Under the influence

Video of one of my favorite people in the whole worldformer student, current friend, & stellar writer Lorelei Leereading my work & her own at Evan Karp’s Under The Influence series, in which writers & artists perform work by one of their major artistic influences then perform a piece of their own work that channels that influence.

(This was among the most moving experiences of my life. No joke.)


lorelei reads me poster

New chapbook available via The Poetry Center

A new chapbook of the long poem “First Love” was created for & is available for download on The Poetry Center‘s Chapbook Exchange here.

first love chapbook cover

(With thanks to Gillian Conoley for publishing an earlier version of this poem in VOLT, to Edward Foster for re-printing it with an interview on the Talisman Magazine site, to Jeremy Mayer for the cover image of his stunning typewriter parts assemblages, & to Melissa Eleftherion Carr & Elise Ficarra of The Poetry Center for asking me to participate.)

Kids who die


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Kids Who Die
  –  by Langston Hughes  –

This is for the kids who die,
Black and white,
For kids will die certainly.
The old and rich will live on awhile,
As always,
Eating blood and gold,
Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi
Organizing sharecroppers
Kids will die in the streets of Chicago
Organizing workers
Kids will die in the orange groves of California
Telling others to get together
Whites and Filipinos,
Negroes and Mexicans,
All kinds of kids will die
Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment
And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned
Who pen editorials in the papers,
And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names
White and black,
Who make surveys and write books
Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die,
And the sleazy courts,
And the bribe-reaching police,
And the blood-loving generals,
And the money-loving preachers
Will all raise their hands against the kids who die,
Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets
To frighten the people—
For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people—
And the old and rich don’t want the people
To taste the iron of the kids who die,
Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power,
To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together

Listen, kids who die—
Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you
Except in our hearts
Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp
Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field,
Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come—
You are sure yourselves that it is coming—
When the marching feet of the masses
Will raise for you a living monument of love,
And joy, and laughter,
And black hands and white hands clasped as one,
And a song that reaches the sky—
The song of the life triumphant
Through the kids who die.