Tag Archives: community

FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

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FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

 

From Muscle Shoals to Bakersfield familiar vagabond spirits I meet

torch of knowing burning through opened eyes

we know what’s it’s like to live on the other side

to exist on the outside looking in

we know why others find comfort dwelling inside another’s’ dream

and why we choose a life

chasing freedom

 

From Tacoma to Portland, Maine

I recognize their kind

essence of life dripping like sweat from the tip of our nose

committing sins as if sins are our daily bread

forgive us father for we have erred time and time again

attaining knowledge from our trials

forgive us father if we have grown so much wiser

than the fearful kind who have faced no trials at all

forgive us father for we have sinned

time and time again

learned from our mistakes and moved on

aware that experience may darken the soul

light dimming with the passing of years

but if we allow wisdom to blossom from failures

there’s a special kind of light that burns

when we conquer our fears

 

From the harsh winters of Fargo to the tropics of Brownsville

we move on down this road with a song in our hearts escaping

these weary travelers disconnected

from mechanisms of society intended to control us

disconnected from those desiring to lord over us

to own us

we cut the puppet strings and paved our own road out of here

this song in our hearts escaping

our severed hearts finding a chorus to hold on to

these vagabond souls singing all the time rejoicing in

Whitman’s Song of the Open Road

Slumlord

 

 

Reworking my resume, tripping through previous job experiences:

 

 

craftsman porch

 

Where businesses are boarded up the body bled

on tree lined streets dreamers have fled

small wooden homes line avenues in decay

and those who can’t dream are condemned to stay

 

On a craftsman porch ghosts of forgotten children playing

hear the tinkle of keys drifting through open curtains

in the background of memories piano concertos wafting

while down in the streets

real children with guns play a dangerous game

between gangsta-rap beats instigating

 

A row of cars circle a house on the corner

prison bars on windows and doors

on the porch a man in a suit of armor studies

broken concrete sidewalk weeds rising through cracks

where junkies stand in line waiting on snow

and I’m here seeking my fair share of the dough

inside a card table and folding chair for décor

paid in sweaty bills from the pocket stash of a whore

 

At another house not far away

I arrived without delay

Neighborhood Association busted down your door

stole your crystal and so much more

dried crimson streaks across the floor

evidence of the final minutes for you and your girl

indescribable horror screaming

in the silence of a stain

indescribable horror still screaming

as I helped the King’s Men fill out the report

 

On another street not far from here

earning my pay while admitting no fear

three months had passed without word

so I put your worldly possessions out on the curb

trick of irony you appeared

as the last of your things walked away

snarling teeth spitting in my face

would have killed me if you could

the duties of my job you misunderstood

Children of the Hive (birth)

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Down at St. Mary’s First Presbyterian Sinai Methodist Baptist Hospital

a child is born

Aleene Junko Wang Onur Hassan David Kimiyo Yesenia Vladimir

Miguel Andrei Abner Lissette Sema Ron Hormisdas Souzan Jorge

born in these government dispensaries harvesting fresh humans

for corporate consumption from heavily seeded urban fields

embryos encased for nine months in complexes of sheetrock pods

infants bursting forth from darkened wombs

Li Damica Choko Kseniya Corradeo Ahmad Neylan Camara Zackery

Callie Hana John Vander Tariq Jenna Khalil Zhang Seymour Rocco

sprouts bursting forth from seeds

twisting and turning

inching toward that life giving light of illumination

fed artificial light of artificial things destroying

the unaware

these blooms of factories

Jomo Tamiko Mogens Shalom Zerrin Peter Rudo Nuncio Salama

Alaire Jilt Sofia Curtis Ignazio Taillefer Anouk Zeki Helida Tryne

organic components grown on the human vine

replacement cogs in a machine

factors of production

blooms clinging to the vine in winds of a perpetual storm

just another flower in a seed farm

whose sole purpose is to labor and consume

cultivated to serve

the purposes of corporate harvesters

cycles of time repeating

again and again throughout history

this workforce herd in constant breeding

birthing a future workforce

Stepan Zohreh Elizabeth Rada Darice Gabrielle Kristina

Masao Chen Victoria Jesus Dai Aida Orazia Teresa Maria

cities are corporate farms harvesting a crop

plumbers bricklayers and framers

preserving the foundations of slaves

Lia Juan Gao Tamie Archa Akemi Basia Neal Orli Paki Skye

Adia Kya Govert Eshe Steven Rei Zola Eli Huang Marta Joost

truck drivers dock workers and railroad engineers

transporting consumables to keep the slaves fed

professors bible school and public school teachers

subliminally instilling fatalistic programming into our heads

work work work until you’re dead!

