I write in order to cast some illumination on Ben Joravsky’s article: “Poetic injustice: the arrest and imprisonment of Joffre Stewart” ([Neighborhood News, July 8], Vol. 23, No. 40, p. 3).
It amazes me how Frank Conklin, the moonlighting Evanston cop who arrested me, after expelling me from Barnes & Noble, on Fri 29 Apr 94, for trespassing (on Sherman Ave.?) can get his lies printed after the fact. What the Reader printed from Conklin: that I was passing out leaflets in the store, was not even on the charge sheet read by a bailiff at the Skokie bond hearing (where 2 bonds, separate and contradictory, were placed on me for one and the same charge). That Conklin can get his lie out first, and have it treated with “journalistic objectivity” which means giving it equal weight to my denial, may illustrate how objectivity does not necessarily serve Truth and may help you understand how Goebbels and Hitler got away with theirs as well as they did. The victim is at a disadvantage, particularly when the victim is unknown but “Authority” has Respectability.
Now, lest Conklin think me a liar, I want to correct the misstatement that “I offered to show him my ID card so he could compare it to this alleged other person” whom Conklin says he either mistook me for or asserts that I am. I did assert that I am not the person Conklin claims had given trouble in the store before without offering to show ID. I wanted Joravsky to understand that Conklin did not initiate request for ID to check out my claim that I was not some other person, who may well be a figment of Conklin’s imagination since everything else he says is false.
My $50.00 pants had some crease in them, which Joravsky never saw but which he qualifies as “baggy.” Nowadays baggy is stylish–has anyone noticed? The field jacket, a hand-me-down from Donald Adamowicz–tho quite serviceable–had seen its best days and would complement Joravsky’s imagination.
The flag I burnt as a part of performance poetry in the bungalow of Gwendolyn Brooks was a flag originally given to me by Catholic Worker Karl Meyer to burn at a Halloween party at his house. He expected me to ignite it without a metal pan to hold it or water to douse it both of which I was prepared with at the Brooks residence. The difference in expectations between the 2, with Brooks banning me from her house on grounds of fire hazard, demonstrates an agenda that even may be hidden from Brooks herself.
Joravsky said he could find no record of me at the County Jail which is scary because it suggests how one may be lost in there the way the system lost or stole my ID, shoelaces, fone numbers, notes, business cards, keys, cash and shopping bag full of writings.
The bond situation was so completely self-contradictory and fraught with ambiguity that Joravsky decided not to touch it.
However, I am pleased, not only that Ben Joravsky could show an informed interest in poetry, but also that he could handle the matter of anti-Zionism vs. anti-Jewishness with some detachment and fairness to my an-archist nonviolence (no law-enforcement anywhere). William Upski Wimsatt’s lead article in the same Reader (“Wigger–Confessions of a White Wannabe”) says something about how whites and blacks interpret differently the same antiracist metaphor (p. 18, cols. 1-2) and this wisdom might apply to the anti-Zionism vs. anti-Jew misunderstanding.
Towards the immediacy of statelessness,
advocate of the Antichrist
Ben Joravsky replies:
I’d like to thank Joffre Stewart for his praise and apologize for my mistakes. I only wish he had corrected them before publication, during one of the three times I read him the text.