The Gold Formed in Supernovas

The Gold Formed in Supernovas

Out of the Supernovas
Where we
And all the gold were formed
We fell nightmarishly into a world of dreaming

From the crowns of our mother’s heads
Into swelling hopeful wombs

We plummeted

Mothers, you did not come from a rib

And, we definitely fell from your celestial wombs
Skies under the sky

The Twice Born
Born from two sacred furnaces

This is for every woman who has ever held a child’s hand
Until it was strong enough to walk

And, for every woman
Who has ever had to have her hand held
When choosing
Not to bring a child into this world

O-o-h child things are gonna get easier
O-o-h child things will be brighter

We waited until it was our turn to play

I came to earth to reclaim my Stetson hat
A cosmic Staggerlee

To hang on to this world as it spins around
And to not let the spinning get me down

The stars are both my cradle and my cenotaph

And in this līlla where our dreams collide
Spending lifetimes running from all the reasons
We came here in the first place

Running from each other

Why not build a world
A stronger world
A strong though loving world
To dream in?

Cowardly dreamers

Often our dreams dare not speak their names
Falling out of the strangeness and the charm
Like purposeful precipitation

We are the faces of our mother’s and our father’s
Agony and ecstasy.

We are the chain reaction

We are atomic shadows
Tattooing the ruins and the wreckage
Of yesterday’s dreaming
The wreckage we must stoop to rebuild
With our broken tools
And burned hands

We are the quantum miracles
That force the gods to come to earth
To intervene on our behalf

And a mother to offer us her milk filled breast

This Song of Experience and human abstract
Living in the concreteness
Where the mundane and divine clash

Our Ideas can’t be killed
Only their containers smashed
And their advent delayed

Rebuild the Tower of Babel
Five Stairsteps
And space

Build it high enough to shout at god
And to say:
Your confounding of our languages
Has never stopped us from writing a poem
Or a song
Or a prayer
Or even attempting to be reasonable with each other

We are many
нас багато
[nas bahato]

Thousands chanted this in Russia
At Aleksei Navalny’s funeral
Where it was illegal to be

And they aren’t covering their faces, either.

This is for Lulia and Daria Navalny
Who have vowed to carry his dream
And for all of the hope that Putin can never kill

Ideas can’t be killed
Only their containers smashed
And their advent delayed

This is for the sacrifices of
Myrlie and Medger Evers
Bayard Rustin
Mamie Till- Mobley and Emmitt Till
And the open casket that forced America to gaze into an abyss
That was also gazing

And for the patience
Of John Lewis
And all of the people
Who still continue to cross the Edmond Pettits Bridge annually

Even though it still continues to be named
After a Klansman

This is for the voice of Fannie Lou Hammer
Who told us
“Stay together children”

And the music of Martha Redbone
Who is a lover
And a Mother
And a sister, too

She is bold enough to ask god:
Why can’t we talk about it?

And for Donnie Hathaway who fell
And Roberta Flack who supported his sky
As long as she could

For Tammy Terrell who consorted with Marvin Gaye
Their words and music still work
And still matter

You are my loves
You are my heavens
You make me sing
La Dee Da

This is for all of the Women who
Like an Egyptian Goddess
Hold up the sky
Giving shelter to the earth

For the rage of Nadya Tolokonnikova,
Lead singer of Pussy Riot
And for Harvey Milk
And all of the us’s in the U.S.

And, for a bunch of other people, too
Who you won’t ever learn about in school
Because they are too diverse to be included
In orthodox versions of Ameri-can’t History.

Let our actions in the world
Build elegant lattice like ladders into afrofutures
In the likeness of the subatomic grid structures
Found in the gold formed in supernovas


(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image credit 1: Untitled, Firelei Báez / Smithsonian) (Image credit 2: Untitled, John Armleder / Museum of Modern Art)

At Play Amidst the Strangeness and the Charm: for Black “Mystery” Month 2024

At Play Amidst the Strangeness and the Charm: for Black “Mystery” Month 2024

Is there a 30,000 foot view
Above the burning and banned books
The global rise of Nationalisms
And the desire for new Green Books
For Black, Brown, Purple, and Rainbow people?

Above the Operation Wet Back interment camps
And gated country
With gated communities
And gerrymandered voting districts
Where guns speak louder than people
And Headdresses, fezes, or yarmulkes
Are tantamount to wearing targets
And, a pregnant woman has no choice?

