I was a mermaid in the lake of my father's sorrow

coated in the skin of his encrusted melancholy

I devoured his sad like a vulture goddess

My small body willing

My small body’s love made willing

To inhale his darkness, to be made of

His darkness

to devote the energetic

trajectory of my being to transforming

Knowing, holding, embracing each and every

Place where he was hurt

Where he was broken

Where he was nothing

This was my purpose

This was my life

To feel my father

To feel my father

To feel father

To feel

To father his feelings

His life was wholly unfelt

In this sense his life had not yet begun`

And I, more than anything

Needed my father to begin

To be alive

This determined

Whether I would live at all

And because my father and I

Were one

One living breathing organism

(Love is that potent)

His heart wrapped around my heart

His breath entwined in mine

His desire to live

Like a river of blood

Ran from his veins to mine

He was my reason

He was my hearts desire

Breathing life into him

Which from that point of view

At the age of 5

Was no different than

Breathing life

into the world.

The law of emotional gravity:

those who are open will 

for those who are closed

It is not a choice

It is not a pleasure

It will just happen

That which needs to be felt

will move like water over falls

It will go to where it can be known

It will go where it can be held

It will go where it can 

It is why women are sick sometimes

Why we get headaches and

unidentifiable ailments 

why we are slightly mad 


full of something we cannot describe


call it anxiety, depression


doubt or despair

but is a transcendental malady

why we find ourselves in outbursts of sudden tears

not hysteria

as the medical fathers pronounced

criminalizing our generosity

pathologizing our munificence

trust me

our hips are that wide

our empathy is that oceanic

we tell ourselves it is coming from other

lifetimes maybe

but in fact its this lifetime

this house

this bedroom

this dining room table

tense with the unspoken

this about to explode

the unpredictable mood swings

this father

this husband

this boss

this boyfriend

this brother

last week I sat  

with five brave men

in front of thousands

five brave men who were willing to expose

how it is to live as a man

the talk was getting closer and closer

descending deeper and deeper

we were literally crawling  

into the clogged vascular pipeline of men’s broken hearts

the men were talking

but I was suddenly falling instead

into what wasn’t being said

and perhaps it wasn’t falling

no maybe it was sinking as this water or was it

blood or was it liquid sorrow began to rise

and spread and fill the stage and the audience

it rushed around me and through me

like I was harbor

and I knew this blood, this sorrow was of

the same sea, the same

 tsunami that has turned so much

of this world into a wasteland

we are drowning in men’s  

unexpressed grief.

They are so busy

Denying it

punching it

flattening it

fucking it

smashing it

and smashing us

who hold their grief

we who are the mirror of their grief

as a child it was

my sneer

my unwillingness to smile

sad greasy haired girl

I never understood how

I got that sad

so quickly

I wasn’t old or wise enough to understand


But I was already a complication of grief

Men see their grief everywhere

they see it in the setting light of day

they see it the complaint in women’s eyes

they see it in their 10 years old daughter innocent body

they see it in the open hungry mouth of their wailing baby 

they see it in the job they just lost

in twisted killer jaw of their own daddy who punched them

before he held them

in the field that yielded no crops

in the barn that burned

in the factory that just closed

in the suit that’s torn

in the fever that spread

in the wife and child humiliated by the master

in the wife and child raped in front of him by militias


Three days after Trump  elected president

everybody's moving so fast

some marching up and down and down and up

fifth avenue to the tower

like a dystopian fairy tale

on the way to the tower

chanting, screaming

others are zapping out opinions, predictions

explanations, conspiracy theories, and blame

that’s what people do after a tragedy

I’m always surprised how quickly

People get going

How fast the dead body

gets wheeled away

how instantly the arrangements gets made

how quickly the gossip begins

this time I want to scream


the body alone

don’t touch it

I want to sit by this corpse

and rub my hands over the cold flesh

of what we’ve just lost

I won’t mind the stench

I want to stick my nose in the aroma of this death

I want to be sad really sad

and cry and climb into bed

with this dead body

and put my head on the chest of the hard cold flesh

of what’s been lost

and maybe vomit and not

stop vomiting

or rock back and forth over the body

like I did as a child

or lie there pawing and moaning

at the body like a deserted dog

I want to wail and wail until I have no more

voice to wail

and pace and huddle

stop eating and then eat a lot

chain smoke out the window

as the protestors go by every few hours

day after day

I want to lie in the magnitude of this

in the outrage of this

in the insane broken duality of this

I want to stay here and remember the lies and history that

Led to this

Be awake to the con of neo liberal actors and gamers

Who set us up for this

While they were doing

Self-interested sleight of hand tricks in back rooms

With fancy philanthropy talk

its actually not alright

its actually awful

it could be the end of the world

its most likely  the death of many of us or the death

of too many

of the animals and the fish and the bees

and water and the coral

the melting of the artic has already increased

in the two weeks this darkness has come

ice breaking apart just like the hearts of so many

you can hear the cracking across the country

a fault line of internal pain

the insulting and humiliating

the deafening fear

of people who are poor and white

striking out at people who are poor and black

and the dividing is rapid as cancer cells

old immigrants against new immigrants

people who don’t wear the hijab attacking women who do

gays bullied in starbucks

swatiskas on metal crates:

