29 July 2020

Death by Murakami (A Found Poem)

green-felt pool tables,
chunky paperweights in
police interrogation rooms,
smoke rising from tall
crematorium smokestacks,
white flowers on school desks,
gas station receipt 
tucked under the windshield wiper,
suffocating contradiction,
endlessly spinning in circles,
I have no idea how long
it took him to die

 

——————

 

Found poetry,
All lines are direct quotes 
from the last two pages
of the second chapter
of Haruki Murakami’s

Norwegian Wood

 


25 Jul 2020

The Darkness of Dawn’s Early Light

America,

land of the free,

home of the incarcerated

 

Where we pretend not to

notice the contradiction

 

America,

where we cling to 

the second amendment

while firing rubber bullets 

and tear gas at the first

 

America,

where we continue

to idolize slave owners

and cruel colonizers,

but laugh at the thought

that racism might still exist

 

America,

home of the homeless,

those cast aside,

not worthy of a

fucking sandwich

 

There are too many

hungry billionaires to feed,

mouths bloody

from the carcasses

of the former middle class

 

So we avert our gaze

from the poor, the hungry,

the sodden souls

trapped beneath the heavy boot

of society’s indifference, 

leaving their bodies 

to slowly rot in the street

 

America,

hating our neighbors

while cradling our Bibles tightly 

like the elusive embryos

we will cease to care for

the moment they make 

their watery exit

from the birth canal

 

America,

where the claim to be the greatest

is left conveniently untangled 

from the messiness of reality

 


29 Jul 2020

26 July 2020

Guesswork

It seems the very same people who won’t wear a mask because “God will protect me from COVID,” think we need a military budget that dwarfs the rest of the world, a wall to protect us from Mexicans, and riot gear to protect us from equality. I guess God only deals in infectious diseases.

Some of y’all think you need to listen and study your religion every single week, spending countless hours examining how you can improve in your thoughts and actions. Yet you think you already inherently know all about racism, something you’ve never actually taken the time to study in any depth, and any examination or self-reflection is unnecessary. Or you think the racism this country was founded on and consistently throughout its history fought to maintain just magically disappeared somewhere along the way. 

I guess you do believe in miracles.


15 Jun 2020

10 July 2020

The Angle of Perception

The man sitting in a field quietly gazing into nature 
looked a lot more peaceful before I noticed 
the rifle in his hands


10 Jul 2020

09 July 2020

Submissions Now Open

angrycowpoetry.blogspot.com
Angry Cow Poetry is now taking submissions for a poetry/spoken word project collecting many different voices.

Pieces can be new or old, personal or political, read or memorized. 

Poets will be limited to one poem each for this project.
  
Volume 1

Questions & Submissions: angrycowpoetry@gmail.com
Deadline: August 15 
Theme: None, send your best stuff.
Please record in landscape (horizontally).
Inclusion of non-copyrighted music is okay, but the focus of the piece should be the words.


08 July 2020

Meddling, Malevolent Marmots

“The marmot is believed to have caused the 1911 pneumonic plague epidemic,” the CNN article reads.

Not “human trapping, killing, and widespread trading of the marmot’s fur infected thousands.” Nope. Just like “humans were minding our own damn business and the evil fucking marmots infected us.”

Humans won’t take the blame for anything.

We blame cows for going mad when we force them into cannibalism.

We blame deer and rabbits because they, like us, enjoy nibbling on plants, while we blame wolves and coyotes for enjoying the taste of animal flesh. How dare they also know hunger!

Even when they avoid veggies and farmed animals, desiring only the scraps we’ve already discarded, we blame raccoons for eating our trash.

We blame animals because they don’t perfectly preserve our lawns and golf courses. You know, like how we perfectly preserved their forests and grasslands.

We blame certain cats for our bad luck.

We blame dogs for eating our homework. 

We even blame a snake for making an apple enticing.

We blame cows for their farts without blaming ourselves for the mass breeding that puts them here.

We blame the deer for “hitting” our cars, though we were the ones in motion.

No self-examination. 

No acceptance of responsibility. 

Always their fault.

We are like Jeffrey Dahmer blaming our victim for the food poisoning.


