November was an amazing month. I organized and curated a literary program at Calabar Imports in Bed-Stuy on Tompkins Avenue, which received some local press. http://www.bkmag.com/2014/11/04/crossing-border-in-the-brooklyn-literary-scene-with-poet-patricia-spears-jones/
What was great to me was that each Sunday different voices brightened an already very colorful space. Janice Lowe and her actor friends performed a variety of pieces that she has written words or music or both for. Uche Nduka showcased how cosmopolitan African writers often are. Michael Broder and Rachel Levitsky called their event the “queer Jewish poets” reading. Cheryl Boyce Taylor and Jason Schneiderman opened up about grief and writing doing the Q&A and on November 30 was simply sublime. Alexis De Veaux and Gregory Pardlo read from their new works which are brilliant and the Q&A gave great insight into their process. I was so pleased to do this. And so grateful for their words.
I also read with Monica De La Torre at Pace University and Charles North’s introductions for both of us was beautifully crafted. and I really loved being a Brooklyn Poet of the Week. http://brooklynpoets.org/poet/patricia-spears-jones/. Thanks to Jason Koo, et al. And I led a great workshop at Poets House–one of my students is a budding rapper.
All of these great things are back drop to the the awful events in the past two weeks of November–Thanksgiving was difficult for people across the U.S. While I did not think Darren Wilson would be indicted since it was clear that the apparatus for organized to get a non-indictment. But the lack of indictment of NYPD officers for the death of Eric Garner was even more enraging. So with that I am so thankful for the PROTESTS that started in Ferguson and have been led by young people. And that close to 200 protests took place after the non-indictment in Missouri and the hundreds of protests around the globe after the Staten Island decision is so powerful #BLACKLIVESMATTER as a hashtag reminds everyone that all lives matter, but when Black lives are so easily destroyed believe you mean everyone’s life is in jeopardy. The militarized police; the corporate character of political leadership; the refusal to legislate immigration reform; the continuing destruction of public education and the recent election of the White Privilege Party aka the Republicans will make the next two years extremely challenging. But poets have been up to the challenge. On Facebook, Artists Against Police Brutality/Cultures of Violence have been really useful stitching together many different policies, programs, events and reportage. In the twittersphere,much is being done.
As a Black Poet, I’ve written about the live of ordinary people for years and every once in a while an ordinary person is killed in ways that should never have happened. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and countless other boys, men, girls and women should be breathing. Albert Murray would have something pithy about all of this, but one thing he would most likely agree with me: We have much to do in this nation and “trusting” the police is not one of those things.