Monthly Archives: February 2008

“1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says:” On Cages and Stages of a Brooklyn Morning

Dear Readers,

America has more people in cages than ever before. The morning commute hour in the BK was rather off the chain, tense and racist. Bernanke, in yesterday’s bi-annual address to Congress, has no good news to tell us about the strength of the American economic bubble, blowing, blowing, bomb, after bomb and prison towns sprouting but our economy is only getting sicker. Everyone from the subway platform to the dancefloor is coughing up a lung. Any correlations? You tell me.

Today I incorporate a few sources of info, two front page pieces from the NY Times (website and print edition), and one poem to chronicle an America the Superpower morning in Brooklyn. I hope you *enjoy,* because I sure am.

February 28, 2008

On the front page of the New York Times website today:

1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars

“For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 is behind bars, but that one in 100 black women is.” (Excerpt of article written by Adam Liptak)

For a full view of this informative chart, click *here*.

February 28, 2008
Growth in Incarceration
 
 
 
   

*

Dollar Hits a Low: Bernanke Got Nothin’ to Show.

In an imaginatory twist on the average photojournalism piece, today’s NYT front page picture is Ben Bernanke between a rock and a hard place, dwarfed in the shot by an imposing wooden desk and a line of laced up, shined tough, black business shoes. Bernanke, bringing bad news about the state of our economy, is squeezed into a triangular, captive, framed, he is framed between these stalwart symbols of the bureaucratic state.

Here’s what the squeeze is all about: “Mr. Bernanke painted a grim picture of consumers reluctant to spend, businesses reluctant to invest and banks reluctant to lend. On top of it all, housing prices keep falling.” Here’s the rest of the good news folks: “Bernanke’s view of the state of the economy…came as the dollar sank to a historic low against other major currencies.” Yikes. Let the chorus sing, “didn’t we almost have it all…” The illusion can’t last forever folks, time to start strategizing for the future on a higher plane.

*

morning on 4th ave, bk, ny

aint been getting much sleep

since the lunar eclipse wiped the moon down with honey

but I woke up early to get my money

from a sister in the struggle

who’d been holdin out on me

I passed many muslim children on their way to school

crossed the sunlit gowanus canal

looked out and decided this water way would be the best escape in an emergency

cuz all the roads would be too crazy

got to the door of this sister who reads like a bumper sticker

the word unity is in the word community

man, just give me my money

 

i walked backed across the canal into a deli that had been callin me

their talking about the rising price of the food economy

white dude behind the counter is bitter

its all going oversees

we gotta feed the enemy

instead of walking out i change my order from a omlette platter to a plain hot coffee

im indian and after 9/11 they killed people who look like me

i couldn’t wear a hijab in the supreme court without rhenquist mad doggin me

the african-american gentleman in front of me got his danish and his tea

can I help you

i step up to the counter

id like a place an order on behalf of the enemy

all eyes on me

he smiles slightly we don’t serve the enemy here

i laugh and spit fire

you don’t serve the enemy that’s like the civil rights era in the early 1960’s

im bout sit here all day like a lunch counter sit in

 

get in where you fit in

in this us or them ak-47 rhythm

whether our new president is a white her or black him

the question remains

will it still be a mind numbing dumbed down democracy

obsessed with the new king and distraced by the old enemy

 

all eyes on me

quiet as kept he asks me

is that all

i pause, let slip a trickle of the whole bloody story,

yes

 

im outta here, out there it was cold

a muslim sister in black from head to face to toe

talking in rich arabic tones on a hot fuschia cell phone

 

swipe, steps, and I’m on the F train with all the other sardines

a chinese woman hustles her older father into a solid gold empty seat

the young white woman goes the words are excuse me

a baby black child cries out to her mama

letgoletgoletgo of me

a gay man in a thick sweater breaks the tension

everyone is so edgey

i agree

and i say to myself

this is how it feels to be a superpower

i repeat

this is how it feels to be a superpower

and that was the first hour

of my waking life morning

on 4th avenue

*

Thanks for reading, for real. R.I.P William F. Buckley, Selena (just saw the movie last night) and props to all those who are working real hard at doing you.

Stay tuned for more from your fav journalist with a twist, politicalpoet: NaXaL.

Peace,

N/rs

 

 

what do kosovo and dead prez have in common?

Dear Readers,

American property is burning on the front page of the New York Times. 

The Serbian protest of Kosovo’s historic independence included a razzle dazzle, raze, daze, years of america the beautiful haze riot at the American Embassy in Belgrade.  It happened Thursday night, February 22, 2008.  These days front page photos like this feel like breaches of national security rather than the norm/democracy scorned/rather than a citizenry informed.

If even broke non-profit nobodys are getting traced by Homeland Security (or Beburity for all you bLoOdz), you tellin me head folks at the NYT ain’t getting daily calls from headquarters?  Please.  But even still, real news manages to leak out from amidst the fray, and for that, I’m down to give our national paper of record its due props. 

New York Times front page, a rare shot of red rage international, Friday, February 22, 2008.

 

Above: Serbian folks looking to burn down the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Thursday night. 

Below: A Belgarde based working woman on her daily bus, its Friday morning, she looking at the U.S. Embassy the day after/legacy/the democratic way shattered/but yo, didn’t this photojournalist knock it out the box?!

