Teaching Blues

(By Cher Guevara)

 
I see teachers
Bent over piles of papers to be graded
On their coffee break,
Dribbling sugar and cream espresso
Over tests
That can’t wait for tomorrow.

I see teachers
With butterflies and dust
Drifting out of their pocketbooks;
Last dimes spent
On supplies,
On pencils and Kleenex.

I see teachers
Being vilified by the thundering talking heads
As perpetrators of propaganda,
Nothing but useful idiots
For the machinery of the state.

I see teachers
Being splattered with black paint,
The bloody spit of epithets;
“Union thugs!”
“Useless bureaucrats!”
“Spoiled and overpaid!”

I see teachers
With the hearts of mother bears
And father lions
Protecting their kids
At all costs,
Even willing to lay down their lives
In the face of another semi-automatic tragedy.

I see teachers
With the faith of the devout,
Believing in their students
More than the most pious on earth.
Holding strong
That their kids
Can learn anything,
Can do anything,
Can be anything.

I see teachers
Walking through dark valleys,
In the shadow of budget cuts,
In the blackness of vilification,
Walking tall
With hearts
Of love.

protest-devosThousands of teachers, students, and parents protested against Betsy DeVos in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Alt Dept of ED/Twitter)

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“Apathy Blues” by Walter Thomas Beck III

Another innocent child
Is beaten and shot
By the boys in blue
Who walk away clean
On the streets of America tonight.

Another madman
With his blood full of bent faith and rage
Blows away an office, a mall, a school,
Letting his demons loose
On the streets of America tonight.

Another worker
Drifts from temp gig to temp gig,
Working two gigs on low wages
Shuffling on to whatever home they’re lucky enough to have
On the streets of America tonight.

Another young sibling
Sleeps cold tonight,
No family to call their own,
Being murdered by the hand of God
On the streets of America tonight.

Another night the population
Turns up the static loud;
Drowns it out with double talk,
Drowns it out with celebrity gossip,
Drowns it out with cheap click bait articles,

Pumping themselves full of apathy
On the streets of America tonight.

Ohio grand jury clears police in fatal shooting of 12-year-old

Tamir-Rice-Twitte

 

Grand jury decides against indictments in Sandra Bland’s death

sandra-bland 

Tamir Rice and the Value of Life by Charles Blow

Tell the DOJ to deliver justice for Tamir Rice

 

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

A Piece of Cloth

A Piece of Cloth
(by Walter Beck)

It started as a lark, a bet,
A half-assed dare,
Another chance to bend the rules
And freak some normies out.

It became another part of my stage attire,
Another prop for my live art,
Nothing new certainly,
But something new for me.

When I took it beyond the stage
It shook things up at work
And back at home as well;
My mother panicked when she saw it,
My old man just shook his head and wondered.

I said I did it for comfort,
Which was at least partially true,
Still it prompted questions about pronouns,
My partner in love curious if there was a new journey in my head.

A simple piece of cloth
Raises such curiosity, questions, confusion, and even anger
When you’re a guy
And one day
You decide
To start wearing a skirt.

10-20-2015

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

Identity: Family Portrait (By Walter Beck)

From the desk of Walter Beck:

“New piece from the notebook in three parts. This is one of the most brutally honest poems I’ve ever written and truth be told, I had to fight back a few tears while writing it on my smoke break.”

Read it and dig it.

Identity: Family Portrait Pt. I
(By Walter Beck)

My grandfather
Shows pictures of the family
To my cousin’s friend.

He comes to my picture,
All he says is;
“That’s W.T.
He’s gay,
But we don’t talk about it.”

He doesn’t say,
“That’s W.T.
He’s a writer,
We’re all so proud of him.”

He doesn’t say
“That’s W.T.
He’s an activist,
He’s a young man of principle.”

Nope, he doesn’t say any of that;
I’m just a faggot,
All my life’s work doesn’t matter.

They don’t talk about that either.

 

Dutiful Son: Family Portrait Pt. II
(By Walter Beck)

“Think of your mother;
She has to hear it from grandpa and Uncle Bill
Every time you show up looking like that,
Or when you talk about your writing and activism.

She has to answer for you,
Explain you,
Apologize for you,

Think of your poor mother,
She deals with enough crap at work all day
As it is.

Can’t you quit being so selfish for once?”

Sure, I can do that.
I’m still young and strong,
And after eight years of silence
What’s a few more, right?

Besides,
Take it from me,
I speak from too long experience,
Nothing covers up the stains of inner bleeding
Like a few gallons
Of sweet Carlo Rossi red.

 

Bargain Love: Family Portrait Pt. III
(By Walter Beck)

The best I got
Was “I love you for who you are
But you know what Pastor Reeves says.”

I just nodded and smiled;
Better to receive some scrap
Of acceptance
Than the customary awkward stares and silence.

I wanted love
Without any buts, amendments,
Or exceptions.

I wanted at least one
To hold the Colors or a sign with me,
To stand on the firing line
And look liberation in the face,
To look out at the world
And bark with heart and soul;

“This is my family and I fight for him!”

But I suppose with the right equipment
You can fight your war alone,

Even though you’re tired
Of being a solitary warrior.

