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Do Police Get Tested For Drugs and Steroids????

frank         Gentle Readers,

Forgive the fomatting, as the PC is still vexing us.  Speaking of vexations, many are disturbed by the presence of man-made monsters, one of the most famous of which is Frankenstein’s Monster.  Some people refer to the monster simply as ‘Frankenstein’.  There are a lot of these Franskenteins in the world, the most famous being the United States Government.  We create and enable them and then they rattle the chains, break loose from the stone walls of the government buildings and come create nightmares in our lives.

At one end of the scale we have Bacarat Obama, Disaster in Chief of These United States and on the lower, lower, lowest end of the scale are those we pay to protect ourselves and our property…the police.  Currently, the Obama administration is using these police as a tool of terror and fear as it employs them into the Neverending War we are involved in.  It used to be nice when wars ended. 

It also used to be nice when a police officer was a sign of safety, not a call for fear.  On Youtube, for instance, you have numerous instances of police beating innocent motorists because the civilians have the temerity to film the jackboot thugs in action.  These days, if you buy a gun or a camera, you need to buy both, not one or the other.  If you buy a gun, you need a camera to show the unjust way the police treat you when they try to take it away from you.  If you buy a camera, you need a gun to protect yourself from being beaten by officers wearing uniforms that you paid for.

We pay a lot in taxes, to the fed, to the stores but most disturbingly, to our local governments.  In our instance, we must pay several thousand to the school district, even though we have never spawned a child.  Why do we have to pay for the education of a bunch of little wankers when we had the good sense to ‘keep it in our pants’?  We pay for our trash to be collected and we just has an increase in our water and sewer bills.  So if you pay for the water, the schools, the trash and sewer – why do you have to fork over even more cash to have the township collect all the other checks we send?  We have to pay the police, of course.

Did you ever get pulled over for speeding or some other minor infraction of traffic codes and have some beast with ‘roid rage bark at you through the window, while flexing biceps which are unusually bulging with veins, like those veins in his neck as he screams at you for asking a question.  If you are like us, and have long hair and look like a liberal, it is even worse.

If noise comes from our yard, we are confronted by one of these monsters.  It has not happened for a long time.  If noise comes from another yard and we call the police, the chief tells us that they do not have equipment to measure decibels and so the ordinance is unenforcable.  So we are paying to have laws unenforced.  A judge told us to sue the township but the fear of harrassment stops us.  If a neighbor is persistent in destroying a section of our property and the cops are called in, the focus is not on the neighbor who is trying to build on my property…we get grief because the officer sees long hair and for some reason ‘roid ragers hate that.  Maybe because a lot of them go bald from using the stuff.

This is a bigger issue than our yard and long hair, however.  The drug war, which is the biggest waste of money ever to face a country which cannot balance a budget and even threatens to take Social Sevurity away from senior citizens. allow police to search homes, yards, automobiles, test your breath and your blood.  In all our years of paying taxes, we have never seen a breakdown which shows payments for drug tests on policia.  A lot of them are known to confiscate drugs and keep them for personal use and it is obvious that many of them use steroids in order to be bigger and stronger than the bad guys…they do not realise that the rage induced by the steroids makes them criminal in the cranium.

Office workers, Walmart workers, garbage truck workers, forklift operators…all of these people are subject to random drug testing…what about the police? The dangerous ones with the guns, pepper spray and lots of buddies to help beat on you.  If you pay a tax, you should demand that police be tested for drugs and, specifically, steroids.  Why would anybody be afraid to do this unless they were terrified of the thugs?

We know that not all police are bad.  Our own grandfather was a typical drunken, irish paddy precinct copper.  He used to beat his wife and kids and they did not even have steroids back then.  The thing is…just pay attention the next time you get pulled over or see somebody else in that unfortunate position.  See if the cop is red in the face.  See if the veins in his neck look ready to pop.  See if you can make him chase you by taking his photo.

They had cops like this in Nazi Germany and also in Russia, back when it was the Soviet Union.  Then, America was too good to allow such shit.  Not anymore.  This weekend, when you are on your way to a fun event and notice the ton of cops on the highway, earning overtime while getting high on confiscated pot, think about the fairness of them NOT being tested regularly.

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The Bastard Goes Down

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Yes, Gentle Readers,

This blog disconnected due to password issues and Hendrick had to have his disconnected cell phone re-attached in order to get a code to sign on to WordPress -our wonderful host!

He pays actual cash so he may write to you.

How humble.

He often brags that he is more humble than Jesus and Jesus does not argue back, so Hendrick ranks high on humility charts… the charts humble people use to compete in humility exercises…that is why he posts so many blogs on manners

The man is sleeping but has ideas to share and will post at least one tomorrow…

All The Best To All Our Readers For Checking In!!!!!!

We Love You!

One hundred and eight countries read us last year…cannot even name twenty-five. we may have to check those numbers with wordpress…but thank you!

Your Pals,
The LwFTB Staff!!!!

THIS IS A FREE BLOG. IF YOU FIND TYPOS, EAT THEM.

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The Ellensburg Other ~ The Air Is Killing Us!

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Dateline Ellensburg, WA…

The local newspaper, The Daily Record, reported Thursday that Kittitas County is ‘working to address air quality’ in the area. The headline may as well have read that ‘the county is reckoning on commencing to beginning to start cleaning up the air here’. A smaller caption read ‘State, Local Officials trying to avoid federal involvement.’ At the bottom of the page, it is noted that Ellensburg has been ranked as one of the most polluted areas in the state since 2012.
Holly Myers, spokeswoman for the County Health Department, noted that if the federales send in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) they will measure pollutants properly, “If it (the EPA) measured for the lower health sensitive level, that would mean industrial permits would go down and it would be costly to business in the area.

