Tag Archives: poerty

Rust In Piss NYC

Williamsburg Bridge circe 1996 by vagabond ©
Williamsburg Bridge circe 1996 by vagabond ©

rust in piss nyc

the displacement creeps up slowly at first
like a pretty vine that eventually cracks the facade
this isn’t the place that nurtured me as it tried killing me
and rewarded us when we found ways to do more than survive
it’s no longer that place

it’s no longer the place we grew up in
our pride can only be placed in the past
the present is no gift and the future doesn’t want us
everywhere i go it’s the same
this alienation this feeling of un-belonging

nothing to claim as your own because what you claim
is out of style out of fashion out of vogue out of time
no place to claim as your own because it’s all changed itself
to be something for someone else

disowned disavowed displaced

this city once belonged to those strong enough
to claim squatters rights to the ruins
because there was beauty to be found in the rubble
because it was part-time art and full-time living
because we filled the abandoned with play and creation
because we could thrive among the decay
until the decay and all that lived in it
and all that it gave to imagination was given an eviction notice

what was once yours because it was no ones and everyones
now belongs to someone else
what you thought would always be yours
because it was no ones and everyones
has been sold to the highest bidder
and the open source dreams we built from living within the debris
have been bulldozed for pre-fabricated dreams
that come with closing contracts and first last and security

you only owned the blood you spilled here until you spilled it
you only owned the saliva you spit here until it hit pavement
you only owned the piss you took here until it wet the cornerstone
we only had the idea and the ideal we never had the deed
and without the deed you only own the memories
and memories don’t pay bank notes

even vagabonds need to be from somewhere
what will i say when they ask
my answers will be mythology
my stories will be artifacts in a museum
the way of being that i grew up with
shaped by a place that no longer exists
all of it will be ethnography anthropology archeology

we survived the extinction of this place
only to record what once was
we survived the extinguishing of the fire
only to feel the cold
we survived the execution of these streets
only to breathe life into ghosts as they pass through us

the broken glass glistening like fake diamonds swept
the rough texture of years smoothed
and the vibrant aerosol colors of memorials drained
these few remaining familiar faces dying
surrounded by strangeness without ever having moved
surrounded by the unfamiliar without ever having left
to be replaced with the tenants of the ahistorical
maybe it’s only an intoxicating nostalgia
or a yearning for an anarchism that left us to our own devices
but you can’t blame us for
wishing that it would all rust in piss once again

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-BW



Who’s ready?

Who’s ready to rip the throats of politicians to silence the lie and clear the air of the noise pollution so the voiceless can be heard…?

Who’s ready to liberate the airwave frequencies of the toxic fascism of fear and financial profits…?

Who’s ready the bite the hand that sustains our hunger…?

Who’s ready to stop taking the medicine that’s making us sick…?

Who’s ready to feed bankers silver spoons either in liquid or solid form, we’ll let them decide…?

Who’s ready to make the cops come out with their hands up…?

Who’s ready to surround theses many Jericho prisons and blow horns for seven days until the walls come tumbling down…?

Who’s ready to level the playing field by swinging a wrecking ball into stock exchanges and driving bulldozers across banks…?

Who’s ready to light a match to the money that’s been blocking the warmth & the light of the sun…?

Who’s ready to pull back the curtain to light up and disinfect the bleak future that’s hobbling in with a bad cough…?




Don’t worry this isn’t an indictment of you, i’m not an armchair revolutionary poet, i’m afraid too, of what they can do…

We know the future fear is greater in comparison to the present fear but i guess it’s not a sure thing until it’s too late…

But when will our future fear, surpass the present fear?

What will it take for our future fear to give us a present courage?

– vagabond ©

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1wc

Something Beautiful

Something Beautiful by vagabond ©
Something Beautiful by vagabond ©

Last Poet Abiodun Oyewole has a new book coming out this Spring from publisher 2Leaf Press called Branches Of The Tree Of Life. It’s an omnibus collection spanning over four decades of poetry. It will feature an introduction by Sonia Sanchez and is being edited by 2Leaf’s publisher Gabrielle David. i produced and directed a few short films for 2Leaf Press to help promote the book. Something Beautiful is the first in a series of short films highlighting the life and poetry of Abiodun.

