A Fight for KGO

You deserters of San Francisco Bay Area,

San Jose and Oakland!

you less than Adam and Eve!

You big mouths, little chimps!

How come you let go of KGO without a fight?

How come you did not fight for your dignity

And let a bunch of crooks and con artists

Wipe out your huge radio community

In the name of the invisible God of market

At the merger of two media companies?

How come you let go of that elegant soul

With a big body: Gene Burns

Who has the free spirit of a Libertarian

With the benevolence of a New Deal Democrat?

He can fight against mean-spirited profiteers

With reason and passion,

A good piece of salmon

And a glass of chardonnay.

How come you let go of that funny lawyer

With his R-less New York accent?

He can entertain and educate his listeners

With the colorful stories of his callers

And show how to compromise or fight

In the labyrinths of courts and law firms.

How come you let go of Len Tillem:

That icon of Northern California?

It takes you a Southern Californian

To show you how to fight,

It takes you a Persian,

An Iranian-American

To tell you how to stand.

Because I come from a line of fighters.

My first wife Ezzat Tabaian

Was executed in Evin Prison

On January 7, 1982

Because she stood for her dignity

And said NO to mullahs.

I come from a line of survivors

My brother Sa’id

Disappeared on the streets of Tehran

But his hope for freedom remained strong.

My ancestor was Nafis, son of Evaz

Who served Ulugh Beg, the grandson of Tamerlane

As a physician in Samarkand.

He taught The Book of Healing

Written by the Persian philosopher Avicenna

When the ancestor of greedy Cumulus

cleaned his dirty ass

With the palm of his right hand!

Yes, You have to fight, men, women!

And do not let go of your talk radio

Just because big money talks

And follows the law of market:

Supply and demand.

No! Money is not speech

And corporations are not people.

That radio community was more tangible

Than a gold mine turned into a ghost town

In the nineteenth century, California.

KGO was born in 1924

And became a voice of democracy in our state

And one of the best talk radios across the country.

It could create meaningful conversations

With interviews and listeners’ participation

Without the demagoguery and bigotry of Rush Limbaugh.

I know it for a fact, first hand.

It was the symbol of independence for my American girlfriend

When she divorced her husband

Who did not let her listen to KGO

More than twenty years ago.

She craved for an intimate companion

Who could carry a conversation

Intelligently and passionately

And she found it in KGO.

Even after we became intimate

She still called me Gene or Len.

While my girlfriend was driving between home and work

She would listen to KGO in the car,

And while cooking, dining, washing, gardening

Going to the bathroom or taking a shower

And making love at home

She would constantly listen to KGO

On her three separate sets of radio

Working simultaneously in her kitchen, garden and bedroom

Even when she was not home.

Sometimes she would dial KGO’s number

and open her heart on the air

To tens of thousands of other listeners.

Sometimes she would go to KGO public gatherings

To meet Gene and Len in person

And participate in a public conversation.

Yes! I saw her beautiful trembling shoulders

When she called me one night couple of months ago.

she sobbed hysterically on the telephone

And told me that her KGO was gone

And its new owner, Cumulus Media

Had laid off Gene, Len and others

And changed the format of the radio

From a news/talk station into all news

Because the rating had been low

And the profit meager.

Yes! I saw her beautiful wet eyes

When she was sobbing into the phone

Telling that there was no one to stand forKGO

And she had lost her radio community,

Which was more important to her than her neighborhood.

One evening, my girlfriend and I

Went to a small vigil in front of KGO building

And held candles and listened to a speaker

Who asked us some simple questions:

“Will you occupy KGO’s building?

Will you take part in a rally?

Will you write an article?

Will you talk on the air?”

You losers of San Francisco Bay Area,

San Jose and Oakland!

You lost your democracy to Cumulus

Which is an inheritor of a Californian crook

With the emblem of a rattlesnake

Who said: “I am not a crook”.

You lost your goodwill to Cumulus

Which is a follower of a Californian con artist

With the emblem of a poison oak

Who began a war against the poor

By calling them “welfare queens”.

No one stood up to him

Who gave welfare to big corporations

But denied it to the mentally-ill.

I bore witness to it

When in May 1984

I moved to Venice Beach

And saw thousands of people homeless.

In the day that Cumulus took over KGO

Did you sleep overnight without a pill

And in the morning switch from KGO

To KSFO without an afterthought?

Shame on you!

You have no life instinct left in you.

You are totally useless.

Too much TV for you.

Too much booze for you.

Too much pot for you.

They have drained out the passion

That you need for a fight.

Yes! I am from the city of Isfahan

We don’t fight by fists

We fight by words

and why not?

When a Polo shirt is $ 89

And a pair of Levis jeans $ 100

And an Adidas snicker $ 79

And a cotton hat 30 bucks

Why should I get into altercation

And ruin my costly shirt or hat?

No! We fight with words.

This is my art from the city of Isfahan.

I will fight you word by word.

You go on the other side of the bay

I stay on this side.

Let us curse each other

At the top of our voices

Until the mermaids of San Francisco Bay

Hear and judge between us.

I am a man from the city of Isfahan

I know how to put words in a poem

Even if they are bitter as curses.

No matter what the editors of Poetry magazine say

Or the ideologues of the Cato Institute think.

I will transfer my anger into poetry.

Get up! Howl!

Let us fight for KGO!

Majid Naficy
February 23, 2012 San Mateo

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Iranian Singles

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Serena Shim Award
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Meet your Persian Love Today!