Sunday, March 17, 2024


remember the willamette river
how tourists try to say it
how the tourists tried to takeover Southeast
& how they eventually did

how yer shoulders might march off
with yer skull mind & all
,,,but at least these voices stand on their own  
in the face of wordlessness—

poet already knows & sees this & many other plots unfolding before becoming circular fixtures
in the movement of space & time

stand on yer square, rain dances, coyote & moon
ecstatic wanderings, the very human collar bone, etc

shadow people
formed from borrowed smoke
rising from midnight whispers

desiring, becoming more
than echo’d faces
painted against the wind—

& sunflowers will forever be sunflowers
& these lands will always be these lands, no matter what

a part of this poem will continue writing itself
within mind—radiant
beyond mind—exalted, exalting, exalted, exalting, etc.

remember evergreen in the windows
beyond the windows, millions & millions of evergreen
less than 2 dollars from downtown to forest grove
less than 2 dollars & yer nearly halfway to cannon beach, etc

a 5150 on the house
a torrent of chattering teeth
a sideways view of the city
a natural state of stillness

a flow & tendency of matter & phenomena
a different war brought to the hands of the dispossessed
every hour, every minute
a midnight moon refusing the perpetual war machine
with every breath,,,

this poem continues to burn long after
you have become something else:
a line up in the basement of the precinct
with a photograph of yer face
taped to each of the suspects’ faces

& there are not ever enough Virgen de Guadalupe candles
marked down on the clearance rack for any of this

& locking eyes momentarily with a mountain
is recommended only if you can leave the body
in the same condition you found it—immaculate

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Checking In 4 | Sunday WILDERNESS Excerpts



The ocean can be aimless with thanks to rivers, tributaries, ponds, rainclouds & tremendous heart.


When I was seven years old I stumbled upon a copy of I Wonder As I Wander, Langston Hughes' auto-biography, except I didn't have the eyes vision whatever to fully comprehend magnanimity in 1993. Or was it 2003 & I was I be being I & I & I & developed & enveloped & -ing & this would make me 17 aged years at the time. Mr. Hughes needless to say simultaneously had me ready to fight a man & to die for poetry & to get out there & live the worth of the poemstuffs. It was indeed Gwendolyn Brooks & Langston Hughes whose first hand knowledge of blue as a color & as a sense of pulling & being pulled. Blue & as a color & since its inception teaching life to the living. We are pulled & we pull. Species-wise.


The ocean can be aimless perhaps because the human heart vibrates & patience is yerself in a tight situation, knit to the teeth——patience is perhaps the meaning of waiting, with intention,,, hearth,,, something unnable this frame of mind something unnamable within animated passage——in transit,,, in vitro,,, in cocoon,,, in articulated pacings,,, calculated tracings,,, amazement manifests shrink'd wasps,,, a shoulder to lean on can be nice, so long as it doesn't roll off,,, check yer head for the wrath of bumble bee,,, warmth of motherhood descends upon the human heart,,, hold,,, held,,, fled [,,,] if it wasn't for the price tags on the oranges apples apricots,,, there may be a unification of reality said next to the parking lot memory is where we place lush pine forests now,,, don't try to cross walk through the roman numerals of calendar'd imaginations,,, imagine, image, I'm lime rage,,, I'm fine today,,, I'm twine splayed,,, spooled,,, cooled on the counter,,, on whose watch watches the clock——don't try to walk cross without reading eyes across the block,,, mountaintop brought down counting,,, count backwards from one hundred & fifty nine while walking a straight line with your index finger touching the end of yer nose while you sing what is found with yer Other hand cupped around yer left ear,,, I was a lamb in the drunk tank, a wolf in the alleyway, a hyena at the bus stop, a coyote beneath the moon the first time yer eyes ever spoke to me,,,  listening & seeing