8 Jul 2020

05 July 2020

Bullet Points

Homework assignment for anyone 
who shares any variation of 
“the police won’t bother you 
if you don’t break the law”


  • Step 1: 

Outline each law 
broken by Elijah McClain

Include sub headings

  • Step 2:

Quote the criminal codes
violated by Atatiana Jefferson

Use footnotes


  • Step 3:

Brainstorm twelve ways
Amadou Diallo could have 
more legally danced between 
the forty-one bullets fired at him

Be prepared to discuss 
your thoughts in class


  • Step 4:

Write a biography 
on the seven-year life
of Aiyana Jones 

Annotate any illegality 


  • Step 5:

Summarize the penal code
infringements of Tamir Rice

Submit via Google Classroom


  • Step 6:

Create a Venn-Diagram
to show the intersection
of the laws broken 
by John Crawford 
and Botham Jean 


  • Step 7:

Explain,
in a sonnet,
how Breonna Taylor 
could have slept more lawfully


  • Step 8:

List the legal missteps
of Philando Castile

Use bullet points


  • Step 9:

Write a twelve-page 
research paper
on stop and frisk policies

Single-spaced


  • Step 10:

Create a Power Point
on the history 
of racial profiling 

Cite at least four sources


  • Step 11:

Multiple Choice:
Find the law that calls for 
immediate street execution
a) failure to use a turn signal
b) suspected use of a forged twenty-dollar bill
c) accusations of selling cigarettes without a license
d) a broken tail light


  • Step 12:

Stand in front of the class
and recite the first amendment

Use Google or Wikipedia if necessary


  • Step 13:

Watch at least ten videos
of police turning tear gas
and rubber bullets on those
exercising their first amendment rights

Personal reflection due Monday


  • Step 14: 

Write a limerick or a haiku
about the racism and privilege
you now see reflected in your mirror


  • Step 15:

Repeat until you 
realize how fucking 
clueless you sound


2 Jul 2020

Beneath the Tide

There is blood on the street

Blood now smeared on jogging shoes
and a twenty-dollar bill

There is blood on the street

and it coats toy guns
and Walmart purchases
and legal gun permits

There is blood on the street

and it seeps over
all five flavors of Skittles

There is blood on the street 

where paid executioners,
awaiting the next neck,
sharpen the blades 
of their guillotine 

There is blood on the street 

and our tires continue 
their rotations as if it were 
but a minor inconvenience

There is blood on the street 

and it covers the tears, 
pleas, vomit, and finally silence 
of Elijah McClain’s 
open-face ski mask

There is blood on the street 

and it has left indelible stains
on grandma’s backyard

There is blood on the street 

collecting until it flows
like a river

A river so deep
that many are sucked
under its current,
gasping for a final breath

There is blood on the street 

The rapids crashing 
through windows and doors
of presumed safety

There is blood on the street 

that fails to signal
for a lane change
as it devastates
a Wendy’s parking lot

There is blood on the street 

A river of blood
beneath the valleys 
of indifference
and intimidation

There is blood on the street 

cutting a canyon 
of pain and suffering 
and lost childhood

There is blood on the street 

and it has sullied
our unwashed hands 

There is blood on the street

but even as the evidence
pools at our feet,
many continue to deny 
the existence of bloodstains

There is blood on the street 

but some cry how we need
to protect the asphalt

There is blood on the street 


1 Jul 2020

19 June 2020

If Statues Teach History, What Lessons Will We Learn?

“If someone kidnapped your child and sold them, where would you want us to put the statue of that person?”

The words of this meme circling the internet should hit hard, should be obvious. It should be the mic drop to end all mic drops in the conversation about whether we should remove statues celebrating those who gladly engaged in and fought to maintain the oppression of Native and black Americans.

Yet, even here, the cries of dissent ring.

“That erases history!”

We absolutely must learn and remember history, but statues aren’t built to objectively tell history. Statues are built to commemorate, to celebrate. We don’t erect statues of Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, or Charles Manson to ensure we don’t forget history. There will be no statue to COVID-19. You memorialize the victims, not the victimizers. Taking down a statue celebrating a racist who violently fought to maintain racism does not erase the history behind it. It is the bare minimum starting point in ending the celebration of those who don’t deserve to be celebrated. We can still have museums. We can still read books. 

