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Archive for April, 2007

It coulda been me

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

This is a response to the shootings at Virginia Tech. I was shocked to read his profile because it was a ringer for me during a good span in my life. I talked with a friend who felt much the same way. We explored for a moment the dangerous thoughts of knowing how he felt, knowing we were in a place where we thought of and considered similar actions. Knowing the pressure that can be on you when you feel 100% outside, and the cracks I feel through, I feel perhaps more sad for him, to have no way out of his misery except that which he chose. Anyway, its quick and rough, but I give you "It coulda been me" :

It coulda been me
Going to school at V – T
It coulda been me
Alone, cold and angry

I mean, I never thought I'd live past 23
And if I'd lived, I would never be free
Now I am thirty-five and shocked
Because it could have been me

Every day life bearing down
Sucking me under making me drown
Laying awake, dreaming of escape
Because it could have been me
Going to school at V – T
It coulda been me
Alone, cold and angry

I am afraid of everything cruel or kind
It takes a toll and bends the mind
Mostly afraid of one day SNAP
Because it could have been me

No one to listen, no one care
No one to love, no one share
Alone with this brutal legacy
Because it could have been me

Violence is my first and last choice
I hate you because I have no voice
I write and joke and talk
Because it could have been me
Going to school at V – T
It coulda been me
Alone, cold and angry

For his despair, I take responsibility
For this my part in the patriarchy
And the sorrow I feel
Because it coulda been me

Just so you know …

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Dear Mr. President,
We have not lifted a finger
to hurt you in your home:
we are not you, will not be you;
we have raised our voices
with a global unity
that our harmony will prevail
over the destruction you desire.

I have heard that these marches
will simply fall on deaf ears,
but they are not for you -
with your soul given over
to the demands of the devil -
rather, they are for us
so that we may be reassured
your evil will not continue
past that time which you have stolen
from each affected being:
those moments with her children,
those moments with his wife,
those moments of joy,
those moments of sorrow
all stolen by your hands.
Don't you know that a soul
can never be yours to keep?
that it will always go the way of kindness
into the memories of those who love?
Did you not find this
in your flee from the degradation of war,
in the joy of your children's first words,
in the passion of making love?

Rest comfortably while you can:
the darkness at the end of life
will not be so easily endured
as the face of each of your victims
comes forward to forgive you -
may you find the will
to forgive yourself.

Why I’m breaking up with America

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Greetings Humans,

I thought I would send out one of my vaguely annual missives on the world when I realized I had actual "news"! And the news is: I am moving to Zürich, Switzerland. I don't have a firm date yet, however, I expect it to be in the next 2 months or so – definitely by June 1st. So, if I owe you money, cigarettes, a beer [or several], back massages, etc. – don't count on getting them; unless you can get to me before I go, or find yourself in Europe.

Some have asked me why I' moving and well, to be honest, I really do love America, but I've decided it's time to start seeing other countries. It seems through most of my life I've heard the phrase, "America: love it or leave it" and I finally decided that I can't make my country love me, so there's no point us being together anymore. Oh, don't get me wrong, I will miss terribly the majestic blue sky that hangs – almost precariously – over Montana, and the deep purple of the shadows across the Arizona mesas. I imagine I will long for the songs of spring nights in Connecticut and the sultry summer eves in New England. I'm not sure I will ever find another West Virginia with blue mountains languishing in the mist at sunrise, or the lonely hot air of west Texas in August that always presents some introspective view on the soul of humanity. My country and I have had a hell of a go 'round and there are a lot of things I will never forget. Sadly, the last 7 years will be burned into my memory as her infidelities raged out of control with that rapist in the white house and his clan on the hill. I'm not bitter about the assassination of the ideals that so many died for and so many lived for. These things happen when you take a decent place and turn it into the capital of an empire. She couldn't compete anymore with the whores in the harem that offered their resources up to her handlers on the hill for nothing but tacit acknowledgment. I will always love her and the values she etched into my soul as we watched the sunset together on a beach in northwestern Washington. (more…)

Reportback from SF Collaborative Arts Insurgency

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

The arts insurgents in SF were out in full effect on Thursday, April 5, jazzed to celebrate the birthday of mac daddy Miguel Pereira and warmly embracing me during a weekend visit from DC in order to attend a voting rights conference co-sponored by The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, where I work.