A spokesperson for the Washington Department of Ecology, Sue Billings, says that if the EPA came in to fix the air quality ‘it would give Kittitas County a negative image…This kind of thing gets into the AARP and tourist magazines and the community gets a stigma…’

Let us condense the above information into a consumable ‘byte’…Kittitas County and Washington State health officials are ignoring a dangerous health issue for years because they value business over people’s lives.
Considering that all businesses run off the backs of people, taking the side of business on this issue is more than a little irresponsible.

When this writer moved to the county, we first consulted websites which give information to people who are moving or planning vacations, etc. Sperling’s Best Places said (and probably still does) that Ellensburg has air quality that is 98.5% pure!!! The officials are more concerned with glossing over the issue than the risk to community health…

VOTERS, remember names and be sure to vote against those who poison you.

So, what happens next?.…well, this blog gets sent to the AAA, the AARP, Bestplaces.com and all those other sites which trick people into coming here to be poisoned. Then we contact them to see where they got their information (call it lies) as regards the air purity here. We will report our findings.

Up until January 29, 2015, the County did not find it necessary to provide information concerning poor air quality. A particularly nasty day made local headlines on November 20, two days after the center city crematorium filled the two blocks surrounding the public library with noxious fumes. The thermal waves carrying the putrid smell could be seem emanating from the chimney of the funeral parlor – which is located in the center of the most populated area (duh) and in breathing distance of Central Washington University. How many parents are paying to have children come here to absorb carcinogens which may not form cancer cells until years after they graduate?

This kind of hiding from the government is unhealthy. It is as unhealthy as Vantage Highway, where reports of people incapacitated by breathing problems are reported weekly, if not every other day, in the Record. When the writer moved to the Burg, he developed a breathing problem after a month or so. Every morning, he woke feeling fine and, as soon as he opened his windows or stepped outside(into the air), developed a hacking cough that took hours to clear each morning. He stupidly attributed it to ‘hay fever’ and pollen from the world famous Timothy Hay grown here.

Speaking of the hay…it is shipped around the world because it is reckoned to be the best. Do the buyers know that it is steeped in fine particle pollution throughout the entire growing cycle? What does the fine particulate pollution do to the livestock it is fed to, way down the line?

So here in Kittitas, business is more important than people…and they admit it in the newspaper. You have to credit them for that much…but the tourist magazines need to hear about it for any action to occur, it would seem – talk about the Power of the Press!

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The Thing About Hank3 and Why You Need To Buy His Music

fiendish

Sideways-Swervers, Open-Nervers and Over-turners,

We posted this a while back and it has recently come to our attention that Ole’ Hank is not going to release any more records until you people start buying his others…in particular, the ones we pictured...A Fiendish Threat and Brothers of the 4X4…if you are fans and have been waiting for new tunes from the Hellbilly Joker, then tell your friends to click the Hank 3 Official tab at the top of the page and order it there…DO IT!!!

You should be able to find reviews of both records on this blog…read ’em!

4x4

This one is for those of you who think ahead of the game. What we witnessed in the past few decades as american pop music sunk into a stinking slug-hole of stale stars singing shittilly. Hank3 made that same point as regards the country/western genre of american roots music. It was bad enough getting stuck with Achey-Breaky Heart being even described as country music…but to have to put up with the second generation spawn of talentless twits, the likes of Miley Ray Cyrus, is one indignity we prefer not to suffer. Billy Ray named her Destiny Hope Cyrus. We reckon ‘Miley Ray’ sounded a lot homier.

Just like those other blase’ “celebrities” before her who came through the Disney Mind Control Camp, TV-minded youths adore this young lady. Like the rest, she will likely be more well-known for being hospitalized than for any one song she…kaf, kaf…sang…?

On the other side of the coin ,you have somebody like Hank3 who remains largely unpromoted by the mass media and thrives by playing music and being a hands-on traveling man. He gets ignored by mainstream due to, as they said about Hank Williams, his attitude. Like he says, he doesn’t “do lunch.” Somehow, though, you can’t keep a good man down and a recent experience proved that.

Going for a walk yesterday morning, we saw a van in our parking lot with a “Hank3” sticker plastered prominently on the rear window. When we say the driver approach the van, we asked about the sticker and immediately made friends with ‘Will,’ who we are sure to see at west coast Hank3 concerts when his next record comes out. Will said he wished he could see Hank in the east, where he plays in bars and smaller clubs frequently. That is the only atmosphere we have seen him in, ourselves.

As we talked, Will mentioned Hank’s 2013 record Brothers of the 4X4. We expressed enthusiasm and then he told us about how he has a son, four years old, and when Will drives him someplace in the van, his son always makes him play Lookey Yonder Commin’, a rollicking, happy coon-treeing song and real slice of Americana. Think about that! Hank3 is known for his songs about drugging and boozing, women gone wrong, men gone worse, pills, thrills and his friends who have chilled…permanently. Here we have a four year old child influenced by this happy, tumbling song – which actually contains a lyric in which Hank cuts out the four letters of ‘fuck’ in the name ‘Bumfuck, Idaho!’ He sings, ‘Bum-BEEP, Idaho!’ We asked Will if he saw Hank do the song live and he affirmed to the positive so we asked if the audience yelled ‘fuck’ when Hank sang ‘BEEP’ in that song.

Will said, “No, but from now on, I am going to!”

And so are we! What we wonder, and is very likely, is if children all over the country are listening to Lookey Yonder Commin’? Maybe sharing it at school during music class sing-a-longs or while playing on the recess yard. Will they forget about it and rediscover it twenty years from now?

