America is at war. Again. Constantly, really. Civil unrest continues in Ferguson, Mo. Somewhere on this continent, a team of police officers—dressed for combat and operating out of a mechanized, armored vehicle—prepare for an encounter with a minor drug criminal or in a domestic abuse situation. And it’s awful warm during the daytime for late September in Burque. The clouds just seem to circle the town while a homeless man standing on the corner of San Mateo and Central recites Yeats’ “Second Coming” to the pigeons and passing cars.
Despite these foreboding circumstances, there is hope. And until the human race gets it together—conquering poverty, inventing warp drive, building space ships and heading to the stars—it makes sense that expressions of hope focus on working locally and reaching out to the world from home.
That’s the idea behind 100 Thousand Poets for Change, a yearly global event created and promoted by Michael Rothenberg, a San Francisco poet and activist. He’s well known for his biographical work on Philip Whalen, a prime mover of the San Francisco Renaissance poetics movement. Rothenberg founded the event two years ago as a way to network and create dialogue about world peace and sustainability. Today, poets, artists, performers and musicians in thousands of cities all over the globe celebrate the idea that we can live in peace, free from violence and political oppression, while moving productively into the future.
In Albuquerque the second annual 100 Thousand Poets for Change event manifests as a happening at Tortuga (901 Edith SE) tonight, Saturday, Sept. 27. Featured readers include some of New Mexico’s most profound poetic voices including Larry Goodell, Lisa Gill, Don McIver, Albino Carrillo, Carrie House, Susana Rinderle, Stephanie Galloway and John Scariano. There will be art, music and lively discussion about the world that lies ahead of our tribe of large-brained, bipedal, largely hairless primates. A Happening for Peace Love and Understanding begins at 7:30pm. There’s a $3 suggested donation at the door. Food is welcomed as a potluck contribution. Come as you are.