Is there a place where our greatest thoughts and Ideals have gone
At play amidst the strangeness and the charm?
A  Black Mystery poem
For Black “Mystery” month
Because suddenly it’s becoming forbidden to be taught about ourselves

As if words hurled at eternity
Can be made to disappear into Black Holes
To be forgotten and spaghettified
Passing the event horizons of cosmic shredders.

May we, Ray Bradbury-like, become the books they burn
Before 2024 becomes 1984
And we all die because of 451 degrees of separation
The resulting carbon emissions hastening global warming.


(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image credit 1: Léon Ferrari: ‘Justice’ by Rogelio Irurtia + ‘The Seven Apocalyptical Trumpets’ by Dürer” / Tate)

(Image credit 2: Gabor Peterdi: Apocalypse / Smithsonian American Art Museum)

The Day After Pee Wee Herman Died


The Day After Pee Wee Herman Died 

Trump was indicted in Washington D.C.
The day after Pee Wee Herman died

Two shots of Tequila
One for Pee wee
The other for this political moment

Can I dance on my toes like I meant to do that?

Just mesmerized by the coverage.

I’m having Nixon flashbacks

The  inner child in me
That only understood Watergate as an emotional pastiche
Is being introduced to the grown man following the  coverage of this event
On multiple computer screens
Like a super villain

The paradox that returning citizens can’t vote
After paying their debt to society
But, Trump can run for President with pending charges
In multiple jurisdictions
And pay for his lawyers
With $40,000,000 from his political action committee

The argument that there are two tiers of Justice in America
One for him and one against him

And the promise that he will kill American democracy
Like the cancer that consumed Paul Reubens.

Can we ever be vindicated of he who claims to be
Retribution Vengeance and Vindication itself?

The man who Tweeted from D.C. Playhouse
With a host of loonies as his supporting cast
Who tried to steal Democracy in broad daylight
Broadcast from the mountains
To the Prairies
To the oceans white with foam

Until Democracy became a McGuffin
In Mango Mussolini’s quest for personal
And dynastic power
Featuring Jarad “I want to be a real boy” Kushner
And Ivanka “Why does daddy stare at me” Trump

While his enablers just stared like Pee Wee Herman
In the middle row of an adult movie theater
As American Democracy was transformed
Into MAGA Pornography

Jack Smith come as Justice vindicator of democracy
Ready to engage all conspirators and co-conspirators
All of these miscreants are under One Law
Stay your hand no longer

You are only striking corpses.

(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)
(Image Credit: José Clement Orozco, “The Demagogue” / Artvee

Tennessee: Walking in Nashville and the Illusion of Decorum

Tennessee: Walking in Nashville and the Illusion of Decorum

Justin Jones, Justin Pearson and Gloria Johnson
Where will you be in 3 years 5 months And 2 days of this life?

Save us from the illusion of decorum
And the tired fear filled old men
Who want to take us back to the thrilling days of yesteryear
When we were all “Crimson and Clover” and “Chantilly Lace” and “Hi ho Silver, away”

When dance proctors at sock hops separated the dancers
By putting rulers between the boys who wore blue and girls who wore pink
And women weren’t supposed to have orgasms, either

Where post sex Coca-Cola douching supposedly prevented pregnancy
And they didn’t know that there were more than just two sexes
Or, that the world was about to dramatically change for everyone

Go walking in Nashville
In a time before Al Green had screamed
Either like his lover had just deeply satisfied him
Or, had just thrown hot grits on him in a bathtub

Before he was reverend Green who was glad to meet you when you didn’t have a prayer

Well, do we have a prayer in Nashville?

I saw the ghost of Jim Crow walk on MLK Blvd.
Walk up to the gates of the state house where he was greeted with regard
Now security definitely saw him
A walking corpse exhumed
That ugly zombie being
That Killed Martin Luther King
When America wouldn’t make room

Now I’m marching in Nashville

Forget history then repeat it ; amnesia is a little death

And be careful Obama babies because your struggles are just beginning

If you weren’t there; then you don’t remember;
And if you don’t remember; then, this is new to you.

Pay attention.

I’ll take you to another time,
A different name but the same place
The place is Charlotte Avenue
That MLk’s name has replaced

50 years after his death but only 5 years ago
And now America wants to Arrest its Development.
Old tired fearful men afraid of being replaced like street signs

And who don’t realize that the world is about to dramatically change for everyone.

