Sunday, December 14, 2014

Craig Santos Perez, from "understory" (Split this Rock poem of the week)

Poem of the Week:
Craig Santos Perez




 
from understory

(to my wife, nālani
and our 7-month old daughter, kai)

kai cries
from teething--

how do
new parents

comfort a
child in

pain, bullied
in school,

shot by
a drunk

APEC agent?

-kollinelderts--
nālani gently

massages kai's
gums with

her fingers-
how do

we wipe
away tear--

gas and
blood? provide

shelter from
snipers? disarm

occupying armies?

nālani sings
to kai

a song
about the

Hawaiian alphabet--
what dreams

will echo
inside detention

centers and
cross teething

borders to
soothe the

thousands of
children atop

la bestia?
#unaccompanied--

nālani rubs
kai's back

warm with
coconut oil--

how do
we hold

violence at
arm's length

when raising
[our] hands

up is
no longer

a universal
sign of

surrender? #black
livesmatter--

kai finally
falls asleep

in nālani's
cradling arms,

skin to
skin against

the news--
when do

we tell
our daughter

there's no
safe place

for us
to breathe #...

 

***
From  Hawai'i Review special online issue, Write for Ferguson. With special thanks to editors Anjoli Roy and No'u Revilla. 

Used with permission.

***
Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Creative Writing Program in the English Department at the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa. 
We strive to preserve the text formatting of poems over e-mail, but certain e-mail programs may distort how characters, fonts, indents, and line wraps appear. Please, visit the poem at our site.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!
 
If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, c/o Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Contact info@splitthisrock.org for more details or to become a sponsor.

Split This Rock
www.SplitThisRock.org
202-787-5210 info@splitthisrock.org

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

abu ghraib arias: a reading (from Sand Opera)


With the release of the so-called “Torture Report” yesterday, I’ve been casting back to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. After the invasion of Iraq, from late 2003 to 2004, U.S. military police of the Army and Central Intelligence Agency committed a series of outrageous abuses of Iraqi detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, abuses that had been tried and exported from Guantanamo Bay prison and secret "black sites" around the world. Because of extensive photo and video documentation of the abuse by military police themselves, the scandal became an international embarrassment that led W.J.T. Mitchell to declare it, not without hyperbole, the moment that the U.S. lost the war in Iraq.

Sand Opera began out of the vertigo of feeling unheard as an Arab American, in the decade after the terrorist attacks of 2001. After 9/11, Americans turned an ear to the voices of Arabs and Muslims, though often it has been a fearful or selective listening. Even Errol Morris chose to interview only Americans for his Abu Ghraib film, “Standard Operating Procedure.” One centerpiece to Sand Opera is the “abu ghraib arias." It is a dialogue between Standard Operation Procedure for Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, the soldiers who served in Abu Ghraib, and the Abu Ghraib prisoners. I draw upon a number of sources: a Standard Operating Procedure manual for Camp Echo at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp (thanks to WikiLeaks); the testimony of Abu Ghraib torture victims found in Mark Danner’s Torture and Truth: America and the War on Terror; the words of U.S. soldiers and contractors as found in Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris’s The Ballad of Abu Ghraib; the official reports on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal (the Taguba Report, the Schlesinger Report, etc.); interviews with Joe Darby and Eric Fair (two whistle-blowers); the Bible; and the Code of Hammurabi. 

The following audio performance of the arias involved the piano work of Philip Fournier, and the voices of Danny Caine, Jackie Orchard, Paige Webb, and me (Philip Metres), and was engineered by Mike MacDonald.






Saturday, December 6, 2014

Split This Rock call for poems: We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest



December 5, 2014
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We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest - 
 
Call for Poems that Resist Police Brutality 
& Demand Racial Justice

Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's son-we who believe in freedom cannot rest. 
                    - Ella Baker

Even as our hearts break in rage and anguish over the murder of Black and brown people throughout the land by police who are not held accountable, here at Split This Rock we are heartened by the powerful actions in the streets and the visionary leadership of mostly young people of color in this growing movement for justice.

We are also moved by the poets, who continue to speak out, and especially by BlackPoetsSpeakOut and its manifesto: "I am a black poet who will not remain silent while this nation murders black people. I have a right to be angry." Another powerful forum is VONA/Voices Against Racial Injustice.

In solidarity, Split This Rock offers our blog as a Virtual Open Mic, open to all: 
  • Send us your poems on the long history of the brutalization of Black and brown bodies and we will publish them on Split This Rock's blog, Blog This Rock, to create a running open mic. We welcome poems new and old, whether previously published or not. (Please include credit information for previously published.)

