I Stand For Freedom!

I stand for freedom

and the right to organize!


I stand for love

and strong communities.


I stand for immigrants and

the poor.


I stand for human rights

and all marginalized voices.


I stand up for rivers

and on top of mountains

that you think you own –

i’ll stand with anyone

when your banks are

stealing their homes.


I stand for children and

dreams & folk traditions

that are passed down &

work to preserve our

stories, until all your

myths are torn down.


I will stand if that flag

is draped over a coffin


only devils disrespect

the dead


So much blood

has been spilled

for profit – I won’t

stand for Red.

I won’t stand for White

when it time to have

an American dream.

I will stand for Blue

when it’s in a song

about suffering and

when walking in someone

else’s shoes.


I will stand for fifty billion

stars and that stripe

called the milky way

as I look toward the heavens

& kneel down to to pray.


I won’t stand when you

trade blood for oil – &

trap people in cages to

work for you.


I will stand with any veteran

of any of your stupid wars

like i’ll stand with all workers

& the disabled when they

are knocking on

freedom’s door.


I will stand with the

gay community and all

of their alphabet soup –

my momma didn’t raise

no dummy – to trade

his soul for a

two piece suit.


I stand in my grandfather’s shoes

with his red, white and green

cedar tree flag, his brown skin &

Arab blood, he came here

looking up to you!


I stand with my German heritage

although my neighborhood has

been sold to the highest bidder!

Who find favor with our mayor

& their LLC’s and doctrines

of prosperity.


I’ll stand behind

any Native peoples!


– some of them fought

for you –


although you pitted them

against each other like you

so often do!


I’ll stand anywhere I please

and sit down like Rosa Parks

if need be! This land was

never your land! Do you

remember Wounded Knee?


So, America,

get off your high horse

and practice what you

preach – you once

put that flag on the moon

with your ego and

gritted teeth.


My new position with Railroad Workers United

Two days from now, I officially start my new position with Railroad Workers United.

I will be a contracted organizer …


but what they don’t know is that they have hired a KAWA.


From what I humbly understand, from my deep study of West African, Guinean village tradition, is that the Kawa is the person who is in contact with the ancestors. The Kawa knows the natural medicines of the area and where they are to be found and is sort of the maintainer of society.


Sort of like a peacekeeper.


When there are ceremonies and community events happening, the Kawa wanders the crowd making sure people are staying appropriate and respecting the tradition and others.


Kind of like the Sergeant of Arms in a union meeting.


The video below is one of my favorite all-time YouTube videos. It is a Kawa and his apprentice.

Fadouba Oulare the Djembe player, was a very respected musician. I never had the honor of meeting him, but one of my teachers, Bolokada Conde was very good friends with him.

I take the human side of organizing very seriously. Speaking as someone who has burned out as organizer before – One of the many problems that I see with the labor movement is that they put their apprentices into very powerful positions.

Sometimes organizations expect interns and paid organizers to do way too much internal organizational work. They put people into positions that they’re not ready to fill.

Sometimes that’s OK, however, only if there are patient and loving elders who have tons of experience. Elders who are employed to mentor and challenge strategy that is academic in nature. (that is not to say that all academic study is bad)

The native peoples for centuries solved many of the social problems that We, in the various movements that we are in, are suffering from today. Many native societies had already weeded out the organizational sicknesses that I see today that are originating from corporate thinking … i.e. metrics, performance evaluations, production goals and certain team building cultures.

Those sorts of corporate ideals are evasive and do not belong in structures that are designed to care take human conditions of exploitation, violence and intentional conditions of un-organization. Labor Unions and Community organizations are infested with academic corporate culture and language that is toxic.

In my humble opinion, that is why the AFL-CIO, the UAW and many other community organizations can’t seem to organize the south as well as they would like. They need more Kawas. The organizations need more elders who understand the community and know how to hold it.

The Kawa is sort of the police department. Sort of the internal auditor of the code of culture … the protector of the mission and vision. We need as a society, to re-evaluate and define social policing. Many native societies had already figured that out as well.

more on that later ….


Folk Labor Desk – What is the #ANTIFA

On this episode of the Folk Labor Desk, John Paul explores several sides of the question – Who is the ANTIFA or the so called “ALT LEFT.”

Reporting from the heart of Central Kentucky – Leitchfield, Kentucky, John Paul gives a little bit of his personal background as well as coins a not so new hashtag for the pundits to talk about while in the confines of their respective social media fox holes and corporate media break rooms …

#TheChildrenOfTheSocialRevolution or

the #CSR

Please share this video with like minded folks. I sure could use your support.  You can support my work by going here and purchasing my music or poetry!

