Sunday, October 21, 2018

Excerpt from Notes of Artistic Freedom Fighter Marvin X: Notes #10 and #11

#10 The Politics of Sports

Although Dr. Harry Edwards supposedly pioneered the sociology of sports, Dr. Nathan Hare wrote his PhD thesis at the University of Chicago on sports, and was a professional boxer. Dr. Hare was so radical he was kicked out of a Negro college, Howard University, where he lectured on sociology and taught Black Power radical Stokely Carmichael, aka Kwame Toure'. He was partly ousted from Howard for bringing Muhammad Ali to campus after he had refused to fight in Vietnam, after all, Ali said, "The Vietcong never called me a Nigger!" Later, Howard also found Hare's boxing career unacceptable for one of their distinguished academics, so he landed at San Francisco State College/now University to become the first chair of Black and Ethnic Studies at a major American university, igniting the longest student strike in American academic history.

Today as we replay the political history of athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, reincarnated in the persona of Colin Kaepernich and now a host of other brothers who have suddenly awakened to the reality of life in racist, white supremacist America, despite their status as muli-million dollar running dogs for professional athletics, we are not shocked at the response of white America, led by the president who has further inflamed the torch of racism by calling the mostly Black athletes “sons of bitches.” Oh, shit, that white nationalist motherfucker Trump truly crossed the line of propriety by playing the dozens. Now you know Homey don't play dat, not with sacred holy Mother (Of God).

For sure, the politics of American sports has reached a level never seen before, not even when Jack Johnson ignited one of the worse race riots in American history after becoming the Black heavy weight champion of the world , and after Muhammad Ali refused to serve as a running dog for American imperialism or when John Carlos and Tommy Smith gave the Black Power salute to protest American racism at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

It is indeed wonderful to see the Black athletes unite with the suffering masses of North American Africans. These brothers (and sister athletes as well) have put their careers on the line for social justice. We salute them and welcome them home.

--Marvin X


#11 Confession of an Ex-basketball Player

What I am about to tell you  may shock you beyond belief as I shocked DJ Davey D when I told him I was writing this essay. But it's true. It is a story of how one can transcend the illusions of life, things we thought were priority, vital to our breath of air, yet, Solomon told us when I was a child I did childish things, when I became a man , I put away childish things. Elijah Muhammad taught all his followers, including Muhammad Ali, the world was not made for sport and play. HEM's sole focus was our liberation into a nation of our own. But we must take a break, R and R, sometimes. My mentor Sun Ra asked, "Where can Black people go for R an R, i.e., rest and relaxation? Nowhere!" The best we can do is the escape of sports and entertainment to "assuage our social angst and shattered cultural striving, " said Dr. Nathan Hare.

With all wars, even in the low intensity national liberation battle of North American Africans in their childhood and young adulthood, soldiers find sports a necessary diversion from the real world of dread, make believe and conspicuous consumption, the one trillion five billion illusions of the monkey mind Guru Bawa taught us about.

Some of us budding soldiers came to realize sports was/is indeed a diversion from the real world that  would otherwise drive us to the brink of suicide or homicide. Like music, sports soothes the wild beast in us while stimulating our tribal instincts in athletic prowess and competition..

As a child, teenager and college student, basketball was my life, a way to get away from home in a safe space satisfactory to my parents.  Shooting basketball probably saved me from descending totally into the precipice of juvenile delinquency, although my high school coaches bet I would fuck up before the season was over. For sure, although an A student and athlete, several times I found myself in Juvenile Hall for stealing from the snack shop at White's Theatre in Fresno CA where all Blacks went on Sundays, or barely escaped  GTA, i.e., grand theft auto, after we stole keys from cars in auto dealerships and siphoned gas so we could joy ride weekends to meet with country girls in Madera or Hanford, or attend the country fairs in Visalia and Tulare where we snatched purses from screaming white girls.

