Tattoo You

Tattoo me with freedom. Tattoo me with compassion. Tattoo me with utopia. Tattoo me with nihilism. Tattoo me with a dove. Tattoo me with a bomb. Tattoo me with shackles. Tattoo me with calm. Tattoo me with salvation. Tattoo me with a cloud. Tattoo me with money. Tattoo me with allowed. Tattoo me with reason. Tattoo me with blues. Tattoo me with music. Tattoo me with you.


In one afterlife I was a joke with no punchline.

In another afterlife I was your punching bag.

In one I was Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

In another I was the soul of Galileo welcomed back into the grace of God.

In one afterlife I was the last train to Clarksville.

In another afterlife I was a peace train that moonlighted as a midnight train to Georgia.

In one I kept confusing omen with amen.

In another I was an air guitar tuner.

In one afterlife I was an angel with an axe to grind.

In another I was a phone that always rang at 3 a.m.

In one afterlife I was a law that never got broken.

In another I was a graveyard where everyone came back to life.

Aubade or Grenade

Days when a child’s laughter is the best antidepressant. When waking thoughts feel more like aspiration than lethal injection. When breath tethers every step to life-affirming possibility. When hope falls songingly into your life like rain. All this balanced against days when self-righteousness masks itself as enlightenment. When daggers in the back are the only form of acupuncture. When nightmares roam dilapidated tenements of vanishing American dreams. Here, put your hand to my chest. Tell me if this lump feels like a knot of joy about to blossom, or a sense of dread growing darker by the day.

A Song That Doesn’t Remain the Same

It’s a song to be riotously wailed from rooftops, or lullabied to a crying child. It’s a song echoing our past and singing our future before we’ve even arrived. It’s a rush of blood to the heart of all matters. A rhythm spinning on a dime, bouncing brightly on sun-drenched streets. It’s a reign of rain-sounds lulling us into peaceful dreams. Old-school meets digital delight harmonizing on whatever device most entices our rise ‘n shine. Its erogenous zone is a tone bringing smiles to all faces. Wherever limp lumps of sagacity are plagued by minions of mendacity, the song will endow new wow into wit and wisdom. The song sheds all your dread. Dresses you in your daily best.

Joy on the Installment Plan

When you’re building joy on the installment plan, make sure your credit’s good and your interest rate is high enough to keep spirits buoyed through good times and bad. Nothing’s worse than a broke heart on its last dollar trying to buy the moon when it can’t even afford to make it through the day.

For Evelyn on MLK Day 2019

I tower above my daughter. Yet her elation is far mightier; it consumes me. It’s a playground joy. A sunny day joy. A new balloon for every day of the week joy. Scooter joy. Belly tickle joy. Singin’ “We Will Rock You” in daddy’s arms joy. It’s a fluffy dog joy. Dodgin’ mud puddle joy. Swingin’ so high feels like you can touch the sky joy. Hit the road joy. Mommyhome joy. Fall down, get up, run again joy.

MEGA Hate in a MAGA Hat

MEGA hate in a MAGA hat is uglier than a hump-backed bomb. MEGA hate in a MAGA hat is part bullet, part noose, and a burning cross. MEGA hate in a MAGA hat wasn’t the first inhabitant of these lands. MEGA hate in a MAGA hat has no right abusing Native Americans. MEGA hate in a MAGA hat got a bullwhip for a mama and its daddy’s a ghost. MEGA hate in a MAGA hat needs to go shopping for some peaceful clothes.

Drum Logic

Drums get down like James Brown. They break chains, sing refrains of freedom. Drums are all about love. They’ll hit on you if you hit on them. Drums don’t take lip service from the apocalypse. Drums are planets with dense atmospheres of feeling. Each beat is its own Bruce Lee side-kicking us into cosmic bliss. Drums are raucous telegrams from the sonic world. They write on the breeze with tonality ink. Drums slip rhythms into locks of inhibitions and open our hips on the dance floor. Drums ain’t no sycophants; they’re sick for their own slick chants. Drums ain’t no Sisyphus shouldering boulders uphill. They’re rock ’n roll all the way, baby.

The Truth About Trump

One of these days, Trump will admit to being Putin’s puppet. He’ll acknowledge that climate change is real. He’ll replace his painting of Andrew Jackson for one of the Jackson 5. He’ll hand over the pee tapes and his tax returns. Return all the money he’s ever embezzled. Stop jonesing for Alex Jones. Quit trafficking in insane Twitter rants. Cease lying. Ensure that children at the border aren’t dying. He’ll drain the venom from his sucker punch. Praise CNN instead of Fox. Allow his bloated ego to be the new border wall. Stand mighty for gay rights, get down on a knee with Kaepernick. Will apologize for being such a racist and sexist. He’ll…Naaaaaaah!!!