Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mark Lipman

Poet – Publisher – Community Organizer

Unlike many candidates, I am not, nor do I care to be, a professional politician. I’m an average person who is smart enough to know that the government-as-usual has mismanaged our budget and is leading us in completely the wrong direction. We fund police and prisons and wars abroad, before things like education, housing, health care and job creation here at home. Simply by reversing our priorities, by holding the banks accountable for the reckless destruction of our economy – by things like stopping foreclosures; by providing the needed social services and properly funding our schools – investing in our children’s futures; by investing in needed jobs - we can both reduce crime and taxes at the same time.

I am not partisan. I belong to no party. I simply represent the average person who has to work and struggle just to scrape by in this world, who simply wants to help create a better, safer, more just world for us all to live in.

Once we realize that we’re all in the struggle of life together; that ensuring the necessities of society is the government’s primary responsibility – that we must fund our communities – for the benefit of us all, then we will be heading in the right direction.

That is what’s in my heart and if you vote for me, that is what will shape the decisions I make while serving you.

Community First

In today’s economy, when so many of us find ourselves working more just to make ends meet – or worse, working more and finding ourselves deeper and deeper in debt; when jobs are leaving our shores; when our government keeps telling us to pay more and do with less, while at the same time handing bigger tax breaks to the corporations, banks and the ultra-rich – I say: Enough’s enough!

We need to rethink our priorities.

Why do schools – our children’s educations – keep getting hit with budget cuts, while spending on the prison-industrial system soars? I want a meaningful future for the next generation instead of a one way ticket to jail. Education makes all the difference and that means fully funding our schools first.

Why are thousands of people living and dying out on the streets, when there are more empty housing units than homeless? Housing is a human right and affordable housing is necessary for a sustainable healthy community. We must make the housing that is there available for all those in need. The answer is simple: People first – profits for banks and developers last.

Why in one of the richest States, in the richest country on earth, do we still have one of the worst health care systems on the planet?

Single-payer Universal Health Care Now!

Has anyone asked themselves why, after the banks got bailed out, not just once, but twice; when through our tax dollars the banks have already been paid off for all the bad loans, which they instigated – and tricked many good, hard-working families into – that foreclosures are still going on every single day? Is there ever an end to their greed?

I say that we have the power to demand an end to the foreclosure and to hold the bankers responsible for crashing our economy.

First, we stop cooperating with the enforcement of evictions and force the banks to refinance the bad mortgages at reasonable and fair fixed rates.

Second, let’s start taxing the banks. In fact, to start closing the budget gap, let’s end these huge subsidies and tax breaks for all these massive corporations that take our money and ship all our jobs overseas and start making them pay their fair share in taxes and invest that money right back into our communities.

There are so many resources available. Everything we need is right here and so much work needs to be done. It is inexcusable that unemployment is skyrocketing. We need to start reinvesting in ourselves and create jobs to repair our failing infrastructure – our roads and bridges and railways and isn’t it about time that we started investing in wind and solar power – with solar panels made right here, in California and not China? 

Let’s bring our jobs back home!

When hope has failed you,
and all seems to despair,

When all the choices
go from bad to worse,

When you’re struggling to get by
and it looks like nobody cares,

When you’re tired and angry
and life feels like a curse,

When you’ve had enough
of not having enough,

It’s time to look in the mirror

For what we’ve all
been looking for
is right there.

The difference is us.

Imposing Democracy

When you have to
Terrify your own
People into giving
Their freedoms away,
We say it’s
Guaranteeing security.

When you invade
Another country
To steal their wealth
And establish your own regime,
We call it
Setting people free.

When you bomb
A tiny village
While all its people
Are fast asleep,
That is known as
Collateral damage.

And when you rob
From the poor
To subsidize
Your rich friends’ wallets,
Well, I’d say that’s graft,
But maybe you’d call it
Paying homage.

When there are
Police at every corner
No, that’s not repression,
It’s maintaining order.

When all the news
Tells you to follow
The government line,
They say that freedom
Of the press is doing
Just fine.

When you’re not
Capable of an
Independent thought,
Then you’ve received
A good education.

And when your health
Care runs out,
That’s just the benefits
Of privatization.

When we hide our
Sweat shops in China
We say that slavery
Is abolished.

And when your vote
Isn’t even being counted,
There are people who
Would call that
Universal suffrage

When a baby is shot
By a stray bullet
Maybe it’s officially
An accident,
But just try telling that
To the mother

And when the ice caps are melted
And the air is polluted,
No, that has not a thing
To do with your profits.

When you say
We’re at war,
I ask you
When haven’t we been?
That’s their version
Of peace without end.

Why is it that
The rules suddenly change
When you’re on
The wrong side
Of a color?

And while you’re at it,
Can you explain to me
How life in prison
Without a trial
Could ever be
“For their own protection?”

And when you get to choose,
Who has the right to live,
Is that what is meant by
“Having God on your side?”

When judges are allowed
To hand out the jobs
Is that thanks to having
Free and open elections?