Branches Of The Tree Of Life cover by vagabond ©
Branches Of The Tree Of Life cover by vagabond ©

Something Beautiful was shot over two rainy days. i got the idea to shoot in the rain after talking to University of Connecticut professor and fellow 2Leaf Press author Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez. The poem is about Abiodun struggling to say something beautiful but hampered by a cocktail of bad thoughts, bad feelings and unresolved history flooding his day and making it almost impossible to say something beautiful. i wanted it to seem as though it was the rain that was hampering his ability to say something beautiful but as the film progresses it’s the rain that is beautiful and it’s Abiodun in this space who is struggling with these bad thoughts and bad feelings and unresolved history.

My DP Jeff “AK” Akers did a fantastic job shooting the film. He found ways to make beautiful images out of the mundane. He took drain pipes and reflections and graffiti and dark skies and men pushing a shopping cart and transformed them using a delicate balance of composition, light and darkness, so that each shot evoked a kind of fragile tenderness… i’ve been working with Jeff for many years, he has a keen eye and resourcefulness for stripping away the artifice and getting to the essence of things… He had a huge role in making Something Beautiful, beautiful…

Abiodun’s Branches Of The Tree Of Life will be out soon, keep an eye out for it, as well as a few other short films i’ll be releasing around the book…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1lX

By The Numbers

Mya by vagabond ©
Mya by vagabond ©

By The Numbers
(for Mya on her 12th birthday)

She’s born 12/24/2001
Her 1st 4 years she’s beaten and kept locked in an apartment
For 6 months she’s in foster care
At 4 1/2 we meet and she comes home with us
At 5 she got a fatty tumor
At 5 1/2 she got breast cancer
Her 1st surgery takes out both tumors at once

At 6 she got pancreatitis
3 days in the hospital with no food or water and just an IV
At 7 1/2 she’s gets a best friend
At 8 she gets pancreatitis a 2nd time
3 days later she can eat white rice and boiled chicken
At 8 1/2 she got a soft tissue sarcoma on her leg
Removing the tumor takes 2 surgeries
Then she does 6 chemo treatments over 18 weeks

At 9 1/2 she gets a seizure while playing in the yard
Her 3rd cancer is a brain tumor
Doc gives her 2 to 6 months to live
She’s on phenobarbital and hydroxurea 2x a day
At 11 her 2nd MRI says she’s officially beat the brain tumor
But the soft tissue sarcoma on her leg comes back a 2nd time
It’s removed in the 4th surgery of her life
She goes back on oral chemo for 6 months
It’s the 4th time she’s told cancer “to bring it’s ‘A’ game”

Her 4 legs give out due to arthritis and age
She’s picked up from slips and falls 4, 5, sometimes 6 times a day
She needs help climbing the 13 steep steps upstairs at night
She hesitates for 30 seconds before i carry her down in the morning
1 day a week we get cold laser treatments to reduce swelling in her joints

At 12 it’s easier to die
But not as much fun as going for 45 minute walks
Or 10 minutes of playing ball in the yard
Followed by the 2 to 3 hour naps afterward
Sleeping on the couch knowing it’s 1 day at a time
Dreaming of running as she kicks her feet 36 times
Knowing it’s a numbers game getting to lucky 13

– vagabond

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1fB

Both Ends Of A Mystery

Resister 1991 Polaroid by vagabond ©
Resister 1991 Polaroid by vagabond ©

both ends of a mystery

we were working

at the five and dime

in the subway

the first time i saw you

it was shotgun adrenaline

and i was sure of something

for the first time

you were standing there

a strange girl

glowing in that

glorious imperfection

burning both ends of a mystery

– vagabond ©

Background Note: My girlfriend Resister and i went on our first date 23 years and 5 months ago today on a Friday the 13th… We went to the Criterion in Times Square (now a Toys R Us) and saw Die Hard 2… Then i took her down to the Christopher Street Piers to hang out with the junkies and the drag queens where we kissed for the first time as the sun set…

But before all that we met at Lamston’s, a five and dime in the underground arcade of Rockefeller Center just around the corner from the token booth clerk turnstiles. She worked the shelves and the register. i did window displays. It was Christmas time and i told her that i was going to make the best Christmas toy window she had ever seen. She laughed. i couldn’t think of anything else to say…

She was odd and beautiful and very strange. i got fired a few months later but i kept coming back  to Lamston’s to see her because i was haunted by her strangeness. i kept coming back to try to unravel the mystery she was (and still is) to me… i did that for almost three years until that fateful first Friday the 13th in July of 1990… The rest is history and present and future…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1ft

Cut-Up Photo Poem #2

do not enter
fire zone
drive thru