Audio / Visual MnemoTechnics: Raised Fist Salute by bart plantenga

Posted on by urbangraffito Posted in Audio / Video MnemoTechnics, Bart Plantenga, Daily, Essay | Comments Off on Audio / Visual MnemoTechnics: Raised Fist Salute by bart plantenga

Raised Fist Salute


“The greatest problem is we are afraid to offend our oppressors. I had a moral obligation to step up. Morality was a far greater force than the rules and regulations they had.”

• John Carlos

“If I do something good then I am American, but if I do something bad then I am a Negro!”

• Tommie Smith

I got together with filmmaker-friend Mark Boswell in his clammy Greenpoint, New York kitchen shortly after the Olympics. While we tapped multiple Polish Zywiec and Tyskie beers, we somehow got onto the subject of iconic images and – maybe not so coincidentally – both of us came up with John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s raised fist salute at the 1968 Olympics as one of the mind-blowing images that remains indelibly engraved on our subconscious. Then we opened up the laptop to watch Youtubes documenting the events surrounding the 1968 Olympics. It brought tears to our eyes – no really – I mean real heavy tears welling up.

The image of bronze medalist Carlos and gold medalist Smith’s black-gloved salute on the podium during the medals ceremony after Smith’s record-breaking performance in the 200m dash, provoked a global scandal that led to disgrace, vilification, and ostracism for the participants, including silver medalist, Australia’s Peter Norman  who showed his support by wearing an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge (OPHR) along with Carlos and Smith.

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Posted on by urbangraffito Posted in Daily, Essay, Jose Padua, Writing | Comments Off on NYDC BLUES: HOW I TRIED TO ESCAPE THE SICK WORLD OF POETRY by José Padua

Part 1: NYDC BLUES: How I Tried To Escape The Sick World Of Poetry

The rules were that you had to give your name and occupation before reciting your first poem. Naturally, I tried to evade this unnecessary formality which to me seemed akin to a rooftop sniper announcing his name and address before firing upon the crowd below. But before I could begin they started yelling, “What’s your name?”

I looked around the room. It was jammed full of people.

“José,” I answered with some difficulty.

“What do you do?” they shouted.

That was a even tougher question. I didn’t have a job, and for me to declare that I was a writer at this point would be presumptuous on my part. I thought about it for a second, then said, “I’m an alcoholic. What the hell are you?”

I hadn’t had a drink in weeks, but here I was—shitfaced and hostile, staring out into a crowd of poetry addicts at some place in Washington called The 15 Minutes Club. I’d fallen off the wagon in a horrible way, but it wasn’t because I was drinking. It was because I was reading poetry.
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