June 2

Souls Aflame #wearorange

Wear orange

I joined a group of about 20 menschy folks from my synagogue as part of the #wearorange march across the Golden Gate Bridge, protesting against gun violence. This is the poem that it inspired.

D.L. Lang wearing orange

Souls Aflame

It is good to march.
To keep your spirit charged.
And so here we are.
We pursuers of peace
with our souls on fire
for the kinder world we desire.

A sea of orange drifting
across our Golden Gate
unified marching
against violence and hate.

A passionate parade of protesting people
gliding across the bay
galvanized against
the glorification of guns.

Chanting clad in electric orange
men, women and children
who fight and who mourn
for those lost too soon
to this culture of death.

We spring into action
in their memory.
We are the voices longing to be free
to live in a world of peace.

No longer shall we remain silent
when it comes to the tragedy
of gun violence.

Surrounded by moms and mensches,
igniting our souls,
raising our consciousness
towards holy goals.

Bicycles and tourists we dodge.
10,000 holy steps towards a good cause.
Returning the greetings of friendly cars
whose horns ring out as if to say,
“May your message go far
and may change come today.”

Five golden miles
across county lines
we flowed with peaceful smiles,
praying for change
with every step.

We march through the fog and cold,
declaring a single life is superior to all the gold
cashed in from all the guns ever sold.

The bridge is ignited
fluorescent by our collective light
urging our government to do what is right,
as we refuse to give up the fight
for a better world.

Marching towards that day
when a weapon is no longer what humanity needs
and we shall all live in peace.
Soon. God willing. Soon.

Until that day good hearts
must step up to lead
this nation to be sensible about guns
instead of giving in to fear and greed.

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May 20

Bring the Heart Back Into The Heartland

Grunge flag of USA. Horizontal composition

Bring the Heart Back Into The Heartland

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
These harsh laws are so heart-breaking, man.

Being raised an Oklahoman, I confess,
becomes harder to be proud of
as the state attempts to roll back progress.

I don’t even live there anymore,
but, Oklahoma, you deserve so much more!

I want to say that not all Okies agree,
and their hearts are ruled by love, not bigotry.
The government is so out of touch with the people,
most of whom just want to live, love, work and be free.

This nation is fueled by justice and equality,
and not by hate and division cloaked behind steeples.
Stop persecuting folks in the name of your faith.
A religious life is about love and spirit, joy and grace,
and not narrow-minded control of every different face.

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
Stop these nonsense laws and take a stand.
Find a way to move past your fear and understand.

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
Have compassion on your fellow man.
Be as welcoming and open as you can.

Bring the heart back into the heartland.
C’mon, Oklahoma, I know you can.

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May 17

Bernie on the Waterfront #BernieinVallejo

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Bernie in Vallejo

Bernie on the Waterfront

It started as a whisper, a rumor, skepticism.
“Was he? Would he? Here? Really?”
And by evening it became a wild roar, a joyous cheer,
with excitement surging through the town, shouting,
“Bernie is coming! Bernie is coming here!”

Folks who don’t live here might miss the beauty
of our majestic little city.
We’re number one in diversity—
representatives of all humanity
fill up our rolling streets.

And they said nothing big ever happens in this old town,
ever since they shut the old navy base down,
since bankruptcy disrupted our downtown,
and acts of violence left folks wearing a frown.
Thank God for the artists, singers, and clowns,
spreading joy and community to everyone around.

Because if we’ve still got art,
then we’ve still got hope,
dreaming up creative ways to cope.

As this new world erupts with age old issues
and stories of struggle straight out of dog eared history books,
and the streets they ring with protest songs,
singing out the difference between right and wrong,
it’s the stuff of boundless imagination
that’s just what we need to build a better nation.

Helping one another is a way we can unite.
We’ll unite to turn this town around.

Whether working class families or artist folk,
let’s all work together. The solution is in sight.
People from the left, and people who know what’s right,
all are gonna come out to see Bernie this night.

