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,
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!
February 23, 2012 San Mateo