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The Secrets of Skinny People by Geoffrey Fallon

 

© Geoffrey Fallon
© Geoffrey Fallon

 

Geoffrey Fallon: “I draw on found objects. Bills, take out containers, cardboard, grocery store adverts, old notebooks. I generally throw them out when I’m done, because they served their purpose. One time, I put a bunch of my journals on the street to be recycled, and somebody took them. That made me very happy.”

 

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It’s All One Thing #153: Freedom

 

A lawyer apparently disgruntled with his law firm shot 9 people in Houston. (He turned
out to be rabid young alt right racist.) It hardly made a ripple in the lamestream deluge
after all the uproar over the “terrorist” bombings in NYC and New Jersey and the knifing
in Minnesota that killed no one, indeed hardly injured anyone (except the “terrorist” with
the knife). A few days before a young fellow apparently (again) another man obsessed
with a woman killed 5 people, 4 women and a man, with a long gun in a mall. But the Debate
of the Titans was last night so there wasn’t much lamestream time to think about mass murder
especially since both “candidates” favor the Terror War so central to the current break down
of law and order. No where is this more apparent than in Syria where the U.S. (us) military
repeatedly bombed in at least 4 separate attacks (killing 62 soldiers and wounding over 100)
the Syrian army in positions they had held for months just a couple days before U.S. generals
were supposed to start sharing intelligence with the Russians per the cease fire agreement
former Mass. Sen. John Kerry now Sec. of State brokered with the Russians. Now the Russians
and the Syrian Army have surrounded the “rebels”/ Islamist Al Qaeda/Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL
and are closing in on them And the civilians trapped in E. Aleppo (all cut off now with them).
And meanwhile back at the ranch (again) two more cases of police shooting unarmed black men
have been litigated for days by demonstrations (actually largely peaceful with local clergy and
civic leaders deployed as peace keepers) yet Fox (no) News compares the demonstrations to
the rebellions/”riots” of the 1960’s. This forces me to remember being overseas on Okinawa
playing pool in the dayroom with cities all across America in flames after the assassination of
Martin Luther King. When I got out of the Army a few months later my whole extended family
who I visited growing up were all gone from the city. There was no one left to visit there again.
However this was just a prophecy of the mass migrations that would drive 40-50% of the people
out of the industrial towns of Michigan’s S.E. corridor — Saginaw, Flint, Pontiac, Detroit — now
all just hulks of their former manufacturing selves. Flint, of course, just had their old plumbing
corroded after a state appointed manager shepherded them into a privatized water scheme that
had them paying 3 times rates of most places in the country when they live dead in the middle
of the Great lakes the largest bodies of fresh water on the face of planet Earth. Subsequently
a series of similar public health disaster were found in multiple other places around the U.S.
(That is us). Yet even as chronic hard core poverty has sky rocketed since Clinton ended Well-
Fare as we knew it and intensified by the Great Recession of ’08 of the Bush-Cheney Regime
crime rates remain at levels half what they were during the Reagan (counter) ”Revolution” or
Nixon’s days of Silent Majority Drug War (on hippies and black people) law and order.
We “Flee, Flee to Reality T.V./ You better watch out Reality T.V. will get thee/ If you don’t
Flee, flee Reality T.V. Reality T.V. will get thee” and we watch the Debate of the Titans and
I remember (again) those Titans who preceded the more anthropomorphic Olympian Pantheon
like poor Atlas who was put to bearing the burden of the whole All One Thing world on his
bent back even though even back in adolescent fantasy it was impossible to imagine any way
to conjure this strange god a place on which to stand. No Peace without Justice, No Justice
without Peace, No possible Future without Peace, No Possible Peace without Justice, yes, yes
Peace and Justice are an existential necessity in time of nuclear annihilation and global
ecological collapse, No Justice No Peace No Life No Freedom, No Freedom in a perpetual war
that is everywhere on the planet in the GWOT Global War of, by and for Terror
which is nothing, nothing at all but a cruel joke of torture juggling innocence.

  

James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.

 

 

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Poem by A. Pen

 

On MLK’s Birthday

On the 86th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King,
activists, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter,
shut down I-93 with their arms locked together.

On a day when the world asks, Where are we now?
How far from the dream?
I am at work reading through angry comments

about people not getting to work on time
or people missing important meetings.
One comment exclaims, “I saw an ambulance get stuck!”

What about getting stuck in endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and how Dr. King wouldn’t want anger to stop on
anonymous internet threads?

I hear the complaints:
“But everyday people have to get to work.”
“How is it revolutionary to cost them pay or even a job?”

