Writer on the Range

First of all with so many making a dent in preventing Human Trafficking in Colorado we should be grateful. From pro-life groups to students at CU. There is a way and one of the things you can do is to check out the maps of suspected human trafficking areas within Colorado at http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/cusams/involved.html.

Poetry, arts and songs bring more awareness to the issue and along the front range our songs can be heard in the churches and coffee houses, the bookstores and the campuses along the way.

An older guy slowly walks up to the open mic at the open stage. He gets his ten minutes of fame. The guitar, the single light above the stage. He is the oldest guy there. He started last week in Fort Collins, made his way out to Northglenn, Lakewood and Denver. Tonight he is in Castle Rock, close to the closed down rest stop that was closed because it was a station for human trafficking. He says nothing but begins to play a riff and without emotion sings:

Fear of rejection
comes from perfection-ism
it’s the set up cost
for the lost

Hear the objections
in the judges direction
wind blown and tossed
like the lost

The voice is clear, unshaken. He looks like a Dad and maybe even a grandfather- the song sounds original, the words from the heart- he stares ahead.

end of myself
end of me
dreams on my shelf
friends of enemies (making friends of enemies)

Tears of reflection
in my collection
a well known crime boss
I was as lost (as him)

People are glued to the message, and wondering what the punchline or the bottom line is going to be. He is a throwback but timeless somehow, refreshing in ways and cutting through our denial. Was he crime boss? Is this a confession? Who is this guy John Gotti?

at the end of myself
what’s left of me
look upon my shelf
no more enemies

and the prisoners of the wars
of this world- were used and chained for evil.
trafficking humans this side of the border- they’ll be free
(look at me-indeed)

The guy is getting louder and perhaps a little bolder- he goes into an instrumental riff – he’s a pro. Should we know him? Would I want to know him? I want to know this guy’s story- I wonder if he’ll talk after his set. I want the CD or the download and I want to get the message out beyond the Front Range.

(I’ll give ya)Natural selection
with intelligent direction,
(just look at) political elections
(there’s that) secret sauce…
(you won’t hear about it) join the cause

the end of self
end of us
up on shelf

The fear of us
in God we trust
come to us

“Emanuel” sustains and rings throughout the room. The lights dim and on the screen behind him are faces of children, of women who look foreign. Are they the victims of trafficking? I feel rage and I feel like we should do something- but the guy is gone. I walk out of the shop and I see tail lights. I ask the emcee who he is and he shows me the signup sheet- it just says Emanuel in script. I look at the emcee and he tells me that he has seen the guy- and that he use to open for some of the acts at the Rainbow Music Hall in the eighties.

There are a lot of things going on up and down the Front Range. There are thousands of people with Intellectual Disabilities who are living in group and host homes. There are plenty of antique shops, coffee houses, art galleries and churches. There are people who work in massage parlors and worse and there are only a few people who are bringing this to people’s attention. There are those students at CU. There are photographers and journalists. There’s an invisible world of evil and ugliness in the beauty of the Front Range. There are so many things to do but not enough things we can do. Emanuel is probably heading down to Colorado Springs- I think I’ll check where there might be an open stage. And then I’ll check in Pueblo.


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