I want to talk about Pun for a minute. It's been a year since he was captured last July 23rd, and it's been almost a year more than that since he's been able to be where he belongs, in the streets and parks of Ann Arbor, and it occurs to me that a lot of you probably don't know that brother and what he means to those of us who do know him as our powerful comrade and brother. I know a lot of you don't know me either, for the same reason, but there isn't anything I can do about that until you all can get us out of these places where they keep us locked up away from you.
It's Bastille Day this morning, the anniversary of the day the French people stormed the gates of the Bastille and freed all the political prisoners of the French Revolution, back around 1792, and I woke up thinking about Pun in the Kent County Jail so I thought I'd try to tell you a little bit about him. You can't get us out by storming the gates -- it ain't time for that now -- but it can be done by using the power of the people to put enough pressure on the judges and politicians who keep us in these cages so that they have to let us go. That can be done and it looks like we might get back home for a while before very goddamn much longer, and if we're going to be together you should know more about us so we won't feel like strangers when we get there, right? One of the most beautiful things about a true people's movement is the way brothers and sisters are continually thrust forward by the conditions under which they are forced to live, to become dedicated servants of the people and full-time workers among the people.
This process takes place over and over again during a revolutionary period, catching people up in it who would never have dreamed of becoming revolutionaries and pushing them further and further into the vortex of the social upheavals which are taking place all around them. This happens even against their will sometimes - things just seem to happen which propel them to do things that have never been done before, and after a while they quit fighting the inevitable and start working consciously to do the things that history demands of them. It's really far out the way this happens. We're all so weird anyway, the way we exploded into being here in the middle of this plastic neon superchrome desert just when it looked like the greedheads had everything covered forever, and so many incredible things have gone down in the past few years since we leaped onto the scene that it's hard to make sense out of it sometimes.
I mean, we're a whole new people in a whole new world which has never existed before in history, we don't have any idea where we came from,. we don't know where the fuck we're going, we just try to keep on truckin' until things slow down enough so we can sit down and figure everything out, and even then it takes a while to understand what's happening, you know? And things being what they are in this country, a lot of us are locked up in some jail somewhere on some ridiculous marijuana charge before everything starts to make a little sense. We were just out there in the streets gettin' down with our brothers and sisters, smokin' some killer weed, takin' off some jams and havin' a good old time, right? We weren't doin' nothin' wrong, but here we are in this jail cell starin' at the walls and wonderin' what it's all about -- the police say you gave somebody a roach a few months back and now they want to send you to the penitentiary for 20 years to life? ? What ? ? ? ?
And you can't get out because they put a ransom on your head of $20,000 and your people are stugglin' just to make the - rent and the amplifier payments on their rock and roll equipment and the truck payments and everything else it takes to keep things together, you know? So you sit there and sit there and sit there waitin' for something to happen, putting things together in your head which had never seemed to fit like that before, and maybe your beautiful partner comes up to see you on visiting day and lays a few books and papers on you, stuff you looked at once or twice on the streets but you never had time to really get into them, and she says, yeah, a lot of weird shit is goin' down out there man, we're tryin' to get you a lawyer and get you out of here, but it all just gets stranger all the time and you might dig to read this thing here, it blew our minds, well brother gotta go because the police won't let me stay any longer, hold fast and remember how much I love you -- and then she's gone.
So if you're this particular brother in this particular jail in Traverse City Michigan in the summer of 1968 you go back to your cell and jack off a couple time remembering what it was like to be with your sweet sister, you get up and walk back and forth in that cell until you can't stand it any more, you feel like beating your head against the wall because it's all so hopeless but that doesn't make any sense either so you stretch out on your nasty little mattress and check out the stuff your partner brought you. Hmmm. Revolution in the Revolution, by Kegis Debray. Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver - yeah, I been meanin' to check that out. Huey P. Newton Speaks to The Movement -- hey, that brother's in jail too, I wonder what he's talkin' about? The Movement, huh? I don't know what that's all about, but this dude Huey F. Newton sure makes a lotta sense--yeah! And this stuff Eldridge Cleaver's talkin' about--wow, that's what we were doin'--far out! He was in jail for a long time too, and he's hip to rock and roll and weed and all of that stuff, and now he's in the Black Panthers with this Huey P. Newton dude, and they say we all gotta defend selves against the police.
Shit, I sure can dig that. They say we gotta organize ourselves and move in an organized manner so we can keep these beasts out of our communities and start to determine our own destinies, and that we won 't be able to do what we want until we deal with the politicians and businessmen and police who keep their feet on our necks. Yeah! Really! I can dig it! It isn't really as simple as all that, but on the other hand it wasn't much different from that either, the way Pun Plamondon went through a lot changes sitting in jail in Traverse City waiting for us to get his bond reduced after he was kidnapped on a phony dope beef in June of 1968. He was locked up more than 80 days that time, and he came out in September a whole different person, ready to get down and start organizing freeks so we could put an end to the kind of shit that was just beginning to come down on our community for real at that time.
When the bust had come down all of us had just been a bunch of rock and roll freeks living and working together and trying to turn our brothers and sisters on to the magic truth of rock and roll, dope, and fucking in the streets--we had been hassled by the police before, but we kept trying to ignore them so we could do our thing in peace and we didn't understand how determined they were to keep us from doing it. It took the kind of shit Pun went through in that jail, coupled with the shit the rest of us were taking with the MC-5 everywhere we went to make our music that summer, to make us understand that there was a lot more to it than we thought there was, you know? And while we were struggling for our survival in the streets and parks and teen clubs of Michigan, Pun was putting it all together in his little Traverse City jail cell.
