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Wednesday, November 16, 2011


by Khary Jackson

When the police violence occurred again later that night, they broke the ribs of another English professor, poet Geoffrey O'Brien. When the police wouldn't stop beating him even after he too had fallen to the ground, a good friend and fellow graduate student, Ben Cullen, rushed in and demanded that they stop. The police, in turn, rained multiple blows on him, bruising his ribs as well. And just in case it's not clear yet that the violence was not only against 'some kids looking to make a fuss,' the police also thought it necessary to jab 70-year-old former Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass several times in the stomach with a baton as well.
--Huffington Post, 11/13/11

I think they knew what they were doing.
One of them noticed: the poets were out.
If they jab the laureate in the stomach,
if they crack the ribs of the prof, maybe
they will pen a proper witness for the flailing
and lost. Maybe they will make sense of this,
as if swinging batons can be re-imagined
into farmer hands summoning corn from the
ground. Maybe, months from now, they’ll buy their
first book of verse, and finally understand
precisely upon whom they’d been spitting all along.

Khary Jackson is a performance poet, playwright, dancer and musician.  A Detroit native, he currently resides in the Twin Cities where he serves as a teaching artist and writer.  He has written 12 full length plays, one of which (Water) was produced in 2009 at Ink and Pulp Theatre in Chicago.  He has been a recipient of several grants, including the 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for poetry from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the 2009 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts, and the Many Voices Residency from the Playwrights' Center, in 2005-06 and 2007-08.  As a performance poet, he has enjoyed great success in national competition, ranking nationally in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as well as winning the National Poetry Slam with the St Paul team in 2009 and 2010.