original poems

Ice Storm, December 2002

Michael James Tino

The ice is gone,
drained into the soils and rivers,
and we sit in the eerie silence it left behind.

Three days (and counting) without power,
layers of clothes only go so far to cut the chill of unheated winter air.
As the sunlight fades, candles surround us with a soft, dim glow—
not enough to read by, so
we huddle, silently, by the fire,
making us more cheerful than warm.

No street lamps pierce the dark outside.
No sounds from neighbors who have long since left
in search of hotels or restaurants or comfort wherever it can be found.
No modern inconveniences, no electronic distractions to keep us otherwise and
ignorantly occupied.
There’s only the two of us, left to sit,
and then to talk.

We share dreams and fears, ideas and confusions.
We argue a bit about politics, even.
We talk of work and school, and all that remains on our various and scattered to-
do lists that lie just outside the circles of candlelight.
We recall highlights from recent trips and
holiday gatherings of family and friends.
We chronicle adventures long since past
and chart those yet to be taken.

Cruel, cold winter has given us a marvelous gift.
A big box of time, tied with a sparkling bow of ice.
Falling trees have snapped our power lines,
but new connections are being made.

Brown at the Borders - America's Immigration Crisis

Christopher D. Sims a.k.a UniverSouL

Brown at the borders
Are sons and daughters
of parents who have escaped
violence, wars, weapons, and
endless tears.

America fears children
Who crosses her borders
Believing that safety and
calm are here.

Year after year, “ the browning
of America”is somehow a
threat. How could we ever
Forget that this land was
once inhabited by their Ancestors

Brown at the borders, as
the President of the United States
orders billions from Congress
To deport thousands of children.

Children who have feelings.
Children who have emotions.
Children who seek better lives.

Brown at the borders
Running from ruins and relentless
pressure from rough gang leaders
They are being told, “America will 

give you amnesty.”

The children live in a hopeless land.
Will we take the time to understand?
From America,they will be shipped
and banned.

We have the upper hand, as they remain
brown at the borders. Brown at our mean,
politically motivated, heartless borders.

© Christopher D. Sims
July 10, 2014

Hymn to the Community Garden

David Breeden and Christopher D. Sims

This poem is a collaboration and was recited in Providence, Rhode Island in a workshop entitled This Is What Love Looks Like. 

Mary, Mary, quite communitary-
ian, how does your community
garden grow?

With some compost in a vacant lot,
that’s how our community
garden grows.

With community gardens/
The people won't be starving/
Higher prices, the stores are charging/
What they're putting in the food these days is alarming/
I am arming myself with the knowledge to grow my own/
Healthy food, community, and love in all US time zones/
What else do we need: cleaner water and air to breathe/

Mary, Mary, quite communitary-
ian, how does your community
garden grow?

With lots of hard work
in a vacant lot
and no empty lots

to mow!

That’s how our community garden grows!

Community gardens bring the people together/
Community gardens helps us eat and do better/
It's a natural, holistic way to cooperate and be/
I open my door, walk outside, and join in unity/

Mary, Mary, quite Unitary-
ian (Universalist), how does your
community garden grow?

With lessons in growing
and nutritious food, that’s how our
community garden

We’re talking tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, and greens/
Planting, nurturing, and growing those nutritious things/
We attend potlucks and farmer’s markets seeing our neighbors/
The food is good whether we eat it now, or save some for later/
The farm to table movement is what we can once again enjoy/
The youth in my city are growing food, becoming employed/
For this way of life, there is no harm or no pressure/
We can use this knowledge and love for the land to end food deserts/

Mary, Mary, quite communitary-
ian, how does your community
garden grow?

Buy into our CSA

—Community Supported Agriculture!—
that’s how our
community garden

© Rev. Dr.David Breeden and Christopher D. Sims
June 4, 2014

The Detroit Water Crisis

Christopher D. Sims a.k.a UniverSouL

Who would be considered the nicest,
After shutting off people’s water
causing a crisis?

Using the devices of power
Hour after hour
To sour the living conditions
of so many.

Three-thousand households a week
are facing shutoffs. Can you imagine
how much those bills cost?!

Babies need water.

Children need water.

Youth need water.

Adults need water.

But it’s money over people.

This is a Human Rights issue.
This is a Right to Water issue.

And if this continues imagine
how many lives will be affected.
I’ve heard that gentrification is
connected to these shutoffs.

So it’s about money and land.
Resources changing from hand
to hand. An American pastime
That many poor and people of
color can understand.

Water is in demand.

But shutting it off in
Detroit is their plan.

© Christopher D. Sims
July 8, 2014

Camas Lilies

Rev. Lynn Ungar

Consider the lilies of the field,
the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the native ground their bulbs
for flour, how the settlers' hogs
uprooted them, grunting in gleeful
oblivion as the flowers fell?

And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: "Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I'm through blooming."

Even now, unneeded and uneaten,
the camas lilies gaze out above the grass
from their tender blue eyes.
Even in sleep your life will shine.
Make no mistake. Of course
your work will always matter.
Yet Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

Rev. Lynn Ungar

Poetry that Gives Birth to Revolution

Christopher D. Sims a.k.a UniverSouL

We need powerful empowering poetry
Poetry that promotes positivity
Poetry that encourages people to progress

Poetry that gives birth to revolution

We need poetry
that puts on black berets,
black dashikis, black pants, and black boots
Poetry that rises and raises its fist
to run after the oppressor to oppose
its rendering racism

Poetry that challenges the boys in blue
Poetry that kicks butt while we sit back
and say, "Get 'em poetry!!"

