the war seems imminent. here in the states all we can do is wait.
a man that is like a brother to me is losing his wife. she is off in kuwait right now. as an army reservist, she has been called into action and waits.
poets across the nation have protested this action and it hit a flash point last monday. when first lady, laura bush, canceled her symposium on poetry last month, for fear that it would turn into an anit-war protest (which is exactly what was gonna happen), a separate symposium was gathered. in new york’s lincoln center, the nation’s top voices came together and through their work denounced our government’s arrogance and now, they wait.
one person is not waiting. jerry quickley is a new yorker that has spent the last few years in l.a. as a poet and radio voice, jerry has been in the trenches for a while. i first saw him november of 2001 at urbana where he dropped a dope set as the featured poet. he then came around new york again in september of last year. calling his friends together, he put on a super-dope show at the bowery poetry club. when your friends are roger bonair-agard, marty mcconnell, taylor mali, jeff mcdaniel, bassey &steve connell… well, you know you’re good. he dropped some pieces at the end and then most of us headed out as a group to have dinner.
this is always the best. when you see people relax and talk about everything under the sun. ol’ stories, new adventures and future plans. we finished dinner at around 1am and then jerry invited the remaining intrepid over to his hotel for some drinks in the lobby.
jerry was travelling with a film crew that was documenting a poetry tour he was on and they put him up at the soho grand hotel. their lobby was dec’d out like a funky-ass night club with a dj and two bars bookending the marvelous layout. more drinks, more talking and by the end of the night (5:15 am!), all was good with the universe.
i left that night happy to have met another poet that was equal parts great-writer/awseome-performer/socially-conscious/cool-motherfucker.
that’s why this e-mail jerry sent to the slam family has me bummed the fuck out.
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 05:13:07 EST
Subject: B-Boy in Baghdad
Hello Slam Folk,
I just wanted to let you all know that I'll be traveling to Iraq next week to
shoot a documentary about the effects of the US sanctions and bombings. I
will be there before and during the bombing and invasion (should all of the
efforts and realities of the anti-war movement be ignored by the US
I don't know when I'll be returning. I will be there for a minimum of one
month. But once the "Shock and Awe" bombing breaks out, and the invasion, I
have no idea when I'll be able to leave. There is no exit strategy in place.
The goal is to contribute to a peaceful resolution of this US instigated
crisis by telling some of the stories of the people and children of Iraq. In
addition to that I will also collect images of the devastating reality of
this continued war on Iraq. I will be doing some radio broadcasts from
Baghdad as well. They will be carried on most Pacifica stations and perhaps
on some NPR stations as well.
I'm not arrogant enough to believe that I can tell the story of the Iraqi
people. But I'm hopeful enough to try and tell some of their stories with
dignity and integrity. I will be no more safe or less safe than any citizen
in Baghdad. I remain hopeful that instead of staying at hotels that I'll be
able to live with Iraqi families. I choose to go to Iraq at this moment
because as much as I love the people I know in this world, and as much as I
love my life, I'm certain that I have a great deal to learn, and I'm
definitively certain that the value of my life is not any greater than the
life of an Iraqi student, or dentist, or soldier, or baker, or cab driver.
We all have value. There are people walking this earth that I have not met
yet, that I will love. Who will have a deep impact on my life. I go to bear
witness for them. I go to cast my lot with the people of Iraq because I'm a
citizen of the world and information on the circumstances of the war should
not be exclusively offered by wealthy network anchors.
If you're in LA I'll be having a send off party on Saturday night at
Michelli's in Hollywood. It's from 10pm on in the basement. Tell the door
people that your "with Jerry".
If you're in New York I'll be having a gathering of some friends on Monday
2/24. You can call my hotel and ask for my room. I'll be arriving there
Sunday night, the ***** hotel, 212.***.****.
I hope to see some of you before I leave. My email will be shutting down as
well as my cell phone. Send good energy and love to the people and children
of Iraq. They have suffered too much and are worthy of our hopes and good
Peace and Solidarity,
b-boy in baghdad
what jerry plans to do is fucking amazing!
no words can do this man justice.
all i can do is share with you his story, wish him god speed on a properous mission & safe return, pray and wait.