smoke and signal

america, these smokey deep orange sunrises

 

these flames of forests burning, smoke of trees homes dreams lives dying

first responder sirens all night wailing, pandemic still taking

flames of blame burning, smoke of conspiracies whirling

a 4k oled screen trying to flash, in a cloud of fucking ash

 

pushed along, carried and spread by wind raining white hot embers and sparks

pushed along, carried and spread by humans being human and moving

cuz they had places they needed to be, faces they needed to see, a life they needed to be

on planes, ships, buses, cars, bicycles, feet, finger tips, on a cough, by a sneeze

pushed along, carried and spread by desktops, laptops and tv phones, on anything with a screen

 

all all all of our billions of beautiful screens

and all that power to see anything anything anything

but we choose to see only only only

what we want to see

if that’s the sorting algorithm, here’s the philosophy

if disinformation streams in high definition

what definition is the information

when the rumors and lies are delivered for free

does the truth cost too much to see

 

america, these dusty halos hazing out the sun

 

centuries ago, what we once could not name or explain

we ascribed to a god above

but now, confirmation bias spreads like a virus

so a digital edge gets caught up in our heads

this can’t see a human

being human

just a race

just a tribe

of our own assuming

for some algorithm’s amusement

so now, what we don’t want to deal with, refuse to see

we push away into conspiracy

just turn away saying get the fuck away from me

 

pandemic dna from 7000 miles away

wildfire smoke from 1400 miles away

a deepfake video produced in a country far away

but the mistrust and bloodshed these create is right here

between you and me

between the united states of all of us

distracting blame games, backfiring false flags

the social media shit talking, the boasts, the braying

the open threats made

they flash on our hi-def screens

inches from our face

 

america, these smokey deep red sunsets

 

these emptied out downtowns hurting, a family’s empty storefront burning

helicopters all night circling, particles of a virus swirling

words of blame burning, smoke of conspiracies churning

a gigapixel camera trying to flash, through a rain of fucking ash

 

when i see the sun rising darker and hazier than normal

over the minneapolis skyline as i’m driving

the work truck east down 394 these autumn mornings

when i see the sun falling darker and blurrier than normal

down into the minneapolis skyline as i’m biking

across the franklin avenue bridge these autumn evenings

i try to imagine the burning forests of america

or maybe it’s just me caught in the burning forests of my mind

i’ll meet you there, outside these fucking selfie frames

find me there too, at that place beyond disinformation’s games

and they, they are there, very much alive despite our shit talking

despite their own hard earned scars of surviving

and all of us, we can trip out and push away

or we can turn around unafraid to stay and face the news

beyond these smoking screens of fear

what’s smoke and signal is clear

blue cloudy, too loudly

morning glories, i can’t just pass them

i have to stop and stare and touch them

make sure i’m not seeing things

blazing into this blue cloudy september morning

the way morning glory flowers radiate some kind of electric energy

i stop walking and reach out to their downy petals

touch their baby blues and dark purples fading into white hot centers

touch them just to make sure they’re not miniature supernovas

exploding from a dark green vine

swirling around a telephone pole

2020 summer, resolve

minneapolis, north east

i’m biking down a tree lined street in slanting late summer sun

it’s still hot and the big big trees arching 40 50 60 feet over this quiet street

throw down a lot of nice shade

the big big tree’s green leaves rustling and flipping in that midwest ocean breeze

sunlight flickering over all the front porches

their folding chairs and pool lounges empty this evening

now the sound of lawns being mowed and the smell

of the two stroke engines and the cut grass and the barbecues in the back yards

merging into one another under the big big trees

since i didn’t take a pic wouldn’t put it in a jar

this is how i’ll take it with me

as the pandemic’s still going it’s winter approaching

traffic still not flowing through 38th and chicago

cuz still nothing has reformed or changed

how many more names until it’s obvious that justice came

as deepfake scenes start messing with our dreams

as hate tripping streams and courses through our social media os’s

flashing and sluicing across hi-def screens

this is how i’ll get through

i’ll stand steady and breathe like the big big trees

who’s in control when the phone flash go

img_0178

watching the sun rise, not being tongue tied

in the sky arching sunrise into sunset forever overhead

are we just one cloud among the many

separate from one another under crystal shells of false metrics

the sharp digital edge of a storm system built up in our heads

now passing between us

or are we one step flowing into the next dance

one improvement growing into the next movement

an old body fading into the next chance  

rainy night into dawn bright

one breath into a new

 

