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.


To Those Who Bomb Us

Our bodies are not steel,
            do not bend and mangle
            on impact.
Our bodies, bone,
            crumble, split, grind.
The silt of too many years
            among ruins.

What is this
            if not loss defined?

Would that our bodies were steel.
Would that they crawled into themselves,
            cradle curled
            around the bullet spray,


Bodies pressed clean
            between the thumbs
            of your machinery.

Is that not what you hoped
            your ammunition rain might bring?

Did you not wish
for hospital curtains drawn closed,
            around the small
            of a slippery cold
the return of organs,
            a ticking clock,
just one day of replacing batteries,
one day of reviving the orchestra,
            motors, gears, jaws,
that we might go home new,
            no worse for the wear
            of all this living
            under your madness?

When you shower
            gutted bombs
            into the sea glass green
            of fields,
when you spit
            blistering gas
            into our homes,
when you invent
            wars to defend
            your hatred,
            your wallets,
            your seething power,

do you not expect
            to become carcass,

            to ignite,


            to end?

For if you do,
            how do you keep
            living, knowing
            what your butcher hands
            have carved?



Throughout the “War on Terror,” Obama has defended bombings in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. During the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that these attacks often lead to more extremism, not less, especially when compounded with the constantly shifting alliances that the administration forges. In each case, there are countless civilian deaths. The recent decision to begin a new assault in Syria has been widely criticized especially given the lack of evidence regarding a true terror threat to the U.S. This poem is in no way a cry against political action in situations of human rights violations; it is a response to the continued violence perpetuated by President Obama and his administration.

On Water

On Water

My mouth is sandstorm
            dry, my hands
            caked in callouses,
            lines deep
            like the emptying river
            beds. Can you sleep
            without the lullaby drum
            of rain? They say
            the ocean is rising,
            say the snow has become salted
            tears, and here, I cannot
            cry, my eyes
            the crusted red of steel.

What have we done?

Where will we stand
            in the Atlantis
            that will become us all?



Today in New York and in cities around the US, thousands of people will march for Climate Justice. By protecting and preserving the earth, we protect and preserve lives. This is a human struggle as much as any other social justice cause. This poem is reflection of the changing climate that leads to both floods and droughts. “To change everything, we need everyone.”