Thursday, May 15, 2008

Backward Thinking

There Is No Truth In the Future
Meaning: "The truth has already been found! Over thousands of years ago! Some segments say truth can only be found in THEIR particular history; all say truth has already been revealed."

I repeat what I often repeat these days what Frank Lloyd Wright said about believing in God being so in the past it's hardly worth mentioning in today's spinning onward forward world. Like Sherlock Holmes saying he had no room in his memory (his brain's attic) for nonessential facts like whether the world is flat or round. Wright's saying the same thing about whether there is a god or not. We should have by now transcended gods, but, no, we revere tradition at the expense of any historical lessons we learned while experiencing our personal or collective history--our past--and when I say we live in our pasts, I mean we have our foundations laid in our pasts--built on learned traditions--new bold traditions scaring the hell out of us. We'd rather hold on to our rotting gods than give them up as lies.

What brought all this on? Answer: G.W. Bush's being on We the People's private jet we provide for his worthless ass one day after his daughter's wedding, paid for by We the People, too, of course (remember his record-breaking inaugural party expenses back when he stole his first election in 2000? Gore Vidal, by the way, says the US Supreme Court had no legal right to interfere and referee a US presidential election--and they certainly had no Constitutional right to decide an election)--and this bastard is off once again on some wacky mission I suppose God ordered him to take--and sure 'nuff he's already embarrassed We the People in Israel by comparing We the People who hate his little spoiled rich lying ass and want peace and human rights and equal chances for everybody as "defenders" of what Hitler believed in--he's kissing Israeli ass, of course.

When are We the People gonna put limits on how rich people can get--and why can't we do that? Why can't we do away with inheritance? It's an ancient landowner/prince/king/Old Massah idea held over from our love of John Locke--sorry, most Americans have no idea who the hell John Locke is or what he has to do with our republic.

I'm babbling, yes, because I dream while I write, plus I got a copy of Ted Joans's BLACK POW-WOW, Jazz Poems in the mail today and I started reading Ted's wonderful jazz-ass poems and it set me to thinking how backwards we are and unheeding of the truths of our past. Ted Joans was as Andre Breton said a true Surrealist, an American Surrealist, and Ted was also a trumpet player--born on a Mississippi riverboat near Cairo, Illinois--but Ted mainly was a fine poet, a fine black poet--he and Bob Kaufman the Beatnik Blacks, the hey bobba-re-bops of the comin' out of swing and segregation, seeing the light of coming freedoms coming through the cracks in the Crackers's Plantation Manor's falling down walls and ideals and traditions and using that light as a spotlite, like when Yardbird died, Ted Joans went around New York City, Paris, or wherever he happened to be, writing in chalk on the sidewalks on brick walls on building walls, subway walls, everywhere you looked, you saw in chalk, "BIRD LIVES!" Ted also rented himself out as a Beatnik--"Hire a Beatnik"--for parties and events and shit.

And I got BLACK POW-WOW and it took me back to my high school days when I was smoking a pipe, philosophizing like crazy, and dating a little beat charmer named Jan who gave me as a prize after introducing me to how sweet her true love was a copy of The Subterraneans and that book and then On the Road had a liberating effect on me. It was a cool way to write, to write like you're blowing an ax, playing a jazz solo, dig it? Writing like Bird played the saxophone.

Two Worlds, a poem by Ted Joans

some of THEM fear Black poetswords now that Blackpoets dont
write in code or metaphor
Blackpoets who imitated whitepoets from SHAKESPEARE to
thus deny their own blackfolklore
now the whites have reason to get UPTIGHT and some of
when a BLACKPOET screams or whispers those TWO
beautiful words BLACKPOWER

Ted Joans, BLACK POW-WOW, Hill & Wang, American Century Series, NYC, 1969.

And poems like that didn't bother me a whitepoet--nope, by 1969 I was thoroughly familiar with a lot of blacks--I was a jazz and blues musician in my college days in Texas; then later I lived and played in newly integrated New Orleans before moving all around the USA from Key West, Florida, to San Francisco, and eventually to New York City, coming to NYC in 1969 and being aware of Ted Joans being around, and they all were still around then except for Jack Kerouac who was found dead with his head in his toilet down in Florida in October of 1969. Ginsberg was all over the Village and the East Village back then and he was recording and reciting, into his Blake phase, quoting Blake while playing the harmonium he'd gotten from his living in India. Allen Ginsberg's biography is a very interesting book, by the bye; Allen dared to experience life at its fullest--like hiking up to Macho Pichu and spending a night alone there. Allen experienced some damn scary adventures during his life--a good life to read about.

Black Power didn't bother me. I attended Black Panther rallies in Central Park back then. I've been to anti-Vietnam War rallies in Central Park and down in Washington Square and I've been around the corner when the Black Liberation Army was taking potshots at NYPD whitey officers on the Lower East Side, Hippy heaven in NYC in those days, now almost totally gentrified--hi-rise condos going up all over the East Village--everywhere you look there's a crane looming up and a new fabby hi-rise luxury apartment building or a 50-story hotel going up--and our little billionaire asshole mayor's plan to turn Manhattan over to the world's wealthiest people is working, as is his plan to rid Manhattan of blacks, Puerto Ricans, poor people of all races, the homeless--hiz honor calls it "improving the tax base." Isn't it ironic how New York City rents and property values are at the highest in the city's history while the rest of the country suffers the most frightening housing market since the crash of 1929--oh, hell, where are our poets today with such wonderful ironies surrounding us? Where's Ted Joans NOW when WHITES are taking back their plantation lands--like here in Manhattan, the city just approved the gentrification of 125th Street. Already you go to Harlem and I swear you see as many whites as you do blacks. Ted Joans would be furious.

