Bloodlines Across Space Time, An Apology

Note: Poignant graphic references to blood and violence.

Author’s Note: This hinges upon a powerful Thee Kabal performance at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit back in 1992.  The show featured what turned out to be extreme ritual cutting.  In the wake of the Oxford shooting I’ve reflected on my own navigation of mental health issues (I’ll still call it madness) in public schools in the 80s. This piece references a post high school performance, but early on I began to use creativity and ritual to transmute violence and shift aggression away from others. I’ve always been able to find accomplices. 

Part letter, part song, part poem because I don’t know how to say what I have to say.  I really don’t know if I’m the one who needs to say it anymore or if you are or ever were the person who needs to hear it. 

Time shifts priorities as proximity shifts perspective.  We are still having that high end conversation in Tucson.  The bodies are still writhing across the carpet under our feet  in Leeds.  And there’s a trail of blood that’s followed me from the stage at The Shelter to where I sit now.  It’s all still happening, at least a part of me is still there, though I’m almost always unaware. 

White (her) Black (me) Red (rage) bodies collide intention with surgical precision. Naked, empowered through vulnerability, horns out an up on that same stage Rabbit choked on.  The battle begun years before. Black face?  No, head to toe and matched by bodies painted white and red. 
Do the alchemy.

Blood rights, blood games, a blood rite on a blood night.  They don’t make them like that anymore.  We wrote it into being and it bore us out in-to-it.  I do not remember the cut happening, focused on White, the vessel.  The blade so clean I couldn’t feel it; thoracic, a scalpel, T3 to T10 and three bars cross.  

How deep?  Too deep and St. Andrew’s began to spin.  And I stood up into it, huge.  My horns cutting into the spiral opening above.  Sticks in fists, drumming as though I knew how to steer into the vortex. Blood everywhere and away we go! 

Red has apologized profusely, in fact that’s all Red has done since.  White and I left town. She left me and is now a clown, respectfully. Black is me, not like that, but still bleeding nonetheless, tracing red trails from stages, basements, mounds, mountains and wooded groves, across this land, ocean to ocean and beyond. Broken and trying to breed until we did and now coagulate to blend in. 

I don’t know if that gets us farther or higher, I stopped pretending to know more than I know years ago and it has cost me.  I no longer presume that you would want to hear me say I’m sorry and don’t know if I can maintain course while attempting to adequately do so.  Please know if you need me I’m still bleeding on that stage, we’re still tying flower garland in Mysore, and I’m still standing on the shore of Galilee. I’m there, mouth gaped in between the Dome and the Wall.  You know how to find me. 

© EschatonLife

This piece is included in Eden Bloom Eschaton Life


White House Environmental Justice – Public Comment

November 18, 2021
White House EJAC Public Meeting
Eden Bloom – Public Comment

This written comment is submitted in addition to my spoken comment made during the WHEJAC public meeting on November 17-18, 2021. Details around this issue are changing rapidly so this comment reflects what I am aware of as of November 18, 2021.

I would like to thank the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council for this opportunity. I would also like to recognize the environmental justice communities across the country and their righteous appeals to this body. I also want to reflect and lift the commenters from Flint; the latest victims of the discrimination and injustice inherent in the state of Michigan’s air quality permitting process and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, or EGLE.

My partner, our 3 young children and I live on the eastside of Detroit. Our house is in what is referred to as the ‘impact area’ of the newly expanded and massive Jeep Stellantis Detroit Assembly Complex. I am also an organizer with Detroit People’s Platform and have been working with my neighbors on Beniteau Street, who live in closest proximity to the plant.

While my family and I live only blocks away from the plant and are impacted by the expansion, I’m presenting here to support the efforts of my neighbors on Beniteau. It is my belief that if the impact of this site is adequately mediated and remedied for those living right up on the complex, my family and everyone living around the plant will benefit.

Since the expansion was announced in early 2019, EGLE has hosted 3 public hearings and approved 2 air quality permits. My neighbors and I, along with advocates and experts have participated in each public hearing EGLE has hosted.

