Tag Archives: urban hymns

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

Leaving

wild turkeys in fog

A city boy by birth, I eventually broke free of the high intensity hectic urban lifestyle and made my escape to the country. 15 years I spent peacefully dwelling on a small spot of land where the forest dissolves into rolling prairie. Out here, surrounded by an abundance of undeveloped acreage, cattle quietly grazed in green pastures along with coyotes, rabbits, armadillos, owls, hawks, wild turkeys, bobcats, and of course, snakes. At nights we sat on the porch and watched the moon rise from the east, 1113brighter and more vivid than ever before. My wife often commented that she could see the bands of the Milky Way floating above our heads in the night sky. We slowed down. As the white noise of the city faded we began to hear something new, our thoughts, our inner voices, inspiring us to discover our souls.

During this time we also built a small business that took us down the highways and back roads of America. 10 years we did this and the experience changed our core selves, for the better (I like to believe). Some people think we were insane for abandoning traditional career paths in exchange for the romance of a gypsy lifestyle on the road, but those people are wrong. Drowned out by the white noise of the city, they’ve never heard their inner thoughts softly speaking to them, encouraging them to take risks and seek new adventure. They’ve never been liberated from the all-mighty, soul consuming corporate machine. Most of these naysayers had never experienced that kind of freedom. Severing the corporate umbilical cord is a gambit most people are too afraid to take. After all, it’s only your life and future well-being that’s at stake.

After 15 years nurturing my soul, the journey abruptly came to an end. I returned to the mainstream, to corporate America as another cog in the machine. After 15 years of rural splendor, I moved back to the city.  Then I penned some verses about leaving a life behind, mostly for therapy I suppose, and made these verses the prologue for my recent collection of poetic attempts, Urban Hymns. 

 

Leaving

 

Said goodbye to the road

open highways and miles and miles of empty space

bid farewell to my country home

isolation and peaceful contemplations

buried my business and my way of life

buried the man I used to be

buried it all six feet in the ground

left behind everything I knew to be right

sun moon and stars

fresh air and Natures’ masterpiece

left it all behind in my rearview mirror

hit the road and headed north

made my way to the city

where men have little pity for the honorable kind

inserted myself into the mainstream

reunited with my brother and sister

reunited

with the children of the hive

Domino Effect

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When I try to stand, pull myself to your waist, do the best I can

try to be a man

you push me away, knock me down

say I’m not good enough

When I try to speak, express myself

voice these thoughts

you shut me down, say hush up, go to your room

no one wants to listen to a child

When I try to think, exercise my mind, expand my boundaries

you tear me down

expose these youthful flaws, count the reasons why

I’m not smart enough

When I attempt to dream, set lofty goals for a possible future so grand

you remind of all the mistakes I’ve made

condemn me

to failure over and over again

When I try to protect what remains of this bullet riddle psyche

so many emotional wounds inflicted through the years

you rationalize your destructive methods as parental guidance

justify your actions as love

swear to everyone

you raised me as best as you can

refuse to share any blame

‘cause this is how your parents raised you

and their parents raised them

so on and so on

I may not be the final domino in this line

but I can promise you

I will not fall

will not knock my children down

Stagnation

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Old man donated

forty years of loyal service to the corporate logo

forty years behind a desk, filling out forms

endless meetings, a yes man for self-preservation

never rocked the boat

never found fault in the corporate agenda

never learned how to live

liked to brag about the level of stagnation he achieved

After forty years of servitude they came and declared

it’s time to retire, thanks for the years

here’s a small plaque and a pin for your lapel

notice the corporate logo?

thanks much, it’s time for you to go

time to train someone new for your post

Four days later those who worked beside him all those years

we’re far too busy for memories of people who used to be

because the machine keeps rolling

world never pauses to reflect upon those left behind

in the stream of Time

Four weeks after retirement

they forgot his face and all the things he had done

all those things being mundane

achievements not worthy of lasting fame

after four months most couldn’t remember his name

couldn’t remember him at all

as if he never existed

never sacrificed his soul

his one and only life in the physical world

sacrificed for the corporate goal

and the disease of stagnation leaves a man one dimensional

drops him off at a station in Time

never to progress

baggage of unfulfilled dreams at his feet

Sunshine

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She works nights down at the factory

sacrificing the sun

keeps to herself, burned so many times

silently performs her tasks and when the shift is done

walks away down darkened streets so cold

fully aware

there’s no sunshine for a working class girl

She rents an apartment on the industrial side of town

where tenements and smokestacks congregate

rising high into the sky

this city of the hive blocking out the light

black ash raining down

while she sleeps all day long

sleeping

through the time of the sun

Once a year she celebrates

in front of a window cross legged

patiently waiting

for the sun in its ritual trek across the sky

slips between two buildings

once every 365 days

brilliant sunlight flooding the street

penetrating frozen windows bathing her apartment

in natural light

closes her eyes as luminescence washes over her

dreams filling the soul

for the sun in its eternal quest

will pierce the darkest corners of the world

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

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.

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

Damaged

 

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I was born a blank slate, the byproduct of the proletarian class

birthed into a superstitious clan, the socially awkward kind

Saints on the wall and ghosts in the machine to explain away

things they could not understand, holding on to empty dreams

and addicting medications to soften damaged minds

We are the vehicles broken down on the side of the road

vehicles to carry the load

vehicles improperly maintained

not enough fuel in our tanks to deliver us where we want to go

We are desperate dogs sleeping beneath park benches in need of awakening

with razor sharp teeth capable of ripping

flesh from bone

caged animals never biting the hand that feeds

We are replaceable cogs in a machine that keeps rolling

disposable people eking out an existence in a disposable world

nothing of substance in our lives, nothing to connect to

and when knowledge is spawned through grief

only the damaged grow aware