Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hennepin Avenue! ((1982-’83) (‘Insight Newspaper’))

Hennepin Avenue!
 ((1982-’83) (‘Insight Newspaper’))

Back in 1981 I hovered up and own Hennepin Avenue, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, drunk half the time, in most of the bars. The place today of course has changed, and I doubt one could define it for a moment to be the same place it was then, that old Hennepin, and 1st Avenue, it has crumbled away, perhaps it is still crumbling with its new guests, from the far-off Middle East.
       Back then, back in the early 1980s, I roamed the streets of the inner city, Hennepin being my most renowned drinking hole, and to where much of my poetic creations were written out, to which the “Insight” newspaper, published many of my poems, between August 12, 1982 and January 1983. They even gave me inspiration for my future writings, thus in a way they shaped me, especially Al McFarlane, but there’s an irony to this. Keep reading, it gets better.
      Now you got to remember today is the 6th of October, 2016, —keep that in mind, we are going back a long ways in time, over 34-years.  I see Al is still putting out his newspapers, 35,000-readers I think I read, back then I think it was more like 13,000-readers, I could be wrong, it’s a wild guess.
       So as I drank from bar to bar in those far-off days—now being sober since 1984—having written 65-International books, and 48-chapbooks, to my name, back then, I had only one book to my name, “The Other Door,” a book of poetry, that today is a collectable, back then it sold for $5.00, today, some bookstores I see are selling the First Edition for $125.00-dollars. Of course I never see a dime of that. But anyhow, I was for a short time, the sudden erratic localized poet phenomena of Hennepin Avenue.  All due to Al McFarlane’s newspaper, ‘Insight’.
       I’ve not gotten to the irony yet, so don’t look for it, but it is coming up.
       Well, I was once on the front page of the August issue, 1982, Vol 9, No 22, of “Insight” for the poem: “First Avenue,” I had witnessed a black man killed (shot to death).
       Then came the September 23rd, Issue, 1982, about Hennepin Avenue, Vol 9, No 25. And then they published “Bus Stop No. 1” and “The telephone Hood,” October 21, 1982, Vol 9, No: 28; and then “Elsie’s Christmas,” December, 1982, and “About 10:00 P.M.” January 6, 1983, and “Ritual on First Avenue,” January 20, 1983, then zoom, it all came the stop.
       “What happened,” I asked myself.
       Gee, I even sent him a book, “The Other Door,” to show him my appreciation. What did I do wrong?  I sent him more poems, but no response. He didn’t die, he’s alive to this very day, 34-years later.
       ‘What could it be?’ I asked myself over and over.
       Woops, I know, the picture in the back of my book, as if with a keen eye, straight-seeing eye, I knew it to be the moving tide of black prejudice, glittering, advancing swiftly in his mind. The phantoms that cry prejudice the loudest, are themselves prejudice, but isn’t it funny how God uses even the most pompous to inspire, because Al inspired me, even in his fault.
       “I’m White!” What a shocker it must have been for him,
he was publishing a white man’s poetry, God forbid, that is perhaps what he said mentally, not out loud of course.
       He thought I was a black man.