and every hospital is the Alpha and Omega

the beginning and the end

birthing cities

over and over again

communal cornerstones towering over the populace

watching her children live and die

silently standing by

as her children live out their lives

Eabroni Irina Tallis James Yildiz Aleah Zainabu Elena Wu Nasim

Kahraman Tian Emanuelle Yu Michael Elma Naoko Akar Boris Joel

lost in the struggle to define themselves

falsely seeking false light

and when they’ve reached the end

there’s a hospital at the expiration of every lifeline

taking her children in again

Her Rain

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In the season of the storm my ballasts have come undone

moorings once secured to a stable berth

anchorages now destroyed

the unseen beauty hidden in the tragedy of a storm

release of chains, breaking of shackles

the beauty of destruction is in the release

of the moorings holding us down

I am another wayward traveler drifting

floating on currents of Time

wandering aimlessly in and out of storms

across empty oceans searching

oceans of empty knowledge at my stern

just another lost child

an afterthought in Yahweh’s mind

so many storms eclipsing the sun

angry disturbances spawning indictments against an only son

foundations of this fragile vessel constructed from planks of weakened memes

breaking apart when challenged

when an angry wind howls my shame

and lightning damages my sky

hail pummels, scarring flesh

breaking bones

punishment for things I’ve done

foundation of self disintegrating under pressure of storms bearing down

vessel gone

arms flailing wildly in ocean of despair

hands grasping at broken planks floating by

a life-preserver, anything to survive

sinking

drowning

final breath passing through lungs, escaping lips

sleep, eternal, sleep

is here

release, eternal, release

is here

final breath of destructive beliefs

exhaled

Awakening on a distant shore

salvation found in a plank from a foreign vessel

on my knees coughing up former self

broken and bleeding

stormy ocean behind

fury dissipating into gentle breeze

whispering

We suffer because we want . . .

We suffer because we want . . .

and suffering no more is all I desire

from a fire burning on the beach she emerges

as tears from heaven explode in the sand

taking infant steps forward I stumble and fall

out of the storms falling

into her rain

She invites this lost traveler into her home

sanctuary for the unborn

transcending consciousness in her womb

darkness shattered by light doomed to be extinguished soon

as we pass from womb to future tomb

light existing only in this moment of passing

before darkness consumes

In her face a reflection of me

such a natural beauty I’ve never seen

a tear she sheds for children yet to find their way

a tear for humanity

Brahma tears falling like rain

naked at her bosom feeding

I lay

wrapped securely in gentle arms

masturbating

ejecting worldly seed

system purging everything

lips pulling on nipples extracting truths

unmovable truths deeply woven into threads of Nature

striping away lies I’ve told myself

there is no permanence, everything decays . . .

stripping away lies of society

the constructs of men are an illusion, nothing is real . . .

the remains of Eden clearly visible outside my front door

and my shadow lays dying on the floor

bleeding so many beliefs untrue

tears of joy falling

nurturing rain cleansing

her rain kissing

my soul

Pavlov’s Dog

Aspiration-ad-image-001a

Found a new religion on the silicon prairie

theology born from psychedelic minds

of Ventura Highway refugees

gospels of semiconductor devices deciphered

by silicon valley high priests preaching

quantum physics to screw with the mind

Keepers of the faith

caretakers of this new knowledge

stationed in outpost churches on a new frontier

dwelling in pulpit cubicle caves like shamans of old

speaking Latin to a congregation naive

strange tongue of engineers educating factors of production in efficiency

I was tutored by a Hell’s Angel in high vacuum technology

Knowledge of ancients purged, brain reprogrammed with

A/C, D/C, digital devices, and Boolean Algebra

balanced with chemistry, biology, and trigonometry

learning to speak the language of Engineers

solving mathematical equations deciphering mind of god

Higgs Boson valance shells and free electrons

the more I learn the less I know

awakened neurons igniting tiny fires burning tissues of brain

constant whispering in my head as knowledge spreads

same below as above, same below as above

and I get it now

On the fabrication floor soothing hum of magnificent machines running

properties of the sun replicated in machines striking plasma

hidden state of matter shining like truth

unrecognized as it scorches lives

hardened targets melting Al Ti and platinum

laying down microscopic metal interconnects on silicon plates

where electrons flow like a river

Boron atoms shot into silicon altering conductivity

of devices spun

atom by atom creating high technology

electron microscope revealing blueprints of a city once unimaginable

electric pulses opening gates switching analog devices

off and on off and on off and on

discovering the universe is one giant algorithm yet defined

In pyramids rising across the globe

architectural monuments of this new technology

high priests train slaves to serve agendas of high priests rising

as demigods delivering

high powered hand held devices of functionality

distracting feeble minds

who declared the new boss is the same as the old boss

and nothing ever changes

so I earned a degree

and the engineers laughed and set me free

I am Pavlov’s dog, the one he let go

searching for a new master

Candy Man

From The Evolution of Disconnect:

