Category: Poems from the book Id Biscuits

Are You Paying Attention?

The headlines have got me concerned.
I’m asking, “Haven’t we learned?”
We must bend the arc of history,
and keep moving forward. Can’t you see?

Instead the television is filled with shouting,
by “leaders” whose sanity I’m sure doubting.
We’ve got candidates filled with hate,
and they want to rule these United States.
Pay attention to what it is that they suggest,
then hit the streets and go protest,
for this betrayal we cannot allow.

The founders must be rolling in the ground,
at the way we ignore our constitution,
and argue over any real solutions.
This nation was founded by the people.
We can’t let control go to someone evil.

I’m hearing them as they go and stump,
and their ideas belong in the dump.
We must rise above racist systems,
and unite all as brothers and sisters.
Elect a person who can lead us,
and make sure we work for freedom.

This soulless rhetoric of hate
was never meant to be our fate.

Poems from the book Id Biscuits

Family Lines
Or Why It’s Complicated to Be a Southern Raised German Born Jewish Peacenik Hippie Child of Veterans

My life is just some generational transformational
geographical fishing polarity road show.

My mom grew up staring at an old castle
high within the German mountains.
She was staring right into another country,
looking across the river from west to east.
She couldn’t cross over to visit for the mines
that filled the land and river,
and the Russian border guards stood
with their bullets, ready to deliver.

She grew up beside the train station
where no longer any trains did run.
My great-grandfather worked upon the railroads
during World War Number One.
My grandfather was a barber—
he was always cutting hair.
I remember walking along the train tracks
when I was over there.
I’d be picking up snail shells
from the cobblestones right after the rains.
These days my mom attends ceremonies
for stolpersteins.
She takes care of my grandfather,
as he’s running out of time.

I learned how to be ashamed I was born a German,
in the schoolrooms of a Louisiana private school,
when my classmates found out I was foreign.
They called me a Nazi,
and I had to ask mom just what that was.
I don’t remember my mum’s answer—
just that I wasn’t one.

But the insult stuck inside my head,
and the pain—it lasted.
Looking back I’m not the least surprised
about their stereotyping ways,
because I also remember at school assemblies
dancing white kids dressed in blackface.

With the school bells rang a message loud and clear:
“We all know just where you’re from,
and you ain’t really from here.
You’ll take no pride in where your family was from.
You just forget about all that, and be a good American.”

I am a worldly immigrant
with many European summers spent
out riding trains and touring castles,
and not in summer camps,
aside from brief day time bible school,
where I did not believe in everything,
but really liked to sing.

Eating strange foods in other languages seemed fantastic,
and for all that early experience,
I must thank my mum,
for all the normal I never will know,
traveling was more fun.

My dad loves Elvis, gospel songs,
cowboy movies, and Old Glory.
He’s the one who taught me how to draw,
and the art of telling stories.
His tales were filled with childhood,
his army days, and that of prisoners that he guarded.

His father descended from a farming family
out of Georgia and the Carolinas.
In the war he worked in communications
and stormed the beaches at Normandy.

My dad says he remembers
when the schools got integrated.
He lived down south, and unlike some,
his heart wasn’t filled with hatred.
Dad was raised in a family of nine children—
dirt poor out in Mississippi.
They moved down there by Galveston,
out to small town Santa Fe,
but I knew nothing of Vietnamese fishermen
or sundown towns back in the day.

When I was in Texas as a child,
all I knew was dinner with my cousins,
feasting on cornbread and lima beans on Thanksgiving Day.
Most of them came up playing guitars, fiddles, or just pranks.
No words of the many Confederates
that are hiding in the family tree.
In my tree, of soldiers, there are so many,
in every war declared in American history.

And so my dad’s dream was to join the U.S. Army
for some noble cause to fight among their ranks,
just like many of his brothers.
He ended up in Germany,
guarding border walls and driving around in tanks.

On the night he met my mom,
there appeared a round of free drinks.
Each one looked to each other,
assumed, and gave a loving wink.
As it turns out some random stranger,
some matchmaker of fate,
had bought the whole bar a drink,
but for my parents, it was a date.
That’s how come I exist
with all this history on my plate.