I repent from my sins against the oceans of the world, this & the next——the oceans of yer heart, yer mind——it is said that quail visitation is a sign of one journey's beginning on the cyclic ushering of another journey to its end——beginnings & ends being totally & completely human endeavors——oak laughs at beginnings, oak laughs at ends & endings——stark witness to quail majesty,,, quail rules over the world of the unknown, the ruler of the unperceived,,, in this book of living & dying, quail visitation is a sign of one journey's beginning on the tail end of another journey's coming to an end——if you by chance hear a finch or any bird really, sing,,, if you at this moment can hold yer right hand cupped against yer left ear drum & tell me what you see & hear & listen——there is an ocean in this heart, an ocean in yer heart & the wind is sometimes my brother & sometimes it is one reed exploding from the sand leaning against the air & the wind my brother, this is sometimes all that is required——wind bending reed, reed dancing wind,,, wind, reed, wind, reed, wind,,, my brother


Friday, March 1, 2024

Checking In 3 | Excerpt from WILDERNESS



Here is an excerpt of WILDERNESS, my second full-length collection of poems. A word to the wise: TRIBUTARY picks up where this excerpt leaves off. TRIBUTARY is the very following page. WILDERNESS might at this point evolve into a fully fledged prose poem, but who knows at this point. If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready. Summer 2024. Radical Joy.



The outward eye more & more astray,,, coming to, a time of useful consciousness

Inward motion & catalyst being,,,LIGHT & SHADOW, the relationship between what is seen & what can be deduced from (t)here—

Inward motion & the movement of air from one set of lungs to the next, every time—please forgive me, I have mistaken the thorns for petals, I have mistaken the self for something far less immense,,, the search for self,,, the elder at the table,,, the oldest battle known to livingkind,,, the search for self, a star with yer name on it,,, writing my poems from now on backwards across my forehead...vanity kills

Raven's exegeses within kaleidoscopic wonder, thunder behind the billfold beneath the sock on the right calf,,, money cannot speak for the stolen youth & yer salvation at the same time, with the same voice—sometimes you fry the egg & sometimes the egg fries you—money raises its voice entering the temple & loses its teeth at the bus stop for talking too fast,,,

Money not a good seeing-eye-dog whatsoever,,, pray the banks will someday allow poets to make payments in haiku

Pray the money backed by gold, our blood,,, pray their money learns the meaning of two leaves of grass tied together to form one leaf of grass,,, imagined arms & legs, one leaf of grass breathing because of the word, breathing because human desire & will & imagination push this Earth forward,,, if they can imagine their money to be god, who's going to stop me from tying two blades of grass into One & falling in love with Kate on 5th ave the very moment she stops to smile back, momentarily, I know she could rule the world if 5th ave ever wasn't the most lucrative corner in the city, the most luminous corner in the city where our eyes meet momentarily,,,

The green eye of envy once tested owl's vision,,, but owl could see no use for mathematics disregarded while spilling blood,,, if one man is in hungry, all men are in hungry,

The answer to the question in the form of another question—the question altogether forgotten on the tip of rooster tongue, the iceberg of human desire &&&& trust being a tight rope act, balancing twin flames in two hands walking the plank backwards between two mouths &&&& two worlds behind them spilling history's secrets in starlight whispers, blinking sentences, sizing up present company, twisting strands of the big picture, framed in oakwood, please forgive me &&&& my brother cardinal weeping new rivers with every vision born from trembling hands—frame yer destiny in oakwood & forgive yerself yer troubles, yer hardships, yer breaths retreated dimly, yer dial-tone instincts, the flashlight of the stomach, tongue & sacred drum, being heart, being wordsong, beginning stark, fodder, farther, sparked,,, being fled, being rum & coke & some elevator music for the folks going down,,, the flashing of yer life before yer eyes, in the rear view mirror, becoming planetary, becoming faded reminder, becoming two leaves of grass, tied together, becoming One, becoming memory, becoming smaller, in time, in mind, becoming distance, becoming something unforeseen

Thursday, February 29, 2024



Thousands of voices reverberate the ancient gong. in the way,,, present moment,,, implicates all


Molten roots of falcon fang,,, the diocese of carnal visitations


2024 the year of black-tailed jack rabbit


The year zero watches yer back when forgetfulness is an attempted perfection


You who hunt the birds are hunted,,, haunted by a bottomless nothingness


You who name the birds closed to the reality of yer moats around yer words grinning & bearing starry nights

& yer throats prefer barley wine


As long as my tombstone reads: By Candlelight,,,


There's no need to question the stark contrast between the picture in the advertisement & the actual thing in real-time


