tim toaster henderson


Toaster performs ‘A Conversation with a German tourist on racism’s continued stronghold on America’ at the Lit Slam, a poetry slam/literary journal based in San Francisco. Visit thelitslam.com for more info on the show. Follow Toaster at timtoasterhenderson.tumblr.com


Toaster performs Cicada at the Berkeley Slam filmed by youtube.com/teamwonderdave

A conversation with a German tourist on racism’s continued stronghold on America.

“When you paid your two dollars.

When you sat down, next to the old lady and the scent of some teenager’s mother’s nightmare, you never once noticed  which stop claimed each skin tone? It never dawned on you  that these doors  have vacuumed people by their melanin? You never noticed the architecture slump  into the whiskers of an opening jaw  as third street becomes this lion  with shattered glass for teeth?  lips full of baking soda  breath full of dollar bottles.  When I met you,  you didn’t slide your purse further under your chair? I never reminded you  of some night  in some alley  in some place  that could lock me away for walking next to you? You never wished my wrists together?” She laughed at me.  She was sure this was all a joke.  “Have you ever heard of Rodney King’s face?  Trayvon Martin’s exposed heart? Have you heard of Emmett Till’s casket yawning  for every CPS body dropping in Chicago? Have you heard of Nancy Reagan’s police tank house calls? Have you heard of Bush? have you heard of Bush light? Did you know that police murdered a man last year   who looked like me,  for a gun  they never found?” She stopped laughing.  A lions den  neither of us expected her to find herself in. “This happens here in America?” Land of the free I said.  “How can you live this way?” I asked her if Germany was so different. Asked her about Hitlers stray hairs. “What about Gypsies” I said.  “Gypsies are different. Gypsies are different” she said.



“Can’t kill anybody here” she says.

My mother is a graveyard.
falling leaves
And blooming memorials.

She is both the tombs
And the bones whispering inside of them.
The flowers
At their threshold.

My mother is alive.

I don’t call so often
Because I don’t always have the courage
To wonder why
she hasn’t answered yet.

My phone is known to Carry
such bad news.

My mother too.

My mother taught me how to drive
In a graveyard.

If you’ve never been to a grave yard
Ill tell you what it’s like.

A graveyard is a maze
Full of people
That’s never quite figured it out.

a place
where calm rests
Without closure.

My mother brought me here
To learn how to drive.

The wheel
Was every speech bubble
My nervous lips
Couldn’t allow to leave.

Every muscle in my wrists
Bear trapped and barbed wires

“You can’t kill anyone here.”
She says.

“Except for you,”
I said.

“And all these people
That only planned on one funeral today- can we go home now?”

My mother brought me to these tombstones
When the city
Was too much to stand.

A place
For all these wonderful pieces
To be whole.

“Why worry?” She says.
“We all gotta die some sort of way.
Might as well give Em a good story
On the way out.”

My mother
Is a graveyard.

What a hearse ill be.