- Slightly Cooler
- Lucinda May
- Coup Quelled
- Deeply Touched
- Neanderthal Attack
- Home Wanted
- Guerneville Aristos
- B Ideas
- Mystery Spot
- Sandwich Shooter
- Road Camp
- Coastal Ordinance
- Yesterday's Catch
- Donny Delusion
- Ali Escort
- Thoughtless Actions
- Congressional Freeloaders
- Excited CEOs
- Plastic Joe
- Dem Field
- America II
- Dominican Dream
- Cloverdale Jazz
- Social Problem
- Lib-Lab Larry
- Seattle Strike
- Detroit Station
- Prosperous Future
- Rhododendron Show
- Graceful Farewell
- Devil Taught
- Improv Shows
- Spring Museum
- Mental Forum
- Digital World
- Avondale Mills
AFTER SLIGHTLY COOLER TEMPERATURES again today, a gradual warming trend is expected through Saturday. The area will remain dry for the remainder of the work week, with a slight chance of rain this weekend. (National Weather Service)
LUCINDA ELLEN MAY
Lucinda Lee Ellen May died peacefully in her sleep on April 11 in Los Gatos, Calif.
Lucinda was born on March 2, 1949, in Vancouver, WA to Robert Lee and Bina Lee May nee Martin. Lucinda graduated from the University of Arizona with a Masters in Education. Lucinda's love of the written word led her to work at her alma mater, where she taught classes in English Literature.
After deciding to make an inroad into screenwriting, Lucinda moved to Los Angeles where she met her husband, Thomas Segar. The pair spent several years in the hills above Santa Monica before making a move to Mendocino County in 1983, where they started a mail order book company called Mysteries by Mail, based in Ukiah.
Lucinda published a book in 1988 called Relax, Recover: Stress Management for Recovering People with her dear friend Patricia Wuertzer, providing advice to patients recovering from health issues. That same year Tom and Lucinda adopted their daughter, Susan, from Tokyo, Japan.
Lucinda donated much of her time to instilling her love for reading and literature in others. She and Tom were instrumental in the building of the library for St. Mary of the Angels Catholic School in Ukiah. She worked there as a librarian, hosting story time for the young children and teaching the older children research skills until her retirement in 2013.
She was happiest with a book in her hand, a cat in her lap, and a dog at her feet. She has inspired all those who knew her to live a full life and to care for others. After the passing of her husband, Lucinda moved to the Bay Area to be closer to her daughter as she continued to battle her own health issues.
She is preceded in death by her husband Tom, her parents and her sister, Judith Maridel (Mary) Lobdill. She is survived by her daughter, Susan Segar, son-in-law Joshua Broschat, her brother John May, sister Catherine MacDonald, brother-in-law Jim Finkbeiner and his wife Nancy, and many cherished nieces, nephews, and their children. Lucinda's strength was an inspiration to all. She was a loving wife and mother, a wonderful friend. With an encyclopedic knowledge of both the known and the obscure, a dry sense of humor, and a sharp wit, she was always the most reasonable voice in the room.
The family is comforted to know that she is reunited with her husband Tom. A memorial service will be held at 2pm on Saturday, May 4th, 2019 at Holy Trinity Church in Ukiah. Reception will follow in the Parish Hall. In lieu of flowers please donate to St. Mary's school, a Mendocino County library, or the humane society.
MADURO CLAIMS COUP HAS BEEN 'DEFEATED'
by Thomas Phillips
In first appearance since rebellion lead by Juan Guaidó, president calls for applause for ‘obedient’ armed forces.
Nicolas Maduro claimed his troops have thwarted a botched attempt to topple him masterminded by Venezuela’s “coup-mongering far right” and Donald Trump’s deranged imperialist “gang”.
In an hour-long address to the nation on Tuesday night – his first since the pre-dawn uprising began – Maduro accused opposition leader Juan Guaidó and his political mentor Leopoldo López of seeking to spark an armed confrontation that might be used as a pretext for a foreign military intervention.
However, “loyal and obedient” members of Venezuela’s Bolivarian armed forces had put down the mutiny within hours of it starting shortly after 4am, Maduro claimed, in direct contradiction to Guaidó’s earlier remark that the president no longer had military backing.
By noon there only remained a small group of plotters who had chosen “the path of betrayal … [and] handed their souls over to the coup-mongering far right”.
“They failed in their plan. They failed in their call, because the people of Venezuela want peace,” Maduro said, surrounded by Venezuela’s military and political elite. “We will continue to emerge victorious … in the months and years ahead. I have no doubt about it.”
Maduro said the plotters would “not go unpunished” and said they would face criminal prosecutions “for the serious crimes that have been committed against the constitution, the rule of law and the right to peace”.
Those claims were contradicted by Guaidó, the young opposition leader who has been battling to unseat Maduro since January. In a video message of his own – recorded at an unknown location – Guaidó claimed Maduro no longer enjoyed the backing or the respect of Venezuela’s armed forces.
Guaidó claimed “a peaceful rebellion”, not an attempted military coup, was under way and urged supporters to return to the streets on Wednesday to continue what he called the final stage of “Operation Freedom”. He said Venezuelans now had the opportunity “to conquer their future”.
In what could result in a flashpoint between the two sides on Wednesday, Maduro also called for his supporters to take to the streets and vowed to have “a large, millions-strong march of the working class” on 1 May, which is also international workers’ day.
Maduro called Tuesday’s “coup-mongering adventure” part of a US-backed plot to destroy the Bolivarian revolution he inherited after Hugo Chávez’s death in 2013.
“I truly believe … that the United States of America has never had a government as deranged as this one,” he said, calling Guaidó and his team “useful idiots” of the empire.
He also scotched claims from the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, that he had been preparing to flee Venezuela for Cuba on Tuesday morning, until he was told to stay put by his Russian backers.
“Señor Pompeo, please,” Maduro said.
In a day when the struggle for power on the streets appeared to hang in the balance, Donald Trump made no mention of Russia when he tweeted on Tuesday evening, threatening Cuba.
“If Cuban Troops and Militia do not immediately CEASE military and other operations for the purpose of causing death and destruction to the Constitution of Venezuela, a full and complete embargo, together with highest-level sanctions, will be placed on the island of Cuba,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “Hopefully, all Cuban soldiers will promptly and peacefully return to their island!”
