debt

does the $50,000 i owe

make me any less human?

or the fact that  i come from a lineage of debt

that the house i grew up in was seized

by Wells Fargo that i lived

in a foreclosed home for years

on the precipice of homelessness

does it matter that as a child

i knew the ins and outs of bankruptcy

not once but twice and moved in

with the grandparents so we wouldn’t be put

out on the streets

it mattered so much that my fondest home

was an encampment outside city hall

how i handed out pamphlets

like my life depended on it

“the mayor and police

are not our friends”

it stated but the self-described

organizers colluded with the oppressors

all while chastising us for being too radical

when we ran from the picket lines

down market street to the glass

storefronts of bank HQs and banged

on the windows but there was not enough of us

it was then i knew that the money i owed

made me worth more

journey

I made it

to where

I was supposed to

find inspiration

the end of the road

but I only found

automated factories

spewing filth into air

and empty stores

along the river front

the water moved along

so I returned home

without answers

around

the spaces

you used to

exist in

still hold onto

the essence of you

German Haiku

Two of my poems have been translated into another language for the first time. A German haiku journal called Chrysanthemum has published two of my poems in both English and German. http://www.chrysanthemum-haiku.net/media/Chrysanthemum_22.pdf

like yamabuki
her spirit has scattered
after turning white

wie Yamabuki
ihr Geist hat gestreut
nachdem sie weiß wurde

hototogisu
I’ve never heard your beauty
but I know the sound

Hototogisu
nie habe ich deine Schönheit gehört
aber ich kenne den Klang

the etymology of a nightmare

in my dream you were dying

i didn’t know yet that you are dead

in my dream you rested

i sat by you in an unfamiliar room

in my dreams i watch you die again

and again i experience the worst pain

i have ever experienced which wasn’t my pain

but bearing witness to the pain my mother felt

as she died and i dream again and again

every night again and again her death

in a different way all slow quiet nightmares

in my dream you were dying

and my body rested as the poison drained away

and i wake to google the etymology of nightmare

and stare at the results which say

Middle English (denoting a female evil spirit

thought to lie upon and suffocate sleepers):

from night + Old English mære ‘incubus.’

and i think of the words god and death

and again i experience the worst pain

then try to shut it out and my body rests

and your body rests and my sleep is suffocated

by your absence and i think of my unknown ancestors

and how i speak their conqueror’s language

and how many mothers of my ancestor’s have died

and how i do not speak to my mother’s mother who’s still alive

how i wish i could but she’s too old to communicate

how she believes she’s American and nothing else

in my dream all of my ancestors are dying

if i forget our languages

i have betrayed my languages

from modern to middle to old english

i cannot express how much pain there was in your breath

i can only convey your death through stating the inability to do so

in my dream you die

in my dream you are dying

in my dream you died

in my dream you have died

in my dream you were dying