November 25, 2015
Minneapolis and Chicago. One city where the cops stood by when white supremacists shot 5 at the camp of Black Lives Matter activists responding to the police killing of unarmed Jamar Clark and the other where the execution of Laquan McDonald by a known brutal cop was finally addressed after a year long cover up. The cop, Jason Van Dyke, was indicted for first degree murder hours before the release of the video showing the cold blooded execution of McDonald. McDonald is shown in the video walking away from the police when Van Dyke shot him 14 times in a few seconds. The shots came from more than 10 feet away and at no time did McDonald make any moves toward the police.
Minneapolis. White supremacists had been trolling for days at the Black Lives Matter encampment. A video of such scum had been posted on a 4chan site days before of 2 men in a car making racist insults and waving a weapon. The men in the video are known and yet nothing was done until one was arrested (and released) after the shooting. It is obvious from the video of two masked cowards and other postings on the site that there were numerous other white supremacists active in words and even deeds as it turned out.
The FBI has concluded that home grown white supremacists and neo-nazi types are the main threat of terrorism in this country. Yet all we hear about from candidates is how we should fear and prohibit refugees fleeing from war and famine. How many local or state police intelligence units are focused on the right wing terrorists? How much police action is directed at the gun carrying wanna be defenders of the white race? Minnesota had open carry madness but those carrying must have their permit on them. The police stop cars for driving while Black but they give a pass to armed terrorists. Some police no doubt are in cahoots with these evil doers but still the practice of live and let live hangs heavy around the necks of cops in the whole country.
Chicago: the execution of Laquan McDonald was captured on a CPD dashboard camera and showed clearly that McDonald was no threat and was brutally shot. The Chicago authorities knew this within hours of the murder and yet nothing but lies and denials were the order of the day for over a year! The police union, in spite of the evidence of the video, were complicit in the killing by stating the McDonald “lunged” at Van Dyke and the city went along. How about charging the head of the police union with aiding and abetting a murder with these lies? Within weeks of the murder the city paid the family 5.2 million dollars still claiming that McDonald was the culprit. Only after much effort to get the video released was action taken.
Police and white supremacists, an alliance or just business as usual, we will not know in-spite of the fact that there is smoke and smoke while fire is denied.
A new movement on campuses and communities is calling out the racism rampant in our country and we can count on violent resistance from fearful and cowardly forces who want to hang on to privilege and the past. They will not succeed but how many will die to defeat them will be tragic.
Stand with Black Lives Matter and demands for campus justice and expose police and fascist terrorists.
September 30, 2012
To read Jule Ezelle Patton and Patricia Spears Jones collaborative poem “Tender,” click HERE
Julie Ezelle Patton recycles words, thumbs green texts body leaves and spit (“any thing eye
can get hands on”). She is author of Writing with Crooked Ink, forthcoming from Belladonna
and (Notes for Some (Nominally) Awake, and [Breathing] on Type, a land and hand
conservationist “making do”. Most notably in a terrific piece in Black Earth Institute’s About
Place Journal # 2: “Rust Belt Tales”.
Patricia Spears Jones is a poet, playwright, educator, activist and author of three collections, most
recently Painkiller (Tia Chucha). She is a Senior Fellow at Black Earth Institute and the recipient
of awards from The New York Community Trust and The Foundation for Contemporary Art and
grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
September 29, 2012
Thinking of national debt and a coup d’etat,
I drive west and see above me in the cobalt sky
twelve vapor trails streaming an abstract pattern
of angles and drift, ribboning some lines, rubbing out
others. People are flying high up there.
Down here, the fierce sun carmines the horizon,
warns that everything comes from loving
light, even what we need–the rain.
Stooped by drought, corn grows crammed together
Like a population sinking without space. The fields
look soft as amber pools against these surging hills,
acres without cob or tassel.
The shock and awe we sent South drifts
down from the atmosphere. After all, we know
the earth is round. Pine and poplar yellow from more
than autumn. No rain. No clouds in the growing dark.
We piece together fractured news, note polls, listen to
Talking heads who value the stern old ways
of plunderers or the vision of changing
whatever hasn’t yet and won’t. No rain for a nation
of nomads made of corn and wind. Let’s take
The heat of our own hands for sharing bread,
Writing books, growing flowers, helping one another,
whether or not we curse cold, drought and debt.
Two ways hath November: stand up or bend over.
Roberta Hill, an Oneida poet and writer, is a Professor of English and American Indian Studies and an affiliate of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison CICADAS, a new and selected poetry collection, is forthcoming from Holy Cow! Press in April 2013. She is a Fellow of the Black Earth Institute.
September 29, 2012
Don’t join a party, be a party,
said the boy with the lil’ lisp.
How prescient, how presidential
can a man or woman be. My love
and I are two voters in Georgia,
god bless us. Cynical maybe,
we vow to drive vans on the big
rig day. We vow that our party is
naked poetry on a Saturday night.
That, and a little kindness when
we can muster it through the din.
Originally from New York, Erika Jo Brown currently lives in Savannah, GA, where she curates the Seersucker Shots poetry reading series. Her chapbook “What a Lark!” was published by Further Adventures Press in 2011.
September 28, 2012
To read Seamus Cashman’s poem, click HERE.
Poet and publisher Seamus Cashman founded the Irish
literary publishing house Wolfhound Press (1974-2001).
He has three poetry collections, the most recent, That
Morning will Come: new and selected poems (Salmon
Poetry, 2007) and his next volume will be a book length
poem, The Sistine Gaze, due in 2013. He was the first
International Fellow at the Black Earth Institute and is
editing the third online issue of About Place on the theme
of “Peaks & Valleys” due for release is November.
September 27, 2012
…who will listen
the body politic once meant the king’s body
however corpulent, pock-marked or gout-ridden
now we are all considered part of this body
what if it is sick, can we agree on treatment
what if the body politic lacks insurance
what if it wants to terminate a pregnancy?
can the body politic decide a menu
will the meal be genetically modified
will it contain “all natural sugars” made from corn?
does the body politic have race or gender
has it ever entered itself illegally
can it register to vote, marry whom it will?
does the body politic know how to self-soothe
does it harbor addictions, sanctioned or proscribed
what does it think about when it wakes in the night?
can we call the body politic to account
does the left hand know what the right hand is doing
who will speak for the tired feet, who will listen?
-Elizabeth Cunningham, a fellow emeritus of the Black
Earth Institute, is best known for The Maeve Chronicles,
a series of award-winning novels featuring the feisty
Celtic Magdalen who is no one’s disciple.
Today is her birthday.
For more: www.elizabethcunninghamwrites.com
September 25, 2012
To read Thomas Devaney’s poem, click HERE
Thomas Devaney is the author of two poetry collections, A Series of Small Boxes (Fish Drum) and The American Pragmatist Fell in Love (Banshee Press), and a nonfiction book, Letters to Ernesto Neto (Germ Folios). His collaboration with photographer Will Brown, The Picture that Remains, is forthcoming from The Print Center of Philadelphia. He teaches at Haverford College and is the editor of ONandOnScreen an e-journal featuring poems and videos.