During these hearings a primary concern, repeated through the public comments is the extreme asthma hospitalization rates in the zip codes around the site. Experts called for environmental, economic and public health impact assessments to be completed before making a decision. Others called out the environmental racism inherent in moving ahead with the expansion in a nonattainment zone for ozone by decreasing emissions at a suburban plant to offset the increase in our 94% African-American, majority Black backyards

A recent letter to EGLE from elected officials noted that EGLE was aware of a high level of preexisting respiratory conditions in the area before granting permits to the company. Solid data, emotional pleas, and righteous outrage were shared but couldn’t be heard. EGLE considers air quality permits in a vacuum and by doing so makes the residents most impacted invisible. EGLE’s website reads “Comments EGLE can consider include technical mistakes, grammar and spelling mistakes, other rules that should be considered, and other items which should be included or removed.” Further, and more to the point, “Some issues EGLE cannot consider include popularity of the action, emission sources that are not part of the action, indoor air pollution, traffic, hours of operation, noises and lighting, and zoning issues.”

This is where EGLEs inherent race-problem perpetuates itself. How is it possible for our state regulators to protect frontline or environmental justice communities they can’t see or hear? The parameters they have established to make their decisions also become the justification of their abuse. They can’t consider the national study linking long-term exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality. They can’t consider that in the U.S., Black children suffer disproportionately from asthma, and are seven to eight times more likely to die of asthma than white children. The fact that communities of color face nearly 40% more exposure to toxic air pollution than white communities is not just lost on EGLE, it can’t be heard.

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee L went into production this summer and residents have reported an increase in odors and health issues since. EGLE has issued multiple violations that stem from their having to respond to resident complaints. Being overwhelmed by paint fumes, burning eyes, itchy throats and headaches, Beniteau residents have been calling the state’s Pollution Emergency Alert System (PEAS) hotline.

On Monday, September 20, 2021 EGLE filed a violation notice against Stellantis. A second air quality violation was issued on Monday, October 14th. On Wednesday, November 3rd a third Violation was issued against Stellantis’ Mack Assembly Plant. These violations and the subsequent engineering issues uncovered in the process have not been adequately responded to by EGLE or Stellantis. Jeeps continue to roll off the line and as this statement is being prepared, fumes can still become overwhelming on the street. Residents continue to call in with complaints.

The fact that they are being made to live through violations and over-exposure has led many residents to believe that EGLE exists only to facilitate the operation of polluting industries rather than to protect the most vulnerable and disproportionately impacted in Michigan.

Earlier this month, on November 8, 2021, my neighbors on Beniteau filed a Title VI Civil Rights complaint against EGLE with the EPA. The complaint focuses on the racial disparities in the state’s permitting process and details the impact of EGLE’s decisions on the residents who live closest to the plant. “When my eyes start to burn, I start to become more afraid of all the things I can’t smell than those that I can” one of my neighbors shares in the complaint.

Another neighbor on Beniteau shares “The migraine headaches, and the burning in the eyes, and tightness in my chest… I just know when I’m out too long, I get that way, but I can’t say today is going to be worse than tomorrow. I know yesterday it was just too much. I was crying.” I am also submitting the full Title VI complaint with this comment. I encourage council members to read these stories from residents who have been greatly impacted by the failure of state regulators.

The complaint states that: “[t]he decisions by Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) allowing Stellantis to significantly expand its facilities continues the discriminatory legacy of requiring communities of color to bear the disproportionate burden of the industrial pollution generated by all of society. Unfortunately, the Stellantis Complex (“Facility”) does not exist in isolation.”

Last Minute Update: Based on public pressure building around the violations and the Title VI Civil Rights complaint on November 18, 2021 EGLE issued a press release stating that they were going to fine Stellantis. While a step in the right direction, the statement is extremely non-committal.

Residents’ current post-violation needs include:

  • ●  Immediate emergency relief including but not limited to emergency housing, windows, roof repair, weatherization, HVAC improvements, air purifiers, filters, public education, medical and health services.
  • ●  Remedies that include an “out of the box thinking” Supplemental Environmental Plan (SEP) that adequately responds to resident need for home repair, voluntary relocation and others based upon individual assessment.
  • ●  Rapid response through a fast-tracked enforcement process with EGLE and the EPA on the Title IV Complaint.
  • ●  Environmental, health and economic impact assessments must be conducted to determine the most impacted and most vulnerable. Residents have requested individual assessment to determine what will be needed to make their homes safe to live in or for successful voluntary relocation. Assessment, whichwas not included as part of the permitting process, is essential to correcting course and determining adequate remedies. It is also vital that assessment be considered as part of EGLEs ‘job’ and not as a remedy. Assessment is a tool to be used to determine remedies.

