Sunday, 19 June 2016

When the Cavs Won It All

What will I remember about today,
in this city
that takes every punch,
unflinching, on our chins;
that rises up from every blow,
standing tall, cut-mouthed
against the world?

I'll remember
that this day is like
every other day
this city working doubles
while you slept on it
this city skipping vacation
to get the job done
this city, laconic, intractable
where we bow to no king
no, not even our own
this city of redemption
where we always welcome our sons home

Today, today
is for 
                YOU 
to remember:

this city can always say it left it all on the floor
this city where every stand is a last stand
this city where we pull for each other, exchange 
blood-stained grins
and sing loudest for the unsung.

You had forgotten
what we've always known
Cleveland is the city
filled with champions
and tomorrow, 
we get back to work.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

When the Cavs Won/Lost It All

About a week ago I was contacted by Bill at Fox8 who had remembered my previous Fox8 appearance about my Poetry 4 Free project. His idea was to make a piece about how Clevelanders were reacting to the Cavs being in the finals & he wanted me to come up with something that would help tie it all together. I think he did a great job considering he had to plan the piece to work for victory or defeat. Clevelanders tend to be good at that kind of planning. Here’s the piece:

I also anticipated the possibility of needing two outcomes. My full poem is below. I only gave a couple of hours to it, so it isn’t as revised as I would like, but I knew it was going to be a small part of a larger whole, so I tried to structure it for both coherence and reorganization. I only had to change the first line of the last stanza to change the tone of the poem. Efficiency!

What will I remember about today,
in this city
that takes every punch,
unflinching, on our chins;
that rises up from every blow,
standing tall, cut-mouthed
against the world?

I'll remember
that this day is like
every other day
this city working doubles
while you slept on it
this city skipping vacation
to get the job done
this city, laconic, intractable
where we bow to no king
no, not even our own
this city of redemption
where we always welcome our sons home

Today, today
is for 
                YOU 
to remember:

this city can always say it left it all on the floor
this city where every stand is a last stand
this city where we pull for each other, exchange 
blood-stained grins
and sing loudest for the unsung.

You have forgotten (or) One day you'll learn
what we've always known
Cleveland is the city
filled with champions
and tomorrow, 
we get back to work.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

CLE HELPER BOT

I created a Twitter bot named @CLEHelperBot. It retweets the hashtag #WhereInCleveland. That’s all it does. What’s the point?

My thought process:

  1. I frequently don’t know where to find stuff in Cleveland. Stuff like gaffer’s tape, a decent tailor, an old-school barbershop, a date.
  2. How do I find people who know the answers to these questions?
  3. How can I make this useful for other folks?

For the bot to be useful, two things need to happen:

  1. Many Cleveland folks need to follow @CLEHelperBot and reply with answers to the #WhereInCleveland tweets it retweets.
  2. People need to use #WhereInCleveland when they want to find something around here.

I’m trying to crowdsource local knowledge to help out visitors & residents alike. If you use Twitter & live in Cleveland, I’d appreciate your help getting this off the ground.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Public Square

Walk to Public Square,
while you live, and sing
the victims

roughly shoved between
lath and beam - the dead women -
sealed in walls, scratching
under the floor of Imperial
Avenue. The Seymour attic decade,
three women in chains 
a half mile from my home
the raped child's rape child
on the same playground as my son

sit down on Public Square
while you live, and sing
the victims

your fingers in the holes
left by one hundred and thirty-seven
police bullets 
your body policed upon the
asphalt so hard it stops
your twelve years of life
split open by a police sidearm.

stand up on Public Square
while you live, and sing
the victims

of men
of police
men
of institutions of
men, whose words
are worse than silence.

stand up on Public Square
and tear it down.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

At Lincoln Park Pool

despite the heat
advisory, I brought my
son to swim. ninety-four degrees
on July 4th and Cleveland has been
grilling ribs since 9AM
and bottle rocket blasting since
June 15th.

My son runs off - but Antonio,
thumbprinted mark of Cain
beshouldered, 
ever-belligerent, 
redmopped stutterer with 
metal-backed teeth - comes to spit self-conscious
impudence. He may sway to 
full-bore bully in annum
but now the question growling in his seven-year skull remains
unanswered. I father at him, a learned herding, outflank,
astray, askance, a thwart to de-rile his style.
Girls with fresh breasts, too shy
to show their bikinis under shirt, come 
tell me how cute my son is. Girls not much younger
take turns sitting on spout of fountainspray, hands trickling
down...
ever all-pursued by some omnipresent brown brawl of boys, 
stumble-tongued and
puppy-eager.

And I feel my age as
the only parent here -
adrift of vigor -
cross-legged on a
threadbare blanket
palms flat into 
ground grit -
A tart
magnanimity, and all these young running to be old. 
As children suspect we
withhold - I clutch this.
It is right to keep from them.
The patrimony, my first
taste of entropy as cool lemonade. 
I died when my life became my child's.
Already my blood 
only heats between hot
concrete and sky blaze. As something done grown,
I watch this pack of growing things.

A soggy neon ellipsis with spirals of water
flung as it flies. A poor throw brings 
the ball to
the feet of 
Antonio
and
the children all shout
his name. All shout his
name. A bend and I see 
fingers squeeze 
water; drops 
stutter poolside, the metal
creak of the lifeguard stand.
ALL shout his name.
A choice made but inept arm
betrays - launched in the 
general vicinity of
no one. 

An eruption
of water and from the scrum suddenly
the whole pool is playing catch. 
Old men and lifeguards, my son
astride my shoulders arms aloft
and we all shout his name. All
brought to life for
what I'll remember as -
amid sun and the shadows of lost dogs -
the moment
when
Antonio was king.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A Brag

Here’s how Cleveland is better than wherever you live. Only here can I imagine the ease with which one can go from a planning session on increasing local government transparency (replete with excellent, locally produced, ethnically accurate Arabic food)(and awash with qualified, motivated, well-intentioned folks from all walks of life) to a ten minute drive to a bar with the best Ukrainian food outside of Ukraine to celebrate your neighbor’s birthday with his family and plenty of krupnikas, pierogie, and potato pancakes. Not only that, but when you tell the Ukrainian bartender you want a Baltika, she knows to bring you the 8.0% ABV version instead of the weaker beer. Then you can head home to your amazingly affordable abode in one of the hip neighborhoods to enjoy bourbon and a Cohiba on your porch on a perfect summer evening with the aforementioned neighbor who just so happens to be so nice that he’ll fix your car for a case of Pabst.

The best part is: I could have done about 10 things this evening other than what I just described and all of them would have been as equally badass.

Peace.