Everything Is Radiant Between the Hates by Rich Ferguson

Incantations written pre- and post-election by L.A. poet and author Rich Ferguson. All selections part of his collection in progress, “Everything Is Radiant Between the Hates.”

Everything Is Radiant Between the Hates

in the new year

Meet me at the place where earth & sky touch, beyond chokeholds & lynching ropes, shotgun séances & raging ghosts. Meet me at the place where earth & sky touch, beyond flat tires & flatlines, civil liberties hijacked by trigger-happy lies. Meet me at the place where earth & sky touch, where human grace circles faithfully, guarding the boom & thrust of a forever blessed, unzeroed love.


on December 17th

Spirits wane,
spirits rise.
Death tolls fall,
death tolls soar.

Winning & losing,
truth telling & fake news.

Our world is besieged
by war & wonder,
deception & dreaming.

Fear-hearted criminals wield weapons,
believe they’re gods.
Poison-minded businessmen
scheme new ways
to fleece the unsuspecting.

A reality TV-show existence
with over 1,000 channels
of madness & magic.

Bombs & bruises,
bravery & embrace.

Smoke & mirrors
with the occasional
vivid burst of light.


It’s a love that’s got scars.
Has suffered through
a few hangovers
and brawls.

It’s a love
that’s had flat tires
and toothaches.

Sings off key.
Curses like a sailor.
Snores like a bulldozer.
A lead foot-driving love.

A too much tongue-kissing love.

But it’s also a love
that smiles brighter
than carnival light.

Leaves you flying higher
than stars in the night.

A love that saves you
from the madhouse
and poorhouse.

Chirps like a cricket,
sings like a bird.
Cooks your meals,
will leave
fresh flowers
on your grave.

Plays strip poker
with your worries,
withers your fears
to the last drop.

A love that gives you
all it’s got.

A love like that
is certainly worth
fighting for.


on November 16th

Eyes that refuse to witness human suffering. Minds that X out segments of society. Voices that lend no words to compassion’s lexicon. Time to breathe technicolor rainbows into black holes. Banish the toxin-tainted stranglehold of intolerance. Transform alienation into conversation. Spin heart clocks to life-saving time.


the morning before the election

Dance with Shakespeare’s ghost. Sweet-talk a bomb. Help an old woman across the boulevard of sorrows. Offer last rites to a melting ice cube. Water a plant, bleed a bullet of its taste for death. Take a bubble bath, eat a good meal, get a good night’s rest. Be the gasoline for the love machine. Teach a child how to read, racists how to repair the cracks in their warped thinking. Apologize to someone you’ve wronged. Dig a ditch, dig a pygmy, dig a pony. Bestow upon your pet the Medal of Honor.


in the pre-election purgatory

In hate’s hotel,
Caligula & cockroaches
battle over scraps of massacre.
Racists wash the KKK’s sheets.
Bigots, misogynists,
xenophobes & homophobes
play poker,
betting with the bones
of the disenfranchised.

In hate’s hotel,
Mengele is the night manager;
Elizabeth Bathory, the cleaning lady;
Vlad the Impaler, the Maître D’.
For breakfast, lunch & dinner:
venom & toxicity.
Pol Pot is the only smokeable pot.
In every dresser drawer:
Mein Kampf instead of Gideon’s Bible.

In hate’s hotel,
don’t bother trying
to seek the correct hour of day.
The only clocks to be found
are strapped
to time bombs.


Rich Ferguson
Photo: Cat Gwynn

Rich Ferguson has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Wanda Coleman, and other esteemed poets and musicians. He has performed at the NYC Fringe Festival and the Bowery Poetry Club, and he is a featured performer in the film “What About Me?” (featuring Michael Stipe, Michael Franti, Krishna Das and others). He has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Opium and Sensitive Skin, and he has been widely anthologized. Ferguson is a Pushcart-nominated poet and a poetry editor to The Nervous Breakdown. His acclaimed debut novel, NEW JERSEY ME, was published by Rare Bird Books / Barnacle Books.

Read an excerpt and our interview with the author and listen to excerpts from the audiobook and watch a trailer of the book, with music by Tyson Cornell, Butch Norton, Josh Haden, Cameron Stone and Andrew Bush. Vox by CLS Ferguson. For more, visit www.rich-ferguson.com

Photos by Rich Ferguson