This is a free blog, if you see any typos live with it!

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From The Poetry Corner

bullwinkle

Returning Rhymerinos,

This song is not the sort of thing worth putting in our upcoming book of poems but it came out in a burst and so it gets typed anyway.
We hear a lot about bullies in the media today. Thirty years ago it was not so. Fifty years ago, when the world seemed pure because we could not see it, we did not think of bullies. We did not hear reports of third grade students being arrested for threatening classmates.
Fifty years ago we learned to arm ourselves against such people and even our toys suggested killing. Here are a couple of my toys from the 1960s…toys Once we reached age nine or ten, we replaced these with real knives and rifles.

That really has nothing to do with this song but Michael Hendrick just wanted to show off his toys, as males are prone to do.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Neighborhood Bully (not to be confused with the Bob Dylan composition, of course)

She’s the neighborhood bully (3X)
I found out today.
She pushes from the left
She pushes from the right
I wish she would fuck off
So I could sleep tonight
Oh, the neighborhood Bully
Always got to have her way.

She don’t know which is East,
Don’t know where is South.
One thing she knows for certain
– how to run her fat old mouth
She the neighborhood bully (3X)
Wearing her welcome out today.

She shaves her head a-baldy
So she has no color hair.
She gets a tan in floodlights
Then bitches about the glare.
She the neighborhood bully (3X)
I just stop and stare.

She always has an alias,
Says she is a cop.
She comes on so damn shrill
She can force your balls to drop.
She the neighborhood bully (3X)
Ball-dropping waste of time.

(Drink 4X cans of Guinness and repeat first verse 3X)

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Meanwhile, Back On Sutters Mill Lane…

l3c2f3044-m1mFaithful Readers,
As today is a celebration of sorts, we look back – as is done at most celebratory times. One year ago today, our intrepid verbalist arrived in Ellensburg to make his home. He left behind Pennsylvania after fifty (‘fifty stinking years’ as he puts it) annums. He enjoys Ellensburg immensely but shudders in disgust when thinking back on his old neighborhood. Shown in the photo above, he had a nice little house there, all hidden in the shrubbery.

The odd thing is, it remained the only house with shrubbery in the neighborhood. When he arrived, no shrubs existed. He planted all of them with the exception of the two unimaginative forsythias on each corner…which did make nice homes for the robins. Now the shrubs have probably all been cut down, thanks to the PA Dutch/nazi german control-issues most inhabitants possess…think Stepford Wives only fat and stupid with poor taste in food.
They hate things that grow. They threw weed killer on his sunflowers. No beauty allowed.

When he built a porch to improve the property, Shiela Septic commented. Shiela and her two Septic parents always had a comment. One reason she could not keep a man for more than two months was largely due to suitors (haha) having to listen to parental wis-dumb through a cloud of smoke. White trash smoke. See, Shiela’s parents visited every day, an odd thing for a woman in her early fifties(they helped her with the down-payment and it thus became their vacation home) and they smoked a lot.
Maybe they are dead now! One can only hope!

Oh! The comment…in her typical daily rage, Shiela went red in the face (she was always red in the face, really) and let forth a pithy insult…”Why don’t you go sit on your porch?” The emphasis placed on the word ‘porch’ spat out in a tone usually reserved for crack houses. The sheer lameness of the insult disappointed him.
Sometimes she would find a man and the parents’ cars would not be seen for a week. Then they would show up and the new boyfriend’s car would disappear, along with the schmuck who saw something in her.

For those unfamiliar with white trash smoke – it is not ommitted solely by caucasians, it is called that because it comes from the cheapo brand of cigarettes that are displayed alongside the lottery machine. White trash love lottery tickets. Mostly anybody with no money loves a lottery ticket. Since we are all caucasians here, white trash is fair game, we reckon!

In his Ellensburg motel room, Hendrick found twenty lottery tickets under the cushion of the kitchenette table, coincidentally.
This sure sign that rooms at the Motel 6 in Ellensburg are never really clean unless guests clean up (yeah, right) after themselves following a stay is an open warning to all. Five months is a long time. The tickets were dated September 1, 2013. Some loser paid $20 to play Room Number 223 twenty times, as if ending up in that room was a good omen. No one lifted the cushion to clean there for five full months before Hendrick entered the room. Remember that, Motel 6-ers!

Yet, somehow, even the Motel 6 was an improvement from the cute little house on Sutters Mill Lane. People were friendly and accepting. The immediate acceptance Hendrick found in the burg amazed him. He likened it to the friendly little towns in upstate New York from whence he came. He loved his property, he just hated the narrow-minded fucks surrounding it. Here we see our hero in Room 223, framed by an example of how he made it a home for seven months.motelhome And here is a shot of the wonderful Washington sky from the motel balcony. The sky could not even be seen in Temple, but for the wires, lights and pollution.m6 Let it suffice to say he carries no regrets in leaving…all regret stayed in Temple with the Septics and all the other local dutch folk. Dutch people look friendly on the label of a can of corn but they are mean bastards in real life and if Michael Hendrick could pass on one life lesson, that might be it…

Of course no place is perfect and Ellensburg is not without it’s own supply of dumb assholes. Most of them move here from places like Seattle or other urban centers. They bring their ways…the leased cars, the lack of real property of their own, the tribal sports rituals. They don’t get it. Some of them are ex-police who have PTSD and sleep with all the lights on each night spying on neighbors who’s lives they intend to micro-manage once they get settled. The usual white trash stuff…

In Temple, Hendrick sold his home for $20,000 below the market value and made up the difference on Wall Street by trading in chinese stocks. The rest of the houses took a plunge in value and any money the Septics’ put into the little nightmare they call home is lost. By the time the mortgage is paid off, the house will be worth about forty thousand dollars less than it was when purchased.
Tough, huh? That’s one thing that can happen when you piss off the neighbors…they take your money in ways you cannot control…if you have neighbors like Michael Hendrick, that is…

We do not condone his actions but they do amuse us!