They had one child together before me:
my one brother, brother James.
He lived three months, having died in surgery,
and the image of his grave is etched upon my mind.
My dad says the night my brother died,
a ghost ripped open the windows.
When family starts with broken hearts,
nothing will be the same, though.
I asked one day for a photo of James,
and he said, “Look in the mirror.”

When I was born in that summer of the eighties,
my parents chose America,
filling out reams of paperwork,
so my life would begin as a citizen.

Mix into that my Jewish soul,
a healthy heap of idealistic hippie lefty predilection,
rock and roll, a rebellious soul,
the bullying of this nerdy tomboy intellectual,
longing for some far away
freedom lands just like did my mother,
getting in trouble at school
for doing art just like did my father,
and you’ll hear the heartbreak in this poem
rings stranger than fiction.

This is the back story to my Oklahoma rambles
and my California dreaming.
I dream of the railroads, cut my own hair,
oppose war, tell stories, and keep scheming.

Tear down the stereotypes of your mind,
forget the apparent contradictions,
and this is why I am who I am—
what can exist in one single person!

Call me then a bleeding heart
or one whose heart breaks for their art.
I don’t see myself the victim of some intergenerational karma,
but I aim to stand up on the correct side,
as the present once again repeats the past.
Of that I’m bound and determined this test to pass.

Else what from a single life,
might any of us be learning?

Poems from the book Id Biscuits

If You Were Me

You’ll be born into a Southern working-class military family.
You’ll be born in Germany,
and emigrate to a nation of immigrants who don’t like immigrants.

You’ll get picked on for that and because you had a bad haircut.
Kids won’t know if you’re male or female,
and to make matters worse,
you’ll be a tomboy,
but it will teach you open-mindedness about sexuality,
because you won’t want to treat anyone the way you were treated.

You’ll grow up watching spy shows on the television.
You’ll try to be a spy as a kid,
but you’ll get in trouble.
They’ll suggest you be a writer.
You’ll dream of being a poet,
but you’ll dabble in every other art form first,
forgetting about that dream.

Your earliest heroes will be Jewish
folk musicians and comedians,
and you’ll grow up watching westerns
and listening to country.
You’ll completely forget those last two lines of facts.

You’ll rebel against your parents
by listening to rock music,
and against your peer’s angsty culture
by listening to only older music.
Then for many years, you’ll try to fit in,
but you still find you only like new bands with an old sound.

You’ll have a strong sense of morality
and lean left politically in a conservative place,
mainly because you’ll discover you’re a pacifist,
and you like protest songs.

This last thing will get you in trouble,
so you’ll try to pretend the opposite.
You’ll pretend so long
that you’ll forget your real feelings.

You will search high and low to find people
who like what you like, but they’re rare.
You’ll meet your husband and convert to his religion,
because you won’t believe in Jesus due to Santa Claus,
but you’ll still believe in following biblical laws.

You’ll move to California chasing a dream and escaping bigots who were chasing your husband for being Jewish,
and later you’ll try to become a rabbi,
only to find out he isn’t considered Jewish.
You’ll completely refuse to fight the system
because it otherwise largely accepted you.

They’ll tell you your whole childhood how creative you are,
except that you can’t do it as a career.
You’ll try anyway.

You’ll win awards,
but not make enough money,
and end up doing what your parents told you.
You’ll forget you were a good artist in the first place.
You won’t be able to find any sort of permanent job.

You’ll get depressed because you’re lonely,
and join a synagogue to find some friends.
You’ll get injured at work.
You’ll try to be an artist again
just to distract yourself from pain,
not really caring about monetary gain.
You’ll start listening to country, folk, and oldies again.

You’ll have time off
where you finally get to know your friends,
and you’ll realize they were who
you were looking for your whole life.

Poems from the book Id Biscuits

Who Lives Here?

Sure, if you have a door, it has a lock,
but you shouldn’t answer holding a glock,
hating on every stranger that cares to knock.

