Staff Founder Lamont B. Steptoe Poetry Editor S.W. Lynch Art Editor & Director Melissa Rothman Special Thanks To Alex Marshall for his vital support. To Lamont B. Steptoe for his inspiration and guidance. To Nzadi Keita and Jim Cory for their featured readings. To Robert Zell and The Pen and Pencil for hosting the launch party. To the sponsors of this edition. And to all contributing poets and artists who made this issue possible. Acknowledgements Lester Mobley’s “Hush Tone” was published in Chapbooks: The First Three (Mobley Publishing, 2013). Theodore A. Harris’ “Statement on the Collage Triptych: Capitalism! Capitalism! Capitalism!” was first published in Kara Walker Yes / No / ? (Midmarch Arts Press, 2009) Ed. Howardena Pindell and first delivered at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec. Lamont B. Steptoe’s “Refugee” was first published as a broadside (Whirlwind Press, 1987). David Roskos later published “Refugee” in volume 1, number 1 of BIG HAMMER, 1988, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Steptoe’s “Refugee” and “Night Watchman” were both published in America Morning/ Mourning (Whirlwind Press, 1990). Dennis Brutus’ “Remembering June 16, 1976” and [Gull gliding against] (as “Gull gliding”) were first published in leafdrift (Whirlwind Press, 2005). First Printing Copyright © 2014 by Whirlwind Magazine All rights reserved. No individual poem or artwork may be reproduced in any form without the author’s permission. All inquiries should be addressed to: Whirlwind Press P.O Box 109 Camden, NJ 08101-0109 Or emailed requests to: email@example.com Printed in the United States of America
Lauren Findlay Mixed Media (Right)
Table of Contents 1 “The Review” 2 “An Interview with Lamont B. Steptoe” 5 “Hush Tone” Lester Mobley 6 “Sarah in 5's” Jim Cory 7 “James M. Estep” Jim Cory 8 “The Conception of Factory Farming” Tim Lynch 9 “after clubbing” Tim Lynch 10 “Ode to Trayvon Martin” Courtney Gambrell 11 “Wealth” Robert Zell 12 “Made it” Bryan Myers 14 “Women's Healthcare Year: 2100” Keri Mikulski 15 “vessel” Melissa Rothman 17 “Numinous” Jason Harrington 18 “our unacceptable ode to the land” Mikaella Antonio 20 “Hunger” Maniparna S. Majumder 21 “Dream” Maniparna S. Majumder 23 “Dear New World,” Kyle Malinosky 24 “Moon Sequences II & III” S.W. Lynch 25 “Statement on the Collage Triptych...” Theodore A. Harris 28 “Ribbons” Nzadi Keita 29 “Skin” Nzadi Keita 30 “Refugee” Lamont B. Steptoe 31 “Night Watchman” Lamont B. Steptoe 32 “Remembering June 16, 1976” Dennis Brutus 33 “[gull gliding against]” Dennis Brutus 34 Biographies
Submit to Whirlwind Send up to three poems in the body of the email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Send artwork and/or photography to: email@example.com
The Review Welcome to the debut issue of Whirlwind. Here you will find poems, art, and essays that bear witness. Whether it’s an ode to the otherwise unspeakable, or a collage reflecting urban decay, we’re interested in assertive art. This magazine is published under the auspices of Whirlwind Press, which was originally founded by Lamont b. Steptoe in order to publish Dennis Brutus. Here you will find an interview with Steptoe, two of his poems, two of Brutus’ poems, as well as poetry and art submitted to Whirlwind specifically for its first issue. In Dennis Brutus’ poetry collection leafdrift (Whirlwind Press, 2005) the late poet called for others “… to stop writing this stream… this diarrhea of poetry / too many words too much saying / we are deafened by this massing of sound.” Consequently, “the sacredness of poetry becomes banal” and “the shrines of poetry become junkyards.” Brutus wasn’t being elitist; on the contrary, he was speaking of those whose aims are to drive away the majority by poetic pandering and senseless word games. In the spirit of James Baldwin, Brutus proclaimed “…go on, create… only keep trying always to make it better…” because “…in time we may have a world of beauty.” Whirlwind aspires to contribute to this world of beauty, which means that the purpose of this magazine is to advocate purpose. So naturally the following poems selected for this issue are brief, accessible, and meaningful. Lester Mobley’s Hush Tone demands us to pay attention in a world infused with chaos. Jim Cory’s Sarah in 5’s celebrates the life of Sarah Vaughan by recounting her every movement in a live performance and his Michael M. Estep 1960-1993 is an elegy weighted with a tantalizing mix of urgency and uncertainty. Tim Lynch’s The Conception of Factory Farming is a haunting interior monologue that shares a similarity in style with the powerful narrative of Cormac McCarthy’s prose. His second, after clubbing, tells the story of witnessing the defeated, the homeless who’ve been beaten into premature coffins in our society. Courtney Gambrell’s Ode to Trayvon Martin is an