dain saint art and activism for an abundant society

forty percent off

part of freedom is non-negotiable

you once said we were worth
three-fifths
oh to be worth
that much
to you

stereotypography

part of freedom is non-negotiable

we stand with our hands up
and they hollow out our bellies
with bullets
leaving only a hashtag behind

chemotherapy

part of freedom is non-negotiable

the cancer was there
at the beginning
and for the longest time
we've been addicted to smoking

the chemotherapy burns

sets fire to the arteries
burning cancerous and helathy alike
our hair falls out
but we beat the cancer back

at least for a while

the cancer remained
always waiting
for a chance
to s p r e a d

killing those parts of you
you never deemed important enough
to see

we think ourselves cured

we keep smoking

we can't breathe

it solves nothing
but we need to smoke
it solves nothing
it's all we can do to quell the anxiety
it solves nothing
it helps us feel in control
it solves nothing
expensive, nasty, brutish habit
and we spend more on it every year

we catch a flu
and have to decide between fighting
the flu that may kill us soon
and
the cancer that kills us every day

the tumours return
spreading, malignant
this far, we say, and no farther

so now it falls to us
we administer the chemotherapy
it burns once more we will knock this cancer into remission
again

but if you're tired
of having your life
interrupted by our aggressive course of treatment...

...quit smoking.

onyx on the workshop floor

part of freedom is non-negotiable

the first mold she had to
break
was her own

could you imagine
break
ing your ribs
so your heart could be
free

the oleander in bloom

part of freedom is non-negotiable

when the news reached galveston
the last to hear
closed her eyes
dreamed of us

and smiled

cotton loophole

part of freedom is non-negotiable

inmate #7215 finished
his work for the day

deft fingers sewing on
tags that say

made with pride
in the usa

why must they be so loud

part of freedom is non-negotiable

could you stop killing us, please
if its not too much trouble
it has been a difficult day

and i havent yet had time to grieve
the life that was lost
at the beginning
of this sentence

you need to stop discovering shit

part of freedom is non-negotiable

the seed was buried in the earth
before the sapling grew

the animals ran wild for years
before we built the zoo

the moon, without our almanac
still shines forever true

and just cause somethings new to you
that doesnt make it new

the algorithm doesnt care about you

part of freedom is non-negotiable

twenty percent off all
black lives matter merchandise now till
august thirty-first and

a stock photo of a
dad helping his son
adjust his n94 mask and

breonna taylor's
killers still
walk the streets as

her landlord wonders
who will pay
her rent

said toni to daedalus

part of freedom is non-negotiable

i am the bird
that broke free

i am strong
enough to fly

i am not strong
enough to carry the cage

without representation

part of freedom is non-negotiable

our first lesson as kids in
American history is
if you're breaking the law,
blame a minority

or did i misunderstand
the point of the
boston tea party

reefer madness

part of freedom is non-negotiable

green was the only
opportunity i knew
when they said that
i threw my life away

well i lost more years to
possession with intent
than you spent
on your fucking mba

you should have listened

part of freedom is non-negotiable

we spoke in polite whispers
in hopes it would spur you to act
to spend a little less
to care a little more
but you could not hear above
the clanging din of
your slot machine
could not see us clearly with
bloodshot eyes

we spoke in clear tones
in hopes it would move you to act
to resist a little less
to feel a little more
but you turned up the volume
the white noise of
your internal narrative
could not feel us
gasping for air

we screamed at the top of our lungs
in hopes it would force you to act
to speak a little less
to hear a little more
but you drowned us
in your panicked pleas
for civility
could not see the depth
of our courtesy

our thunder roars angry in the distance
desperate rains flooding the streets
the climate changes because of you
the climate changes in spite of you
and you sweat

as the blood-red moon
hangs in judgement
over your horizon

to the racists, sexists, homophobes et. al whom the old normal benefitted

part of freedom is non-negotiable

motherfucker
we
are
trying
to
free
you
too

good trouble

part of freedom is non-negotiable

two bare feet walk off an alabama porch
and into history

in your footsteps
twelve hundred church shoes step into selma
in your footsteps
two million boots trod into the capitol
in your footsteps
countless feet lift the banner worldwide

rest now
the work is not done
but thanks to you
neither are we

twenty bullets

part of freedom is non-negotiable

she was an emt
i'm told, again and again

nine shots plant in her and
one first responder watches as
one first responder can scarcely ask why

tell me, officer,
was she supposed to heal herself?

standardized test

part of freedom is non-negotiable

how are my children
supposed to stand tall
with a bulletproof backpack
full of white history

work ethic

part of freedom is non-negotiable

it’s so funny how
a nation founded on
slave labour
thinks the solution
to every goddamn thing
is “work harder”

and you'll share this one too

part of freedom is non-negotiable

another black life extinguished
we try to get your attention
again

gunsmoke rises in the video
his runaway soul captured
lashed to plow an infinite feed
reaping advertisements
as if a thirty-day workout is enough
to transform my body into one
they won’t shoot