amongst us humans that used to crowd these city streets

are we just one selfie among the many

frozen in frames that won’t let go

that loop like thoughts on hold

tripping out about one moment one day so long ago

or are we one human flowing into a new being

one life growing into a new living

an old face in the mirror facing a new beginning

sunlight into starlight

one breath into what’s next

thought lung #6 – flowing, knowing

when that thought sticks

when that cringe loops

when what was said, the hurt done, the mistake made gets

replayed replayed replayed

when the pain stays like, will it ever go away

the canisters of tear gas and flash bangs going off in your face

thought lungs, breathe thoughts

and in the space between thoughts

where the birds just sing and the freeway just whooshes

where the ac just hums and the stress just keeps pressing down

where what happened on that day in late may

just won’t go away

listen to the birds

singing

flowing

listen to the cars on the freeway

whooshing

flowing

listen to the ac, the fridge, the engine, the brakes, the traffic

humming, running, banging, screeching, honking

flowing

without fear, without attaching

feel your stress

pressing down

then going

without judging, without grasping

feel the tear gas burning, your anger growing

then changing

like one sound into the next

flowing

one thought into the next

flowing

and you breathe one breath in and out to the next

flowing

like one thought in and one thought out

flowing

letting come, letting go

breathing

knowing

it’s all passing through, why let it stay with you

it’s all passing through, you sure that thought makes you

so steady breathing, steady being

be free flowing thought flow

be thoughtful, be watchful

fully present, not tripping out

not caught on a doubt

at peace with now

so go

this air we breathing

cuz we are not selfie zombies not yet

no selfie sticks sprouting like cordyceps

from our eye balls not yet

our fuzzy mouths frozen down over cracked tv phone screens not yet

giving off spores of viral and pathogenic misinformation

not yet not yet

human being what you seeing

these words written during these days of

racism suffocating, poverty choking, and power tripping

keeping america, the united states of all of us

from breathing deeply and livin’ peaceful

all the while our pandemic raging

setting up a must win race for vaccine

oh yeah and what about the election coming

yet all the while this keeps on happening

 

the trees breathe in what we breathe out so

all the while we breathe in what the trees breathe out so

 

thought lungs, breathe thoughts, breathe dreams, believe

like the sunlight through the leaves, like the oxygen of dreams

 

time is now, meditation is how

when all is flow all is change

there’s no need being froze up over a frozen frame

the heart of love beats stronger than

our oh so human chase of any trend

 

thought lungs

breathe thoughts in, breathe thoughts out

pick thoughts up and put thoughts down

the practice is

we let one thought in when we let one thought out

without grasping, without attaching

 

bio breathing bio beings

bio systems breathe in bio rhythms

so bio rhythms breathe out bio systems

so human being if you still breathing

this air we breathing

nitrogen

oxygen

argon

carbon dioxide

neon

helium

methane

krypton

water vapor

but yeah there’s one more to add to this composition

thoughts our thoughts our thoughts

yet all the while this keeps on happening

 

the trees breathe in what we breathe out so

all the while we breathe in what the trees breathe out so

 

thought lungs, breathe thoughts, breathe dreams, believe

like the sunlight through the leaves, like the oxygen of dreams

 

time is now, meditation is how

when all is flow all is change

there’s no need putting ourselves in selfie cages

we are more than those shiny pixels, twitching and speechless

 

 thought lungs

breathe thoughts in, breathe thoughts out

pick thoughts up and put thoughts down

the practice is

we let one thought in when we let one thought out

without grasping, without attaching

 

