NYC Versions

[nyc skyline from the carlos nilmmns subculture ep]

Version 1

Crossing the bridge, into the gray girded collosus - the City - expectations rise,
The flood of feeling spans chaos and order, and in the mind's ear
A big band's joyously full tilt; an orchestra majestic reaches
For skyscraper heights broken by sunlight, watched over by moonlight.
The songs blare into the night, into a bright tangible dream.

Version 2

Crossing the Bridge
Into the City,
Expectation rises.
My Orchestra reaches for Heights
Broken by Sunlight,
Watched over by Moonlight.
My Song
Blares into the Night,
The tangible Dream.


An Inconspicuous Year

[ I found this poem, which I wrote in 2000 or 2001, in a crate of papers this morning. ]

The bombs went off
And inarticulation ruled.
There always seemed to be bickering
Therefore so-called crises were fueled.
Everyone laughed and everyone cried
And everyone laughed again, as they should
For, the economy was good.
Everyone blasphemed and everyone prayed,
But the culmination of all was getting paid.
One might not probably say,
But it was true
As doubts of priorities grew and grew.
Material or spiritual?  Some would say.
Science or religion?  Some said again.
And some said neither, now and then.
There were tornados and earthquakes,
Every sort of natural disaster.
There was bankruptcy, and meltdown
In a nuclear reactor.
All the while some achieved and some deceived
And others achieved by deceiving;
Still others received for achieving,
Achieved by receiving and received by deceiving.
But the details have been lost in details
And all seems small and far away,
Fusion into vague yesterday,
Happiness and moral judgements far away.
All in all, an inconspicuous year.


Reality - Flood

photo 2011 _ words 2010


I smile at her little dog

And she frowns:

I’m not the one who picks up its droppings.


Water falls from the sky

As many reroute their tears

And silence The Great Soul.


$1,000,000 Dollar Home

_ from 2010

Listen, I was at the symphony

Thumbing through my program.

There was a page of real estate,

Opposite a list of donors.

And for a moment,

I vanished into the tiny world...

Would you order a $7 dollar pizza

From a $1,000,000 Dollar Home?

Like a backwoods fool

Who just won the lottery?

Though I can imagine

Marble and chocolate,

Surveillance and polish,

Climate control,

Portraits of goblets

And guns

That line the insides

Of a $1,000,000 Dollar Home.

So would you haul out garbage in a bathrobe

From a $1,000,000 Dollar Home?

Or is there a robot for that?

Maybe me.

I’m not a donor or a deity

With a $1,000,000 Dollar Home.

I bought a $14 dollar ticket

And moved to the front row.

Jupiter, Low In The Sky

_from 2010

Jupiter, low in the sky
Fiery morse of Jove
Signals lower lightboxes

From the terrain of black pathways,
Jupiter is low in the sky

Aperture of a blue dream
Inside a dark clay pot


closet intellect

Sometimes I hear

God why !

And I cringe

That gray world

seems inclined

To sink, into the


Dour talk, that

Clings to

A loop  
And I look on

And I think

The heart



Wants to burn

the mind

Wants to

Come out

Of the closet


The Call To International Disarmament (Revised)

The Call To International Disarmament (Revised)

. . .

Today, October 19th 2011, I call for international disarmament: The dismantling of all existing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and the cessation of their production and testing.

To any and all nations possessing such weapons: Disarm, and lead the way.  To any and all individuals and companies involved and invested in their manufacture: Redirect your resources and intelligence to technologies that sustain and improve quality of life, not technologies designed to devastate the human population. 

Long enough has the anxiety of mutually assured destruction hindered international relations.  It is time to move forward.  It is time to write a new chapter in which this costly and fruitless enterprise is abandoned, and thereby build trust among nations.

. . .

"In January 2006, Norway announced last month that it has stopped investing, via its state pension fund, in seven companies which it says are involved in the production of nuclear weapons as those activities “violate fundamental humanitarian principles,” the BBC reported."  Bellona, 06/02-2006


Gridlock < Unlock

Gridlock < Unlock

. . .


Past and future                                    Has been

                        Will be

Now unlock

Pathways                                                Connecting     

Sun drops

Into color                              After years

I feel ready

To see

. . .


On Pigeons

On Pigeons

. . .

When I walk toward a train station, or on a train platform, or down the sidewalk - there they are, "in the way."  And I move to walk around them, or I at least slow down, because they are clearly doing their own thing and do not perceive me as a threat.  A pigeon doesn't seem afraid if I'm coming toward it.  It scuffles away and then goes back to whatever it was doing.  Eating, probably. 

