not all people
April 10, 2015, 10:32 am
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not all people have the courage to do what’s asked of them,

not all people speak when they see suffering,

not all people speak when they are experiencing suffering.

not all people laugh with abandon, not all people can

breathe in the safety of their homes. not all people eat

healthy foods, not all people have supermarkets in their

neighborhods. not all people cry when they see someone

hurt, not all people try to help. not all people hear guns

shot as they fall asleep, not all people have seen

the ocean. not all people can read these words, not all

people can hear the music. not all people sleep under

covers, not all people leave the place they are born. not

all people succeed, not all people know humility, not all people

care if you live or if you die. not all people want the worst for you,

not all people can add numbers in their head. not all people can

hold you in their arms, not all people can swim. not all people know

what they know, not all people are ignorant. not all people are sinners,

not all people are worshipers, not all people know right from wrong,

not all people believe in dualism.


April 3, 2015, 9:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


my heart is a pulsar star, an eccentric

lighthouse, a beacon for the hearkening

of vagabonds, travelers and healing

hands, the ones that touch what is

feared by both the many and themselves.


avant-garde adventurers to the fringes

of society and most importantly, most

impactfuly, their minds; the ones my

off beat siren songs sound sweet to.

realized dreams
April 3, 2015, 9:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

nothing is said of what to do

when your dreams become,

suddenly, particular phenomena

to be navigated and handled

like so many marbles in the palm.

what becomes of a vision manifested?

when you walk where only your mind’s

eye has been gravity feels wrong, somehow,

to touch where your soul has flown.

as the impossible becomes true you learn

the answers to all the questions ever asked,

leaving the only one that really matters,

which is whether or not you really want to know.

Traveling with Questions
March 7, 2015, 8:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I met Questions on the way to Nirvana. It wasn’t planned; it seems to always be the way we run into each other. They were on the side of the road, relaxing, and as I aproached they jumped up as if in surprise.

” What are you doing here?”

– Traveling.

“To where?”

– Can’t say I’m entirely sure but I’ve heard its down this road a bit, a place called Nirvana.

“Mind if I come with you?”

– Sure, why not; roads are always well traveled with good company.

And so we continued on together, step by step, along the journey. At first we didn’t talk, it was enough to know the other was there; sometimes presence is the greatest gift we can give. After a while though, Questions couldn’t help it.

“So how’d you hear about this Nirvana place anyway? Why did you decide to go that way? Have you ever heard of Distractions? I’ve heard its awesome over there, always something going on, what do you think about going there instead?”

I sighed. I had traveled with Questions before and knew their tendency to ramble on, and I can be impatient myself. I wasn’t in a rush though, I had no deadline for arrival so I humored Questions with answers, which I knew to be their favorite game.

– I think I first heard about it from the wind. When I was little I was always happiest out in the garden, or better said the backyard, I didn’t really get into gardening much. When my parents gave me a barrel to have my very own garden I decided to grow weeds in them, it seemed the most efficient way; if I just leave it there, eventually plants will grow, what’s the point of gardening again? No, I was into playing in the dirt. I would sit for hours on a pile of dirt, sometimes with a stick, mostly with just my hands digging, shaping, playing. Well anyways, on no particular day I heard this whisper that seemed to come from the wind, but also from inside of me too.

“You know your breath is just another way the wind travels right?”

– I do now, I didn’t then so I assumed it came from outside of me. Whatever, it was whispering to me, telling me things, stories about who I’d been and who I’d become, and what. And one of the things it talked about was Nirvana. I remember that I liked the sound of it, soft, pretty. Ever since then I’ve wanted to go there.

“Good story, but what about Distractions? Did the wind tell you about that place?”

-No, sadly the wind made no mention of Distractions, only Nirvana. But you know the wind, so flighty. I’ve been there though, to Distractions.

“How was it?”

– Busy. Not a terrible place but a terribly, terribly busy one. There’s a lot of people there too, a lot of people. Most of them are unhappy too. Its why they like it there; everyones so busy there’s no time to notice how miserable they are, they can hide in plain sight.

We didn’t talk for a while, each reflecting on what the other had shared. After a while, Questions piped up again.

“So that’s it then? The wind tells you about Nirvana and off you go?”

I laughed.

– Pretty much. Of course its a little more involved than that, but essentially, yes. I mean like any journey I had to prepare everything in order to go. First I had to find out what I’d need for the road, for example.