bio breathing bio beings

bio systems breathe in bio rhythms

so bio rhythms breathe out bio systems

so human being if you still choking on this air

we

can’t

breathe

in

the knees of hatred, the prisons of racism

the stench of injustice, the clouds of tear gas

the viral spores of misinformation that float in

when we hurt and tripping

like is this really air we breathing

but yeah there’s one more to add to this composition

thoughts our thoughts our thoughts

yet all the while this keeps on happening

 

the trees breathe in what we breathe out so

all the while we breathe in what the trees breathe out so

 

thought lungs, breathe thoughts, breathe dreams, believe

like the sunlight through the leaves, like the oxygen of dreams

 

time is now, meditation is how

when all is flow all is change

to see how we’re all chokin’ on the hate the jealousy the pain

the moment we let go of it’s impossible, won’t work, never change

is when justice progress and peace will breathe in us again

 

thought lungs

breathe thoughts in, breathe thoughts out

pick thoughts up and put thoughts down

the practice is

we let one thought in when we let one thought out

without grasping, without attaching

the small patch of shared reality outlined in shadow behind the screen each of us now sees

all things that stay the same are the same things that gonna change

all faces frozen in frames are the same faces that gonna change

all the pain that hurts and stays is the same pain that goes away

 

 inside the selfie grave

all our needs are met

but there ain’t no

happiness

 

 time to improve on c’mon we on

level next

thought lungs, breathe thoughts

all is flow all is change

oh yeah lets surf these stormy days these crazy waves

not get sunk by frozen frames

 

all things that stay the same are the same things that gonna change

all places frozen in name are the same places that gonna change

all the pain that hurts and stays is the same pain that goes away

 

 inside the selfie cage

all beauty standards are screened

but there ain’t no   

baby, my scars made me

 

 time to improve on c’mon we on

level next

thought lungs, breathe thoughts

all is flow all is change

oh yeah let’s set our bodies free from our prisons of shame

not get stuck on rating a face

 

all things that stay the same are the same things that gonna change

all thoughts frozen in chains are the same thoughts that gonna change

all the pain that hurts and stays is the same pain that goes away

 

 inside the selfie maze

all hungers are fed

but there ain’t no   

thankfulness

 

 time to improve on c’mon we on

level next

thought lungs, breathe thoughts

oh yeah our souls are more than any hunger can take

let’s move on to where we give thanks

thirty eighth and chicago

at thirty eighth and chicago

just so you all know

it’s still closed to traffic, it’s still a crossroads

of speeches of dreams of piles of flowers of words to read

of all we need to believe that this never happens once more

our list is long our hearts are strong we not about to go

 

at thirty eighth and chicago

yeah it’s time that we all know

how racism a chokehold

it’s no jury it’s no trial it’s no lawyer

no ticket no arrest no parole

no friendly hello no how are you no tell me what’s wrong

just suspicion just discrimination just death

just a knee on the neck of george floyd

where one man can’t breathe

cuz the other man can’t let go

choked up on racist hatred long ago

 

thirty eighth and chicago

yeah it’s time that we all know

the corner stores, gas stations, apartments, and homes

where poverty’s pressures never on hold

that suffocating knee on the neck

of thriving humans, strong families, healthy communities

how no one sees that the poor in america are working full time

how the poor in america hold down two full time jobs  

how the wealthy’s welfare wages so low

yet they dare calling poor people lazy so

 

now the world is watching this story unfold

yeah so now it’s time that we all go

and keep marching keep speaking keep working keep pushing keep breathing

’til justice comes home

to thirty eighth and chicago

 

IMG_5464

for those who continue to march for justice

there’s a mural

mayor muriel bowser of washington d.c.

has painted down the newly named

Black Lives Matter Plz NW

in big yellow 45ft tall capital letters saying

BLACK LIVES MATTER

visible right down the center line of the white house

visible from satellites

 

got to keep this  thoughts  prayers  change  momentum going

’til justice is visible, audible, unmistakeable, unavoidable

from the oval office of the white house

’til justice is a living principle practiced and defended

by all of us for each one of us

 

fists

in the air

’til justice

is done