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Guitar and backing vocals by Daniel C Wagner


Christchurch, New Zealand was the most depressing city I ever inhabited
cold houses boxed in cold gray streets
when I’d try to talk to strangers in the supermarket line, they’d eye me
like I might be clinically insane, like spontaneous human warmth might be a disease

but two months after the ground cracked apart
skyscrapers and masks had tumbled to earth
in cafés at night -- the ones that hadn't fallen down --
people were meeting eyes
making poems out of their rubble strewn insides
and finally hearing each other's stories

and their rhymes became lines in my atlas of hope
cause I've spent enough lifetimes kicking round
this street corner waiting on utopia to roll up magically
now I source my hope in the holy jazz of the daily

I'm over lying by the fire
hoping my one true love will suddenly burst through that door
now hope goes wow how many winter nights alone but how warm self-love glows at my core
(nevertheless, one true love, please feel free to walk through that door at any time)

when Barack Obama won the presidency
I'd already moved across the sea
I was on the other side of a planet when all my friends back home
were dancing pouring champagne for the neighbors in the streets
and watching my computer screen I thought damn I just missed the one brief moment of hope in my lifetime’s US political history

later I realized
the protesters whose drums have danced me down so many cracked streets
have lent me all the hope I need
cause I'm over waiting for one savior to blaze in on unicorn
instead my hope feeds on how many of us will never stop standing up
for the health of this holy world where we were born

melting ice. oceans rise
but here in this valley where I write
people have dug through the dam
to let the blue gray sea lope back in and out gently
longnecked white egrets
have flown back at last
to feed, swoop over the shifting tides
this muddy wetland glistening reborn sunlight
reminding me creativity thrives at margins, in the tumult of tectonic boundaries
reminding me life is always waiting to be invited to revive

in these times
Hope may be an endangered species
not cause nothing never gets better
but cause it's easy to moan of the darkest night
so if all turns to shit, you can smugly smirk,
"oh see it is shit I was right"

Hope is no guarantee there will not be shit
but hope knows anything dead can be composted
Hope means open to emotional risk

Hope, cause when I hold my quivering heart out onstage
someone I've never met always comes up and tells me they feel it

Hope, cause no matter what the doctor’s diagnonsense said,
when the cells in the body believe any wound can be healed, they just heal it

rebels do you crave instant utopia, a shiny new green politics of equality
yours now with just one down payment, er, campaign

but real hope knows sprouts grow from lodgepole cones exploding as flames lick trees
Hope knows dinosaurs crashed
and midst that ash, we mammals finally found open space to evolve
Hope smiles, wondering
what seeds we’ll guide to the light
when the next tower falls
to this forest floor
Hope does not mean we shall not suffer great loss
hope does not mean I believe next week Wall Street CEOs will crawl back into their holes mumbling oh we're so sorry
and be suddenly replaced by queer feminist redistributive earth-based local democracies
well I wouldn't mind that

but I’m trying to train my hope not to ebb and flow so much to the tides of the parts
but to grow in the shape of
our capacity to stare each now in the face
and keep moving from love
shining soft behind your eyes
pulsing from your thumping heart


from Sacred Activist, released February 7, 2015



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Redwood Reider Tasman, New Zealand

Redwood is a spoken word poet collaborating with musical beings for earth healing... one rhyme at a time.

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