(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image Credit: Kehinde Wiley, Mary, Comforter of the Afflicted II, 2016 / Art Basel)

Nostalgia: For Gil Scott Heron and Afrofuturist Voices

Nostalgia: For Gil Scott Heron and Afrofuturist Voices

(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image Credit: Sankofa Bird / Jeffrey Waller / Greene County African American Museum)

Still crossing

Still crossing

Still crossing the bridge
A determined President
And children of hope

Still leaving flowers
No one will turn us around
Edmund Pettus Bridge

(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image Credit: Jacob Lawrence, “Confrontation on the Bridge” / Smithsonian)


The Chaos of Germinating Seeds

The Chaos of Germinating Seeds

Sometimes dreaming is so exhausting that you have to wake up

Punarmṛtyu — dying again

Punarjanma — and again being born

This guest house of opening and closing one’s eyes
Is like the  opening and closing of a banned book that must be read and digested

cover to cover

To get at the mental nutrition between its covers,

Milk does not come from bottles
It comes from the stars

Nor does butter come from waxen sanitary coverings

Samurdra Manthan — churn the cosmic ocean of milk

and remember: all that is  golden comes from super novas.

Love is neither easy nor natural
It requires work like the churning of milk to separate butter

Or, churning the cosmos to produce this moment.

And speaking of unconditional love
Is like dreaming of churning butter
Without knowing how to actually milk a cow.

Love is the sun darkened necks and chapped hands of farmers

The Forgotten

In our silicon chip facilitated frictionless virtual and virtueless worlds

Where lies can grow faster than the best genetically modified food grains

The chaos of germinating seeds

The arhythmic bursting of husks

Rice shaken and thrown into the air and the breeze takes the chaff

I’m not singing about Shamballha
I sing of America

Wisconsin corn

Arkansas Rice

Kansas wheat

We fly over these states without even saying a thank you

Or saying our grace

O, Embodiments of Sandburg-ian songs
O, Golden husk covered food grains that if thrashed could feed all of our tomorrows

Let me take you into my body so that I can be
Strong enough to both plant
And harvest you

To be strong enough to help America live up
To all of its broken promises.

Hidden beneath the rotted roses and wreaths of heroes
Men and women who have offered their lives for a dream

Democracy slumbers waiting to be reawakened, rediscovered

And reborn.

It is a field in which an enemy has sewn weeds

Do we have the Nazarene grace to separate the weeds from the tares?

Upāya— the skillful means

Can we grow ever larger to include

Martin’s Dream

Gandhi’s Dream

Malcolm’s dream

Baldwin’s dreams

Nina Simone’s Dream

Zora Neale Hurston’s Dream

Maya Angelou’s Dream

Toni Morrison’s Dream

And every other thinker on a list of banned books

In spite of the

Old time American revival tours

Militant generals using Jesus as a weapon

Churches used as MAGA gun emplacements

And the politicians who take our heroes and she-roes names in vain
But won’t allow us to study about them in our schools

Let me be hot pepper and lemon juice squeezed into our culture’s soured milk
And salvage what seems to have gone wrong
With the grace of a mother making yogurt and curds

All milk products aren’t sweet
And all sweet things aren’t good for you

Let the sour, the spicy, and the bitter all abide together
To form something new and unexpected.

Another poem like this?
And another one?
and another one?

This Groundhog’s day contemplation
Let me work Until I get it right.

I salute the epic, dramatic, and inevitable round of this lifetime
And humankind’s role within it

Maybe we will finally learn compassion
By killing enough curlews blithely flying while melodiously singing

Murdering enough deer in the midst of amorous love sport

Bombing enough children in Ukrainian apartment complexes

Shooting enough people when they least expect it

And killing enough young men in our streets under the color of law

The proof of our living as sages would be the simple ability for us to live well together while still disagreeing.

We won’t see anything new;
We’ll only recognize the promises we have made to ourselves

And broken so many times

Samsara is Nirvāṇa
and Nirvāṇa is Samsara
Worlds woven together

Turn the wheel once twice then thrice
We are a part of this world
and not apart from it

And Democracy will appear on the earth

When it is no longer needed.


