A cluster of poems by David Lee Morgan
A cluster of poems by David Lee Morgan





Can take you over 
Can cloud your mind 
Can make you forget 
At first, you were fighting for a cause 
Now you’re just fighting to win 


The devil can cite scripture for a purpose 


Because they’re the devil 
They don’t give a shit about the truth 
You have to be made of sterner stuff 
You have to be unbending about this 
You are fighting for truth, nothing less 
So you have to be fair 
You have to take on their best arguments 
Jumping on dumb mistakes might be amusing 
Might be totally deserved 
But you have to be constantly asking yourself 
Why am I doing this 
Is it to prove I was right 
Or to get to the truth

And use it

To make a better world   


There’s a pure joy to be had 
In tearing apart a hypocritical argument 
It’s fun to do and a great spectator sport 
But don’t pick at the edges 
Don’t go for the easy thrill 
Go deep 
Go to the heart of things  
Cheap shots don’t kill




No, no, no, no, no 
Science is not a priesthood 
It’s not a College of Cardinals 
No scientist, no matter how decorated 
No matter how great their achievement 
Is a Pope, speaking ex cathedra 
Believe and obey 
That’s not science – that’s religion 
We don’t need a planet of believers 
We do need a planet of scientists 

To respect science 
You must become a scientist 
You don’t need a degree 
You don’t need a laboratory 
You don’t need a job working at the Hadron Collider 
What you need, what we all need 
Is a basic understanding of the scientific method 
Of experimental design, the importance of sample size

Control groups, how to filter out the extraneous factors  
How to read a scientific report with a bullshit detector 


Science is not down to some mad genius in a basement 
Writing equations on a blackboard that no one else understands 
There is a place for that, but it’s embedded in a vast social enterprise 
Modern science is a product of the printing press 
And the telegraph and the telephone and the radio and the internet
Every advance in mass communication 
Is a leap in our ability to learn from experience 
Not just our own, but other people’s too 
That’s what science is – a systematic way of doing this 
Scientific knowledge is a social creation 
And as long as society is a battleground

Between the rich and the poor 
Science will be a battleground too 
They say truth is the first casualty of war 
But if you’re fighting for a lie, you’ve already lost
So if you want to make a better world 
If you’re serious about revolution 
If you want to be a soldier in the army of human liberation 
You must become a scientist 





What if Capitalism walked into a classroom and gave the students a brief lecture entitled,

If I Had A Heart...  


Okay, let's talk about the body

The body is a tool, but it's a product too

You have to buy your body back every day

Pay for the food you eat, the bed you sleep in  

The clothes you wear, but even better, we can

Sell you a new body, a different colour hair

Shaved armpits, pubes, eyebrows, noses, piercings, tattoos

It's decoration, it's art, but we're just getting started

We can cut you into pieces and sew you back together

And let's be clear

This can be a wonderful thing to do

The body breaks down

And we can fix it, sometimes

And when we can't you die


But in the meantime, why stop at fixing it

Let's make a new body, yes we can

We're only at the starting stages

But the rocket's on the launch pad

And we can see the destination


Think of yourself as a grain of rice

Nature made you

And used to be, we just took what nature gave us

And thought up ways to make a buck out of it

But science happened, and now we own you

We have a copyright on your rice DNA

And we can go inside, chop it up, and glue it back together

Until nature can't do a damn thing unless we tell it to


The human personality is an infinite onion

You can peel away the skin, layer by layer

And never get to the bottom

The inside goes on forever

But the human body is not like that

It's like a grain of rice

More complicated, same principle

We can map it

And then make you buy back every damn inch of it


If I had a heart, I would pity you

We start fucking with your head before you're even born



(trigger warning)


Some things hurt so bad you have to cut them out 
You have to be like a soldier 
Who digs a bullet out of their own flesh 
Pinches the wound together 
And marches on 


Was it like that for you 


If I had loved you better 
If I had loved you more 
You would have been stronger 
Would that have made a difference 
I don’t know 


They told me you would kill yourself 


My child was a beautiful baby 
My baby is a beautiful child
A rainbow 
One of a kind 


This is what I believe 
You came for my child 
You took a rainbow and forged it into a knife 
You were nothing but a hammer looking for a nail 
How could you not understand that a rainbow 
Is not a problem to be solved 
It’s a rainbow 


Did you wound my child or heal them 
How can we ever know 
You stormed in like a Jesuit missionary 
Waving a holy book as if it were a sword of truth 


