Ancient songs with notes scribed into stone, composed in harmonies of thirds—
three bones in the human ear, three stars in Orion’s belt, songs of the people, by the people, for the people.
Songs of protest, songs of healing breath, sacred songs humming like prayer wheels down holy highways.
Mosaics of rhythm, polyphony and singable melodies, an aural artwork painted on air.
Songs singing seasons of new invention, a weather as varied as good day sunshine to heavy-metal thunder.
Songs written and rewritten into different words, different beats, but still sharing the same electricity beneath the skin.
A few miles into these words, I realize I may be headed in the wrong direction;
maybe I said ‘I’ when I should’ve said ‘You,’ or perhaps I took the wrong exit at the decision never chosen.
Did I ever tell you about the time I looked up and saw a cloud resembling your face?
Right then, I wanted to climb the sky’s dirty blue ladder so I could wrap my arms around that cloud of you before it drifted away.
Sometimes there’s no good way to make a decent metaphor out of a longing for someone, something, even a country that feels both here and gone.
Maybe that’s what I’ve been driving at all along:
I miss you.
The war we’ve been born into where our first crying breath is a bruise that never heals.
Some use their wounds to flower the blood, others carve their pain into stones and go on the attack.
Touch, turmoil, tango: a counter-clockwise dance leading us in and out of love.
Throats offering shelter for song-chakra while also making themselves just the right shape and size for strangling.
The war we’ve been born into where enemies are created by our simply being.
Others stand boldly on the frontlines, scar their lips with light, speak only peace.
It’s raining tears across the land. New arks fill with creatures of all colors and shapes craving peace.
These beautiful beings know the deepdown dance club of hope is still hoppin’,
that when you hear a flutter in the night, it’s the wings of nowhere angels searching for a heaven to call their own.
All these peace-seeking creatures know that if you want your message heard, you gotta rise to your feet, take your voice to the people.
This fight for equality won’t be satisfied with half-baked revelations.
Peace-seeking beings know that when studying the streets‘ grimy thesis,
it takes time to discern the light from all the kicked-up dirt and bedevilment.
Tears travel grief travels faster than the speed of stability which travels without us in times of crisis.
From tombstone to tombstone, we scavenge hope, finger worry beads as false-positive casanovas and junkyard madonnas set their diseased hearts to cruise control through the slow ruin of the American landscape.
It’s no wonder the pained smile crucified upon strained faces longs to resurrect into moments of jest.
It’s no wonder the color of our rebirth is black and blue.
Towards our eyes sails a light who’s speed isn’t what it used to be.
Beneath our flesh, wings long to burst forth, carry us to a place where we can atone dirty amens.
From here on out, we gotta get smarter ‘bout how we write our happily-ever-afters.
They can’t be the same old story endings with automatically assumed style, cash, and personal panache.
Gotta be unhandcuffed and freedom-bound. A shoes-off, wiggle-toed romp humming and soaring along like a perfectly flung Frisbee on air.
Savvier tales for the masses filled with respect and equal opportunity.
More in-tune with the times, karate-cool, and peacefully rioting for whip-smart pennings to new beginnings of story endings,
where those who’ve been trapped in the shadows finally receive their long-overdue,
brightly lit happiness.
Sometimes all it takes is a placebo of a smile placed askew on my face to get me imagining I could’ve been a Picasso model in another life.
Or perhaps glitter for a second skin, something catching light just right to blind the con-artist politicians and suntanned psychopaths looking to make a killing in the socially distanced outdoors.
Sometimes we gotta break down our inner walls just to lay hands on our own hurts.
Clear away the dirty fingerprints left on unfulfilled thoughts so we can polish them to perfection.
Those lights we witness at the end of the tunnel, maybe they’re not cars careening towards us.
Perhaps they’re the shine of our own eyes as we approach one another, promising we’ll get through this.
Like how my funny bone don’t find all the systemic racism the least bit funny. Or how my cardiovascular system tires of all the blood that’s been spilled in the name of equality. My sternum sternly disagrees with the current presidency, and my bladder’s ready to leak Trump’s tax secrets. My hormones moan for those who’ve lost jobs or loved ones to violence and disease during these times. My abdominal cavity mourns all the cavities in the mouth of rotting democracy. My spleen screams at all the injustice it’s seen. My bone marrow longs for better tomorrows.
These days we gotta prove we can still breathe as bigotry and police brutality weigh heavy on society’s chest,
that we can turn our tombstone blues into bright and boisterous rallying cries,
that we can still think on our feet even with half our instincts handcuffed behind our backs.
These days we gotta prove we can still put on our best dancing shoes,
rise footloose above the racist-tinged, unhinge bossanova of second-rate third reich dystopia.
These days what we gotta prove is in the proof:
so many good cooks in equality’s kitchen working that hot skillet, doing their best to fry up a sunnier side of life.
In a past life, I wore flip-flops to puberty’s sock hop and got tossed out for being too clunky on my feet.
I flunked carnal knowledge in 10th grade but had much better luck in summer school.
I scavenged all the smoke on the water and used it to create a fog machine for rock concerts.
I constructed a statue of Christopher Columbus so that I could promptly hurl it into a river.
I created a psychic laundromat where one could cleanse themselves of their deepest regrets.
I invented a duct tape that could heal love-lost heartbreak.
I believed the T-Rex would’ve been a much happier creature if he’d had bigger arms to hug other animals.