Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bad Poetry--That'll Get You Jailed

Johnny Logan Spencer, Jr. is not Ezra Pound.  I thought of Ezra Pound when I first saw this story and the mugshot of Mr. Spencer.  Like Pound, Spencer finds himself incarcerated for his words, in Pound's case the crazy and paranoid genuis was spewing propaganda from Italy during WWII for the axis powers.  In Johnny Logan Spencer, Jr.'s case his poem, the Sniper, posted on a neo-Nazi website got him arrested for threatening the President of the United States.  According to a report in the Lousiville Courier-Journal, the "poem" included the line "DIE negro DIE"--I know what you're thinking, poets so rarely use all-caps and it's refreshing to see this artist utilizing this ignored technique.  Threatening the president of the United States is a federal offense, no surprise there--it will get you 5 years in prison and a quarter-million dollar fine.

Now, maybe I'm guessing you're wondering how this "poem" constitutes anything other than wildly obnoxous, and odious free speech?  Yeah, me either.  I'd be surprised if this turns into a full-fledged prosecution. 

The story comes on the heels of reports that certain right wing ministers including Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., and former running mate of American Independent Party presidential candidate Alan Keyes, who told Fox News Radio that he's calling for "imprecatory prayers" asking God to kill the President! 

Wow!  We live in a violent culture, folks, and Louisville may have its poet laureate. 


  1. It's rapidly becoming an ALL CAPS world, and I advise Bad Lawyer not to encourage this trend. I prefer our poets scheming silently in the shadows, perfecting their meter and endlessly editing their stanzas. Generally, they're too busy and self involved to pick up guns, and the courts know that. I think.

  2. I'm an Bad Lawyer and an Outlaw Poet. No guns, though.