Wednesday, November 25, 2009

IN 1974 OR SO I WENT TO OKEMAH - A WOODIE THANKSGIVING
I GREW UP IN OKIE LAND BUT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE I FOUND OUT THERE WERE THESE PEOPLE WHO DIDNT ACCEPT THE OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN MYTH, INCLUDING A HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND BILL ALSPAUGH WHO SCOFFED ALONG WITH THE BRITISH ACTIVIST PHILOSOPHER BERTRAND RUSSELL. THE SIMPLE TRUTH WAS THAT THE CHRISTIAN WHITE OKLAHOMA THAT I GREW UP IN WAS WRONG A LOT OF WAYS. IT CRUSHED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE THAT I NEVER EVEN GOT TO KNOW.
I HEARD FOLK MUSIC AND THAT WAS ONE OF THE HINTS. BUT IT WASNT TILL I LIVED AGAIN IN NEW JERSEY THAT I GOT TO REALLY KNOW THAT FOLK SINGERS WERE ONE PART OF 'POLITICAL' PEOPLE WHO HAD SPOKEN AND SUNG OUT LOUD WHILE I LAY PROTECTED IN THE OKLAHOMA COCOON. `AMERICAN MASTERS TONITE HAS CELEBRATED WOODIE - I'M REMINDED AGAIN WHAT A MIRACLE HE IS. IN NEW JERSEY I MET PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY KNEW HIM AND WERE PRACTICING OLD RADICALS- ANNAMAE AND HERB. AND I HAD FOUND ARLO, THE SPECIAL SUN/SON. AND WHEN ARLO’S RECORD OF ALICE’S RESTAURANT INCLUDED ARLO AND PETE SEEGER, I WENT TO THE MOVIE AND FELT LIKE I SAW HIM AND THEM FOR REAL.
TODAY I SIT IN THE NEW OKLAHOMA AND WONDER IF THERE IS ANYTHING MAGIC HERE EXCEPT INDIAN PEOPLE AND WOODIE'S LEGACY. I FOUND THE HOUSE IN OKEMAH WHICH I NOW KNOW WAS ONE OF THE HOUSES THAT WOODIE LIVED IN - PROBABLY AFTER HIS MOTHER FIRST GOT KNOCKED OUT BY HUNTINGTON’S CHOREA. I WAS THERE ALONE AFTER HAVING HAD TO SEARCH AND ASK FOR THE HOUSE. AND I WAS THERE ALONE WITH NONLOCALS WHO WROTE ON THE WALL. THEY SAID WOODY WE LOVED YOU AND I DID TOO. AND THEN LATER OKEMAH ALLOWED WOODIE TO BECOME ITS HERO [PUT UP A WATER TOWER FOR HIM BUT THAT’S A WHOLE NOTHER STORY THAT ARLO SHOULD SING.]
PBS COMPARED WODDIE TO WILL ROGERS BECAUSE HE TOLD THE SIMPLE TRUTH ARTISTICALLY AND SPECIALLY. AND NOW I LIVE IN THE NEW OKLAHOMA WHERE WOODIE HAS A FESTIVAL IN OKEMAH WHERE ARLO COMES; AND OKLAHOMA CITY HAS MAPS AND AND INDIAN FOLKS HAVE OFFICIAL BARGAINING POWER. THE NEW OKLAHOMA SOPHISTICATION OVERCOMES MANY OF MY SPECIFIC OBJECTIONS WHICH ALLOWED & FORCED ME TO ESCAPE AND FORM MY SOUL. SO FOR A BRIEF MOMENT I HAVE TO ASK OR ARGUE WITH ANY POSSIBILITY THAT WHAT I HAVE CAME NATURALLY FROM HERE - AND I GUESS I WOULD HAVE HAPPENED ON WHATEVER WAY I WAS HERE. GOD DAMN IT OKLAHOMA I HAD TO FIGHT YOU FOR ALL THIS TIME AND ALTHOUGH WE HAVE MADE OUR PEACE WHILE I DO WHAT I KNOW IS RIGHT, YOU KNOW YOU’VE MOVED TWO STEPS FORWARD BUT YOU ALWAYS MAINTAIN THE RIGHT TO TAKE ONE STEP BACK. AND YOU CONTINUE TO FUCK OVER EVERY ONE THAT’S NOT YOU - AND WHEN I’M GONE YOU WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. AND HOPEFULLY SOMEONE OR ONES WILL CONTINUE TO SAY THAT LIVING IN OKLAHOMA REQUIRES SPENDING YOUR DAYS SMILING WHILE YOU FIGHT THE RACISM AND PREJUDICE WHICH IS HERE. MAYBE THE QUESTION IS WHETHER THE CURRENT SOPHISTICATION HAS ACCOMPLISHED THE PRODUCTION OF PEOPLE WHO REALLY CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR AND WITH YOU WITH THE CALMNESS OF KNOWING WE’RE RIGHT AND YOU IN THE LONG RUN ARE ALWAYS WRONG. I‘M NOT SPECIAL BUT I DO WANT TO BE REPLACED. I AM SOMEHOW A PRODUCT OF WOODIE GUTHRIE AND WILL ROGERS ...AND OKLAHOMA. BUT DEEP IN MY HEART I SIMPLY CANT BELIEVE THIS PLACE IS ANY DIFFERENT TO FOLKS IT OPPRESSES THAN IT WAS LONG AGO OR THAT IT WILL PROVIDE SOMEONE NEW TO DO THE JOB I DO WHEN I'M GONE..
LLATER IN THE EVE AND THEY’RE CELEBRATIN PETER SEEGER’S 90TH BIRTHDAY ON PBS AND I’M GOING TO LISTEN. FIGURING OUT ME AND OKLAHOMA REALLY DOESNT COUNT IN COMPARISON TO KNOWING HOW LONG PETE SEEGER - AND WOODIE - FOUGHT THE FIGHT. THEY QUOTE PETE SAYING ON THE INAUGURATION THAT THIS ERA OF THE MULTI-CUTURAL IS TRULY TO BE CELEBRATED. WHO AM I TO SAY DIFFERENTLY


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