Bone Flute: a poem in progress

Please make flutes from my bones,
I’ll play an organ to your rib cage.
Color me prolific like you would paint my portrait on the asphalt
Red and orange yellow, paint me in the fallen leaves on a rainy afternoon.
but you’re not missing from the treetops

You’re not missing from my heart,
You’re missing from my shoulder,
from the crook of my elbow
Your ear is missing from my chest.

Listen close but won’t go further.
I don’t know when I’ll see you next,
I sit so quiet I can listen for you in my blood,
Faint windy whistle in my bones,
Sit so quiet I’ll invent you.
Play you woodwind slow and even
Invent me in your blood
Dry red pine straw on the floor of your heart
I will nest in your bones.

Walk with me down to the shoreline,
A new kind of night time,
Taste the stars in the air.

“I’ve been tasting stars before you knew they were there.
Give me a scratch on the bone to wake me up-
None of this new coffee has been strong enough”

I’ll make flutes from your bones,
Sit and listen to them whistle in the reeds.
I’ll invent you in the wind.
If you drink me from your rivers,
Nest me in your marrow,
And hold me up to star rise for standard.

Brooklyn rooftop star gazer never knew what he was missing.

I would weep when we made love,
Scratch a notch in the bones of my bed,
She was a cradle for dreams.
I never knew I could see everything I was missing in just two days walk
and you could wake into your dreams,
find all the things that you were missing
and hold them tight to now and always.
listen to feel her in the wind,
watch and see her fixing in the stars,
summertime thunderstorm and windless rain.
the way it flowed down her spine, and tickled out her smile,
She made fluted all my bones
She stacked me up and left me in the corner.

But now I wish to be an organ,
and play you woodwind slow and easy,
Melt like like apprehension in the windless rain
So I sit and listen for you in my blood,
If you would only stack me back to human,
and pour your smile down my spine.

This Machine Kills Fascists

I recently made my first ever Etsy purchase, and my first backing of a Kickstarter Project. The purchase from Etsy was in fact a decal for my computer which reads “This Machine Kills Fascists” (thank you, Suzie Automatic). These things along with the recent Woody Guthrie Centennial and Pete Seeger’s appearance on Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report” got me thinking.
Many are the days I lament the big-box, bigger brand, pre-packaged culture I often find around me. I drive my Volkswagen to work where I do my job for what could be the most recognizable company in the world and sometimes I stop into a Starbucks on the way, wearing my name-brand (though biodegradable) sneakers. The ironies are many, for example, the VW Autogroup is a giant, multinational corporation based in Germany, and yet when I buy one here on Long Island its still called a Volks-Wagen or People-Car. Yes, the car possesses all the straightforward, pragmatic design that the brand is known for all over the world, and yet the name still seems slightly out of place. When I stop into Starbucks, it is the identical, ubiquitous, pocket of sameness known on every corner of the globe as Starbucks. But at one time, that was a unique pocket of radical differentiation. So well honed and carefully considered is my experience at this coffee shop, I’ve come to have almost no experience at all. On a television in the corner, a Budweiser commercial featuring rap artist/ entrepreneur/ professional famous person/ brand/ wristwatch salesman, Jay-Z, speaking what amounts to an excellently conceived¬†(though not so brilliantly written) oratory on why art is vital and important. But it is an AD FOR BUDWEISER, so I do not pay it much attention.

But meanwhile, quietly, there are things happening. And it may be too early yet to say changing, but things are happening, often on the internet (hence the post title). We have this tool in the internet, that could remake culture into the organic thing, where white-haired men with banjos ask everybody to sing along. Kickstarter, Etsy, internet-based payment processors like SquareUp, are opening doors for artists and makers. But I think its more important to think about what these kind of things can do for the world of consumers and our relationships to the things we buy and use. Big budget branding would have us define ourselves by the things we buy. Find the brand that looks like your aspirations and perpetuate an ever longer series of these Starbucks-style non-experiences. Instead we can now reach out and change that relationship to invest again in craftspeople. I have suddenly been reminded that these things can be two way interactions.

So here it is, the guitar and banjo of the 21st century, the new call to listen and call out for the best in those who might not otherwise hear us. I believe we have a unique opportunity for choice, and an opportunity to turn back to the interested and the culturally important. Not by discussing with our friends and family which group of panderers we prefer, but by engaging in new economies and by funding and engaging in new arts. We can broadcast, listen to, and strike conversations on the things that threaten those opportunities, and foster new ones. The banjo that surrounds, the guitar that killed made themselves heard over hate and fascism, but these new machines will listen as well. Think about folk music, folk art, remember its true aggression and righteousness. Remember a man whose voice and musical style almost reminds us of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, emblazoned his guitar with a slogan claiming that it KILLS oppressors. So listen intently, remember to live purposefully, deliberately, do not succumb to the contentment of non-experience. Remember these are two way streets, remember that streets belong to the folks who walk them.

Bottom of the World, a poem for the sea and land

I am Muscle and bone,
At the bottom of the world,
I stand feet shoulder-width apart,
One arm, reaching
Eifel Tower to the heavens,
I saw her face among the stars.

I knew this is where I should be
And I have stood here,
For 25 years,
Knowing this was the bottom.

Muscle and Bone,
I would one day grow tall enough
And step off the world,
But I am Muscle and Bone among stars
And I am still reaching,
I have come here to stand on your shoulders,
I will stand on your shoulders to ask,
Where have all the flowers gone?

I’m looking for her face in the stars,
And I will never stop reaching for a woman
who showed me I might discover myself through the stars in her eyes.

I am reaching for my daughter,
from under melted icecap’s rising water,
I am still reaching for my daughter,
I will raise her from the earth,
listening for the new world’s folk tales in her breathing.
she tells her children of a man,
Who saw her mother’s face among the stars
And stood beneath the water, reaching into dark
he held his breath until his mind began to flower
like the earth that bears us over,
under water and still reaching for the stars,
alone and unafraid at the bottom of the world,
and she tells her children that they stand upon my shoulders above the rising water,
he was muscle and bone among the swimming stars
when he saw his lover was was the earth,
not floating far above,
truly flesh and bone and dirt.

I see her face among the stars,
and know my daughter could only ever stand
upon my shoulders just above the rising water.
A folktale picking flowers from my spine,
I was only flesh and bone among the stars.
But I am standing at the bottom of the world,
and reaching ‘cross forever
with one hand softly on her cheek.

Just Say No

With the heat of summer pressing me back from my usual leisure its become time once again to put nose to the grindstone. Unfortunately I have now, in the case of several projects over-committed. Here I am again with little personal investment in the things that absorb the majority of my time. And that can be a good situation, I am making sufficient money but little holds me back should it become clear that an aggressive shift in scheduling is needed. However, I have been aware over the last couple of months that I would have roughly 1 and a half days per week available to take on my Book, Website, Blog, Run training, and Non-Profit ground-work projects (obviously not enough, but I need the revenue). And what have I done? I have of course opened up another project.
Now, there have been many times when its been made abundantly clear to me that the best way to handle time management is to “just say no” and protect my time, success, and mental health from over-scheduling. Yet, now I’m in a chapter of my life where I have few obligations to anyone but myself and I refuse to stop heaping it on. So today I’m admitting I have a problem. Because its hard to say, “no” but its especially hard to say no to myself. I’ve over-extended my time for things without deadlines or end dates… its starting to look like a bucket list and I’m not going to let it kill me. Time to shut the door behind me and be alone with all this crap. nothing more is coming in, and a few things might be thrown out when I’m done but mostly its time to get these balls rolling.