Class Warpath

Its 2012 and I’m still in the water
sharks swarm but I’m never swimming for shore
Let’em Come, Let’em Come! I’ve sharpened my tongue
not scared of the deep, ain’t afraid to see blood
others pulled off the road, headed for home
sunk to the bottom couldn’t find a way to float
low oxygen, closed like a vice up on their throat
no one hears a scream that can’t survive on what it wrote
but I’m still in the game, castle’s on the board
crashing the door forged greyhound pass now I’m back on tour
strapped for war, merch in the bag food packed back for more
lion in my throat with a fire to feed
explode out the bottle when the throttle release
small man; sharp teeth. much dirt undone
and leagues to go before I sleep

Pops say when you gonna get rich n’ make it?
neva, I ain’t write the type of shit that make you famous
I get national press for protest arrests;
I insight the type of shit that make you famous
my song is a deep sea alien
that would explode in people’s ears
if Payola ever brought it to the surface of a Top 40 playlist
I ain’t fakin’, it’s worth more than they could ever fuckin me
who could own a tree, like a native?
not gangster, still the FBI hate me
for bein’ that rat, who made it through the maze
and never took the cheese when they gave it
it’s Amazin’, I’m AMAZING
white trash ain’t supposed to study wages
they want us poor, drunk, dumb, and makin’ babies
hooked on sports, god, porn, keep it brain dead
but I made it, out the matrix
native healers taught me how to shape shift
how study race, class, and what the state is
I know Capital is just exploited labor
there’s a whole lot more but that’s the basics
War is for profit, not national safety
training youth in genocide for a paycheck
found the abyss before i knew what is was
can’t look away until we break it
but we gonna make it, I can taste it
never been closer to makin’ these type of changes
and I’m afraid but I can’t look away
if that’s what it takes, man,
Class War till they put me in a fucking jail cell
but I don’t wanna be in no jail cell

Donors will receive a digital copy of this poem.

Salt Lake Crucifixion Blues

Once, I took a train from Chicago to Salt Lake City
west of the plains, into the mountains
and from the Great Divide onward there were phone cables
suspended from wooden crosses the whole rest of the way
not towers or poles that sort of looked like crosses
but actual, old fashioned wooden planks nailed together
at right angles, and as the train rose and fell around corners
through tunnels plunging into valleys, they never left my sight
I looked out my long window
and as we passed, imagined a different person crucified to each one.

I didn’t mean to, but whether I wanted them or not
they were just there, black silhouettes mostly
limp and casual
but some were clear, with faces easily discernible
torment and apathy alike
I lost my breath as color scattered
over the dirt and the hills and the green things
where mountains became atmosphere
and the horizon lost definition
rails and ties, and hundreds and hundreds of wooden crosses
with imaginary carpenters, and faces like my father’s
dangling from their old splintery spines.

We travel through life like a slow train
love, can sometimes feel like death
and miscommunication is often blood on the tracks
you know that you love something
when you’re scared to lose it
and I’m afraid
because I don’t wanna lose anyone else
don’t wanna let anybody else go
don’t want to pass these judgments
hanging from their boards
looking down on me anymore
as this unstoppable freight carries us past
pinning every moment I couldn’t hold onto
my weak palms and awkward embraces
it all comes back
every young girl who wanted a friend
but got a half listening agenda engine instead.
each wide-eyed hopeful who thought I might be a hero without strings
but found me suited no different than any other stupid human in debt
every long time friend whose tracks I thought would always run parallel to mine
every lover I failed, every mother I let down
each birthday I forgot, all the phone calls I should’ve made
they’re all here, each jury is a 12 foot high wooden sentinel
baring thick cables on its back like whips that stay
and I pass every pew like a pub crawl of guilty verdicts
like I’m rollin’ through just in time to hear each gavel fall.