(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image Credit 1: Sheila Machlis Alexander / Smithsonian Museum) (Image Credit 2: Smithsonian Museum)

Velvet Paintings

Velvet Paintings

When I was young and there was no internet

We immortalized our heroes on Velvet Paintings sometimes sold at roadside stands near gas stations and fast food restaurants

And depending on the size of a free wall in your living space
You could hang one or all of the three martyrs

And John

Our revolutionaries were photographed on wide backed wicker chairs seated next to large potted palm plants under a red black and green flag arrogantly breaking the fourth wall while staring directly into the camera as if to say:

Try it and find out,


When Martin was killed everyone said:

We’ll never see another Martin in our lifetime; but, we did get a Barrack and that worked out just fine.

No offense, Mike.

We thought there would never be another George Wallace, too.

But we got a Trump and suddenly I didn’t drink orange sodas anymore

or like to play Spades and other card games that used trump cards for victory

Every hero creates his own villainous counterpart

at least that’s what M. Knight Shyamalan  taught us in the new [old] mythological tales.

We have to stop whats happening before we see dead people


And have to paint more velvet paintings.

At some point we will discover the MAGA Kryptonite and the heroes, she-roes, and androgens strong enough to wield it.

Pray Tell and Uncle Clifford come and Z snap these bitches into the Phantom Zone.

Throw shade where shade is due from the overly long ties to the blaming everything on ANTIFA

But cast some light on 1/6 which was truly an inside job.
That’s why Pence told the secret service:

“I’m not getting in that car.”

The praetorian guards killed Caligula — maybe Mike Pence’s “mommy” had let him read a history book or two.

Velvet paintings of John Lennon who once quipped that his back up band, The Beatles, were bigger than Jesus.

People got upset and I don’t know why

Because Jesus got a velvet painting, too.

“…Everything is gonna be

Sing for us Audre Lord and quench our thirst for Justice with the blood of martyrs and mothers offered in vulval libation cups.

shower us with your labial petals and prove to us that the soft and pliant can overcome the stiff and hard

Even the idiocy of a football player who never  sat in a wicker chair in his life but who himself is considered a Bizarro World hero.

“Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind..”

Memories of familial barbecues on southern home places where you could be poor

But you were never hungry

Don’t look back.
Just keep looking forward

We have come so far.

But we still have a ways to go.

Velvet Paintings of Fannie Lou who told us to “stay together children she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Her radio broadcast was silenced

But we heard her anyway

The heroes have to be equivalent to the villains and as numerous. Here we are.

Still together.

“We don’t need another hero

we don’t need another way home

All we want is life beyond this Thunderdome”.

Where cartoonish carnival barkers sell lies, blood and circuses

And we painted velvet paintings for the fallen

To remember.

(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)
(Art Credit 1: Radcliffe Bailey, Up From / Nasher Museum) (Art Credit 2: Smithsonian Institution)

We Almost Lost Kiev (for Gil Scott Heron)

We Almost Lost Kiev (for Gil Scott Heron)

They pass out iodine tablets
As the people stand in lines

It inspires the children’s questions

(“What’s that?”)
As mama swallows it and cries.
But no one stopped to think about the children
Or how they will survive.
And we almost lost Kiev
This time.
But how will we ever get over
Losing our minds?

Same country as Chernobyl

Where we lost our minds one time.
Another power station
Another inhuman crime.
Will they stop to think about the people?
And how they will survive.
And we almost lost Kiev
This time.
How will we ever get over
Losing our minds?
The President of Ukraine
Has disasters on his mind.
And what would Gil Scott Heron say to us?
I mean…
…If he were still alive.
When it comes to global safety
Money wins out every time.
And we almost lost Kiev
This time.
Well how will we ever get over
Losing our minds?
Already lost Fukushima
one time.
Odds are we’ll lose again.
Next time.
Saw my mother’s hair.
This time.
Long Silver strands of her hair.
This time.
Melting in the wind.
This time.
Too fragile to be touched.
This time.
Got me feeling blue.
This time.
Joni Mitchell Blue.
This time.
Yves Klein Blue.
This time.
Shadow black and blue.
This time.
Nagasaki shadows.
This time.
Still waiting for a Trane.
This time
Coltrane saw those shadows.
One time.
Called for A Love Supreme.
That time.
We  still lost Chernobyl.
One  time
And Three Mile island.
That time.
Going to lose somewhere else.
Next time.
Lose someone else we love.
Next time.
Didn’t learn our lesson!
Three times!
Fourth time is the charm?
Next time?
Well, how will we ever get over
Losing our minds?
(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)
(Image Credit 1: Dana Kavelina, “We are all tied now” (Exit to the Blind Spot Series) / Fridman Gallery)
(Image Credit 2: Dana Kavelina, “from the threads of silence a pullover for a soldier is sewn” (Exit to the Blind Spot Series) / Fridman Gallery)

