with a hand on my heart

i pledge allegiance to step forth
when asked to step down, to hold no flag
to hold this generation tight
make them accountable for apathy
(apathy=death) you see their faces everyday.

to remember the children
lost in the name of false allegiance
i pledge allegiance to anger
letting it blossom into something more than fruit
to eat beautiful.
because i know what it smells like to be spring.

one of the lucky ones, i pledge allegiance
to the human body, still attached
from birth to death. pledging for each one
i said i loved until death do us part
sweet sorrow, i lie parallel to you.
you, my country, have no right to speak
on behalf of the world.

I was inspired after reading Safia Elhillo’s masterful poem, Self-Portrait with No Flag. It comes to mind every morning lately when I need to stand for the pledge with my students from around the world. The hypocrisy is striking in relation to our current domestic and foreign policy objectives. So my loyalty is to the small ones, to the next generation. May we teach them to know their own self-worth, no matter their origin.


What Doesn’t Change

Moving orients as well as disorients. It provides reacquaintance with what you’ve kept hidden in both a physical and metaphysical sense. The objects, these passions of the past, reminisce as settings, complex emotional frameworks.

I found today a reading response journal, a piece of my journey into understanding. Pages and pages of epiphany as I was coming into myself as a young college student and a naïve visionary. I look back on my words in mystery and sorrow. How much passion we lose as life plays games with our resilience.

I want to share a bit from this with thanks to my favorite professor of the past for bringing these insights to the forefront, for opening my world. You guided my journey, wishing, with regret, that I could have done more.


Course: Introduction to African Colonialism
Reading Response Entry 6/16/1999
In Response to Violence, Exploitation and Racism in Africa

Out of all the entries this gave me the greatest pause as it provides relevance for what is happening present day in the United States. More importantly, the professor responds by asking of my responsibility to share my understanding almost as a premonition of what our present day responsibility will be. As a nation, our people are being manipulated to hate and to fear the innocent among us solely for the economic gain of those who could care less about our lives and what the average citizen will suffer as a result of their propaganda machine.

In moving, in movement, we travel with the same understandings and the same responsibilities to speak with our hearts. Reaching out from the mindfulness of 1999 to the people of 2016: reflect, share and act. I, like many, have not said enough.

Under Water

Pieces. Fragments of emotion that pile together in this state.
Become red. Forget body, want blood.

When I am with those I know, I see ocean in the distance.
Forget understanding. Remember rational thought.

And what is rational is blue reflected in the sky, climbing the wall
and sea level becomes blurred. Flooding. Taking the horizon with it.

For it is fire in the belly making our heads melt.
Now even our children can’t find us near the surface to take our hands.

Reflection: A Day at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Though this exhibit was unforgettable, I don’t want it to be timely. This post, this artistic endeavor meant to reflect a time of shame in the dark folds of history has risen again like a white zombie. Do we ever learn from the evils of the past? Arrogance carrying us like a disease as we separate our existence in relation to others based on unfounded fears. The devil’s eyes can now sleep soundly.

Look below at the countless tags representing human lives. This was real. We did this. This has been proposed again as a cowardly means to degrade a group of innocent people who are not to blame for anything other than identifying with a misunderstood faith.

My fellow citizens, now is the time to act. To anyone who has a heart left inside, refuse to let this happen again. My country, my shame, my hope, let me find trust again in your principles. Our hearts. Are they anywhere to be found?

Japanese American internment is ‘precedent’ for national Muslim registry, prominent Trump backer says


Kate Houck, Poems

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting a beautiful place in Florida called the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. I enjoyed taking pictures of the beauty and scenery along their winding pathways, while having the parallel experience of learning more about Japanese culture. Some of this beauty is soon to come in a future post!

I know I have never used this blog as an arena to share photos. However, I was struck by this place intensely, in particular by a timely exhibition they have open for viewing, Wendy Maruyama’s, Executive Order 9066. Below are photos I took from the exhibit.

The hanging tags that seem infinite in what you see represent the number of Japanese people of the United States taken from their homes and forcibly placed in internment camps during World War II. You can read Wendy Maruyama’s outlook on her work below. Her explanation and…

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Falling Angels

I time these minutes like something will be lost otherwise
the falling of the crimson leaves above my head,
the peculiar smirk of the sly squirrel perched on the corner of the fence.
I will marry the sun when it peeks one more time from behind the clouds
my temple of pure, unadulterated occurrences living outside of perpetual weeping.

These are only simple visions we can hope for in the coming days
those of natural life, still abiding by the order of things
unaware of the angels falling at the waist side
how many can we bring back to life.

It must be said again and again that hope can live on.
Will you marry the sun with me and sleep with the moon?
I have known many angels. I will not bury them under thoughtless men.

The Turning Point

I rarely post about this election. In fact, I find it painful to think about most of the time. I’ve reached a point where the realities seem surreal, where the hate surfacing and being projected upon innocent people and communities makes me feel as we’ve fallen back decades as a nation. Suddenly, I am faced with undeniable truths—that we, as humans, never learn and become enemies of our own destinies, coerced so easily to fear for the sake of someone’s greedy agenda.

I am blessed to have been given a life filled with diversity—of experiences, friends and loves. I learn from children everyday who are innocent enough to want to change the world. Let them live in a world where they will be given the chance. Let us live in a world where people who are struggling as much as we are, many even more so, are given open doors to our hearts and our homes.

We are at a turning point this November. Make it a turning point, not a tipping point. Step forward. Vote and vote wisely. Use both wisdom and common sense. Evil fueled by fear can win and will win without a collective effort to decide otherwise.

#SavetheDayVote #Unite

The Caucuses

inspired by Nina Simone’s “Do I Move You?”

this is a joke 🙂


Do you love me?
Is it thrillin’?
Kiss my stumpy fingers.
Check out my women.

If you love me,
Let me know it.
Forget your neighbor.
I’ll be your savior.

The answer better be…
You bet.
Trump for President.


Do you love me?
Is it thrillin’?
I’ve been bernin’.
Since the beginning.

I may be,
An old man now,
But I’m still on fire.
Feel that bern inspire.

Even the birds think…
Vote yes.
Sanders for President.

(This is the first time I’ve recorded my voice (with my music teacher). I was super nervous but had so much fun singing my own words!)