Poetry and Prose 2006
I don’t need cliffhanger movies
To find me on the edge of my seat.
To get “that!”
I can only allow myself short glimpses
Of the great interior and exterior drama film
If I plan on breathing in and out
In a normal way.
I don’t need a hero
To experience attacks
From all sides.
Hey, check out the
Millions of years it took
To evolve this body I’m witness to,
In the most intimate of ways.
I/We are here!
For aeons and aeons!
May we better ourselves
In 2007, with a little bit of help,
From our friends, and
Dec. 30, 2006
My Lovely Mirror Neurons
How sweet it is to find myself with
Mirror Neurons on my side.
Look at what they do!
With increasing ease do I capture
The subtlest of thoughts and feelings,
The vital essence of my Thous,
Parts of life are so easy.
Chop wood. Carry water.
One foot in front of the other.
All in moderation.
Don’t be too adventuresome!
Don’t treat people like “its,”
But rather as “Thous.”
December 29, 2006
To certain peoples the parents die
Once the children are born.
Men and women with children
Die to themselves and become
Their children’s food. But…
We are more than food
For our children!
We are food
For our lovers!
We are food
For our neighbors!
And slowly becoming
Food for humanity!
Tasty, in the main.
An acquired taste,
We are the most organic
Energy to be found.
We are each other’s
And you, my sweet,
December 28, 2006
Thank You for the Goodness You Bring
It’s the Feel of the Gift
It’s the feel of the gift,
Sometimes so intense
We must aproach…
So as not to burst.
Dec. 26, 2006
That All Will Have Time
In the way that I pray,
I pray that someday,
All will have time,
To spend giving
To their sweet ones.
December 26, 2006
Imagine how sweet it will be
If the next 10 years show as much
Discovery, accomplishment, and
Among good people
With complementary skills
As the past 8!
And then think how it could be
If the 10 years after that
Were equally fruitful and blessed.
And then another 10 beyond that!
Tie me down!
May we always remain modest
In the face of great accomplishment!
December 20, 2006
Athenians Contra Spartans
Neural pathways have evolved
Expressing our Spartan and Athenian
Perhaps we Sons and Daughters
Of the Sweet Inland Seas
Will find part of our destiny
Blocking, shrinking, and melting
The Spartan neural networks
But blooming and blossoming
December 20, 2006
How Can You Live Like That!
I’m not quite sure if I live like that.
I’m not sure we’ve spent enough time
Describing the “that.”
It takes so long for the story to be told,
So little time, so little energy
My words never quite capture “that,”
So elusive, multifaceted,
It’s nice if you can do your best
To withhold judgement, to not blow up
In my face.
It’s also nice that when you can’t,
I am finding it easier and easier
To say stop.
From my perspective,
It’s all good. Sometimes my bad,
Sometimes yours. Sometimes ___?
I’m not going to run away.
I’m not that kind of guy.
But this truth stuff
Takes forever to unravel
And we’ve not got forever.
Or do we?
So I’ll call you
And we’ll see
Sweet Ones of the Great Lakes
What gifts you bring!
How did you happen!
Warmth, good… hot, but not too hot,
Warding off the coming cold.
Light, subtle, easy,
Relieving eerie darkness.
Ample evidence, ardent anticipations.
Viva, truth bearers!
Black and white is an attitude,
And not enough to really get started.
Too much baggage.
It’s about what’s inside.
And you, my sweet one,
Good Food and Beauty
The people will come
For good food and beauty.
Especially good food
By farmers we’ve met.
Good food and beauty
Arouse the best passions.
Knowing our farmers…
Good food and sweet aroma.
Tasteful decor and eye sweets.
We easily surrender
Clenched egos to
Good food and
Riverwest Co-op Cafe(http://milwaukeerenaissance.com/Main/HomePage#toc1)
Amaranth Bakery and Cafe(http://milwaukeerenaissance.com/AmaranthBakeryAndCafe/HomePage)
Send poison arrows
Let me know
So Truth may
Meet with them.
Don’t be afraid. You can do it.
You are not alone.