But the question is how did I get so far away from basketball, something I loved? My basketball career began at New Century Recreation Center, next door to McFeely Elementary School, where I spent the 3rd and 4th grade in West Oakland, Harlem of the West coast. New Century's gym was my home away from home. Soon I was addicted to basketball. It became my drug of choice as a youth. FYI, at New Century I saw a dance teacher that my elementary school mind told me was a beautiful queen. I could not say she was an African queen because I knew nothing about Africa except Tarzan and Jane that I learned from movies at drive in theaters with my parents or at Whites Theatre in Fresno and the Lincoln Theatre on 7th Street in West Oakland, across the street from my parent's florist shop, where we lived in the back. Lincoln Theatre was owned or managed by a Black man, Mr. Freeman.

The Dance teacher was Ruth Beckford who looked royal with her short natural--, yes, a natural in the 50s when we were Negroes and niggas. Black was a fighting word.
But Ruth Beckford was black and beautiful to me. And I relished seeing her come and go from her dance classes.

But my primary interest was basketball. When I got to Lowell Junior High, I made the team and a cheerleader tongue kissed me and scared me to death. I knew nothing about tongue kissing but she taught me. I ain't telling you her name!

On the Lowell Junior High team was Joe Ellis who went on to play for the SF Warriors. At a basketball clinic, I won a trophy for hitting 9 of 10 at the free throw line. McClymonds star and future NBA player Paul Silos was there. I don't think he hit 9 of 10 from the free throw line!
The Defermery Park, now Bobby Hutton Grove, basketball court separated stars from wannabees, after all Bill Russell played there, Paul Silos, Joe Ellis, Jim Hadnot, the Aliens brothers and the Pointer Sister's brothers, et al., from McClymonds, the School of Champions, pride of West Oakland and the City at large for producing so many State champions in all sports. Let me acknowledge my homeboy from Fresno, the legendary McClymond's Coach Benny Tapscott.

In Fresno my basketball career continued at Frank H and Frank White rec centers on the West Side. We used to play at Frank White on the outside courts. Benny Tapscott was there,  along with Odell Johnson, who later starred at St. Mary's and became President of Laney College, Billy Hicks, my neighbor in the projects, Leroy Mimms, who became President of Contra Costa College in Richmond.

A few days ago in the parking lot of a grocery market in Oakland, I recognized a brother I remembered from New Century and Defermery: he always had a braid in his hair. He was sitting at the wheel of a faded gold 1955 classic Cadillac. As I headed into the market I couldn't resist saying something to him, "Hey, bro, I remember you playing basketball at Defermery. Matter of fact, didn't you play at New Century?" He said yes. I said, "Hell, bro., you was old in the 50s as I recall. How old are you now?" He said, "91. I graduated from high school in 1944. Wasn't no Merritt College or Laney so I went to Community College in San Francisco." I was honored to be in his presence because I surely remember him, especially at Defermery as one master of the game.
There were other brothers like Big Joe Johnson who used to use his weight to muscle into the hole at New Century and Defermery; Toliver, point guard who could dunk, AC Scott, Bobby Chapman, et al.

In Fresno, Edison High was the school of champions. I spent my high school years on the team at Edison. I recall we played against Lemoore High School that had one black player, Tommy Smith. With five Blacks on our team, Tommy and his crew of white boys were no match, we beat their asses. I was shocked but honored when Tommy Smith raised his fist in the black power salute at the 1968 Olympics along with John Carlos, Mexico City, 1968.

Having recounted the above, I am shocked at my self for  transcending basketball and never having seen the Warriors play?

They won the NBA championship again tonight in Oakland. Warriors! Warriors! Warriors! Everybody loves winners. I love winners. I salute the Oakland Warriors! Oakland is the City of Warriors, City of Resistance, like Fallujah in Iraq, destroyed yet resistant--Oakland North American Africans, yes, City of Champions, Pullman Porters Union, Black Panther Party and the battle continues....
Let the new generation take the baton, let them not reinvent the wheel but learn from Ancestor and Elder mistakes and avoid them as you move into the world of your making. Khalil Gibran said your children come through you but they are not you. You are the bow, they are the arrow!