This is a free blog…if you find typos, please live with them.

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Michael Hendrick Looks At Nipples

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Curious Readers,

The title of this post may not come as a surprise to some, yet even Michael Hendrick admits that there are some nipples he does not want to see. Like Chris Christie’s…in the attached photo we see the big lug (Christie, not Hendrick) looking down to see if his nipples have stiffened from the touch of Mitt Romney. Christie will never be a US president unless an assassination occurs when he is a veep.

For many years, whoever was president on the twentieth year died in office. It started in 1820 when Henry Harrison stole more land from the native americans. He defeated Tecumseh at Tippecanoe and made a slogan of the event to run for president…and won. Tecumseh’s half-brother and medicine man, Tenskwatawa, threw a curse at all ‘great chiefs’ of the US, who were chosen every twenty years. Their deaths would be a reminder of what the US did to the Shawnee.

Christie is smart to (try and) run now. No prez had died since G.W. Bush’s buddy’s son screwed up his attempt on the life of Ronald Reagan. It goes largely unreported that John Hinckley Jr. had a scheduled lunch with Neil Bush, son of you know who, the day after the shooting. He did not make it.

It is well-known that the Hinckleys and Bushes have not only been in business together since the early 1960s but that the Bush family and the Hinckleys share a common ancestor – an oilman no less, Samuel Hinckley. Of course, after all that trouble Dubbya Bush, the last president before Obama, managed to kill any respect people had for him – but he lives.

But what about the nipples?

We promised you nipples, you are thinking…

It all started when Hendrick set to work merchandising the books he likes to sell. One of them is this one from 1974. comics

Just about to hang it on the wall of a local merchant who kindly gave him space to sell, he thought he should ask the owner if it was alright to post partial nudity. The store owner is a woman and when describing the cover, he got to the part about the cartoon images covering the nipples. He started to describe the cover but ended up pointing vaguely towards his own chest and saying ‘private parts’.

Damn it – he was embarrassed!

But why?

It does give us pause to ponder, however, why male nipples are legal to show anyplace in public but showing female nipples can result in a fine, sometimes even for breastfeeding in the wrong spot. It has happened.

Back in the 1970s at the start of the punk rock movement, singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan, seen below,  ran into problems with his first musical group…The Nipple Erectors. The record company would not accept his ‘male/female both have them’ logic and so he changed the name of his group to The Nips. Later he formed The Pogues, based on the term Pogue Mahone, which was a derivation of the gaelic phrase meaning ‘kiss my ass’. In this world kissing ass is preferred to mentioning nipples – for some people, anyway.1shane

Even male cats have eight nipples…or six…it is hard to hold the rascal steady enough to count them. Male cats allow tiny kittens to pretend they are nursing on them. They do this when the momma cat is out hunting and it keeps the little ones secure. We wonder if Chris Christie ever tried that but we do not want that image floating around our cerebral cortex…or yours! Sorry for that – blame it on Hendrick.

There are many types of nipples and even more ways to look at them. Instead of listing them all, we turn to Hendrick.

At fifty-seven years of age, he has seen more nipples than the average man (in person, that is). He chose to relate a bit about ‘funny nipples’. Some people, who have little sexual experience, find them funny just as diners who have never eaten a falafel think that sounds funny.

In his now-out-of-print novel (Portrait Of The Artist As A Little Bastard, TumbleWeedBastard Press, 2014) he tells of going to grade school in Upstate New York’s Mohawk Valley.

Sitting next to him, at the back of the classroom in the ‘tall’ section, RandyNiples always flinched at the muffled laugh which arose whenever a nun called his name. He could not do much about it in class but he frequently ran in circles on the recess yard shouting, “It’s Nip-PELS!!!…I tell ya!!!…Nip-PELS!!!”

Our Dear Michael occasionally wonders what happened to Randy. The way he ran in circles would have made him true presidential material!

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Obviously Pregnant???

devilTimid Readers, Please do not let the image of the devil scare you. We just post that to focus the attention on good things which have been turned to evil.
Like the Bible.
On Christmas Eve, Michael Hendrick reportedly attended a function to celebrate the spiritual holiday. The highlight was the host telling a story as it was described. The ‘story’ was the saga of the birth of Christ. It may have deserved a better designation than ‘story’but when the Bible is read from a Kindle or an I-Pad,  it stops being the Word of God.
According to the E-Bible, Mary was not with child as we have been taught these many years. No, now we learn that the Mother of the Christ was not ‘with child’ but she was obviously pregnant.
The first definition of ‘pregnant’in Merriam Webster is ‘cogent,’ meaning…: very clear and easy for the mind to accept and believe ~ or we can look at meaning One – having power to compel or constrain.. The word ‘obviously’ is not one which even appears in the Bible. The first known use of the word ‘obvious’ occurred in 1603…confusing? fuck, yeah!

So what are they doing to the message of the Living Christ which was put in text for good reason? We do not know. It is subversive and changes the way today’s so-called christians look at the scripture. A true Christian would protect the Word of God…what would YOU do?

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Michael Hendrick Walks Into A Bar With A Duck Under His Arm…

Michael (24)

Dateline Ellensburg, WA

Gentle Readers,

We are now back in full blog stride but we have a situation. One of the staff, Michael Hendrick, insists on using his full name and refuses the editorial ‘we’ or the ‘royal we,’ as Jeff Bridges refers to it in The Big Lebowski..

