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GPI Writing, Drumming and Performance Workshops for One Common Unity Summer Day Camp

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

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It was an interesting and cool to organize the Youth Guerrilla Insurgency at One Common Unity’s Summer Camp.  In the midst of the week, I struggled, but came away truly rewarded by having had an opportunity to observe five amazing, yet different trainer styles.  I learned many new games and for the first time actually believe I am capable of leading a workshop.

Kristen and Joe both taught me about energy.  Although Kristen confessed to feeling a lack of energy walking into the workshop, you would have not known it by interacting with her.  Joe’s flow of energy kept everyone moving and simply having fun. Marguax’s smooth calmness and Shahid’s straightforward way actually quieted the 8-12 year olds for the only time in those 4 days as they wrote poems, short stories and random thoughts.  My favorite exercise from the writing was completing sentences such as Summertime means….I know we can…..etc.  Princess of Controversy kept them all “in the game” and had at least one come away talking about “respect.”  Here are some samples of their writing:

One day I will get older this is true.  I will get older and you can’t get younger because that’s impossible!

I know that we can work together.

I balled up the paper before this cause it looked somewhat like this one but they won’t let me ball this up.  I like to watch my hand writing cause sometimes I write so fast and I can’t even see my hand but that is why this paragraph is so messy.

Cool fool.   In summertime I become a gangster.

Rocks and old people go together like bread and butter.

I wonder why our paper is yellow.  It looks like someone pissed on it.

(more…)

The Baghdad Blues

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Click here for audio.

[Shout out to Jessica Philie for verse #3]

Graduated from high school
wanted not to be abused, a tool,
I needed money to get me my piece of paper
signed up for the White Man’s military capers.

Surprised to find myself on a transport boat
shipped across the wide, blue Atlantic moat.
You know the rest of the tale she wrote
or maybe then again you don’t. (See, I’ve been)

Chorus: shootin at brown people in the sand
giving Halliburton and Bechtel a hand
on what principles will we take a stand
I am a Patriot devoted to this land.

Got off the boat in a base in Basra
saw people everywhere, running around, lost and found
a colonial country getting slowly beaten down

Off on a convoy, in a Humvee
every twenty seconds, dodging RPGs
paying elevated fees to contractees
all the pills they got can’t stop the shakin in my knees (since we’ve been)

Chorus: shootin at brown people in the sand
giving Halliburton and Bechtel a hand
on what principles will we take a stand
I am a Patriot devoted to this land.

[Female voice] Look away, look away from the bombings on TV
My soldier’s over there instead of taking care of me
And our house and our dog and our family of three
His one weekend a month has turned into weeks,

Months, a year. Will he come back from there?
Our kids no longer miss him and I think I’m losing hair.
I’m a feeder, a cleaner, a driver, a teacher.
I need handouts and a loan just to keep up our home (Cuz they’ve been)

Chorus: shootin at brown people in the sand
giving Halliburton and Bechtel a hand
on what principles will we take a stand
I am a Patriot devoted to this land.

Driving up north in the Sunni triangle
feeling pride in a flag starry spangled
suddenly I find myself in metal tangled
from my hip what used to be my leg now dangles

my buddy’s in the driver’s seat, his body incomplete.
Where he sat before, now sits a piece of meat.
The flag on his coffin folded nice and neat,
in the wintertime, his widow won’t get enough heat (‘cause we’ve been)

Chorus: shootin at brown people in the sand
giving Halliburton and Bechtel a hand
on what principles will we take a stand
I am a
Matriot devoted to the planet.

Poetry Insurgency 2006 Summer Retreat

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

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The Poetry Insurgency hosted a retreat in Singer's Glen, VA this weekend that was positively badass.  Big ups to Jess, Cherie, Michael and Laila for pulling together logistics, herding cats and developing the (anti-)agenda!

