.! ...
selling one-size-fits-all conspiracies;
selling klan hoods made of kente cloth.
meanwhile, homeboy trying to live large through shortcuts
ends up living behind bars or breathing dirt -
yeah, so cool. bigger and deffer.
it's time to talk about us reclaiming time,
the currency our ancestors put away -
because they didn't work for free -
they paid for the paper the Constitution was written on;
they fed and nurtured the Industrial Revolution
as their names went into the memory hole,
giving others the luxury of time
to sit and study and deduce and develop.
it's time to realize,
the brainpower that markets and distributes crack
also makes computers and slam dunks calculus;
it's time to grab the brittle skulls of every dead white male -
from Shakespeare to Shockeley -
crack them open and dig out every tasty morsel,
time to liberate every exiled figure from the historical gulag
and say their names!, LOUD -
fill the air with them -
like Thomas Edison's dark-skinned right-hand man;
don't know his name? look it up!
Frederick Douglass would demand no less.
it's time to reclaim time,
to rewrite and un-censor the official record
and collect on that overdue debt.
in other words,
after 500 years of chump change,
it's time to cash the check.