Observation – June 5th, 2020, Friday

The city is green

It is summer and it is quiet—right now, at 4:00 pm

If I think about it

I can recall the sounds of gunfire

That woke me up in the middle of the night

The quiet lays on Minneapolis like a green veil

The city is restive

The demand for justice is simmering, now

Seven days ago, we were at a roiling-boil

I can smell the ashes lingering—still

The chemical scent of unnatural fire

Scratching in my throat

Observation – October 4th, 2019, Friday

It is 6:00 and I am at the airport in Minneapolis.

The concourse is teeming with people, travelers.

I am flying to New York to see my friend and watch the Twins battle the Yankees.

There is reggae playing at a bar I am sitting at.

The bar is closed.

I was the first to take a seat here, and now the number of people has multiplied.

A cooked poked his head out from the kitchen, he looked like he is wondering what we are all doing sitting here.

He looked a little nervous, like he is wondering how the day will begin, starting with a full house.

I wonder if it is normal, or if my precipitous seating brought about the wave.

Local Politics – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

Local Politics

What is going on with the City Council and the Mayor’s office?

For most of my life the city has just kind of bumbled along without making much news. There have been some persistent blunders, like the K-Mart development on Lake Street, and some successes like the development of the North Loop, but in the last four years the city government has lost its lid.

If they can’t get their act together they all need to be fired, starting with our ridiculous mayor, Jacob Frey.

I was happy to vote for him, though I did not know much about him at the time. He had the trust of some people I know, people who worked for him, and so I thought what the hell give the guy a shot, and I was happy to say good-bye to Betsy Hodges.

Here is my big question:

How the hell did the homeless encampment on East Franklin come to be?

It took months for a plan to take shape and months longer to execute, and it seems that the mayor and the city council were content to let the problem grow, only taking action to address it when people started dying there, and the Minneapolis Fire Department had to make multiple calls to put out fires once the cold weather set in.

This was a disgrace, and a national embarrassment. The fact that it existed at all was bad enough, it seems like the mayor and the city council would like to pretend that it did not happen.

Some churches and non-profit groups have stepped up to help the people who were encamped there transition into shelters, and begin the move to permanent housing, and that is great, I am thankful for their leadership, and I appreciate whatever help the city gave them to facilitate their work.

The fact that people started looking for ways to resolve the problem is really good news, since the people who had been living there would be facing sub-zero cold if they had not.

Where was the public discussion about this problem before it took hold? Where is the public discussion happening right now? The people of Minneapolis do not deserve this, and I am not talking about the people driving by it on their way to and from work. I am talking about the people who don’t have a roof over their head.

The city needs a solution to its housing shortage, and the solution to homeless is not going to be resolved by the free market, by the 20-40 plan or anything like it. It will require thoughtful concerted effort on the part of our elected leaders, something they seem incapable of while they are day dreaming about how many miles of bike lanes they can boast of.

Over the past week there have been a group of people sitting out front of the TCF Uptown, bed rolls on a wooden pallet, a fire lit in a grill to keep themselves warm, what the hell.

I spent some of my teenage years panhandling Uptown, I am not against that. A person should have a right to beg, in many cultures this is considered a holy occupation, but wat a situation like this represents is a dereliction of our duty to provide for the common good.

This is not good in January, in sub-zero temperatures.

Heading Home Hennepin is Hennepin County’s initiative to end homelessness, this is the initiative that the City of Minneapolis supports as a part of their effort to manage the issue of homelessness and affordable housing.

I used to volunteer for this organization, at their semi-annual event, Operation Homelessness Connect.

I went to their website today and found their last annual report available as of 2017. I found their last count of unsheltered people living in Hennepin County as of July 2018, it was about 1400 people, and their current count of people living in shelters, numbered at 1600 people.

Finding housing for 1400 more people should not be seen as an insurmountable problem, the mayor and the city Council need to get it together and help these people, help them get a roof over their head, and help them on the path to employment, or to receiving the social services they need and deserve if they are disabled for one reason or another.