Bound across the field,
Wade across the river,
Go into that forest,
Climb past those hills.
See what’s on the other side.
See what’s on all sides.
You can do it.
Let’s do it together.
Milwaukee, the Holy City of
The Sweet Water Seas
The Fertility of Your Mind
It’s the fertility of your mind
That makes for the glory of your heart!
Diversity is strength!
Elaborating the soil of your mind.
The “meek” shall inherit the earth
If inspired by life to expand repertoires.
If today’s workers become city farmers too
They will blaze trails for life in a higher realm.
Worker farmers will become a new gentry
Of the mind and heart.
Daily life experiences that harmonize
Inner and outer realities.
The power of the mix of
Mental and manual labor.
Chop wood, carry water,
Mind, heart, life
In a higher realm.
Milwaukee, the Holy City
Of the Sweet Water Seas
Out of the Closet
Squat in a clammy closet,
Stacking eggshells upon eggshells,
Humming versus of the Ave Maria,
So the bald old man prowling the halls
In tennis shoes and a black robe
Knows I’m doing my duty.
Exultant in an open field,
Sky blue, bursting billowing clouds,
Brilliant sun, throwing a thick stick
For my prize puppy.
Farther and farther I throw it,
Faster and faster she takes it,
We are both heated and sweating.
My Mother calls.
“What are you doing outside?
Why are you not stacking?
How will you win your prize
Back to the closet,
But only for a time.
A new day was brewing.
I heard a different song.
The escape was not easy.
“You wished it stranger”
You left the path on your own,
“You are lost if you believe in danger.”
Forty years later,
Not in closets, nor even lush fields,
But in ineffably resonant worlds
Of sweet ones, where utopian visions
Are pursued amidst gales of laughter.
First Big Snow
Milwaukee the Mecca
Of the Sweet Water Seas
My Milwaukee is
The Holy City
Of the Sweet Water Seas.
This Is How It Looks!
When I look upon my children,
And my grandchildren,
I am tempted to wonder
If I might be
The world’s wealthiest man.
When I look upon my children’s friends
The temptation to so think
Is almost irresistible.
When I look upon my daughter’s Love,
I know my bounty is as great
As is allowed a mortal man.
For reading at the Chicago Celebration
How Did We Get Here?
How did we get here?
To what great ancestral deeds
Do we owe this joy?
Where is this great love story
How did these two great
And modest beings happen?
A mystery so grand
I fear I might burst!
May I find the courage
To accept this blessing!
The Morning After the Engagement Feast
As If a Dream
Reading Sufi poetry at Magic’s Starbucks
On 71st and Stoney Island Ave. in Chicago’s “South Side(!)”
As if a dream, with youthful visions materializing
Far more luxuriant and evocative
Than my best imagining 40 years back.
As if in some kind of grand epic.
Megan, elegant and thoughtful,
Ok, handsome and loving.
Yin, yang, black, white, he, she,
Why are we here?
How did we arrive?
The Morning After
Megan & Ok’s Engagement Party
I’m a reporter.
On the ground.
In the trenches.
A movement peddler,
A child of the
Great Lakes culture.
An awakening one.
I think it all started with fairy tales, tap dance, and piano lessons,
Which astonished “the boys” who thought such sissy,
But loved and respected me enough to veil their reaction.
And then less haircuts and combing, to me a waste of time,
Or learning how to dance and doing such at “teen town,”
Rather than hang in the circle of “the boys.”
Soon sweatshirts rather than ironed shirts at college class,
Radical books, young “beatniks,” blacks, Jews, gays, and leftists,
In place of fraternity booze fests and sorority balls.
Law school was out because ties were required,
The mere thought of a “professional career’s” clothing and comportment demands
Filled me with terror.
At graduate school seminars was always 5 minute late,
But ferociously prepared and ready to mind grapple
With professors secretly thrilled to find opposition that stirred their blood.
A pariah trade like roofing homes can be ennobled
With liberation rituals that erode hierarchy and inspire visions of freedom
Like “the boss” cleaning scrap so “the boys” more quickly learn the trade.
