a lot of sorrow lately. not particularly mine, but here in me, with me, shadowing.

all around, death and pre-death. loss, grieving.

friends losing parents.

friends breaking up.

friends leaving their job.

friends who come from méxico, watching from here as the country burns. (for a long time the fire has been in the walls; now it’s billowing out in the open.)

i’m seeing video of entire towns in guerrero arming themselves. every single person, cradling a crappy-looking but well-intentioned weapon. this isn’t just david v. goliath, the working class against the state, but david v. goliath and a rattlesnake at david’s ankles.

and pneumonia in david’s lungs.

and even if he beats this giant, david’s got ptsd for the rest of his life.

what i’m saying is david’s got it rough.

and see? like i said, this isn’t even my sorrow. i’m not directly connected. i just see around me and the sorrow comes.

it’s bittersweet, with the unity here, yeah? they want peace, he says. they want peace. i wish it for them. the peace that will come from a way out of capitalism, on a world scale. the peace that will come from transforming our way out of oppression, healing the karma of thousands of years of keeping each other down.

thankful to the people of guerrero and all of méxico who keep trying to fight and heal.

more on the situation following the mass murder of 43 students in Guerrero.

Protecting Ourselves From Our Stories

Morihei Ueshiba
Morihei Ueshiba, founder of the Japanese martial art form aikido, which aims to let practitioners defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

On March 1st, exactly one year after R and I broke up, I drove to his house to pick up one last smattering of my belongings, left out on the porch for me in a Trader Joe’s brown paper bag. Anticipating that it might be difficult and I might get sad, I had asked a good friend to come with me. And though I did feel nervous and sad, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Right on top of the pile there was a favorite belt that I’d been missing for like two years! When R and I were still together I lightweight hounded him about that belt — was convinced I’d somehow left it at his parents’ house. Don’t know where he ended up finding it, but I was glad to have it back, and as my friend and I drove away from his street, I thought I felt okay.

Still, the bag sat at the door of my closet, untouched, for a long time.

Again, though, once I finally screwed up the courage to go through it, it wasn’t so horrible. A swirl of memories: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral. A lot of the stuff wasn’t mine, but some of it was. Pillowcase. (Useful!) Books. (Beloved!) The scarf on the header image of this blog. (Nostalgic!) And oh, what’s this? I recognized a notecard, some stationery of mine.

It was the birthday card I had written to R last year.

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board the train (made it this time, again thanks to dana and victor). the conductor looks at my ticket, burlington to boston with a 3+ hour layover in springfield, mass. he says, “you know, it’s up to you, but you might be better off taking the bus from springfield to boston: it’s just a few blocks from the train station, and leaves every hour. not trying to drive business away, but it sucks to have to wait around so long.”

people can be so KIND.

MLK & Obama Inauguration Day

Jacob Lawrence, from the Toussaint L’Ouverture Series, “To Preserve Their Freedom.”

i don’t begrudge my friends and family their joy, but since 2008 i have lost my belief in a patriotism dressed up in charming blackness.

instead, may blackness continue to serve as an impetus toward universal freedom, fundamentally challenging all harmful power structures (including the u.s. government).

may blackness fill us with the vision, love, and spiritual strength necessary to fight for a classless society, a society of equals, where leaders are not idolized but trusted — and directly accountable.

much gratitude to all who have struggled and are struggling for real, worldwide liberation.

so humbling and exciting.


Top: “Steeped in African American history while growing up in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance, Jacob Lawrence launched his career at age 21 with a 41-panel series about an important black hero, Touissant L’Ouverture, who led the slave rebellion to liberate Haiti from French rule. Years later, he reprised the series in screen print, including the dramatic ‘To Preserve Their Freedom,’ 1986, a reminder that American blacks were still not liberated.”

Solar Oven

winter is coming.
winter is coming.
winter is coming and this august-born body
never did like the cold.
bad circulation
deadens my brown fingers
turns them the greenish-white
of hospital walls.

winter is coming
and i quietly beg my freckles to stay.
me and my freckles leave the hearthless apartment
to sit in my parked car, huddled
like a batch of hopeful chocolate chip cookies
in a fifth grader’s solar oven.

i hate winter.
i want heat all the time!
almost all the time.
i want enough heat to make me happy.

when winter comes i layer up
then shrink from the inside
like an old pea shriveled in its pod
like the illinois corn disastrously shriveling in its husk
as we speak,
as meantime the miners of south africa steel themselves
against the next ANC attack
and most of africa rustles inchoate
against the next round of land grabs
and everyone can see the thick-tongued famines approach.

one night
not long ago,
i was walking my parents’ dog
a dog i don’t particularly like
though dogs in general aren’t really my thing.
well i was walking the dog
in the quiet nighttime suburbs of Sacramento
and all of a sudden i looked at a lawn and thought:
“goodbye, grass”
and even though i know lawns are awful,
i felt tender toward this one
and a little tender toward the dog.
then i thought:
“this feels like a melancholy indie film.”

winter is coming
and my oven has been broken for weeks.
i told the benevolent slumlord, who replied with the usual
benevolent slumlord promises.
bugging him seems risky
since i want his permission to paint the walls
the same golden yellow i always paint
to warm up my heart when i’m indoors
and not enwindowed in a winter car.
so my oven stays broken
and i have no backup solar version
no cob alternative
i am too pessimistic, lazy, and single to attempt to construct either one.
i just want to laze in the day-drenched summer forever
on a planet full of native grass and coral reefs
a planet free of shit-snow on sacred mountains
a planet with its own miracle of clean water
and enough for everyone.

unfortunately for me,
for us,
winter is coming
resentment won’t stop it
so i guess we had better get creative.

“Your Revolution Will Not Happen Between These Thighs”

i’m really proud of myself: tonight i warmly but firmly set a boundary with an older man i’d been meeting up with politically, and who seems to be lightweight hitting on me. usually i have trouble with this because i don’t want to alienate people investigating radicalism. i fear that if i crush their flirty vibes then they’ll drop the politics completely, and i will feel guilty. but tonight i told this man that even though i genuinely enjoy spending time with him, (a) my life is really busy and (b) my primary interest is that he has options of staying politically involved and connected, if not through me then through other people in my organization. he seemed to take it okay. yay for healing subtle internalized patriarchy! ♥

and here’s a little celebration / inspiration from sarah jones. happy monday, y’all.