evocative piece focusing on an event which needs to be put in historical context. Robert Zell’s Wealth is illuminating in its interiority and radical perspective shift. Bryan Myers’ Made It subtly takes us to the heart of alienation. Keri Mikulski’s Women’s Healthcare… provides humor in a surprising place, a speculative poem which is both cold and insightful in its futuristic role reversals. Melissa Rothman’s Vessel is precise and unforgiving and yet at the same time beautiful and captivating. Jason Harrington’s Numinous is reminiscent of Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow in its juxtaposition of light-heartedness and profundity, although stripped of the novel’s post-modernity. Mikaella Antonio’s our unnacceptable ode to the land reminds us Americans of what we must never forget. Kyle Malinosky’s Dear New World, is an epistolary poem that uses irony in order to portray the hypocrisy of Eurocentric teachers and their imperialist forbearers. Maniparna S. Majumder’s Hunger reflects on the idea that starvation is ironically unsolvable in a world of stratified excess. Her Dream is especially heart wrenching and powerful considering the recent international attention given to the plight of her countrywomen. The final six poems are all excerpted from Whirlwind Press published books. The three poets, M. Nzadi Keita, Lamont B. Steptoe, and Dennis Brutus, end the first issue of Whirlwind. Three poets who inspire us with their poetic expertise and experience struggling against oppression. We can only hope that this magazine contributes, in any way, to help us keep our “…eyes wide open / like luminous winter stars / sentenced to electric chair deaths.” -S. W. Lynch
An Interview with Lamont B. Steptoe S. W. Lynch: What year, and under what circumstances was Whirlwind Press founded? Steptoe: Whirlwind Press was founded in 1987. I founded Whirlwind in order to publish Dennis Brutus’ Airs and Tributes, which came out in 1989. Before that, my broadside, Refugee, which is situated on the Brooklyn Bridge, was the first publication of the press in 1987. I felt like I wanted to be able to publish Dennis Brutus in America, that he needed to reach a wider audience here, and once I did publish him it was just a matter of going forward from there. I published my own work, and that of other poets, because I didn’t want to play the game with university presses and commercial presses. Being a publisher is a powerful position. Not only are you able to empower poets who are emerging writers and help them become established writers, you become more than just a poet. You can give something back, and I wanted to become someone who could give something back to poetry. The reason why it’s called Whirlwind Press is because I was influenced by a quote from from Marcus Garvey, this is from his Philosophy and Opinion, “Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm. Look for me all around you, for with God’s grace I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies, and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for Liberty, Freedom, and Life.” It also was a way for me to bring together my two mentors, Sam Allen whom I met in 1985, as he wrote the introduction for Dennis Brutus’ Airs and Tributes. 2
The poet, Gil Ott, was the founder of a publication called Paper Air; he was a lang uage poet, and he worked at the Painted Bride Arts Center and I asked him to edit Brutus’ manuscript. It was published on 100 percent rag paper and five hundred copies were made. It’s very rare now. It’s worth a lot of money. However, Amiri Baraka wrote a negative review of Airs and Tributes, because he felt that Brutus’ poetry wasn’t militant enough because of what was happening in South Africa at the time. Brutus became upset with Baraka and they had a rift for awhile. It was published in the African American Review. I was at Baraka’s house one night and he said, “oh you were responsible for that book?” Dennis felt like: Who was Baraka to tell me what to write about? [In regard to Apartheid in South Africa. Lynch: What authors have been published under Whirlwind Press? Steptoe: The late Dennis Brutus, Bea Joiner, Aaren Yeatts Perry, the late poet Justin Vitiello, Askia M. Toure, Seneca Turner, Quincy Scott Jones, Dr. Keith Gilyard, Dr. Tony Medina, and Sean Lynch. Forthcoming from Whirlwind Press is the professor, Nzadi Keita, Rocky Wilson, and three more books by me. Lynch: What sets Whirlwind Press apart from other Publishing houses? Steptoe: It gives people the opportunity to have another book out there that maybe otherwise wouldn’t be published. Since A Long Movie of Shadows won the American Book Award it’s been a press that has the reputation of winning a major national award. It gives exposure to poets which would be harder for them to get otherwise. Lynch: Where can Whirlwind Press Books be found?