“make america white again”

go back to your home

go back to where you came from

and it doesn’t matter that its here

it could be catastrophic

worse then the atom bomb

worse than  anything we’ve ever  known

I don’t want to tell you its gonna be alright

We’ll get through this like we always do

It will be the basis for the new left

The momentum for the break through of the new paradigm

The impetus to give up our privatized issues and silos

And work for the more collective story and each other

I’m tired now after all these years

I don’t want to move

even though I appear to be moving

I don’t want to have ideas or suggestions

Although I seem to be making them

I don’t have any hope although I’m acting like I do

I’m in grief

desperate irreconcilable grief

and I’m not gonna skip this

I’m fucking sad

I’m fucking bereft

You always tell me to snap out it

but I’m not gonna this time

I’m gonna follow this grief through

I’m gonna see where it takes me this time

I’m going to give my body to the river of grief

And get banged about on the stones and rough waters

I’m gonna led it rip me open

Until I bleed and cant take anymore

There’s another place down deeper

A new thought just out of reach


Way past the


the dream

the american dream

the dream that we give ourselves to

the dream that’s ahead

where we could go

the dream of eternal and stupefying optimism

that dream of expanding

always expanding

the dream that is more seductive than reality

this violent river of grief is cracking

a billion pieces of dream

the veil has to drop

the curtain has to be raised

the dream  has to be blown up

or given up, or trampled

or wrestled out of hands

or exchanged for another

the dream that was made on the

frontiers of genocide

in the cotton fields of slavery

rugged individualism

take what is yours

own the land

plow the land

make it

make it here

at any expense

the dream

is bigger then you

more meaningful than us

more powerful than life

and when the dream fails

as it does over and over

the most vulnerable get blamed

not the dream

not the dream makers

the dream pimps or peddlers

the most vulnerable

are charged

being in the way of the dream

not being white enough

Or man enough

Or tough enough

or American enough

to fulfill the dream

And their weakness

Their poverty, their disappointment

Their yearning is 


making the dream impossible for you

but the dream was a wholesale lie

an invention

stronger than opium

stronger than instinct

or god

the dream involves

pretty things

and clean sheets

and fast shiny cars

and things that can transport

you out of your misery

hard work will take you there

freedom of the individual will take you there

you can make it here

make it here

make it here

the dream insists you never complain

or question

the legitimacy of the dream

of the constructers of the dream

the politicians

the Hollywood producers

the media experts

the fashion makers

the bankers

the extractors

the culture setters

this American fucking dream

this greatest country in the world dream

the place where everyone is free  dream

land of opportunity dream

land of the welcoming dream

land of work hard and everything will work out dream

land of everything will happen in the future dream

land of if oprah can do it dream

land of self empowerment and leaning in dream

land of pull yourselves up by the boot straps dream

land of nobody helped me but look how I made it dream

I want to give my body to this river

Of grief

The indigenous who in 5 below temperature

Are being sprayed violently by the water they

Are protecting

the Black and Brown people who were already

afraid to walk outside for fear of getting shot

the two thirds of the wild animals who

Will be gone before my granddaughter is 20

She is now 11

River of grief rocking

the children of immigrants

sleepless in their beds

Waiting for the door to crash open

The grief of young suited up men

Making Nazi salutes in a hotel in Washington DC

Who devote their lives to making the

World white

Even though they celebrate darkness

Grieve for the young girls whose

Bodies are worth less than firewood in the

Fire of capitalism

Grieve for the pussies grabbed

The land stolen

The militarization of our consciousness

One day soon we will be eating bombs

Grieve sex that has become conquest

love that is exchange

concern that is commodity

security that is murder

Grieve the trickle down that never trickled

the bankers who conned us and betrayed us

Grieve the corporations whose greed

Is so massive

They kill what sustains them

Grieve those who will not grieve

Who will not weep

who will not feel

who will not cry out

Grieve this story that birthed

this president

not my president

this ultimate product

this entertaining thing

 narcissistic artifact

this selfie

this spit of a tweet

Churned out of neo-liberal clay

Deregulated, hyper, privatized,  

Freely traded and trading

Fucking winner

He is the winner

He has won

And even the fact that his victory

May ultimately mean the loss and death

Of earth




Free speech




African Americans

Women’s autonomy of their bodies

Women’s safety



National parks

A ground to stand on

So let me be a student of grief

A devotee of grief

Let me stay here in the river a little while longer