Sunday, July 29, 2007


For the moment, I think I am in a poetry paradise. The party is only beginning.

And then a swarm of police wearing bulletproof vests with badges on ropes around their necks like characters from The Shield illegally storm into this private art gallery. Without so much as a search warrant or even an explanation, five of them surround the DJ and demand he turn off Mark Morrison's "Return of the Mack." Issuing uncompromising threats, they force the DJ to announce over the microphone that without so much as a discussion EVERYONE MUST LEAVE THE PREMISES.

Like a scene out of Robocop, a small army, in ominous black jumpsuits with CHICAGO POLICE in big white letters across their chests, arm the exits as hundreds of literate citizens file out into the night. --CJ Laity,
A local publisher organizes to host Chicago poets at a privately owned gallery; and out of nowhere a mass of police enter, rudely shouting and intimidating those who were about to enjoy some music and a free meal.

Laity goes on to add, "This is America, not Afghanistan; and your taxes shouldn't fund the Taliban tactics that succeed in censoring the culture in this city. I wish I had my camera so that I could show you just how knuckle-headed these armed thugs looked barking threats at the peaceful publishers of Chicago literature."

In one of our famous, cultured cities, cops are roundly driving poets and publishers out the exits of an art gallery.

Can you believe it?


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