The most joyful moment of the tale is when the woman says to the man, I will dance with you now, not on your grave. The most joyful moment of the song is when the melody hymns to the listener, I will dance with you now, not on your grave. The stranger standing in the shadows that seems to be wielding a gun, but is really a heart on his sleeve as he says, I will dance with you now, not on your grave. The most joyful moment is when the child says it to a parent. When the moon croons it to the tired and lonely driver. When all our ghosts, wrapped in the flesh of the moment, reach for our hand and whisper, teach us how to dance.
Racist soul snatchers prowl our towns. Their ears, stuffed with tombstones. Eyes sporting gun smoke sunglasses. They chew up hearts, spit them out as bloody graffiti against society’s walls. It’s a zero-sum game anointed with ghost sweat & gutter water. Those soul snatchers say Hitler’s making a comeback. They say their favorite money-tongued politicians are sucking the last cent out of citizens, then charging them with a life sentence of torment. I say in diseased days like these, one must work double-duty as a covert agent for positive change & healing. Be able to travel to the center of this pain, then return with an olive branch, a war medal of wounds & a smile for one and all.
Just ‘cause you’re left handed don’t mean you don’t know what’s right. Just ‘cause you’ve lived a hard life don’t mean your heart can’t ever melt. Just ‘cause you have bats in your belfry don’t mean you can’t have songbirds on your tongue. Just ‘cause duty calls don’t mean you always have to answer. Just ‘cause you’ve traveled to the outskirts of ambiguity don’t mean you can’t find your way back to reason. Just ‘cause you are what you eat don’t mean you have to be what you read.
create dark & deathly angles of nullified generations. Which creates new equations of citizens being held under the suspicion of possessing “strange” skin colors & religions. Which generates additional volumes of political vampires sucking the lifeblood from the masses. Whose product is the exponential dimming & dumbing down of serenity’s symmetry into chaotic repetitions of duress. Which creates further panic in the streets. Which creates further mass shootings & fear. Which produces a new equation whose kindness quotient is nonexistent. An alternative solution—heal with compassion & wisdom before all this destruction turns our world to zero.
Dawn yawns as it steps into its slow fire. Yard dogs bark. Birds and bells solve music’s most complicated equations. Homes clear their throats to chant early-morning hymns of coffee brewing, babies babbling, alarms nagging. Above us, a sky that hasn’t yet shed all the previous evening’s stars. We disassemble what’s left of night and reconstruct it into a second lifeline across our palms. In the gray-ash place between sleep and wakefulness, we erase any names midnight may have placed on this new day’s graves.
Here in L.A., palm trees sway in the breeze like mop-top rockers bouncing boldly and brightly, sparking the slam-dance fuse igniting our blue-sky mosh pit.
May our hearts be wider than any open grave that threatens to swallow us whole. May serenity’s nurse find the warring vein on the first try. May the devil offer back all the souls he stole at the crossroads. May bullets never find their way to our doorstep. May the matters that grieve and deceive us leave us by sunrise. May winds through distant mountains hymn hopes that keep us moving forward. May the road always show us the way home.
Just a shot of Lady Day in your morning coffee and you’ll be jazzed up on the song of sweet resistance. An old blues transformed into a new tune for our times. A battle-scarred and velvety melody tempered by inner wars, outer cruelties, and a voice that’s tasted life’s strange fruit. Tempo and phrasing sparked by defiance and dread. A spirit courted by moonlight, wooed by muses, and unchained from the mundane. Just a shot of Lady Day in your morning coffee and you’ll taste a song that knows the distance from lynching trees to emancipation is measured in the souls lifted from the hearse ride to the freedom ride.
I refuse to make hate my national flag. I refuse to allow humans to suffer under the banner of the bled, maligned, and abused. I believe there is a calm we can all fit into, but it’s so damn hard to find right now. I believe there’s a song that longs to set us free, but its voice is trapped in shackles of atrophy. Who will be the first to undo the nooses tied into Mother Liberty’s tongue? How long will it take us to clear the warring air of this deathly smell of ash, human ash?
If you fear evil, evil wins. If you pull scabs from wounds so they bleed again, wounds win. Sirens light the night sky, but not in the way the moon does. Good can guide us home, but only if we heed its call. How else can I say this? Winter is coming. The freeze, yes, but also the flame.