To conclude, we live in a majority Black city that has been subject to the suspension of democracy through emergency management and economic restructuring through municipal bankruptcy. In Detroit we see violence against Black bodies, families and communities show up every day in public policy and decisions made by those in power.

Detroiters have witnessed this through mass water shutoffs, mass foreclosures and evictions, and through a massive redistribution of public wealth and resources into the hands of developers that are predominantly wealthy and white and to global corporations like Ford and Stellantis.

The fact that decision makers and regulators approved this project based upon economic promises and flawed engineering models rather than the environmental, health and economic impacts of those most directly impacted has led to this situation; Detroiters are being made to live in and through violation after violation.

I ask your support in addressing the injustice inherent in the states’ permitting process and in pushing for relief and remedy for Beniteau residents and anyone whose air quality and quality of life has and is being impacted by these failures. Again, I would like to thank the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council for this opportunity.

I am a Dancehall at Dawn

My ego dances between a desire to be known, to be a part of something, an overarching distaste and mistrust of my own kind, and a fear of being seen. Sometimes it is a sloppy and frustrated tango, other times a sad, precise waltz.

My mind is a dance hall, emotions on the tables.  There is definitely a horn section but they are off tonight.  These hands and heart grab and move my feet on the floor.  Slow motion, stop-frame style.

Move, click, move, click, move, click, move. Losing awareness of the original intent of the last gesture by the time you get to the next. But we’re making movies nonetheless. Move. Click. Move. Click.

Being shifted just enough to imply movement happening through the night. Sitting, waiting till it’s just right, and the feet go here at one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, and before you know it the sun’s coming up and unbeknownst to me I’ve been ‘dancing’ again. 

Like that Sunday Morning Fever dream with the lit dance floor, like a strobe light in the shower; I’m not really there. A memory of me moves out of sync with the beat.  Maligned, misaligned and throbbing slowly out of key.  You only see the water drops in the flash between the darkness.  You don’t see me, it’s a trick of the light used to appear manifest here.

It’s like this.  The flashes are so bright it appears I linger through the darkness in between the light. The degeneration of the image over fractions of a second’s time makes me appear to move. That I’m breathing, that I’m dancing all through the night.

One, move, two, click, three, move, four,
and I forget and remember
and forget that I’m even sitting there. 

I vibrate as I fade out and in. Ego trying to maintain. Working the floor like a water drop, separate, alone, dancing free fall between nothing and dawn’s early light.

© EschatonLife

This piece is included in Eden Bloom Eschaton Life


Time Machine

I built a time machine so I could go back and say I’m sorry.  It took years, timing and patience, emergent yet formulaic.

But then I got trapped in a notion, the desire to remove the offense at onset, at the root; of wanting to make it completely go away.  Take it back to love, fix it, and stay.

I wish I could light up your face the way I did back in the day.  The way today you sometimes still light up mine, trying to rebuild and improve rapport, trust, between you and I. Faking, unspoken begging, worshiping, praying that you’ll fall back in time and when you return in kind.

I want to use the machine to go back to the days before. Before you knew I was as lost as you and that all the stories were true. That the solution was an illusion, my hands were tied too.

When it was primal, we were on, it was new.  Before you knew, splayed out wide before the rose-fingered gates that I, we, me, they had lied to you.

As anticipated, I pause, have paused and will pause.  I know to take time back would lead me down the same old path.  The one I’ve defaulted to time and time again, Mephisto and Faust, no ease, all attack.

Circumradiant stop. Light everywhere, enough to see the parade of time charade couldn’t hold. The spell couldn’t take/long/break down/fall apart.

The bright light of knowing the only truth I’ve known has been based on my life since the fall.  Since falling from or to grace, since being driven out of the garden, since being kin-ripped from all.

The life we’ve had while I’ve been trying to make it up to you is the only thing close to life I’ve ever had.  The repair has surpassed the breach. This peace demanded my fall, a sacrifice. 