Photograph courtesy of Thomas Morton
Steptoe: Most of the books are distributed by the poet. The books are published in editions of a thousand. It’s up to the poet. Robin’s Bookstore [on 13th and Locust in Philadelphia] carried Whirlwind Press’s books. Since it shut down, the books can be found on Amazon. Although a lot of the books are expensive because they are so rare and signed by the poet. However, Penn Book Center [in West Philly], and La Unique Bookstore in Camden still carry some of the press’s books. Giovanni’s Room carried them, because of my homoerotic material, but it’s been shut down recently.
Lynch: What was the significance of publishing Brutus’ poetry in relation to what was happening in the 80′s? Steptoe: South Africa was still in the throes of achieving liberation. Anything published by Brutus was of importance because of his activism and his struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa. So I know I must have gotten onto some government lists because of what I was doing for Dennis Brutus. The premise was that it would be an underground press. If you knew about it you knew about it. If you didn’t you didn’t. It was like how if you showed up at Baraka’s house he would say that “you must be one of the advanced,” because if you believed in all the institutions that were already out there then you wouldn’t be at his house. He pushed the idea that if you were progressive you would have to set up alternative structures in order to fight the empire. And that was the theory keeping Whirlwind Press alive; it was to keep something alive that countered the empire. Lynch: Why Camden? Steptoe: Because it’s the place where Walt Whitman rests eternally. I wanted Whirlwind Press to be based in that city because as a teenager Whitman influenced me. He also influenced Brutus in South Africa. So I figured yeah, Whirlwind Press needs to be based in Camden. One time I told Gwen Brooks that I’m leaving Philly, she said “no you’re not,” I said “why not?” She said “because you founded that press.” Once I told Ishmael Reed I’m moving to San Francisco, he said “no you’re not.” I said “why not?” He said “because I need you right where you are.” Lynch: What are Whirlwind Press’s goals for the future? Steptoe: I hope that after I’m gone it will last. I founded it for my daughter La Mer. I still have dreams of her keeping it alive. 3
Hush Tone Lester Mobley
Shhh… Silence! Have you ever heard its sound? Shhh… Hush! Appreciate its qui-es’cence? Listen… Shush! Inside the heart thumps... Louder! It fills the void betwixt thee ears that chaos has abandoned.
Photo By Rebecca Menichetti (left)
Sarah in 5’s
“Why do I just quiver and forget all resistance When you and your magic pass by? -Hoagy Carmichael, “The Nearness of You” looks as if she just missed a train or lost her best lipstick + Requests? Requests? some fool in the upper tier screams “Body & Soul!!!!!” 2 rolled eyeballs roar him to silence + watching her slip seamlessly from casual disdain to bashful kid in the throes of a 1st hopeless crush + vowel shrapnel flies decapitating musical statuary + throwing wide loops of sound around the note hauling it all back in +
1 flubb’d lyric at the keys makes apparent the ease w/which a fully developed talent absorbs its mistakes
+ manna of damp Kleenex dropt in open pocketbooks between piano runs when you and your magic pass by… + that instant in which affection morphs to love & love ardor & where ardor’s ashes blow down all the streets sleep secretly rearranges + flown to the moon & back escorted by Technicolor virtuosi dripping arpeggios + crinkle of shrinkwrapt roses the only off note where sorcery’s implicit wisdom spins its dim diaphanous afterglow + her taffeta armada moving on stage sweat seas under hairspray skies
James M. Estep (1960-1993) The deeply religious don’t listen to Doris Day or traipse from booth to booth in pornshops on their way to noon Mass. Do they? It’s relaxing to know you can live by your wits, a skill sometimes acquired on long distance sex vacations financed by bad checks or pocketbook grabbing. Tweed thoughts. Lost to moths. Among the odder gifts from that itinerant existence. (“Yuck, yuck.”) Ever notice that where will & talent intersect, French is spoken? Just joking. Well, maybe. Luck’s outsized vibe kicks in when the going gets tough & the tough involves the American health care system. That pleasant chat w/the self-conversant babbler people run from a sign that deeper fears than mere discomfort had successfully been addressed. Goal? “To remain vertical.” Check. He went out knowing his one published story was a strobe-lit masterpiece of the form. Michael how are you feeling today? “Fresh as a daisy w/AIDS.”