Listen to the children you say 
You don’t know what listening is 
It’s engagement, it’s giving back 
Love is struggle – not war, but not surrender 
You never give up on each other 


My child was a beautiful baby 
My baby is a beautiful child 
A rebel spirit 
A revolutionary 


This is what I believe 
The body is the foundation 
When the body dies, the music stops 
Physical transition comes with a lifelong cost 
So of course you would try to avoid it 
Not at any price 
But that’s where you would start  
How could you not understand this 


We all sing the body electric 
We all sing out of tune 
Perfect harmony is boring 
Rules have teeth
Rules have claws 
But even the harshest rules 
Make a beautiful sound 
When they’re broken 


We should break rules  

Not bodies 

Bodies are a fact 

We give them meaning 

We build on them  

We can make whole castles

Out of fairy tales and logic

But the fact remains  

My child was a beautiful baby 

My baby is a beautiful child 

Always and forever 




One nail at a time

Or taken all altogether

The nails tell a story

The story is a lie

You are not the colour of your skin

The sex of your body

Or the calluses on your hand

You are a blossom

Rooted in the earth

Soaking up the sunlight

Of a hundred billion stars


When I was a kid

We were nailed into our bodies

There were things a man could do

That a woman never could

There were places white could go

Where black would never be allowed

And always, there was the enemy

Foreign bodies, just across the border

Across the ocean  

Across the wrong side of the tracks



Blew my mind

The Vietnamese people were fighting off

The most powerful imperialist army

In the history of the world

My country, my army

But they were the freedom fighters

We were the invaders

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

– all my life I had believed this lie

Now everything changed

As I looked at the world

Through Vietnamese eyes


Bring The War Home, we chanted

And the war came home

Not as a curse, but a gift

As an invitation

Join us

And we did



Was like stepping into a different dimension

Everything was turned inside out

Two, three, many Vietnams

Asia, Africa, Latin America

Home of the Brave, Land of the Free

Bad was good

And what I had thought was good was



I had never even heard that word

– outside of a sword and toga movie

But once you start digging up bodies

You find them buried everywhere


Bring The War Home, we chanted

And now I could see

The war was already here

I could see freedom fighters on every corner

And I could see the enemy too

We carried the enemy on our backs

Nailed into our bodies


What is the human soul but the body unleashed

The body set free

The body in all its mystery and secret

In all its possibilities

In all its interconnectedness

I am not as strong as the tiger

I cannot swim like a fish

Or fly in the air like a bird

What makes me unique

Is you

I speak your words

I sing your melodies

I dance to the music of you 


Freedom is not some king on a mountaintop

Master of all he surveys, beholden to none

Freedom is you, your body

In all its frailty and power

Hopes and fears

Hunger and thirst

Freedom is you and I

Feeding each other

Food for the stomach

Courage for the heart

Ideas for the imagination


How can it be 
That we slaughter each other 
For an algorithm, a parasite
An invisible god that rules over the planet 
With one law, one commandment, make money 
More money, more money, more money

Grow or die 

And all our achievements
All the wonders we have made 
Are grabbed hold of and twisted 
Into a machine for murder 
A hammer to smash the earth 
A knife to cut into our own hearts 


Race, nation, gender, class

These things do not exist inside our bodies

They do not belong to us, we belong to them

It's how we are nailed into the machine

How we becomes its movable parts


And of all these, gender is primal

It attacks what we are

On the deepest level of our biology

Sex is the body, the human animal

Gender is capitalism, trying to ride the tiger

Gender is the spur and the whip

And you can't get away from it

You can't have no gender

  anymore than you can speak without an accent

It's a gendered world – thems are the rules

And either you break'em or you don't

But whatever you choose

You are punching in a bar code


Gender abolition – as if we could

Gender is a nail that gets pounded into each of us

Day in, day out, cradle to grave

Gender Identity

Is the scar tissue that forms around the nail

As the body tries to heal itself

But it can't heal

Because the nail is still there

And it's not going away

Because the problem is not just the nail

The problem is the hammer

That keeps pounding it in


Learn to love the nail

Does not work

Because if you don't push back

It just goes in deeper

So you gotta keep on pushing back


Or else you gotta get to the hammer

And get rid of it

Not change it

Not make it nicer

Not give it a shiny new handle  

Get rid of it

Unleash the body

Liberate the soul

And free the world


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