“Radical Leftists on Twitter”

I follow
too many
radical leftists
on Twitter

I have nothing
against
radical leftists
In fact
I agree
with
most
radical leftist
positions

I just FOLLOW
too many
radical leftists
on Twitter

It’s the same tweets
over and over
don’t matter
who’s tweeting
it’s the same voice
the same party line
over
and
over
and
over
again
and it’s driving me
mad
which,
being The Mad Griot,
is saying A LOT
but in all honesty
if I see
just
one more tweet
that has the word
“intersectionality”
or
“patriarchy”
or
“white supremacy”
or
“cis-anything
in it
I’m going to lose my shit
and join the Republican Party
just for the hell of it
I’ll follow Megyn Kelly
and Bill O’Reilly
deny the reality
of the Holocaust
Tell black folks
“Slavery’s over.
Time to
start pulling
your own weight
preferably
by the bootstraps.”
I’ll tell feminists
all they need
is a good man
and a good lay
I’ll stop calling for
the shutdown of
Guantanamo Bay
I’ll praise Obama
drone strikes
’cause if those brown
desert people
hadn’t wanted to get blown up
then
they shouldn’t have been
brown desert people
in the first place!
God Bless America!
Long live capitalism!
I’ma sit back, relax,
sleep well on the pillow of
middle-class privilege
and shut out all the radical leftists
who have transformed
my Twitter feed
into a torrent of
radical leftist rhetoric
that makes me
feel guilty
about not wanting
to wallow
in the overall shittiness
of the human condition
every waking second
that makes me feel guilty
about not exploding
with rage
at every racial and social and political and ecological
injustice that occurs on this planet
that makes me feel guilty
and naive
for wanting to believe
in
the essential
goodness
of human beings
even if
those human beings
happen to be
rich white men
that makes me feel guilty
about wanting to believe
in the power
of positivity
and of love
and of acceptance
and of forgiveness

but

since the Right
is pretty good
about making me
feel guilty
about believing
in all that stuff
too
it’s probably
best
if I just
don’t
follow
SO MANY
radical leftists
on Twitter

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“The Rise of The Mad Griot”

Part 3 of The Mad Griot trilogy 

“Alas! Alas!
a hammer
of iron
crushes
my breast

my people
sink
to a seventh hell
made from dreams
made manifest
by minds
made mad
from too long
looking at
mirrors they thought
held themselves
when all they beheld
was nothingness
Alas! Alas!

my people lie shattered
and scattered
at the furthest corners
of the Four Directions
forsaking the language
of the trees
and of the birds
and of their ancestors.
Stopped up ears
Gag-ged mouths
Darkened eyes
deaf, dumb, and blind
their time is
at an end
and worlds upon worlds
weep for them!

Alas! Alas!

Still I strive!
Still I give birth
to sooth-sayers
and sky-walkers
and vision-seekers
and song-sorcerers
but when they call
no one responds
but me
and they know naught else
to do

but wander my breast
made broken by
the hammer that fell
the line of tribes is ending

and the fire is too weak
to forge a new beginning
Alas! Alas!”

I was at a party
celebrating something
and I got very drunk
and thought I saw
Huxley and Bradbury
standing in a corner
giggling
and I said to them
“What do we do?
We’re at the brink!
What do we do?”
they laughed
and said, “Too late! Too late!
naught else to do now
but drink.”

they put drinks in my hand
soma in my hand
someone switched on a TV
so we could ignore each other
more easily
I tried to leave
but Orwell blocked
my escape
and said there was a place
on my face
that was just right
for his boot

I woke up in a cold sweat
and my Muse was there
she had stayed
just like she promised
she would
and I heard the mountain
outside my window
ROAR
so I stepped out
into the night,
and could feel the earth
buckle underneath me
her cries were too much
for me
too much for my ears you see
so I jumped in the car
drove like
the dead
pulled into the lot
of a home renovation store
because my home needs fixing
you see

I threw a brick through a window
and ran down the aisle
and grabbed a pickaxe
and grabbed a sledgehammer
and jumped back in the car and tried to find
the spot
where the earth cried out to me
but she was crying out EVERYWHERE
you see

one spot
was as good
as
another

I got out of the car, and
double-fisted
with my pickaxe and sledgehammer,
I drove them both
into the asphalt
into the sidewalk
hammer then axe then hammer then axe then hammer then axe
both arms working
arms spinning
like windmill blades
like a cartoon character
getting ready to sprint
the earth still lamenting
and me screaming, “I’m coming!”
“Hold on! I’m coming!”
but so were the flashing red
and blue lights
and sirens
and all of a sudden
this plan of mine
seemed
ill-fated, so
I fled the scene of my crime
so I could return to the old one and
hid under the bed
put headphones in my ears
turned on the TV
so I could ignore the earth
more easily
and while
the voices on the screen
droned on
I made a vision board

“Where would you like to see yourself

in one year?
In two years?
In five years?
In ten years?
In twenty years?
In fifty years?
In a hundred years?
In a thousand years?”
In a million years?”
In a billion years?”

Do you see yourself in eternity?