Nothing will happen without a plan, and right now the city council and the mayor’s office are all about bike lanes, and traffic reduction, and light pollution, and other bourgeoisie nonsense.

I opted to take a look at the priorities listed on my city council person’s web page, and it has not been updated since 2015, it is as if Lisa Bender has no priorities since her “successful first year in office.” Nearby council person Lisa Goodman, has no priorities listed on her web page at all, and Linnea Palmisano, just to single out another lack luster politician, she has not updated her page since 2014.

The Mayor, Jacob Frey deserves credit for publishing on his web page that affordable housing is a top priority, but he is going to have to do more than that. If he can’t exercise his leadership to move the city council in the same direction, then he is not good for much, and the fact that the East Franklin homeless encampment developed on his watch says a great deal about his problem solving abilities, not much of it in a positive light.
Throw the bums out.

Not in Minnesota – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

Not in Minnesota

I have been listening to Tim Pawlenty and other candidates for political office in Minnesota this week, listening to them demagogue, trying to sound like Donald Trump on issues of justice, and immigration.

It is utterly shameful.

I was happy to hear the Mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, speak out against a Tim Pawlenty campaign mailer that showed the ex-governor appearing with uniformed Minneapolis Police, as if the police were endorsing his candidacy, when by law they are not allowed to so.

I was happy to hear Jacob Frey speak out against that demagogue who is seeking to garner support by dividing Minnesotan’s from one another on issues of immigration. I was pleased to hear the mayor remind that handful of sycophants who opted to appear with Tim Pawlenty and disgrace the uniform they wear, that Minneapolis is a sanctuary city. Minneapolis will remain a sanctuary city no matter who becomes governor, and it will still be their duty to enforce the policies set by the Mayor and the City Council on behalf of all of the people who live here.

We do not need that disgusting and divisive demagogic bullshit in Minnesota.

That appears to be all the morally bankrupt, ideologically barren, intellectually compromised Republican Party has to offer.

The platform they are running on is this:

Cut services for the working class and poor.

Raise the cost of education, but don’t fund it, borrow the money instead, eliminate protections for student borrowers.

Undermine and eliminate the Affordable Care Act, raising insurance premiums and every other cost associated with health care.

Cut taxes and borrow money, make the banks rich while stealing from the people.

Tariff’s, for the sake of Donald Trump’s vanity regardless of its impact on the price of consumer goods, or the ability of Minnesota farmers to sell their goods on the global market.

Divide the citizens and residents of Minnesota from one other, foment hate and violence, because they have nothing else to offer.

Lie everyday about what you are doing, lie to cover up your ignorance, lie to protect your vanity, lie to mask your malevolence.

I have spent my entire life working side by side with immigrants, whether they were here without permits, working without green cards, I do not know, but what I do know is this: they are the best people you could possibly want in your community. Hard working, brave, industrious people. They are here for the hope of a better life for themselves and their children, for their grandchildren.

They do not deserve to be vilified.

They deserve every protection under the law, due process, and the presumption of innocence.

Those fleeing lawless countries, those who are the victims of gang-violence, and political violence, or domestic abuse, and because their native countries are lawless they have no recourse and no protection, they deserve asylum.

The parents and spouses of United States citizens, should never be deported, they should be protected.

We must protect them, we must protect them from the dangerous, and wicked policies of people like Donald Trump and those who want to be elected on the promise that they will be his loyal patsies.


I stole the future, and stuffed it into a sack of visions
I wandered through the webs of time, careful as a spider
I wove strings of possibilities, each lighted thread a snare
I hid in truth’s shadow, orbiting the event horizon
I shut my eyes against the dark, and I whispered to the void
While I slipped beyond the veil of knowing
Unbecoming I
Given at the New Shit Show Minneapolis
Tatterwood Gallery