The Conception of Factory Farming Oklahoma, 1935
After catching the first rabbit that leapt into his arms and bludgeoning a bowl in its head with a stick in the frenzied dust of the corral, one meaty leg now shackled in his schoolboy fist, the body limply bent, Â cheek pulled to the dry earthâ€™s breast, the boy ordered the letters of the word slaughter on a blackboard in his head and imagined the letter S sketched in near-black blood on the chest of every picnic-full man beating out a thuck, beating out the brains of a rabbit held up by its toes and grating like a newborn, the hungry, heart-wormed vermin piling where they fell, their bodies like so many small cattle, so many that the boy wondered why this strategy was not employed to make quick work of killing cattle instead of letting them eat so much dust their bellies grew bulbous with compacted boulders, and their knees bowed, and they fell and starved, pregnant to anyone who did not know the movements of dust, all of them forms of flailing, dust like a frightened boy, finding his home in the wet dark.
after clubbing Like the dying in a wartime Whitman poem, homeless men lie swaddled in mitts of rugs and robes. PATCO station like a tiled coffin. They may be, indeed, dead. They may be cold stones set here to weight and level this long tunnel so we might breathe easy moving under scaffolded mountains.
Ode to Trayvon Martin Courtney Gambrell
If only for a bag of skittles and a sip of iced tea could I sample the fear of a young man. Strive for the American Dream? Langston’s speculation got crusty with sugar. Disillusions at the black man’s feet? Blood dark and thick like molasses flowed as the spirit of a young man drifted away with the undertow. If only for a day in the life of the modern nigga. Still profiled, legally molested, and laid to rested by bullets ever-astray. Florida says “it’s okay to stand your ground!” But which one? The one tilled and hoed by slaves of old? If only for a bag of skittles and a sip of iced tea could injustice taste all the more bittersweet.
Wealth Robert Zell
Child eyes smiled, Wide-opening my heart, Like a bottomless purse Compassion-filled, enriched With infinite patience. I dug down deep Trying to be charitable, Searching for a present, Discovering only that I was completely broke. Child hands waved, Crossing in decline. Didnâ€™t want a token, Just a moment, a slice Of precious time. Child arms opened; I hugged in reply.
Made it Bryan Myers
well I made it back to Denver was just here two weeks ago and before that it was last summer and the summer before that although this time it seems to feel a little different not just the altitude but the people they’re all high throughout the streets and around the bars and in certain automobiles an aroma of Mary she laughs as I circle the blocks looking for something to eat finally winded and sweating I sit down in an Irish pub order a beer and glancing at the menu I remember this place what I recall best is why I left
Photo By Rebecca Menichetti (right)
Women’s Healthcare Year: 2100 Keri Mikulski
“Already, 40% of doctors are women.” - The Guardian, 2009 No more little blue pill for male sexual satisfaction. Women now take the pill to prevent bad cells and lift libido. Women massaged during their annual exam, a simple blood test only if necessary. Men have to get swabbed spread eagle, PSA tests don’t exist anymore. Pregnancies are now negotiated, most of the time men end up with the bun. Since the C-section scar never peeks out from underneath their swim trunk. Men sit in pink waiting rooms annually, no more beers, cheers. But, Sports Center is still streaming, for the women, of course. When it’s their turn, metal vices squeeze their nipples. Purple nurples in locker rooms no longer fun. Pictures are taken, one-two-three. It’s over before a Sports Center segment. Women wait for their loved ones. Light as a feather and lifted from their own heavy burden.
Lauren Findlay LoveMap D (Detail) Mixed Media Collage on Cavas l
Melissa Rothman Iâ€™m sorry for your little wounds the polarization of your temperature. I know you are injured, feverish. Fixated on the little sunburst of light where my crotch meets my thighs. Convince me a third timemy self-worth expands along with that space.
Numinous Jason Harrington
Right now Right under and over your noses, clouding your eyes, and covering your mouth, We are doing absolutely terrifying things with a set of mathematics known only to a set few, combining structure with inevitable decay, illumination with the modern hangman’s noose. To profit off the kill, to pull the trigger so remote and so pure that it doesn’t rattle the soul a millimeter until you need it to a thousand points of light for a thousand lives for a thousand dollars for a thousand bullets sent in beautiful, parabolic arcs
Newtonian! Newtonian! Newtonian! all the way home. By the time you realize we’re not speaking in metaphorsat least not ones meant for you to understandit is always too late.