How long before you manifest your
dream job? Your dream lover? Your dream car? Your dream children? Your dream feelings? Your dream thoughts? Your dream body?

Do you not know that you echo throughout eternity?

hands grabbed me around the ankles
yanked me out from under the bed
“No,” I screamed. “No deux ex machina!”
but my Muse had me
and heaved me out
the window
I cartwheeled through the air
for a long time
over a great distance
and I landed at the foot
of the mountain
whose ROAR
I’d heard before
and the mountain thundered at me
and the mountain raged at me
and I screamed, “What would you have of me, mountain!?”
and the mountain said
“YOU ARE THE MAD GRIOT.”

my Muse was there
my ancestors were there.
I wept when I saw them.
I wept for them.
and for me.
I told them
I wanted out
I wanted off the boat
leave me on the side of the road
at the next exit

but instead of salvation
they gave me my drum.
they gave me my rattle.
they gave me my prayer stick.
they gave me my mask.

and they said to me,

“YOU ARE THE MAD GRIOT.”

“What do I do?” I wailed.

they taught me prayers.
they taught me songs.
they taught me
the mind-sight
and they said,

“YOU ARE THE MAD GRIOT.”

“What do I do?” I wailed.

“LIVE AND DIE
AS YOU ARE.”

This I did
for I knew
naught else
to do.

this is was the aftermath
of
Black Superman’s death

all of this came to pass
when the Muse came to stay

and though not everything
you’ve heard
happened
actually happened
all things are true
after a fashion

“The Road”

Road_in_Norway-1
This is the road.
This is the road.

This is
the road of your ancestors
the road of your enemies

This is the road that calls
This is the road that calls
to you

For there is freedom
on the road
There is life and death
on the road

There are cars whizzing by
And birds overhead
And week-old road kill
on the road

There are tired feet
and tired hands
and tired lungs
and tired eyes
on the road

The sun?
Well, it blinds you.
The wind?
It howls past you
and  you just have your thoughts
you just have thoughts that never end
and everywhere you look
is a place to sleep
and you no longer wonder
when or what
you’re going to eat
Your family is there
Your friends are there
It’s your fifth birthday party
You kiss soft lips
You dance around
a broken sprinkler head
like a
savage
and it was all very good
before the road
And all of it goes with you

on the road.

You’re a hero
on the road
A fucking loser
on the road.
You’re a genius on the road and a bum on the road
You’re a piece of shit on the road
and a diamond
in the rough
on the road
You’re whoever you want to be
on the road
and whoever people tell you
you are

on the road

And the stars shine down on you and the wind creeps through your sweater and you’re thankful for your sleeping bag
and you’re thankful to the people who
fed you and took you in
and when they don’t
and you’re sleeping in a baseball dugout
or under a bridge
and hoping nobody sees you
you feel like an outlaw
you feel like the bottom of the earth
and you are alone

on the road.

You were respectable
before the road
You had high hopes
before the road

Now the road is your hope
Your final hurrah
Your last ditch attempt
to fit
until you remember
what else it was
you needed to do

And that too
is the road

It is the road
It is
the road
This is every road
that calls
to you.

“My Muse Is a Heavy Thing”

Part 2 of The Mad Griot Trilogy

My Muse is a heavy thing.

My Muse is
a
fire-breathing
soul-eating
death-greeting
bone-crushing
crucifying
unifying
thing.

She dines on bricks
and
shits stones
and
runs red lights
and
kills old ladies
and babies
at crosswalks
She rides bulls
and leads armies
to the charge
She farts in elevators
Laughs at the wrong
jokes
and cocks her head
at politicking

When I’m on dates
My Muse reaches under the table
grabs my balls
tells me sweetly and sweatily
that I’m with her tonight
And I go home alone
just to prove her right
She batters my head with
word and sound and fury
“Write!”
“Paint!”
“Act!”
“Drum!”
“Shake!”
“Dance!”
“Draw!”
“DO IT ALL!”

I told her once
to beat it
and
she took the words
right out
of my mouth
and rolled them up
and beat me
half to death
with them.

I wouldn’t want to be
in a dark alley alone
with my Muse.
I wouldn’t want to be
in a dark anywhere
alone with my Muse

Which is why
I try
to keep my eyes
open
when she sinks
her talons into my head
but it’s hard
She’s got
no off-
switch
She’s got
no leash
Kryptonite
doesn’t work
She comes
and goes
as she pleases.
“Don’t call us.
“We’ll call you.”
Slams a poem
into me
Thrusts a play
right through me
Smacks me upside
the head
with a dozen stories
And I say
“Thank you, ma’am!
Can I have another?”

Because she burns me up
and I long for her.
She burns me up
and I need her touch
She’s all I got,
My Muse.
My duende goddess
and on nights
when I can take no more
(or tell myself I can take no more
because really,
we can almost always take more)
She curls up next to me
and dreams with me
She is there
in the flesh
as real as any
living person
She is there and in the flesh
and she holds my hand

And all is quiet
for a time

And for a time
I forget

I forget that
my Muse is a heavy thing.
I forget that
my Muse is a
fire-breathing
soul-eating
death-greeting
bone-crushing
crucifying
unifying
thing.