The Beautiful People
ADAPT 1996 Atlanta

Praise the Most High
I have found others
united in voice
passioned in struggle
attentive ear cast
to the suffering cries
of brothers and sisters
thrown away dying
in cruel institutions

Rally up International Boulevard
to Olympic Centennial Park
where the bombing occurred
terrorizing peace time games

We were an awesome spectacle
of long slanking weave
single row of wheelchairs
snaking to horizon view

Loud mantric chants cries for justice
a serpent of energy crawling
scaled in florescent signs
inked in logos promoting
rage for order
myself carrying one
scratched in big black
permanent marker
"Pissed Off
And Ready To Get Shit Done"
flashing it to all who care to look
Poised in
strange tense like anxiety
excitement anger enflamed
for common sense theme

Give people back their lives
options opportunities right to life
freedom of choice

We knew things were screwed
in whatever way we came to know
what mattered now is that we knew
and because we knew
we were going to do something about it

II. Frank and Victor

My first action
ADAPT was amazing
the brotherhood sisterhood fellowship
of all peoples gathered

I was overwhelmed that so many
came from so far
so dedicated
willing to risk health
and arrest if necessary

One story burned to mind
I knew would interpret poem
a man blind to sight
& perceptual expressions
knowing others by voice alone
was the assistant hands
and means to action
of another man larger
paralyzed from neck down

Trading hand for eyes
rooted in brotherhood
one pushes
one voices
they make their path through history

III. Gathering Of The Tribes

Strategic effort insight
plotted the merging of forces
such as these

Like Lord Of The Rings
ADAPT united in voice
came together to clever change

Newt Gingrich was scared
having heard ADAPT was in town
he decided on
meeting with delegates
before more focus
was shed his way
trying to prevent possibly
siege of his regional offices
or home in Marietta
memories of Michigan haunting his mind

A few from the leadership posse
met with him and came back with words
we've heard before

Decision was then made to lay asunder
Congressional Headquarters
Democratic National Convention

This would be a week
of staying up all night
of waiting for buses
to take us to jail

Overwhelmed by sheer numbers
and complications
officers didn't know what to do
dreading the paperwork
as 86 ended up being arrested

Clinton sensing riot
sent quick response
and Presidential aide
to assess situation

Word came from Air Force 1
that the president promised to look into
ADAPT's bill
the Community Attendant Services Act
and long term care choice

Wide media coverage
locked his words
to history

In the morning the welcome arrival
of sunrise and caravan of vans
awaiting release from jail
ride back to hotel
emerging to loud applause
and shouts of praise

Civil rights warriors
returned from battle
needing food sleep and dreams
to do it all again

IV. Aftermath

Mid-afternoon traffic
everyone trying to get home
from jobs and habit day

Imagine a major multi-lane highway
shutdown completely
among wild cries of dissent
4 lanes of freeway goers blockaded
by a line of wheelchair users
handcuffed in unison

Unable to budge an inch
or do a thing about it
wayfarers were extremely pissed
having their secure little lives disrupted
by a forced change in routine

This evening when all of America
would tune in to see
who would serve them as President
into the new millennium
they would find ADAPT ruling headlines

The world looks on in bewilderment
spying scene from helicopter view
Eagle eye a dark sea of writhing lights
wheelchairs strapped
people bound linked in cuffs
crossing wide median
intermingled in effort
desperate attempt to voice frustration
bring focus to cause
How far do they want us to go
people are dying
every 3 minutes alone
in some hide-away
piss smelling nursing home

120 were locked up
in the take-over
of Memorial Drive
500+ in wheelchairs
swarming with friends
cameras flashing video rolling
3 hours before Presidential election polls
were to close

The Nazis pre-holocaust Europe
used propaganda films
to justify genocide
proving it economically sound
to exterminate people with disabilities
calling it 'Existence Without Life'

At least they offered
a quick gaseous death
as opposed to a lifetime
of hopeless stagnation

V. The Marriot Marquis

Night action decided
we were off to the Marquis
hosting convention for HCFA
the healthcare finance administration
confront the organizers responsible
for nursing home death and opinion

Overwhelming defiance
there would be no subtlety
to this act of civil disobedience

Patrons looked on in shocking disbelief
as ADAPT members
flung themselves from their chairs
every 3 minutes
in remembrance and honor
to the forgotten soldiers
of the forgotten war
those alone dying in nursing home
one of us under the flag
of disability

120 more were arrested challenging the system
and its callous ways
among swift political gesture loud yells of protest
people exited top-floor rooms
to see what was up

These people are more real
more alive
than many full bodied souls
stagnating in routine
My first national action
it would not be my last

I love these people
ADAPT is so ripe in passion
and every bit as fun
as any group I'd been around
each unique in way tendency
doing things as we do
in cool peculiar style

I see the rest of America
complaining about this or that
complaining but not doing jack
anger spilling empty words

America can learn from ADAPT
needs ADAPT to get things done

What we do is for everyone
cause mission justified righteous

Like the Deadheads
I have new family
a feeling of coming home
like being found all over again
true to my colors

What The Hell Are You Staring At

Staring eyes everywhere I go
take a fricken photo

Noticed not for tie-dye or long hair
but wheelchair
standing out like an armored tank
on a freeway of cars

People gape at me
over the naked green-haired guy
pissing in the corner
with Prince Albert
and 12 inch dick