The Trump administration put its full backing behind Guaidó after he appeared in a dramatic morning video surrounded by soldiers the “final phase” of the bid to oust Maduro.
Trump and key US officials tweeted their support for Guaidó, while the national security adviser, John Bolton, appeared in the grounds of the White House to declare that the situation had reached a critical moment.
Bolton named three senior officials who he said had been negotiating with the opposition and accepted that the president had to be replaced.
Bolton called on defence minister Vladimir Padrino, head of the supreme court, Maikel Moreno and the commander of the presidential guard, Ivan Rafael Hernandez Dala to fulfill their “commitments” to defect.
He listed the names three times, in a gambit apparently designed to force their hand but the Venezuelan foreign minister, Jorge Arreaza, replied: “Dream on [John Bolton] … Not today!”
According to a source close to Venezuela’s opposition, Guaidó did not receive US planning support or resources for his move on Tuesday, which came after months of contacts with military officials, the source said.
But the opposition has nurtured links with Washington since well before Guaidó took the political center-stage in January – and such efforts took on a new impulse after Trump took office.
NOYO HEADLANDS TRAIL
TYLER NELSON is the son of long-time Hopland grape grower Greg Nelson. Greg Nelson once ran for Fifth District Supervisor and now sits on the Planning Commission. Tyler Nelson is a Ukiah school board trustee.
NELSON FILS appeared before Mendo’s Assessment Appeals Board (and you’re excused if you haven’t heard of them before) representing the family business, Nelson and Sons. You are also excused if you were unaware you can watch the Appeals Board's deliberations via YouTube, which would make an audience of two.
THE YOUNGER NELSON’S appearance before this obscure body was on Earth Day, April 22, a pure coincidence and please pardon the irrelevancy. The Board put Mr. Nelson and a county tax assessment officer through a weird swearing-in process which we have never seen at any other County board or commission.
NELSON then proceeded to explain the particulars of his situation. Apparently, because of mail thefts at his mailbox out on Highway 101 — mail box thefts are a commonplace tweaker crime in the county — the Nelsons did not get a County notice to file their property tax of 1% of the $48,000 business value, or $480, but he thought the 10% penalty of $4800, 10% of the assessed value, was too high, which it would certainly appear to be, especially since he failed to receive notice, and the Nelsons aren't the kind of people likely to try to evade their dues and assessments. Or make up excuses.
APPELLANT NELSON added that they now have the tax payment on their business calendar. The Board asked a few pro forma questions about the tax notice process and then went into closed session with a lawyer from the County Counsel’s office, always a sign that the appellant is about to get "legally" screwed.
AFTER about 15 minutes with the lawyer, Assessment Appeals Board Chair Leland Kramer emerged to proclaim, "What you have said touches us deeply, but we can't, under the theory of equity of everyone else is paying the fine, approve a reduction or elimination of the fine."
I WONDERED if Nelson did a slow internal burn at the purely gratuitous and insultingly false, "touches us deeply," which is reminiscent of one's dear old mum saying, "This is going to hurt me more than you" as she lays on the belt. $4,800 is way too big a whack for anybody to pay for simply missing the filing date because of a mail box theft.
NO ONE else appeared before the Board. The rest of the Board’s business were routine denials of a dozen or so other appeals that had been filed, one by one, and with no evidence that the board was deeply touched by any of them.
UKIAH WOMAN RANDOMLY ATTACKED WITH 15-POUND BRICK, GOOD SAMARITAN LOSES PART OF EAR
by Randi Rossmann
A Ukiah man remained in custody Tuesday, suspected of attacking a woman with a brick as she talked on her cellphone, and then attacking a man with a rock who came to her defense.
The woman, 18, suffered a head injury and the man, 64, had a fractured rib and part of one ear torn off, Ukiah police said.
The violence led to the arrest of David Leon Maupin, 41, a homeless man suspected of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem. Maupin was held in the Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $235,000.
The attacks happened Sunday morning, April 21, on the edge of downtown. A caller reported seeing a driver in a white Mercedes try to run over a red‑haired man at South Main Street and East Gobbi Street. As officers responded to the apparent attempted car assault, more people dialed 911 reporting the brick and rock attacks at nearby South State Street by a man with red hair.
Maupin, who had long red hair and a red goatee, was taken into custody while officers unraveled what happened.
The Ukiah woman had been crossing State Street, talking on her cellphone, when Maupin approached her from behind and hit the back of her head with a 15‑pound brick, police said. The woman didn't know her attacker and officials said it appeared to be unprovoked.
While she was on the ground, the suspect picked up a large volcanic rock and stood over her. The good Samaritan, who was also walking in the area, saw what happened and went to her defense, yelling at the suspect, police said. The suspect then hit him at least once with the rock, knocking him to the ground.
Several people were in the area and some started first aid and told police what they'd seen.
Officers arrested Maupin on suspicion of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of mayhem, all felonies. He also was in violation of his probation on a battery conviction.
Detectives investigated the initial report involving the vehicle and weren't able to identify the driver. The suspect hadn't been hit by the car, police said.
SMALL FAMILY LOOKING FOR NEW HOME. We have local references and photos of previous gardens. We are looking for a sublet/month to month or longer term house (cabin/yurt/efficient house or yurt space/possibility to build our own yurt. Off grid skills, solar, rustic, animal husbandry, edible landscaping, garden building, nature crafts and more. Certified Yoga Teacher/Gardener and Edible Landscaper with many years experience growing food naturally. Dog Friendly :) 707-683-2369
TITLED ATTRACTIONS ON MELODY AVENUE
or The Guerneville You Didn't Know
Along with the usual suspects, this little redwood studded dell just over the Guerneville Bridge and past Peewee Golf has attracted over the years and continues to attract European titles such as Baron von Kupfeld and is mini-estate of the 50s and 60s. (The big trees remain.) Along with him came a whole group of white Russian professionals escaping World War I and communism, constructing their country dachas from whatever they could salvage from San Francisco and their new day jobs — mechanics at the city bus barn, taxi drivers, window washers. Among them was Luda Toutolmin whose mother was Lady in Waiting for the last tzarina. Pierre de Pavloff arrived with his wife and her history of Russian generals and Cross of St. George awarded relatives. Their sons Peter and Nicholas spent every summer with their parents at the river. Owners of the property today are Peter, a friend of the Marquess of Bath, and his wife, Wilma Parker de Pavloff, a museum collected artist and niece of the travel writer Lady Fielding. Their nearest neighbor is a retired mayor of Moraga, an early American who does beautiful woodworking and is currently organizing his East Anglia/Boston family history. It is reported that Lord Lansdowne's grandson was married nearby a few years back, at a now closed amusement park near Neely Lane. You never know.