I don’t know
What you think
About all this going on,
But if that’s democracy
Then something is
Very, very wrong.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Rights of All

Let’s be clear,
I completely believe in
Equal rights.

Note though that I said
Not special,
Not women’s,
Not anything,
But equal.

That each of us
Have equal rights
As members of
The human family.

Every last one of us
Can claim oppression.

So yes, voting for someone
“Because she’s a woman,”
Is sexism.

And voting for someone
“Because he’s black,”
Is racism.

Hell, I voted for a black woman,
Not because of any identity issue,
But because she spoke the truth.

You see, where the basics of Humanity
Begin to breakdown
Is when we classify ourselves
Into categories.

That we identify by
Gender, or color
  or status
Creating a tiered system
  of Superiority
  and Inferiority
And when that happens
We begin to disregard
The other person’s
Human rights
  as an equal
And say,
     “Because I am this
               and you are that,
                         I have a right,
                             but you don’t.”

This is the very foundation
  of disrespect,
Where relationships
Quickly disintegrate.

This is exactly
How wars get started.

If we dropped our identities and simply accepted that every single person has the right to exist; that the space they are occupying, at any given moment is rightfully theirs, for we all must be someplace; that we all have the right to self-determination; that we each have a right to decide the course and direction of our own lives, without hindrance from any god, government, or entity!

That, at its core, is the very definition of freedom.

If we hold it dear and true for ourselves, then we must hold it equally dear and true for everyone else, without exception.

An injustice to even one
          is an injustice to all.

On this planet, there is a line drawn in the sand. On one side are the owners – and it is not just some mythical one percent that pull the strings in the shadows, it is every one of us, who buy into the faulty rational of the owner, where a lack of morality is justified by the declaration of property.

Where the unacceptable becomes acceptable, because of the words, “I own.”

Where the basic respect and dignity we offer each other as equals is disregarded in order for someone who has to impose their will upon someone who has not.

The good parent teaches their children to share.

On the other side of the line we have the proletariat
Those who find themselves having
Less and less and less,
          with more people telling them
                    what they’re doing wrong,
                    which rules they’re breaking,

When the only real crime is poverty itself.

We are all victims of capitalism.

The only difference between any of us is
     on which side of the line we choose to stand
                                                at any given moment.

When we come to realize
          that all property
               all possessions
               are merely temporal,
         that we really,
               truly own nothing
               other than our physical beings
               and that, only for a number of years,
         that the relationships
               and community
                    that we cultivate in this life
                    are the only things of any true value
                              much more than any object
                              or piece of dirt
                              that we could ever possibly own,

At that moment,
          peace is possible.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Even on a Cloudy Day

There’s this perfect little spot
     along the coast
Where, if you walk on down to the water
     on the other side of the sand
There’s just this peaceful lull
     of the tide.

The sky is overcast
     and grey.

A pale mist clings to the air.

Few tourists venture out
     on a day like this.

It’s cool, yet not cold.
     I like it this way.
There are seagulls and sailboats
                             in my view.

To the right,
     a silent Ferris wheel sits.
A pier jets out its lonely finger
     to pierce the crashing waves.

A girl walks by.

Out of nowhere
     my troubles seem
          to disappear.

How could you not
     love this place?

Then, as a white sun
     pushes its light through
          the soft blanket above
          with its perfect pupil
               looking down,
          it reveals another face
          in the thinning crowd.

A hard lined one,
     brown and aged
          with labor
     carrying a basket of fruit
          on her head.

She offers pineapples
     and mangos
     and “Buenos tardes,”
          as she goes
     and it feels warm
          and friendly

… for a moment…

With the coming light
     it dawns on me…

This is America.

We’re not like that here.

Surely there must be
     something illegal
          to this stroll on the beach.

Whether it be the cigar in my hand,
     or the sliced melon passing by …

This is America - full of laws to break.

How can anyone here be illegal?

We’re all illegal,
     right on down to our genetic patterns
     soon to be patented
          by Monsanto
     so that my very life
     can become the property of

Only in America.

Where your innocence
     and guilt is determined
          by the size of your wallet
          of whether or not you’re an owner.

As if deed and door
     makes any one better
          than another.

We’re all equal under the sun,
          even on a cloudy day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Boycott Arizona

Deadly vipers,
rattling-saber snakes,
slither in these sands,
stalking innocent natives,
born unto this land.

Icy fingers perching,
like vultures in the sky.
They take away your liberty
then hang you out to die.

There’s a new Sheriff Arpaio in this town,
ready to shoot you down,
legalizing injustice,
because your skin is brown.

Grand Canyons of intolerance,
the scorpion of hate,
           it stings your mind,
           it makes you blind,
look out, it is too late.

Sun-drenched hypocrisy
           at 110 degrees,
blaming victims for their plight,
they call it democracy.

These vigilante cardinals,
this Phoenix of despair,
go back unto your ashes,
the devil awaits you there.

Pitchfork at the ready,
shotgun at the hip,
you say you’re patriotic
on your delusional tea-bag trip.

