The American Poetry Theater supports the occupation of the Volksbuhne theater in Berlin.
To create a man from the parts of other men.
Most men are other men, said Waldo in his New England.
Fine, yes, but to continue creating men from other men.
Or, the real act of genius, to create a man from nothing.
Ex nihilo, said the great Thomas.
The new man, for the new age of despair.
To create a man of faith who has no religion
in a time when there is nothing to believe in.
To create a lover of all that walks the earth.
Even the lowliest, despised creatures.
The spiders and snakes.
To create such a man would be the salvation
of this terrible age.
Rich Quatrone, June 11 2017
So TAPT will be doing BLACK LIVES at the end of November at House of Independents in Asbury Park. Doing this play will raise some eyebrows and elicit all kinds of responses, which is a good thing. Immediately I want to respond to white friends and others who have their hearts in the right place but nonetheless say white lives also matter. The problem with this kind of response is that it is like saying there is air. By this I mean, the idea that white lives matter is such a truism that it does not warrant repeating. WE ALL KNOW WHITE LIVES MATTER! Has anyone ever really doubted it? Do we live in a nation where the value of white lives has EVER been in question since day one??? No, we do not. The value of lives that are not white is the issue. American history has made this very clear. So- white folks out there, even the sympathetic ones, please do not respond to "black lives matter" with "white lives matter." By doing so you are setting up an equation which simply has not been and continues to not be true in America.
Monologues for BLACK LIVES coming in slowly. I'm receiving them from black people and white people.
Or from African Americans and European Americans. Even writing it this way feels awkward to me.
This endless preoccupation with race. Such a terrible distinction, and when you think about it something
that is essentially unnatural. At least for me. And yet there are people who swear by these "racial " distinctions. You are black. You are white. Black man, white man, black woman, white woman. You can't live here, you can't walk safely there, you can't drive without worrying about being pulled over- just because you have brown skin. Just because you have brown skin!! It's insane, really. A sick problem. You who are bothering to read this entry- whatever color you are, have you ever loved a person from another racial group? If you have you're lucky. And I hope you learned something. As for myself, I've been in love with black women and with Asian women. With Jewish women and Christian white women. With Italian women. I was married to a Polish American woman. I've loved women born in other nations-- Trinidad and Tobago and Viet Nam are the ones that come immediately to mind. When you sleep with a person from another race or another culture, it feels no different (at least to me) from sleeping with a woman who comes from New Jersey. Human beings are human beings. It's that simple. They have warm lips, warms bodies, mysterious eyes, hearts that beat against your chest. They giggle and moan and gasp and they make you do the very same. It's simply wonderful, you know- being intimate with another human being this way. And it makes absolutely no difference what color they are, what size, what nationality. This is what I know. The racists out there, let me suggest you get outside of your limited perspective and experience, and meet more people. I mean really meet them. And you will find how natural and easy it is to either like them an awful lot or even love them!
I should add here that BLACK LIVES goes into rehearsal at the beginning of October and will be performed on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Nov 26, 27, 28 at House of Independents in Asbury Park. The play will feature monologues written by black folks who live in the local community. The monologues will be about events, moments, memories, experiences-- all personal-- that, in the writer's mind, conveys of the essence of being black in America. Stay tuned for future updates.
I don't know if I've been dreaming. But I do know that I've been sleeping. Today I woke up again at the Asbury Park Rally Against Hatred. Such an inspiring, encouraging event. I arrived about a half hour late so missed a few speakers. Met some new people, including Lamont (didn't get his last name), the Asbury Park Superintendent of Schools. I was impressed by him. Also met the Assistant Super who was also impressive. Ran into old friends. A young woman came up to me and said she remembered me from Coffee Blue. Spoke backstage with Muata Greene. All in all, a great day.
The Declaration of Independence is first and foremost a protest document. In keeping with its spirit, The American Poetry Theater is a protest theater. We have given you The American Flag, New Clay, The Bombing of Flint, and Trumped. We will give you Black Lives Matter in November. To keep up to date stay alert to Facebook posts or go to the blog section of www.theamericanpoetrytheater.com. See you in November!
TAPT has not been sleeping. It has been, like the rest of the country and world, stunned. Our first reaction to the election of Donald Trump was to immediately announce TRUMPED, the play we did on Feb 28 and March 1 at Asbury Park's HOUSE OF INDEPENDENTS. So, that was our immediate political and artistic response to the debacle and disgrace. The play had only two shows, both of which were sold out. The first performance actually had folks standing.
Okay, so now, today, 4th of July. TAPT is officially announcing its next play: BLACK LIVES MATTER. This important play will be presented in November at HOI. Dates will be announced as soon as we have them. We were originally going to offer this play back in Feb-March. But with the Trump election we felt we had to first respond to the election.
And it is appropriate that we announce BLACK LIVES MATTER on this day of independence.
Stay tuned to Rich Quatrone's Facebook page and to www.theamericanpoetrytheater.com for announcments.
Went with Diane to see "I Am Not Your Negro" at the Showroom in Asbury Park last night. This brilliant documentary uses the words of James Baldwin and many visual images, from American films, from the news, from visibly and visible painful moments in our recent history (the murders of Malcolm X, King, Evers, including their open caskets) to inform us (whites ) or remind us (blacks) of the two very separate worlds of whites and non-whites in America. To paraphrase Baldwin: "We look at you but you do not look at us. We know you but you do not know us." A very troublesome remark about the dangerous reality we live. After the film, over a few drinks, I said to Diane: "What are we going to do about this?" It was not either a rhetorical question or one of resignation.