– To be honest, I’m a little worried about that actually. I asked around and not a lot ofpeople really know too much about Nirvana so its been hard to get a clear idea of what I need to get there. From what I could gather, one needs Persistance, Effort, Faith, and some good Guidance. The last one is especially difficult to come across.

“Well did you find it?”

– Well yes, and no, I think so anyways.


– Well, the wind actually. Strange as it may seem, due to its vagabonding and generally ephemeral nature the wind knows quite a lot about the world, its been to fairly every nook and cranny in it. If you can catch it and hold it long enough there’s really a lot to learn from it.

“So the wind gave you a map to Nirvana? Can I see it?”

-Not exactly; maps aren’t really the wind’s style. It prefers to leave signs, breadcrumbs to follow.

“Sounds rather nebulous don’t ya think?”

– Yup, sure do, and its the surest thing I’ve found. No one in Distractions was of any use. I even went to Illusions and through Doubt, can’t say I’m mad I went, all roads are good roads as long you are taking them somewhere, neither of them was really helpful though either.

“So I guess we’re not going to Distractions then?”

– NO, not if I can help it. But who knows where the next breadcrumb will be? You may luck out yet Questions.

To be Continued…

Moving out of the West and into Industry
February 16, 2015, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

In this series of essays on (re)definition I will be exploring how the language we use in our everyday speech contributes to furthering the political, economic and plain old power games of people who don’t have our best interest at heart. There are many things that we take for granted as simply the way the world is. One of the keys to a true liberation is understanding the fallacy of this belief. The world is the way it is because people made it that way. From the design of our education system to the design of the toaster you pulled breakfast from this morning, someone else made decisions about how all of these things work and we usually simply do what we can with the decisions they’ve made.

Language is different yet also falls within this dynamic. It is no coincidence that the word black in used to denote only the most negative of things and circumstances in the English language. While the word itself is neutral our usage of it is anything but. This is called coded language, words and phrases we use to illustrate meanings that are not explicit in the words themselves. Its how when a tea party politician mentions “welfare queens” you know they mean a large black woman; no, they never said the words large, black or woman but anyone with a reasonable knowledge of reality knows that this is exactly the image they intended to conjure.

While this may seem somewhat inane its not. Studies show that even with regards to race, people respond more positively to people of African descent who label themselves as African-American rather than Black. When primed with the various words, people are more likely to find an African-American more kind, educated & easier to relate to than a Black person, despite them being the exact same person. As I have mentioned in the preamble to this series Understanding Privilege as Priority, being Black is a distinct reality than being Negro, being Indigenous a distinct reality than being Indian, and being queer a distinct reality from being “funny”.

While much of what I look at focuses on what’s happening in this country specifically, I feel it is also crucial to understand this country in context. Unfortunately, our context is regularly skewed by politicians, busyness people, the media and anyone who is prioritizing profits over people. One of the legacies of Europe’s colonial streak is the redlining of the entire globe to ensure that some places stay flush with resources while others chronically struggle. Ironically it is the places often bereft of natural abundance which are now flush while places where Nature abounds are systematically impoverished. All of us do this on a micro-level when we engage in conversations defining the world as West, East and fail to even remember we can also go South and North.

In the geographical world of European colonialism, there is no North and no South, only the West and the East as civilization, and humanity, by definition this culture does not exist below the equator (a reflection of some sexual repression perhaps…). Our conditioning tells us that Europe is the Center of the World so despite the fact that it lies in the geographical North it becomes the fulcrum around which all world events swing. Much can be healed in our relationship to the planet by shifting this perception of how she is made.

What do you think of when you think of the West? Most of us think of Europe and the Americas. We think of Socrates, and the Alamo, Zeus, Homer, the Renaissance, we think of the cultural lineage that defines our society. Ironically, since so many of those enslaved and brought to this country came from West Africa, how many of us call to mind drums, Ogun, and camels as part of our lineage? If we do bring these things to mind they are often encountered as examples of otherness, things from outside of the place we live and come from. What about even the concept of aloha? Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands we colonized, heck Hawaii is part of the United States! Even so, the culture of its people still doesn’t make it into the cultural fold of belonging. And you can forget about the Inuits.

When I bring to mind the “West”, especially as it is casually used in context, I think of mainly the material resources at our disposal through a combination of colonial manipulation tactics and the natural resources from countries relatively near the equator; I think of the mindset of Industry. Industry is what makes a product more important than the process required to create it and although Industry has many ideological forefathers, with the most direct being the conceptual separation of human beings from all other forms of Nature, the simplest way to fully understand it is as the prioritization of economic, material benefit over all other forms of benefit.