Catch 23.  By hook and by crook the eldest jesters sing.  Do it any way, means necessary. But be of mind, to wipe away evil also wipes away the valor that would rise to meet it.

We cannot return to the care free days and gaze without distorting the very essence that makes us long for them.  I am sorry is all that remains.

It can’t change.  The blemish and the blame, the vision and the voice.  These are spirits material since matrimony.  Huzzah and Ashe.

Even though I am foolish, I am not foolish enough to try to ‘time machine’ them away.  And so the machine goes unused.

It is in the backyard, overgrown, lights hung once gone, on its way to forgotten science.  These notes and this schematic are the only keys made, for just in case days, just like these.

Out of, and all in, time.

© EschatonLife

This piece is included in Eden Bloom  Eschaton Life

Eden Bloom – The Death of Bloom (Remastered)

The Death of Bloom in its fully remastered state is now up on my Bandcamp page. Heads up: May 7th, 2021 will be another Bandcamp Friday where they are waiving their revenue sharing. Thanks for looking!

Thee Dream, Thee Record, Thee Moon

Had thee dream last night. The one about making thee record. The one that I used to have all the time. The full moon dream sessions, lost hot wax traveling through time space, her face. The desire to see and be seen.

Reoccurring drama, doubled up pain. I should have never asked her to sing, but there was always this crossover between wanting to make the music, getting laid and love. The Black hit of space, sucking everything.

This time I got closer to seeing the cover art than ever before, digging through the archives in the back room of a once and future record store. I should have just hired back up singers who could sing and wouldn’t care. Thrusting hips, tits, lips…

Powerful apocalyptic soul singers, end time rag huffing blues. Astounding. Another dimension, reached through tintinnabulations; voyeuristic intentions. 12 inches pressed clear against my face, shrink wrapped, warped.

I did it again. Last night, full moon April 2021, I almost made it out alive and almost got in and out of the studio on time.

© EschatonLife

Ode to the Bassheads

One of my favorite things about living in the city are the sounds; the rhythms.  The way in which patterns weave together only to fall apart again.  The bassheads booming, rolling up and down the street, while we’re porch sitting with the kids on a Saturday night. 

Summer.  The crackled call and response between the backseat bass and blown out backyard stereos blaring over the leaf blowers. The un/holy gospel arising from the cacophony.  Whenever my ears reach out to a rumbling on the horizon my heart leaps, smiles, smirks, eyes close, listening deeply.  Taking it all in. ‘Life in all its rich complexity’ or something the old man on the mountain would say.

With respect, Black culture born, hip-hop, replicated and amplified.  Copied in the suburbs sure, you know it can happen anywhere.  Bassheads, rightly so, come in all shapes, sizes, skin tones. But for me, nowhere is it more meaningful, more beautiful than when the knobs are broke off past ’11’ by young Black hands. So mote it be. 

I see buffalo stance, not fashion, not trend, but soul survival. Powerless manifesting power, Paulo Freire, punk rock, raw industrial, metal horse noise.  The rumbling remembrance of chains breaking, rolling, bouncing, bumping criss-cross all along the fields of hearing.  Hope in every beat, beats blurring, the more crackled the better.

May the bassheads protect us, the drag racers defend us from those who would twist, fold, manipulate and further homogenize this fucked up urban paradise. Anything that strikes fear into those who would resurrect Black Bottom after burying it twice.  Point bass at the Becky’s and their banks that prey upon basement fire, post-bankruptcy blight. That’s racist! Which part? You’re right.  

Brigades of masked motorcycles, jacked up rides with rims rollin’ roundabout, weaving in and out across lanes, oh my!  Love it like I love seeing black bow ties with sweet potato pies and The Final Call at the crossroads because it points at something we can’t know.  This rumblin’, micro-rioting, a movable feast of ‘these are OUR streets’.  A mental blockade on displacement, a grassroots game on gentrification.  Black men with bass wildin’ to some white eyes.  We’ve killed for less.  

So yes – ‘Alhamdulillah, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Dios, Ma’at, Jah Rastafari’Baduism, anything, protect them from us, from those who look like me. 

