Courage Is The Sweetest Lullaby, a poem

Courage Is The Sweetest Lullaby

Fear not your lions,

And constrain yourself

upon the unsightly sounds

of this date of sorrow.

Do but construct,

And constrain,

For the winter’s winds are but lost

by the summer sun.

The nymphs of the seasons

do hold their treasons so,

Be not the character of

perpetual woe.

Rains do pitch upon this sight,

Wish yourself well,

Wish yourself sweet goodnight.

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The Teacher As The Poet, a poem

The Teacher As The Poet

Content’s production,

Ease of mind and constant rush,

Narcotic ease,

And still the voices don’t stop.

Stagnation is a creative mind’s enemy,

as is cowardice.

We are our words,

our letters and symbols.

Intentions mean nothing when they fail,

Yet success is still a subjective term.

I am responsible for the quiet dawn

of these minds,

if only for a day.

What world do we live in now?

What world was it before?

And what shall it be?

This is not a journal entry,

Poetry is public record,

And to be used,

On what was “just” another day.

Poetry’s Place in the Revolution: The Rant of a Socialist Poet

God fucking cock sucking mother fucking damnit!

Quite a poetic opening am I right? Yes a bit blunt but to be honest I am in a foul mood. I started off the year strong by getting published twice in one month, but ever since June it has been a series of pitches and rejection letters.

I start my work days by checking email, and to be honest I am just getting tired of opening my inbox only to find reasons why literary journals don’t want to publish my poems about the heart, the body, the soul of the creatives in revolution.

Poetry and art are all about putting what is in the heart, mind, body, and soul into a tangible thing for others to experience.

I am a socialist, an organizer and proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America. I love my organization because we are only as good as the work our members put into it, and I love to work. My place in this organization was like a hand in a glove (cliche I know but still) but what has escaped me is a very important question:

What is art’s place in the revolution?

I know some of you might be thinking, “But James, this has nothing to do with your rejection letters!”

I’m getting to that. I am a writer and I will do whatever it takes to make my living doing this. Prior to my complete radicalization, my incorporation of a material analysis into my world view, I was very much just hoping to be one of the next great poets. Someone whose words would just resonate with the times they are in and become a controversial definition of the days it was written. The next Shakespeare, the next Allen Ginsberg, that was what I wanted to be.

But then I realized something, I was creating just to create. I was writing in a totally self expressive way with no political motivation behind my words. “Art for art’s sake” was my original motto, but now I see that does not exist yet. That can never exist as long as the arts are commodified, as long as creatives are at the mercy of wealthy patrons and publishers who want to control the tone of our cultural and political dialogue.

What is the place of the poet, the artist, the filmmaker in revolution? It is not as propaganda agents of a worker’s state as some may believe. No, their place in the revolution is to bring truth to the masses. Their job is to express truth in ways that the petty bourgeoisie artists of the status quo, in other words “hacks”, cannot.

That is what my poetry is about, asking and answering the question about what art or poetry can and should do to aid us on the March of History.

So that is what I write, that is what I pitch to publishers and literary journals.

And what do they publish instead?

Corny hacks who write poems about cookies and daffodils and memories of an over privileged childhood in a way that is so over the top and self indulgent that it would make even Marcel Proust vomit.

I rest my case.

Self Care (a poem)

Self Care

Self care,

Not selfish.

It is not self care to not care.

Self care,

Not escapism.

It is not self care to ignore it.

Self care,

Another radical term,

Coopted by soccer-moms

and aging Deadheads.

Self care,

Not an excuse.

It is not self care,

It is in no way care,

To let anyone suffer.Your

Three Napkins I Scribbled My Soul On

Recently as I was filing my chaotic pile of notes that clog my writing desk I came across three napkins with sporadic red sharpie on it. I remembered that last summer I was at a huge party to see a friend’s band. In a fit of something I have yet been able to describe with words I wrote down this stream of consciousness on the materials available to me, which as I said were a sharpie and napkins. I read the gibberish on them and decided that they offer a good look into what is going on in my head, constantly, all the time, every day. Even at a super fun raging party filled with stuff I like.

What is the point of all this,

What am I doing here?

What is the point of these kinds of gatherings,

Is there even one?

Perhaps that’s the point.

The goal.

The goal is to have no goal, no aim.

Just release.

Freedom.

Sigh,

Why am I so deep in my own head?

Why can’t it just shut off

And just be tonight?

Probably the weed?

Who care, it

Doesn’t matter.

I am enjoying this.

I am enjoying streaming the

River that is my thought

My consciousness

Onto these sheets of scrap.

Who cares, do what you love,

Fuck the rest.

“Freedom.”

Now there is a word that is bastardized by the right.

That is what reactionaries do.

They just take words.

Words,

Words that matter, words that are important,

Words WE need.

and they bastardize them.

This is what went on in my head at a fun party, full of drinks and weed and good friends, yet this is what was rushing through my mind. Maybe it was just the effects of being so goddamn crossfaded that night, but I don’t think it was, because even without liquor or weed in my system this is what is constantly ringing in my intuition’s ear. This is what my mind is doing all day, every day, without stopping.