Or 30 years of morning greetings—”Are you into it today?”
Because work with one not into it is toxic,
And the best workers quickly imagine themselves as co-owners or partners.
Many child rearing rituals combined the old with the new,
Like Sunday drives through “third world neighborhoods,” or vacation stops
To shrines honoring liberation movements, or freedom songs at bedtime.
An old dog can learn new tricks
By ritualizing everyday routines
For beauty and reflection’s sake.
No drives on freeways but rather old city streets,
Filled with signs of vitality
And new purpose—a feast!
No food from commercialized vendors
But co-ops where people are
Creating a new world.
No work with only money and output in mind,
But work chosen and performed
As if a calling of the divine, inside and outside,
Astonished to be alive
Let Us Gentrify Milwaukee
Let us no longer tolerate success
In the corridors of mere commerce,
Power, or status.
Why not aspire to cultivate
New gentry classes.
Revolutionary, radical, progressive.
Classes where beauty and history
Trump power and money.
Where status mongering
Is in bad taste.
Let us help transform
our commercial classes
into our gentry classes.
Let us help transform
our working classes
into worker gentry classes.
Let us gentrify our neighborhoods!
Let us bury mere commercialism
in the dustbin of history.
We can no longer afford
Merely pedestrian glories.
Our very planet,
Our very species
Is being ravaged
By the merely commercial classes.
Let us usher them out.
Let us gentrify humanity,
With grace, beauty, truth, and justice,
Leading the parades.
Let’s Fix Our Eyes
Let’s fix our eyes
On the prize
Of a new civilization
Because it’s time.
I have finally discovered a concept
to capture the identity of my favorite friends—
the revolutionary gentry.
They are revolutionary because their lives
Have been dedicated to a vision of some kind of
Fundamental, structural transformation
Of consciousness and society—
A new civilization!
They have kept their eyes on this prize—
An awakening in response to
The horrors that have beset humanity
Rooted in excess hiearchy and rote patriarchy.
A deep understanding regarding
The ecological challenge wrought by
The “industrial revolution.”
They are gentry because their lives
Have manifest a ceaseless quest for
And acquisition of wealth—
mostly cultural, social, and spiritual riches,
But sometimes money too!
Make history and the money
Will take care of itself!
When the revolutionary gentry
Become more self-conscious
Of their growing power,
Augmented by the bourgeois revolution
Of the past few hundred years,
The long awaited second American revolution,
That faces up to the unfinished business of the first one,
May be around the corner,
Only a generation or two distant.
Viva, the revolutionary gentry!
Revolutionary Gentry Distinguished from Radical Gentry
The revolutionary gentry are to be distinguished from their worthy partners,
The radical gentry.
They are radical rather than revolutionary,
By virtue of the kind of spirit they bring the drama.
The radicals are not quite as exuberant as the revolutionaries.
They tend to exercise more prudence.
The radicals do not take as long a view.
They are closer to the facts.
God dwells in the details, along with the radicals.
Revolutionaries have visions.
The exultant pageant of evolution
On our lovely planet
In our daunting cosmos,
Has glorious parades of revolutionaries.
Spectacular orchestras of radicals.
Introducing the Progressive Gentry
They are progressive because their lives
Have greatly contributed to the evolution of humanity,
Especially in their daily rounds, marked by
Professional competence and life-long learning.
The progressive gentry distrust grand visions,
They tend to be leaders “inside” the dominant order,
Working from within for necessary change,
Open to new initiatives from the
Revolutionary and radical gentry,
The progressive gentry are a large power bloc
Critical to protecting humanity from its worst elements,
The barbarians within and without the civitas and countryside.
Not as long-viewed as the revolutionaries,
Nor as intense and impatient as the radicals,
The progressive gentry occupy the middle way.
Papa Whitman told me it was ok to be astounded
By the multiplicities sometimes bickering
Sometimes co-mingling in my vast interiors.
He said I could contradict myself
Even slay some selves
And still be pure.
Papa Jung said I could enjoy
The powerful women inside me,
And even the lovely ladies.