I know it’s hard to trust in this world of fear,
but fear is not who really lives here. You do, dear.

Welcome those who find your doorway.
You just might find a new friend today.

Hospitality will always trump “Go away!”
Fear is shouting, “Close your doors!”
It’s so certain that there’s a coming war.

Open your heart. You know what that’s for.

Poems from the book Id Biscuits

Dreaming

Expectations of the future
in the stories you tell yourself
must be discarded
before joy can bring you health.

Hang onto your dreams,
and chase after them so you thrive,
but remain attached only to the big picture
and not to the details of how they should arrive.

Lest disappointment blinds you
from the miracles that reality brings.
If you quiet your mind enough,
your soul will start to sing.

There is a creed that only dreamers dare
as into the space of possibility they stare
reciting these words found there:

“Everything you have ever wanted
will come to you if you believe,
dream, and work for it.”

You can’t spend your whole life dreaming,
because if you’re dreaming,
you can’t feel a thing,
and if you want to move forward from here,
you’re going to have to feel,
and sometimes that hurts,
but you can always heal.

Don’t worry, the worlds have a door between them,
and ideas are freely flowing.
Anything is in the realm of possibility
if you can keep your soul a glowing.

Poems from the book Id Biscuits

Rise!

Rise up, you nation of dreamers!
Awake from your slumber!
Open your eyes!

If you want to survive, you must rise!

When you don’t know where to begin… Rise!
When you awaken to troubles again… Rise!
When you can’t get in the flow… Rise!

When you aren’t sure where to go… Rise!
When you think you’re all alone… Rise!
When the truth sets you on fire… Rise!

When there are tears within your eyes… Rise!
When the world weighs on your shoulders… Rise!
When the headlines leave you breathless… Rise!

When you can’t believe the news… Rise!
When you think you may still lose… Rise!
When your heart is about to break… Rise!

When it’s a feeling you just can’t shake… Rise!
When you hear the call for help… Rise!
When your soul lets out a yelp… Rise!

When your feet tire from marching… Rise!
When your voice is growing parched… Rise!
When you think you can’t go on… Rise!

When you don’t believe you’re strong… Rise!
When you feel the bottom fall out… Rise!
When you’re drowning in your doubts… Rise!

In your soul is a feeling you cannot disguise.

Connect to what you already know,
and you shall surely thrive.

Poems from the book Id Biscuits

Collective Dreamers

The American Dream died before I was born,
trickling down into the drain
in the gutters of Greed Street,
but we still feed its comforts to our newborns.
20 some years spent in education,
only to be stuck in jobless frustration.

They say it’s not what you know but who,
might do some mighty favors for you.
I want no favors, although no one truly makes it alone.
I want to give and be given to, freely.
I want to love and be loved, freely.
I don’t want any mind games. You see?

The dream was buried out at sea,
a funeral underneath the tears of you and me.
I don’t dream of a bigger house, a better car, and oodles of things,
but of a nation living by its ideals.

I want the myths that I learned in school
to rise up and be absolutely true:

Liberty and justice for all, and I mean, all.
Equality and dignity so we can stand tall.
Peace and freedom for every one.
Joy and happiness—it can be done!
Long, loving lives to our daughters and sons.
A nation of the people, under good,
rooting for the righteous underdog.

The wheel of time keeps on running around,
and there ain’t new characters to be found.

We keep dividing up the rainbow,
when it’s meant to be united,
chiseling our love away with our divisions and isms.

As my generation comes upon
troubles right after graduation,
leaping into indebted joblessness,
a recession, endless wars, big bank bail outs,
riots against racist cops, passionate political protests
and dusty droughts,
it sounds just like the old stories from the history books,
to which most folks forgot to take a look.

The spheres overlap, and ideas overlap.
Middle ground can indeed be found.
We need not all agree,
but we need not all be enemies
that seek to condemn
just for a difference of opinion.

Old world. New world.
Goy world. Jew world.
Secular and rational, too, this world.
Spiritual. Scientific. Religion. Politic.
Multiple truths. Multiple solutions.
It’s all in how you look at it.

Poems from the book Id Biscuits