Poet’s Nook: “I Love America” by Alfred Howard

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(See Alfred Howard site  & 14 Days of the Universe in Incandescent Bloom )

I love America
Let me repeat this I love America
I love hair in the breeze, 70 degrees, palm trees in SD
I love Pokez and OB
I love the freedom that I breathe
This life that I lead
I love thrift stores and vinyl archeology
Diggin’ in crates for ‘70’s gems
The wind through my window, a pen in my afro
I love getting drenched by sound showers
The power of Jimi Hendrix ripping “Purple Haze” 75 miles per hour down the twisting highway
When the sun greets the day
Until it sinks into waves
I love the people all shades Of skin
The true beauty’s within
I love this world like my kin
I’ll turn enemies to friends
I love the music that breathes with its kick drum heartbeat
When it speaks in the evening weaving the fabric that holds us together through all kinds of weather
I love the scenery evolving on into the ever
Crimson canyons layered with mystery and history
The red rocks reminding me of ancient mystic entities
The clear blue waters of a mountain stream running underneath massive, aged sequoia trees
The bayou soaked humidity of the Southeast
Ninety degrees and sticky like molasses
I’ve spent years on this road with rose tinted sunglasses
Mapping the vastness which exist in my heart
I love the full moon above which illuminates the dark
I love Central Park in its rusted fall bloom
Blooming flowers in June and extensive sand dunes
I love being in tune
Surrendering to the flow of surroundings
Pounding visuals in the peripheral
I love the miracles which cooperate to make this exist
Its bliss when I’m kissed by the waves of sensation
Inhaling the chaos to exhale liberation
I love underground hip-hop exploring equations
Like listening to Black Star in my burgundy car or
Aceyalone in my Mission Hills home
I love the Quannum truth speakers, youth teachers, young urban preachers with abstract features
Like Aesop Rock’s unorthodox style
Reminded of miles of instrumentation
Miles of Davis blowing oasis
Blowing out Desolation
Just blowing out pavement
I love Abbey Hoffman and his Woodstock nation
I love America
Elegant like Ellington
Abstract as Ayler
It’s laughing hysterically at old Richard Pryor
America is Coltrane It is pleasure and pain It’s a high school memory of Prince Purple Rain
America is Mingus, Guthrie and Langston Hues
America is a barbecue
America is Blues
America is City Lights
America is Monk
America is rock and roll, rhythm and funk
Saxophone solos soul full of soul Like Sly Stone’s family with so many tones
It’s Gil Scott-Heron on a roof reading poems
It is knowing the side streets and the quickest route home
It’s Sam Cooke with the gospel giving me chills
It’s a young Aretha Franklin making time stand still
It’s afrocentrism, black culture with wisdom
It’s late sixties hippies, no belief in a system
It’s Berkeley students and panthers hand and hand on a mission
It’s the moment when Maya told me why the caged birds sings
It is the time Jane’s Addiction said “All Now With Wings”
It’s Henry David Thoreau and Civil Disobedience

It’s your grandmother’s cooking with her secret ingredients

It’s an Amanda Ziller action thriller
It’s a silent killer with a violent filter
It’s being blazed on the PCH
Winding road on a summer day
It’s me adjusting the levels and raising the treble on a Murder City Devils CD going 60 on a meandering road as a cold wind blows through my windows around Lake Tahoe on the way to the show
Arriving in the nick of time
It’s a nick or a dime in Washington Square Park
It’s a freestyle rhyme in the back parking lot
It’s a drum circle’s echo just before the dark
It’s the brush and the paper, the mother and father of art
It’s the rhythm that’s pounding within all our hearts that are steadily beating and changing like seasons
I pledge allegiance to reason and allegiance to equals
Not allegiance to these demons deceiving our people

As we live through this golden age of misinformation
State run media is on the local station
Pandemic hits home
President takes a vacation
To make Twitter rants about his victimization
To work on his golf swing while a nation can’t breathe
To talk about ratings while a nation can’t grieve
To push a fake cures until a nation drinks bleach
Alternative facts fill an abrasive blank speech
Spin the wheel of misfortune brought to you by climate change
Did you get California flames or New Orleans hurricanes
And the economy is broken unless your occupation is
Digging graves for the greatest generation
And today we have managed to mock education
As if knowledge were flaw
And I’m still in awe
Of a criminal giving me lectures on law And order
When chaos and disorder is all this man knows
Caging children at the border is how low we will go
But that was just the dawn of this social limbo
There’s good folks on both sides
A young woman dies
Nazis taking joy rides and marching with fire

Rest in Peace Heather Heyer

So you don’t want us to take to streets
Suggest we find ways to protest peacefully
But you didn’t take kindly when we took to one knee
In fact you took to one knee
And placed it on our necks
And held it there, 8 minutes and 46 seconds
Try holding your breath
See how far you can get
With freedom the one goal at the end of all this
See freedom and diversity make America great
Not ranting and raving division and hate
Not turning our streets into a police state
And blaming your successor on what you created
And blaming your predecessor for a disease devastating
Wielding fear as a weapon to mobilize a base
Fear of the unknown things they’ll never face
Fear of a woman’s rights, fear of a race
Fear of the future
The changes we’ll make
Fear of moving forward
Fear of evolution
Fearful of science
Fear this revolution
Cause revolution’s coming
And it will be televised
You’ll have to watch it on fox with your eyes opened wide
Because the future moves forward
That’s the trajectory of time
And your campaign slogan’s about looking behind
Your pandemic response was to turn a blind eye
To turn a deaf ear when they speak of the dying
“It is what it is”, your relief to those crying
You managed to politicize a disease
As if covid 19 cared what you believed in
As we clutched to our chest saying we couldn’t breathe

George Floyd Rest In Peace

This is the year of short breath
And my 2020 vision sees nothing ahead
America is wounded and inching toward death
But this is our land so we stand up for it
If you think patriotism stops at waving the red white and blue
When the red white and blue lights flash behind you
If you’re black then you’re scared cause there’s a black and blue bruise
On your mind from the phantom batons that they’ve used
To beat down your soul since you set foot in new sand
From slavery’s shackles to the cuffs on your hand
And you vote and you hope and you plot and you plan
And you work and you sweat and you live for this land
And you do what it takes to make it good as you can
You’ll bend til you break for the sake of your family
You speak out against the atrocities you see
And you’re willing to die in the streets for beliefs

That’s patriotism!

Not waving a flag for some misaligned vision
Rooted division
America is fading past my recognition
And I love America
Just not your rendition
Where the emperor sits naked on his golden throne
And we film a mass shooting with a cellular phone
And we don’t even blink cause we’re numb to our bones
And the cyclone of news is the way the wind blows
We still don’t need a weatherman to know
And we may be isolated but we’re never alone
We’ll braid our voices in the streets into a beautiful poem
And I look at every face and see a rainbow of tones
I love America
Won’t let it sink like a stone
And you may yell at me to leave
But this is always my home

One thought on “Poet’s Nook: “I Love America” by Alfred Howard

  1. Jesus, this goes on and on. We don’t have to have the same politics and we don’t always have to agree. I won’t vote for your oppression and I only ask that you don’t vote for mine, because it’s always evil. America belongs to all of its people because it is built by all of its people. It only stops being yours when you try and take it from others.

    Very long.


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