For the most part, I’m ok.
But then

a silence will settle and
an ache
will radiate
from the center of my ribcage

twisting lungs & larynx into suffocating lumps
curdling memories along the sour synaptic connection
     between digestive and cerebral systems
detonating dormant tear ducts

and surfacing
like a hundred subtle stab wounds
on my desolate skin.

Several Days After Watching “The Pianist”

burned into my retinas

rage and sorrow
still splintering within my rib cage

a dizziness whizzing between grey matter
diving the depths of

limbs heavy with the burden to break
the cycle of centuries

a dry mouth and fingers
weary of words

ears ringing an echo of
Moonlight Sonata


Declaring War

“The Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war…. Congress approved its last formal declaration of war during World War II. Since that time it has agreed to resolutions authorizing the use of military force and continues to shape U.S. military policy through appropriations and oversight.”1

Since 1942
our government has decided that
no longer need be declared.
War is bad.
We are not at war.
We merely “authorize the use of military force.”

And, oh, what force we have authorized!
We, the strongest military on earth,
with nearly 800 bases in over 70 countries2
who spend more on our military than the next 9 nations combined.3

How many millions of
bombs have been dropped
lands leveled
lives tortured, trammeled, taken
in our non-wars?

We are at war.
We have always been at war,
even if we don’t declare it as war
or if we declare it as war on an abstraction.

We are at war.
Not against terrorism
because war is terrorism
and our empire was built on terrorism
and terrorism begets terrorism.

We are at war
with nations,
with humans,
with life itself.

This is not a new war.
It is an escalation of an old war.
And I do not rest assured
by Congress’

When you live
in the most powerful country on the planet
whose government designs death with impunity,
it is your duty to speak up for those who
do not live.

It is our duty
to call it what it is
declare war.



Always & Forever

At some points I trust you completely,
At others, not at all—

Who are you,
beautiful stranger?
And who am I?
And what is love?
And is it enough that we ask the same questions,
or must we wait for answers?

My heart and lungs run ahead
while my mind lags behind
and gets lost trying to find
reason in an unreasonable feeling.

A feeling I’ve felt before—
sort of
not quite.
No, never quite the same.

Is there
a First and a Last Love?
Is the quest for
One True Love
a fool’s errand illusion?

I want to imagine you have
no past
only a future
with me.
Because if we acknowledge our
past loves
that must mean that the
present love
is woefully un-unique
and could dissolve at any moment.

How can we trust anything in this ephemeral existence?

Sure, the cloud’s condensation cycles
down – in – up – around – through
the Earth and the Atmosphere
& forever.

It’s never gone.
But it’s never the same.

At some points I trust you completely,
At others, not at all—
and ever-changing.


This is a “found poem,” composed of words and phrases seen on signs at various actions in Chicago on April 1, 2016 as part of a one-day Chicago Teachers Union strike.

Mr. Rahm the Rat Mayor,
Mr. Burns/Rauner Governor,

Go furlough yourselves!
Why do you want children to suffer?
You can’t put students first when you put teachers last.
Teachers make all other professions possible.

We pay our taxes, you pay for schools!
Fund schools not prisons.
Fund mental health not corporate wealth.
Fund black futures.

Tax the rich.
Stop the cuts.
Stop deportations.
Stop cheating our children.

Dumbledore would never let this happen!

We’re no fools. You’re the ones killing our schools!
Broke on purpose.

Class wars.
The unions strike back!
The force is strong in CTU.
¡El pueblo unído jamás será vencido!

We demand:
Fair contract now!
Equitable funding for ALL schools!
Elected school board now!


Sorry for the inconvenience–we are trying to save the world.