Only he knows why…he says he makes a better character than he does as writer…we will bear with him and allow this capricious act while always bearing in mind that he is a unpredictable and given to wacky antics. He claims to have met the embodiment of the spirit of Jan Kerouac. She lives in a bird that haunts the street in front of the house where she used to live in Ellensburg, Washington. Hendrick found her there by accident after having sworn off the ‘beat scene’ but, like Michael Corleone or Silvio Dante, he says, ‘everytime I try to get out, they pull me back in.’

Here is a photo of Jan Kerouac and the famous father who abandoned her after blood tests proved she was his daughter. kero Jack Kerouac, a hero to many, often did heartless things. Fans like to remember the virile young writer but tend to get pissed off at the honest facts that he was a drunken lout who was chronically thrown in jail for public urination, intoxication and fighting (although his style of fighting seemed to involve mouthing-off drunkenly and being beaten as a result). Jack lived with his mother since he could not take care of himself as a drunk. Jan took care of herself here in Ellensburg by doing all sorts of menial tasks. Here she is washing dishes at The Cafe on Third Avenue, which is still here. As you see, she could be a happy soul at times…Jan Kerouac Working as a Dishwasher

So Michael Hendrick claims to have somehow communed with her spirit in the form of a bird…he may be in the third person now but he still sounds just as crazy!!!!

Stay tuned to find out more….600full-jan-kerouac

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Somebody Blew Up America

THIS IS A FREE BLOG! DO NOT PAY FOR IT!!! TEACHERS ~ IF YOU WANT COPIES, WE WILL SEND THEM FREE BY REQUEST!

Amiri Baraka is Beat.
He walked away from the scene in Greenwich Village, where he edited literary journals Yugen, Kulchur, and The Floating Bear from 1958-65. Working with Hettie Cohen, Michael John Fles, and Diane Di Prima, respectively, the journals brought new works by new names. Featured writers included Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Whalen, and Michael McClure. He co-founded Totem Press and was influential in the launching of Corinth Books. Yugen magazine was perhaps most significant as the platform for the “new” Beat writers, allowing their work to find a place in one of the first venues to give credulity to the movement.
A wise and controversially outspoken man, his views have kept him on the Outside, the Beat side. The U.S. Air Force discharged him after two years of service due to his belief in communism. In 1961 he was arrested for distributing obscenity after mailing copies of The Floating Bear, Issue Nine, to subscribers; and his presence at the 1967 riots in Newark, New Jersey, saw him arrested and severely beaten by police. It was also the year he changed his name from LeRoi Jones to Amiri Baraka. The charges against him were eventually dropped and much of his support came from the Beat community.
From Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, his first book of poems in 1961, to his upcoming play, The Most Dangerous Man in America, he has stayed the course, worked and fought for his beliefs of an equitable society.
With the death of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., (who visited Baraka’s Newark home a week before his murder), he left the mostly-white Bohemian literary scene and the environs of the East Village to take up a more radical stance towards Black Nationalism. But despite his distancing himself from the Beats in the mid-sixties, Baraka read poetry and attended panel discussions at Beat-haven Naropa Institute through the 1980-90s, and remained friends with Ginsberg until Allen’s death in 1997.
More recently his poem, “Somebody Blew Up America,” brought an end to his New Jersey “Poet Laureate” post when Governor Jim McGreevey took umbrage to the poem’s questioning of the events surrounding the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centers. The “Who?’ of the exploding owl in the poem echoes the angst of Ginsberg’s voice in “Howl.” Having heard Ginsberg recite live from ten feet away, this writer finds both poems equally as exciting and important.
Baraka has been called “the triple-threat Beat.” His talent has brought him recognition and awards not just in poetry and prose but also in theater as an Obie Award winning playwright. A sampling of awards bestowed upon him include the PEN Open Book Award, the Langston Hughes Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, and National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships. Maybe one of the most bittersweet titles placed on him is that of the Poet Laureate of Newark Public Schools, which he received after Gov. McGreevey’s actions against him
Additionally, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and regarded as a respected academic, having taught at the state universities of New York at Stony Brook and Buffalo, Columbia University, and other institutions. barakaimagec

We started by asking why he walked away from the Beat Movement, which gave him a vehicle to establish himself as writer/thinker/activist to a wider audience.
~
Well, that whole thing [the Beat Movement], was very explosive, but remember that the whole Civil Rights Movement was intensifying. I got out of the service in 1957. The Montgomery bus boycott had gone on a couple years before. After they had successfully made them integrate those buses, they blew up Doctor King’s house. At that point, it really began to be clear this was the kind of struggle that was going on particularly in the south, at least for me, having been in the service for two years.
That was the point that it became clear… until they blew up King’s house and he says… you know, the black people showed up at his house with their rifles and said, “What should we do, what should we do, Doctor King?” and he said, “If any blood be shed, let it be ours.” So my whole generation reacted negatively to that and said, “No, it won’t be like that. If people are going to be shooting, they are going to be shooting back and forth.”
Malcolm X appeared at that scene with his whole idea about, you know, “You treat people like they treat you. They treat you with respect, you treat them with respect. They put their hands on you, send them to the cemetery.”
So a whole generation of black youth responded to that positively as a sign that Doctor King was indeed a normal man instead of some kind of a saintly non-violent kind of perseverant. During that period, the next years of 1958-1960… In 1959, Fidel Castro led that revolution in Cuba so I went down there the next year, 1960, to Cuba and met Fidel, Ché Guevara, and all those people. I also met the black activist from North Carolina, Robert Williams, who was in exile in Cuba because he had really been practicing a kind of a self-defense in North Carolina, a thing that actually ended up with him stopping the [Ku Klux] Klan – removing their hoods… and then he found out it was the State Police! Then they framed him for kidnapping a white couple and he went to Cuba to escape that kind of injustice, so I met him.
Anyway, that was the point – 1960 – when, while I had this kind of awareness of the Civil Rights Movement, I actually became much more directly involved in it. So, about 1965, when Malcolm X was murdered, I felt the best thing to do would be to get out of the Village and move to Harlem. I found that, for a lot of black people, that event made us take stock of ourselves and move out of Greenwich Village into Harlem. That was actually the point. I began the Black Arts Repertory Theater Company in 1965 at 130th Street and Lenox Avenue.

