Dear Wendell Berry, Again …

Dear Wendell,

Well …

I am on a mountain,

far away from my place.

Like a fisherman,

boat captain,

gone out to an unknown

part of the ocean.

I fear the storms and depth –

fear for the crew.

I know water, tradewinds –

storms and fish!

This isn’t my first rodeo!


 

You told me to tell people you –

were an ordinary man. So …

I do!

I speak of your work, often.

About how you walk the walk

and talk the talk. 

Your work is hard to explain!

Like how the sea-captain laughs quietly

when the river boat deck hands

are nervous, when small waves

breach the bow.

And you laughed with joy,

after I sang to you!

You said, “yep! you can sing!”

That was all I needed to hear!

I was looking at your work boots

so neatly placed next to your rocking

chair.

I knew they were used wisely

and could tell they were

taken care of.

My work boots,

are wearing out,

but thank God

for strong hands

and solid ground –

and

I am thinking

of you!

Sincerely,

John Paul

 

Bye Louisville!

Bye Louisville.

What did you ever do

with that Bingham fountain?

I’ll never forget when y’all tried

to blame that accident on the

worker who sank the Belle.

You only like that boat when

you use her in pictures, to lure

people here for your big party.

And you know what Louisville?

Look what we can do …

we still don’t have a citizen’s

review board, and your boys

in blue need a lesson on

what you are using as

an excuse …

Compassionate city?

Give me a break!

And let me tell you a story!

Once I was just a little boy,

sitting under the Thinker

statue … worried to death

that my Mom and her friends

were going to get arrested –

because they had occupied

the Dean’s office. Me and

that thinker guy had a lot

in common that day. He was

frustrated and alone, I was

listening to everyone call

my mom … a loser!

But we won that fight!

Even the security guard

gave up to our side

when we shut down the

information station!

He told the CJ, that

he was not working,

on Papa’s farm no

more and was going to

protest with us!

And I am sorry Louisville …

but I stopped going to your

big fireworks party when you

turned it into a big commercial

for whatever war, we were in.

I’ve talked to some UPS workers

and sometimes, they wish those

cool planes would crash into

the Ohio River.

And hey babe, Louisville, you

sure look good draped in those

fine French clothes, but York and

Sacagawea are my heroes.

Lewis and Clark were employed

by a government that was looking

to do the same thing you did with

your parks.

Once, black people

weren’t allowed in Cherokee!

You’re never going to live that down!

Now, your Boone hero stands

erect, with gun, at the entrance.

Too bad the 74’ tornado didn’t lift

that perversion and take it away.

And let me tell you one more story!

When Muhammad Ali died, I was

moved to tears when they stopped

on I 64 and my Belle gave her whistle

salute! She was all steamed up and

singing the old man river

blues to her native son, who had

been treated just like her, by a city

who really only likes her …

when she

makes money! SMH …

So, see ya’ later, babe! My home

is not across the Blue Ridge

Mountains! I am doing what

those Kentuckians did when

people got too close. It’s time

for me to leave.

I’ll never forget …

when I was a kid,

playing in the

spray pool,

and somebody

wrote,

 “no niggers

on the roof

at George Rodgers

Clark Park.

That was my front yard!

I can still smell the walnuts

on my fingers as me and my

friends built forts

in her woods

.

We were playing in the waters

that the so-called founding

fathers drank! The capillaries

of the Bear-Grass that you shit in!

And yes, that is a shame!

That creek runs in my veins

and I still can hear all

of Audubon’s birds!

You don’t want to know

what they told me about you!

But now, I am leaving

with a heavy heart

and a worried mind!

So, let me set the record

straight …

There is a tree in that park …

And if you ever cut her down,

I am going to come back and

tan your hide.

I spread my mother’s ashes there.

My mother’s ghost haunts

that park, just like the

Indian stories haunt that

majestic tree, see …

Once upon a time,

an Indian woman

was dying. Her husband

had been shot by one

of your buddies, and she

sat in that park, holding

her baby, grieving!