I want to go back a little further, because I get so many flashes when I think about my comrade like this and it all makes a lot more sense to me now - I've been in jail for a while now too, and I've been putting a lot of things together that never seemed to fit before. I remember when Pun first showed on the set -- we were living in Detroit then, TransLove had just got together, and a bunch of us were planning to pull off the killer Belle Isle Love-In, the first mass gathering of freeks outdoors in the midwest. Pun drifted into town from Flint, where he had been making sandals and shit, and hooked up with one of the head shops down on Plum Street as a sandalmaker. He needed a place to crash, and somebody down on Plum Street sent him to our place. He had just cut all the hair off the top of his head in a drunken frenzy one night in Flint, and he looked plenty strange the first time I saw him--bald on top with a fringe of long hair curling down over his ears and the back of his neck. He was a beautiful dude, though, and we let him crash with us until he could sell enough sandals to get a place of his own, right?
He never left. Pun got so excited over what we were doing that he quit making sandals altogether and started working full-time with Love on our hippie service program -- putting out the Sun, selling papers, running the free store and crash center we had, working on the Love-In, helping the freeks in Ann Arbor put on their free concerts in West Park, and--his favorite project of all time -- getting the old building we had copped to make into a people's ballroom together. He dropped acid for the first time the day of the Love-In and got so spaced he couldn't even carry out his duties with the Psychedelic Rangers. I remember one time that summer -- 1967-- all of us came up to Ann Arbor for a killer free concert in West Park with the 7th Seal, a dynamite band that isn't around anymore (the lead guitar player, Bill Kerchen, plays with Commander Cody now, and I hear Steve Elliot's still around). We had brought Roscoe Mitchell and his outer space band in from Chicago to play in Detroit and we took them up to AA for the concert. Pun and Leni and I dropped this powerful blotter acid that some (continued on page 14)
(continued from page 9) brothers had sent us from California in the mail, and by the time the music started we were just spaced. Me and Pun were lying there on the grass beating our heads on the ground and laughing until we couldn't even see. The music was so strong that day-we could feel the feedback from the Seal passing through our bodies on out into the universe, and we just kept looking at each other and laughing and crying and rolling around on the ground Whew! I remember the day the police came for Pun too, the next summer. Pun and Genie had hooked up by then-Genie had drifted into Detroit just after Pun did, a flipped-out fugitive from an all-girl's school in the south, and she turned up on our doorstep one night looking for a place to crash too.
I'll never forget that either--she had been hitchhiking up from the south with some spaced-out brother and they were both full of acid when they knocked on our door. Genie's eyes burned through the darkness into our crib, and all she could say was "WOW!" I don't know what ever happened to that dude she was with that night, but she never left either, except this one time just before Trans-Love moved to Ann Arbor. We all woke up one morning and Fun and Genie were gone --they had pulled up in the night because they didn't feel they were contributing enough to the house and they wanted to drift around the country for a while to see what was happening.
They left around April and showed up in Ann Arbor in June, a couple weeks after we had moved, saying wow are we glad to be home! And it wasn't a week before the Traverse City police came and snatched brother Pun. Me and Pun were sitting down in the basement office of 1520 Hill Street smoking some joints and talking about all the things that had happened to both of us since he had left, when somebody called down and said the police wanted to see me. I went upstairs and dug Lt. Stademier at the door with some strange dudes who looked like pigs. He asked if Pun was there and I said yes, I'll go get him. When we came back upstairs after stashing the weed they told Pun they had a warrant for his arrest in Traverse City and would he go peacefully? Whew! Just like that. They asked about Grimshaw too, but we managed to get word to him and he got out of town faster than shit -- didn't come back for two years.
I didn't see Pun again until September when we got him out on bond, and both of us had changed a lot by then. I could go on all day talking about my brother like this, but I don't want to wear you out, you know? After he got back from that jail we started the White Panther Party and tried to organize freeks the best way we knew how. We made a lot of mistakes for a long time which we're just starting to understand, but Pun dedicated himself completely to what we all believed was the right way to do things at that time, and he taught all of us a whole lot of things that we never would've found out otherwise.
He was always a great inspiration to me because of his tremendous dedication and his profound humility, which might seem like a strange word to use but it's really true--he kept telling me how we couldn't ever separate ourselves from the people because the people were everything and everything we did had to be for them. He and Genie started all of us studying the Red Book, which really had a powerful effect on me especially after I got to prison and had a chance to get into it, you know? But by that time I couldn't even write to Pun and talk to him because he had gone underground himself , and I used to sit up there in Marquette and worry about him all the time. He was doing things and making statements I didn't really relate to at the time, because I had learned how serious the police were about putting us away and I was sure they were going to shoot him down like a dog if they ever caught up with him.
I got real pissed off when Pun got captured last summer, but by the time I saw him again a couple months later when we went to court together in Detroit I felt a lot better about it -- I remember how much good his last time in jail had done him, and I was sure that he'd get himself together this time too. When we got a chance to rap all he could talk about was all the plans he had f or survival programs in the community and how bad he wanted to get back out on the streets so he could work with the people again. He realized like I had that all the woofing and hollering we had been doing wasn't doing the people any good, that we were really betraying the people we loved so much, and that we had to put together institutions and programs which actually dealt with the people's needs and took care of them.
This brother is so beautiful, people, I wish you could know him like I do. The last time I was in Detroit (Wayne County Jail) we were on the same wing and the same floor of the jail and we got to see each other quite a lot compared to before. Pun was always sending me notes over to my ward running down the plans he had -- he was full of energy and beautiful ideas and he would always end his notes with Serve the People! and Free John! Even when he was locked up himself he was thinking about getting me out -- that's the kind of brother he is, and I hope you can tell how much I love him. You will too, when you bring him home and put him back to work. BRING PUN HOME NOW!! SERVE THE PEOPLE!!