What’s interesting about this is that the Industrial mindset, that of prioritizing products over processes, sprung up in tandem with a massive shift in culture that has gotten progressively more dysfunctional, greedy and violent. Agriculture, animal husbandry and crafts as the focus of human activity came into prominence around 10,000 years ago though humans as we think of ourselves came to being around 200,00 years ago. So the hippies got something else right, this state of excessive competition and drive towards material gain isn’t our natural state, but it is what defines the West as a state of mind far more than any geographical area on a map.

If you visit the State Department’s website you will see that only the “Americas” are included in a description of the Western Hemisphere which is factually inaccurate. The Western hemisphere, as defined by the Prime Meridian, of the globe is comprised of these lands masses as well as: Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, most of Mali, Ghana, Burkina Faso and a bit of Algeria. Oceania, Iceland, Greenland, Portugal, France, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, a bit of Russia and most of the United Kingdom are also a part of this area although Italy, Germany, Holland, Greece, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland do not make the cut.

What is even more interesting is how even the cultures that do get included do not get equitable representation as being a part of this “West” we speak of. The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are also not who we’re talking about when we talk about people in the “West”. Again, how many images of acorn mash, the Sun dance, and the medicine wheel come to mind when you conjure the “West”? This colonization of the geographical mind plays an important part in keeping our perspective shaped the way those who actually benefit from Industry like it so they can continue to benefit from it.

What is called for in these transformative times, more than many other things like ever more products, is accuracy, the simple precision of knowing what we’re talking about and knowing when we’re talking about it. The way our language has been shaped for us often makes this more difficult than we think, and far more difficult than it really needs to be. I think all of us agreeing on the four quadrants thing as a reasonable way to understand the shape of our world to be fair; cardinal directions, how we orient ourselves from the core of the planet outward by its magnetic lines, are an important aspect of many Indigenous cultures and serve as easy, universal grounding points for reality.

To reconnect to this universal understanding of where we are in the world and in our relationship to it we must align ourselves with what we really know, and underneath it all we know the “West” is misleading; just like we know undocumented immigrants means Latinos and not Estonians, and that when Tea Partiers are talking about ineffective government they’re talking about Obama as opposed to the pho-kery we call Congress, but I digress. We do ourselves no favors by living with a false sense of inclusion, an intentional misreading of the words we use.

To truly live in the West we must live with Taema and Tilafaiga, Sedna, Estsantlehi, Maui, Freyr, Mami Wata, Efua, and Guruhi as well as Hercules, Bacchus, Venus, Apollo and the rest. We must eat corn, tomato, cous cous, acorn, potato, blood pudding, peanut, cassava, dandelion, okra, pineapple and pine nut; this is the least of what we must do. Whatever geographical lines exist to orient our minds, the people who now live in the West are from all over the world and we do ourselves equally few favors pretending they don’t belong here as equal citizens of this planet. As with our individual selves, our larger self, this society, cannot truly welcome those who travel into its reaches until we first understand who we are, and to do that we must first understand where we are on and in this world.

One Way to Live a Life
February 16, 2015, 6:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Take 1 part jaded heart,

a handfull of fears and

1/2 an ass. Combine.

Stir with silver spoon

until mixture clings.

Set aside.

In another container

mix 1 ocean of tears,

3 sides to every story,

4 seasons for completion,

and 7 years to regenerate.

When thoroughly blended

this will look like maturity.

Pour over combination of heart,

fear and ass. Stir frequently to

maintain texture. You’ll know

its ready when it has the consistancy

of self-definition.

Cover and chill;

will remain fresh for eternity.

Serve warm and garnish with

mistakes as suites your taste.


silent witness
January 16, 2015, 1:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

my silent witness paid me a visit today

and stood by my side while i listened

to the wind in the tress and it felt good

to be seen.

it had been a raucous season

and the tinkling of a broken heart

still rung in my ears, my glass

house had cracked and a whistle

crept inside at all hours of the day

and night.

and the noise, the white, purple, blood

orange noise of the media machine

had whirred and roared inside, constantly

an unwanted companion.

but somehow now, perhaps it was finally

choosing to listen, or, perhaps, noise gets

tired too and simply needed a vacation

from my head.

but somehow, now, it was quiet and i could

enjoy the togetherness of being seen and not

heard. it held me with no arms and knew me

with no telling and was without definition.

we watched the invisible currents move this

world around us and their silence was the eye

of my storm.

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