He lived & died making certain the women of the night are well represented in his poetry,,,


Passing the transfer fare to a stranger, pulling a loosie to a flame & counting the money & conjuring the ancestors with the same hand over fist


If there is anything as close to god's work,,, i haven't yet lived & died enough times to see it


Whatever they make of my poetry,,, whatever you do,,, please just try to remember the hands of yer breath,the breath in yer hands, the breath, the wind,,, a solitary drop of rain floating from evergeen's pinecone sermon, the waters & none of this found amusing to hawk eye,,, seeing above particular matters of transience,,,

the waters & the hands of yer breath

Monday, February 26, 2024


i'm more worried
about where
the war machines
in the sky
are going
from here

one breath in
one breath out

the lotus in the pond
& the AK-47 in the closet

one breath in
one breath out

it is said that finch
would rather die
than stop singing
the lands to which
she belongs

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Friday, February 23, 2024

Review: A Phalanx of Insight—Reading Will Alexander’s DIVINE BLUE LIGHT


“L.A. Unified is typical, man. Down there where I was at, nobody hardly made it out of there. Only a few of the cats made it out of there. It’s an isolated situation. You’ve got to keep going on your own without the so-called encouragement that you get in so-called upper-class schooling systems. I meet you, I meet other people, it works, but individuals have to do a lot of their work by themselves—be that lone figment that magnetizes other lone figments in order to commence alchemical communication.”

~ Will Alexander (Colloquy At The Abyss: A Fugitive Amalgam, with Harold Abramowitz, Insert Blanc Press 2020)


Will Alexander is not necessarily a “protest poet.” Though I often experience a form of protest within his poetry. I often experience the reverberating NO within Will Alexander’s poems. Will Alexander is not necessarily known or revered as a lyrical poet, though his poems are often musically layered, nuanced & lyrical. This is just to say that Will Alexander is a breaker of boundaries, his poetic seems to scoff at or laugh in the face of labels.

It is because of my observation here, that I hope I can safely posit that Will Alexander seemingly breaks all barriers and transcends all labels within his poetry practice, it is because of this that I feel all poets need to read & experience the work of Will Alexander. It was said in the Ron Carter documentary on PBS that anybody who is interested in Jazz needs to go back & study Ron Carter. Because of his immensity, because of the multitudes of connections to a plethora of musicians, to each era and decade of Jazz—to each evolution of music itself—Ron Carter is absolutely vital to Jazz & to music. Without trying to compare these two artists, I will say with absolute certainty that this can be said of Will Alexander as well—

If you are interested in poetry, either as a poet or as a fan of the form, or both—you need to tune into & study the work of Will Alexander. And his latest book DIVINE BLUE LIGHT (City Lights 2022) is a great place to begin (or continue) one’s journey with his poetry.

One thing I need to say, when writing about, or reading, the work of Will Alexander, is that I can only share what I see from my own subjective & very relative vantage point. I can only see what I can see. And I’m inevitably going to miss some things, especially in a review like this. Aye, se la vie. This is the predicament for nearly all modes of communication, sure, and with a poet of depth & magnetism to the degree of a Will Alexander; one needs to be particularly keen in holding the facts close within one’s perception. There are so many layers, so many avenues of possible exploration & discovery in Will Alexander’s poetry, that it can be difficult to synthesize or try to focus on a single essay-length set of observations. I think there’s goodness in the attempt though, so here it is in any situation, my initial observations & reactions to Will Alexander & his latest book of poems, DIVINE BLUE LIGHT.

Because Will Alexander writes & works in the realm of the possible. And I perceive Alexander as a poet who can reveal possibilities of language, and thus of this world, possibilities of this life; possibility in relating to this world & this life in a way that isn’t confined to language. Language is our gateway, our open door, as a species; into the creative process, into creating our world(s) & forming a mind which can begin to grip & peel back the layers of meaning which can ultimately lead us to our own salvation. For our freedom, we speak! For our freedom, we write. So yes, Will Alexander being a poet of possibility, with DIVINE BLUE LIGHT, I found a similar spiritual richness in my reading as I find with, for example, my listening to Coltrane’s The Night Has A Thousand Eyes—and I don’t think Alexander has illy thrust himself into a conversation linking his poetry & Coltrane’s music as much as it feels like the poet is driven or impelled by an inner connection to Coltrane, an inner connection which is so sincere, vast & real, that when expressed outwardly, it can be hard to distinguish between the spiritual implications of, say, Blue Train, and, say, the spiritual implications of Alexander’s poems from DIVINE BLUE LIGHT, which remain as “simultaneity alive.”

