Friday, January 17, 2014


Yes, the polar ice storm has subsided, but now the east coast must prepare to confront the Human Earthquake in the form of Marvin X. He has come east to celebrate  the transition of his friend and comrade Amiri Baraka. Baraka suffered a fifty year relationship with the human earthquake. After a night of drunkenness at the Baraka house, New Jersey's once upon a time poet laureate  Baraka bemoaned the next morning that the west coast father of BAM, "let the elephant out last night!"

On the west coast, a friend recently told the poet she saw five demons come out last night. "I started to tell my husband to dig a hole in the back yard ten feet deep, not six, to bury your ass."

Well, the human earthquake does party hard, usually by himself which includes a party of ten personas. If the west coast friend saw five demons, the other five were probably angelic, thus she spared him the ten foot deep grave!

On the serious side, Marvin X was deeply shaken by the sudden transition of his friend and associate who had invited him to read at a tribute for ancestor poet Jayne Cortez at New York University. This event will now include a tribute to Amiri Baraka.

Coincidently, the poet was in New York on 9/11 and during Hurricane Sandy, but if the east coast survives his wrath, he will return west to co-produce (with Kim McMillan) The Black Arts Movement
Conference at the University of California, Merced, featuring icons of BAM, including Sonia Sanchez,
Askia Toure, Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets, Ishmael Reed, Al Young, Eugene Redman, Emory Douglas, Tarika Lewis, Billy X Jennings of the Black Panther Party, et al.

Gov. Ronald Reagan
"Get Marvin X off campus by any means necessary!"

A few days before the BAM conference, the poet will no doubt cause shockwaves when he speaks in his hometown of Fresno, an hour south of Merced in the central valley of California, from which he was banned from teaching at Fresno State University by then Gov. Ronald Reagan, 1969. The poet has since taught at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, San Francisco State U, Mills College, University of Nevada, Reno and elsewhere. He will speak in the community at the Hinton Center on February 22 and at Fresno City College on Feb. 24.

Marvin X removed from Fresno State University and Angela Davis was removed from UCLA by Gov.   Ronald Reagan, 1969, Marvin for being a Black Muslim, Angela for her Black Communist activities. 

A few years ago he established Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says he is Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland. He teaches at the most dangerous classroom in the world, the scene of violent protests over the murder of Oscar Grant and Occupy Oakland.

During Occupy Oakland a US Marine was shot in the head by a police projective. Unmoved by the protests, Marvin X did a video production of his Mythology of Pussy and Dick, featuring Aries Jordan, Toya Carter and himself. A customer said, "Man, I watched it over and over. I'm going to charge Nigguhs to watch it at my house!"

He established The Community Archives Project to make available for acquisition the archives of such personalities at Drs. Nathan and Julia Hare. The Hare archives are under consideration by several top universities. The project is also educational: to teach the importance of preserving the archives of common people.

The Human Earthquake is more than anything a prolific writer of nearly 30 books. The Last Poets say he writes a book a month, but he authored eight titles during 2011. East coast get ready, the earthquake has just departed JFK Airport. New Yorkers, can you feel the earth shaking?

Reflections of a "Human Earthquake" Victim

   I’m sure we all have those teachers from our past who have impacted our lives. Some have encouraged us to dig deep within and unleash untapped potential. Some have inspired us to think beyond our little world and reach new heights. I can’t remember, though, very many teachers who have shocked me into a dizzying stupor, made me laugh, then ultimately made me love them for their unbridled “Hootspa” (or as we were fond of saying in my hometown….“Huevos”)
Meet Marvin X
   I believe it was the fall semester of 1982 when I walked into the first day of my English class. I was attending Kings River Community College in the small, heavily Mennonite town of Reedley, CA. Our quaint little town was your typical white-bread, very conservative, farming community. So when we all took our seats and noticed that our instructor was not your typical white, middle-aged teacher with patches on his jacket sleeves, but was in fact an african american man, staring us down, we were all a bit off of our game.
   “Hello, welcome to my English class. My name is Marvin X. My legal name is Marvin Jackmon, but I don’t use that name because that was given to me by some white slave owner”! The classroom did a collective head scratching, while some more disturbed students got up and walked into the wall several times, then returned to their seats and joined the head scratching asking panically “Um…your just a sub, right??”
   Everyday in Marvin X’s class was like a field trip though a box of Cracker Jacks. There was always some prize waiting for our small town J.C. minds to grapple with. Mr. X always encouraged lively conversation and I took full advantage of that, because we all know that asking a thousand questions equals a passionate interest in the subject which equals a passing grade!!!!
   The thing I love most about him was that he loved…no, he fed on tossing little “shock and awe” bombshells our way. Which was always followed by that jubilant grin and sparkle in his eye’s. He kept taunting us that some day he would share some of his poetry with us. But he warned us, “My poetry is really “street” …so I’m not sure your ready for it”.
   Several more weeks passed, full of lively conversations, debate and complete pandemonium swirling through our young impressionable little minds. Finally, one day he came to class and announced that we were now officially ready for one of his poems. Once again, he reiterated that his poetry was pretty “street” and not for the faint of heart. We did a collective gulp and nodded our heads.
This poem is called…
(wait for it)
Confession of a Rapist”
(Oh dear Lord!!….um…uh…OK,, I can handle this! I can be street…or at least avenue)
He looked up with that sly grin and glimmer in his eyes, then proceeded with the opening line…
I took the P***Y”
(we’re not talking about sweet little kittens here, folks.)
   He just piloted his Enola Gay B-29 and dropped a bomb (a “P” bomb at that) amongst us citizens of Hiroshima Junior College!
   Visualize those old black & white films of Atomic bomb testing somewhere in the deserts of Nevada. The “Shock Wave” was so insanely intense, our faces were wobbling and contorting to the massive G-forces, that I’m pretty positive not one person heard another line from that poem. Outside, after class, we quickly and hastily put together an emergency Triage unit to asses the damages and re-attach any limbs or brain matter that may have needed attending to.
   Some fellow Christian students from the class were discussing the possibility of assembling a mob with torches and pitch forks, the likes of your typical Frankenstein movie. We soon realized that we were all fine. A little shaken, but fine.
   Oddly enough, there was maybe one complaint in class from a student, and he very patiently and lovingly discussed it with us. In the end, we all came through it like old trench buddies. Mr. X helped lift, perhaps rather firmly, us out of our little comfort zones.
   In the last few remaining weeks of class, we had several more great conversations and debates. One sunny day he even held class outside under a tree and we studied the book of Job from the Bible. I believe he said he loved it because it read like a screenplay. He had lots of great insight and challenged us daily.
   There are only a handful of teachers from my two and a half years of college (and no degree to show for it) that I have maybe a millisecond of memory of them. Mr. X, however, made such an impact on me that his memory is burned into the synapses of my brain. Was he shocking? Yes! However, even more, he loved reaching through to us. He made us think….really think!
Before I began writing this, I Googled him. Sure enough, there he was…

with that sly grin and glimmer in his eyes!
Thank you, Mr. X!

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