Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Homage to Homs

….
1.

From our
safe windows,
we crane our necks,
rubbernecking
past the slow
motion wreckage
unfolding in Homs.

We remain
perfectly
perched
to marvel at
the elegant arc of
a mortar shell
framing tomorrows
deep horizon,
whistling through
the twilight to
find its fruitful
mark.

In the now
we keep
complicit time,
to the arrest
of beating hearts,
snapping fingers
to the pop
of rifle cracks,
swooning to
the delicious
intoxication of
curling smoke
lofting ever
upward;
yet
thankfully
remain
distant
enough to
recuse any
possibility
of an
intimate
nexus
with the
besieged.

2.

From our
safe windows,
we behold the
urgent arrivals of
The Friends of Syria
demanding
clean sheets
and 4 Star
room service at a
Tunisian Palace
recently cleaned
and under new
management
promising a
much needed
refurbishment.

The gathered,
a clique of
this epochs
movers and shakers,
a veritable
rouges gallery of
ambassadorial
prelates, Emirs and
state department
bureaucrats
summoned
with portfolio
from the
darkest corners
of the globe.

They are
eager to
sanctify
the misery
of Homs,
deflect and
lay blame
with realpolitik
rationalizations,
commencing
official commissions
of inquiry,
deliberating
grave considerations,
issuing indictments
of formal charges for
Crimes Against
Humanity
while
remaining
urgently
engrossed
in the fascination
of interviewing
potential
process servers
to deliver the bad news
to Bashar al-Assad
and his soulless
Baathist
confederates,
if papers
are to be
served.

Yes, the diplomats
are busy meeting
in closed rooms.

In hushed circles
they whisper
into aroused ears,
railing against
Russia’s
gun running
intransigence
and China’s
geopolitical
chess moves.

Statesmen
boast of the
intrepid justice
of tipping points
and the moving poetry
of self serving tales,
weighing the impact
of stern sanctions
amidst the historical
confusion of the
asymmetrical
symmetries
of civil war.

Caravans
of Arab League
envoys roll up
in silver Bentleys,
crossing deserts
of contradictory
obfuscations,
navigating the
endless dunes
with hand held
sextants of
hidden agendas.

The heroic
Bedouins are
eager to offload
their baggage
and share
on the ground
intelligence from
their recent soirées
across Syria.

They beg
a quick fix,
the triage of a
critical catharsis
to bleed their
brains dry
of heinous
recollections,
pleading
release from a
troubled conscience
victimized by
the unnerving paradox
of reconciling
discoveries of
perverse voyeurism
with the sanctioned
explanations
of their respective
ruling elites.

The bellies
of these
scopophiliacs
are distended;
grown queasy
from a steady diet
of malfeasance
an ulcerated
world parades
in continuous loop;
spewing the raw feeds
of real time misery;
forcibly fed
the grim
visions of
frantic
fathers
rushing
the mangled
carcases
of mortally
wounded
children
to crumpled
piles of smashed
concrete that were
once hospitals.

We despondently
ask how
much longer
must we
look into
the eyes
of starving
children
emaciated from
the wanton
indifference
of the world?

3.

From our
safe windows
we wonder
how much
longer can
the urgent
burning
ambivalence
continue
before it
consumes
our common
humanity in
a final
conflagration?

My hair already
singed by the
endless firestorms
sweeping the prairies
of the world.

How can we survive
the trampling hoards,
the marauding
plagues of acrimony
fed by a voracious
blood lust aspiring to
victimize the people
of Homs and a
thousand cities
like it?

4.

From my safe
window I stand in witness
to the state execution of
refugees fleeing the
living nightmare
of Baba Amr.

The murder of innocents,
today’s newly minted martyrs,
women and children
cornered, trapped
on treacherous roads,
mercilessly
slaughtered and
defiled in death
to mark the lesson
of a ruthless master
enthralled with the
power of his
sadistic fascist
lordship.

I cannot avert my eyes
marking sights
of pleading women
begging for the
lives of their children
in exchange for
the gratification
of a sadists
lust.