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A sea of people in the streets with nowhere to go

homeless crack heads winos prostitutes and bums

colored by despair

tones of charcoal grey filtering

hope a distant light generated

from some other far away sun not reaching this world

dreams deflated by reality

so many dead eyed men surrounding

closing in

smothering

an ocean of charcoal grey tones storming

wave after wave crashing down

Deep into the concrete forest I ventured

graffiti on ramshackle shacks warning

bars on windows and doors symbolizing

desperation of men wanting

this territory of men forgotten

deep into this concrete forest I ventured

this place the king’s men refused to enter

heard the report from the shotgun blast

saw your soul splattered on a chevron wall

hung my head and whispered a prayer

down in the streets praying a sinner’s prayer

When the flood came you had my back

warning of plots from the graveyard hoard

those dead-eyed men conspiring

as the river crested over urban streets

.357 at a beggars head

clinging to the final dime-bag in your hand

ten-dollar whore on her knees behind a drugstore

overworked lips cracked with sores

cheat a man at dice over on Pine and you’ll get a pint

upside the head

liquor store pavement stained red

by the blood of a man who tried to make a difference

but Satan is the wind whispering your name

‘cause god already fled this scene

and I’ve witnessed too much to ignore the code

when another man has my back do what I can

to satisfy his needs for reward

so I offered up a square

and he walked away dancing without remorse

Down the road beneath a charcoal grey steeple deeply scarred

bars on windows and locked doors

providing safety from beasts roaming the hood

children found shelter

good people fulfilling a mission

to preserve the light in children’s eyes for as long as they can

anxiously waiting for my truck every Wednesday at two

and when I entered the room with hands full

all the children smiled and cheered

the candy man is here!

the candy man is here!

Broken Highways ch1

Those who danced were thought insane by those who could not hear the music

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

1.

August, 2011.

 

I’ve fallen off the grid.

 

Forgotten highways and dirt road backstreets are my lifelines. Cow pastures, turkey barns, and asphalt parking lots in old, abandoned towns are my homes. Removed from the white noise of the city Earth’s heartbeat pulsates through the skin, recalibrating an emerging soul. Silently I dance a dance of chaos to the rhythm of a dying sun.

 

From the doorway of a converted school bus parked behind a turkey barn I sit on a step and watch as the sun sinks into the earth. An explosion of colors race across a deepening blue sky, reflected back into the universe from my eyes. Scent of rain hangs heavy in the air as storm clouds retreat in the distance.

 

Engulfed in emptiness I’m all that remains of a congregation that once gathered here for a weekend each month. Voices of ghosts echo inside the head. Closing eyes, a thousand faces stare back but the connection is gone. Energy has ebbed. Love has evaporated. Path fades in a diminishing light.

 

This is my church, my religion, my spiritual awakening. In the distance trees congregate to meditate. Flowers bow heads in prayer. Silhouetted against the horizon, mesas rise up to witness the ceremony. Stars emerge in the east, twinkling brightly with anticipation. Wind carries a sermon and I lean forward to listen. Eyes close and a restless spirit is soothed by the words. Weightlessness consumes the body. Mind is set free to roam the countryside, soaring across land and water, across space and time to a place where the lines of reality are blurred, a place where boundaries and labels can’t exist, into another dimension where limitations are not known. I am but an illusion in the physical world, just another soul trapped inside a host.

 

Everything is a symbol.

 

I am a child of the Earth, born of the elements, grounded in the soil. My soul was born from a seed planted inside this host and took root in the consciousness of the universe. I am the darkness and the light, the rising and setting of the sun and everything in between. My soul has merged with the force that sparks life into everything. I feel all it feels as it fills all of me.

 

Opening eyes, sun is a tiny red orb sinking over the horizon. Lightning from a distant storm illuminates the sky and I pretend it’s a thought passing through God’s mind. Scent of rain remains but storms have passed without releasing a drop. Fields have dried up. Vegetation is scarce. Ground is hard, deeply scarred by cracks. Ponds, creeks, and rivers run dry. The path abruptly disappears into the charred remains of the land. There is nowhere further to go. This is the end and I am but a symbol of something yet to be understood.

 

Everything is a symbol.

 

My name is Jason Powell and I was shoved off the grid.

Broken Sky

It’s not unusual for my works to range over a wide variety of topics. What is unusual is for me to cover such a broad spectrum in a single effort, but that is the point of this poem.

 

broken sky

 

Hit the natural world bathed in mother’s blood and bodily fluids. First thing you feel

is a gloved hand slapping your ass. First lesson learned is that this world exists

to break you

 

Shine a bright light on a spinning mirror ball. Choose an artificial light

from an artificial sun because your family methodology is a prism

bouncing off a wall

 

Take a punch in the mouth from a kid up the block, spit a tooth out. Kid laughs

and says brother, if you wanna survive you’re gonna have to learn to fight.

