“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,



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.






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

  1. zaman says:

    i love this whole piece. it makes me want 2 flow onstage. maybe some lifetime soon? with u?

    much love from the OAK
    tahminah z.

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