Who else was involved in the theater?

Larry Neal, poet, and Askia Touré, poet, those were two of the leading figures. Many people came to Harlem who were not already in Harlem, because they were attracted to the Black Arts Repertory School that we opened. We would send out trucks into the neighborhood every day… four trucks, one had graphic arts, the other had poetry, the other had music and the other had drama. We did this every day throughout the summer of 1965 so that created a kind of militant venue for Black Arts. They found that was desirable rather than having to submit to the continued racism of Greenwich Village.

The perception is that the Village was not so racist.

At that particular point, a lot of young black people felt it was better to move to Harlem to take an active kind of fighting stance against it, rather than to be isolated in Greenwich Village.

Taking action was better than writing about it or publishing work about it?

Right, absolutely… it was not only about the publishing; it was about actually being an activist in that community and on the street and actually making Black Arts relevant to the movement rather than simply commenting on it.

Do you feel that we are losing ground and giving back too much of what was gained then?

Absolutely! It is like one step forward, two steps back. The whole Obama campaign, the victory… on one hand has brought a kind of very sharp reaction. It is like after the Civil War – once the slaves were so-called “emancipated,” that’s when you get the Ku Klux Klan and the black “codes” and all of that strict re-segregation. Rather than ending slavery you got the whole segregation of the south and the whole dividing of the south into black and white even though they were theoretically free from slavery… but slaves were plunged into sharecropping and many times they couldn’t go anywhere. The white people in the south wouldn’t let them go until years after slavery was over. They started going north and west. You can read about that in a book called The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. She charts that whole immigration out of the south by my people.

Amiri BarakaThe Obama Administration… since the first election, racism feels more prevalent.

It’s a stirring reaction to that election. Now we have the Tea Party. The Tea Party is correspondent to the Klan. They appear… the whole takeover of the Congress and the House of Representatives certainly existed because of these kinds of racist incidents – whether Trayvon Martin in the South [Martin was shot in February 2012] or shooting Amadou Diallo in the Bronx [police in February 1999] or the various kinds of murders out in California. It’s a sharp reaction and it shows the reaction is not just against black people but even young white people, like those taken up with the whole Occupy Movement across the country. There is just widespread dissatisfaction in society as it is.

How do you feel about the Occupy Movement?

I think it’s a good idea. It is uncertain and uneven but still a good idea and many times there are too many people completely lacking in the experience, in social struggle, or just anarchism, walking around who believe in no kind of government and no kind of organized response but certainly who are opposed to blacks in politics and it is a very ragged kind of result that comes out of that – but still the idea is a good idea and whatever kind of result you can get from that, even though it’s going to be much less than it would be if it were organized, you still have to support it.
Part of the reason is that it’s like the Sisyphus Syndrome. The only thing that’s happening now is that, between the Republican force pushing to the right, to restore the kind of Republican rule to go to back to Bush, which had been more extreme – what is underneath this is an attempt to erect a kind of corporate dictatorship. Coming out of all these Republicans’ mouths, especially the Tea Party, is the whole question that government is too big, that government is the enemy. The enemy is the lack of development. The fact that poverty still poxes this country and the development is, so far, uneven without a gap between the little six-tenths of one percent of the wealthy and the rest of the people. This has grown bigger and, actually, since Roosevelt and the New Deal we were talking about closing that gap. We talked about creating a much more equitable society. Now even the middle class is feeling the kind of strains that the working class is feeling. So the only thing the republicans have done…I mean, look at the surplus that Clinton had, billions of dollars in surplus, George Bush got rid of it…in the couple of terms that Bush had, he got rid of it a couple of times. He got rid of it.
How? The war, certainly… 9/11 was, to me, just a door opening to exploit the Middle East.

Like the 2.9 trillion dollars that Rumsfeld announced was missing on the day before 9/11? He claimed they didn’t know what they did with it…

Right! They didn’t know what they did with it… the people who got it know what they did with it… (laughs).

Can any government be righteous?

I’m a communist. I’m a Marxist. I believe that, ultimately, people will become sophisticated enough to understand that they themselves must rule – not just some little, small elitist group of exploiters. That is what the struggle is for – to see if this society itself becomes equitable. It is going to be hard because we are going to have to go through this period of intensified corporate domination, this last ditch struggle and the fact that it is now a global economy. You see that the struggles on Wall Street have affected the whole world and the only way that they feel they can gain any kind of superiority is war. That’s when they can hire more workers. That’s when they can fill their coffers and that’s exactly what they want to do… war… and that’s the only way capitalism can remain balanced on two feet, so to speak, but it will never be secure. That’s the problem that the people of the world face, that they have to finally overthrow these governments. They have to overthrow the monopoly of capitalism. That’s the task that faces humanity if it is ever to be truly civilized. You can’t be civilized with capitalism. It is too elitist. Most people are up against it. Most people cannot ever get a real education. Most of us still live in slums. It is something that is destined to be destroyed that will be very difficult to destroy it in its last days.

