James Blood Ulmer/Grisel Acosta



Back to La Iglesia Blues *

(in response to James Blood Ulmer’s “Back to the Church”)



daughter of un ministro

disciple of Al Jourgensen’s Ministry

drinking scriptures and whiskey while

spinning on middle finger cross spires


ain’t nothin’ wrong with my song

siren banshee call of sex and politics

Jello Biafra, my teacher of world genocide atrocity and healing humor

my damnation is only chisme, rumor


oye mi melody too dark and sweet

mimics the jeweled deep stained red

glass blood wine salvation is mine

like a new-limbed leper dancing on velvet


dark 20 foot Gothic doors can’t keep

my musica out—open for me

beat knockers to my walk

hear me talk mierda, and sometimes the truth




back in the church

crimson music spilled like candle

wax on carpet burning smoke

bullets sangre muerte—love

won’t keep you alive, sacrifice

cross an X with steel and spine

sword gun words and bonds

bounty on your head, cracked

broken preacher my teacher his flock






welts on back

cleft pain on skin

burrowed worry and hymns of fear, we’re

Back in the Church

Under the Church

Within the Church






El Reverendo sings the blues

The Priest sings the blues

The Deacon sings the blues

The Spirit lives in the blues

Kneeling is the blues  

Healing is the blues

The song is the blues

The sermon is the blues

The Bible, The Word, The Glory, The Funk, The Junk in yo’ Trunk and the resulting stank eye is the blues.


*Inspired by First Spanish UCC and the Charleston shootings



Are You Happy to Be (a Black Latina and) in Spain?

(in response to James Blood Ulmer’s “Are You Glad to Be in America?”)



east mosquito blood spread

soft drip summit whip winds

hit my head with the buzz of anarchy



subversive conspiracy of Catalán scripture erasure

Aragonian empire western sea scourge

reclaimed Don Cuixot* serving vermouth on saints day



tracks criss cross bones under taut

olive complexion digging

seeds of homeless dirt hunger



telarañas blanket cask, block peepholes

smalltown grocery clerk overpriced judgment

porque we Americanos don’t belong here at late night tapas hours



punk afro-latinidad sancocho language banning

American empire eastern sea scourge

reclaimed batata baile ass dance in your face, ja ja!



west black racer entrails crush blue

mirror tiles under boots, free

loud, waking up the Español neighbors, now

I’m the invader


*This is the Catalán spelling of D





(in response to James Blood Ulmer’s “Freelancing”)


we are vines

reaching for the solid wall


twisting around wrought iron

a centrifuge spiraling dizzy


grasping metal with teeth

pointed and shiny hope


pain hangs like unripe grapes

light and bitter, unseen between spring leaves


we crawl on the ground

wanting more, hungry for life like an empty cave


our green desire will smother beauty

all over rotting stucco, old façades


and when our cloak of writhing madness

obscures the crumbling institutions


then, will we bear our honey

fruit, tasting of death and miracles


a metallic surf scream

the hesitancy of an embrace

resting twilight on furrowed brick



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