She cried so much

that her tears watered

that tree and it grew up

around her! And to this

day, you can still hear her

and her baby crying when

put your ear to the

trunk.

And you and your buddies …

still don’t get it! The ghosts

dance in that park, and I,

used to roam that place at

night! They told me all your

deepest dark secrets.

They told me Shawnee,

Chickasaw, Seneca and Slave

stories.

And I danced with

them under your pink,

hot steamy summer

polluted skies.

so, buy Louisville!

Keep it local

and weird …

 

I’m sick of

your bullshit.

Love,

John Paul.

P.S.

When Mark Anthony

Mulligan dies,

it’s gonna be your

fault, not mine! He

loves you more

that I.


Morning Report

IMG_1732IMG_1727

 

Early to rise –

we spoke last

night of possibilities

and venture.

I suggested that

my mind was clear.

My labor temple

cleansed.

When we first

met, i spoke of a

farmer and a poet.

One, quite connected

the other searching

for foreign mystery.

I made resolution –

that we could talk like

that!

They called themselves

distant neighbors.

(So, these days

folks start their

sentences with a

word that starts a

long winded story.)

A mention.

– comma,

means pause,

wait –

Stop.

I brought you

here

by way of a place

that tore me down

to a place where

i was made.

Look around

this is all i care

for.

My Father made this

place to escape –

to come together

as family.

… to sit around this

table and fall in love …

The ones i spoke

of – were pen pals ..

nothing special …

it was what they

didn’t know

they made their

conversation…

advice

comes from

a place some

have already been

i am looking even

further …

you mention

that you wish to

convey certain

perspectives – generally

we speak in stories –

with morals and lessons –

long winded explanations

and (long- reads) that we speak

in kind.

Paying attention?

… our treasures  are not

for sale to the

highest bidder …

 

 

 

 

The Cooperative Manifesto II

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

The featured image is a picture of me from circa 1989. I was working as a cashier at the Good Neighbor Food CO-OP that was located in Louisville, Kentucky. I am holding a jar of powdered garlic from Frontier herbs CO-OP.

The video posted below is a part of my preparation for a music gig that I have at a CO-OP in Paoli, IN.  The poem posted below the video is a spoken word piece that I wrote a couple of months ago.

Enjoy and please don’t forget to share the video and this post. 

Thanks Y’all!

John Paul



 

The Cooperative Manifesto II

 

in between

the old and the new …

 

  1. I see the old,

grey hair with eyes

glowing of potentials,

Missions and Visions –

what was, growing old and

disappearing. Tired and worn of

speeches, marches and failures,

teach -ins, chants and just be in …

all the kings, horses, all the queens

and children cooperatively

playing alternative melodies

dreaming, eating and singing together.

What once was, in danger of coming

up short.

 

  1. I see the young

excited faces with fists

clinched in solidarity,

decisions and resolutions –

what is, the passionate and

growing. Ready and willing to

stand, get in the way of weapons

made to destroy life as we know it …

all the groups, factions, the new people

and children competitive

participating in innocence

dreaming, fighting and looking

to what once was, in danger of coming

in last.

 

(In the fierce urgency

of our time …

I sit in the middle

branded and caught.)

 

The message:

 

Say.

 

We hold these myths to be potential

they, hold truth to be self-evident.

We cooperatively exist,

on the other side

of duality. Afraid of nothing.

Lost and found –

rejecting all that is made

to destroy nature!

We, united in love

employed in each other.

 

  1. Oh, my friends,

quiet your heart

from fearful beatings.

There is darkness –

because of light.

There is an end

because of beginnings.

Our lives, the planets –

our loves, circle.

Trust in return

and find peace

in each other.

Our solutions?

We already own.

 

  1. Like my mother

used to say …

First your money

then your clothes,

and then you find

yourself naked!

Change your mind

to change your life.

 

  1. I have no time

for worry! Power

is relevant only

to the ones

who unknowingly

and irresponsibly

taunt the risk

of extinction!


Meet full