“More Shit Chief Keef Don’t Like” Drops this Friday 7pm @Young Chicago Authors, 1180 N. Milwaukee

from the Preface:

Every institution in Chicago fails Black youth. Our city, as the young poet Malcolm London writes, is “a tale of two hoodies”: a segregated and systematically inequitable city, “a Jekyll-and-Hyde sort of burg” Nelson Algren would say. A town where white kids exist in an increasingly idyllic new urban utopia and Black and Latino kids—whose parents are working and not, due to the lack of jobs and job opportunities on the West, South and East sides, and the increasing abduction of men of color for prison industrial slave labor—weave and dodge through a war zone. Chicago is in America and this is not a new story. It’s a story as old as the country itself, stuck on repeat, blaring out a loud speaker.

Come to the chapbook release party FRIDAY Oct. 19 7pm @ Young Chicago Authors 1180 N. Milwaukee

Purchase a copy &/or Classroom set of the book from Haymarket Books here.

 

 

Teachers’ Strike in The Chicago Tradition

The revolution will not be standardized.

The assault on public education started here.

It needs to end here.

Karen Lewis, CTU President

 

of course the teachers march

in Chicago. they know

& inherit

& honor the history

of the many standing

against the tyranny

of the few

 

this is a union town

Most radical of all American cities:…

Big Bill Haywood’s town

Nelson Algren would say

 

this is a fight

against a mayor who is anti-union

who sold unions out in NAFTA

and the Clinton white house

 

the teachers strike for the heart & future

of public education

in this city

in this country.

 

they strike

after decades of republican-democrat strides

toward charters. toward the right

of public education being privatized.

 

they strike against Arne Duncan

Obama’s architect of standardized education

that privileges the privileged, whose kids are in the suburbs

or University of Chicago lab schools

 

the teachers strike

in the Chicago Tradition

allied with trade unionists

and Pullman Porters. in solidarity

with the Haymarket Martyrs

and Republic Window workers.

 

the teachers honor those who died

in the 1937 Memorial Day massacre

when cops shot steel workers.

they honor those who build

the country, who ensured the 8-hour day

 

in the name of;

Lucy Parsons

Albert Parsons

& Rudy Lozano

in the name of;

Gene Debs

Mother Jones

Addie Wyatt &

Jane Addams

in the name of;

Stud’s Terkel

his red socks

in solidarity, he rocks, from the grave.

he would’ve been on this picket line

with the teachers

fighting the good fight

in the long haul

standing with the many

against the tyranny of the few.

standing with the teachers

firmly rooted on the shoulders of giants

in the great & honorable

Chicago Tradition:

the good fight

fighting for the future

of All

 

 

in solidarity

9/14/12

rod blagojevich at the end of his run

listen to the poem HERE (from WBEZ\’s 848 on 12/8/11)

 

he runs south on a northbound one-way

right in the middle of Sacramento Ave.

 

he lives just to the east in Ravenswood Manor.

i live just to the west in Albany Park.

 

i am walking the dog.

 

we turn right (west) on Sunnyside

he is walking, now, back east.

 

he says hello and asks if the dog is friendly.

overly, i say. they bow to meet.

 

i ask how far he got today.

about six miles, he says.

 

my name is rod rod says

i’m kevin i say, and this is Brooklyn

 

the former governor of illinois who tried

to get paid to fill a senate seat, laughs.

 

it is near winter in the greatest city in the world

the air a right kind of cool, a still

the body can sweat and glide thru

the body alive, a part of

rather than apart from.

the body ventilates.

the body is brilliant.

                                  i live

down the street rod says

 

we banter about weather, running

you guys should come over, we’re neighbors

 

the invitation seems sincere

and desperate. i think

all politicians are sinister

self and wealth

in their crown

all the time.

 

the rod on tv is still

petting the dog.

 

i have not knocked

his door. but still see tv

 

trucks outside his home. i still

see lights on inside the beautiful

blonde brick on Sunnyside.