Pigeons have adapted to human cities in an interesting way.  They make themselves quite visible.  Therefore, we accept them as sharing the environment and even as fixtures of city life.  

I tend to give pigeons the right of way because they are much smaller creatures than I am.  In my mind, the larger creature with the clear advantage, which (most likely) won't be harmed (much) by the smaller creature, should not harm the smaller creature. 

Should a pigeon unexpectedly fly into the face of a human aggressor, that person would probably be taken aback and run off.  That person probably wouldn't mess with pigeons again. 

Suppose the pigeon had the superior intelligence/strength.  Well, I hope it would be respectful and not try no harass, manipulate or dupe me! 

I'd assume anyone who'd try to hurt a pigeon is one of these things:  Primitive, unbalanced, a child who doesn't know any better, or starving to death.  It's a good thing for pigeons that they register to (most) humans as unfit to eat.  Maybe that's why they hang around us!       

Most city dwellers would no go after a live animal in hunger.  For me, live creatures do not register as food - not even lobsters in a tank at a grocery store.  When I've eaten meat, it looks and is very far removed from the actual act of killing.  Something to think about.        

. . .


A Scene On The Train

A Scene On The Train

From reality:

Woman sits down on the train
Next to a somewhat shabbily dressed man
Drinking what is probably spiked Pepsi
He says something

Woman:  What?
Man:  Oh, I wasn't talking you.
Woman:  Oh, okay.


Man: Does that phone have a radio?
Woman: No, it doesn't.
Man:  Spare change?
Woman:  No, I don't really carry much hard currency these days.  Maybe I should.  No, I don't have any change right now. 

Man: You know somebody might steal it.  Somebody might take that (the phone) - what's that…300 dollars?
Woman:  No, not that much.
Man:  You know, some gangsters might take that, sell it in a pawn shop?
Woman:  Gangsters?
Man: Yeah, black kids'll steal it and sell it. (the man is black)
Woman: I'm not worried about that.  Even without the phone, I'll be all right.


Man: Does your boyfriend tell you you're pretty?
Woman:  Yes.
Man: That's good because you're a good-looking woman.
Woman:  Thank you. 


Woman:  You know, there's more to life than looking good.
Man:  Oh I know, you can be ugly and pretty at the same time.
Woman:  Yes, I suppose that's true.


Man:  I like this conversation.
Woman:  Yes, it's good to talk.
Man:  Thank you.  Thank you for your time.
Woman:  You're welcome.


Man:  I've enjoyed this conversation.  Can I ask you one more question?
Woman:  Sure, what's that?
Man:  Have you ever been to the Plum Island shelter. 
Woman:  No, is that where you're going?
Man:  No.

Train begins slows to a halt and the woman gets up to disembark.

Man:  Well, tell your wife -- I mean --
Woman laughs.
Man:  Husband -- no, boyfriend --
Woman and Man both laugh.

The train doors open.  Man holds up his hand and they bump fists.

Woman:  Take care of yourself.

Woman exits the train.

. . .


The Call To Nuclear Disarmament

I, Sarah Ikerd,
on October 17th, 2011
call for international nuclear disarmament:
the dismantling of all existing nuclear weapons
and the cessation of their production and testing.

I call on the individuals involved in the manufacture of such weapons
to redirect their energies and intelligence
to technologies that sustain and improve quality of life,
not those of mutually assured destruction.

Long enough has nuclear anxiety hindered international relations.
It is time to move forward.

I call upon the United States,
as the only nation to have ever used the bomb in conflict,
to set the example and initiate disarmament,
to write a new chapter in which this costly and fruitless enterprise is abandoned,
and by doing so, build trust among all nations.

Since this is an international call to disarmament,
I invite any and all of the nations possessing nuclear weapons;
I invite any and all of the individuals and companies involved in their manufacture
to step up, and lead the way.


The Drum Major Instinct




Opinion : Peace

Opinion : Peace


There's always something to strive for, and that makes life worth living.  Purpose is invigorating.  I felt that way even when, a while back, I would say that what's going on in our country politically has nothing to do with me, that I should just ignore all that nonsense. 

Like it or not, I'm affected by the world around me.  And likewise, I affect the world around me.  Given that fact, I decided I should speak up more and now, put principles into practice.  For example:  Moving my funds to a community bank. 

I believe that to remain passive, to convince oneself things are good enough because someone else has it much worse implies on a personal level that there is nowhere else to go and no further to travel. 

I have felt this way before, but it just isn't so. 

To feel one doesn't have the right to speak up, or that one doesn't know enough to do so, suggests stagnation and hopelessness.  This thinking is self-defeating. 