My heart
is impaled
on the sharp
spear of
outrage
beholding
careening
children mowed
down with the
serrated blades
protruding
from marauding
jeeps of laughing
soldiers.

I drop
to my knees
in lakes of
tears
reflecting
a grotesque
horror stricken
image of myself.

My eyes have
murdered my soul.

The ghastly images
of Homs have chased
away my Holy Ghost
to the safety of a child’s
sandbox hidden away
in a long forgotten
revered memory.

5.

From my safe window
I seethe with anger
demanding vengeance,
debating how to rise
to meet the obscenity of
the Butcher of Damascus.

The sword of Damocles
dangles so tantalizingly close
to this tyrants throat.

The covered women
of Homs scream prayers
“may Allah bring Bashar to ruin”

Dare I pray
that Allah trip the
horsehair trigger
that holds the
sword at bay?

Do I pick up
the sword
a wield it
as an
avenging
angel?

Am I the
John Brown
of our time?

Do I organize
a Lincoln Brigade
and join the growing
leagues of jihadists
amassing at the
Gates of Damascus?

Will my righteous
indignation fit well
in a confederacy
with Hamas and
al-Qaeda as my
comrades in arms?

Do I succumb to
the passion of hate
and become just
another murderous
partisan, or do I
commend the power
of love and marshal
truth to speak with
the force of
satyagraha?

I lift a fervent prayer
to claim the justice
of Allah’s ear,
“may the knowing one
lift the veil of foolishness
that covers my heart in
cloaks of resent, cure
my blindness that ignores
my raging disease of
plausible deniability
ravaging the body politic
of humanity.”

6.

Indeed,
physician heal thyself.

I run to embrace my
illness.

I pine to understand it.

I undertake the
difficult regimen
of a cure to eradicate
the terrible affliction.

This
pernicious
plague,
subverting
the notion
of a shared
humanness
is a cunning
sedition that
undermines
the unity of
the holy spirit.

The bell from
the toppled steeples
still tolls, echoing
across the space of
continents and eons
of temporal time.

The faithful chimes
gently chides us
to remove the wedge
of perception that
separates, divides
and undermines.

Time has come
to liberally
apply the balm
that salves the
open wounds
so common to
our common
human condition.

The power of prayer
is the joining of hands
with others racked
with the common
affliction of humanness.

Allah,
My eyes are wide open,
my sacred heart revealed,
my sleeves are rolled up,
my memory is stocked,
my soul filled with resolve,
my hand is lifted
extended to all
brothers and sisters.
Lift us,
gather us
into one
loving embrace.

Selah

7.

From the safe
windows of
our palaces
we live within
earshot of
the trilling
zaghroutas
of exasperation
flowing from
the besieged
city smouldering
under Bashar’s
symphony of terror.

Our nostrils
fill with the
acrid plumes
of unrequited
lamentations
lifting from the
the burning
destruction
of shelled
buildings.

Our eyes spark
from the night
tracers
of sleeking
snipers
flitting along
the city’s
rooftops.

The deadly jinn
indiscriminately
inject the
paralysis of
random fear
into the veins
of the city
with each
skillful
head shot.

These
ghoulish
assassins
lavish in their
macabre work;
like vultures
they eagerly
feast on the
corpses of their kill,
the stench of bloated
bodies drying in the
sun is the perfume
that fills their nostrils.

8.

From our
safe window
we discern the
silhouettes of militants
still boldly standing
amidst the
mounting rubble of an
unbowed Homs
shouting;

Allah Akbar!!!
Allah Akbar!!!
Allah Akbar!!!

raising pumped fists,
singing songs
of resistance,
dancing to
the revelation of
freedom,
refusing to
be coward by
the slashing
whips of a
butchers
terrible
sword.

9.

From my
safe window
my tongue laps
the pap
of infants
suckling from
the depleted
teats of mothers
who cannot cry
for their dying
children;
tears fail
to well from
the exhaustion
of dehydrated
pools.

