Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Blood and Thunder in the Sunshine State
by Willis Gordon

"This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves—that we really are just a nation of used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anyone else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."
          —Hunter S. Thompson

It is a time where the fires of revolution burn hot around the globe. Where injustice is being met in the streets by citizens who have finally had enough and must take their country's future in their hands. Meanwhile in America, during one of the most turbulent summers this world has seen in some time, we are behaving like injustice is some sort of new thing. We're shocked, appalled, offended, our feelings are hurt. So many of us are taken aback by the absurdity of the Zimmerman verdict. This is nothing new, but if this is the case, if we are truly surprised and this is what wakes people up to the ugliest parts of the Justice System, then so be it.

The four most high-profile murder cases of the last 20 years have been the trials of OJ Simpson, Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman. There is a web, an insidious web that strings all of these cases together. The dynamics of each case are of course different, but the tone going in was always the same. The nation and the media were all counting on an easy ride for the prosecution and the defense had to dig themselves out of a massive hole. With most people you talk to there is not a shadow of a doubt that these four people are murderers. However, three of the four of them walked...

75%. People who were already convicted in the court of public opinion, people who had no one else to pin their crimes on. 75% of them walked free and never had to deal with the consequences of their actions. The media of course said the same thing, a slam-dunk case for the prosecution. All they had to do was show up and lay their cards on the table. Inevitably the jury would see what we all felt to be true... But it never goes like that, does it? In every one of these cases the prosecution either has a baffling lack of evidence or finds a way to bungle it up so that the defendant walks. In OJ's case it was tampering with the blood samples. With Casey Anthony it was a great void of concrete evidence, and with George Zimmerman it was a reluctance to prosecute and follow up on holes in the defense's story, along with sloppy forensics. Scott Peterson had the same situation as Casey Anthony but he lacked something the other three defendants had... A natural defense.

Scott Peterson wasn't rich and famous like OJ, he wasn't pretty like Casey Anthony. He didn't have one half of a divided nation supporting him in a proxy race war. He had nothing. He was doomed from the start. A sympathetic victim didn't help in the least and because he had nothing to counteract it with, there was no chance of escape. Nicole is a beautiful young woman, but we loved OJ. Caylee is a precious young child, but America won't execute an attractive young white woman without hard, hard evidence. Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old boy just trying to get home, but because of the color of his skin and his assumed personality, Zimmerman becomes a hero and a victim of "Race Baiting".

Find a picture of Laci Peterson. A big bright smile, modest haircut, and pretty brown eyes. She was pregnant, and Scott had done her wrong before. What did Peterson have to compete with that? Not a thing. There are greater dynamics at work here than just race. This has to do with every major murder trial in post modern America. The High Profile cases are in a league of their own.

That being said, I don't believe that it matters so much whether or not George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin and decided to engage him. The big question to me was "Who cares that a young black man was gunned down like a dog in the street?"...and the answer is "No one important."

The huge backlash against Trayvon and his family. The attack on his character. The purely disgusting excuses being made in offices and social media networks around the country. "People get killed every day, why does anyone care now?" It reveals the ugly truth about us. We are not as advanced and civilized as we like to tell ourselves we are. When it comes down to it this country is still polarized when it comes to race. We can still turn into beasts at the drop of a hat... When blood is spilled, thunder rolls and the storm comes in. Our hideous nature. Millions of cowards and degenerates.

This particular case brings out the greasiest, beady eyed, venomous versions of many of us. People have turned on each other, and the conservative movement has come out in the boldest statement in recent years...A flat out denial that racism exists in America. Tavis Smiley faced down a sweaty, shifty eyed Bill O'Reilly on his No Spin Zone when O'Reilly claimed that Blacks create their own problems and there is absolutely no animosity towards Black Men in America. When Smiley asked why the NRA hadn't come out and said "If only Trayvon Martin had a gun, he might still be alive today." Because by their logic the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The conservatives have spearheaded the Second Amendment debate and want every person possible armed to the teeth, but when Smiley slyly suggested that every Black American be armed at all times, Bill nearly shat himself in terror. His whole face changed in an instant. "W-Well, I think that's a little extreme."

Which of course colorfully and clearly proved Smiley's point. The problem we have with race in this country is that we either want to stop talking about it completely and pretend it doesn't exist, or we give it more credit than it deserves and begin to see it everywhere. The problem of race becomes a white whale, an obsession. But no one ever solved a problem by not talking about it. We have to understand our differences and learn from our separate heritages. We should know the mistakes and the shortcomings of our fathers so we can do better in our time. We can avoid their failures and repair some of the damage done. Our differences should be known and understood, but our similarities are what should be celebrated. There is so much more that unites us than divides us, we have so much in common, and it's people in power who try and make us forget that fact. While we're fighting amongst ourselves, all of our tax dollars are being misspent, our civil liberties are being drained one by one, our most basic right to self determination are being trampled and they have you fighting over pigmentation. Think about that. The bastards are laughing all the way to the bank. But we can't see that. Our politicians and our leaders always have our best interest at heart and would never look out for what's best for them and their buddies...

The men who ascend to power on the shoulders of the American people have always been a lot of filthy handed, greedy, conniving sons-of-bitches who will lie, cheat and steal to stay comfortable, and then call you unpatriotic or extremist if you try and argue. A legion of Cowards and Thieves.

At the end of the day the Zimmerman case was and is a distraction from more sweeping and urgent issues. The verdict did nothing but confirm ugly suspicions about ourselves that we all knew were true deep down. We love a bit of gunplay in this country. We love the taste of blood and the smell of death, as long as it's far enough away from our doorstep. We can watch wars on televisions and executions online. We love a good murder trial as long as the victim doesn't look like us or someone we love. And if they do? We want the blood of the accused to be spilled, damn the consequences. We are a nation of muted, reality-television-watching Mickeys and Mallorys. Aroused by the prospect of violence, willing to lash out at anyone who gets in way of our American Ideals: God, Guns, Bargain Shopping, and Full Frontal Female Nudity. We are each kings and queens of our own realms and damn anyone else who tries to make us change, for better or for worse.

At the end of the day, a young man is still dead. A murderer is once again free, and another family grieves the loss of a child while the nation watches on hungrily, whipping themselves into a mindless frenzy over something that was already apparent if you were paying attention. All the while the boot of the Government presses down on all of our necks, white and black alike. But perhaps now the question will pop into our minds between Taylor Swift Lyrics and Beer Commercials... "If there is no justice in the Sunshine state, and none in our capital...Where can it be found? Am I next on the Whipping Post?

Willis Gordon

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