Did I piss on myself
stream puddle
out the back of my chair

Do I have crap on my face
a humongous zit
whitehead poking through
pressure awaiting release

What can I do
to satisfy your curiosity

Why the looks
like I escaped from the zoo
or have been profiled
on America's Most Wanted

Pugilist Response

TV proliferates the attention
of so called civilized society
on subtle campaigns for tobacco
and unhealthy foods
while the leading cause of deaths
are emphysema lung cancer and obesity

They also pervert social focus
with an unhealthy bombardment
of sex murder and violence

Hollywood blockbusters sell
the newest hot model
willing to expose skin
while blending storyline
with the newest most exotic way to kill
or blow something up

We honor serial killers on Biography
like heroes of insane worlds
describing in grim detail
their laborious attempts
of plotting gruesome murder

CNN and daily news keep everyone up with
the new madness molesting streets
of our nation and world

Glorifying war terror global conflict
police arrest and gangster crime
The Sopranos are the new "hit" series
for all to see
Our children become desensitized
to all the insanity
entertaining themselves
with video games promoting callous death
killing in video excitement

Gladiator culture
we love Jerry Springer
and pugilist response to conflict resolution
attack at commencing bell

What's the message here?

Everyone's asking
what's wrong with the kids
what's wrong with us

They say I'm just a crazy punk kid
talking about stupid things
I say we're a bunch of blind idiots
living a stupid dream
They ask me why don't I wake up
and join everyone in reality
I said what the hell do you know of reality

Slaving the Grind

Kids wives hard lives
never-ending commitments
new mouths to feed

Endless tasks of work
money to assure monthly payment
stave off ever amassing bills & credit debt

Shackled to vocation
servant to corporation
intervening thoughts of what if I just left
said screw it all

Where would one go
what would one do
so much to consider
how does one contend
mounting frustration

Many are simply losing it
pissed off in their own worlds
angry at one thing or another
miserable to the point
of stepping off deep end

Pledged allegiance
oath to industry
sharing 15 minute cigarette breaks
with others
comfortable in complaining
joking about changing it all

Many work 60 hours a week
just trying to break even
living off habit toxins
responsible to insane commitments
picked up along the way

Sometimes their only reprieve
besides sleep and dreams
is that long heated ritual morning shower
with power enough
to soothe away cruel feeling
drain away smug oblivion
cease to exist
if only for moments
nozzle rain heaven in faucet delivery

Faulty Appraisal

I think of my son
wonder about his doing
what preoccupation intrigues his fantasy

I think of his mother
protracted memories
of first love gone wrong

Sometimes children
are the ghosts of those earlier dreams
reminder of lost times
haunting impression of broken relating
when whatever something fails
and trust is evaporated

Parents and children parted
many families
are strung along on loose connections
a web of mangled occasion
and lost opportunity

There are fathers like myself
everyday having children
unready even to determine their own lives
much less the fate of some other

The Angel Sun

The burgundy fall sun rises late
and is quick to settle
days shorter
night grows increasingly long

Deprived of light
winds get colder
animal coats thicken
harvesting winter food

Construction breaks
workers flee to kids wives
hungry for quick meals
& favorite shows

Skeleton trees
stand naked bare
dressed in auburn shades
eclipsing the quiet here
between cars of people going home
ascertaining beauty
in stolen glimpses
from windows along winding roads

II. A 1000 Fairies Dance Upon The Lake

Clouds rushing come to go
forcing crisp once fluorescent leaves
into puddles upon the ground

The angel sun erupts
from amidst the clouds
a thousand fairies dance upon the lake

Hawkeye God sun vision green
blinded as witness
I burn this moment's presence to mind
wind howling scattering pages
of Solara's 11:11

Apricot and fading
the Sun glimmers final retreat
center of our foreseeable universe
light and life giving orb
departing horizon
yielding to night
sprinkle of dreams
world moving to shade

III. Night and Her Purple Legion

Crescent moon mid height
to my left shoulder
twilight another world awakens

Chilly the wind whispers softly
in silent retreat
rippling a ghost mirror lake

Temperatures recede a billion leaves
scatter roadside ditches

An abandoned light pole salutes day lost
from where it stands
emerged in shallow water

Waiting for ancient and docile stars
fighting off the cold
I remember nights like this
we spent exploring curious yearnings
on plush green grass
lying in soft cotton puff blankets
tight for heat

Velvet Night riddle of stars
splattered constellations decorate skies
divided by legend and astrology

Never did we mind the cold
we would always chance night
to wrap up in the glory of young love

Darkness settling twilight almost over
crickets harp sweet chirps
serenading chorus night

We pleasured nights just like this
burning each other for love
answering questions of one another
happily lost together

Found in each other
the wind more present
cold more defined
my neck stiffens calling for warmth
see you manana Angel Sun
we'll do it all again

Ode for Winifred Jones - 38
Friend and Victim of Nursing Home Death

O great death final calling
I am ready for your parting embrace
release me from this ill suited fate
where I have found myself bound and confined

Have they no compassion
no consideration for what they do
locking me away as if I've committed graven crime

I am just a man in longing of company
someone to confide in
who might understand
to care about me

We shall cross again in stranger space
bent on delivering different story

But alas it is done
tremor to me your finger frozen in time
relentless in pursuing
swift me away to different dream reaper
I am tired and in need
of new circumstance

Claim this body used and battered
scarred by years and memories
of time when freedom was disposition

Salvation rests
in the angels parting wings
music of homecoming