He said their voices
Must be allowed
For life’s flow.
Father Chardin and Rumi opened my eyes
To the burning bush inside, the fount
Of cosmic energies, the beloved tavern keeper.
Queen Bonobo has inspired the notion
That love is the sap and the soul
E pluribus unum.
July 7, 2006
Response to Violence in Bay View
Is it not there in the history of humanity,
For all to see, who care to see.
When rural or small town populations
Are uprooted from their local communities,
And become resident of big city neighborhoods
Yet lacking the institutions to address the dislocations—
social, cultural, and economic—during the transition…
When the old clans and communities are
Not yet reconstituted in the new big cities…
Alienation, anomie, and violence.
Just focusing on the USA of the past 150 years,
The teeming Irish and Italian neighborhoods of
Ne York, Chicago, and Milwaukee,
Shocked the wealthier communities of English,
Scotch, and German,
With their levels of violence, usually internal,
But sometimes spilling over.
I see most of us doing our best to fight the good fight
And help create community institutions and
Economic opportunities to
Advance the cause of our displaced fellow Milwaukeeans,
And our own selves, families, and friends.
Are we not all in the same boat?
Might not some on-line conversations about
Community building and job creating mechanisms
Be of some value?
Growing Power, for example, has for market city farm methodologies
That could help families supplement their income as well as
Build community around projects for healthy food and extra income.
If we can continue dodging bullets, from our fellows or nature’s way,
In a few generations we might reduce our level of violence
By a considerable amount.
In my lifetime I have witnessed a very considerable erosion of racism
In many Milwaukee, Chicago, and St. Louis Euro American groups.
Perhaps over the next couple of lifetimes we will witness
An equal amount of success around the issue of violence.
I know of scores of Milwaukeeans who have been doing great work
Aimed at healing people’s minds and hearts
For the past 30 years.
And I am confident that this yahoo group will advance the cause
Of community building and an evolution of the spirit
For many years to come.
Life is tragic.
Life is grand.
Life is interesting.
We’ve made progress.
We’ve a long way to go.
We are not afraid.
We shall overcome.
Some Rumi Prayers for Shedd
Translation by Coleman Barks, Castle Books, 1997
I have given each being
a separate and unique way
Of seeing and knowing and saying
He dado cada es
una manera separada y extraordinaria
De ver e instruido y diciendo
Earth Day 2006
The Sweet Politics of Savannah Baboons and Forest Bonobos
If you are a Savannah Baboon who likes power,
Please know that winning power may take strength,
But keeping power involves other resources.
Social intelligence, which includes empathy, ranks high.
You must divine daily even hourly shifts in alliances.
The politics of coalition formation and dissolution,
Must come second nature to you.
Tolerance for the inescapable imbecility of your allies
Is critical, Baboon allies make mistakes.
Don’t cop attitudes.
And detachment from the irritation of regular provocations
From your partners who enjoy a dance with Alpha Baboon,
Taking you right to the edge of anger, seemingly
For the fun of it.
Physical power means even less to the divine bonobos,
A matriarchal species where the females prevail
By virtue of their “sisterhood.”
Males derive their status from their mother’s rank.
The alpha bonobo, Queen Bonoba, never needed be the strongest,
But rather the kindest and the wisest.
She is alpha because she has groomed the best and the most.
She can best mediate “contradictions” among the monkeys.
She carries herself with a confidence and poise that wins respect.
A nod from her can spring a group of sisters into action,
In the face of an obnoxious bonobo, fancy on the outside,
But lacking interior grace.
Brief, solution focused cognitive therapy suggests the value of
Self-framing as an Alpha Bonobo or Savannah Baboon
To advance one’s hero quest and possibilities for bliss.
A cultural revolution,
A revolution of mind and sensibility
Is required for the “unfinished business”
of the First American Revolution.
Without attending to this business,
Freedom, justice, beauty, community,
We condemn ourselves to generations
Of terror and the terror of wars on terror.
Please consider a role as Paul Revere,
Go out to the people
And give the cry.
Ask your internet broadcaster friends
To sign on for a New American Movement.