 

one night his wife opened the door

for a food delivery, Chinese. i think

 

i heard a horrible thunder

on another late night walk

 

a fight between a man and a woman

something horribly human

 

there is something horribly humbling

and idiotic about us, something

 

inept and embarrassed

a hand in the cookie jar

 

a craze of isolation

of lonely, the kind

 

desperation that allows

the fallen to invite a stranger

 

home. the hope for anyone

to see, the desire

 

everyday on the train

furious for another’s eyes

 

to rest on your body

breathing. to see you

 

in the streets. to hold you

in some fleeting embrace

 

until the end (until the end)

until the run

 

is over

 

 

 

Troy Davis and The Need for (A)New Brigade

i don’t want to live in a country that does this. that is brazen and cocksure enough to kill people despite evidence of overwhelming doubt. today the state of georgia/this country will kill a man who is innocent. the case of Troy Davis is clear, the rising interest and growing tide of support amassing in the last week, represents the culmination of work from organizations like the Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP), Amnesty International, The NAACP, Troy Davis, himself, and many others, including his family, and his sister, Martina, in particular who has worked tirelessly to bring information about her brother’s case to the public eye.

and though today is about Troy Davis, this is an old story. the story of a country that since its inception has criminalized, imprisoned and executed bodies of color. today in georgia a white judge, district attorney, clemency board, state supreme court are murdering a Black man. we have a mixed white/Black president who is silent on the issue. he must be listening not to his white working class half, or his immigrant African ancestry, but to his rich and complacent whole. this is an issue of race. it is Black and Brown bodies who fill prisons in this country, who march to death dates without fair trials and any sense of justice. and this is a class issue, if Troy Davis had Oprah money or stature, if Troy Davis had Barak Obama wall st. friends, he would not be murdered at 7pm this evening.

because, this is an issue of grand, historic inequity and current injustice, it exists at the intersection of where a new movement can be born. in the radically integrated center of the working class who knows this country is run by and for the wealthy. this week alone shows us there are more of us, who are tired and overworked, who know Troy Davis could be a friend or family member, who scrape check to check, who can’t afford a lawyer or health care.

WE, the people, know these truths to be self-evident: rich, racists run america. today in 2011, when the country murders a(nother) Black man, whose guilt is at least not beyond a reasonable doubt, we must begin to look for alternatives to the status quo. we must use our resources, not capital and a paid police force, but the collectivity of our mass, our bodies that can organize together. it is all we have and all we need.

a mass of US, of the working and poor, of the fed up and under fed, US who hold firm that this life is not to be determined and deadened and dictated by the wealthy, white elite. this is OUR lifetime, together. WE can determine what will be of it. The wealthy, the white courts and congress and statehouses are not GOD, yet they over determine how we live and today and everyday they play GOD by taking away life in this country and in the countries their war planes and weaponry terrorize.

i am looking around today for a grand gesture and know the vigils that will happen this evening, hours before the execution of Troy Davis are not enough to stop the legal lynching this country continues to practice. it is hours before they come to get Emmett Till and we are unable to stop them. we need an organization, an organized force that will put our bodies to use, put our bodies on the line, use the collective body to grind the wheels of this madness to a standstill. that is all we have, this time, this body politic, the grandness of our collective body to halt the machine of criminalization, privatization, globalization, environmental desecration, incarceration and militarization. it is on us to build anew. from this day. a new brigade. a new force that says no more. not anymore from here.

last night i returned to the words Troy Davis wrote the last time he was facing death. these words came two hours before his execution (which that time was eventually stayed) he wrote:

…remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you I have been spiritually free for some time and no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated.

There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city-by-city, state-by-state and country-by-country.

last night i read these words to a room full of educators at a screening of Howard Zinn’s The People Speak. I am struck courage and beauty of these words and by the audacious courage the everyday people in Howard Zinn’s film showed partaking in the dynamism of history. By acting in it, turning it with force to bend more forcefully toward justice and equity.

This morning Troy Davis’s words are reminding me of the great Jazz band leader,  Afro-futurist, aesthetic freedom-fighter, Chicagoan & inter-planetary being, Sun-Ra who said:

They say history repeats itself; but history is only his-story. You haven’ heard my story yet. My story is different from his story. My story in not part of history because history repeats itself. But my story is endless, it never repeats itself. Why should it? The sun does not repeat itself. Neither does a sunrise. Nature never repeats itself. My story is close to mystery. My story is better for man than history. Mystery is better than history. What’s your story?

what is our story, america? we must be more than we are now. more just, more humane, more fair, more inclusive, more considerate of ALL the bodies, ALL the stories. this life is a mystery, indeed. it is not the right any person or state to prohibit the living of another. but here we are america, repeating ourselves. i am down to write another story. my body on the line, my shoulder to the wheel. what is our story america? who is down to write it anew?