Lessons learned at age five

 

Witness the mark of the beast branded across our foreheads. Implanted ideologies

burned from the inside out thanks to mommy, daddy, religion, and public school.

Branding iron has been passed to you

 

In the pulpit snaked eyed men are busy crafting life preservers with wizard words.

Salvation or damnation, the choice is yours but beware, these life preservers have

no rope to pull you in

 

Went to the garden to find Mamma a rose but the garden was a desert as vast

as the universe. Flowers I found were withered and dead so she placed them in

a cracked vase in the darkness beside her bed

 

Politicians selling us out in back room deals to machete faced men dancing

pirouettes on corporate cred. Life ain’t worth living if you’re not on the edge

and I got a time bomb ticking inside this head

 

Some think this is sane, this age of men pissing on one another for monetary gain.

Concrete foundations erode and crack with age so I’ll slip through a crevice and

make my escape

 

See the cracked rainbow in the sky? Romantics lament about better times but romantics

got it wrong. Those halcyon days are a lie and down in the streets poets die,

shredded by the debris of a broken sky

Maria

This poem is vastly different from anything I’ve penned in the past and I struggled with it for weeks before deciding to post. Might regret this later . . .

 

backrods cover photo2

 

Maria dressed in sandals and short plaid skirt

braless in a spaghetti strap top

another man’s face tattooed across her heart

and names of those she’s destroyed scribbled down her arms

broken angel wings she attempts to hide

this is Maria, intending to alarm

 

Cursed by visions of setting suns

she cradles a flaming torch in arson hands

living her days on the run

as vast fields burn in distant lands

in Albuquerque she makes a stand

desperate revelations shared in a back alley dive

barrel of a .45 pressed against dead men’s minds

 

In western New Mexico she hits a bank

and I achieve awareness with a water pistol in my hands

banker face down on marble floor

Maria straddles over him praying for God’s lost souls

surveillance camera on the wall she stares and proclaims

I am the dream inside your illusion screaming to be set free!

 

Back road into desolation we flee

and Maria’s visions return frequently

across sand flats peppered with dirt floor ramshackle shacks

yellow colored yards home to rusting abandoned burned out cars

in deepest stretches of emptiness where exiles hide

embracing visions of massive totem poles piercing the sky

encrypted symbols she reads and solemnly decides

this is humanity on the rise

 

In an east LA motel the King’s Men make their move

capturing Maria sleeping nude

locked behind bars downtown praying

for broken-spirited men so many years waiting

on an eidolon to set them free

 

Tried by a jury not of her peers

she’s convicted in the land of non believers

visions are condemned to death

by those who cannot understand the source of her breath

tongue is a weapon like a scythe

removed by the deaf who fear the swath of words so vile

 

But prison bars couldn’t contain her soul

so each day when the dying sun sinks into the grave

Maria quietly makes her escape

moving stealthy across the land on a hyperbolic wind

whispering sermons in ears she easily bends

reminding there exists no reason for fear

Maria’s whispers I plainly hear

life is an illusion and none of us are really here

Hippie Child pt1

I accidently penned this next poem while attempting to say something completely different under the same title. Somewhere between the inspiration for the original version and my fingers hitting the keys on the keyboard this new version exploded into my head and onto the computer screen. Not certain how it got there or where it came from but here it is anyway.

I should also point out that I have nothing against hippies. I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being a hippie myself. This poem is about my lack of political party affiliation. I always vote, but I’m tired of having to choose between the lesser of two evils. Our elected public servants should be so much more than that.

 

HIPPIE CHILD

 

Refuse to dance with the left

refuse to dance with the right

I won’t hug a tree or get down on my knees

and succumb to your ideology

try as you might I’ll never fight your fight

got a mind of my own and maybe it’s slightly blown

but I’m going to think for myself

so put your philosophies on a shelf

go program someone else

 

Corporate political religious cults

everywhere I look

thinking you speak for me is such an insult

empty promises bait the hook

homicide and suicide on the rise

your words are human pesticide leading to our demise

I look at you and you at me and what do you think you see?

another hippie child needing to be set free

 

Dance with the left, dance with the right

but I’ll never dance with you because of all those things you do

souls bought and sold by shadowy figures behind closed doors

in backroom deals where good intentions fall to the floor

 

In homes across America children need a meal

banks foreclose on families because Dad lost his job at the factory

so shareholders could earn another penny on the dollar

in the streets grown men wonder why they bother

 

You can look at me and I don’t care what you think you see

because your hippie child I’ll never be

peace, love, and fuck you

your hippie child I’ll never be