To My Brothers in the Brotherhood

To My Brothers in the Brotherhood

(When I left work – exhausted and hot.
Our secretary was hanging directions
to our meeting on the union board.)

Peace be with you.
And also with you.

It is my direct action to love!
Go home directly, hug my boy –
kiss the wife and hit the sack.

Peace be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.

Brothers, one day you will take
this union as sacrament.
This power we seek is to unite human
heart with sacred vision.
To be forward thinking – with resolve.
Our kinship, our favor.
Our love for one another,
will be our saving grace.
It is radical to speak without kind intention.
It is what it is, is the mantra of the broken.
Reality dictates that our strength comes in numbers.
It is ignorance that expects people
to come, who have not been invited.
It is morality that guides us to be all inviting.
Conscience that tells of our failure.

Peace be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray.

Let us not fall to fear of what might
happen if we raise our voices on high.
They will say, “they won’t stick together!”
They will say, “they don’t care!”
They will say, “they have fallen to
greed and don’t understand!”
Let us be like the tree,
planted by the water.

For I was happy but now I’m not.
I was lost but now, I’m found.
Was blind … but now I see.
I am employed by your favor!
Let’s not get lost in arguments.
Peace be with you.
And also with you.

Let us now greet each other &
feel open hands meet &
raise our voices on high!
Sing:

There is power in a band of working folks
when they stand hand in hand.

Amen.
In solidarity!

P.S
I make motion to change
the name of our union to also
include the word.
Sisterhood.
Can I get a witness?

23275684_10215100475769458_8981381764208758591_o

Who?

1.

Who do you think

all this is for?

This careful talking,

pleading.

Who glances into the river

only to turn a blind eye?

Is it that something,

just beyond

the image,

deep surrounded

in murky

darkness?

2.

Quietly,

as so it seems!

There are angels

and demons at play.

Purposely serving

two masters.

Cutting underbrush

with blood dripping

down my ankles!

Sweat, running

down my brow.

Burning piles of

old growth

nothingness,

away.

Laughing nervously.

Crying out in vain!

Peacefully sleeping

in a work felt rest.

3.

Dying.

Yes, everyday as if

this death practice,

in the waking –

is for real.

Liken the thought

of your radiance,

life is the sweetness.

Reality comes

and goes.

I can’t stop the sun

from setting.

I can only turn

away for so long –

before succumbing

dark and soulless.

28950901_10216157158465865_2820488099071930440_n

Sunday Morning Alone Time Meeting Minutes – 12/10/2017 – Linkin’ Bridge Click

Sunday Morning alone time
meeting minutes – 12/10/2017
 
Call to order at 7:39 a.m.
 
John Pawl in attendance with myself and I.
 
Financial report: Almost broke!
 
Old Business:
 
I woke this morning with way too much on my mind. My son next to me, sleeping – covered him, gave him a kiss and walked down the stairs with an old friend on my mind.
 
 
and this old business, is because, I am warning y’all – this man has a stare quite like mine. And he will figure out what ever y’all throw at him. We used to roll together. and the hood is where he is from. I know, cause i used to pick him up ever day when we was PNEUMA kids. We was the black sheep, the bad news bears and the red headed step kids all rollin’ together … and we used to sing in the van – i taught him old bluegrass gospel harmonies – the stanley brothers – bill monroe – while we was learnin’ all that shit from Sweet Honey in the Rock … and
 
That blank stare is street smarts. Aware of your surroundings, like something is bout to go down, a vision of what just might be lurking in the future – I learned my version of that blank stare while we was rollin’ …
 
To the chicken joint to pick him up after work, roll past Whitey’s in the 32 duce ward, roll past the Washburns, over to the Wright’s and then roll all the way out to Newburg, roll downtown, and then over to Arturo’s little Mexico – where the immigrants were, over by the race track.
 
We would roll over to Smoketown, to 420f and pick up John and Cleo, and whoever else was still around from Smoketown, Shepherd’s Square … roll over to Portland to pick up the twins and their sisters – I got my blank stare from knowing what was going on in their house, with their mother … who died from aids – and we would roll …
 
Rolling past places where drive by’s happened the day before, was gonna happen soon, it was 1994,95,96 – 2001 – and we joined a gang together – a gang led up by a little woman with a big heart – she was employed by Jesus and we were her Pigeons. Bird Men … 
 
Her blank stare, was from her knowing all of us kids, were one step away from jail, the crazy house, the food stamp office, detention … being exploited, abused, victims of horrendous violence, innocents being lured in by gangs, drugs, prostitution
 
some of us, possibly one step away from death.
 
I got my blank stare, from the streets! From a glock 9 held to my head at 32nd and Kentucky … from saving the little girl who was molested by her uncle. I got my street smarts from all the air brushed RIP shirts I saw from all the cousins, relatives and friends who died from gun violence, neglect, drugs and … from representin’ …
We rolled all day, in a hot as hell van! In the worst summers in this town! No air conditioning – real hot boys – sweat pouring down our backs, looking out for our kids – our friends, sisters – brothers, bling bling, pinky ring worth about 50 – the van boppin’ to B96 – You don’t know nann – Back that ass up – call me big daddy – is where I get my blank stare of worry from – listening to them little girls sing and those little boys … being exploited by a music industry … that … 
 
and this ain’t no joke! for real – this is for my dog China AKA Shon AKA Lacy Aka the Southwick kid, AKA
 
The choral director of PNEUMA.
 
Back in the day.
 
