one third of the homeless men in this country are veterans/ and we have the nerve to Support Our Troops/ with pretty yellow ribbons/ while giving nothing but dirty looks to their outstretched hands… no senators’ sons are being sent out to slaughter/ no presidents’ daughters are licking ashes from their lips… our eyes are closed, america/ there are souls in the boots of soldiers, america/ fuck your yellow ribbon/ you wanna support our troops/ bring them home/ and hold them tight when they get here. -Andrea Gibson
Andrea Gibson’s visit on Friday and VOCAL the Friday before, reminds one, as it reminded Oveous Maximus, that “the power of words is still very much alive.”
The way artful words can inspire the activist out of me is something that I can never quite explain, but always bear witness to. On stage, these poets weren’t being ‘balanced,’ ‘objective,’ or ‘politically correct,’ yet their honesty was enlightening in a way that lectures from important historians can’t quite achieve. The audience was testament to this: their applause and enthusiasm at lighthearted wordplay, their complete silence at heartbreaking revelations, and the sincerity with which they listened. Not everyone agreed with some of their sentiments, but the earnestness with which they performed resonated with everyone.
It’s easy for activists to get discouraged when they delve into the intricacies of actually creating the change they aspire to create. They run into logistical, political and financial problems. Clubs with enthusiastic and sincere mission statements end up being swallowed by procedural crap like filling out grant applications, finding enough people to help out, advertising everywhere in order to make the cause/event known and other stuff like that. While those types of things are certainly means to an end, they can be obnoxious and unnecessary obstacles to your awesome activisty envisioned hopes and dreams.
When that happens, watch some spoken word. Getcho powa back on.
A big thank you to VOCAL, Rachel McKibbens, Anis Mojgani, Phil Kaye, Oveous Maximus, Simone Beaubien (Brandeis alum!) , Regie Cabico as well as Jason, Usman, Jordan, Kass and Rachel for sharing such power with our campus.