But, for real tho, what’s really happening with the independence of Kosovo?  Why is the Bush Administration thrilled?  They still got that much beef with Russia?  The United States got that much resources to be doing this partition, sanction, invasion shit the world over?  Look, I don’t want to hate on any movement that inspires scores of people to rally around a word, in this case, “newborn“…

 

…But I must think twice when even NYT coverage says point blank: “Kosovo won the recognition of the United States and its biggest Western European allies on Monday, while earning rebukes and rejections from Serbia, Russia and a disparate mix of states the world over who face their own separatist movements at home.” 

Below: A recent picture of Serbian folks in “the ethnically divided city of Mitrovica,” like hell nah.

So, brethren, u tell me.  What’s really going on amdist the audacity of hope too soon to tie the knot, keep the noose loose, another rope dangles from the tree/a failing/ailing democracy. 

In another, related, story: Dead Prez does a Valentines Day college concert in Olympia, Washington at Evergreen College, a  small, liberal arts joint.  The concert lets out/beseiged by the cops/a gathering under the dome of music/a threat to the state.  Sons and daughters of white property owners leaving a DP concert exhilirated, skirting the edges of a riot unfolding, chanting “police go home,” documented (radioactivegavin.wordpress.com) and commented on (myspace.com/mrdaveyd), respectively, here and here.   

What does the independence of Kosovo have in common with po-po provoked riots at a Dead Prez concert?  State intervention of questionable nature.  The mighty, mighty nation state flexes.  A people remain riveted, eyes on still on the bloody prize of war, what mental pictures will veterans have in store, Abu-Ghraib an ever present, shock and awe lore, and now the prospect of a new King to/perceive/true democracy/ain’t easy.  Nothing good comes that easy. 

Something wicked this way comes.  So I’m learning with all my heart, getting stronger in my mental, physical, and spiritual.  In case I gotta run in more ways than one.  And every chance I get, I am remembering beauty with all my fucking heart. 

Little stuff like this helps: someone made a map of the world out of music notes, and this map (below) actually charts out a real song that you can listen to:

 world-beat-music6.jpeg

Peace from your humble journalist with a twist, political poet, NaXaL.

Get at me,

N/rs

flushing queens, blushing means, love in the air and spring

Dear Readers,

Soon we head back to our regular programming, hip-hop based political commentary on the day’s New York Times headlines.  I re-approach this shore like a ship, not a plane, and in that vein, I write to you now about New York.  Flushing, Queens to be exact.  Where I trekked to pray to Ganapathi on Sunday.  Eyes closed, back straight, legs shifting, head covered, even though no other woman had her head covered, smells like what I remember, tastes like how I feel.  Part of holding onto my center in the United States is letting go of India (I’m no longer calculating what time it is over there like a multi-task task on heavy rotation) and finding home here.  On return from India, it can be hard to re-root, feels like nothing is sacred in this country, so I fasted last Friday, to remind me of the sacred inside. 

Sacred.  Sometimes I don’t want to go to sleep.  Just wanna stay up all night.  And write for weeks.  I luv 2 write.  When I write, I often write to music.  It fills me with the back light I need to shine deep hues of feeling. 

Here’s what I’m listening to right now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb5YnqS_QlE, it’s Wyclef Jean de Haiti, singing “Hollywood to Bollywood.”  Holler at it if you want to be moved to move, its immigration, its America, the story of children of the world waking up together on the same block, in the same breath, bumping to desi hip hop, speaking spanish, eating south, reading north, all in a day, everyday, and unlike The Titanic, its a classic American story untold to the world. 

If, instead you are feeling like a meandering Mississippi, a fragrant jericho Jamuna, a nested, settled Nile kind of way, tune in to this white sister from the UK, D’Nell, she sings a grounded and meloncholy vibe of newness in her song, “Different Day:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6R__volcR0&feature=related.

The second piece is about life, and art. 

Enjoy.

— 

February 19, 2008

flushing, queens by naxal aka roopa singh

a relaxed sunday

temple bright trip the light fantastic

honor ganapathi

start a pore opening spring week

in flushing, queens

you can still get

2 avocadoes for a dollar

one sweet teeth crushunder pear

and three tiny tangerines

$1.92 she said

in flushing, queens

imagine a court full

queens bathed, jasmine oiled, black hair sandalwood steamed

democracy on their tongues

debates streaming

people of the land and their dreaming

flushing, queens

expectantly at the balcony

cheeks reflecting warm stage light

the woman below sings love down

thorn crown

baby bird blue

wailing over tablas over veenas over you

one queen can’t think of anything but him

freedom

an agile body swan diving

safe he is in rushing fresh river

shiver

blush

flushing, queens

  

to an artist, by naxal aka roopa singh

to an actor/all the worlds a stage

to a musician/all the worlds a rage

to a poet/all the worlds a page

to a dancer/all the worlds a cage

to a poor woman/all the worlds a maze

to a rich woman/all the worlds a daze

to a capitalist/all the worlds a haste

to a chef/all the worlds a taste

to a mother/all the worlds a raise

to a painter/all the worlds a shade

to a climber/all the worlds a grade

to a sculpture/all the worlds a shape

to the wine/all the worlds a grape

to a mother/all the worlds to raise

to a bully/all the worlds afraid

to an artist/all the worlds ablaze

Until next time, when the ship will be closer to shore, and news will once again be stuff of poetic, hip-hotic, lore.  Stay tuned, for more.

Peace,

N/rs