Joshua Pollock: A passionate voice of love and protest

I was born and raised in Modesto, attended Modesto Junior College, transferred to the University of California at Santa Cruz, attaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.

Periodically I have been involved in political activism: as a board member of the Modesto Peace/Life Center, Peace in the Middle East Committee, Alternatives to War, and the MJC Student Activist Club.

I love my daughter Rain and the arts as much as I loathe bad politicians. If I could conjure up ghosts, I would invite Thomas Paine, Karl Marx, Pablo Neruda, Nazim Hikmet, W.B. Yeats, Kahlil (Khalil) Gibran, and Helen Keller over for a poetry reading and an anti-war demonstration at Tenth Street Place.

I have recently returned from Santa Cruz to Modesto and plan to go to grad school for a Master of Arts in History at CSU—Stanislaus.

I first became interested in poetry in high school and began writing at the same time. My poems and articles have been published in the zines Junk: issue one, Scissor Socket Shocker: issue one (, Stanislaus Connections, and I currently post blogs with poetry and political essays on MySpace

The Price of Freedom

Some say I am cynical
But all I am
is aware:

That Love is often elusive;
Body parts fail and shut down;
Governments are entrusted
To monsters people help make;

And instead of blaming it on the Devil
All I do is look at empty wrappers
Of hard cadies and chewing gum
Stare into the bathroom mirror

And gaze at my bad teeth.

The 21rst Century

Saudi princes keep Filipinas, for the erotic, in their households like
Black house-slaves in the Confederate South.
The Jewish settlers in the West Bank have Thai workers picking tomatoes
And the Mexicans of North America live like Turkish housecleaners
In post-Nazi Germany.

The 21st century is really awesome, like no joke, brothers:
Human kerosene fills the sweatshops of China
Along the fields of productive soil
Under the knobs of fleshy creatures once called people
That has such endearing crescendos
Alongside their moans while they labor.

Arts are used for lessons in Foreign Policy:
Doxologies for Presidents are outsourced to cheaper poets
But these poets get a clubbing to their heads
If the poems don't sound like something more than poems.
Their proximity to clubs is what makes them desirable.
Regally-desirable is all that matters and the ax handle will come down
On the whole lot of high-overhead writers
Not content with chirping or staying on 'the down low.'
This comes from the bowels of the "Free World"
So watch out for those of lesser political topographies
When they get cudgels just as big.

The Media airing out ideas from Televisions,
Built in the same shape of death camp gas chambers,
Says North Korean Nuclear warheads are being readied
For Palestinian slingshots which is why Iran must get bombed
Or Israel could loose a farm in the Golan Heights;
And History would never forgive this type of anti-Semitic fascism
But who really knows "the Truth" and why would it matter now
Since the Truth has never been needed to get things done
In any nation of the civilized world.

Where I Stand on the History of a Planet

There was Cyprus trees in Lebanon like grapes on a vine
And the strong arms of men made them into ships that sailed on water
That left earth bare and the ocean full of sailors' spoils and bones.

A lumberman may have cut the Tree of Life down
In Mesopotamia or the hills of Persia but he had a blade
And then founded a civilization ready for Gilgamesh.

The caves inspired rulers to make prisons and cities
With a touch of a palace close by the clouds of mountains
That once hid the robbers and bandits from the Land of Nod.

These are the wonders of the Mighty Nephilim
Dreamed up in the heads of would-be gods that
Learned how to split skulls and divide the ether.

I reject these accomplishments and crucify them with fire.
The manipulation of elements is not a kiss or breast
And I only survive on the victories of good conversation.

The grass in my hometown is brown and the air hovers with pitch.
All these innovators boast about is Constitutions, war machines,
And the pillars their forefathers built by the slave factories of Rome.

If the men of Athens wanted to leave an impression worthy of keeping
They did and it ended with the Death of Socrates; because he was in Truth
The only legacy of the Ancient Greeks worth keeping.

But Heraclitus was correct that no one walks into the same river twice.
The planet earth of old is not the same planet now and perhaps the angels
That once came do not recognize this place even people once fancied sacred.

At the Cafes: An Observation

Half the people come with books
Pretending to want to read;
But really wanting to talk
And then talk to the people
Who really want to read.