Someone must clean the mess.

         Wash the blindfolds.
         Stack the chains in a well-labeled box.
         Wipe the floor where the men were tied down in diapers.

Someone must measure the medicine.

         So the swelling in the man’s legs,
         the one standing naked for 54 hours,
         will go down just enough to keep him standing.

Someone must pretend the information is real.

         Pretend the muttered answers
         gargled between sessions of drowning,
         will be honest.

Someone must wash their hands.

         Bent over the sink, scrubbing, scrubbing
         an Arab’s damned, dark blood.
         Again, again, again.

Someone must select the insects.

         Decide which creature will sting
         the body but not chew through
         the wood of the confinement box.

Someone must go home to their daughter.

         Reheat a plate of beans for their 12 year old girl. Try not to see
         the raw wrists, the dislocated shoulder, the tube inserted up the rectum,
         the time of death.

Someone must tuck their baby girl into bed.



Senator Dianne Feinstein released a controversial study this past week of the “Enhanced Interrogation” program used under the Bush administration by the CIA. The report contained numerous sanctioned atrocities and demonstrated that little to no information was procured from torturing detainees. This effort to combat terrorism failed, cost many their lives, and is a violent abuse of power.


Ode to Urban Shield

Ode to Urban Shield

Your t-shirts read
            keep calm and return fire.
Keep calm
and return fire.
Keep calm and return fire,
            under a picture of the American flag.
A mask and the words,
            destruction cometh
            and they shall seek peace
            and there shall be none.

This is your America.
White vans and surveillance,
machine guns and tear gas,
armored cars to protect the streets
from the people.
Homeland Security
whose homes are you securing?

When the mayor of Oakland said
            this is the last time
            her streets flood
            with swat teams
            making games of death,
your spokesperson declared,
            she has no right.

Which side of the guns are your sons on?
Do they face down the nose of a lifted barrel and hold their breaths,
do they keep fingers steady on warm triggers,
do they trust the blood of slain bodies to be darker than their own?

is not natural disaster,
your war on drugs
is bombs in cradles,
but thank God
your surplus tanks
keep the sidewalk safe,
that patted smooth cement
that blood thirsty
bullet hungry

Urban Shield,
why is castration
still in your vocabulary?

is the use of violence
in pursuit of political gain.

If you hold the guns
while they hold the signs,
who are the terrorists really?




Urban Shield is a trade show for law enforcement and emergency crews that is funded by the federal government. It has taken place in Oakland for the past 8 years. This year, the event also drew hundreds of protestors angered by the militarization of the police. For more information, please refer to: