FRIED POETRY

Written and Directed by Ron Allen

Feb. 24 2006 at BEYOND BAROQUE
Feb. 25 at the JAMES WOOD COMMUNITY CENTER

Fried Poetry is a skillet full of individual and group spoken word pieces and music on the subjects of spirituality and recovery from addiction. In Fried Poetry, LAPDer’s invoke their insights into recovery as means of healing self and society.

Performance Excerpts

ImageThis work represents the triumph of the human spirit over formidable challenges . The will to survive is the language of transformation and hope. These writers manifest our future and our destiny. Please be open to their testimonies of poetry and conviction. This is the highest wisdom of our communities, an act of love. Not limited to drug and alcohol addiction, FRIED POETRY, explores individual and societal addictions wherever we might find them, including those well known killers addiction to fossil fuels, shopping, and military might.

FP_2006_DSC01379Abyssinian Beauty
Child of the Blue Nile, Created in the image of (Egziabeher) Ruler Of All.
You are forgiving, caring, humble and loving.
What an inner beauty, a beauty that that shines from inside out.
Full of culture, tradition and respect.
Child of the Blue Nile stand strong like the lion from East Africa.
Black man creator, defender, lover and protector.
Yes! Yes! You are humble, caring, giving and most of all you show respect to all creation.
You are survivor of many wars, trials and tribulations.
Strong Abyssinian black man you are liked loved and respected
Child of the of ruler of all (Egziabeher),
You are an asset not a liability to the human race.
Black man I am glad you are born.

Aklilu Kahsai

FP_2006_DSC01397HISTORY NOTES
History Notes from the past.
Talking about misplaced knowledge.
Knowledge all of you should know.

Portugal went to Africa as enemies.
Then as friends.
Then as manipulators.
Then with the greed of her land Touching the greed of our chiefton.

Our leaders. Our fathers. Our protectors.

From a greed within, they sold us into a life of bondage.
The bondage of chains ships and whips.
The bondage of the mind.
Taking us to the Islands and breaking our spirits.
Making us meek, humble and afraid.
Breaking up thought of ancient African Kingdoms.
They broke our spirits and we toil the soil.
We toil under the field of madness, the harvest of sadness.

States United for inhumanity.
History notes from the past.
Talking about misplaced knowledge.
Knowledge all of you should know.
History notes about the Emancipation Proclamation.
1863. The Buffalo solider fought so you could be free.
April 8, 1965 Lee surrender to Grant.
Five days later they assassinated Lincoln.
Econstruction came and went.
The south made a deal with the north and we had codes.
We had Black Codes and a new type of bondage.

History notes from the past.
Talking about misplaced knowledge.
Knowledge all of you should know.
Listen to the sound of the drumbeats.
[Drum solo]
The drums are sounding.
Hey’re sounding through the jungle.

Sounding for you.
Sounding for me.
Sounding for unity.
Sounding for you to put the pieces together.

Listen to the voices of W.E.B. Du Bois, George Jackson and David Walker.
The voices of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
The voices of peace.
The voices of freedom are sounding.
You better listen.

Melvin Ishmael Johnson

FP_2006_DSC01391Her Story Twice Told
The children keep asking and saying, tugging
“Mommy, Mommy? What? Are you high?”
I’m seized anew by your amazing powers
To make me wanna throw up and cry
The love you trashed is no excuse
The pain embraced not an alibi
The last time I took you at your word
On how you tried so vainly to die

You loved ones keep saying over again
Is what you’re living is an unnatural lie?
Fill me with such blue-toned sorrow
All one can do is slump down and sigh
They had hope but it’s all your fault
Now what’s left is a long, slow goodbye
This time I want to believe what I see
That gleam I thought I saw flash in your eye

Rickey Mantley

ImageADDICTION
I HEAR WORDS
I COVER WITH FAT
I HEAR HATE
I COVER WITH FAT
I COVER WITH FAT, MORE FAT

I GRAB, THEN GRAB, SLAG, THEN GRAB
THOUGHT AGAIN, THEN GRAB, WAIT AGAIN, THEN GRAB
FULL A LITTLE, EMPTY, THEN GRAB
GRAB TO GRIN
GRAB TO GRIND
GRABBED TO LEARN HOW TO GIVE
GRABBED TO EAT THE LIES
GRABBED TO FEEL ATE
GRABBED TO FEEL INATE

PLAIN FACED
I BREAK UP AND SIT
DRAGGED AND DRAGGED

IT IS DEBATE
AND I EAT AGAIN

Patricia Smith

FP_2006_DSC01386FREEDOM
I ran for days not knowing where to go
When I came to, I realize that I was on the ground.

FREEDOM FREEDOM
I didn’t like how I was feeling, knowing I could be in jail.
For the first time, I am not in jail,
FREEDOM FREEDOM
People were running around looking crazy with their drugs in their hand. Selling dope, I say to myself.
Do I really want to go through this world being a user?
Letting my life go,
Something came over me,
I kept telling myself,
What would I do to overcome this madness.
Stop, stop, stop
It came to me at 3:00 in the morning,
something is wrong with the street when we know about all the Bad thing.
The Drug don’t have a mind
It don’t have a heart
Drugs don’t care about you
Don’t you want to be FREE with FREEDOM Loving yourself
Howard Bee
About the Director
RON ALLEN poet, playwright and producer of profound and profoundly unsettling events is a major force — a one man avant guard in Detroit. Ron Allen is an African American Buddhist priest, and a Viet Nam veteran, who has initiated writing workshops in recovery settings throughout Detroit. Allen’s most recent play adapts, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, to a contemporary urban America.

FRIED POETRY director Ron Allen says: “An addiction is anything that keeps you from expanding and experiencing your deeper self.”

“Allen packs a lot of beauty into an hour, and he does so with text that spans the distance between the cracks in the sidewalk and the stars in the cosmos.” Kari Jones, METRO DETROIT (2005)

Cast
FP_2006_FriedPoetry_castRon Allen, Howard Bee, Melina Bielefelt, Henriette Brouwers, Hylen Burt, Melvin Ishmael Johnson, Aklilu Kahsai, Kevin Michael Key, John Malpede, Rick Mantley, Tony Parker, Ibrahim Saba, Sashae Siatui, Labrienna, Patricia Smith and Pamela Walls.
Funders
This project is supported by of the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. With additional support from SRO Housing Inc. and Beyond Baroque. LAPD thanks Kevin Higa and Paula Labrot and the students of Chaminade High School and the International Budhist Meditaion Center.