No, I have never watched a Warrior game or any other NBA game. I can't believe myself after spending  childhood and young adulthood playing basketball night and day, sleeping and eating basketball. I cannot believe after being on the team at Merritt College, 1962.  At Merritt my main problem was my West Oakland brothers from McClymonds, John Aikens, Jackson, Bobby Chapman, A.C. Scott, Toliver, Sunni James Shabazz, et al. I was not going into the hole with those tall brothers from McClymonds, they weren't going to elbow me in the head. After suffering a knee injury on the road, I think it was against Fresno City College, I gave up basketball and started playing tennis. Wasn't many blacks into tennis in 1963. When I beat a tall white boy on the tennis court at Merritt, he threw his racket down and walked off the court. I continued playing tennis until I taught at the University of Nevada, Reno, and my children visited me for the summer, 1979. My son, Darrel, aka Abdul (RIP), a high school tennis champ, beat me set after set and laughed all the way. It was then that I realized youth is superior to elders as per energy and strength. My son ended my tennis career forever.

My athletic interest was rekindled when my oldest son Marvin Keith played college football as defensive end, captain of the defense. I saw him sack the quarterbacks. And this was all right with me until he thought I was the quarterback to sack as abandoned father. I was elated when he tried out for the San Francisco 49s but was cut. He didn't pursue his athletic career but went into computer programming. When he worked for PGE, he said, "Dad, do you know how much I make?" I said no son, he said, "Eight thousand dollars every two weeks." All I could say was wow. He showed me his hand computer  that controlled all the PGE computer stations in Northern California. After my son was cut from the 49rs, I had no further interest in football.
I am happy to report that today, 10/21/18, I attended a soccer match between Cal Poly and Cal State East Bay.

Left to Right: The Marvin X Jackmon Crew: Granddaughter Naima Joy, grandson Jahmeel, daughter Attorney Amira Jackmon, Marvin X, grandson Jordan

Left to right: Grandfather Marvin X and grandchildren Jahmeel, Jordan and Naima
at Cal State East Bay vs. Cal Poly soccer game 10/21/18 

Marvin' s son Jordan, my grandson, is a member of Cal Poly's team. They won 3 to O. Jordan may have rekindled my interest in sports! All power to my grandson and his twin sister Jasmin, also a soccer player at the University of Oregon.
 Jasmin Jackmon

 Jasmin Jackmon

Monday, October 15, 2018

Marvin X and Dr. Lonnie Smith

How many poems must I write about Hammond B3 and Me?

There is no me without Hammond B3
7th Street sacred music
For me anyway
Don’t care bout nobody else
B3 stole my  soul
No matter jazz blues gospel rock n roll
B3 my  West Oakland chil
West Oakland Blues B3
For me
West Oakland Jazz
B3 for me
Restaurant B3
Pool Hall Juke Box B3
Barber shop
Shoeshine stand B3