My first, perhaps subconscious, connection to Will Alexander’s work was not via Coltrane at all, in fact…these two spiritual seers occupied perceptibly different universes in my mental space (before encountering DIVINE BLUE LIGHT for the first time), but instead my first connection to Will Alexander’s poetry was via the stoics. More specifically, the stoic idea that uncertainty is possibly not a human flaw or weakness. This idea that uncertainty is the grounds for discovery, for curiosity to grow & evolve…this idea that we can sometimes & often do think our way out of & through hardship as pre-requisite to action—after all, it was a Black, American (perhaps) stoic, Richard Wright, who wrote that dreaming is the prelude to action— that we can use our human minds to generate some form of intangible power(s) within our midst capable of transcendence, that our minds are perhaps the frontline of action…which is no small detail & a rich dreamlife & friendship with one’s subconscious mind could in fact be the grounds for a marvelous poetry practice (& life) to flourish. Riffing here, as well, from Lucille Clifton’s philosophy that poetry, to her, is a way of being in the world. Having a bit of knowledge of Will Alexander the man and Will Alexander the poet; it becomes clear, even through the mystery & unknown aspects of these, that Alexander’s poetry practice is his way of being in the world. And with this idea posited by Seneca that one should…Think your way through difficulties: harsh conditions can be softened, restricted ones can be widened, and heavy ones can weigh less on those who know how to bear them.

For example, in DIVINE BLUE LIGHT, the fact that this is a poet who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, during a time when the first gangs were being formulated as a communal defense mechanism on the part of the neighborhoods, against the oppressive police presence within those communities—that Will Alexander grew up under seemingly endless hardship, and indeed learned how to flourish in spite of the oppression & destruction aimed at his being—these facts need not be a spotlight to Alexander’s poetic, rather, these facts instead can be felt more deeply as the backdrop for an undeniably sound & innovative poetry to manifest & take shape.

So that when his poetry observes: “A continent / that has made a covenant with its own ruin / has made the skies starved / has made stone momentarily disadvantage itself...” there is a sense of experience, there is a sense that Alexander’s vision within & on this “continent that has made a covenant with its own ruin,” has grown beyond geographical confines & is not at all guided by an attachment to the systematic oppression, to the propaganda machine that seems to grow in stature on the daily. Alexander is an outsider to all this, it is clear that he has found a source of strength within, and that this source of strength emanates without attachment to the phenomena he labels, names & in turn is positioned entirely against within his poetry.

One thing I learned from Will Alexander's connection to Uche Nduka's poetry: I can often become suspicious of protest poetry, because protest poems can sometimes lack in providing alternatives, they can lack in providing or building towards something different. I mean, I don’t think it is enough to stand against oppression, it is not enough for one’s voice to grow in opposition to a wicked & corrupt system of control. We need to be more. The poets need to be more. Poetry needs to be more than a set of complaints about the present reality of oppression, suppression & regression.

We, people of good conscious & desire, need something more, we need to be actively creating a world simultaneously worth striving towards, when presented with the world we are striving against, as peoples, as a species. So, when I read Will Alexander poems, these are rich in alternatives (live within!), Will’s poems are deeply ingrained in the building of, the movement towards a more just & compassionate world for all of us. Sometimes the diagnosis comes first, and sometimes the medicine isn’t allowed to arrive until the diagnosis is wholly sounded out.

So that, Will Alexander’s poetry is concerned with that “being [that] conjoins with itself as aboriginal revelation.” This facet of Will Alexander’s poetry, this providing of a diagnosis & medicine often in the same poem, simultaneously connects him to great & brilliant Black poets of the past, as well as connecting him to brilliant & great Black poets of the present moment. I see Alexander’s poems establishing an authentic communion in the present moment with, say, the poetries of Tongo Eisen-Martin, Uche Nduka, Darius Simpson, Aja Monet, and Mahogany L. Browne; to name only a few.

