“Plea Bargain”

you will have to bear
some of this madness.
i kept the knife
and held it
at bay
held it to my
own throat
shouting
“Back, back,
you devil!”
but now
you will have to
bear
some of this madness.
i am too tired,
too lazy
this flesh is frayed
the leaks too many
yes, I’m sorry,
but you will have to bear some
of this madness.
let your mountains
take
the brunt of it
let the sun melt it
let the wind
scatter
the load
and let the iron branches
of your oldest trees
brace themselves.
even the birds
can carry their
fair share
of it
take tiny bits
of it
on their light wings
the squirrels can stuff it in
their cheeks
and the roaches should
eat what they can

but you will have to bear
some of my madness

and what
you cannot
bear
you will have to dump

there’s room in your oceans

there’s room in your rivers

there’s room in the bowels of the earth
deep underground
There’s room in your alleys and your gutters
in your crowded restaurants
in your boardrooms
and think tanks
there’s room in your seminars and social gatherings
there’s room in the blackness of space
above the earth
where it can make its way from star to star
and swirl in
the outer rim of a galaxy
till it’s pulled toward the center
like shit down a toilet

please,
would you be
so kind
as to bear
some of my madness?
then
I can bear yours
a little better

“Kings and Queens”

I grind my teeth
at those
brothers and sisters
who claim
we’re descended
from a race of
kings and queens
as if
the day
before
European
slavery
descended
upon us
we were all of us content
sunning
ourselves
on the savannah
decked out
in dashiki
every man and woman
free
to do
as they pleased
and running out of
shea butter
was our only
care

history’s a funny thing
like religion
like a mirror
like a song
whose words
you don’t know
so you make them up
to keep the rhythm
and the scheme

some of us were kings and queens

AND

some of us

lost

our heads to these kings

AND

some of us

cleaned the queen’s shit from out her toilet

there is no
royalty
without a host
of loyal subjects,
subjects
who can
love their yoke
or curse it
just so long
as they
pay
tribute

so

if
you wish to be
a king or queen,
here’s a check list
of what you’ll need.

1. a sword
2. a rod of iron
3. a lot of gold
4. a lot of army
5. castles or pyramids or temples

(and because castles
pyramids and temples
do not build
themselves)

6. slaves

“Sweatshop”

I’m washing dishes
and hating
every minute of it
hating it
hating it
hating it
hating
the way
there’s just
so many of them
when all we did
was re-heat
fucking leftovers
and
hating
the way
my back aches
(my scoliosis, I have
scoliosis, you know,
so my back has to work
much, much
harder
than your average back)
oh yes
and hating
the way
my knees lock
because
I don’t like
to bend
my knees
for an entire dish-washing
period because
it makes me feel
like
I’m going
to take
a shit
at any moment
being
in this semi-squat
state
my bowels
get confused
and they think, “Oh!
We’re very relaxed
right now. Let’s
do this!”
and I don’t want
to shit
myself
at the kitchen sink
so
I bend my back
instead
of my knees
which
I know
is bad
for both
back and knees
but there you go)
So you see
why I hate
doing dishes
and I see
a small pot
that has
MADE IN CHINA
stamped on the bottom
and I think
I should
probably
just
shut
the fuck
up.

“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