And it continues — just leaving is Alexandra Von Zamory of Safari West. What draws all these "de" people, not to mention the von and zu? Maybe music — after all, this is Melody Avenue. Pierre sang in the San Francisco Russian choir and along with his Russian neighbors at the river. Sadly, after many failed attempts to find it a worthy home, including calls to the local elementary schools (negative results), the piano was wheeled out of the dacha last week.
Next time you drive by these ex-lumberjacks, ex-hippies, welfare moms and other American counterculture types making their last muddy and muddled stand in Sonoma, don't forget the part of Guerneville that exerted and continues to exert a strange attraction for European titles, in no small measure because of the aristocratic stillness it imposes on the trivialities of daily life, its proximity to the Bohemian Club, its unique views of serene beauty, such as the changing seasons, a vineyard, and of course and always its private and sparkling section of the Russian River. The attraction continues for all with eyes to see and the background to appreciate and they keep coming.
A PLAN FOR MEASURE B
Letter to the Editor
Place ready-to-go modular units for Crisis Residential Treatment Centers on: Orchard Street, rented coast MCDH land and on south coast.
Staff them with compassionate teams composed of a nurse with access to telemedicine, counselors, recovered clients, family members, and a teacher who can teach introductory classes on many Healthy Living topics.
Provide a 3-hour Healing Center Day Program to provide the support and education people need to manage their symptoms, and transition to a healthier lifestyle. Redwood Community Services is already doing this on the coast and has lesson plans, video tapes, audio tapes, and handouts for many classes such as: Managing Stress, Breathing Techniques, Forgiveness, Art Therapy (non-verbal therapy), Nutrition for Excellent Health and Wellbeing, Writing Your Story, How to Stop Relapses, Meditation to Healing Music, and topics such as Change your Brain, Change your Life by Daniel Amen MD, Evolve your Brain Joe Dispenza DC, Dealing with Depression Andrew Weil MD, Overcoming Addictions (sugar, and others), and many topics by Deepak Chopra MD, Eckhart Tolle, Michael Singer, and more.
Beds can be available for people who need to stay for a few nights. Some may just come to the Day Program. Self-Help Support Groups are important and can be ongoing.
Helping people early, before they want to kill self or others means that very few people will reach advanced stage crisis where they need a PHF. The PHF needs to be at one of the inland hospitals, perhaps in another modular ready-to-go unit.
This kind of early stage crisis help is enough to support most people who will not advance to needing the ER, jail or law enforcement assistance. Most people want to learn how to manage their own health and wellbeing. Let us support them NOW in doing that.
Sonya Nesch, Teacher
KNOW YOUR MENDO. WHERE'S THIS?
UKIAH SUBWAY HEIST (for Harvey Reading)
Regarding the Subway Sandwich Shop shooting — The Ukiah police did not seek prosecution of the customer who pulled his weapon and shot the hold-up guy. Investigators found employees, customers and shooter were in fear for their well-being. After the shooting, we understand that one employee hugged the shooter, who possesses a concealed carry permit. We also understand that the robber, armed with a replica hand gun that appeared to be real, was shot just as he seemed to hesitate whether or not to flee or fight. If, as it seems, the shooter, with only a split second to decide if the robber was going to turn his gun on the shooter and at least one employee, and he assuming the robber's gun was real, better to pull the trigger than get shot. Bingo bam boom, you might say. I don't think we have vigilantism here.
On December 12, 2018, at 7:18 in the evening, UPD officers were dispatched to Subway, 130 N. Orchard Ave., regarding shots fired at the location. Upon arrival, an officer located a subject with gunshot wounds in front of Ross. The officer provided first aid until paramedics arrived. The subject was subsequently flown to an out of county hospital for medical treatment. It was quickly reported that the injured subject had just robbed the Subway sandwich shop with a firearm. During the robbery, a customer with a valid Concealed Carry Weapons permit discharged his firearm, reportedly in fear for his safety and the safety of other citizens. The customer also was one of the reporting parties to the robbery. Ukiah Police Detectives responded and took over the investigation. Ukiah Police Detectives processed the scene for evidence, spoke with witnesses and contacted neighboring businesses. The subject who committed the robbery was quickly identified as Dorian Michael Coon. The weapon used by Coon was also located at the scene and found to be a BB gun, that resembled a firearm. Coon subsequently remained out of county for several weeks while receiving medical treatment for his injuries.
Ukiah Police Detectives continued the investigation, interviewing more witnesses and learned of a second suspect who was involved in the robbery. The accomplice was identified as Alexander Donovan Romero. Romero was determined to have assisted Coon immediately prior to the commission of the robbery. Arrest warrants were sought and obtained for the arrest of Coon and Romero. On April 13, 2019, Romero was booked into the county jail by the Willits Police Department. On April 17, 2019, Ukiah Police Detectives located Coon out of county and placed him under arrest. Coon was transported to the Mendocino County Jail, where he was booked and lodged. Both Romero and Coon were charged with Kidnap for robbery (Felony), False imprisonment (two counts- Felony) Second degree robbery (two counts- Felony) and Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (two counts- Misdemeanor). Coon and Romero are both being held on $450,000 bail and the case was forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
(Ukiah PD presser)
A LITTLE HISTORY FROM CALTRANS DISTRICT 1
In 1915 a bill was enacted into law that authorized the employment of prison labor on state highways; providing a means of rehabilitation and housing in remote prison road camp locations.
The first state highway prison road camp was established in Leggett Valley, Mendocino County to begin work on Route 1-later to be known as the “Redwood Highway.”
VIA KATHY WYLIE:
The County is amending the ordinance on Additional dwelling units in the coastal zone.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 30, 2019
TABETHA CONNELL, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
TERRY HAYES, Vallejo/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
BRANDON ROSKI, Harrisburg, Illinois/Redwood Valley. DUI.
