Poem: Letter to The War Presidents

I wrote this back in 2012, but I’ve decided to not update the introduction to it. Perhaps I will someday of this ever gets published somewhere, we shell see.

Given that it’s President’s Day today here in the States, I felt that it was fitting to share this, especially under our current political climate, where there are not only currently wars waged on foreign lands and the potential for further wars each and every day now, but also wars waged against naturalized citizens, the undocumented and the refugee, people’s of different faiths, colors and creeds, the poor, the LGBTQA community, and basically everyone who isn’t a White, rich Male in America right now.

Since my generation was born, nearly every U.S. President oversaw some major military operation in a foreign country, and to date, only two presidents during my generation didn’t serve within the military. This is a letter to every U.S. President that has overseen a war, yet had never seen war firsthand.

would you shed one drop of blood

for the gallons that we’ve given,

would you last one day in the conditions

we’ve spent years in?

would you be able to sign on the dotted line,

and follow the directives sent down from on high

when they went against your convictions of wrong and right?

would you be able to look your family in the face,

and tell them it was worth it,

when you can’t forgive yourself,

for the carnage you partook in?

You have not engaged your enemy at close range,

seen the sweat and fear upon his face,

before you forever erased him away.

My generation has done this and more,

some of us while questioning,

others while adoring,

nonetheless,

we are the children who you will bury,

without ever knowing what our level of sacrifice feels like.

would you give just one drop of bravery,

for the oceans we’ve turned red with everything in our veins

to bring an end to the bitter fruits not even your precious offspring will ever be allowed to taste?

Poem: Tonight, A City Alight

I wrote this poem during the North Minneapolis 4th Precinct occupation of November-December of 2015. I had gone out there a few times to drop off water, hand-warmers and other simple things to provide some comfort and warmth to those who had established a encampment there. I attended several presentations and scheduled gatherings there as well, and sometimes just went there to share in the collective sense of loss, or anger, of communal outrage and determination.

I tried writing more poems about that period of time, however nothing seems to come out right, and this was the most succinct thing that I could create so far regarding that period of time.

 

Tonight, A City Alight

A city burns,

A city burns tonight.

 

The whole world watches,

while my city goes alight.

 

They’ve cordoned off the precinct,

might as well have been a fucking warzone checkpoint.

 

But none of that matters, for we will still gather, mourn, and march.

What is stirring here,

both bold consciousness and weary fright…

 

More piercing then the gunshots is that cry,

“Not my child, not mine!”.

 

Digging deeper into the business side of things

I was able to get out of town the past few days, and with a reprieve from the daily grind, came some space and clarity to finally get back into some much needed planning and big-picture perspective of what it means to getting a book published and essentially starting my own business.

I’ve been working on a business plan for a while now, but with everything going so fast; either the daily grind of life or things that have needed to be done right away to keep the book getting printed in a timely manner, some of the bigger stuff has fallen to the wayside.

Luckily, I’m out here with my older brother, who’s well versed in businesses and what’s needed to get them started and how to keep them afloat.

This was always the stuff I understood the importance of, but have never really liked to have to do. While my publisher is amazing and is dealing with some of the heavy lifting, at the end of the day, it’s still up to me to acquire the financial backing, to make important partnerships with bookstores and gift shops, and to make sure that adequate promotion and distribution of this book has been thought through.

It’s not my strong suite, that’s for sure, but I’ll be damned if I don’t do my best at trying to figure all this out as the process goes along.

Things that I had only simply thought about before need to be really hammered out, and it’s not where my natural talents and inclination lies.

But this is the important stuff, the hard stuff that I needed to be pushed and challenged on, so it is what it is.

So, drafting out the different phases of the crowdfunding campaign promotion and advertising routes as well as starting an LLC to conduct business under for the book have been what I’ve been chipping away at the last few days, as well as trying to plan out what should happen once the book is actually in print and we have an official launch.

I’m not alone in this venture, but I do feel like I’ve got the most at stake from a financial and career perspective in regards to the success or failure of this effort. My family can’t afford another financial black hole for us, and I’m not sure how I could consider attempting to get anything else published if this doesn’t go well.

What does that mean exactly, for this thing to go well? That’s a good question.

For me, I will have succeeded if I can sell my initial print run and break even on this, and get this project into the hands of people who I think would gain some encouragement and inspiration from it. That’s basically it. Anything else above and beyond that would be awesome.

I’d also love for this project to be an avenue for bigger and better things artistically for myself and my collaborators Amber and Alicia.

None of us are doing this to become rich, but because we can’t help but to write or paint or draw.

So, I’m hoping to be able to present more of a coherent, solid project and plan going forward, which will hopefully result in better social media promotion and overall higher engagement with the crowdfunding campaign and garner more interest in the book project itself.