The Legend of Jocko Graves: The [I] Wonder [where we were] Years

The Legend of Jocko Graves: The [I] Wonder [where we were] Years

In my Summer of Soul I listed to the Keats-ian Grasshopper
Of sweet soul music that would become the soundtrack of my life

That was the same week Woodstock was held

And that Americans landed on the moon

We were singing in Harlem in spite of all

And everything

Contrary to popular belief
James Brown did not teach us that we had Soul

But he definitely confirmed it
And he had a lot of co-signers

Now in my Keatsiian autumn I listen at the crickets
In the resounding silence coming from America’s second political party
As they Whitewash 1/6/2021
That sees the attempted coup as just another day in our country

And maybe it was
just business as usual
From the usual American suspects

I juxtapose the Pulitzer Prize winning 1619 Project
To Ahmaud Aubrey’s dead murdered body with sock less feet
And “long dirty toenails”

To an 18 year old White boy made a spokesman for The Right

Embedded with the conservative press

And offered jobs in congressional offices
Shown more deference and respect than an adult Black man

First running for his health
Then running for his LIFE

Not given the benefit of doubt
Had he resisted, three murderers
Would have gone free

People like to tell me that things have changed a lot since my summer of soul

Because we’ve had a Black-ish President
And a Black-ish Vice President

What they mean is
that it has changed for them

I’ve always had Black He-roes and Black she-roes

(and I’m looking at you here PAM GRIER)

They didn’t just show up
It’s just that now
They are widely seen
And others are aware of them, too

I have always been able to “say to myself what a wonderful world”

And I didn’t learn that at a mindfulness meditation retreat

Or from a Jungian analysts either

A nation of millions can’t hold us down
Nor COVID-19
Nor Neo-Nazis
Nor gerrymandering
Nor voter suppression

Will it all be better now just because
The Rolling Stones will no longer sing and play Brown Sugar?
Without asking the question:
Why were they singing in it so loudly and for so long?

How come it tasted so good?

Is Sir Paul MacCartney right?
Were The Rolling Stones just a Blues cover band?

Yeah, yeah, yeah — OOOOOOOOOO!

Cause representation matters.

I’m to old to swing
And so I sing
Sing to younger people with stronger arms and more nimble minds

So that you can swing for me
And swing for yourselves

Representation matters

Growing up we wondered how many times Charlton Heston could save the world:

Free the slaves from Pharaoh

Conqueror the Moors while dead on horseback

Set off the Alpha and Omega bomb on a planet of apes

And be the last man standing in the Omega Man

Until they would pry his gun from his cold dead hands
As he lay in a fountain dying like sci-fi Jesus

Like Rocky, I guess 75,000,000 American voters thought that
That bullshit was real

Ali, boma ye
Ali, boma ye
Ali, boma ye
Ali, boma ye
Ali, boma ye
Ali, boma ye

Shaft came just at the right time,
Just when everybody needed him

Smooth, Leather clad and funky
With his own theme song
Righting all the wrongs
Saving Hollywood and movie theaters
Because no one was believing Charlton Heston’s bullshit any more.

Sing  of Urban Myths and the reclamation of Jacko Graves

The inspiration for lawn jockeys

Teenage hero of the revolutionary war who froze to death
Faithfully holding George Washington’s horse
As the pre-first President crossed the Delaware River
To ambush and murder Hessian soldiers in their sleep

It was a myth that became so pervasive, That our neighbors painted their lawn jockeys white in protest

That is
Before the White flight made them move out of the city
And into the cloistered suburbs
To hide behind gated communities

This poem is for
The Legend of Jacko Graves
“The  [I]  Wonder [Where We Were] Years” between my Summer of Soul
And my contemplative autumn

But before my winter of discontentedness

‘Cause everyone wants to go to Heaven
It’s just that nobody likes to die.


(By Heidi Lindemann and Michael Perry)

(Image Credit 1: Betye Saar, The Liberation of Aunt Jemima. The Berkeley Revolution)

(Image Credit 2: Chase Hall, Jocko Graves (The Faithful Groomsman), Jenkins Johnson Gallery)