MARIO URBINA, Covelo. Domestic abuse.
THE VISIBLY OVERWEIGHT and dementia-plagued 71-year-old Trump actually said this over the inaudible yelps of the reporters: “I’m a young and vibrant man. I’m so young. I can’t believe it, I’m the youngest person.” Who says shit like that? The point of his creepily narcissistic boasts, of course, was that his fellow septuagenarians “Sleepy Joe” Biden and “Crazy Bernie” Sanders are too old to be president whereas Trump’s invigorating fast-food diet is a magical fountain of youth.
— Paul Street
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Here in San Francisco, black cars, usually SUVs, project the “fuck it” attitude of their drivers, who contend with soul-crushing traffic as perfectly healthy young people opt for private car rides (driven by Uber and Lyft gig workers) to get them to their ass-fattening laptop jobs. In this rather walkable and bikable city, the reliable presence of zombie-drugged street denizens makes walking into downtown a questionable proposition, especially for the hoards of inexperienced under-30 kids who just got off the boat to shoot for the stars on the economic rocket-ship of San Francisco and nearby Silicon Valley.
Recently, a “green” and “Certified B-corporation” “startup” business recently moved their offices, and in the process sent vast amounts of barely-used office equipment to the dump, apparently calculating it was cheaper to re-buy everything they needed instead of trucking it 2 miles down the road. Their whole business proposition is predicated on the fake reality that buying your household consumables (walnut scrubber sponge, anti-bacterial hand soap, soy candle, and related bullshit) in small amounts, shipped to your door, is not part of the same hyper-consumerist death-rattle that buying a 48-pack of Ivory Soap at Walmart is. The new business that moved in had a party at which they found it too troublesome to separate the empty beer cans and bottles from the rest of their garbage, and sent everything to the landfill. Recycling is for poor people, right? And those youngsters, who I confronted, didn’t want to consider that the shit world they were striving to survive in was being made all the shittier by their thoughtless actions. Each generation contends with the world they’re born into, and each would sacrifice it to secure their position and keep the party going.
WORKERS BARELY BENEFITED from Trump’s sweeping tax cut, investigation shows
The bill signed into law by Trump on 22 December 2017 cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21%, the largest such rate cut in US history. “The most excited group out there are big CEOs,” said the White House economic adviser Gary Cohn as the measure was making its way through Congress in 2017.
But the fears of ordinary workers in regard to those promised higher wages were realized. The bulk of the $150bn the tax cut put into the hands of corporations in 2018 went into shareholder dividends and stock buy-backs, both of which line the pockets of the 10% of Americans who own 84% of the stocks. Just 6% of the tax savings was spent on workers, according to Just Capital, a not-for-profit that tracks the Russell 1000 index. In the first three months after the bill passed, the average weekly paycheck rose by $6.21. That would be $233 a year.
A READER WRITES about Biden: "I'm surprised no one has mentioned Joe's plastic surgery. He's got that classic plastic shark look now, from having his crow's feet removed. Have you seen his inaugural video? it's vapid, horrible, and pathetic, all at the same time. I can't believe his candidacy will stick. The only way it'll happen is if the DNC forces him on us (ala Hillary).That worked so well last time, they just might try it again. Bernie better scream about it this time."
ALLEN GINSBERG’S 1956 POEM ‘AMERICA’: A LOST ENDING
by Jonah Raskin
The most famous line in all of twentieth-century American poetry can be found in Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem, “America,” which was published in the Pocket Poets series by Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights in the volume titled Howl and Other Poems. That famous line reads, “Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.” It’s addressed to America itself, and it has been quoted and popularized by anarchists, communists, beatniks and hipsters over the past 36 years.
The poem ends on a whimsical note, “America, I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel,” a not-so veiled reference to the poet’s homosexuality, and his sense that though he was queer he had a role to play in the society as a whole.
Ginsberg wrote the poem in Berkeley in January 1956. The original version of the poem appeared in its entirety in Black Mountain Review (BMR) # 7, which was associated with Black Mountain College. The poet, Robert Creeley, edited it, and it contained work by Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs, along with Michael McClure and Gary Snyder, who are among the last living members of the original-founding brothers of the Beat Generation.
Part II, which appears in BMR and not in Howl and Other Poems or in Ginsberg’s Collected Poems, begins, “America how shall we cultivate the Cosmic Vibrations?” It ends, “All arbitrary discriminations hereby abolished Russia/ America — the robin he just jumped into my tree/in the rain drops.”
Ginsberg adopted a similar rhetorical strategy in the 1960s, when he wrote in Wichita Vortex Sutra, “I here declare the end of War!”
Like the English romantic, Shelley, Ginsberg thought poets were “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
Much of Part II of “America” — the lost part — will be familiar to readers of Ginsberg’s work. The lines are long. The poem is prose-like with rhetorical questions such as “America how shall we cultivate the Cosmic Vibrations?”
There are references to historical and literary figures including Ethel and Julius Rosenberg — whose execution Ginsberg denounced in 1953 — and Walt Whitman, whom Ginsberg describes as “alone of American poets…completely hip.” God makes an appearance, along with “tea heads” [Beat Generation slang for marijuana users] who are presented as the only people who have “any idea of what Democracy means.” Ginsberg was smoking quite a bit of weed in Berkeley.
The Catholic Church takes a beating along with Zen Buddhists, whom Ginsberg describes as “egotists.” The “Synagogue,” with a capital letter “S” is heralded as a place where God “knocks and vibrates.”
Unlike the first part of the poem, there’s no use of the words “I,” as in “I’m obsessed by Time Magazine, and “You,” as in “America when will you be angelic? / When will you take off your clothes” — which are among the most memorable in the entire work. The last section is both too silly and too serious, and the image of the robin in the tree feels inappropriate in a poem that touches on the Cold War, the Old, Old Left (including Mother Bloor and Scott Nearing), and “arbitrary discriminations.”
The self-mocking that’s apparent in lines such as, “I can’t stand my own mind” are missing from part II. There are also more references in part II to nature—“my garden,” “My tree,” “the Robin,” and “the raindrops”—than in part I.
Berkeley in 1956 did seem heavenly to a repressed New York homosexual.