It’s all here, along with the live current
of a thousand other land locked voices
rushing through the river guts of this track
and this train and this thistle
1400 miles from Chicago to Salt Lake
it’s like a lifetime. Here is a woman who turned
and looked down into some valley
when she was supposed only to follow.
Here is a man without ambition or drive
he just wanted to build things and get paid enough to live.
This is the family who loved him
but wished he understood compromise,
Here is every employer who thought him simple,
and the officer who with thick fists and black gloves
who took him drunk to the basement
ripped his shoulders shirtless
but held off from administering the beating
when he saw the pot belly and narrow chest.

Here are all the mothers, and all the destroyers
every creator and every betrayer
Here are the bomb builders and bullet casters
the button pushers, architects of madness
and the alchemy of radiation
Here are the youth, and the souls of every person
who left somebody they were still in love with.
Each judgment, like a milestone every five hundred yards
and I wiped my eyes like a lifetime.
It did not end in a lake of salt
that’s just where I got off.

Donors will receive a digital copy of this poem.

A Bike Riding Revenge Poem

Written after pedaling over to the far end of Fox Point, Providence to pick up my phone charger at a friend’s place. He forgot to leave it in the mail box as we had agreed and I almost got mowed down by an irate taxi driver while running errands on the way home, but the bike gods were smiling down and vengeance was mine.

Biking is about Math.
How much time until that signal light turns?
How much space will I have in between traffic and that car door
if it suddenly swings open? If I have multiple errands to run
is there someplace I can get them done without having to ride back and forth across the city all afternoon?

I set off for Thayer Street; post office, copy shop, fair trade coffee, all on the same strip.
I took the back roads, avoiding traffic, skipping the biggest hills and having fun.
Was smart enough to be wearing shorts and the air felt nice on my sweaty legs.
The skin on my face, already slightly tanned and getting used to the sun
so the mid-afternoon rays beating down feel nice, rather than deadly.
Cruising in and out under the shade of trees I make a left on Angel
go down a few blocks and cut up by the Wheeler School.

There’s some construction going on and a dangerous looking corner
but no pedestrians in sight, so I head up onto the side walk
by-pass the workers and return to the road,
coast to the middle of Brook Street, raise my left hand to signal for a turn
and suddenly hear a loud screaming horn

Shocked as shit and almost falling off the bike, I glance back
and there’s this blue and white taxi cab behind me.
The driver is making disgruntled hand gestures and looking all upset.
I make eye contact, nicely, and then following Rhode Island law
for road bicycling to the letter, re-signal my turn, as if to say:
I’m turning LEFT now and in order to do that safely
I have to be in the middle of the lane, Sorry, I’ll be out of the way in just a second.
At which point the taxi then actually attempts to speed through me.

There’s a line of cars at the red light a block away
and it seems as if this guy’s life depends on whether or not
he can get his vehicle in line to wait with them before the signal turns.
Like it’s somehow his duty to get up there and wait with them,
like not only am I just another stupid kid on a bike
and not only am I completely and utterly fucking up the program
but like I’m actually standing in between him and some function so crucial
that the absolute and immediate removal of my person is the only conceivable option.
He BEEPS loudly. Again. This time lays on the horn for even longer
then drives right up close to my bike, putting me at great personal risk
and making a ridiculous scene. So, calmly, I turn because biking
after all, is about Math.

Quickly I judge the distance, lead his car a little and as it passes,
hock the largest, nastiest mouthful of neon congested allergy phlegm
that I can possibly gather, like: FIRE IN THE HOLE!
And there it was, a surprisingly large specimen, glorious, glistening,
canvassed against a clear spring sky. I lost all notion of space and geography
time slowed, and there in the soundless ecstasy of triumph, I watched
focusing in nearly preternatural detail as my main projectile hit dead center
exploding immediately and sending shrapnel gobs of spit in all directions
but the back end of it curved up defiantly! And for a spilt second flexed in mid air,
then finally came down over the top like the tail of a jumping fish thrashes the surface scum
of a small pond before re-entry. What I mean to say… is that it was a direct hit.
A once in a life time shot, like a buzzer beater from half court
or a single rebel X-wing blowing the entire Death Star.