Speaking of reading, you really should look into when and why most of the Confederate statues were built. Check out the History.com article “How the US Got So Many Confederate Monuments”:

Most of these monuments did not go up immediately after the war’s end in 1865. During that time, commemorative markers of the Civil War tended to be memorials that mourned soldiers who had died," says Mark Elliott, a history professor at University of North Carolina, Greensboro. 
Eventually they started to build [Confederate] monuments," he says. "The vast majority of them were built between the 1890s and 1950s, which matches up exactly with the era of Jim Crow segregation.” 

The history we learn, the history we teach -- with or without statues -- is far too often warped and whitewashed. White Americans have mastered erasing history and culture, hiding our atrocities, minimizing the recognition of contributions from those who aren’t white males, distorting the perspective.

If you want to talk about concerns with erasing history, let’s make sure we put real discussion into the curriculum of our schools, and in society in general, about the thirty-five city blocks and three hundred lives that went up in flames in Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and the four years of internment camps we forced Japanese Americans to endure. Let’s look at the violent oppression of union organization. Let’s examine the forced, and then broken, treaties. Let’s look honestly at the massacres and the Trail of Tears, and who still sits on the twenty-dollar bill. 

Let’s discuss the forced Christian conversion of Native Americans, the imprisonment and withholding of food that punished Native Americans for following their own religious practices, and the massive removal of Native American children from their families and often from the tribe itself and into white homes. 

Or maybe Americans simply know less about these atrocities because they aren’t marbleized into a white man seated on a horse.

Let’s realize that the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and The Indian Child Welfare Act weren’t passed until my lifetime. 

Let’s, on this Juneteenth, stop pretending slavery ended immediately with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and that Civil Rights were fully gained when Rosa Parks could finally sit at the front of the bus.

Let’s recognize there was a loophole in the 13thamendment.

Let’s admit systemic racism still flagrantly flourishes. 

Let’s work to change it. Even if it means some statues of Columbus fall into a lake.

Let’s stop proclaiming the importance of statues of people from one hundred and fifty years ago at the same damn time we tell non-white Americans they shouldn’t be concerned about what happened a hundred and fifty years ago.

Dissent to the meme continues:

“No one alive had their children sold into (mainstream American) slavery!”

No one living today was a Confederate either.

You are literally demanding respect for your heritage while insisting others ignore theirs. 

Read that again.

Your heritage violently oppressed theirs. We try to be less violent and obvious in our oppression today, but we sure strive to maintain it, to celebrate it. 

When awarding Colin Kaepernick the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, BeyoncĂ© expressed, “It’s been said that racism is so American, that when we protest racism, some assume we are protesting America.”

“If we take the statues down, when will it stop?! Do we change street names too?”

Dismantling centuries of systemic racism (that continues to thrive and that many of us continue to profit from, whether intentionally or not) is messy and hard and damn uncomfortable. But not nearly as uncomfortable as having that racism directed at you. Not as miserable as suffering beneath the heavy weight of racism’s knee.

Do we change street names? Sure, that's easy. We’ve changed street names many times in the past.

City names? We need to at least be willing to have that discussion. To think the names Custer, South Dakota, or Jackson, Mississippi, feel welcoming to all is to blindly bask in white privilege.

Change racist names of sports teams? Definitely.

We ask children to walk into schools literally named after people who would have considered them less than human. We tell students we care about them while celebrating those who very clearly didn’t, so I’m sorry if you feel our “history” would suffer if we changed school names. Our history sucked. It is time to build on compassion and justice, not blind allegiance to things that make us comfortable.

Pause your defensiveness and truly stop to think, to feel, to attempt to understand.

If your child was kidnapped, sold, raped, and murdered, and a statue was built honoring the killer, would you want your descendants to just accept the statue? 

To have to attend schools named after this oppressor?

Would you want our society celebrating holidays in their honor? 

Or would you want those statues, and the mindset that still celebrates and defends them, toppled to the ground?

There is a vast difference between remembering our racist past (and present) and celebrating it with popcorn and confetti.


19 Jun 2020






18 June 2020

"All Lives Matter" is Just Racism in a Fancy Tie

Your options are:

Black Lives Matter

- or -

Black Lives Don’t Matter


You can dress it up in whatever phrasing helps you to sleep at night and pray on Sunday, but that’s still what you’re saying when you dismiss the first option. And the world is listening.


18 Jun 2020