Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cockroaches

...an old poem of mine that I shared last month at the Women's Tracking Conference (in Cuyama Valley this year, the high desert near Quail Springs Permaculture Farm) and it had them laughing, so I'm sharing it here now.


Cockroaches

First I am going to pretend
they're not there on the floor -
maybe two or three to clean
crusted oatmeal off the stove,
but I don't want to think what
dozens do in the food pantry
at night. What's with that funky
taste in the ground corn?!

I declare war on the fuckers.
I'll kill each one with my bare
hands, or do it real nasty and
bomb the place to hell. Or run
and hide. Or refuse to touch
anything near them. Tomorrow
I'll make plans to sterilize and
disinfect under the fridge...

I'll try a metaphysical approach
and live in harmony with all
creatures since aren't they cute
with their little grasshopper
heads? Or wonder if those tales
are true about that magic
where their carcasses alert
others? Fuck. The story may be

science from Africa discovered
millennials ago and it's true
the Mayans have not dealt
with such obscenities before,
before, fuckers: it's the United
States government. See I live
on the wrong side of town and
what would my family think?

I saw photos of slave quarters
in New Orleans, the ones with
the roaches in their long haul
up the wall with the dead
rodent. Fuckers. They make
me think of nuclear disaster.
Fuckers. I live for the time
they turn on their masters.

-d. martin


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

marooned

An erasure poem from a page in M. Moore's classic: Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.                  


Rumex crispus


                 alternate


    whole


      even in the snow


ditches  and  sumps

                                 
                    roadsides


                      and streams


       drier      meadows


            thick


  roots


   boil   in    water


          consume


after

                    
marooned


            by  a  pond


Sunday, March 27, 2016

RITUAL


Rituals intend to confront a specific life issue with the purpose of bringing about a desired change, vision, or transformation. They are enactments of the myths. They are bigger than ourself and challenge us to action. Rituals are distinguished from dance as entertainment, dance as spectacle.  

     - from Anna Halprin                                                                             
                                                                                                               

ring composition #2

twisteveryvertebrae
upsidedownalign
spellincantationprayer
invocationchantmantra
humansong  equinoxsun
elemental oaknests
groundletter
writepowerpowerpow er po w er powe rr poh or pohwe e r 

I create

Standing
      Squatting
 Leaning   back

          Slimy
Sticky
             Hot

On      a    pole
    With   breasts 
In your  face

I create



March 2016

MYTH




Myths evoke our long buried and half forgotten selves. They are answers to the inherent need to evolve a community expression that reflects the emotional and creative needs in society. They give us the permission to go into the unknown. To explore, discover, and arrive at a new state of consciousness.
                                                                                          
     - from Anna Halprin


ring composition 

magenta sky 
                     copper 
                     memory
of full
                     arch 
spectrum
I breathe 
                     color
untangle 
                    bones
                    be born 

die and be born 
again and again
 an  d  a  gain
comelatewind
arousebeloved
beyondancient
a  wildpatience
underwateragain

and again
turquoise 
                  hem
apricot 
                  linen
                  dream
I breathe
                  color
               


March 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

I wont sing America


Re:  Langston Hughes' I, too, sing America
& Walt Whitman's I Hear America Singing


The flag that flew over the Occupation of Alcatraz 1969-1971, designed by Lulie Nall, a Penobscot Indian



I won't sing America, a villanelle

I am the white daughter
Told to mind my manners
Sit pretty and sing America.

Marry and have two kids, drive down
Streets lined with asphalt and concrete,
So fortunate to be the white daughter.

Pity the poor and ignorant: buy a gown,
Drink wine for charity, and for me, drunkenly.
Why won't I sing America?

After all I got out of the kitchen, kind of, but still bound.
I dined with the company, abided his abuse and neglect
Rather than come clean: I am the white daughter

Photo'd with a smile at the lynchings in town.
(Wills signed and bank accounts prove it.)
Oh no, huh uh, I won't sing America.

Hold my hand, feel my heart pound.
Don't pine away in fear and sorrow.
Say I am the white daughter and
I refuse, I won't sing America.


June 2012

Friday, February 19, 2016

Retro 90s part 2


Cigarette butts.
I walk city streets daily and see those butts everywhere: the number one item collected on coastal cleanup days that are so toxic to wildlife and the land and water. Someday (hopefully soon) tobacco users will have no filters or reusable filters or pipes only.