With some of this in mind, it seems that Will Alexander is thee poet who connects us (readers/poets) to the past and simultaneously to the present. It was Alexander’s connection to Philip Lamantia, for example, that thrusted me forward into my first reading of Kaleidoscopic Omniscience (Skylight Press 2013)… more than a few years ago. Amiri Baraka’s Black anger, Black genius and keen eye for seeing his place in this predicament is present within the poetry of Will Alexander. This is not to say that Will Alexander “borrowed” from Baraka, more so that Will Alexander & Amiri Barka (and others) seem to be intrinsically connected via a spiritual vitality, a spiritual point of view that never truly dies. And of course, we need not be confined by the mental or otherwise real blockades of the borders of the United States either. Will Alexander’s poetry is intrinsically connected to the surrealists of older days as well, specifically & most apparently to that towering poetry of Aimé Césaire.

With the release of DIVINE BLUE LIGHT, it appears that Will Alexander has made another successful effort in reinforcing these authentic connections to past & present poets, to past & present poetries, to the realm of the possible. And indeed, this is a poet who reaches through time, who sees through time; a poet who is a living manifestation of Black & surrealist genius which has not ever been absent from the world of poetry, if not severely neglected altogether by the American mainstream consciousness.

To bring this all back to the stoics, which in a weird way, I find Will Alexander’s poetry also intrinsically connected to—Will Alexander is a poet who deeply cares about the human trajectory, the fate of the human being, the strength & vitality of the human mind & spirit…because it feels like with Will Alexander’s poetry, we are gifted a compass, an esoteric map leading to the promised land…the promise of peace & justice, the promise that any answers worth repeating, any good news worth sharing & any light worth bearing will be found on the inside, any solace or sense of direction is to be found within your very being. And it is true that this is the message of the great prophets before us as well—this is the message older than time itself—that the human heart & the human psyche is the place to be! What we’re seeking is seeking us, what we truly need is to be found by inquiring within our very being—the answers we seek are to be found & created within the being of the humanquoting now from Marcus Aurelius: How can the general rules by which we live perish unless the particular circumstances which they govern cease to be? […]  Understand this and you have nothing to fear: It is in your power to restore life simply by reviewing the life you’ve lived. This is what it means to live again…bear in mind that the measure of a man is the worth of the things he cares about. 


Mantric Blizzard as Space

A continent
that has made a covenant with its own ruin
has made the skies starved
has made stone momentarily disadvantage itself

Its circumstance deeper than tremors remains equational habit
     miming itself
via counted tablets of time

not a mantric blizzard of space into empty air
but every piece of ice as mathematical symbol

not a living quotient
but a dazed nutrient gone awry

a dark veering
stumbling over its own loins

& because
I am at nerves’ end
I can only breathe mantras
& live within 

Click here to order your copies of Will Alexander's DIVINE BLUE LIGHT (for John Coltrane), via City Lights Books.

From City Lights Publishers:

Against the ruins of a contemporary globalist discourse, which he denounces as a “lingual theocracy of super-imposed rationality,” Will Alexander’s poems constitute an alternative cartography that draws upon omnivorous reading–in subjects from biology to astronomy to history to philosophy–amalgamating their diverse vocabularies into an impossible instrument only he can play. Divine Blue Light is anchored by three major works: the opening “Condoned to Disappearance,” a meditation on the heteronymic exploits of Portuguese modernist Fernando Pessoa; the closing “Imprecation as Mirage,” a poem channeling an Indonesian man; and the title poem, an anthemic ode to the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Other key pieces include “Accessing Gertrude Bell,” a critique of one of the designers of the modern state of Iraq; “Deficits: Chaïm Soutine & Joan Miró,” in homage to two Jewish artists forced to flee the Nazi invasion of France; and “According to Stellar Scale,” a compact lyric that traveled to space with astronaut Sian Proctor. The newest installment in our Pocket Poets Series, Divine Blue Light confirms Alexander’s status among the foremost surrealists writing in English today.