    Thematically we are wide open: resistance, mourning, rage, celebration. Send the poem(s) as email attachments (.doc or .docx only) with the subject line "We who believe in freedom" toinfo@splitthisrock.org.
  • From the open mic collection, we will choose poems to run as Poem of the Week in the weeks ahead. We will contact you directly if we decide to use your poem for Poem of the Week.
We are proud to begin this series today, with "bitter crop," as our Poem of the Week, by Kelli Stevens Kane. Please share her poem and this call widely.
As the virtual open mic grows, we hope to print out and present all the poems to the U.S. Department of Justice, along with the national demands for police accountability and racial justice articulated by Ferguson Action. Stay tuned for details.

In grief and resistance,
Split This Rock
Poem of the Week: 
Kelli Stevens Kane
 
  


bitter crop 

blueberry blackberry as always
bleeding, back road or boulevard,
our boy crowned with baton,
breathing, barely, if you
believe the breeze is just 
air blowing through branches

above the fruited plain

have a seat. when our baby left
we believed he'd come back
in his body. we believed
youngberries grew
into elderberries. but now,
when the wind blows
against your necks, know it's him,
you feel him now that he's up

above the fruited plain

don't you? I hate pavement, I hate summer,
I hate yellow tape, I hate chokeberry,
pokeberry, the way it'll always be too late
to comfort him. the way I'll never dare to say
I hate you back
to our strange America that only protects the few

above the fruited plain

                                    -for Michael Brown and  

 
***

Used with permission.
Kane reads her poem in solidarity withBlackPoetsSpeakOut

***
 
Kelli Stevens Kane is a poet, playwright, and oral historian based in Pittsburgh, PA. She's a Cave Canem Fellow, an August Wilson Center Fellow, and a Flight School Fellow, and has twice received Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh grants from The Pittsburgh Foundation. She's studied at VONA, Hurston/Wright, and Callaloo. She reads her poetry and oral history, and performs her one woman show, BIG GEORGE, nationally. For more information, please visit www.kellistevenskane.com and kskpoet.wordpress.com.
 
   ***    
We strive to preserve the text formatting of poems over e-mail, but certain e-mail programs may distort how characters, fonts, indents, and line wraps appear. Please,visit the poem at our site.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!
  
If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive. 
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, c/o Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Contact info@splitthisrock.org for more details or to become a sponsor.

Split This Rock
www.SplitThisRock.org
202-787-5210 info@splitthisrock.org

Monday, November 24, 2014

Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice 2014 Holiday Peace Bazaar

Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice

presents 

2014 Holiday Peace Bazaar and Festival

December 3rd - 10 am to 4 pm

Pilgrim Congregational Church, 2592 W. 14th St, Cleveland

  • A gathering of peace and justice organizations

  • Work of local artists

  • Gifts items

  • Plants

  • Bake sale

  • Le Petit Cafe


Call to volunteer - 216-231-4245             Come to shop!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Juan Carlos Galeano's "History"

Poem of the Week: 
Juan Carlos Galeano
      

 
History
In the north we hunted many buffalo
whose lard warmed us all winter.

But in the jungle they told us that to bring more light
we should throw more trees into the sun's furnace.

One day our hand slipped and tossed in the entire jungle
with its birds, fish, and rivers.

Now we spend a lot of time gazing at the stars
and our daily menu almost never changes.

Today we hunted down a cloud
that was going to become winter in New York City



***

From The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura Gray Street. (Trinity University Press, San Antonio, Texas.) Used by permission.


JUAN CARLOS GALEANO was born in the Colombian Amazon. He is the author of several books of poetry and translations of American poetry. His work inspired by Amazonian cosmologies has been published and anthologized internationally and widely translated. Magazines and journals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Field, PloughsharesTriQuarterly,and Antioch Review have published his poems. Other works include a collection of folktales Cuentos amazónicos (2014), Folktales of the Amazon (2009), as well as a film he co-directed and co-produced, The Trees Have a Mother (2008). He teaches Latin American poetry and cultures of the Amazon at Florida State University.
***    

We strive to preserve the text formatting of poems over e-mail, but certain e-mail programs may distort how characters, fonts, indents, and line wraps appear.
View the poem on our site.

Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!
  
If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, c/o Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

Contact info@splitthisrock.org for more details or to become a sponsor.

Split This Rock
www.SplitThisRock.org
202-787-5210 info@splitthisrock.org

Friday, August 8, 2014

Early Prophetic Opening by George Fox

"And the Lord answered that it was needful I should have a sense of all conditions, how else should I speak to all conditions; and in this I saw the infinite love of God. I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. And in that also I saw the infinite love of God; and I had great openings." from Early Prophetic Openings by George Fox