As complex and nuanced as we are as human beings, I don't think we were designed solely to sit in front of a TV, that our only destiny is being passive consumers. (Consider the allegory of "The Matrix" again.) 

Being strong means you can set an example and make moves to help/motivate those less fortunate:  http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2011_1007occupy_boston_group_reaches_out_to_homeless/srvc=home&position=recent

What we say about a lot of things has the potential to resound the world over, especially now with the internet -- yes for better or for worse.  But notice that, historically, positive messages have the most resonance. 

Personally, I won't endorse greed as good enough and dog-eat-dog materialism as just the way it's going to be. Might as well lay down and die.  I'm thankful to people who get themselves out of their bubble and out the door and inspire the rest of us.     

Lastly, I recommend MLK Jr.'s Drum Major speech. 

. . .


The Difference A Day Makes

During the Dewey Square general assembly I attended - the night of Saturday, October 8th - we passed the "Memorandum of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples."   

Though, I've heard quite a few people say - and I understand - that piling on additional causes is "divisive and confusing," that it's important to stay focused on the unifying issue of Wall Street/economic reform in order to effect actual change in Washington. 

But I love that people are down there talking about how to build a better society and drawing attention to other important issues also.  

The assembly was cooperative, though it requires much patience.  Here's the proposal process:  Person will make a proposal // Clarifying questions // Points of information // Strong concerns and objections // Friendly Amendments // Proposer will decide what to adopt and modify // Repeat steps 2-4 // Vote // Ask for blocks. 

One proposal was withdrawn or "tabled" by the proposer after others' questions and input. 

And later, I admit it felt good to be able to take the microphone and express myself, and to hear others, having felt for some time misrepresented.  Now I'd revise my statement (see previous post), but I suppose catharsis is part of the process.  I shouldn't let go of idealism and poetry, but it's also important to stay on planet Earth.  The anger that wakes us out of a stupor, that motivates constructive action is useful.  The anger that clouds rational thinking and causes destruction is not.  

Having said that, I believe one significant motivation for camping out or hanging out at Dewey Square is:  Community. 
I'd like to continue involvement in public discourse, from a humble, grounded and well-rested standpoint.  A taste of "direct democracy" has encouraged me to clear away mental limitations I've placed on myself, and others.  



On The Soapbox // Food For Thought

I felt the urge to speak at the Occupy Boston general assembly in Dewey Square, so I did.  It was toward the end - when individuals make various statements.  It was late.  And people, including myself, were tired.  Honestly, I feel like I've overdosed now.  But I'm glad I went down there and enjoyed the atmosphere for a while today, and I'm glad I said something.  What I said seemed to receive a mixed response, and here it is:

In keeping with solidarity and the betterment of our great society, we recognize that we need all 100% to grow and to progess.  The mentality of us versus them will only get us so far.  As the Dalai Lama has said, and he has a lot of good things to say:  Anger is a poison you drink hoping it will hurt the other person. 

Let us not allow ourselves to get caught up in victimization, for there is great joy here tonight.  May everyone be invited to the party. 

I would urge us to continue to strive for awareness, ethics, rationality and communication.  This is happening.  The very existence of these gatherings, these discussions, is an accomplishment, and no less than a shift in collective consciousness, a reformation of values.  

So let us not get too caught up in vitriol, for malice begets malice.  Let us heed the inclusive message of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Let us not be divided, by possessions, or define ourselves by possessions.  For look at us now, now this is wealth.  Ultimately, nobody defines your life except you. 

Let us decry the actions and call for reform, but remain non-violent. 

Love and compassion are not luxuries, they are necessities for human survival.  So said, again, the Dalai Lama.  He said:  Kindness is my religion.  So let us continue to be kind.  Let us strive to be 100%. 

Our very presence and participation is significant.  We are all human, we are all imperfect and we all have a place. 



The Right To What:

[ dedicated to the spirit of the wall street - and now boston/dewey square - occupation ]

The right to money

The right to what

To scramble

Frantically digging

To be born

Finding oneself

Hemmed in

To spend so much time


And dismantling fences

The right to accumulate

Amounts to what


Precarious power

What high price

For an empty feeling

The right to money

The right to what

To be separate

Less alike, less together

Sheltered from tragedy


And on the go


And demoralized

The right to what

A snifter

And a headache

The right to run

Amok in costume

The right to think

People are paper

The right to die thinking

What have I been doing

All this time

Letting the lost ones tell me

I'm a have-not


sunlight and rain

 The wheel turns


I Can't Explain

photo + words: s.ikerd

On the train
At sundown

You fill in the noise

 Lover, teacher:
My heart lurches

You fill in the noise

On quiet days
In dim light

Wherever you are
I thank you

Good night