Pirates sailing, bass cannons blaring, flags flying, fists flailing, heads noddin’ against genocidal systems calling for proactive policing on the Black ‘terror’ in Black  territory, Black bodies, Black streets, that we occupy.  As if million dollar bike lanes, bulldozers, bought-out block clubs, services cut to bones, water shutoffs, mass evictions and militarized malicious mostly white militias were not a thang. The Thing.

Let the bass drop, crossbones style.  Let those of us who would lose some sleep.  Let freedom ring and rang.  Let the youth flex, get the full context of where you live.  Let our ears bring our eyes to see the codes through the rumbles and the bumps coming from the street.  Who is being shook?  Trace the vibrations to their root and you’ll get to where the violence and the terror really lay and lie.  Who are the most dangerous people to many on these streets? You and I.

Re-cognition, Respect
William S. Burroughs, Hassan I Sabbah, Spinal Tap, Erykah Badu, Cat Power, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

© EschatonLife

This piece is included in Eden Bloom  Eschaton Life

Babbling Belief

The things I believe in, that I worship, no longer have names I’m able to pronounce.

They are rumblings, babblings and bubblings, barbarous to my domesticated ear.

I could probably learn them, track their motions, map their meanings, but out of respect I don’t and won’t.

I’ll not cage them with my desire to understand but let them remain wild.

I will do the devotions, fan fires, throw bones, dance patterns, and mumble the gibberish they press upon me in dreams.

I will love and fear them when they come, miss them when they’re gone, and let them be.


This piece is included in Eden Bloom  Eschaton Life

Writing the Anathema

Someday, maybe I’ll have the time to write a book about the fact that wasn’t necessarily those in power that prevented more meaningful transformation in this city, but so-called allies, the do-gooders, the good guys. The ones who say they’re all about justice. The ones who appear to be and say they’re on community’s side.

The ones who can cling to Black Lives Matter, but are repulsed by Majority Black Detroit Mattering. The ones who denounce ‘identity politics’ and don’t get centering blackness in a threatened majority Black city as a means for every one of us, my kids and your kids, to benefit, to live, to dream.

The folk that wouldn’t allow people they didn’t or couldn’t control to get a crumb, or even get a bandage to those in need. Those who want to pick and choose who gets free based on ideology. Those protected by the very structures we’re kicking against, conspiring in remodeled suburban basements and behind gated community safety nets. Those who can’t support progress because it will stifle their revolutionary pipe dreams. Those who whisper the same racist rhetoric that the right screams.

I’ve got the notes, the dates and acts going back 10+ years now. From the first time I was told to ‘stay in my lane’ by the white men trying to run the show to the most recent efforts to disparage me as misguided and misinformed. All the times they tried to get me to turn on my commitments to Black leadership and the times I was told I was too negative, too harsh. I’ve got a timeline of all the campaigns they’ve tried to undermine, the coalitions they f’ed with, Black women leadership challenged, almost every time.

Don’t get me wrong, rightly so, I’m just a small cog, and we’ll still organize, fight and we’ll still win, but someday, maybe I’ll have the time to write a book. It would be a book about how it wasn’t necessarily those in power that prevented more meaningful transformation in this city but so-called allies, some so-called friends.


The 33rd degree

28 sunrises since the last 23rd,
5 to go till the first spring moon.

The movement of the moniker is the easiest of the motions made this month.

A cycle of clarity, allowing the chaos to encircle without calling corners, to clean out cobwebs, reconnect synapses.

Pain allowed to be perceived. Thoughts unwanted, thawed. Sights blindered seen.

Sober, stone-cold, starring sunward to survive, surrounded by sharks.

Weed wafting everywhere. Wounded soul soldiers. Shops, sky signs, songs circumambulating my senses.

Anger, regurgitating repressed patterns, possession repossessed. I’ve been excommunicated twice already, third time’s a charm.

Fingering perishing flesh, aware for the first time in years, far from perfect, enmeshed in filigreed failure, in love with death, for ah pook’s sake.

This is me in the garden wailing at old gods, gnashing, grinding gears, giving up the game, gone.

Good morning, good night, good bye to the 33rd degree.

The real work begins in 5 sunrises, the first spring moon, 33 nights passed since the last 23rd.