10.

From my
safe window
my heart stirs
to the muezzin
calling the
desperate faithful
from the toppled
rubble of dashed
minarets.

We can
no longer
shut our ears
to the adhan
of screams
the silent
voices that echo
the blatant injustice
of a people under siege.

11.

From my
safe window,
I pay
Homage to Homs
and call brothers
and sisters to rise
with vigilant
insistence
that hostilities
cease and
humanity be
upheld,
respected and
protected.

12.

From my safe
window
I perceive
the zagroutas
of sorrow
manifest as a
whiling hum,
a sweeping
blue mist,
levitating
the coffins
from the rubble
of ravaged streets.

The swirling
chorus of
mourning
joins my
desperate
prayers;
rising in
concert
with the
black billows
of smoke
dancing
away
from the
flaming
embers
of scorched
neighborhoods.

13.

From my
safe window
I heed
the fluttering
wings
of avenging
angels
furiously
batting
as they
climb
the black
plumes,
lifting from
the scattered bricks
of the desecrated
city.

It is the
Jacob’s
Ladder
for our
time;
marking
a new
consecrated
place
where
a New Adam
is destined
to be formed
from the
pulverized
stones of
desolation.

14.

From our
safe windows
we peer into
resplendent
mirrors
beholding
the perfect image of
ourselves
eying
falling tears
dripping blood,
coloring death
onto the
blanched sheets
of disheveled beds.

15.

From our
safe windows
our voices are silenced,
our words mock urgency
our thoughts betray comprehension
our senses fail to illicit empathy
our action is the only worthy prayer

16.

From my
safe window
I hear the
mortar shells
walking toward
my little palace,
the crack
of a sniper
shot
precedes
the wiz of a
passing bullet
whispering
its presence
into my
waxen
ear.

17.

From my
safe window,
my palms scoop
the rich soil
of the flower boxes
perched on my sill.
I anoint the tender
green shoots of  the
Arab Spring
with an incessant flow
of bittersweet tears.

Music selection:
John Coltrane
A Love Supreme
Acknowledgment

Oakland
2/28/12
jbm

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Closing Time

The end of
the six day
work week
blessedly
arrived for
the weary
seamstresses.

The thought
alone
returned
dexterity
to fingers
numbed
by the
monotony
of repetitive
motion and
eased the
incessant
ache of
lower backs
and stiffened
shoulders.

The
exhausted
women
would soon
deposit their
subsistence
wages for
piecemeal
work into
worn knit
purses,
mentally
noting
items to
purchase at
the market
on the way
home.

At the head
of the pay line
stood the
bumptious
paymaster
barking at the
compliant women
to keep in line
and keep in mind
any honorariums
due him.

The workers,
youngest
to the oldest
counted the
tokens
in hand to
discern
the weeks
approximate
payout.

Lack of
math skills,
the uncertainty of
unjust deductions
and poor command
of English
made net pay
calculations
impossible
to deduce.

Passing time
in the pay line
the swelling
sound
of trilling
voices rolled
along the line.

Wise
Yiddish
axioms
and Italianate
passions joined
to bespeak
the ecstasies of
the human
condition.

The strange
hybrid dialect
filling the room
busily hailed
the coming
day of rest,
blessed
the faces of
kissed children,
imagined
the warmth given
from a lump
of coal,
explored
the bumpy feel
of hardened
scabs,
sounded hope
for a cloudless
Sunday,
expressed
remorse over
calloused hands
and the hope
that they could
become soft
and youthful again.

One woman
with a swollen jaw
mouthed an
anguished dread
of rejoining a
violent husband.

A buoyant
Rose,
with glittering
eye,
whispered
about the joy of a
potential courtship
with a distant cousin;
while the
bawdy laughs
of a randy group
of union maids
imagined
the luxury of
a Saturday night
bath and amorous
encounters with
broad shouldered
lovers.

One thick legged
woman hummed
happily as she imagined
picking up a ham-bone for
the soup kettle.

