Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Outrage (Poem for Oscar Grant) -- text

January Outrage (Poem for Oscar Grant)

Tell me something/what you think would happen if
everytime they kill a black boy/then we kill a cop
everytime they kill a black man/then we kill a cop
you think the accident rate would lower/subsequently?

(Poem about Police Violence, June Jordan)

Do we really believe
having a Black president
is going to keep city cops
from kicking off the new year
by killing another 17-year-old Black kid,
prone on subway platform,
one officer's knee at his neck,
another’s gunfire in his back?

For real?!?

Once he's sitting behind that ornate desk,
Oval Office all oval-y around him,
after he for sure closes Gitmo down
on that very first day,
is the next decree really gonna be
No more murders of cops,
No more murders by cops?

I think of the late, magnificent June Jordan –
What if for every one of us, we get one of them?

Seems like Olmert listened,
but he mixed it all up:
What if for every one of us,
we massacre a hundred of them?
What if for every one missile landing here,
we raze all of Gaza? What if?

Suppose we apply some similar logic
to the No Banker Left Behind bailout:
what if for every ten Wall Street louts,
we save one Joe-six-pack from foreclosure?
Just one. What if?

This morning I spied
graffiti on a passing train,
Islam Sucks! stung my eyes.
Here's some presidential decree,
I'd like to see
No graffiti unless it builds us,
not builds walls among us!


Not one dime
‘til it’s counted
& accountable
& twice as much
flows to the bottom
as rises to the top.


Empire, schmempire.
Let’s learn & love & laugh & lust & labor.
Let’s keep it juicy, let’s vibrate.
Let’s dance & delight. Let’s disarm.

What if?

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

January Outrage (Poem for Oscar Grant) -- YouTube

Here's the YouTube version of the poem. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Role Modeling for New Meditators

Perfect posture.
Lotus position.
Serene countenance.
Motionless hands.

Silence. Stillness. Equanimity.


Startling to sound.
Distracted and distracting.
Scratching my butt.
Restless feet, hands.
Eyes shut,
then open,
then closed,
then one last peek.

Clumsy. Unfocused. Imperfect.

Sure message:
If I sit here,
you can too.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

So Many Odes to the Full Moon

Or the fingernail crescent.
Even the moon so new,
it remains visible
to none of us.

But what about this moon?

Shining over the Hess gas station
illuminating soiled snow,
the stippering drunkard,
my mittened hand?

It is two days past whole --
uneven, warped, imperfect.

More lovely than any I have ever beheld.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blood of Christ

With the enthusiasm of a red-corpuscled drunkard
in mystical Irish pub at closing time,
the priest in full vestments
drains the last bit of the blood of Christ.

How unabashed!

Amid prim & proper parishioners
up & down & in unison
as sanctioned by centuries
of utterly correct bishops.

Below polished crucifix,
before entire congregation,
ablution concludes
with unadorned cloth.

Yet, what else to do with the last bit of messianic remnant?

Would it not be worse
to empty it elsewhere,
this liquid lifeline
to the true believers?

Better to whet the gullet
of the white-robed priestman
than dribble down the sides
of any ritualized receptacle,
perhaps made holy by the wine,
but nevertheless, wasted.

(cc) Karen G. Johnston