 

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

“Under The Pale Gray Moon” by Walter Thomas Beck III

Here is a short story from our Bi Laurette Walter Beck. Hope you enjoy as much as I do. “Lynnette”

Under the Pale Gray Moon
By Walter Beck

It was a fine sunny morning in late May 1861; Bill Wersteiner was strolling down the dirt streets of the little town of Black Creek, North Carolina. The youngest son of the editor of the county’s newspaper, he wasn’t in any hurry today. The chores were finished at home, and his pa didn’t need him at the paper office. He kept strolling along, kicking the dirt with his bare feet and humming a bit. The whole town seemed to be nearly in a riot, people running from one place to another, hooting and hollering. He wondered what was going on, until he spotted a hastily constructed stage with the state flags on either side. The mayor was on stage and standing next to him was a hard-looking middle-aged man in a gray and black coat with gold trimming. Continue reading

Political Suicide Note (By Walter Beck)

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

Political Suicide Note
(By Walter Beck)

For Governor Mike Pence

You locked yourself in your office
Far from the press and public;
And in the company of friends
You signed your political suicide note
On a rainy Thursday morning.

You signed your political suicide note
Surrounded by preachers and priests;
They blessed you and blessed your pen,
You misguided martyr. Continue reading

No Language

Thank you Lottie at The Biscuit for publishing this. I just want to add it is not safe for everyone to come out. But we CAN learn to accept and love ourselves. To learn about ourselves. And then be able to pass that on to our loved ones.
“Dad, I forgive you”: How my father’s closet bisexuality affected our family Continue reading

For Leelah

The Last Tears Shed: No More Martyrs Blues Pt. IV
(By Walter Beck)

For Leelah Alcorn 1997-2014

Yet another young sister gone too soon
In a flash of desperation.
Another young sister gone too soon
Before her life even began.
Another young sister gone too soon
Nailed to the cross of Christian love.

Her last words to us
Were to fight on
Don’t let me die in vain.

We’re polishing up our marching boots, sister.
We’re dusting off our picket signs, sister.
We’re sharpening up our pens and swords, sister.
We’re ready to fight on;

Fighting to finally end it all,
All the blood spilled and minds wrecked,
Fighting to end the electric wires
And false promises of conversion.
You were never broken, sister;
It’s this world that needed fixing,
Not you.

Oh sister
Unconditional love
Should have kept you here amongst us.
But we know
Unconditional love
Will resurrect you

As we march forward.

Rest angry, Sister Leelah.
Rest defiant, Sister Leelah.
Rest battle ready, Sister Leelah.
Rest in power, Sister Leelah.

Let your blood be the last spilled
Before our last bridge is crossed. Continue reading

He Tells Her

He Tells Her (for Ruth B.)

wendycopeHe tells her that the Earth is flat –
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
Be he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.

Wendy Cope

Divine Verdict (By Walter Beck)

Divine Verdict

(By Walter Beck)

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

Our Bi Laureate at Rally Against HJR-6 Terre Haute, Indiana October 11, 2013

God won’t judge America for the millions of Native Americans slaughtered over the last 200 years.
He won’t judge her for the Trail of Tears,
He won’t judge her for smallpox-infected blankets,
He won’t judge her for the concentration camps of reservations
Or the current policy of elimination through poverty and starvation.

God won’t judge America for 89 years of slavery where millions of Africans were kidnapped and put on her plantations.
He won’t judge her for the whippings, brandings, and gags of chains & iron,
He won’t judge her for the families torn apart by the auctioneer’s gavel,
He won’t judge her for the women treated like breed cattle for the master’s bank account
Or the whitewashing of history 150 years later.

God won’t judge America for the millions of civilians killed overseas in collateral damage in her wars.
He won’t judge her for Japanese women raped in an orgy of victory at Okinawa,
He won’t judge her for little girls scorched with napalm in Vietnam,
He won’t judge her for aspirin factories and schools bombed in Iraq
Or for Marines who slaughtered innocents in Hadith.

God won’t judge America for children crying hungry in the richest nation in the world.
He won’t judge her for her youth forced to sell their bodies in the gutters,
He won’t judge her for the sneers and jeers her public gives to her poorest people,
He won’t judge her officials for slashing food stamps while increasing the number of bombs and bullets
Or for police arresting people who dared to feed the homeless.

God won’t judge America for her open worship of money, where CEOs and celebrities are idolized while millions struggle to pay the rent.
He won’t judge her churches sparkling with gold crosses and multi-million dollar sound systems,
He won’t judge her citizens for trampling people to death on Black Friday to get a better bargain,
He won’t judge her bosses for stealing wages right under the employees’ noses
Or for people selling themselves for fifteen minutes of reality fame.

God won’t judge America for politicians selling her lands to be polluted, for her rivers to run black and her skies to go gray from smog.
He won’t judge her for cancer caused by Koch Industries,
He won’t judge her for spinning in a post-truth society,
He won’t judge her for declaring that corporations are people too
Or for the “For Sale” sign pasted over her once proud democracy.

God won’t judge America for two hundred years of bloodshed and greed.
God won’t judge America for shattered lives and broken dreams.
God won’t judge America for blackened skies and hardened hearts.

God will judge America for two grown men kissing.