Speaking of last days, what do you think of the FEMA camps and the things like the Georgia law that is in Congress to bring back the guillotine?Baraka book cover

Are you serious about the guillotine?

Yes, it is a bill in legislature. They say they are running out of the drug to kill people with. You also have the Social Security Administration buying thousands of rounds of ammunition lately and you have to wonder what they need that for.

That’s the penalty for moving towards a corporate dictatorship because these people, the republicans and the Tea Party and these people, they’re not talking about the government. They’re talking about the government. They are talking about straight-out rule by the rich. It may be a terrifying scenario but that is what is in the works unless the people can find the wherewithal, the understanding, and the organization to resist it.
Even in its ragged state, I would rather have the Occupiers than nothing at all. The problem is that, too often, the people in power are opposed to the Occupiers. That’s the problem, most of the people who are in these posts, these small bureaucratic posts, they are even acting against their own interests, not to mention the police and those who are charged with keeping the order – an order that does not even serve them! It’s a tragic situation. But I don’t know what Social Security would be doing with all those guns. I don’t know that.

“Somebody Blew Up America.” You were censored by the New Jersey governor for publishing and performing this poem. The media depicts others who have questioned the events of 9/11 as crazy.

I understand it, yeah. That’s it. You got it. All you have to do is open your mouth, like they say you’ve got freedom of speech – as long as you don’t say anything. The minute you open your mouth, then that’s the end of that. Then they attack you. It has certainly happened to me. It happens to all kinds of people… even somebody like Bruce Springsteen, when he first sang that song about “fighting the yellow man for the white man.” They silenced him for a few years but he managed to come back. It’s that way, if you talk to say anything. There is a long history of that, particularly (for) Afro-Americans, but everybody else, too.
Like that attack on the film industry in the fifties, to remove any taint of the Left from the film industry, the blacklisting of the whole film industry. The whole McCarthyism thing and the fact that, during World War Two, the United States’ closest allies were Russia and China, but after World War Two our closest allies were suddenly the same people we were fighting, Germany and Japan… figure that out! Then China and Russia became our worst enemies. Why is that? It’s because they wanted to cut loose any kind of sign of supporting socialism. Since China and Russia were socialist countries our struggle with these socialist countries, then, was to make sure they were opposed to that (socialism). Finally, Russia succumbed and China has been riddled with imperialist advance. Finally, this corporate America is what dominates and wants to make sure that monopoly capitalism and imperialism outlast anything.

Why do you think people do not pay more attention to this?

The people who could make the most noise about it are afraid they are going to lose their whatever, their positions, afraid they are going to lose what they have. The problem with the great majority of people is that they are not organized and sometimes they don’t have the facts so they don’t know what is going on. It happens too often, even if you elect good people… like in Newark back in 1970, the first black mayor, the second black mayor. We haven’t had a white mayor in Newark since 1970… but then we get somebody like Cory Booker, the present mayor, who actually is sent here by corporate ventures to turn the whole advance, the drive to some kind of equitable city government, around. Now we are struggling against that. Now we have a situation where the mayor is trying to sell our water to private interests. It’s unbelievable. He is trying to sell the water plus about two thousand acres of land where we have the water.

Water is getting more expensive, like oil.

That’s what they want to do – jack the prices up and so this is an ongoing struggle. The largest corporation in Newark, which is Prudential Insurance, the largest insurance company in the world, they haven’t paid any taxes since 1970. One of their buildings is worth 300 million dollars a year in taxes. They were given a tax abatement in 1970. That was the “white-mail” they put on the new black city government, “Either give us a tax abatement or we are leaving.” That is not supposed to be eternal. I mean, you could give them a thirty-year abatement and it still would be over by 2000. We still have twelve years of twelve times 300 million dollars a year, we wouldn’t have a deficit… but they refuse to pay their taxes. They built an arena. They have the NCAA [basketball]; they have the Devils hockey team, which is an interesting idea for Newark. When they have all kinds of big events, they say we owe them money. They utilize our water. They utilize our police for security. We have to pay the police overtime any time they have an event and they say owe money.

Funny how all the venues are named after financial institutions these days, as opposed to names of great people.

That’s right. That’s just an indication of where everything is going. Everything is named after a bank or some other kind of corporation… even baseball stadiums. That’s absurd. Here everything is named after Prudential. (laughs)

Which medium do you find most useful in reaching people and motivating them?

The problem, again, is the control by the organizations. In the sixties, for instance, the whole emergence of abstraction and the corporations first fought against abstraction. That is the problem with the arts… it is like “freedom of the press”. You can have freedom of the press if you own a press otherwise you have to deal with a mimeograph machines and small distribution. That’s the way it is with all of the arts. That is the theater of grants. Somebody has to bestow that support upon the artist. Unless you really qualify, philosophically, to be in those venues, you are not going to be there.
I produced a play back in the sixties when I was perhaps unclear what I wanted to say, though they could deal with that to a limited degree. Back then it made it very, very difficult for me to get anything onstage. I have a play coming out in the spring about [W.E.B.] Dubois, called The Most Dangerous Man in America. That’s what the FBI called him. It’ll be a month run at a small theater on the Lower East Side.

You are accomplished and awarded in so many art forms… if you were to be remembered by one piece of work, what would you choose it to be?

