Category Archives: poetry

we drum


the practice of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of dis-ease

spell, charm, or fetish believed to have healing, protective, or other power



gently tap (a part of the body) with a finger or an instrument to diagnose
“the heart was percussed”





musical instruments played by striking with hand, stick or beater, or by shaking, including drums, cymbals, xylophones, gongs, bells, rattles

the striking of one solid object with or against another

wind producing a clattering percussion of tree branch against stone




a strong, regular, repeated pattern





play on a drum

a percussion instrument sounded by being struck with sticks or hands, typically cylindrical, barrel-shaped, or bowl-shaped with a taut membrane over one or both ends

something resembling or likened to a drum in shape, in particular

an evening or afternoon tea party of a kind that was popular in the late 18th and early 19th century



raised arm
open hand

striking sacrificed skin of lamb, buffalo, horse, goat
mined metal or carved wooden frame or vessel vibrating
producing antidote

we drum . we become drum

closed heart opening with each beat of drum
pounding of heart opening chakra after chakra
reopened channels funneling divine nourishment
body and spirit align
we dine on sound
dancing around the cherished goddess, embodied in teacher
we again become the goddess

we learn . we become teacher
we heal . we become healer

marimba sneaks up to the drum
dances it’s peaceful, seductive mantra alone
rhythm marries tone
frequent high and low wooden voice
speaks to it’s lover with ease
drum and marimba resonate
a palpable palliative essence

air passes from lung to tip of tongue, past pursed lips
or through wide open mouth
controlled by larynx
toned muscle delivering tonal clarity
muscle contraction release contraction release
spatial compression expansion compression expansion

trapping air, releasing POP
capturing air, releasing BA . bo bo

words from any language sung in rhythm
whispered secret
murmured grief
melodic healing tone
cry of anguish
exclamation of joy
healing verbal expression bringing relief

we sing . we become song

closed heart opening with each beat of drum
pounding through sorrow

dun dun . dun dun . dun dun
taka taka
dun dun
taka taka
dun dun . dun dun . dun dun
taka taka
dun dun
taka taka
dun dun

reopened channels funneling divine nourishment
body and spirit align
we dine on sound

born to drum 2016 : 10th anniversary


murdered twice

murdered twice
a thousand times
noose, baton, bullet to the back
each electric jolt makes me shed my skin
i molt
then return again
with heart that you lack

you killed my body
then slandered my name
murdered me twice
in your violent game
lynched me as emmet
lynched me, tamir
you never dreaming
that your end is near

murder me now
keep eyes peeled for when
a million of me stand before you
flowers in hand, guns at the ready
we band together to tear you apart
by any means necessary
we’ll make a new start without you

my name is tamir
my name is emmet
my name is tamir
my name is emmet
my name is tamir
my name is emmet
rice and till

bound together by your violence
my name is legion


waking at every sound
or no sound at all
startled by silence
footprints down the hall

ghosts of real and imagined threat
wafting from rafters
crouching under floorboards
smirking from behind paintings of safe places
seeping out from fountains of fear
pent up emotion paces
exploding from mountains of weariness
years of exhaustion
my face wet
each teardrop an expression of grief
my own or someone else’s loss
engraved like a tattoo on my heart
then another, and another
just when i start to recover
yet another grieving father and mother appear

these worries are as real as my face
changing form with the mood
tangible as bills not paid
a table without food

we eat his words for breakfast

honoring the prophet john trudell


prophet is dragged away kicking and screaming
or silently dreaming
leaving the battle behind

world steadily turning
churning with degradation, greed, confusion
reed blowing soft notes
whispering lamentation
reminder that earth is mother
humanity is other

voice of reason dispersed
tiny particles of sound joining ancestors
enormous soul of love joining ancestors
booming voice of warning joining ancestors

tiny particles of sound joining with my own soul
enormous soul of love joining with my own soul
booming voice of warning joining with my own soul

we suffer this loss in tearful silent weeping
loud wailing
intermittent grieving

as this spirit departs
our own spirits, refilled with passion
rise up to the daunting task
we will be replacing this guiding voice
with a million of our own tiny voices

intermittent grieving
alternating with bursts of new action

this one soul departing
leaving many souls replenished

as we bemoan loss of this prophet
we eat his words for breakfast
shoring up our promise to continue his work
his courage becomes our own
his depth of knowing infuses our brains
his unrelenting tenacity
infusing our blood
a life sustaining transfusion
emphatically dispersing delusion

deadly forces lurking in shadows
now struggling to emerge
as the one voice of one man
multiplies to millions

the prophet becomes the people
the people become the prophet

this is rage


this is rage
boiling since first memory
creeping from sub to consciousness
seeping through unclogged pores
leaking like spores
polluting peace like so many gunshots fired

containing rage
is like trying to hold water in a fist


stepping off an edge


one step
forward or back
a knack for rigid tracking
bridges lacking handrails
windy sails full of
stale air
deep stare into bedlam
a mind wracked
boat sinking
choppy waters
drinking buckets of drama
sculpting trauma from old bones
hanging on a ledge
of only if
dreaming a burning bridge
stepping off an edge





celebrating wars in darkness of night
streams of light
gunshots hidden under rip of
fires cracking
static noise making fright
empires rising
explosions surprising urban villagers
breaking silence
celebrating the menace that is war

celebrating capitalist winners
while veterans moan in alleys

capitalist swimmers drinking overpriced wines
war sinners professing love for
mythological gods
confessing lost ideas

the myth of profits
leering from lofty heights

profiteering war criminals
guards with guns
dead presidents
guards with guns
dancing on graves
dancing in tombs
of dead veterans
stomping on hearts of mothers of dismantled soldiers
dispersed by explosions
parts immersed in dust
pouring like liquid over flesh and bone

explosions rocking hearts and memories
of every traumatized soldier
post traumatic stress disability
shell shocked mothers of soldiers
mothers of children lost to street wars
fathers of every sacrificed son and daughter
wincing at every blast

drops of water salted with grief
discreetly wet the lashes of celebrants
grand parents of great warriors

the last and final shebang
followed by gunfire
celebrating the celebration with more
sounds of violence

sounds of war


human rights


human rights are being trampled all over the world
to feed the greed
gasoline poured on open wounds
plant a seed
a sword transformed to scythe fills the need
infants looking on
drawn to sounds poured over hills and rocks
children watching horror in back yards
tiny shards of hope devoured by fear
bleeding stomach . each shard a pointed spear
tearing through vessels
one nestles into the nerve of the brain
increasing strain of muscle
pain sears through a human so another human can have extra rights



momentary torrential downpour
underscore deep rumbling
humbling rivers swell
trees who fell housing survivors
reviving dreams drowned
unbound rhythms
unwinding infernal systems
diurnal awakening
staking claim
on newly washed conscience
aim pointed
anointed icons questioned
fallen feeders broken leaders
cleaned while gleaned riches
buy chances
gestation enhances freedom
voters in trances wake and thunder



telephonic gathering
supersonic blathering
word in edgewise
listen think verbalize
canned voice
language choice
time space continuum
add the sum
drop a line
mutter with a clear design
telephonic clarity
communicate hilarity