Ted died in 2003--in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, a city very popular among black artists even NOW--supposedly a very beautiful, tolerant, and artsy-fartsy city. When I was in Vancouver in the sixties it certainly was a most beautifully set city, though at that time there wasn't much to do in Vancouver but go to bed and get a good night's sleep.

No More, another poem by Ted Joans

I love her black butt
the way it moves when she walks
I dig her natural lips unpainted/full/& soft
I adore her dark eyes
the way they flash when she lets go
I dig sister soul but she dont want me no more

Ted Joans, BLACK POW-WOW, Hill & Wang, 1969.
[Please note, the editorial staff (Mr. Ed.) of The Daily Growler are not intelligent enough in html editing to set Ted Joans's poems the way Ted wrote them and wanted them printed--Ted used spacing between his words, sometimes 3 spaces sometimes 4 spaces, to make the flow of his poems more like the riffing done behind a jazzman's solo, riffin', it's really African, goes way back to Ted's holy homeland--but anyway, at least the gist of the poems is captured in this whitey-ized printing of Ted's oh-so-BLACK poems.]

And it was the blues that let me in through the back doors of the black world of North Texas, of South Texas, of southern Louisiana, of New Orleans, and the integration of New Orleans, and being beaten almost to death by the Dallas PD when I tried to sit in with some black jazz guys at a Dallas white club--I got totally out of hand and the Dallas cops let the black guys go and beat the shit out of me and threw me in the Highland Park, Texas, jail for a night, in the drunk tank with a bunch of spoiled brat upchucking white frat rats.

So Ted Joans's poems never bothered me. I knew what he and Baraka were doing. Same thing Julius Lester was doing, Dick Gregory was doing, Martin Luther King was preaching, Nina Simone was singing about, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright is still preaching about...truth never bothered me even when it was used against me. I've never been afraid of the truth--whatever truth is, and you should know how I sometimes cynically feel everything's a fucking lie including Ted Joans's poems. Look where we are today? Were Ted's poetic visions fulfilled? I don't think so. This is what has me puzzled about Barack Obama's so successful "run" for the Dumbocratic pres nomination over Hillbilly Hillary Clinton--who I notice The Daily Howler (no relationship to The Daily Growler I assure you) is still defending. He is a bit more Obama-conscious than he was a week or so ago, but still between the lines he's a solid Hillary man--that's because he thinks liberals are idiots and especially liberal Dumbocrats (he politely calls them Democrats) who he is sure will surely be shootin' themselves in the proverbial Dumbocratic foot and I say, OK, Bob, I agree with you on all that--except, I think all Americans are idiots--including maybe me and you, Bob.

John McCain says we are winning the Iraq War and that in 5 years (he's flip-flopped off his 100-year-war statement) peace will rule in the New US-Created (Along With the Help of the White Christian God & Jesus X. Christ) Freedom-Lovin' Democratic Republican-Lovin' Former Heathen NOW Freedom-Lovin' Republican Republic of Iraq--and then, says Cap'n John, those rose petals will finally be falling from the praising crying wailing happy hands of the finally freed Iraqis (or what's left of them) showering down in sparkling "thank you, Christian brothers and sisters" onto the heads of the conquering heroes of the US Armed Forces along with the largest private army in the world, the Human Forces of Blackwater (aka, Eric Prince's private fucking army), and those great benevolent providers like KGB--whoaaa, I mean, KBR and Halliburton of Dubai--and let's don't forget the wonderful democratic-lovin' folks of Saudi-Arabia. And then Cap'n John sez, he himself is gonna get back in his Navy jet and fly the mission over thar to somewhere where he's gonna KILL Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn, this maverick is gonna set things straight on his own. Now, of course, we're thinkin', wait a minute, John, all your missions are shot the fuck out of the sky--which means you'll be leading We the People into 5 Long Years of Torture at the hands of agitated and pissed off Islamics, billions of whom have their little mitts on nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

Who would have believed John McCain could absolutely steal the coming election from the dumber-than-dumb-ass Dumbocrats? Let's hope Obama keeps his cool. And let's hope the we'll-show-you-all WHITEYS keep their cool, too. I mean the Whiteys are already saying Obama's a converted Muslim and subject to arrest and decapitation should he go to Iraq or Iran and try and talk them into some god-damn PEACE. I think the Whiteys are maybe using the old "one-drop of black blood" theory on Obama now--Obama's not half-white anymore--he's NOW all N-word!!!

I know white folks--I know them well--I have always liked black folks much better--and still do. Not that I haven't met some black assholes--I have, many of them. Here's the problem with racism today as I see it at this particular moment in MY TIME--I don't know nothing about your time, but I know this, that this time when blacks are rounded up and sent into the new fields of White America's dreamy old-plantation-revival tomorrow, I'll be right along with them--shackled to them--and there'll be other whiteys shackled to us, too, and united the Wealthy (our Corporate rulers) will have us all working back on the old plantation without salaries--oh we'll be obligated to serve the Global Marketplace--going backwards! Going backwards toward our rotting gods. Looking for salvation from DEATH from the skies when our salvation was freely provided to us by our planet--the only almost perfect planet. Ah, but going backwards is so SPIRITUAL. How backwards are ghosts?

Backwards thinking still rules us in spite of all the revolutions we've almost had.

for The Daily Growler

Check out's Ted Joans tribute:

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