We Need To Talk

I am more than your idea,
I am tangible, touchable,
a human being like you.
We breathe the same air,
want the same things.
We need to talk.

I am more than my skin tone,
more than the weight I bear,
more than the clothes I wear,
more, even, than my hair,
more than who I sexually prefer,
more than my accented speech,
hear me!—we need to talk.

So get out of your closed mind,
It’s claustrophobic in there—thoughts fester
if they can’t expand. Let’s meet.
Get out of your car, onto the street.
Let’s discover each other
on common ground.
We need to talk.

I say, take off your armor,
put away your gun,
don’t just stare dumbly into your
smart phone.
Hel-lo!
Or as they say in the East, Namaste,
& Savati
the god in you
honors the god in me.
We need to talk.


America Loves Guns More Than Children

America loves its guns more than its children.
America hunts down its children in the streets,
massacres them in the schools, mows them down in the malls.

American loves its guns more than its children.
Keeps its gun with it at all times, at all costs.
Would rather wage war than feed or educate poor kids.

Would rather everyone be armed than everyone be smart.
America loves its guns more than its children.
America carries its gun in the store, in the bar, in the church,

anywhere you might be– make you feel safe?
America loves its guns more than its children.
America buries its children—doesn’t tuck them in at night,

doesn’t read them stories in bed. Instead,
America, lonely & stressed, sleeps with its gun under its pillow.
America dreams of its guns–& wakes up groggy& all wet.

America sells guns to crazy people,
sells weapons of war to madmen militias,
sells guns out of the trunks of its cars.

America loves its guns on tv, in the movies, on the news.
America loves its shooting range, its gun shows, its American Sniper.
America is entertained by its guns.

America coarsens young minds with gun culture.
America’s love of guns kills love of life.
America loves its guns more than its children.

America buys guns & cuts education funding.
America loansharks its college students, “takes them out” with
debt—
America loves its guns, while its jobs flee overseas.

America’s love of guns fills its armies & its prisons
America blows its own dream to bits.
America loves it guns while its infrastructure crumbles.

America loves its guns while its air & water thicken & sicken.
NRA America says guns don’t kill.
30,000 American deaths by guns per year.

America is armed & dangerous.
America makes bigger & better guns—sells them around the world.
America is world’s biggest arms merchant.

American guns are big business. Big Business Are US.
America is mowing down its children right & left
in the warzones, the streets, the schools, the malls;

Mowing them down right here today,
mowing down their present, mowing down their future.
America loves its guns more than its children.


Double Kwansaba* After Michael Brown

When police are the threat, who’s there
to protect? When walking in the street
can get you busted, shot, or beat
just for being black, talking back, looking
wrong, or looking strong—how can we
really be: a viable city, where people
can live in harmony? a free country?

With tanks in the street, who or
what do they defeat? No good results,
only bad; fear is what drives us
mad. And fear, the root of hate,
becomes the Police State. Instead of tear
gas, hear us! Let’s relate, for a
start, human to human, heart to heart.

*A kwansaba is a form invented by East St. Louis Poet Laureate Eugene B. Redmond: seven lines, seven words per line, no more than seven letters per word


Read more from Michael Castro in this issue of The BeZine:
Michael Castro—In his own words.

Other poems by Michael Castro will also appear on The Woven Tale Press website as part of a feature on Activist-Poets, Monday, April 25, 2016.

View guest contributor Michael Castro’s bio HERE

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