I think the book on black music, Blues People, that I wrote… people still quote that and cite that. I think that is the most important one. People came out in 1963 and is the book of mine that is the most constantly-referenced. I think it was the most popular. I have had other works which had a great deal of (laughs) in the United States.
It’s about African-American music from Africa and how it developed in the United States. The seeds of that book came to me in a class I had with a man named Sterling Brown, a great poet who was my English teacher at Howard University. A friend of mine named A.B. Spellman who is also in the book, and who wrote a book called Four Lives in the Bebop Business, we had both finished class and he invited us to his house because we had some pretensions of knowing about the music. Once we were there, he showed us. He had this library with music, by genre, chronologically, by artist, and he told me, “That’s your history.”
In that kind of capsule statement what he was saying was that if you analyze the music, if you follow the music, you’ll also find out about the peoples’ history. So that’s what I did – tried to show how when the music changed it signified change in the status of the people and their condition. Everything about their lives has undergone some important change and the music is a result of the affect of the change. It goes to the earliest kind of music – the slave song, the early blues, the city blues, you know, the kinds of variations on that… like coming into the north and how it affected the music. It covers up to the 1960s.

You collaborated with The Roots about ten years ago… in hip-hop. Who are the most important artists or have been?

It changed a great deal from the early hip-hop of the 1970s, which was just a field called “rap.” Hip-hop is actually a kind of a category that includes different aspects of it all… the DJ, the rapping, graffiti, break dance. Rap, particularly, changed a great deal from the 1970s. The early rappers were much more conscious of making a social statement of protesting the kind of conditions they lived in and that black people lived in. It was really a kind of urban journal type thing, like Afrika Bambaataa from the South Bronx. Then, later on, people like Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
RunDMC was a period of development of that was put together by the guy (named) Russell Simmons, who then became rap’s biggest entrepreneur.

Do you think people like Russell Simmons can be as well-accepted and still keep an edge?

People have to sort that out themselves and find out how those kinds of ties (either) support what they are doing or obstruct it. They might just change what they are doing or what they thought and come out with something that may not be as important as what they were doing before. It depends on how you deal with relationships with those institutions and organizations.

Can you tell more about your new play?

The play is about W.E.B. DuBois, when he was about 83 years old and was taking a very activist position against nuclear weapons and everything, including going to conferences in Europe to protest nuclear weapons. He was indicted as an “agent of foreign power,” being a “father” of books. He had just run for political office, he and a man named Vito Marcantonio, a lawyer who was really the last Italian communist in the U.S. Congress. Anyway, when DuBois was indicted because he was in a peace organization [he was chairman of the Peace Information Center, formed in 1950], they had the trial in Washington, DC, and Marcantonio defended him. He was the lawyer.
It was a drawn out trial but finally he won the case because it turned out that the chief witness against him was, in fact, the man who had invited DuBois to join the peace organization. So the thing was overthrown but DuBois was prescient enough to understand it. that he said, “Now the little children will no longer see my name.”
After that they took his passport and tried to keep him from traveling. Then in 1958, the Supreme Court overthrew that ruling and gave him back is passport so he was able to travel throughout the world… Europe, Russia, China. He had been invited to edit Encyclopedia Africana by Kwame Nkruman, who was the newly-elected Prime Minster of Ghana. He went there, declared his membership in the Communist Party and he died in Ghana on the day before the March on Washington, which was started by Reverend Martin Luther King, so it’s a real cycle.

That covers a lot of territory.

It is going to be mainly the drama of just before the indictment… and how they prepared for this trial. The main part of the play is the trial itself, and the rest focuses on his travels around the world, particularly Russia, China, and Ghana. That should be out in spring of next year.

Did you have a personal relationship with Malcolm X?

I met Malcolm one time, after he had his house in Long Island firebombed and he was moving around Manhattan. I saw him, actually, with a man named Mohamed Babu at the Waldorf Astoria, where Babu had a room. We met into the wee hours of the morning. That was the only time I actually talked to Malcolm.

You and Lenny Bruce were often mentioned in the same news stories and seem to have been crucified at the same time.

I didn’t know him. Like I said if you speak out and identify with any kind of activism you are going to get jumped. That’s it – and you can’t expect any other thing to happen.

Did you like his act? Were his racial routines funny to a black person?

Sure, at the time. What was relevant is that he was trying to be for real, to bring some reality to America and make a commentary on America and that was the point. Given the content, he was attacked for profanity and obscenity and all those things.
At that time, I was arrested for sending obscenity through the mail [for] publishing The Floating Bear. In one of them I had a play of mine in there or a short story… whatever, and an essay by William Burroughs. [The material deemed obscene consisted of “The Eighth Ditch” an excerpt from his novel, From the System of Dante’s Hell, and the Burroughs’ poem, “Roosevelt after Inauguration”].
This stuff that happened to Lenny Bruce was common, given that situation, because that is when that whole attack was common when you tried to do that – you were met with some kind of withering charges. I defended myself in court by reading the decision on [James] Joyce’s Ulysses and certainly that won the decision for me… (laughs).

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The 1934 Supreme Court decision to lift the ban on Ulysses opened the doors for the publishing of many literary works besides those published by Baraka. Joyce’s book was used in the defense of novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover and The Tropic of Cancer. The works of Amiri Baraka have, similarly, pushed open doors for new generations of creative minds to pass through.
Mr. Baraka was open and generous with his time. He still reads poetry in performance and we encourage you to see him if you ever have a chance. If you want Beat, he is more real than all the recent movies about the “usual suspects.” He is a living literary treasure and his work should be celebrated by all freedom-loving Americans and World Citizens.
Watch for his new play, The Most Dangerous Man in America, in spring and pick up a few of his books while you are waiting. He is the real deal and he speaks more sense than any other public figure that comes to mind.

Salute him and enjoy his work

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