Photo by Rebecca Menichetti
our unacceptable ode to the land Mikaella Antonio
as the sun sears hot onto the naked napes of our necks, we dance barefoot, in long skirts, to feel closer to the earth. we claim a rhythm in the reeds. we stain the soles of our feet red, red with clay. we think ourselves indigenous, forget that our own skin is eburnean, forget that we killed to dance here.
Karlie Richmond Acrylic on board
Manipara S. Majumder Hunger All the world seems an oven The moon, a big silvery bread Ubiquitous urge of mortal beings Hunger has only mouth, no head.
Dream The anger fumed inside me, I kept silent The rage made me feverish I coiled my emotion I’ve been taught, like a tree, I should spread myself Giving shade to everyone Shouldn’t forget my roots Never utter a word When somebody plucks flowers Or leaves just for fun. My boughs should bear fruits. The day must come When my silence Will speak for me, ‘’Victory, thy name is woman’’
Dear New World, Kyle Malinosky
I will break you Loot, plunder, Cut, and cage you Rape, enslave, Beat, and burn you And if my gun Does not kill you My blanket will, So keep warm Sincerely, The Old World Ps: I love you
From Moon Sequence S.W. Lynch
II. Survival instincts in full swing while operating machinery speeding south on a bowed bridge looking east as Luna rose. Death embodied in the sky explosions natural explosions in natural grandeur white death. Luna rose as she never has as illusions nullified fear was reality at its clearest. Luna rose and she never will in similar form, life and nothing in one moment. The storm consumed the atmosphere. Consumed itself. Atoms vacuumed into oblivion. Bovine humans munched cheeseburgers while driving through dark matter warping vapid brains. Magenta tissue bled out sentience. Luna rose. III. These humans were not scared out of sheer stupidity. They felt safe in their machines. Congested asphalt artery nine at night, Friday, June 13th, 2014. Luna rose in proof of their ignorance. She devoured particles in purgatorial drift, planet Earth. Space shuddered Terra dark energy pulsed into minds people felt frightened inexplicably. Immediate fear of blackness. Animals froze in abeyance obeying nature. Humanity continued to destroy to feign solutions to pop pills to disdain their immune system to ignore their self-inflicted wounds. All the while precedents loomed in the past. They never realized they inhabited houses of Masonic stone. Let alone understood that the Scottish Rite’s preeminent child would fall faster than those deemed lesser. That the child’s scrapes would fester
Theodore A. Harris Statement on the collage triptych:
Capitalism! Capitalism! Capitalism!
Left panel I placed a solider in the foreground of my collage, Vetoed Dreams, 1995, a critique on the past and present state of America’s domestic and foreign policy that is dictated by the business class in this country. The soldier in the foreground of the collage functions as if it were a mural, painted by the voiceless, who invert the image of the U.$. Capitol building, to make their dissent visible on the wall, in the street, every place in the world where people are affected by a U.$ Military might that imposes sanctions or overthrows sovereign governments; it pollutes the world with its virus’s; IMF, G-8, NATO, WTO, along with the Patriot Act that threatens to put a silencer on the weapon of speech!
“It is a new world we want not an endowed chair in the concentration camp... Art must be our magic weapon to create andre-createtheworldand ourselves as part of it…” It is clear that Kara Walkers’ projected revisionist history murals size carica-Amiri Baraka tures are the sceneography in a theThe concept for this work is inspired by two lines in the manifesto titled Art is In Danger! by George Grosz, John Heartfield, and Wieland Herzfelde, reprinted in the anthology Art on the Line: Essays by Artists about the Point Where Their Art & Activism Intersect Edited by Jack Hirschman (Curbstone Press 2002). In the main the text is about how the rulers abuse culture to cover up their crimes. Hence the stanza; “Art belongs in the palaces of the bloodsuckers, where it may hide their wallsafes.” The poetry of this vivid statement never left my head. The more I turned it over in my mind I connected it to the current state of the high end art market.
atre of white supremacy coming from the mind of a young African American woman who has a harlequin novel neo-colonial understanding of the world. It is all too contextually believable for her to have been quoted as saying “All black people in America want to be slaves a little bit.”(1) When Kara Walker attended an opening for her father the painter Larry Walker at the Sande Webster Gallery in Philadelphia, I asked her did she say this and she told me she was mis quoted. But she never publicly re-tracked the statement. Center panel
“Art belongs in the palaces of the bloodsuckers, where it may hide their wallsafes” this line is placed at the I think one way to gauge the top of the center panel because it is neo - liberalism of the art world is to the seed for the conception of this check out which artists are held up work. This triptych is that statement and which artists are never allowed made visual to go beyond the surout of the basement. Using that face, which is why we can see below statement and the work of Kara Walk- what’s behind the U.$. Department er as a foundation helps to articulate Homeland Security. It evokes a chillthe larger concerns in my triptych col- ing reminder of the event reported in lage entitled Capitalism! Capitalism! the April 2003 issue of Capitalism! 2008.