The look of shock sweeping his stubbly stupid face was nothing short of priceless.
He had a weird little fit with his hands then leaned dangerously out the window to scream
YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE, YOU KNOW THAT! Wipers and cheap windex working furiously
as he sped off into the afternoon sun. I smiled deep and kept pedaling.
It was the kind of smile that can make a boy forget how crooked his teeth are for a second.
It was the kind of smile that could make anyone feel better
about riding all the way over to the East Side for a phone charger
that wasn’t even there.

Donors will receive a digital copy of this poem.

Pro Choice For Life

Rhode Island department of child, youth, and family services case 93195
is rooting through the trash when a voice from above lands on his skull like a brick:
that’s disgusting, don’t you care what your mother would think?
I never knew her. I do remember the way my first foster father’s chin
would collapse in the middle of my back every time he finished
the feel of sweaty stubble on my spine in the darkness
I could not say how many post midnight visits he made to my bedroom
before my case worker…

93195 is moved like trash, with all worldly possessions in a Glad bag
cinch sacked from placement to placement. Now he shares a room
with two foster brothers who alternate secret touch time whenever
his new parents are away, often one right after the other
and it goes on for years all this before his tenth birthday. By age thirteen
93195 has violated 3 foster sisters and one young neighbor.

He did not choose this; while America spends billions to photograph Mars
and flex military bases like biceps around the globe, the war on terror
is being lost in foster bedrooms from Oakland to Providence
there are millions of cases, before predators contracted by the state
like hiring bandits to guard bank safes, like doctors without degrees
like calling yourself pro life without ever having fostered, adopted,
or big sister-ed a child. How is it possible that we have a direct line
tuned to every womb on the planet but remain deaf
to what is screaming on the outside? How can it be
that there are so many crusaders on both sides of the line
only willing to fight for fractions? Pro choice but never chose to vote
or broke a sweat to advocate for child services. Pro life
but never protected life by volunteering at a women and children’s shelter
or considered adopting before we made more. Is it possible
for us to cherish what does not mirror our own image?

This is an open plea to a massive, yet apathetic
pro choice shadow army slumbering under canopies of comfortable;
our hands are not so clean. And to my anti choice chief justice,
his masters, followers, and every body in between, my kind of people
do not seem valuable to your god. To ones so young and defenseless,
a foster father who cannot keep his hands to himself is a terrorist
beyond your ability to measure. Please, do not force into this world
what you are not willing to be responsible for. For the sake of case 93195
and every young prisoner of this war with no voice and broken light
my name is Jared Paul and I am pro choice for life.

Donors will receive a digital copy of this poem.

Aggressive, Yet Incidental

We’re all in the same band – don’t act like you don’t know me!
We’re all in the same band – don’t act like you don’t know us!
I don’t care who’s watching, I don’t care who sees
I know that we been workin and we forget to breathe
So get up in the circle, thrash around the room
stomp and pit and laugh across the floor just like we used to do!

If the kids just wanna dance, give’em what they want
If the kids just wanna dance, give’em what they want

This dance is not for violence, violence is for fools
The Enemy’s in City Hall, not inside this room.
We don’t have the time, we’re not that type of band
Just worked for 40 hours – now we wanna dance
We ain’t come to drink – NO!! We ain’t come to fight – NO!!
Monday morning, London calling – we ain’t got all night
Your boots have been to hell and back, who are we to front?
if the kids just wanna dance, better give’em what they want!

If the kids just wanna dance, give’em what they want
If the kids just wanna dance, give’em what they want

We’re all in the same band

We’re all in the same band – don’t act like you don’t know me.
Don’t act like you don’t know us – we’re all in the same band.

Ramsey County Blues

Addiction is a sickness, not a fucking crime.
Offenders in possession should be seein’ treatment
instead of doing time, but if inmates ain’t in jail,
prisons miss their quota and States ain’t makin’ fines
bad guys in jail, good guys go free…
but most convicted people are just like you and me!

locked up – locked up!
What for? Nothing, NOTHING.
Locked Up – Locked Up!
What for? Nothing, NOTHING

The courts are stacked against you, the cops all fucking lie
Marching at a rally, driving late at night
Trumped up fucking warrant, bullshit minor fine
if you can’t afford a lawyer, then you can’t afford your rights
Keep you from your numbers, keep you from your phone
Take your only wallet, jump suit for your clothes!