What will surprise readers and fans of Ginsberg’s poetry isn’t anything about the content or the form of Part II, but simply that it exists. After all, Ginsberg insisted that he didn’t revise or edit his work. His mantra was “First Thought Best Thought.” Part II of “America” offers his first thoughts, though they’re not his best thoughts. He was right to cut them and not to republish the version of the poem that appeared in BMR in 1957. Still, there’s something endearing about the line, “Man, listen to that band of angels swing.”
Ginsberg meant the whole human race. Part II shows him at his most humanistic, and his most sentimental, along with a sweet spirituality that seems to come from the universe itself and not from an organized religion.
It’s not Ginsberg at his best. Nor is it Ginsberg at his worst. But it’s Ginsberg. And it’s worth reading about and thinking about.
America go fuck yourself with your drones and your white house and your borders and your fucking hypocrisy.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
FELIPE LOPEZ AND THE DOMINICAN DREAM
by Dave Zirin
As a junior in high school, my basketball team was playing against the freshman team from powerhouse Rice High School. I was passed the ball and pump faked a shot in front of a willowy 14-year-old who didn’t bite and stayed fastened to the ground. I assumed I’d have an open bucket and tossed up a 15 footer. The (very) young man — and I remember this as if it was yesterday — waited until the ball was in the air and then jumped, swatting it at its apex to half court. The crowd oohed and aahed at my humiliation and as I turned, my face a mask of dejection, to run up court, the kid who blocked my shot put his arm around me and walked up the court by my side and told me in broken English that everything was going to be ok. I remember both smiling and marveling at this simple act of kindness in a space — high school sports — usually allergic to such sentimentality.
That player’s name was Felipe Lopez. I had no idea of course that this stick figure of a kid would become the most heralded high school player in the country, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he took the court for a single game at St. John’s University. Lopez went on to play in the NBA, although never reaching his outsized potential or the media’s hyped fantasies, but the story of an immigrant who became known as “The King of New York” has never been told until now.
This week, ESPN will be airing one of their acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series and its subject is none other than Felipe Lopez. Called The Dominican Dream, it’s an incredible look at the trials and triumphs of immigration and a unique hero.
I told the story of my high school humbling to the film’s director Jonathan Hock and he laughed, saying, “That story is Felipe in a nutshell. He was a singular talent but he also has a kindness that’s totally his own.”
I asked Hock what attracted him to Felipe Lopez’s story and it really was much more about being able to tell the tale of an immigrant’s journey than about a young phenom’s athletic prowess. Hock related intimately to Lopez’s American tale:
“In 1906, my great grandparents (with my infant grandmother in tow) came to America and settled in the South Bronx, right around the corner from where Felipe and his family settled 80 years later. The conventional telling of Felipe’s story has been one of disappointment and unfulfilled expectations, but if you look at it as an immigrant story — an American story — you discover that it’s really a success story masquerading as a tale of failure. I was fascinated by the idea of what success really means, and more than that, I saw Felipe’s story as a chance for America to look in the mirror and see its best self-reflected in this dark-skinned, Spanish-speaking immigrant.”
It is no coincidence that Hock found himself attracted to Felipe Lopez’s story. We live in a time when immigrants from Latin America are being relentlessly demonized by this administration, creating an atmosphere of distrust, fear, and even violence. It’s a frightening moment for those seeking refuge — as generations have in decades past — in the United States.
As Hock said to me, “It infuriates me to hear the children and grandchildren of immigrants blathering about building a wall to keep a new generation of immigrants out of this country. I would be so happy if people tuned into the The Dominican Dream expecting to see a great sports story, but come away thinking about their own families’ migration stories. And maybe when they turn on the news and see a family that on the surface doesn’t look like their own family — maybe after watching this film they’ll see that those families are really just like their own.”
Yes, Jonathan Hock and Felipe Lopez are telling a story that runs counter to the narratives being spewed by this administration, and putting that narrative right on the World Wide Leader in Sports, ESPN. It’s a documentary worth seeing, and worth defending. As for me, after watching the film, I feel blessed to have had my shot blocked by Felipe Lopez, to be even tangentially connected to a terrific human being whose story is an example and a reminder of what this country can offer and what this administration is attempting to take away.
THE JAZZ CLUB ~~ TOD DICKOW & CHARGED PARTICLES on May 2
The Music of Michael Brecker at Cloverdale Arts Alliance
Thursday, May 2
204 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale, CA
Doors open at 7:00 PM, Music at 7:30PM
The New York Review of Books was born during a newspaper strike in New York, when even the New York Times Book Review was not available.
I remember well that first issue in February, 1963, with an all-star lineup of American intellectuals, most of whom I first read in The Nation, The New Republic, or in monthlies and quarterlies.
I inadvertently let my NYR subscription lapse recently. While in North Beach a few weeks ago, I picked up the latest edition at City Lights and was shocked at the cover price---$8.95! $9.71 with the tax!
In a blow up of the picture above, you can just read the original cover price: "Twenty-five Cents."
The one review that still puzzles me: Mary McCarthy on Naked Lunch, which, on her recommendation, I read later. Utterly mystifying. It wasn't the sex that bothered me, but even the word salads tucked in between the sex and violence were incomprehensible.
LIVERMORE GOES LIB-LAB
Here's my top three choices as of now, in order of preference:
Buttigieg and Warren are all but tied for first choice, and I'd be thrilled with a ticket featuring the two of them, in either order. Sanders is a distant third, and all the others should feel free to drop out now, though of course I'll vote for whoever gets the Democratic nomination because I don't hate my country and would like to see it survive.
SEATTLE GENERAL STRIKE, 1919
"Nothing moved but the tide"
by Patrick Burns (Freedom Socialist)
For six euphoric days a century ago, Seattle’s workers took over and ran the city. Industry barons trembled. “All of Seattle was silenced as organized labor went out in support of the 35,000 shipyard workers,” said the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In 1919, rebellion was in the air all across the globe. In Washington state, two decades of efforts by radicals and union organizers — educating, agitating and organizing — had raised the political consciousness and class solidarity of workers.
The Union Record, with a circulation of 100,000, was the voice of labor in the Puget Sound. From its pages came inspiring news of the successful Bolshevik revolution in Russia. It even printed a speech by V. I. Lenin on the serious day-to-day responsibilities of revolutionaries when they take power.
