Skip to content →

Category: Politics & Activism

POEM: Virginia/Gaza


We move boxes and couches, beds and lamps.

We pause to eat pizza and drink lemonade.

The kids help or play or get tired.

As we near the end there are gunshots
in the nearby woods. Hunters, or target practice.

The next-to-the-youngest one
asks if they’re fireworks.

We all say yes.


They move with nothing, to nowhere.

They keep their hands raised as they walk
but the soldiers shoot anyway.

There is gunfire everywhere.
There are explosions everywhere.

Flares set fire to the night
so the soldiers can keep shooting.

The next-to-the-youngest one
digs her baby brother out of the rubble.

/ / /

2 December 2023
Charlottesville VA

Leave a Comment

POEM: Palestine Corner

Palestine Corner

One is a beekeeper.
One is barefoot.
One is from the Bay Area.
One is Kuwaiti.
One is a daycare worker.
One is from Iraq.
One is a boxer.
One is a nurse.
One is a newbie.
One is an old head.
One is a singer.
One is a guitarist.
One is trans.
One is bi.
One is a dad.
One is a mom.
One brings coffee.
One brings honey.
Cold mornings.
Rainy mornings.
They hold signs.
The cars pass.

/ / /

22 November 2023
Charlottesville VA

One Comment

POEM: Vigil


We stand on the street corner
because we can’t turn our
bodies into shields.

We stand on the street corner
to force other people to look.

We stand on the street corner
clutching our paper signs
and our cardboard signs,

looking into the eyes
of the passing drivers,
hoping for recognition.

We stand on the street corner
with our fathers and our daughters,
with friends and strangers.

We stand on the street corner
for those whose streets run red
with blood and fire.

We stand on the street corner,
praying to awaken
from our collective nightmare,

to discover it was all a dream,
that we are safe in the arms of loved ones,
that all we hear are birds

and the laughter of children.

/ / /

7 November 2023
Charlottesville VA


A Better World Is Inevitable

In the midst of [waves arms] all of this, I’ve met some truly wonderful humans these past few weeks. People who are working to make the world a better place in real, tangible ways. Right where they live, and in places they’ll likely never visit. As has always been the case, the bad people count on us to despair in the face of the structures they’ve built and the atrocities, large and small, that those structures enable. And as has always been the case, we refuse to stop fighting. Because there is no alternative but to build a better world. I don’t mean this in some polyannish way. Things are awful. But we’re strong and we’re guided by love and rage and community and compassion and I really do believe we’ll win. We have to.

Leave a Comment



The dog is sleeping near the fireplace.
He’s been sleeping there for years.
A long time, really, for a dog.
He’s not dead. I checked.
He was just … overwhelmed?
It was all getting to be too much.
One day he nuzzled up against me
while I was sitting on the couch, reading.
I gave his head a pat and watched him
pad across the room to the braided rug.
He circled a few times, like he always does,
then settled in, paws crossed.
That was three, maybe four years ago.
I still use the living room, but I try to keep quiet.
No loud music, no sharp noises.
I fill his water bowl and food bowl every day.
Just in case.

/ / /

10 October 2023
Charlottesville VA

Leave a Comment

POEM: Officer Unfriendly

Officer Unfriendly

I would grab a bullhorn and taunt the cops.
I’d make fun of them right to their faces,
from a few feet away, to make the workers laugh.
Picket lines are long and hard and too cold or too hot.
Morale is kept up by humor as much as righteousness.
I shouted insults at the cops, whose faux unions
are always on the side of the oppressor, who stand
in their own picket lines, firmly opposed to justice.
I used my whiteness, my maleness, as a shield,
provoking and absorbing and deflecting their anger
from the workers who didn’t look like me,
who couldn’t afford any trouble,
but who were marching anyway because
they knew that enough was enough.
I didn’t teach my kids to ask cops for help.
I told them to never talk to the police.
Unless you’ve got a bullhorn and a big crowd.
Then you can make an exception.

/ / /

19 August 2023
Charlottesville VA

This is poem 29 in a series called 50 Days Till 50 Years. I’m writing a poem a day between now and my 50th birthday. I’m going to try to focus on memories of my past, and the people who inhabited it.

Leave a Comment

POEM: How Can We Sleep

How Can We Sleep

I’m sitting in a camp chair
on the concrete rectangle
I call my front porch.

The catbirds are squabbling
in the Adam’s needle;
the neighbor kids are shooting hoops.

I’m trying to read a book of poems
about the environmental crisis,
but my eyes are stinging from smoke

that has traveled all the way to Virginia
from wildifes in Quebec and Nova Scotia,
nearly a thousand miles away.

“The earth is not dying, it is being killed,
and those who are killing it
have names and addresses.”

Now one of the neighbor kids is crying.
Maybe she knows
our days are numbered.

/ / /

6 June 2023
Charlottesville VA

Leave a Comment

haiku: 19 July 2022

who owns the Earth?
I walk past the “posted” sign
to find out

/ / /

19 July 2022
Crooked Lake
Averill Park NY

Leave a Comment

haiku: 24 June 2022

the rope used to raise the flag
slams against the pole in the wind
I can’t even feign surprise anymore

/ / /

24 June 2021
Pittsfield MA

Leave a Comment

(Re-post) POEM: this changes nothing

A friend asked this morning if I’d repost this poem from 2011, written after a mass shooting. In the 11 years since I wrote it, it’s never been proven wrong.

this changes nothing

you know that, don’t you?
in a few days we’ll go back to our coma
back to our flat-screen televisions
our high-definition getaways
six people? nowhere near enough
at this point, we’d need rivers of blood
flowing past the grocery store
submerging the church pews
to even catch our attention for more
than a 24-hour news cycle
for shock value I could start listing
the daily death tolls
of those without health care
or the number of children who go to bed
hungry or abused each night
right here, in the richest…
but you know the story
or choose not to know it
for less shock value
(because who really cares about them?)
I could tell you how many civilians
were killed today in Iraq or Afghanistan
or Gaza or Pakistan or Yemen
by us or by our allies or with our weapons
but what’s the use?
a new season of your favorite show
will start soon and you’ll plop down
on your couch with some popcorn
or a nice plate of nachos
and go back to sleep
in a few weeks you’ll have to
Google this date to figure out
what this poem is about
and in another few weeks after that
so will I

Leave a Comment

POEM: death mass

by Alan Casline

death mass
(for Alan Casline)

need dinner propaganda
your cameras need access
broken devil, twisted truth
death mass for evil madness

/ / /

27 April 2022
Pittsfield MA

(NaPoWriMo Day 27)

Leave a Comment

POEM: Walter Rodney

Walter Rodney

I’m learning about Walter Rodney.
Headphones on, listening to
the intertwining guitars
of Remmy Ongala from Tanzania.
This world is its own multiverse.
I have a constant opportunity
to see and hear and taste new wonders,
despite the efforts of my ancestors
to own what cannot be owned.
Water Rodney was from Guyana.
I had to look it up on a map.

/ / /

10 April 2022
Latham NY

(NaPoWriMo Day 10)

Leave a Comment

POEM: Disposal


This “morality” ran without need.
Those he condemned moved forth.
Given feeling, current, real sense.
The rule disposed of the anarchist.

/ / /

6 April 2022
Latham NY

Taken from “Anarchist Morality” by Peter Kropotkin.

(NaPoWriMo Day 6)

Leave a Comment