A cultural revolution, of sensibility and mind.
Might you know 5
Who you could trust
Would let the people know
About May Day at Soldiers Home?
Might you offer me on line introductions
To your most trustworthy 5?
The barbarians are at the gate.
We must rally the people.
Sound the alarm.
Soldiers Home of North America
Bin Laden’s Pimp
Bin Laden’s Great Resources
Are the ignorance, decadence, and hubris
Of the worst elements of “The West.”
Our greatest defense
Against Bin Ladenism
Is our quest for truth, beauty, and justice.
Who would trample upon
Truth in our land
Is a friend of Bin Laden.
Who would defile the
Beauty in our midst,
Is Bin Laden’s brother.
Who ignores the call of justice,
Is Bin Laden’s pimp.
Godsil from Bay View/Riverwest/Harambee
Bridge Works/Soldiers Home/Community
Rebirth of Freedom/Great Lakes
If you have never been to the Soldiers Home
You have a right to sue
The thoughtless old white men
Who gave you not this due.
Your birthright has been trampled on
By a concatenation of “wariables”
That find you in your office on Sunday, May 1,
And not at the Soldiers Home.
Its haunting beauty
Would qualitatively improve
Your capacity to heal.
You’ll someday see
If you’ve never seen,
The Soldiers Home.
The Soldiers Home
Monday, March 28, 2005
“Bin Laden’s Pimp” and the “Worst of the West”
I would like to try to get “Bin Laden’s Pimp” published where it would be of use for the New American Cultural Revolution brewing in response to the planet as village for world culture intellectuals like yourself.
The actions of the worst of the west
Are making true patriots like yourself
Tempted with shame?
I very much enjoyed meeting you at the Human Rights Day and Blewett Public School Rally at Timbuktu last Monday.
You are a man of mind, heart, and courage.
Avoid Freeway Driving in Milwaukee’s Historic Neighborhoods
Like You Would A Weapon of Mass Destruction
We are 70% water I’m told.
Water is sensitive to vibrations.
Water exposed to soothing music
And kindly human words
When frozen and photographed
At the microscopic level
Is beauty, symmetry, dazzling grace.
As lovely as snowflakes magnified
A thousand fold.
When the water is placed between
Two speakers blaring heavy metal trash,
Or forced to hear harsh human sounds,
When frozen and photgraphed,
At the microscopic level,
It’s ugly, asymmetrical, piteous blah.
While driving on city freeways
We are exposed to the ugly and the plain,
The boring and the dangerous,
Like water between blaring disharmonies.
Today’s drive through the main streets
Of our historic neighborhoods,
Down KK, Lincoln, Mitchell, National,
Vliet, North Ave., Center, Locust, Burleigh,
Lisbon Tuetonia and Forest Home,
Will expose us to much new life and beauty,
Good vibrations from the people’s strenth,
Making our liquid aspect a pleasure to be.
Freeways were part of the industrial society
Of infernal factories
stopped at the gates.
Freeways were to move heavy goods cheaply,
The people in the neighborhoods be dammed.
Freeways could be rammed down “the lower orders’” throats,
With enough politicians and construction big shots on board.
No more ugly freeways
Through urban village beauty.
No more raping our neighborhoods and homes,
For the sake of an atavistic residue
From a previous epoch
Of pyramidal power structures
And command posts of old white men.
This era is over.
White men are being replaced
With all of God’s children
At round tables of
Increasing creativity and grace.
Highways have no place in this world.
No more torture chambers.
No more public floggings.
No more child and wife abuse.
No more hate crimes.
No more highways through the
Of the American people,
Sufi Poetry Night at Timbuktu
Last Tuesday of Each Month
Lovely Social Minds On Line at the Soldiers Home
The “thinking envelope”
of the Planet Earth,
Is changing the way
We do things.
We can go to Harvards
Of the mind.
We can have rich conversations
With the finest minds,
The warmest hearts,
And most exuberant spirits,
Across Mother Earth,
The Soldiers Home
Where the Waters Meet
And All of God’s Children Greet