Harper’s Magazine, “On January 27, 2003, a tapestry of Pablo Picasso’s epic painting Guernica that hangs at the entrance of the Security Council of the United Nations in New York City was deemed an inappropriate background for press briefings about the possibility of a war in Iraq. It was therefore draped.” Right Panel I choose Kara Walker’s silhouette of what looks like a jockey riding a Black woman’s back like a horse, to critique its ideological context. For me this image pictures the enslaved wearing good shoes and being enthusiastically submissive to what Amiri Baraka calls “slave master romeos”(2) the rapists, that rode us like government mules, until the muscle came off our bones. In Kara Walker’s work evidence we tried to escape this fascist system where everyday life is a living hell is completely absent. In her revisionist history of slavery we never tried to over throw it, we submitted happily and paid our way as obedient servants into heaven and Arlington National Cemetery. For capitalists that want to keep our flesh in chains, the value of Kara Walker’s work is priceless, intentional omission to obscure the truth. What’s being guarded here is the lie used to justify murder paradoxically using the hand of a African American woman artist to do the killing of our history, the fight for self determination. They keep their hands clean by funding a mockery of our heroic struggle. The works of Kara Walker and Glenn Ligon, remind me of the reaction James Baldwin had to the assassination of Malcolm X; when he said “the hand that pulled the trigger didn’t buy the bullet” which is to say, in this panel the silhouette is protecting the wallsafe, hiding it. The art is being guarded by a global art market of war profiteers, who hold up any artists of color who toe an imperialist line. Mocking artists such as Faith Ringgold, Benny Andrews and others in the Black Emergency Cultural 25
Coalition who, in an ironic twist made it possible for Kara Walker to exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art etc. The promotion of the pro - mammy art of Kara Walker is a move to degrade the potency of revolutionary artists such as Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Faith Ringgold, Howardena Pindell, and Betye Saar. It is an effort to make them less visible because un like the anti intellectual work of Kara Walker, the art of these artists critically exposes the sick mind of mercantilism and its evil twins war and slavery! Her work is never a critical examination of our history of resistance against the flesh business. It can only be read as a pathetic effort to appease the powerful and climb the status ladder erected from our bones. Until some mention of the many slave revolts gets painted into her visual language the depiction of African Americans as a people submissive to rape, lynching, the cultural imperialism will distort our image into racist caricatures. It is because of these facts we wear our flesh like flames fire-hosed with the slobber of biting dogs. Unlike Walker my goal as an anti-imperialist artist is to create art that will act as propaganda for liberation refusing to hold up oppres sive regimes and an oligarchy that resolves conflict with sanctions and nooses of war, where the Pentagon is a wounded guillotine re-tooling factory putting silencers on crucifixion nails. The main argument I put forward in this triptych collage, is that it is impossible to understand the history of resistance from the view point of Africans enslaved in America in the visual language of Kara Walker’s work. Her work is identical to Colin Powell’s empty projections at the UN Security Council to justify the U. $. going to war in Iraq by showing diagrams saying they were hiding Weapons of Mass Destruction for which there was no evidence.
Delivered McGill University Monday October 17th 2011 Notes Thanks to Howardena Pindell, Steven Jones, and Stephen Paulmier for their suggestions and encouragement on this essay and artwork. 1. Kara Walker as quoted by Jerry Saltz in Flash Art 1996 2. This line is from Amiri Baraka’s poem titled In the Tradition (For Black Arthur Blythe) in the book The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues (William Marrow & Company 1987) by Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Amina Baraka
Theodore A Harris Capitalism! Capitalism! Capitalism!
