a roof with a view | baptism by kettling

Eleven years ago this week, ahead of the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012, I wrote messages with spray paint on the roof of my home in my Portage Park, Chicago neighborhood for world leaders to read as they traveled in military helicopters passing low and loud overhead en route to the Summit venue at McCormick Place.

(there’s always enough money for war)

On May 20, 2012, I also attended the mass protest and marched in opposition to NATO and its global hegemony and destruction.


Also on that day, in one of the most profoundly moving and humbling experiences of my life, while standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of others, I listened to personal stories of war — of killing, death, rape, horror, pain, guilt and grief — from both U.S./NATO soldiers and the victims of those wars.

I witnessed from just yards away, as Jacob George, by then a warrior, no longer a soldier, along with warrior Scott Olsen (a former Marine, Iraq War veteran, Occupy veteran, and Oakland Police terror survivor) and 43 other war veterans-turned-warriors tossed their military service medals across the CPD police-enforced, Secret Service barricade toward the protected U.S./NATO generals, the policy-makers, and world “leaders” comfortably ensconced and insulated at McCormick Place at the NATO Summit in a gathering of war-makers.

“A warrior is someone who takes his orders from the heart, not some outside force." 
- Jacob George

The U.S./NATO war generals, in cowardice, would not agree to meet in person with the men and women who served in their wars and conflicts to ceremoniously accept the return of those unwanted, inglorious war service medals. Those medals were publicly rebuked and surrendered to the asphalt at Michigan Avenue and Cermak Road nonetheless.

on September 17th, 2014 
Jacob George
died by suicide.

After the act of disavowing the war medals, We, The People were told to disburse and vacate the area — when we didn’t — and attempted to march forward toward McCormick Place to encounter the World’s warmakers face to face — or at least be seen and heard by them, several hundreds were kettled by Chicago cops and Illinois State Police — resulting in resistance by We, The People and physical and verbal clashes, police violence and protester arrests.

Chicago cops at the behest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel insulated the NATO warmakers from being held accountable by the People who came from across the globe to confront them with the deaths of civilians, the occupation of foreign lands and the trillions of dollars spent on conflict, war, destruction and death, and with personal accounts and statistics of military rape, PTSD and
veteran death-by-suicide.
Continue reading “a roof with a view | baptism by kettling”

le claire [street]



A clear glimpse
A clear thought
on this clear June night

Of age,
and Alzheimer’s
An old-timer’s disease

A clear memory recorded and archived tonight
An acute awareness of myself
tonight, in time and place
a new track to play on loop for a listener in my future life

a husband, friend, or son
a caregiver, a kind one
a visitor, volunteer, or nurse,
a grandson, or maybe, no one

A reddish dog, eating mulberries
from the sidewalk in shadows
Mottled concrete in the dim light of a city street lamp
obscured by the canopy of that beautiful, June, fruit tree

A woman, middle aged, seems so young, even a tad pretty, in her mind’s eye
Stretching her still strong body upward for plump, dark berries
Reaching for branches trimmed too high by the urban foresters
or arborists or surgeons, I forget what they’re called

On her tippy toes
grabbing, pulling, picking
squeezing the dog’s leash between her thighs
don’t get loose in the dark, don’t get skunked in the dark

Some of the best ones are lost in the awkward tussle
before she can palm them, save them, taste them
She triggers a reverberative rain from boughs on high
That precise, delicate sweetness of the bounty in her mouth

The dog’s belly full of the ripe windfall
sustained by both gravity and woman
His name was Woody, or Digby, I think
He used to climb into our sleep

Smashed and whole
The street, sidewalk and cars stained
by the impressive purple mess
the dark grass hiding perfect treasures for doves tomorrow morn

She and that dog
Always urban foragers and gleaners in June
All month long, her fingertips, heels and lips
tinted with their fuchsia dye, didn’t think to check his paws

A clear, melancholy recollection
This day, that day was also her son’s birthday
The first birthday he spent away from home, Nebraska, or Alaska, I think
That glorious tree, that good dog, that golden boy

Neologism: Dendronglow

Dendronglow on Twin Sycamore Trees. Setting November Sun. Dendronglow on Twin Sycamore Trees.
Setting November Sun.
Dendronglow on Twin Sycamore Trees. Setting November Sun. Dendronglow on Twin Sycamore Trees.
Setting November Sun.

Dendronglow : The rosy light of the setting or rising Sun on trees, especially urban trees.
akin to Alpenglow.

November Neologism

Dendron (δένδρον) is the Greek word for “tree”