Wrapped up in your flag,
howling at the moon,
afraid of your own shadow,
what a bunch of goons!

You want to dictate all the rules?
Well, here’s a new one for ya.
We’re not taking it anymore.
Boycott Arizona!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Goodbye Cruel World

Walking along the breakwaters, watching the sun skim west…

On one side, the Marina, with so, so many picturesque balconies, creeping up on top of each other, twin tower condo block hover in the background, a dark shadow lurking over us, foreboding signs of what is yet to come.  A dusty, pale smoggy mist shrouds the coastline. A seagull coughs.

On the other side, the El Segundo waste treatment plant.  At the mouth of the Los Angeles River, it faintly smells of a sewer.  A Boeing 7-something-big sprays out another blast of toxic waste from take off at LAX.

With a sudden burst of development tiny houses, packed as tightly as favellas, recalling back to better times, paint the landscape.  Everyone is an environmentalist these days, yet Phase 2 for destroying what’s left of the Ballona Wetlands just sailed through the L. A. City Council – Ballona being the very last sliver of preserved nature and wildlife left in this region of Los Angeles and it is wedged smack dab right in between all the rest of this defecation.

Walking along the pond’s edge, I can hear a duck saying, “Goodbye cruel world,” as it sticks its head underwater.

And the thought enters my head that the only thing left to do would be to put a bubble over the whole thing.

Just then I looked up and saw the Chemtrails.

No one knows why they are there, yet it is a phenomenon documented as occurring in every region of the world.  Our government refuses to even acknowledge that it is happening, yet the evidence is abundant and everywhere.

Of what is known about what is being pulverized and pumped into our air, by high flying aircraft, is that it contains high quantities of aluminum, a metal known to cause cancer and expedite Alzheimer’s disease.

There are reports saying that it improves radar communications for the military.  Others say that “they” are trying to kill “us” – which should not be discarded out of hand.

However, may I propose a much less and more sinister plan?

We are all aware that our planetary environment is in trouble.  We have had how many major earthquakes just last month?

What if global warming is so real that it is much worse than anyone with actual knowledge on the subject is willing to admit?

What if our politicians and corporate owners, in an effort to cover their butts and cover up one of the greatest ever engineered environmental disasters in global history; and in an effort to buy themselves and this planet some time, are spraying our atmosphere with microscopic, highly reflective metals, in order to deflect the sun’s rays, in an attempt to cool the earth?

The only downside is that we are all going to have to breath in these metals and cancer rates are going to soar.

The only other option we have is to immediately quit fueling this planet with oil and ending the (resource) wars, which are burning over 300,000 barrels of oil a day and instead start planting trees on a mass scale.

That however might cut into the profit margin, so it’s best to forget, to pretend that these words – that my voice – was never heard.

So farewell, goodbye, adieu, my cruel, once beautiful world, your days are numbered, I will miss you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


We had to do something.
You know, something had to be done.
We couldn’t just do nothing.
We were better off before, sure …

But this is Historic.

We had to do it,
for like, posterity.

OK, fine. Now I have to pay,
or be penalized,
for not buying insurance
that I already can’t afford.

It’s mandatory Mitt Romney Care.
You know, the Republican deal in
Liberal Massachusetts.

The same people, who elected
a Republican to Ted Kennedy’s seat,
in the hopes of derailing this bill.

But hey, didn’t you see
all the smiling faces
in the paper today
on Capitol Hill?

The found a way
to jump through a loophole.

It’s Historic!

They’re going to be talking
about this for centuries,
how we had to pay for this
with our lives.

Who in their right minds
would want to miss that?

It’s Historic!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

In Defense of Love

There is a hole in my life,
on this happy Valentine's Day.

Not the loss, the regret, of love.
Not the vanishing caresses,
or tender glance.

No, a hole in time itself.
The loss of existence,
of a moment that will never come back.

A scoop of flesh
out of the body of I am.

A gaping void,
glaring empty,
a pock-mark on my chest,
since you are gone.

The space is silent,
as the echo lingers on.

A memory locked away,
hidden for all time
from the joys of
what might have been.

Love, oh sweet love,
you are my punishment.

And what if she were asked,
"Do you love him?"

And if she were to say "Yes,"
what then of it?

The courts,
the jails,
they do not know of love,
but you do.

Each and every one of you do.

In your hearts,
in your breasts,
you understand.

Even the judge and jailor,
they too,
somewhere deep inside of them,
they too kindle the fire for love.

"Love?" says your public defender.
"How old are you? Grow up.
Do you want to go home tonight?"

Yet, you know your defense is true,
will see you through,
the slow drip of time.

Where counting hours
is done by shades of light
and the broken illusions
of fitful, stuttering sleep.

You pace the cells
of your heart
for any indication
that they will set you free.

The jingling of keys
excites sweet emotions.

Love, love, love,
kiss my lips
and set me free.

Slide open your doors.
Clanging, rolling,
metal, steal.
Open up your cages.

Uncuff Cupid's wrist
and believe.

Love, yes love,
will set you free.