Anna Louise Strong editorialized days before the General Strike, “We are undertaking the most tremendous move ever made by LABOR in this country, a move which will lead — NO ONE KNOWS WHERE!” Her words struck fear in the hearts of Seattle’s elite. And they inspired and galvanized her working-class sisters and brothers.
World War I had brought newfound wealth to the shipyards. And with the promise of better wages came thousands of newcomers. These wages could not keep up with inflation and the skyrocketing costs of housing and food. It was a burden on all workers. Despite the hardship, unions agreed to not strike during the war. Workers were promised when the war was over the government would not interfere with their fight for better wages.
Charles Piez, the government’s representative to the shipyard owners, made public promises to this effect. But in a telegram meant for owners only, Piez told them if they raised wages, he would cut off steel supplies needed to build ships. That telegram was misdirected to the Metal Trades Council which represented the workers in the shipyards. The unions felt betrayed, and the fight was on.
Thirty five thousand shipyard workers walked off the job on January 26. The Metal Trades Council appealed to Seattle’s Central Labor Council for support. Members of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party were influential in many unions and they pushed for a general strike. In the end, the vast majority of Seattle’s organized labor voted to support the striking shipyard workers. It was an overwhelming show of solidarity.
The Central Labor Council authorized a massive sympathy strike — a general strike. On February 6, as the dawn turned to day, 100,000 workers — 65 percent in unions — stayed home.
Solidarity in action.
Seattle unions fully understood they needed to be responsible to the community. The Labor Council established a Strike Committee to assess what services were essential, and developed a solid plan of action to provide them.
Without firing a shot, organized labor grasped the reins of government. The Strike Committee was not about to allow business to go on as usual. Only vital services were allowed to continue. Ambulances picked up the sick and injured, hospitals got their clean linens, babies got their milk. Garbage removal was deemed imperative to protect public health. All emergency services were maintained. Up to 30,000 meals were distributed each day. Despite rumors circulated by Mayor Ole Hanson, the committee had no intention of cutting off water or electricity!
This success threatened the city fathers. The pro-business press whipped up hysteria over an alleged conspiracy between the Soviet Union and the Central Labor Council. Headlines raged for law and order. Mayor Hanson pleaded for military intervention to end the strike.
The Strike Committee deputized 300 returning vets as a labor guard. Unarmed, they kept the peace, and prevented the government from injuring or killing any of the strikers. This was one of the few work stoppages of its time where no worker blood was shed.
As the days passed, solidarity waned. Rather than let things fall apart, the strike committee ordered an official end to the sympathy strike. On February 12, most of Seattle went back to work.
The 35,000 shipyard workers would continue to picket for another month before they folded. Charles Piez successfully pressured shipyard employers to not settle. The Metal Trades Council was not able to get their promised wages.
It is easy to see the General Strike as a lost battle because the shipyard workers didn’t get their pay increases. However, that is not the whole story. Historian and General Strike participant Harvey O’Connor stated that unionists were proud of how they conducted this fight. The strikers broke new ground. They proved that organized labor could seize control, provide for the community, and economically threaten those who exploited them. This was a victory for all of labor. The power of the working class in all its glory was on display. This is the legacy of the Seattle General Strike.
Onward and upward.
An economic battle lost does not mean an end to the class war. The spirit of the Seattle General Strike was not forgotten, nor what it so valiantly tried to achieve. A dozen years later, in the midst of a devastating global economic collapse, the U.S. industrial working class rose up with a vengeance.
Like sunlight twinkling off the Puget Sound, early twentieth century Seattle sparkled with excitement. Workers in the Emerald City were conscious of their class, proud of their competence, and unified in common purpose. They knew damn well they were being exploited. They understood solidarity. They may not have won justice for the shipyard workers, but they left behind valuable lessons on how to wage the class war.
DETROIT'S OLD TRAIN STATION
I am not a Muslim
And I am not a Jew.
I am not Hispanic,
Not Black or dark of hue.
I am not a lesbian
Nor am I very gay.
But I want to be American
And thank god so do they.
Yes, we want to be American,
We share that hope and dream.
Can’t give up on that idea.
Can’t give up that dream.
—Jim Luther, Mendocino
42ND ANNUAL RHODODENDRON SHOW THIS WEEKEND
California's largest Rhododendron Show will be held at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens on May 4 and 5 (9AM - 5PM)!
PUTTING YOUR AFFAIRS IN ORDER
The seminar “A Graceful Farewell: Putting Your Affairs in Order” will be taking place in May and June. It is a 4 part seminar sponsored by the Mendocino Coast District Hospital on Monday evenings: May 6, May 20, June 3 and June 10. It is best to be at all sessions. We will be meeting at the Hospital’s Redwood Room from 6 - 8 pm. Snacks will be provided. "Before taking Maggie Watson’s Putting Your Affairs In Order class I felt overwhelmed with all that I didn’t know. Maggie’s ease and expertise helped me get a better understanding of what was important for me to have in order and to let my family have this information. It opened up a conversation with my adult son about what his preferred role could be should critical decisions need to be made if I’m not able to make them myself. Though not all my papers are in order yet, I’m working on it and now have an excellent foundation set in motion. For this I am truly grateful.”
Ayn Ruymen 2017
If you could tell your loved ones that your estate was in fine shape; the legal documents were up-to-date and complete, the people involved (trustee or executor) know what they need to know and are empowered, and that you have noted where you wanted the “stuff” (ex: Nana’s bible, a treasured knick-knack, or dad’s tool box) to go, would that make your day? Would that give you peace of mind?
A local attorney will speak about estate planning and answer your questions. You will have opportunities in class to work in the book: A Graceful Farewell: Putting Your Affairs in Order. We will also complete an advanced directive for health care.
If you want to participate in this seminar, please contact Maggie Watson at 397-1655 or e-mail
The fee for the 4-part Seminar is $90 per person. A partner can participate for with you for $150. Prior registration is required to hold your space. To register, please put a check in the mail to P. O. Box 440, Mendocino, CA 95460. Please make out the check to MCDH (Mendocino Coast District Hospital). You will need to bring the book to each class. The book can be purchased at all the local books stores, Zo’s Copy, and Racines.