M. Nzadi Keita Ribbons the gulls cry ribbons clean and fresh-ironed with no ties to my face any more than the next maid barber or blue-eyed crone madam or mule cutting and carrying rising to gray marriage only to circle back because they can and drag the sun across their gaze on us again to witness hands again to study grief heart and will free on a string I would change us both to gulls if I could if I could
Skin My eyes donâ€™t always do the seeing. Lips, sky. Fevers, flowers, music. Hands. Water til it freezes. I have this way of reading through my skin. Some wild touch outside of me drags words in. Quivers are always awake. They live in my thumbs, and knowledge sits steady, sparkling my neck where it dips. The moon makes all law elsewhere, chooses and changes the places: the kneesâ€™ flat backs, one hot heel. My gift, I say, gives me two bodies, pressed togetherone for moving , one for sighted touch one alive inside the other, skin- the living window in between.
Lamont B. Steptoe Refugee I came to know that my entire life had been spent in refugee camps in spite of television electric lights running water cadillac footprints down asphalt roads all moments lived had been in the camps on the outskirts of Babylon So many are blinded by the juke box lights of Saturday night mornings They never understand the nature of camps captivity or madness
Night Watchman While many of my countrymen countrywomen are asleep I cannot rest my eyes wide open like luminous winter stars sentenced to electric chair deaths My soul awaits a sign from heaven listens for the far approach of days that come like broken beggars disguised warriors overthrowing an empire passing by sentinels too blind to know liberationâ€™s sons
Lauren Findlay Diver Mixed Media Collage on Canvas
Dennis Brutus Remembering June 16, 1976 (Student Uprising in Soweto) They are coming back: through woodsmoke weaving from fires and swirls of dust from erratic breezes you will see ghosts are returning ghosts of young men, young women, young boys, young girls, students: and if you look closely you will see many of them have torn flesh have wounds bright with fresh blood: and there is blood in the sands of Soweto the ghosts are coming back past barking police dogs through shifting veils of smoke those who oppose oppression are coming back demanding dignity challenging injustice they return to join a new generation they chant: resume the fight, resume the fight, resume the fight
[Gull gliding against] Gull gliding against grey-silver autumn sky sees a vast miasma of greed slowly encompass our entire planet cries out to unheeding stars to whom wails of children rise in shrill unending caterwauls Gull sees traps and snares lethal pellets of noxious lead noisome sewers of excreta dribbling across continents rivers of pesticide oozing from lush golfcourses Gull gasps, chokes on acrid billows from rainforests rampaging fires rancid with roasting flesh ashen with cindered bones Gull breasts with buckling wing fierce gusts of questions strives, resists against questions slowly droops against questions succumbs twisting against question submits to extinction: Questions
Biographies Mikaella Antonio is a painter and a poet. She founded Coastal Carolina University’s Creative Writing Club and has had her work published in Archarios, and Eber & Wein’s poetry anthology, Across the Way, and has been recognized by The Academy of American Poets. Dennis Brutus was a South African activist, educator, journalist and poet best known for his campaign to have apartheid South Africa banned from the Olympic Games. Brutus was an activist against the apartheid government of South Africa in the 1960s. He learned politics in the Trotskyist movement of the Eastern Cape. Brutus was arrested in 1960 for breaking the terms of his "banning," which meant he could not meet with more than two people outside his family, and sentenced to 18 months in jail. However, he "jumped bail” and fled to Mozambique, where Portuguese secret police arrested him and returned him to South Africa. There, while trying to escape, he was shot in the back at point-blank range. After only partly recovering from the wound, Brutus was sent to Robben Island for 16 months, five in solitary. He was in the cell next to Nelson Mandela's. Brutus was in prison when news of the country's suspension from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, for which he had campaigned, broke. After he was released, Brutus fled South Africa. He spent time in Britain, and in 1983, he won the right to stay in the United States as a political refugee, after a protracted legal struggle. He continued to participate in protests against the apartheid government while teaching in the United States. Brutus died of prostate cancer on 26 December 2009, at his home in Cape Town, South Africa.* (Dennis Brutus biography courtesy of Wikipedia.)
Jim Cory is a Yaddo, MacDowell, and Pennsylvania
Arts Council fellow whose most recent publication is No Brainer Variations (2011, Rain Mountain Press, NYC). He lives in Center City, Philadelphia. Courtney C. Gambrell recently graduated from Immaculata University. Her work has been included in the Immaculata Literary Magazine three times. Jason Harrington is a freelance writer (shipping clerk) and poet living in Southern NJ. His work has appeared in Penn in Hand Literary Magazine. He is currently working on his first book of poetry- Death Poems to Live By.
