Our thanks to Multnomah Arts Center writer Jan Stewart, who shared her impressions of her first time at Ghost Town and her time in Christopher Luna’s Multnomah Arts Center poetry writing class:
“My hat is off to you. A bright and multicolored hat of deep significance is lifted to you for your work in building a vibrant, inspiring, and supportive community of poets. At one point last night you said something like, ‘you guys are cracking my head wide open.’ Mine too. Along with the assembly of poets, a group diverse in race, experience, sexual orientation, gender, and perspective, I was impressed by the core values palpably present. Everyone felt safe to let their voice be heard. The power of that mix cracked my head wide open and knocked my socks off. I have been impressed by what you do for us at MAC and last night saw it is a drop in the bucket in what you do for poets, and even more importantly for the community, for the world, for life on this plane. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Recently, Portland poet Micah David-Cole Fletcher was the only survivor among three heroes who were stabbed while defending a Muslim woman and her friend from a racist terrorist on the MAX in Portland. In gratitude for their bravery and their willingness to stand up to hate, we dedicated this month’s Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic to Micah, Ricky Best, and Taliesin Namkai-Meche.
I was moved to tears by Ghost Town regular Lori Loranger, who has been attending the series since it was founded in November 2004, when she shared the following poem:
“Tell everyone on this train that I love them”
remembering Rick Best and Taliesin Namkai-Meche
So many ways to propagate hate
speak it and spout it and live it
until you believe it’s true
you can teach it to your children,
feed it with your angry thoughts
keep it on the fire
where it simmers and steams
until it explodes in violence.
So many ways to propagate hate,
while those of us who don’t believe,
who won’t give energy to hating,
pour reason and truth and love on the heat of it
with just the one way to not hate:
to NOT HATE
To not hate people who aren’t like us
or don’t think the same
To not hate even the haters
to just not hate.
It’s the duty of those of us who can
to speak up, when hate is spoken
It’s our privilege to do the right thing,
a privilege not everyone can afford.
We’re all on this train
traveling together, to wherever we’re going,
going our own ways, we’re on this train together
packed in tight
with no room for hate
Tell everyone on this train that I love them.