New Business …
 
Y’all know me
and my poetry
I am JP …
The human beat box
with a million watts
of power … playin’
juba in his head …
The Railroad Man
The Djembe’ player slash
community activist
griot –
family man
shoulda been a preacher.
 
My blank stare is
love and worry
born of –
a mindfulness
informed from
the streets and
verified authentic
by my brother
Alonzo Johnson!
He is a peacemaker.
 
We got our blank stare
from God and in the
same van … rollin’ the
streets of Louisville
when nobody
wanted to admit
they were on fire.
 
Meeting Adjourned
8:25 a.m

10269422_10204089660465957_1895570458359022449_n

12105784_10205391021275354_8120020054209101910_n
12108158_10205391019435308_6421722418973405300_n

Last Night at the Unity Dinner …

Last night at the Unity Dinner …

I spoke of our ancestors.
An invocation by name.

Glenda’s son.

Everybody
knew me as Glenda’s boy
back when you were the big name
in our activist circles!

I wanted out!

So I went off on my own
and found my activist
work in Nuclear Free Zone
of Louisville. I was 15 –
your name and work was
oppressive to my identity.

Everybody knew the immigrant’s
kid, born on East Jefferson St.
Mellick’s youngest baby –
even the Outlaws around
the block knew not to mess
with you.

Last night,
I “Lifted Every Voice!”
in a trade found of
harsh labor.
My voice was tired
and weary from missing
yours. a sound – 
that feels
oh so close these days
and nights of longing.

Feeling called –
I put a rose over my door
to invite soft conversation.
To conjure spirits
in kind, luring lost souls
to action – ghosts –
calling them, home.

As our organizing used to
be, coffee, child, mother –
lesson plans and your
want to see me shine.
Your birds out the window
my childhood home
your eyes and strong
words – Everything is
an Educational Moment -.
and I could do no wrong!

and We honor our elders!
at all cost. and in that
respect, they are placed
in a position of
understanding. A giveaway –
as known by native
voices – sometimes
i feel, like a motherless
child – but last night
at the Unity Dinner
i felt as if I
was being called
home.

Johnny Paul

IMG_0344

I spoke to a rock

Enjoy this poem, and if you can, please consider supporting my work. My new poetry book is here, and my music can be purchased from Bandcamp or CDbaby

Thanks y’all! Have a Goodin’

jP


 

I spoke to a rock

sitting in the mountain

stream.

 

Introduced myself.

 

I asked if it had ever

heard the metaphor

 

about its role

in the family.

 

It said no.

 

The rock told about rushing

waters, gully washers

and slowly being pushed

downstream.

 

The rock told of

how it used to

be way up the hill

and how one day –

it hopes to see the river.

 

It asked why I was

visiting, and I told about

my son, who was afraid

to move, about my wife

scared and determined.

 

I told about the railroad

and how my family, mind

and body suffered.

 

The rock told of how

it misses the greater

mountain that

it was a

part of –

 

and how once it fell

down a steep slope

and broke off from

a boulder &

how its edges used

to be pointed and sharp.

 

I told the rock –

I play music and write

about where I used

to work.

 

It asked

about that locomotive

whistle it hears

in the night –

echoing in the hills.

 

I told the rock

that haunting –

eerie, lonesome

sound is an old

tired, worn out

metaphor greatly

used by poets,

writers

and musicians.

 

We sat

quietly

together.

 

I listened to the

waters gently

trickling over

the rocks.

 

When I got up

to leave, the rock

said,

 

come back

someday –

I’ll still be here.

Maybe just a little

further downhill

and a slight bit

smoother.


The Last Poem, At This Table

The last poem
at this table …

Twelve years ago …
this boy was two
and we
moved out
here
on old
plantation
land, close to
Berrytown –

Let us pray …

I sip this coffee
for the last time
rubbing tired hands
nursing a weary mind
looking into a future
out this back window
for the last time.
This place, where
I sat, wrapping boot
laces, worn down,
exhausted but,

proud
to be laboring,
in tradition,
proud to be
taking care of
family.

& now, careful to
not boast that I
am escaping the
plantation.

& like a field
slave, who knew
how to look to the

stars, could
read the code –
I break into the
masters house,
to take my woman
and son, away.

Yet, I wanted to
work here,
build dreams –

my
time,
body
& soul
was
almost
stolen
by
another
man’s
venture.

#railroaded

 

& this place,
fell apart, of
over a decade
not being
able to be here.

I could tell stories
of many a lashing –
isolated lonesome
feelings of being
used –
watching my
friends
raped.

so, what I am
doing –
at this table –
this morning –
is loading up
& taking
all i worked
for, to the
promised land.

The master is
sleeping,
& he will wake
up to find
my wife and
child,
gone!

& yes, i had to
convince
her …

sometimes
she listened to
the other house
slaves who told
of wild men and
woman, planning
an insurrection.
Told, “don’t go –
we have it so
good here.”

(and she,
is the wild one ???
Born of native
blood and spirited
like a wild horse
that has been
tamed by
the deep
dedication
of mothering.)

I, have been called
crazy before …
branded a
traitor …
yet,

(re-learned
the language
of the soil …
became fluent
playing and listening
to the drums speak
when the master
was not looking.
Secretly seeking
council with
elders,
some who
had tried to
leave before
and were to
old to escape
but had
a clear
picture of
where to
run.)
& now, i say
my peace, to
those afraid
to go!
My heart
will always
be with
them …
my work
now,
is to eventually

set them free …

peace be with you …

John Paul

Sunday, July 23rd 2017

Middletown, Kentucky



B15BB17B-597A-4D93-B646-5E5A7C5D172E

10873574_10205837113951202_4025941478021453275_o