but I never heard Lower Bottom name for Pine Street
Everybody knew Pine Street was end on 7th Street
End of West Oakland
End of Amtrack Train line, 16th Street Station,
Ho’ Stroll too
Ho Hotel by hour
Cross from Amtrack Station
Pine Street Ho' stroll
after Pine was Army Base, Navy Supply Center
Used to sell Jet Ebony Magazines up and down 7th
Past John Singers
Pullman Porters Union Hall upstairs
Past the Barn eatery
Easter's Orbit Room
Way past Slim Jenkins Club
Josephine Baker was there for months/years it seemed
parents talked of Josephine Josephine
I could only see her pic outside Slim Jenkins Restaurant
Used to see ad for Earl Father Hines too
wondered who he was
nobody told me how great he was
but parents praised Josephine Baker
I loved her before I knew her
West Oakland
Harlem of West Ceoast
Lived 7th and Campbell
Across street Lincoln Theatre
Mr. Freeman managed
black films advertised
scared to see black films
childhood white supremacy mind dead
wondered in my ignut negro mind
what these f'ilms bout
ain't tarzan jane
ain't Lone Ranger Tonto
I wanna see white man kill Indians
didn't know I was part Native American
Granny from Oklahoma Territory
Granny wasn't religious
She was spiritual
told me and my brother don't shoot birds on Sunday with beebee gun
Granny used to feed anyone white black stop at her door in projects
say they hungry
spiritual not religious
didn't go to church spiritual
told my brother boy you go end up in pen
Granny right
brother spent whole life in pen
deprived me of older brother love
til his last days
lived round corner from me
Lake Merritt
got to know him a little in last days
we put his remains in Lake Merritt
Put mine there too with my brother
A real nigga
just don't cross him
then you got a problem
killer man loan shark killer
shot his boss in back of head
boss owed him money wouldn't pay
love my brother
he was better human being than I until crossed
before he joined ancestors
he was family ATM
after no more drinking gambling poker except on internet
in the end he was brother I always wanted him to be
In the end I think he appreciated me
even if he didn't understand me
and who understands me
I don't even understand myself
Like everybody he tolerated me though overwhelmed
around the corner from me
but I gave him his space
private cell
wanted him to be at peace with himself
no stress from me
family stress took him down into the dungeon for the last time
came to Oakland from Seattle
picked him up at bus station
told him I wanted to show him love
said he didn't know love
wanted to live in SRO hotel
I said no brother
ain't dropping you at SRO hotel
I took him home with me til he found a place with his Section 8
God blessed me and him to live around the corner from each other in his last days
up from Lake Merritt
did it matter
we never walked the lake together
did it matter
I never went over his apartment to watch games on TV
never went over for small talk
I don't know small talk with men or women
I know he liked privacy as I do
He almost never came to my apartment around the corner
I didn't trip
I honored him as older brother even though only one year older
It was enough joy when he came to 14th and Broadway
to get his medicine cigarettes
he would come sit at my Academy of da Corner
He saw black people bring donations
he thought I was loan shark
but I gave credit for books
he saw people pay me
I never kept tabs like loan sharks
he was amazed at the beauty of black people
most of us don't know the royal beauty of black people
no matter our negrocities
black royalty
kings queens
gods goddesses
parading in persona of rut gut niggas
still royal pushing shopping cart love
rut gut wine love
bipolar love lasting longer than black bourgeoisie fake love
golden handcuff love
kick my ass but I'm staying love
too many perks love

In the end
cancer too him out
Told us to burn him
put ashes in lake
we did

put me there too with my brother
don't care bout Northern Cradle versus Southern Cradle burial customs
throw my ashes in lake with my brother I came to love in our last days
thankful I got to love his brotherly love
if only for a moment
no matter
life is a moment
nothing lasts forever
At least I didn't cross him
showed him my man hand
didn't come like no punk ass bitch nigga
ain't gonna speak on other relatives
me and my brother prison niggas
we know ride yo own beef
no man can bear burdens of another
I knew he was killer
San Quentin Soledad Folsom
McNeil Island
California Youth Authority beginning
We both in Fresno Juvenile Hall
Asked Mama when judge said  my grades saved me from CYA
Grades didn't save brother
Outside  Fresno County Juvenile Hall
asked Mama why she wasn't crying'
Mama said, "Son, I might not be crying on outside but I'm crying inside."
One time Daddy came to jail and cried to see me in handcuffs for juvenile delinquency behavior.
Burglary, car thief, stealing gas, gang fighting, yes, honor student, the reason judge didn't send me to CYA with my brother.