Poetry that gives birth to revolution

Black folk need poetry
that gangsters the grime in the ghetto
Poetry that gathers graceless women,
gutless men, and guiltless children
to guide them back to greatness

Poetry that disintegrates crack
and evaporates alcohol so that we don't
continue to fall into destruction

Poetry that gives birth to revolution

This world needs poetry
that puts an end to poverty
to starvation
to homelessness
to A.I.D.S.
to dehumanization
to government regulation
to population control
to depletion of Earth's natural resources
to war
to worry
to suffering
to pain
to the Bush and Tony Blair regime

Poetry that gives birth to revolution!

(C) Christopher D. Sims
All rights reserved by author

I Want to Sync

Jennica Davis-Hockett

I want to sync all my devices:
My head; my heart; my hands;
My body, mind and soul;
My thoughts and words and actions.
All the things that make me whole.
I *get* that.
I get that we all have a gaping hole.
Looking for the right chord to connect us,
The right plug to charge us,
The right port to download, upload stream us live.
And so we grasp
At what can be held in our hands or sit in our laps.
And gaze longingly through the windows of collective consciousness.

- Jennica Davis-Hockett


Kat Liu (circa 2000)

The exact slight has been forgotten,

its distinctions blurring into the long stream of unintentional insults

I’ve experienced before and since.

Maybe someone asked me what country I’m from.

Maybe someone assumed I'd be good at math.


What I do remember, what still hangs raw, is mentioning it to you, afterwards,

… just in passing,

sharing a small annoyance with a friend.

And you were supposed to be my friend.


“Oh, I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way.”


I am surprised by the response.  Maybe you just didn’t hear me, didn’t understand.

So I try to explain to you why I know exactly how she meant it.  

How after hearing things like that dozens of times one starts to recognize a pattern.

Still you resist, so still I persist,

Needing you to understand me.


“You’re making too big a deal out of it.  Don’t be so sensitive.”


No, you’re the one making this into a big deal. What had been an irritation by a passing acquaintance has become a betrayal by a trusted friend.  

And you were supposed to be my friend.

If there was any doubt to be had, you should have given the benefit of it to me.  

Even if you couldn’t see what I was pointing to, you should have trusted that I wouldn’t just make stuff up.  

After all, that’s what friends do. But instead you defended a complete stranger over me.

… and one has to wonder why.


So now I know that there are some things that I can’t talk about with you.  

Now, I have to ask myself, is this topic safe with you?

Now, a wall rises up between me, and you.


And you were supposed to be my friend.


Jesus On The Mainline Fran

Om Prakash Gilmore
Dedicated to Fran Gilmore And You

Light and love are the revolutions of the heart
gone mad
when sanity is hard and cold.

To dance with God in the midst of the fire singing
Mary Had a Little Lamb, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,
and Jesus on the Main line Tell Him What You Want,
is sheer folly leading to liberation.

When you dance with me, this foolish man
who thinks that he has kissed the Beloved,
you enter into a revolution that has been happening
since the nothingness,
in its dissatisfaction,
decided that it needed to become
stars, galaxies, planets, and that wonder called you.

And we do dance together in the Beloved's heart
creating songs and new dance steps to entertain ourselves
as we reweave light and love into a tapestry of
life eternal.

We pull aside the curtain and enter the holiest of
holies, the doorway, your sincere smile and your
laugh as I tickle you in the most deep recesses of
your soul where you don't usually allow anyone to

Don't be shy, my friend.
You, and I, and the Beloved are one
so I have seen all of your tender parts before.

Om Prakash
Copyright March 2012

The Way of the World -- Dedication to My First Gurus

Om Prakash
The Gurus of This Young Man

Alone in my room with
my 8 track tape playing
click, by click, by click.

A medley.

Earth, Wind,  and Fire tunes spill out
filling the space with possibilities.

A barrier of love between my age of
 innocence and the drumbeat of pushers,
gangs, and guns
on what used to be my favorite corner.

The college kids, in fancy cars,
safari across the bridge that covers the
one railroad
track left over
after the six lane highway dividing the city
between black and white,
opportunity and economic depression
was constructed,
making a smooth,
swooping circle from suburbia
to drugs and back again.

Nothing as serious as crack,
that would come later,
but the same pain and suffering,
guns and gangs,
early deaths of bodies,
hopes, and dreams
that hang around the edges of the perfect
neighborhood for an economy built on the
exchange of street medicine
designed to heal the ills of a poor community,

Or keep it tranquilized enough,
at least, to suck the  blood of the people down to
the marrow
and reinstitute voluntary slavery.

But they say I should keep my head to the sky,
be ever wonderful, stay as you are,
you're a shining star,
and hearts of fire creates loves desire,
take you high and higher to your place on the

The gurus of this young man
shut out of the yoga centers, ashrams, and
Buddhist temples through cultural
and financial segregation,
or by the fear, deeply implanted in my psyche
telling me that anything not included in the
slaver's religion is the devil.

Left to find the Beloved on my own in a city with a
church on every corner

through the magic of songs pointing to the light
that transforms the darkness and awakens the
human soul through rhythm, beat, and lyrics
saturated with living waters.

"We come together on this special day to sing our
 message loud and clear.
Looking back we've touched on sorrowful days,
 future, past they disappear.

You will find peace of mind of you look way down in your heart and soul.
Don't hesitate because the world seems cold.
Stay young at heart because you're never, ever old.  That's the way of the world." 

The way of the world.

"There I was washed upon a shore, crying my heart out, I just can't take no more.
My life had come to an end.  I was ready to give in. 
I closed my eyes for one last silent prayer, only to look up and find you standing there. 
I looked into your eyes and then I realized I'm in love. 
With you my love. 
With all my heart and you can never,
never give up on your dreams."

Om Prakash
© April 14, 2013


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