My neighbor V.
I've been asking him for several years to please put his butts in the garbage container not the compost bin and not the recycling bin. But still he puts his stinky-ass gross butts in the compost bin. Why?! I don't get it.

Here's a poem I wrote back in the 90s that helped me to finally get off cigarettes, after almost a decade of smoking. It's been on my mind lately...


Cigarette Still Life
in six parts 


I.

You of French spelling in packets of twenty: 
I am lured by your colonial charm 
like in the Hollywood movies of the U.S. of A. 
I am seduced by Bogart and Bergman in Morocco, 
and Hepburn on the Amazon.  I am hooked 
on your gold band and leopard-like filter. 
I dig your rising smoke in its swaying style. 
You are oh so sexy. I aspire to your power. 
See me on my hands and knees praying 
for your most highest, precious grace. 


II.

You got me Marlboro man, pioneer, rugged 
individualist. Won't you come on down 
from that billboard and take me away, 
far away, from these harsh city streets 
and sirens...


III.

Nah, I want to be the tough and fearless martyr. 
Joan of Arc must have smoked. There she is 
in the center of the city on her galloping horse, 
a hand-rolled cigarette dangling from her lips.


IV.

Cigarette Still Life look at what you've done: 
I wanna be working class and buy cartons on sale 
and chain smoke inside with all the windows closed, 
the air conditioner on and watching my daily soap. 
Fuck you, you're the best with booze and dope. 
Damn you're cool in pool halls and roof tops.


V.

Oh, this suffering poet needs you my friend, 
my comfort late into the night and early or 
just about any time. Life would never be the same 
if you leave my side. Only two bucks a day and 
I am filled with pleasure and contentment.


VI.

Cigarette Still Life: you lied to me in your dying, old, 
addictive ways. You're typical of The Great Society 
telling me to smoke for fun and adventure 
yet you are the same boardroom topic 
for targeting teenage girls. The same tobacco 
of The Slave Trade. The same arrogant asshole 
who smothers Indians and Mexicans. You are 
the petroleum by-products, the freon and fiberglass. 
You're that creep on TV with the perverse smile. 
You are the murderer of millions. You are death 
hidden behind a cloak labeled "freedom."



1996

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Abalone III



Pendant

on  a  brain  tanned                         

                        smoked  to  protect

deer  hide  strand,                                    

                   polished  and  notched 

                       by  indigenous  hand.

Is it cultural
       
                  appropriation

to wear it?

                                     Real       and           
  
                                                  spirit 

                                               stories,  

                           ancestral       magic.


I   come   with                         

                                         the  hunger  of     

                                an   engine   rattling,

the  greed  of 

plastic   gyres    growing.


How  can  I  know  

loving

is   easy?



October 2015

The Coup - My Favorite Mutiny ft. Black Thought of The Roots & Talib Kweli
http://youtu.be/FVwEmy1TJFU

Monday, October 26, 2015

Abalone II

Paddle

rain    

           sandhill     crane

elders   tell    Harrington    

words    for    water 

for  laugh

and 

danger.

                     Raw   and

                   border less

loneliness

disguised as

loveless ness

of lost landscapes,

pigeons and gulls.

Abandoned radioactive 

mine/d/s. A ridge. 

Coal arriving to port.

A 26-foot-tall saint

points west in faux sand-

stone on one knee, lying

about Neruda 
not lost to cancer
but  loving  us.


October 2015

Bob Marley and the Wailers - Concrete Jungle - 11/30/1979 - Oakland Auditorium (Official)

The Chaw Se' Roundhouse
Pine Grove Volcano Rd, Sutter Creek, CA

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Abalone I

Photo of Knowland Park from web search (unknown photographer)

In the needlegrass field

          by the fairy ring -        
                                              
how much can change

                         in a month?

 The mossy 

                     evergreen tree

bulldozed by

rare
                  manzanita,

maritime chaparral,   

                              chamise.                                  
A
chestnut backed 
chickadee,
a flicker 
escape from
prolonged 
solitude:
how to build a 
roundhouse
and land trust.
How to avoid
hopeless ness,

a draft.




September 2015

Nina Simone's Feelin' Good: http://youtu.be/SJykuhTa5BU

above photo from Save Knowland Park website

a 10/22/15 photo of the top of Knowland Park (of the Oakland Zoo new development)

Monday, August 31, 2015

PLUTO



We got the updates about You:

Photos from NASA on how Your 


heart shines, and Your five moons.