For those who couldn't make it, we:

  • gathered 20 inspired creative revolutionaries, who arrived in carloads over the course of the weekend.  Most folks were from the DC crew, though Richmond and Baltimore were also represented
  • wrote, workshopped and performed a series of group pieces exploring issues including the conflict in Gaza and Lebanon; the struggle against personal demons and doubts; and the insidious, creeping co-optation of a life "duped by the system";
  • had slumber parties every night, with as many as 8 people in one room — sleeping bodies were strewn all over the house in the mornings
  • cooked and munched out together.  I made tostones (fried plaintains with salt)!
  • jammed late into the night by the fire
  • enjoyed a blissful hour of silent meditation and writing on a sunny Saturday afternoon
  • danced our asses off to old school funk on Saturday night.  With 20 folks, we were a party unto ourselves!
  • dropped like flies during a pick up soccer game in which Lyndi (AKA Ronaldo) displayed a glimpse of athletic brilliance unseen since Michael Jordan retired from basketball.
  • Visited a water hole in a nearby mountain stream fed by snowmelt, into which some of us (led by Ronaldo) leaped from a boulder 30 feet above the water!  Fadi threw me in…twice.
  • met and welcomed Harrisonburg artists Noah and Winnie
  • built some crazy intense community bonds

sidebrow 7 . 0 3 : PULL YOUR EARS BACK

Friday, July 7th, 2006

< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> < !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Untitled document Untitled document H8’s daddy had heart stoppage one day when he got into a shout off with a worker who had to take the loser cruiser cuz their car was in the shop. That was the same worker who had cut him off just after last xmas. He wanted to know where his star was. He wanted to let the mofo know that he had worked all his life. That he had pulled his welly fam through food banks at the St Vince de Paul and family shelters and worked at pizza joints and garages since he was 16… dealt with feggit cokeheads and wolves. He saw his lil cousin walk around in phat gear and a ball cap with a big “P” on it and a bitch by his side. He hear about him later got setup inna apt by two crackers who claimed to be scrappin over the betty and they clipt him in the head and lil cuz never woke up from a premamant daydream, woh.

full except:  Pull Your Ears Back [build: post-hole]

http://www.sidebrow.net/2006/a047braithwaite.php

http://www.sidebrow.net/index.html
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Olivet (H.A.T.s in the Square) lord patch vs Jay FN Cee

Friday, July 7th, 2006

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http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2006/07/10440.php

Olivet (H.A.T.s in the Square)

    "…it reminds me of the eulogy that Rabbi Yakov Perin gave for Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli settler who murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron in 1994. He said, “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.” ….I want to say that it's very deeply painful to me as a Palestinian that while Palestinians in Gaza are demonstrating,…to urge the resistance not to release the soldier until their prisoners and hostages held by Israel are released,… what all Israelis have to realize is that the age of colonialism has ended." — Ali Abunimah

audio: MP3 at 10.4 mebibytes

http://cleveland.indymedia.org/uploads/2006/07/olivet___h.a.t.s_in_the_square___loud_ruffa1b.mp3

(download torrent)

http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/torrents/olivet___h.a.t.s_in_the_square___loud_ruffa1.mp3.torrent

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Performance @ Farragut Square Rally for Religious Rights

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

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What better way to celebrate our nation's birth than by remembering the spirit of rebellious indignation that created it?  In the wake of a decision denying deceased military service personnel the right to have their religion of choice indicated on their gravestones, a group of wiccans organized a rally this July 4th to demand their religious rights.

Kristen and I opened up the rally with a 10 minute set, launching a short intro piece with her on the mic and me drumming, followed by her drumming while I kicked the rhyme I wrote after returning from the Muslim pilgrimage five years ago, and then we closed with a piece on which we both drummed together while she hit the mic.

A brief chat shortly before the event with Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State was illuminating.  We agreed about the importance of ensuring religious liberties against the threat of encroaching government, not only because it's a fundamental constitutional freedom, but also because it represents an especially strategic means of educating the right wing's libertarian base about the threat to its own values posed by the ruling Christian theocracy. 

Inspiration from the Founder of Burning Man

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

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Larry Harvey, the Founder of Burning Man, recently posted an insightful essay about the nature of resistance.  He notes that part of what Burning Man seeks is: 

a complete model of civilization so that people can go back home with the confidence that they can change the world — that they don't have to be defined by the context that surrounds them — that they can defined by the context that surrounds them — that they can define the world by the vision that's inside them….

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The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative, pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance.

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