Thanks Y’all

Have a goodin’

John Paul

America’s myths are  being exposed and run  through the ringer of public discourse.

America’s myths are
being exposed and run
through the ringer
of public discourse.

Dear America,

Keep trying to explain
your way out of this.

The more you talk,
the more you expose
your weakness.

You know you lied. 
You snuck out of the house
got drunk and wrecked the car
date raped the country
and someone caught
you on video.

You know slavery was a

labor policy called human trafficking.

A slave is a slave is a slave.

Like the workers who made your shirt.
Like the wage slave at a for
profit, who trades labor for love,
because they are part of the team.
Like the military protecting “Our”

oil interests in the region.

So, keep talking.

Your children are
getting the picture.

You can’t blame this
on commies and reds.
You cant blame this
on the media.

The issue is –

you lied about
what you did.

And now the children
of the social revolution
want your heroes gone.
They are seeking truth
and getting results.

So, fess up.
America …
the more you try
to lie and make
excuses –
the more you
dig your own grave.

The founding fathers
were just men.

Like all other.

They were
just men, protecting
their own ass.

They wanted
power, land
and money.

They made selfies
called dollars.

They prayed
to God that trust
wouldn’t find them

Now, they
are being
by their own
Melted away
in a pot of
their own
John Paul

Doomed To Fall


I’ve had my Black Elk moment at age 47.

The tree of my people is on fire!

I am dressed in red,

all my prayers have been said

and it seems we are doomed to fall.


The masters of war

on the eve of destruction

playing with their battle toys!

The masters of war

on the eve of destruction

boys will be boys.


That’s a Bob Dylan and a PF Sloan tune.

Our lessons have not been learned.

My folk music ways, are dying today

and it seems they are going to brand us all.


With hell fire like we have never seen!

My, my generation knows not of Japan!

Who against who, in this media zoo?

This land was never our land.


I’m Gonna Die

They say that writers should be

isolated – by a certain degree.

They say a rhyme should be

tied – to some sort of scheme.

They say you can’t do that

and this is how it’s done.

They seem to hide when the

collection plate comes.




I’m gonna die!

I just might lose my voice.

I’m gonna die!

This life was not my choice.

I’m gonna die from a lack

of common decency.

I’m gonna die.


They said fill out these forms.

Ask, “who do you know?”

They wanna make sure

you won’t steal the show.

They wanna see ya suffer.

Ask for your membership dues.

They don’t care if your limping

all about in your walking shoes.




They seem to have deep pockets

so deep – they can’t reach the funds.

They want you a beggin’ for a life

of peace, solitude and fun.

They live in glass houses – have

all the answers for you.

They can’t understand how a good

man could ever get the blues!

A few days at the lake

Enjoy this post and

please support my work.

Reading Rails
Reading Rails
By John Paul Wright
Photo book


A few days at the lake

Breckinridge County, Kentucky

Rough River Lake


06-28-2017 A.M.

Wasted energy &

wasted time. This place

three miles back a county

road. Calamese Creek –

Breckinridge County.


Each lot for sale;

like this land is your land,

this land is my land –

to the dam line, to the gravel

road – to do whatever the hell

I please.


On the weekend – on holidays,

some come to escape the

humdrum of the city.

Some, to replicate the city.

The Amish and Mennonites farm the fields.

The “campers” from the towns come

burning fuels, stocked bass boats

and mobile homes, pouring

thousands into American Dreams –

and bored with their surroundings

coexist, with the Indian mom and pops.

Shop at the Dollar General.


A few “locals” sit at a hot spot

watching T.V broadcasting

from Jefferson’s County, Kentucky

and no wonder Meriwether Lewis

shot himself outside of Nashville,



Do you know that history?

When President Jefferson in

an Undaunted Courage sent

York, Rodgers and Sacagawea

across the unknown, soon to be

stolen land, only to have Leland

Stanford, finally finish the deed.

Gold, driven into a steel road –

connecting east to west. And

John Henry died for our sins!

Custer was not a friend.

The Ghost Dances around this

pen like a children’s round –

ring around the Rosie

we are all going to die!


I sit silent in this spot

listening to the locals’ moan of

how everything they love, is on loan

and how the Indian folks are not

welcome. So, the Americans seek jobs

and sink their money into the Dollar General.

Never asking the Indians where they



Never talking to the Indian’s kid

who goes to school at Breckinridge County

high, middle or low. And on the outskirts

a mom and pop has become a Motorcycle

Club. Charlie has made it

here and now they can sell beer and

whine about heroin, waving flags

while we are still at war in



The people at the spot

watch as a black kid was shot

far away in Louisville.

The news locality and reality

not known to the consumers

of this media they ask,

“what did he do?”