Please let me know if you are interested and able to attend.
Maggie Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
HIT & RUN THEATER Summer Improv theater shows and workshops Senior Center Benefit—May 25
Hit and Run Theater will return to the stage Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 7:00pm at the Redwood Coast Senior Center at The Fort Bragg Middle School, 490 N. Harold St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437. This show will benefit the Senior Center and raise funds for their various actions. The Senior Center Benefit will follow on Hit and Run’s first show at the Senior Center last spring. Scheduled for Saturday evening, May 25 at 7:00pm the show will be fully improvised with all skits and songs based on audience suggestions. For this evening, Hit and Run Theater will include Jill Jahelka, Ken Krauss, Doug Nunn, Kathy O’Grady, Christine Samas, Dan Sullivan, and Steve Weingarten. We look forward to a lively evening to benefit the Senior Center.
Hit & Run Theater Community Improv Comedy Workshops—May 29 through June 19 On Wednesday, May 29 Hit and Run Theater begins a series of 4 Improvisation workshops running Wednesdays, May 29, June 5, June 12, and June 19. The workshops take place from 6:30-8:30pm at the Community Center of Mendocino, 998 School St., Mendocino, CA 95460. Hit and Run’s newest workshop series is open to all interested students. The course will include basic improvisational games and acting exercises. No previous theatrical or improvising experience is required and mature teens are welcome as well as adults and seniors. A workshop contribution of $15 per night for Hit & Run Theater will cover the workshop fees. Wednesday night, June 19 will be set aside for a “workshop show” including all participants. What a deal! To register or for further information, please call 937-0360 or email Doug Nunn—email@example.com or connect on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you there. Hit & Run Theater Matheson PAC Improv Shows June 28 & 29 On the weekend of Friday and Saturday, June 28 & 29, Hit & Run Theater will present two nights of improvisational comedy and music at the Matheson Performing Arts Center at 45096 Cahto St., near Mendocino High School in Mendocino. Both shows are at 7:30pm. The cast includes Jill Jahelka, Ken Krauss, Doug Nunn, Kathy O’Grady, Christine Samas, Dan Sullivan and Steve Weingarten, with a possible appearance by Nicole Paravicini. San Francisco keyboardist, Joshua Raoul Brody will supply improvised music and sound effects. General Admission is $18, with tickets for seniors and kids at $12 and all ages are welcome! For reservations or further information, call Doug Nunn at 707-937-0360, write him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write Doug Nunn or Hit and Run Theater on Facebook.
FIRST FRIDAY AT THE LARRY SPRING MUSEUM/Lost Coast Found Spring Commons:
6 PM Riverside Cafe opens
7 PM Theatre de la Liberte presents
8 PM Screening of Jan Svankmajor’s stop motion masterpiece “Alice”
The Larry Spring Museum of Common Sense Physics is located at 225 E Redwood in Fort Bragg.
Spring Commons is the yard beside the Museum. Enter through the blue gates at McPherson and E Redwood.
Anne Maureen, Radek and Megan
MENDOCINO COUNTY'S FIRST 'STEPPING UP INTIATIVE' Community Forum, presented by National Alliance on Mental Illness
Approximately 2 million individuals who suffer from serious mental illness are incarcerated each year across the United States. Mendocino County, not being immune to this problem, aims to reduce the number of people with mental illness in local jails. With the support and guidance of the Mendocino County National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mendocino County is hosting its first Community Forum to discuss our local efforts. The Community Forum will be held in two locations:
Ukiah: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Ukiah Veterans Hall, 293 Seminary Avenue
Fort Bragg: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Fort Bragg Veterans Hall, 360 Harrison Avenue
Each day and location will host both an Educational Session from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., and a Public Forum from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
If you would like to learn more about this issue, and what is being done locally, please join us at one of the events above. To RSVP, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MendocinoSteppingUp. For more information on the National Stepping Up Initiative, please visit https://stepuptogether.org.
For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
CUE ROD SERLING
Black and white. Kinescope. Spots and wiggly lines project the speed of the film as it pans across the garage to an extension ladder leaned safely lengthwise down almost the entire length other of the garage. Crammed to the gills with all the tools Fred needs to tighten a screw or adjust the idle on his riding mower. Each label represents a long-ago lawsuit. Don't stand on the top step. Yes, there are people even dumber than that. You will see many of the best dressed one's the instant you fire up the flatscreen.
This, of course has been slowly transmitting into the current digital age since the first amoeba began to develop what we call gills. The rest is history. Your. Mine. And all of our world. NPR ran a story today that made me but it. Instantly. The idea is a good deal harder to communicate than the careful lean of a ladder.
The guy who invented the algorithm that powers Spotify and kindred services was being interviewed about his new book. His algorithm says that when you show that you like Ella Fitzgerald you will probably also this particular Havana cigar. This is because three people over the past ten years have bought them both on the same AmEx card. And that similar complex beat occurs in Vivaldi. And you can get money that you'll love this new pushup bra.
This is not to pontificate of lecture. You likely know more about this than I do. This is the digital world. It is easy to ignore it or pretend we are just far too cool to be addicted. But never ignore it. Get better at seeing it as your tool. And bow. And speak your gratitude. Educate yourself. Be ready to change. And sharpen your knives. Their time is near. Hear the boots tramping? And the knell of the bell. You'll just have to deal with the smoke and the fire. Watch your step. Be careful. And sharpen that baby with love.
FOAM BASKETBALLS, SUSHI, AND THE ENVELOPING DIGITAL WORLD
Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste, which I have just bought, seems like truly cutting-edge, imaginative science. I have as of now only read a few pages, but one of the stories about the surprises in its development was the discovery that the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby leads to the Bee Gees and disco. Attraction to these would often be paired with Cuban cigars, as a couple times in the past the same AmEx card was used for their purchase. And then there were these shirts from L L Bean…
Within months, what had been born in the marijuana haze of a Stanford dorm morphed into trendy offices in Silicone Valley and expressions of dazed trips to the bank on the faces of the sort of capitalists who have corner offices and shoot foam basketballs as they're eating their sushi from their chrome and glass desk.
This is the digital world, and as much as any might sneer at the naivete of those who stare at that little screen about eighty percent of their waking hours, we all do it. Like me, writing this and then going back to my book on my Kindle. And like you at the beach, ignoring the most lovely coast on this edge of North America.