“How is it revolutionary to keep a father from a custody meeting?
To keep an ill patient from getting immediate care?
To keep an immigrant from commuting because she is priced out of Boston?”

How do you attack the ruling class that wages endless war in our name?
How do you shut the system down?
How do you stop the violence of the capitalist system?

Maybe the pessimists are right. It’s useless.
But does the heart stare so coldly at the dead and dying?
How can we forgive ourselves if we are only a nation of onlookers?

That’s what haunts me. Becoming only the watching.
Silent disagreement. Giving up my principles
for the sake of having money to take care of myself.

How can I say that my detachment from my body and experiences
has nothing to do with the war against people of color?
The war against women? The war against “terror” abroad?

How can I go on writing poems about my confused mind
and never be willing to step outside the door
to report the weather and the state of affairs

that leave us all dead in different ways
with fist fulls of seeds to plant
for the bounty it will take to fight for civil rights again and again.

 

Artwork © Ira Joel Haber
Artwork © Ira Joel Haber

 

A. Pen is a Boston-area feminist activist who has been involved in organizing against sexism, racism, heterosexism, and economic inequality. She combines lessons from activism with writing a poem everyday, and she wishes to thank the brave activists of the Black Lives Matter Movement for such inspiration.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum and The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Since 2007 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 160 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn.

 

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Bamboozled No More! James Garner: Actor, Friend and Democrat

 

James Garner died July 19, 2014. He was one of my favorite actors. I appreciated him more after reading about his friendship with African-American sculptor Richmond Barthe, in A History of African-American Artists from 1972 to the Present by Romare Bearden (pages 144 -145). Bearden was an African-American artist, musician and historian. Bearden’s description of Garner’s friendship with Barthe was several paragraphs in length but it warmed my heart.

By the 1970’s Barthe’s health and finances had severely declined. He couldn’t collect Social Security because according to Social Security rules he wasn’t employed (he was an artist) and lived outside of the country for decades. Barthe and Garner were introduced to each other by a reporter, working on a story about the artist. The two men hit it off and became friends.

Bearden’s description of the Barthe-Garner friendship revealed that Garner was protective and very respectful of Barthe’s privacy. “Garner quietly paid Barthe’s rent and with friends tried again to get Barthe’s Social Security funds, but without success.” According to Bearden, when Barthe became terminally ill in 1986, “Garner paying for all Barthe’s medical expenses, kept his role private, known only to Barthe’s close friends.”

Barthe modeled a bust of Garner, which might have been his last sculpture. He also willed his work to Garner. Garner then followed his friend’s suggestion, and passed the collection to Samella Lewis, founder of the Museum of African American Art in Los Angeles, California.

Garner also joined Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in August 1963. One of my favorite Garner stories was about his role as an astronaut in the 1985 CBS miniseries Space. In the script, Garner’s character was to be a Republican, but by the time the movie debuted, the character was a Democrat. Garner’s explanation: “My wife would leave me if I played a Republican.”

James Garner really was a maverick.

 

Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column appears weekly on Oddball Magazine.

 

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Poem by Susan Deer Cloud

Martin Luther King, Jr. Night

Especially silent night on city South Side
Could be any northern city in any anonymous dark

Unless they must trudge out
City dwellers burrowed far inside walls

Weather calls for snow and ice
Breeze jangles glass wind chimes

Behind lace curtains blinds shut
On lap Persian cat she and Korean lover got

Purrs  slant of half-closed eyes
Glow of Silk Road Dreamtime

Remembering tales of women who lost
Their one true love

Wandering by midnight seas
Turning to stone and gorse on cliffs and heaths

Despite trailing skirt   tangled hair
She doesn’t ramble except in heather heart

No train whistle keens up from river valley
Invisibly its old city shimmers   lost galaxy

Along ice-jammed river
Snow shrouded earth  buried memories

She and lover winging snow angels
Beneath violet sky   astral snowfall

She thinks of storm approaching
Outside the blinds   of outsiders like her

And January-born King   skin deep night
Voice     whirlwind of crystals

Dream   blaze on hope’s mountaintop
All Earth’s snow angels rising up

 

Photography © Susan Deer Cloud
Photography © Susan Deer Cloud

 

Susan Deer Cloud is a Catskill Mountain Indian. An alumna of Binghamton University and Goddard College, she has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, New York State Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, and an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. Her most recent book is Fox Mountain from FootHills Publishing. Her new collection, Hunger Moon, is forthcoming. The photos of the truck with the confederate flag were taken by Susan during Christmastime. “I would like to see every hater of those with darker skins,” she writes, “be required to do DNA testing so they could see who their first mother was and where she lived.”