BEAUTY HAS LEFT THE SCENE

stop killing black people(For George Floyd, and countless other people of color killed by terrorist police and vigilantes)

Don’t tell us of beauty
today, poet—
Watch your words.

Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.

Correction: Another body lies cold
in the street.

Correction with some truth thrown in:
We murdered another unarmed black person.

Eyes brown and beautiful
thick with love
and hands tied back
black both the hard pavement
and soft neck
upon which knees
both blue and white
kneeled for all the wrong reasons.

Taken not by an invisible virus,
but by an all-too-visible violence
by those who protect and serve.

Yes, something they are protecting
and serving lurks,
strangling us all.

What is it?

The cement runs red
color of innocence
color of guilt.

The train keeps rolling.

Another night,
some balmy summer eve perhaps
show us the way the light
circulates through the bones.

But not today. Today is dark
and ugly.

Beauty has left the scene.

Please, please poet, please
don’t speak to us about beauty
or how the world
is meant for you and me.

The clouds have descended
and the sun is a mirage.

The clouds are in our hearts now, coagulating.

Sometimes the only thing clear
and bright
is anger

and everybody knows about Mississippi goddam

but we got a hold of our goddam Mississippi sword
cutting the endless pillow
of grief

deep as the well
into which they threw the body
of Homero Gómez González,
Monarch Butterfly Defender.

The clouds have descended.

Too heavy for the sky now,
they parade up and down
the lonely city streets,
crying out:

“Why?!
What have you against decency?”

Wondering if whiteness washed it away.

No energy to shape-shift anymore, they plead:

“What will it take you to stop?
For we want to return
to the sky
where we belong.

The people deserve some warmth.”

No, poet don’t speak of beauty today.

Beauty has left the scene.

_________________________________________
Photo: @Nati.earth

Text FLOYD to 55156.
Follow @ShaunKing @Color Of Change

BRIDGE OF BELONGING

162000DB-7CED-4D57-A204-1F4531EFE57B
Yes the Star in me
solicits to dream
and dear yearn

Yet when yearning’s burn
spends and softens

becoming just Being
and finding no fear
in me

I stretch heartfingers
pruned of pity
and pride
and groomed of greed

by which is meant we meet
on the bridge of belonging

Touch and touch met
in equal measure

weaving from all things
smooth and holy blooms

I see you there.

Let us open our everything

and walk together.

SCENIC ALTERNATIVE

E28F9DFD-A47E-49AA-B677-EAB6F961C447
It’s time to die.

You know it’s time to die because that weight
you’ve been carrying around
in your chest

is no longer a treasure.

Because the sacred stories have all become tall tales.

Because the egg that cracked
in you
brought that bright golden bird
but hasn’t built its new nest yet.

Because the debris
has accumulated

and there’s not enough space
for the Big Grin—
the shape your heart makes
when all the sunspots
are cleared.

Don’t worry, death is not
what it used to be.

Just ask the spring
and its relentless pinking
and purple petaling.

Its gregarious greening
is nearly unbearable

and just like it, who you are
keeps surfacing

whether you want it to
or not.

But not first without
the exquisite requisite—
the slow sloughing off
of stale skin of seasons past.

Nothing’s meant to last.

Not youth or bloodless truths
or all the yous
no longer you.

So honor the hour
and die well with wow
making a ceremony of it

with a bow towards your corpse
and a bow towards the clearing
where your new season
is arriving.

#ryanvanlenning

WHAT IS IT?

29A8129E-EAA9-46D9-9DE8-F8DBCDEEB267
We’ve all been there
the way we bare our teeth
to ourselves
in our sleepwalking

tearing open
skin and scars

barely pausing
to notice it gives no nourishment
nor pleasure

yet the gruesome frenzy
continues unabated

sometimes gnawing
on our own bones

is a final desperate act
of wanting to feel alive

as the incisors cut in
to our precious femurs

This is called self-abandonment
in some circles

and there are 17 thousand glorious methods—
we all have our favorite.

“Oh my what big stories you have!”

We might say
as we lend our curiosity

to that moment
our lips begin to curl
and we begin to salivate.

It can go either way.

What is it
that relaxes our jaw

that brings our gaze
back up to witness
the mess
that awful trail of blood

with our paw prints
slopping through?

What is it
that bells us awake

that instead of chomping down
yet again

moves us to lick the wound
like a lion cub?

After all, weren’t we only following gravity
and a song of desire?

What is it
that instead of devouring

finds us feeding
that exquisite sensation
of hunger
with an epic love?

What is it?

POSTED: Who Owns the River?

012A8D82-9083-4EDB-A6C1-DA08741D76CF
POSTED: No Trespassing. POSTED: Private Property. POSTED: Violators will be prosecuted. POSTED: This property is monitored by digital surveillance. POSTED: Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again. POSTED: Violators will be strung up by their toes and electrocuted. Under penalty of law. POSTED: Smile. You are on camera. POSTED: Your slow death may or may not be videotaped. POSTED: The river and all the fish and frogs therein and rocks alongside it are mine, not yours. POSTED: The forest and all the dirt, wild irises, and rotting logs therein as well as the owls and quail and even the feathers falling from the sky are mine. POSTED: The lullabies of thrushes and lilt of spring breezes, the scent of mugwort, the taste of salmonberry are mine. POSTED: Violators will prostrate themselves toward the law. POSTED: Violators will suffer immense pain. POSTED: Private Property. POSTED: No Trespassing.

LOYAL TO THE EARTH

5B77AA4D-B271-479C-914A-A8EB7ABCD37B
🌏LOYAL TO THE EARTH

I want my words to be loyal
to the earth

a celebration
like the spots on a fawn
prancing through young pine

or new dawn dancing
past the night

I want my words to be soft
as a bunny’s butt
and feather grass

smooth as madrone skin
or a woman’s inner thigh

Yet also, I want them to be hard as wild walnuts
tough as granite
breaking feet
and ego

deadly serious
like lightning strikes
splitting spruce

Like climate chaos
and corona crisis
carrying away the normal
on waves beyond control

as prickly as a yellow jacket
or poison oak,
that’ll leave you itching
for weeks

Words that wake you up
like a cold splash
of mountain creek
on your morning face

I want them to lead you
gently into the arms
of your DreamGiver
or an owl’s hoot
under impossibly dark skies

But also startle the rut mind
like a buck launching
from the brush

Or a bright red snow plant popping up among ice cups
in the fir forest

an eager invitation
to all of Spring’s erections

or a surprise double rainbow
after the thunder storms

I want my words
to be stained purple
from picking wild blackberries
and juicy plums

Or sexy like a peach rose unfolding
and borage bringing all the bees
to the yard

I want them to allow the wind
to blow through
like invisible currents
carrying secret scents

tickling the hair on your forearms
that you only notice
once it’s gone

above all, I want them to grow
from the soil, telling truth,
loyal to the earth

#ryanvanlenning
#happyearthday
#shelteringrace

Photos: Scenes of magical trillium and kin from today’s rainy walk in the redwoods. Ancestral Wiyot Territory