Charo - and we've heard... Styx,



Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra...


that You're cold and distant, a


Stygian money making machine


for the City's parasitic hills.



You're like the weeds hemlock and 


broom, who won't read this poem,


just here to command my attention.

Someday I'll learn how to listen.


August 2015 

Friday, August 21, 2015

À la recherche du temps perdu



OAKLAND 1994
Tony Toni Tone - Lay Your Head On My Pillow 

http://youtu.be/OkPvpOJVZWs




























Wheat-paste and spray paint over
rum ads we had just barely begun 
the biggest Free Fred on a billboard
when caught by the Lucky Florist man. 
We got away, like the three other times   
we told the PoPo the art teacher said so.
They left us with the paint  and  buckets
except our friend  Mexican-Indigenous   
handcuffed and hauled off and roughed 
up. We  raised  bail  that same night  
in  jail she ate a  bologna on white 
bread  sandwich.  To  my  freedom-
loving  accomplices  who  know   
we  can  get   better:  Lay  your  head        
on  my  pillow  and  just  relax, relax, relax...

August 2015

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Urban pastoral



Often I am permitted to return to a meadow
as if it were a given property of the mind
that certain bounds hold against chaos,

                                       - Robert Duncan



concrete.     pellitory.     crack     ONE  HAND  CAN

red      admiral.      butterfly.  SNAP   RAZOR   WIRE 

dead  murres  and  gulls . I'VE   BEEN  TRAINED 

egret        neck.        asphalt.   BY   EXPERTS   WHO   

sparrow     house         finch.    COVER   THEIR   FACES

cigarette    butt      toad.     CLIMB   TALL   FENCES

August.        creek       for   SWING  ROOF  TO  ROOF.

tag          spray          every-    RACCOON  CAN

body's     for       cash.   SLIDE UNDER 

for     petroleum      oil    SECURITY BARS

engines      for       whine  NO  ALARMS   SOUND

not        puffin       nest   COYOTE  HUNTS

rock        crevice.      lament.   YOUR   CAT

"it's       not        dis-    AND  QUAIL

continued    just    out".  COMES   BACK.



July 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015

Onomatopoeia

I'm tucking this poem away since my intention is as an Exquisite Corpse, which is yet to happen...any art form welcome if you want to add to it:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

momentum of grace*

for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sundiata Acoli, Leonard Peltier 
and most of the 2.2 million people in prison in U.S. 




                                 
bodies     breathe

                                thick    walls
                           
                                             echo 

for   you          
           
                                            clary        

                                            sage

steamy

jacuzzi

                                         lemon 

                                           balm                                       

huckleberry      
    
                                       mountain

                                           stream

from   us

                                    a   million

                                          letters 

a   microphone

                 standing

                             room

           doors  

open

                                     heartbeat

                                         of   fire

elbow

              in   elbow                  

                                          a  line

                                       of   livid

love




April 2105 
*title is from Joy Harjo's poem Emergence                                  
        
@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

Inspired by "Stay Tuned" Ai Weiwei's sound installation with music, poetry and spoken words by people who have been detained for expressing their beliefs: IN THE CELLHOUSE - A BLOCK   

Friday, March 13, 2015

METAL aka WIND



The Great Clod (the earth) belches out breath and its name is wind. So long as it doesn't come forth, nothing happens. But when it does, then ten thousand hollows begin crying wildly.


- Zhuangzi

EARTH




NI  PENA  NI  MIEDO
Without Pain or Fear

- Raúl Zurita



                                      Don't    You    Worry

                                           'Bout    A    Thing*



                                              midnight     blue    

                                          wild    lilac    bloom

                                          a    bowl    to    eat    

                                    swollen     root     inner      

                                            bark     ripe    fruit

                                                recline    nearly     

                                           naked     sunshine

                                                    heart     easy    

                                           in     stream     near

                                      mountain    meet    sea     

                                             spring     meadow

                                          Don't    You    Worry   

                                               'Bout    A    Thing

                                               cycles    of     leaf     

                                                  beds    we    fall
    
                                                     your     songs    

                                                    nourish     me

                                                mouth      tongue       

                                                     warm     eyes       

                                                touch    luscious       

                                                   center    return     

                                                         to    gravity




March 2105
*from Stevie Wonder's 1973 album Innervisions: http://youtu.be/zywDiFdxopU