Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Disintegration Nation

Kelly Thomas was born April 5, 1974 to Ron Thomas, a former Orange County Sheriff's deputy, and Cathy Thomas. Thomas, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was a "fixture" among Fullerton's homeless population. The death of Thomas has sparked debate about systemic reforms in treatment of the mentally ill.

Four robbers hold up an armored truck, getting away with over a million dollars in cash. Joe Rolfe, a down-on-his-luck flower delivery truck driver is accused of being involved and is roughly interrogated by local police.

Kelly Thomas was a homeless man with schizophrenia who lived on the streets of Fullerton, California, before he was severely beaten by members of the Fullerton Police Department on July 5, 2011. After paramedics treated the officers first for minor injuries, Thomas was taken to St. Jude Medical Center before being transferred to the UC Irvine Medical Center, where he was comatose on arrival and not expected to recover. He never regained consciousness, and died on July 10, 2011.

Released due to lack of evidence, Joe, following the clues to a Mexican resort, decides to look for the men who set him up both to clear his name and to exact revenge. What he doesn’t know is that the heist involves a retired policeman who is also intent on revenge.

Security footage of Kelly Thomas police beatings to be found on the internet.
Kansas City Confidential is a 1952 film noir crime film directed by Phil Karlson and starring John Payne. The plot was inspiration for Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. The film is to be found (public domain) on the internet.

Disintegration Nation

Everywhere it's gray and drizzly
like an ex-con's faded tattoos

or the emptiness of a Sunday evening
when the next day meant school.

Some doors can't be opened;
others click close behind us.

The heart silently screams.

A true story,
but with some words missing. 

The ghosts of the murdered,
whose habitual condition is rage,
gather up bayonets and guns.

You travel throughout the land,
weeping in every capital.

Disintegration Nation is a poem by Howie Good, from the collection 'Dreaming in Red' (Right Hand Pointing Press, 2011) collected especially for the benefit of the Crisis Center (Birmingham Alabama) The Crisis Center is a non-profit agency in Birmingham, Alabama offering suicide prevention, services to victims of sexual assault, day treatment for the indigent mentally ill, and other services.
Howie Good's poems slip under your skin like parasites, the ones that your high school science teacher said might be good for you  These are dark poems with a bright inner-core.  Good, perhaps our best contemporary noir-minimalist poet, is back with a vengeance.  Here, soothsayers, wild birds, the sun, and yes, even assassins with a sense of humor, offer antidotes to the darkness that surrounds us.

Mashup Videopoem

Words: Howie Good
Concept, editing, music & voice: Swoon
Footage: 'Kansas City Confidential' (Phil Karlson, 1952)
CCTV from the security tapes of the Kelly Thomas beating (Youtube 'Voice of 

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