He should have not run when

the police said, “stop!”

or “I’ll shoot.” Like this is

the American West and we are

in a duel. High noon, and they

are the news sheriff in town.

Hopped up on a Facebook rant,

a public stance.


The nice lady takes my check –

I pay the bill and she looks at

me funny when I suggest that

they should burn the Dollar General

down! The Wal-Mart in Leitchfield,

20 miles away, knows that they are

“at risk” of losing control of

the market as outposts of another

bank, set up shop in neighboring

small towns. Their patrons trickle down

to a crawl. The mighty Dollar General,

has them surrounded!


And remember, this is the Fourth of

July weekend, we make it or break it –

if, Mother Nature, “cooperates!”

These few days the city folks,

like the church goers on Easter,

many will not return next week,

or the week after that.

The motorcycle club will remain –

the money syphoned off and

the children sent away to fight

for this way of life. A small tank

of gas for that bass boat.

The Corpse of Engineers told us

this place would redeem our souls and

fill our pocket books.


Outside a Mennonite sells his goods,

his children pulling the load

on a bike, his wife waving a basket

from wood reaped from a fallen barn.

Crosses on the roadside symbolize the

fallen savior. An American flag

waves – Chinese fireworks are sold for

pennies on the dollar.


A confederate flag on a truck,

menacing history of states’ rights –

plantation slaves, but, what about

those “foreigners?” The Indian

family venture that bought that

bankrupt gas station. Where do

they spend their money?


What about the Amish? Do they

pay their debts to a society that

they are escaping from?

May the farce be with you!

Happy Fourth of July.

Can we talk revolution?


06-28-2017 P.M.


My boy sits glued to an epic

journey. The little people, slay

a dragon. I am alone, down the

hill reciting poetry to

the woods. A deer quietly on

the path, like a child sneaking

something, slips into the forest.

Like this, this time, relative to

this moment. Stories of old

and words from a heart, old,

perspectives known and teachers

of conscience in kind.


I have gone into the soul

in search of big words to

describe methods – I have none!

My tongue and fingers only

mimicking what my ears and

eyes have found.


The forceful beatings of

my heart cannot be extracted!

Language is bound by time –

from where this body gets it’s

electricity, is not known to me and

faith is my favorite conversation!

My son’s movie ends with the words,

“what have we done?” As the mythical

dragon flies away into a darkness.


I ask of you dear reader …

What makes you tick?

Wakes you, sweating?

Causes you to love?

What is the matter that is

so far reaching, expanding –

our minds, can never



06-29-2017 A.M


Waiting, this next chapter starts

with you. Like union!

This boy will one day be gone.

We will be worried …

Like when before he was born,

and we did not seek to know who

was arriving. Naturally patient


When I whispered into your ear,

“Jonah is here,” and in the name of God

the most merciful and most compassionate.

We named our son after a Prophet,

who was used to teach judgement / anger.

Many times, we have been swallowed

by a whale! Judged and be judged –

spit out. Our family difficulties, trust –

I sharpen a new pencil,

the old one,

worn away.

This one, has a brand-new erasure!

Our old life can be edited, memories

drawn upon, we can move from there

to where we want to go!

Like birth includes death!

Like work includes thirst and rest.


Thinking in stories


A friend suggested that I am the

way that I am …

because I think in stories.

A narrative, who am I?

Once upon a time – whee go …

word association.

Family – Tree

Brother – Sister

Mother – Father

Beginning – End

I suggest, peeling an onion to

find layer after story, like water

ripples, the little waves

disperse in all directions.

The rock falls through

stratification. Light reflected

from the splash, a rainbow –

a miracle of light and sound.

One second, one instant –

gone – silence.


06-29-2017 P.M.


It is time –

I, has lost!

To be of service!

A Father – husband

partner – sometimes

like watching a child

fail, not knowing what

to say – offering a strong

hug – just a look –

glance – a heartfelt tear.

I feel it – with you!

These words, like a mirror.

I am just a man of few words –

a man burning away!

It is time

to stop –

support –



cry no more –

I love









06-30-2017 6:30 A.M


Jonah, M’boy – sleeping in

a tent, my 47-year-old bones

walk up the hill to coffee

and this pencil.


I am doing this to get back

years lost – no one seems to

understand me when I tell



I worked for the railroad.


I quit with Joe Watson on my

mind, he retired on Tuesday

and died in his sleep on Thursday.

Never saw a retirement check!


There were many like him.

So, for this week – I play catch up.

I missed a many family weekend,

many a precious moment.

You do the math –


70 hours a week, 12 hours down

and 12 hours back, 10 hours goes by,

and your back on the rail, again.