I was recently invited to join this collective of engaged poets. (How can one resist joining a revolutionary poets brigade?) They have a number of actions planned starting with two readings. The first one, held last Friday was wonderful. Poets included myself, Alejandro Murguia, Sarah Menafee, Neeli Cherkovski, Agneta Falk, Arthur Sheridan, Rosemary Manno, Carla Badillo Coronado, Jorge Molina. and others. Poetry, music, dance and not too much rhetoric or hyperbole. Alejandro Murguia paraphrased Neruda (I think) as saying the only thing more ridiculous than to think that poetry can save the world, is to think that the world can be saved without poetry. With that in mind I wholeheartedly accepted their invitation. Some of the poets (Bob Coleman, Jack Hirschman, Sarah Menefee, Cathleen Williams) had already crafted a Call to Action:
Revolutionary Poets Brigade - Call to Action
As poets we are uniquely positioned to seize the possibilities of the time, bringing language to life and participating in the movement that is gathering as we speak...
Poetry has always been, and continues to be, not only the way the poet listens to his or her innermost being, but a way the spirit of the times, in its most forward-looking incarnation, is expressed and heard. And the times we're in, of crisis and the cry for transformation, particularly needs the news, as poet W.C. Williams said, “without which we die.”
We say what we see, and that is the system which cannot rest until it extracts every drop from a desperate earth: capitalism. We say what we see, and that is the oppression of our class, driven to the streets and alleys of our cities, driven to the muddy fields, all because there is no profit in maintaining life and health. We are the harbingers of revolution and the awareness that underlies and drives it…
FOR THE REVOLUTIONARY POETS
In our common struggle toward freedom, each individual instinctively reaches for the best tool at hand. As artists, we have the most powerful tool of all, the ability to inspire, transform, and liberate, just in the nick of time as it happens, as the sick old ways rust, choke, sputter, and fade. Poets, those at the compressed razor sharp edge of social thought, and all fellow artists of visionary courage, stay mindful of this historic opportunity, lead with strong revolutionary voice for all humankind to genuinely live and thrive in common spirit!
Therefore, we want to create a Revolutionary Poets Brigade, to respond to the demands of the moment – provoking the future out of the confused minds of today, inspiring with the passion of the living word, in preparation for the development on a wider and larger scale of the uprising, the action that will overthrow this system of greed and exploitation.
As a network, we can be present and participate in the popular resistance that is going on around us by holding poetry events, by reading and speaking at demonstrations, and by publishing broadsides and pamphlets. Join us.
“Camerados…will you come travel with us?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?”
- Walt Whitman
The second reading is Friday October 2 at 9 PM. The readers will be:
Jack Hirschman, Judith Ayn Bernhard, Kristine Brown, Aja Couchois Duncan, Bob Coleman,
Dottie Payne, Marcelo Holot, Richard Gross, Rebecca Bella, Nina Serrano, Michael Warr, each reading one poem and George Long playing music.
The price is free and the place is a very nice community arts space called the Kaleidoscope Free Speech Zone at 3109 24th Street just off of Folsom.