A freckled faced girl
and a mid-aged
German woman each
tearfully fretted over
the ritual turnover
of their wages
to a disabled father
and drunkard husband.

The hope of a
speedy and safe
delivery of a child
was prayed for by a
big busted mother of four,
while another worried
if the infection
of a cut finger
would heal and
that her home bound
children afflicted with
terminal hunger
will have some bread
tonight and
porridge tomorrow.

The outbreak of the
fire changed all
their day dreams
and concerns
into frightful
screams,
nightmarish
death leaps
and eternal rest
for 146 workers
of the Triangle
Waist Company
on March 25, 1911.

May their
small knit purses
be filled with the
pleasant dreams
they wished for
themselves and others
as divine compensation
for their earthly labors
and may
they find a restful
peace in an
eternity of Sundays
enjoyed in the
company of
family,
lovers
and
friends.

Selah

You Tube Music:
Triangle Memorial Concert

You Tube:

American Experience
Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the Triangle Waist Company fire in New York City.It killed 146 people the vast majority immigrant woman who worked at the company. The Triangle Fire is a seminal event in the US labor movement that lead to the recognition of labor unions as vehicles for workers rights and social justice. More on the Triangle Fire can found here on this wonderful sight from Cornell University.

A list of the fatalities can be found here.
Fatalities of Triangle Fire.

Oakland
3/25/11
jbm

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

Equinox


eggs stand on edge balanced perfectly
night embraces day in leveled equanimity
spirit and flesh dance on in serenity
equinox again returns eternally

You Tube Video: John Coltrane,  Equinox

Risk: seasons

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

The Blue Beams

Two Blue Beams
rise in the twilight
from the dark recesses
of a scarred metropolis

astral projections
paint night clouds
in looming hues
of temporal intent

declarative beams
affirm a bold portent
of an insistent will
and timeless aspirations

one thrusting light
projects wanton determination
bequeathed from unhealed wounds
of a lacerated city

the other casts fervent hope
onto the vast celestial sea
boldly etching upon the heavens
an earnest nations highest ideals

the pillars of light
reveal the dual nature
fixing our place
in a turbulent universe

the brighter light
affirms the beneficence
of liberties eternal grace
so divinely conferred

received by a higher self
accepted with gratitude
the gracious anointing
of freedoms rich abundance

ride this beam of angry cries
conjure ghosts from a dead past
channel a full measure of resent
the light of restoration is quelled

stirred from nagging agonies
nursed righteous indignation
untreated wounds fester
the weak blue spire cannot heal

a bleak azure apparition
screams for selfish retribution
heed this dire admonition
a promised fury of
full demonic dimension

the rankled city
yearns to come together
united in communion
around these lights

drawn to the blue flames
like swirling moths
unconscious of what
compels shock and awe

earnest yearnings
flutter to exhaustion
struggle toward the light
aspires to heal in the inviting glow

transcending the fissures
of our fractured nation
the waning resolve
of a national will

a restless Zeitgeist
cannot be repressed
nor will it relinquish
its will to manifest

a city’s fondest hopes
entombed in collective memory
is foretold again
around these bold lights

entranced by the light
a solemn urban campfire
transfixed and sealed
we speak our hearts

holding hands
gnashing teeth
we bite into
our bent knees
tucked up
to sullen chests
heavy hearts
bear pains of loss
dreary tears wash
ash stained cloths
crumpled photos
dear bereavements
of faded memories
and expired hope

resolve is renewed
in bursts of pride
incendiary nationalism
suppress dissent
pummel thoughts
of perceived sedition
pump iron fists as
zealous sledgehammers
forged with conviction
in kilns of
righteous indignation
seething with infected
emotional hangovers
from prurient
tribal diatribes

these sweet sentiments
swing between the polls
of the vast pendulum’s arc
along a narrow celestial scale