Old and new faces abounded. In addition to Miguel, old-school arts insurgents James Marchetti, Charlie Getter, Patrick (who accompanied himself on the guitar for the first time ever), and Potholder were in the house. Several people enthusiastically introduced me to Joe Lewis, a professional bassist who's already added immense energy and is hatching further plots to help strengthen the crew. Sarah from England dropped mad insights, adding a subtle energy to the fire & brimstone flung by many of the other poets.

The SF crew had apparently recently agreed to a 2-month moratorium on old poems, which I tried to respect with "America Fights" and "Kids Slouch on a Couch," before breaking down and bringing "The Baghdad Blues" (click for audio, or here for lyrics) out of the vault. People generally seemed to dig them, and Miguel offered a shout out in the form of recollecting the first time we took our poetry into the street: the crew apparently intended to go somewhere to rehearse for an upcoming "poetry gala" (that would find them meandering downtown streets spitting poems in top hats during rush hour), while my dumb ass misunderstood and thought we were on our way to spit rhymes outside. Ooops!

In any case, I had a great time sharing my latest work with a community to which I owe so much. I also took a second to announce the emergence of GPI crews in New York City, upstate New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, and Seattle, and asked anyone who knows any poets in those cities to introduce them to us so we can help get a mic in their hands. It was also great to hear the latest about the SF crew's projects. They recently released a beautifully polshed book of poetry, and are currently working on an upcoming event at the end of the month – for which Chad the illustrator created a gorgeous poster – featuring poetry under the gold-leaf dome in City Hall.

(more…)

Anything But Clothes Rally Against Sweatshop Labor @ UMD on Wednesday

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

On Wednesday, April 4, students from Feminism Without Borders (FWB) and affiliated campus political groups will be rallying at the McKeldin Mall Sundial at 11:30am and marching to the Administration at 12:50pm to demand again that the University of Maryland sign onto the Designated Suppliers Program (DSP). The University of Maryland has thus far refused to adopt the DSP, which would ensure that workers (usually women of color in the so-called “Third World”) who produce university apparel be allowed to form independent unions and negotiate living wages. FWB wants to raise awareness of the issue of sweatshop conditions in factories where University of Maryland apparel is manufactured, both to the Administration and the University’s students. Students attending this rally and march will be wearing “Anything but Clothes” (i.e., decorated garbage bags, boxes, saran wrap, paper, and paint, etc.) to make visually clear the fact that they refuse to wear Terps’ apparel while it continues to be made at the expense of workers’ basic human rights.  Students will be marching from the Sundial to the Administration Building at 12:50pm. For this protest, the University of Maryland will be joining other District of Columbia colleges and universities and more than 40 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada in an international day of action demanding that colleges and universities hold brands, such as Nike, Adidas, and Reebok accountable for their continued labor abuses.
“Feminism Without Borders demands that university leaders learn about what is really happening in the factories they claim to be protecting, and work to end it. We ask for University President Dan Mote to sign on to the Designated Suppliers Program in order to make this possible. We will do anything to make this possible. We will even go naked rather than support sweatshops.”

~Feminism Without Borders member Daniela Vann

The University of Maryland chapter of Feminism Without Borders (FWB) will join the George Mason University chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, American University Solidarity, and George Washington University’s PSU in the DC Sweat-free Day of Action, a series of solidarity rallies in which students will demonstrate that they would rather wear NO CLOTHES than sweatshop clothes, thus demanding respect for the rights of garment workers around the world.

Feminism Without Borders (Jenna Brager)    feminismwithoutborders@riseup.net    443-928-7121

After Military Detention

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Apologize for being right?
It just may save a life
Actually about 15 of them
At the very least expedite their release from detention

Go ahead and swallow that GPS device

These waters are not for the sharks to patrol
Although they eat the fish and then tell them
they must be vegetarians

The row boat was not fast enough
to escape the cave man’s evolution
into the nuclear age

You can not have it all to yourself
these waters will be shared
and we will exert courage
until you apologize for
Thinking you can inspect the weapons you sold us.

———————-

:HawaH:
www.everlutionary.net

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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