Meanwhile back in West Oakland
niggas couldn't visit Lake Merritt
except on 4th of July and other Holidays
my brother said even then we could only occupy special sections of the lake

We called Lincoln Theatre  flea house rat house
sometimes couldn't put feet on floor for rats
hated going there
didn't want to go home fleas biting me
Niggas could go to the Lux
less fleas
couldn't go to the Paramount Fox
Mama said me and my brother had to go together
I had to suffer fleas rats at Lincoln

Granny covered me with Eucalyptus leafs from Daddy's shop
we lived in back of  parent's florist shop
Seventh and Campbell
Chinese grocery across the street north
Dangott's Loan across the street east
Loraines's greasy spoon next to Lincoln
hamburgers and fries  tswimming in grease
soulfood grease
good heart attack grease
fries good heart attack soul food too
Love's Loraine's
leaving the Lincolm
or going in


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Marvin X poem: A real nigga ain't eatin' greens without cornbread

Maestro Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra, Malcolm X Jazz/Art Festival, Oakland, 2015
photo collage Adam Turner


I don't care bout these new age niggas
vegan niggas
die like hog eatin' niggas
different diseases
death is death
he was vegan
yogi rasta kemite vodun
cancer got his ass too
high blood pressure
didn't want white man's meds
herbal tea death
Back to Eden didn't help
Baraka say you read white man's Back to Eden
won't study Marxism Leninism
fuck all isms schisms
my student say Beligion
just be
no fake ass nigga pseudo spiritual rat
vegan rat still rat

Beligion be real
Go with the Kemit Negative Confession

I want cornbread wit ma collard greens
rice is nice
rice ain't cornbread
I'm a rice nigga
Daddy from Kentucky rice land
never ain't no grits in my house
rice fa breakfast rice fa dinner
nigga friends called me
rice eatin Chinaman nigga

Kale is nice
Spinach too
flavored spicy
not like Mama's Spinach
I threw under table
no spice plain Cali girl food
no Louisiana Texas style
Mama born in Cali
South for me was from Oakland to Central Valley Fresno

love spinach now
Garlic onions
Used to love Granny's greens
Oklahoma Arkansas greens
loved to devour cornbread sopped in pot liquor
Begged Granny let me sop cornbread in pot liquor
don't sop all dat pot liquor boy
Loved Granny's hands
Granny had that one book in her trunk I read every time we came to Granny's house
Up from Slavery Booker T
First Black book I read again again at Granny's house
Granny told me stop progin (probin') through her stuff
I proged that trunk til I found Up from Slavery

Today these kids don't know or care about Granny's and Grandpa's hands
feel sorry for 'em
computer addicts
drunk on white supremacy computer
murder games
grown nigga think they NBA coaches
woman said she hit her hip hop man in head with remote control
loved games not her
kicked her in stomach
don't interrupt his games
she left him playing his computer games night and day when off work
security guard

But cornbread
cold water cornbread
African style less grease
collard greens ready now
no matter that weak ass Kale
Collard greens thick like meat
smoked turkey no pork
Wife played game on me
said she bought ham
ready to beat her ass
til she showed me it was turkey ham
spared her ass beating
in my nigga insanity
negrocities (Amiri Baraka term, he told me don't steal his words, give him credit. Elliott Bey asked Baraka why Marvin X don't write about him? Baraka say cause Marvin know I will write about his ass! Love you AB, a brother like no other. AB hep a nigga. )

I expanded his definition Negrocities: inflammation of the Negroid gland at the base of the brain
causing a disruption of normal cognitive function due to
toxic substances in the synapse preventing  messages from one cell to the next
brain dead cell phone addict zombi don't know it's time to eat
wash yo ass
make love to your woman
love your children
Child abuse is don't call your children
but reconciliation is possible
not easy but not impossible
hard work but possible.

I want cornbread in my greens.
I hate that Jiffy shit
but Jiffy do when all else fails
Ain't nothin' like real cornbread
Southern style
melt in mouth
make a nigga shout Jesus! Allah Jah Jehovah Marx Lenin
--Marvin X