The revolution has come to Vallejo.
The revolution is here on the waterfront,
with every beautiful color of the human rainbow,
standing together, young and old.

This revolution is an uprising of the heart.
Souls rising above the greed
to where compassion leads.
We need to build a better world,
and it’s up to us to start.

Bernie coming to Vallejo ain’t a joke—
“a future to believe in” is what he promotes.
Working for a better world depends upon your vote!

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May 12

#BernieInSacramento

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Bernie in Sacramento

Standing sunbaked for hours,
achy feet, people in the streets.
collecting buttons,
lazing in the grass, getting sunburned,
hiding cross legged in the shade of the masses,
waving signs about revolution and a better future.

I think I found the hippie vote.
The people who care if you and I can stay a float.
I’m in. Bring it.

Overheard in the crowd,
“The music here is so good.
The people are so nice.
The hippies are back.
All kumbaya.
Yeah, songs—that really makes us dangerous!”

That felt so much like home
that I almost want to say
it was a spiritual experience.

Gathered in a sea of thousands,
singing songs about peace and freedom,
lead by solo acoustic guitarists,
and one who used his violin pizzicato.

We are the troublemakers,
says one speaker,
a euphemism for leader,
igniting sparks.

Bernie enters the scene
soundtracked by Springsteen,
and waxes on about how to make our country a better place
for all people of all varieties,
with better treatment and opportunity for all,
and asks you to believe in the impossible and work towards it—
towards a more hopeful future,
keeping the dream alive.

In a world so corrupt,
doing the right thing seems revolutionary.
An honest politician,
consistently serving the people,
uniting across boundaries—
what a rarity!

Among the mass parking lot exodus onto starscaped highways,
I left, uplifted, inspired, and praying for a miracle,
for the hope of the first Jewish president.

I left, truly feeling the Bern.

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April 10

My La Familia Epic Poem Contributions

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Happy Poetry Month! One of the coolest things happening right now in poetry, in my opinion, is this crowd sourced epic poem that the U.S. Poet Laureate is compiling. Below are my submissions so far, and I’d encourage anyone who likes to write poetry to contribute a few words and be a part of history.

“La Familia (The Family) is an opportunity for you to contribute to an epic poem of all our voices and styles and experiences that will run the span of my Laureateship. By contributing to La Familia, you will be part of my family—and all our words will be seen and our voices be heard, throughout the nation and beyond.” – Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2015

You can contribute your own here: http://www.loc.gov/poetry/casadecolores/familia/index.php

My La Familia Epic Poem Contributions 

The roots of the global family tree run deep within our souls, 

holding steady new generations of dreamers, 

but we are merely seeds floating softly in the wind, 

until we find a way to blossom together.

When I was six months old my mom and I 

took the great trail in the sky

leaving her homeland of Germany

traversing the Atlantic Ocean

to start a brand new life

in this country called America

with my father, a soldier,

from a small Texas town.

Mensch!” flowed from my German mother’s lips,

Often in frustration, like “Aw, man!” 

Or the coarser cowboy curses of my father.

To my Jewish ears these days,

Mensch is the highest of compliments,

Indeed a blessing, not a curse word at all.

Peace will come the day we forget how to drop the bombs or make the guns, 

When we get along underneath the same old sun, 

Singing songs in holy unison no matter where we’re from, 

Yes, peace will come. Peace will come. Pray before the day is done.

I am a military brat turned pacifist, 

Born into a family dedicated to service, 

But prayers of peace are my dear wish. 

My cousin Jeff gave the ultimate sacrifice. 

In Arlington his heroic soul now lies. 

The words “thank you” just don’t suffice. 

Democracy means we all have a voice,

and we all have to make a choice,

but we have a responsibility

to choose what is right and good

for everyone.

Humankind wrapped in a hug, 

hands joined in respect and love, 

spread across this earth 

to be filled with the spice of life, 

mouthwatering perfection, 

kindness is the tortilla in this holy burrito, 

and we are a rainbow cornucopia of unity.

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