too and fro
angst and expectation
ebbs and flows
in this astral assignation

the heavenly helix
a set of blue axles
a modern vision
of Ezekiel’s Wheel

the rung-less vertices
of our Jacob’s Ladder
invites all citizens
to climb again

ascend this pathway
in the company of angels
arrive transfigured
renewed again

build new cities
transcendent destinations
new Edens await
pioneers to explore

fearless pilgrims
sojourn onward
moving to secure
liberty for all

conscious stewards
of the blessed good earth
celebrate rich diversity
of all the beloved

descending back
to an expired past
is a ridged stasis
anchored in Hell

witness flitting
nostalgic phantoms
pathetic pantomimes
of histrionic fictions

the downward path
of the lesser light
tethers us to the place
we cannot leave

The upward light
abhors a hells decent
resolved to vacate
acrimony and hate

the dancing helix opens
a blue portal to heaven
don angels garb
wing upward in light

transcendence calls us
to traverse with angels
touch the luminescent hem
of God’s divine robe

Selah

You Tube Music Video:
Aaron Copland: Appalachian Spring , Simple Gifts
NYC
9/11/10
jbm

September 13, 2010 Posted by | 9/11, poetry | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resolution 2010: Gotta/Gonna

gonna commence a journey
gotta get on the way
provision and direction
will appear along the way

gotta open brand new doors
become a bit unhinged
gonna loosen the damn tethers
that forge the chains within

gotta sail uncharted waters
lose sight of familiar land
gonna become a fearless sailor
track footprints on exotic sand

some jagged mountains beckon
sheer cliffs gotta be scaled
the ascent gonna bring blessed growth
not to try is to miserably fail

gonna explore hidden valleys
with courage, grit and resolve
all risks are opportunities
problems that gotta be solved

gotta leave my tiny comfort zone
with great dispatch and haste
a new life is mine to have
gonna banish fear with grace

*************
*************
*************

Happy New Year
I predict that 2010 is gonna be the most important year of our lives.
It’s gotta be, because its the only one we got.

Peace and Prayers Beloved
jbm

You Tube Music Video:  Auld Lang Syne Red Hot Chilli Peppers

You Tube Music Video: Beach Boys,  Sail On Sailor

December 31, 2009 Posted by | holiday, poetry, seasons | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Come Into The Light

a light

draws us

calls us

compels us

coaxes us

joins us

brings together

a curious necessity

in celebration

a vulnerable fragility

splendid contradictions

perverse diversity

wanton needs

shared humanity

how fragile it is

swaddled wounds

unwashed and unhealed

infirmities revealed

a promise made

all will be cured

come  into the light

the spirit implores

I kiss your face

a unique beauty

only revealed

by blessed light

my need for love

finally cured

healed by

the grace of your light

our shared divinity

miraculously

restored

Namaste

*********

**********

You Tube Music Video:

Rachmaninov Vespers:  Joyful Light

peace and prayers beloved

Risk: darkness, isolation

December 22, 2009 Posted by | holiday | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Year of Being Here

Be here this year!

Turn off cell phone

be still

be active

fall in love

tell the truth

struggle for justice

free a prisoner

walk for peace

be a friend

find a friend

mentor a child

take a hike

ride a bike

revel in nature

smell the coffee

grow some flowers

start a garden

honor God

read a book

write a poem

paint a picture

click a photo

say a prayer

maintain silence

hold your peace

sheath a sword

unload a gun

practice peace

dance joyously

sing gleefully

speak softly

love largely

climb the mountain

linger in the valley

dip toe in water

tip toe through tulips

pet a dog

feed a cat

protect a child

care for the aged

listen to someone

open your ears

hear someone

lift your eyes

see someone

go fishing

feed someone

conduct a search

find someone

watch the moon

bless the stars

write a book

start a business

make some money

lose some weight

drive courteously

cook a meal

swim the sea

sail a boat

get some sleep

be kind

be useful

be diligent

be reverent

be genuine

be helpful

be still

be present

Be

God Bless

Have a Present Day!

You Tube Video: Bob Marley: Jammin’

Risk: Not Being Present

January 1, 2009 Posted by | Tao | , , , , , , | 1 Comment