Learn how the digital world enwraps all of your experience and everything you have ever known in a soft and dense tapestry that connects everything to everything that ever was or will be. And then check out those new shirts on LLBean. After all, you already own the Beamer…
SAKO, THE EARLY YEARS
for Michael Martone
In 1947, I was photographed admiring fabric at Avondale Mills Plant with two women.
The mill was located in Sylacauga, Alabama.
Sylacauga had once been the "heart of cotton country".
The mill celebrated the greatness and glory of cotton country. And the mill celebrated the greatness and glory of American Industry. Founded in 1897 by the Trainer family, the mill was unable to compete with foreign textile manufacturers, and so it closed in 2006.
But for most of my lifetime, the mill was my world. Sylacauga was my world. My floating world. Now there is only sadness for a world long gone.
The Avondale Mills Plant burned down on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. It was shuttered and abandoned after Avondale Incorporated filed for bankruptcy.
When Avondale Incorporated ceased operations in 2006, the company closed three plants in Sylacauga and one each in Alexander City, Pell City and Rockford, laying off more than 1,300 workers.
On June 27, 2006, Avondale Incorporated (“Avondale Incorporated”) and Avondale Mills, Inc. (“Avondale Mills,” and together with Avondale Incorporated, “Avondale”) announced the following: (1) Avondale Mills completed an asset sale to Parkdale Mills, Incorporated; (2) Avondale Mills terminated the company's credit line with the General Electric Capital Corporation (GECC) Revolving Credit Facility, discharging all of Avondale Mills’ obligations under the facility and releasing GECC’s blanket lien; (3) Avondale Mills redeemed the company's Floating Rate Notes Due 2012; and (4) Avondale Incorporated suspended all of the company's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and there were to be no further forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws.
I can't remember who the women were. I think they were models for a fashion shoot.
In the photograph I am young. The women are young, too. The lure of their tiny breasts and narrow waists, their lipstick and rouge, their long black hair -- Choctaw Lusa Black -- was almost ungraspable.
They wore Voodoo Vixen 1950s Black & White Gingham Cotton Daisy Addison Crop Tops.
They could have been twins.
Their shoes? White Matte Leatherette Peep Toe Slip-On Heels.
Also Vintage Style Silver Stud & Hoop Drop Earrings.
And Classic Black Retro Cat Eye Sunglasses.
In another photograph, I am leading a tour of the Avondale Mills Plant for a group of cotton farmers. They're all white men in coveralls. Not crackers with bloody hands. But younger modern farmers who owned Harvester and John Deere mechanical cotton picker machines.
It's another nice photograph.
At least 50 firefighters battled the blaze at the vacant Avondale Mills in Sylacauga.
The Sylacauga fire officials said the fire erupted at the former textile manufacturing complex about 12:30 p.m. By the time they arrived, the three-story building was fully involved and the roof had already caved in.
Firefighters from a half dozen agencies assisted Sylacauga. They remained on the scene throughout the night.
It was arson. Arson for the insurance. Jewish lightning.
But it was never proven.
Here's the official story.
Five people were inside the abandoned Avondale Mills Plant when the complex burst into flames. The workers were in the process of preparing the building for demolition when it's believed lightning struck. All five were able to get out of the complex safely, and no injuries were reported. Eyewitnesses said the building erupted into flames after a thunderstorm and lightning passed through the area.
WBRC Fox 6 in Birmingham reported that the flames spread quickly through the century old building, eating wood and wooden materials of the same age. Dust and leftover debris from the plant's closure also added to the fire's fuel.
Maybe. Maybe not.
The first historical account of the Sylacauga area goes all the way back to Hernando de Soto's chronicles as he marched south along the east bank of the Coosa River in 1540. Genocide of the Creek Indians followed the arrival of white settlers. After another 75 years, Shawnee Indians were relocated in the Sylacauga area after Tecumseh opposed the white man's expansion in Ohio. Then there was the Golden Age of King Cotton. And slavery. And textile mills. And railroads.
Also marble quarrying.
Slaves and prison chain gangs worked the quarries. It was the worst work in the heat and humidity.
Sylacauga was known for its fine white marble bedrock. This was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and was quarried for the next 300 years. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Structural marble was produced for buildings and statutes all across America. But a very lucrative use of marble was found in the steel industry. Sylacauga's deposits were blasted and used for fluxing steel. Later dolomite replaced marble in this process. In spite of the Great Depression, the late 1920s and early 1930s were times of spectacular growth for Sylacauga's marble industry.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 9 lb piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
Jim Nabors, the actor from "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." was born in Sylacauga.
There are lots of haunted places in Sylacauga. Cars roll uphill on Gravity Hill. The Old Courthouse is haunted by a court clerk who operates a typewriter for all eternity and corrects typing errors she has made. Every bridge in the area is haunted by the ghosts of slaves who were hanged from bridges. Orbs are seen rising over the graveyards that are attached to churches. Ghosts reside in the antebellum mansions, even in the ruins of mansions where only a foundation may be all that remains. The cries of mothers and widows mourning the Confederate war dead are heard in every cemetery.
In a cemetery on a hill,
Always commencing at noon,
In harmony with the trees and grass,
For reasons all my own,
I am constantly resurrecting myself from my grave in Sylacauga, Alabama.
To those who knew the history of Indian wars in Sylacauga,
To those who knew the history of racism,
To those who knew debasement and poverty,
To those who knew the backbreaking work in the quarries, fields, warehouses, railyards, and mills,
To those who knew the places of whippings and hangings,
To those who knew the places of rape,
To those who knew the polite acceptance of injustice,
To those who knew the hard reasons for now-unremembered truths,
To those who knew the fierceness of the world,
But also to those who knew the beauty of Sylacauga, and the love of family and neighbors, and to those who had happy childhoods here, and who were blessed with peace and well-being, and were safe from loss, and sang hymns in church, and to those who knew the green shade of our old trees, and dark mysterious insides of water lilies, and the colors of azalea,
I say I am here.
I am here as a misty ghost, grayish blue, to bear witness to all that has happened, and to all that we were, in Sylacauga, Alabama.
John Sakowicz, Ukiah