Locked up – Locked up!
What for? Nothing, NOTHING
Locked Up – Locked Up!
What for? Nothing, NOTHING

“Pulled you over for that taillight and found a warrant for unpaid speeding tickets…”
“We illegally entered your home and smelled weed smoke…”
You were in the right place… at the Right Tiiime.

Locked up – Locked up!
What for? Nothing, NOTHING
Locked Up – Locked Up!
What for? Nothing, NOTHING

Easy Being Green (For Ona)

Left my car homeless, bottom of the exit
with a sign for the cops to contend with,
said: “Work For Change – Gone Till November”
Have traveled and I’ll shotgun agendas.
Start walking, less talk and more motion
Tried to pick up all the trash along the shoulder
but there was more than I was strong enough to hold up
Over flowin’ oceans, stretchin’ on horizons
and Man, we reflect that likeness
Consumption as violence; 6 billion violins
frenetic to buy shit, marionettes smilin’
Symphony of destruction reality television island
starring every living thing up in the globe
Every purchase is the fuel, every dollar is a vote
so I made an oath upon my Mother’s soul
though I couldn’t do it for’em, I’d at least account up for my own

It took ten years to make this song
It made me sure, it made me strong
It’s for Ona, for Packing Town
It was their fight then, it’s our fight now

I been vegan for over a decade, sober for 8.
bike, no car, through the snow and the rain
Can’t fake 4,000 days ashamed,
sittin’ at the table, skippin’ what Mamma made
but I can’t change just to comfort with taste
Factory farm = abomination of nature
n’ slavery’s the same by any other name
I’m sorry Mom and Dad but this is what you raised!
“Being green’s” easy when you see
that it’s your money funding the syringe and the whip
beak ripped, holes poked, and throat slit
Hormone n’ steroid injected to veins
Terrified with live eyes wide open
It’s the polar opposite of quick and painless
destruction of soil, mass water wasted,
factory farms tap dance on mass graves.
a hunter-gatherer nation we slaughtered to take it
sacrilege to those once and truly native
I don’t believe in god,
but if I did I’d know this isn’t how She made it

Keep the lights off!
No paper to trash, take it back and properly deposit
Flatten boxes, glass, shopping bags, and plastic bottles
Hydrogenated oil, red dye cancer?
Strangely, it seems I’m the one they callin’ crazy
cause i know what’s in my food before i put it on my table.
It’s EASY bein’ green, you just gotta read the labels
Corporation farms bought the FDA,
Passing poison food every single day
Profiteering banks, a pyramid of lies
crushing family farms and a whole way of life.
Agri-corp is waste – Earth, Water, Sky.
they may get your money, but they not gettin mine
Green-Wash Freeze Up-comin’
but we fought back before Truth made cents for Al Gore
for the whole damn planet and the same simple reason:
if you wouldn’t kill that life yourself, you probably shouldn’t eat it

Guns Up!

Like farmers up against the bank, decades fightin’ for their land
workers up against the mill, all day standin’ straight up still
drivers headed for the docks, caught between the road and clock
miners up against the boss, black lungs pumping in the dark
cutting hours at the plant, loss of rent and benefits
with no option left but strike – hard hats on the picket line
single mothers, double shifts, with no healthcare for their kids
I am not unbreakable, but I won’t cry off

Guns Up! – they sell us out, we climb back up
Guns Up! – they cut us down, we find a way
Have heart, friends! Have heart, friends!
Have heart, friends!

Like families up against a loan strive to stay in their homes
bail outs for the CEO – when its us they just foreclose
natives up against police, new world res is wounded knee
still alive to fight Chevron oil rigs in the Amazon
hand to hand for their lives while Nestle claims their water rights
Monsanto sues to own all seeds, poison spray the earth and trees
like villagers against their tanks from Gaza City to West Bank
can’t always bleed, one day we’ll win – New Hymns for an Old War, sing!

