You cannot have a revolution without having an art to go alongside it. Sometimes that art is living itself, sometimes it’s the expression of the angst through blood. Sometimes the tears mean more in the glimpse of 24 frames per second. Sometimes, often in actual life, there is no time for tears — and certainly no poetry that comes along with it. There is nothing romantic about headaches nor oppression. Yet we choose to ignore and malign our beautiful crazy visions and inner horror for the sanctity of a television news report or streamed web video of the apocalypse we’ve been led to believe in and worship. We opt for the button-downed pathology of Wynton Marsalis as we step on Sun Ra. We resist the spaceship for the bank teller. While the world is as it is because we will it to be…it is also our responsibility to admit that we foolishly resist both the revolutionary visions of artists and the forlorn mad-men who have been misled and let down. “Revolutions are not fought in, of, or by poems,” as Umar from the Last Poets conceded in As an Act of Protest. But it certainly helps to have those poems going up into the sky like fireworks…and hoping that their residue settles onto a willing recipient before the final ax falls or before the final step of the American gestalt is taken. You can’t clap with one hand. But you can still wield a sword. Or a pen.
[original design by Benn Starr, (c) 2014, originally created for the 2014 Chicago premiere]