Theodore A. Harris 1966 – born in New York City and raised in Philadelphia, where his art practice is based. Harris is a collagist, poet, curator, and essayist on the intersection of art and politics. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries and museums such as The University of Chicago Center in Paris, France; University of Pennsylvania, PA; Hammonds House Museum and Resource Center of African American Art, Atlanta, GA; Harmony House Stanford University, CA; His work is in private and public collections such as the Center for Africana Studies University of Pennsylvania, Saint Louis University Museum of Art, Du Bois College House University of Pennsylvania, and Lincoln University. He has held residences at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center (New Orleans), 40th Street A-I-R (Philadelphia), Hammonds House Museum and Resource Center of African American Art (Atlanta, GA), and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas (New Haven, CT). His work is in private and public collections such as the Center for Africana Studies University of Pennsylvania, Saint Louis University Museum of Art, Du Bois College House University of Pennsylvania, and Lincoln University. His forthcoming book is titled COLLAGE and CONFLICT: Manifestos on the Politics of Visual Art. He has co-authored books with Amiri Baraka Our Flesh of Flames (Anvil Arts Press), with Fred Moten i ran from it and was still in it (Cusp Books). Harris is the founding director of The Institute for Advanced Study in Black Aesthetics. M. Nzadi Keita’s forthcoming collection of persona poems, Brief Evidence of Heaven (Whirlwind Press), sheds light on Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s wife for 44 years. Her poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, nocturnes literary review, and other journals; anthology publications include A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. Keita teaches at Ursinus College. S. W. Lynch is a poet from New Jersey, born in 1992. He’s been published by APIARY, Poetry Ink, and elsewhere. Lynch’s first poetry collection is the city of your mind (Whirlwind Press, 2013), which the poet laureate of Philadelphia called “visionary.” He is now the poetry editor of Whirlwind. He’s not related to Tim Lynch. His poems, stories, and essays can be found on swlynch.com
Tim Lynch’s poems appear or are forthcoming in APIARY, Deep South Magazine, The Gihon River Review, and War, Literature, and the Arts. He is an instructor and a M.F.A. student at Rutgers-Camden. He also conducts workshops with young writers at R.C. Molina in North Camden.
Lamont B. Steptoe is an award winning poet born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia. Steptoe is a Vietnam veteran, photographer, publisher, and activist. He has published twelve collections of poetry and edited two collections by the late South African poet, Dennis Brutus. In 2005 he received the American Book award for his collection A Long Movie Maniparna Sengupta Majumder, a businesswoman by of Shadows. In 2006 he received a Pew Felolowship profession and a writer by passion, was born at Kolin the Arts. Steptoe has read his work in Nicaragua, kata (Calcutta) in India. Apart from writing she loves Den Hagen, Holland, Paris, France, Mumbai, India, dancing and listening to music. An avid and electric and Lithuania. His most recent collections are: Crowns reader, an aspiring author, she now lives in the same and Halos, Oracular Rumblings and Stiltwalking, and city with her husband and son. She blogs at Meditations in Congo Square. maniparna5002.wordpress.com Robert Zell is a relatively new Philadelphia poet. His Kyle Malinosky is the author of the ebook I AM work appears in Poetry Ink 2014 and he has two WORDS. He is probably single. pending publications. He is currently working on a chapbook that will be out this summer. Keri Mikulski is the author of Head Games, Stealing Bases, Making Waves, and Fifteen Love (Penguin/Razorbill). She teaches writing and literature courses at Rutgers University and Burlington County College. Lester Mobley is a poet/publisher who was born and raised on Long Island, whose background is that of a blue-collar tradesman, as was Walt Whitman. His current book is Chapbook, The First Three: Poems by Lester Mobley (Mobley Publishing 2013). Mobley is also a proud “core” member of the Dead Bards of Philadelphia, a group that meets once a month in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia. Bryan Myers is 27. With the heart of a nomad traveling throughout America, he’s been writing about what he encounters along the way. As he travels, works, and writes, he hopes to leave behind poems and stories. Currently he has descended upon a horse farm in Fountain, Colorado, where he’s organizing his growing manuscripts for publication Melissa Rothman is a 22-year-old graphic designer from Freehold, NJ. She graduated from the University of the Arts in 2014 with a BFA in Illustration. There, she took a great interest in poetry and self-published four chapbooks entitled Nature Nurture, On Loose Thread, Maeve Letters and Inside Out. During her senior year she interned with The American Poetry Review and is now Whirlwind’s Art Director and Senior Designer. She is fascinated by the surreality of perception and often writes poems about semi-invented memories. 35
The debut summer issue. Art, poetry, and essays that bear witness.