Guns Up! Guns Up! can’t always bleed
Guns Up! Guns Up! one day, we’ll win

Guns Up! Guns Up! can’t always bleed
Guns Up! Guns Up! one day, we’ll win

Guns Up! Guns Up! New Hymns, Old War
Guns Up! New Hymns, Sing!

Guns Up! – they sell us out, we climb back up
Guns Up! – they cut us down, we find a way
Have heart ,friends! Have heart, friends!
Have heart, friends!

Flies On The Water

It’s a war just to begin…
Sometimes it takes all you got just to reach the beginning.
forget what comes after you even get the chance to finish.
the arc of the grind is long, but an honest man
knows no promise at the bottom of a jostled olive branch.
look back through each and every fault in Gene –
you’ll see everybody got a Separate War & Piece,
fallen to leaves, sand and the mud,
the strength of a dove to anchor your blood.
an ark in the storm, stranded for months –
it takes every charge in your gut
just to make the start of the gun.

the arc of the grind longs for a rest in peace,
but it’s War just to begin and there ain’t no guarantees

it’s war just to begin – there’s no guarantees
it’s war just to begin – there’s no guarantees

Whether 10 months or just over the span of a week,
a raven and two doves or one returning branch in its beak,
when the levee breaks, there’s no way to measure depth of its weight
till you test your craft against the strength of the waves.
I know that we ain’t the first to wade through
these floodgates claiming a deluge of paid dues,
but the plain truth is if this was easy,
then everybody would sail through.
it’s supposed to be hard. from the sky,
drowned bodies look like flies on the water.
iridescent eyes float to smile by the alter.
the same goddess who made covenant rain bow
reigned both over love and war in the same stroke.

it’s war just to begin – there’s no guarantees
it’s war just to begin – there’s no guarantees

from the sky
drowned bodies
look like flies
on the water

Hope City Sky

We’ve been gone from home so very long now
why’d we wait so long? don’t even know how
signs passin’ by- all look the same now
Eight weeks is forever; Road feels like Home now
when you’re almost free, eyes start to light up
you don’t wanna eat, teeth clamp and grind down
one Providence I can put my faith in
Olneyville to Fox Point – I can almost taste it
can’t bear another mile, even with your best friends
Connecticut is torture – it never seems to end
but my city is an anchor, my state is full of hope
when we feel the waves, we know we’re almost home
burnin’ up the coast to the place of my birth
butterflies burst chest cresting Thurber’s curve
Like seeing the ocean for the very first time –
nothing like the sight roundin’ I-95
returning to the high rise of my Providence sky-line…
Hope City Sky!


Dirt Palace dance party, single-speed night rides
pillow fight, Lots of Noise, White Mice, dumpster dive!
Drop Dead, St. Jude, Lightening Bolt, Ride the Skies…
Sin of Angels, Verse, Six Finger Satellite,
Tiny Hawks, Sweet Thieves, Alec K, Tinsel Teeth,
Soul Control, Chinese Stars, No Regard, Midnight Creeps,
B Sharp, Armageddon, Tor Paul, Corleone!
White Electric in my cup, Deer Tick in the head phones.
I’m from the biggest little politically active
Jobs with Justice, Youth In Action
End the Seige, SDS, AS220,
Green Party, DARE, Prov Slam, Buy Nothing,
ISO, Food Not Bombs, 2:1, Marriage Rights,
WIL, IWW, What Cheer? Mobilize,
Big Naz, Farm-acy! roller derby, kick ball
Load Records, Steel Yard, Daughters drinkin’ Red Rum
Arab on Radar -n’ Sage Francis.
Machines wit Mags, Crit Mass n’ Strange Famous!


my city is an anchor, my state is full of hope
when we feel the waves, we know we’re almost home
one Providence calling in the night

Only One Providence
I can place my faith.