Thursday, July 26, 2007

The battle for Red Hook

There's an area in Brooklyn called Red Hook where for years, Latin Americans have gathered to play soccer on Sundays, and a food market has grown up around them, serving tacos, pupusas, huaraches, tamales, and other cheap, delicious meals. Now local authorities are trying to push the vendors out with new permit requirements. My friend Burke made a short video about it, with a great soundtrack by Los Lobos ...

A Tribute to the Red Hook Vendors (quicktime):

or on YouTube:

"Language Burier": Why English should the the official language of the U.S.

[ if you're aghast that I should post such a thing, here's a hint: it's a video from Comedy Central ]

Saturday, July 21, 2007


My heart is crowded with broken furniture
and cigarette smoke.

It’s a wobbly, spinning top.

A water wheel that fills itself up, rises
to dump its contents, returns
parched to the river
to fill again.

My heart is a river frozen over.
Fish seethe underneath, swim in place.

It’s a custard
carmelized on top
waiting for a spoon to tap.

A kaleidescope—

a lead weight
heavy on my lungs—

a tinderbox
eyeing the matches.

It’s a rowboat in choppy seas
my four grandparents
lost in the fog, arguing
in two languages.

I got drunk one night, fall-down
drunk, and my heart became a cage.
I heard a child’s voice—
my father’s voice—
crying out
lonesome and ashamed.

My heart is true,
remembers everyone and every thing I ever loved.

My heart is false,
leads me into the arms of too many
and not enough.

It retreats into a tortoise shell
scratched and ancient,

swells with hope
its steady rhythm beating
against the surface of my skin.

It runs over with desire
and with love. Touch it
and the palms of your hands
stain red.

My heart is a blind old man
walking down Fourth Avenue
talking to the rain.

My heart is a warbling bird
you hold in your hands.

revised December 9, 2007

Watch Real Change for "Greenbridge"

The poem "Greenbridge," which you'll find posted elsewhere in this blog, is to be published sometime soon by Real Change. Unfortunately, does not include the newspaper's poetry section, so if you want to see it in print, watch for paper vendors on the streets of Seattle ...

At the crossing of Story Street and Branch

At the crossing of Story Street and Branch
stands the house where the old lady lived
who bicycled downtown each Thursday evening
pulling a cart, a card table, pamphlets
full of heart and socialism,
to her post between the flower vendors
and the barbecues.

Here’s the school where we skinned our knees,
bruised our hearts, where we taunted
and were taunted,
until June came in sixth grade –
we sang out last children’s songs
signed each other’s notebooks and t-shirts,
saying nothing of our fear and wonder
at what came next.

It’s quiet here.
A bicycle ticks by, a sprinkler drips
droplets on my pant cuffs, on my shoelaces.
A bus rumbles around the corner
where Manuel’s Liquors still sells treats
like Abba Zabba and Jolly Ranchers
and still they pour them stiff
at the Gaslight Lounge
where we filled our hearts and spilled our guts,
turning twenty-one years old.

A blue jay screeches.
Breezes run their fingers
through front porch chimes
move tree to tree
like bumblebees:

A magnolia with one white blossom.
Red bottle brushes, avocados,
lemons and pines.
From thin, robust branches
persimmons emerge, small and green,
making promises
for a sweet November.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Real News

Very, very, very interesting ...

A new online video news network, funded by members, dedicated to investigative journalism ...