Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Breaking from Newsmax.com

Gov. Kasich: Obamacare Isn't Going Away
While Republicans in Congress shout, "Repeal Obamacare," GOP governors in many states have quietly accepted the law's major Medicaid expansion. Even if their party wins control of the Senate in the upcoming elections, they just don't see the law going away.
Nine Republican governors have expanded Medicaid for low-income people in their states, despite their own misgivings and adamant opposition from conservative legislators. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said of the repeal ideology: "I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood and real improvements in people's lives."

Read More Here
E. Ethelbert Miller reads poems by Joseph Ross on WPFW 89.3 FM.

E. Ethelbert Miller reads poems by Joseph Ross on WPFW 89.3 FM.

E. Ethelbert Miller reads poems by Joseph Ross about Willie Louis (formerly Willie Reed), the man who testified against the murderers of Emmett Till. 
In my second memoir THE 5TH INNING I wrote the following:

"Everything comes down to balls and strikes. You don't need religion or God to understand this. One can keep a scorecard just like God. Now and then you try to slow things down by stepping out of the box. I like how good hitters step back, adjust their uniforms, stroke their bats, survey the field, spit, grab themselves between the legs, step back into the box, touch their caps, stare at the pitcher, swing the bat a few times, and maybe if you're Ricky Henderson, step back out of the box and do it all over again."

Now read the crazy article (below) in today's newspaper. Here is another example of the destruction of tradition and our failure to teach a younger generation the beauty of the game.



Now and then I meet people in the community that are doing the heavy-lifting. Folks doing research without grants, publishing books using their own funds. If History had a mirror it would hold it up against their faces. I met with Thelma Austin yesterday. She came into my office at Howard carrying several books. Austin is an expert on the black church and its leaders. One book she gave me was FROM THE PULPIT a collection of 40 sermons by pastors in the Washington area. We often talk about the black church being a key pillar in the black community but who is documenting what the church is doing today? This is where one finds "Saint Thelma" walking among us. In my conversation with Thelma Austin I mentioned how she needed institutional support for what she was doing.

She needed to be affiliated with an organization that could help move her work to a higher level.
So much black history is being saved by people working outside the academic world. There are two scholarly trains running in the black community and one seems to be a underground railroad. We will continue to fail ourselves if we fail each other. Thelma is doing what someone might call God's work.

She can be contacted at:
Praise Press
P.O.Box 56478
Washington, D.C. 20040

Thelma Austin photo taken by Ethelbert

Today is "Bev Day."
Happy Birthday to one of my best friends.
We had dinner last night at an Indian Restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Bev is always on the move so I couldn't resist taking this picture of her.
She's holding two copies of my new book - FALTA DE AR - which
just happens to be dedicated to her. Happy Birthday B.

Yesterday I went down to One Judiciary Square and voted early. I ran into 2 people running for public office and briefly chatted with them. One was my old friend David Schwartzman the other was Carol Schwartz. Funny how you always want to get names straight before you vote. Schwartman is running for the United States Senator and Schwartz for mayor of D.C. It's so important to see voting as something more than yard signs and a few debates. I link voting to everything that is wrong and right in the world. How many people won't vote between now and November 4th? How many will vote on November 4th?  Democracy is a very fragile thing. Too often we tend to drop it.

Well, I voted for the people I thought will do a good job in public office. I was given a little sticker with an American Flag -I Voted Early. Maybe folks should start stamping our thumbs purple when we leave the voting site. I exited and was hoping to see someone like former president Jimmy Carter monitoring the election. Strange things can happen in a democracy. As I walked away, two people came up to me and asked why I wasn't on the ballot. They said they would have voted for me.

I laughed and told them that I had a military uniform in the back of my closet.

Monday, October 20, 2014



10/20/2014 11:39 AM EDT

Saturday, October 25, 1:45 PM

Pulitzer Prize finalist and Texas state Poet Laureate Dean Young discusses favorite poems with Poetry and Literature Center Head Robert Casper. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.texasbookfestival.org.

Location: Capitol Auditorium Room E1.004, Texas State Capitol Extension, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX
Contact: (202) 707-5394




The Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) invites you to an information session for individuals interested in supporting students who are incarcerated.  GPEP offers Goucher College courses and college preparatory courses to students at two Maryland prisons. 

Interested in working with GPEP during the Spring 2015 semester? Be sure to attend one of the following information sessions: 

 Sunday November 9, 2014 from 6:00 – 8: 00 PM or
Sunday November 23, 2014 from 6:00 – 8: 00 PM

Hoffberger 137
Goucher College 
1021 Dulaney Valley Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21204



Sunday, October 19, 2014


Breaking from Newsmax.com
Pope Francis: Church Should Not Fear Change

Pope Francis has closed an assembly of Catholic bishops that revealed deep divisions on how to respond to homosexuality and divorce, saying on Sunday the Church should not be afraid of change and new challenges.

Francis, who has said he wants a more merciful and less rigid Church, made his comments in a sermon to some 70,000 people in St. Peter's Square for the ceremonial closing of a two-week assembly, known as a synod.
Read More Here

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Today was a beautiful fall day. I did some yard work and then took a walk around the neighborhood.

I walked from Brentwood to Petworth. I made a short stop at Culture Coffee (709 Kennedy Street, NW). I wanted to see where this new black-owned coffee shop was located. Down the street around 8th and Kennedy - Brandon Kramer and crew were shooting a documentary film. Kramer is the co-founder of Meridian Hill Pictures. I spoke with them for a few minutes and then headed down to Petworth Citizen ( on Upshur Street) to grab a burger and talk with a friend. I felt like Wendell Berry taking a stroll; if only I knew all the names of the leaves and trees. Maybe I could write poems that had wings or could laugh with clouds.

Brandon Kramer and Crew photo by Ethelbert


It was good to see Nicholas Basbanes again. He was the featured speaker yesterday at the Library of Congress - National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest Awards Ceremony. Basbanes is the author of A GENTLE MADNESS: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books. During his talk Basbanes made reference to the work of Charles Blockson. The few times I met and laughed with Blockson he always reminded me of Robeson. In these digital times how many of us are still collectors and people of the book?  In A GENTLE MADNESS Basbanes writes about Blockson as well as Arthur Alfonso Schomburg. Let's continue the tradition.

Nicholas A. Basbanes photo by Ethelbert


A political debate shouldn't be a poetry slam. Yesterday I listened to the final debate between the 3 people running for mayor of D.C. It's obvious Catania is the best candidate. Put aside issues of race and temperament (and other distractions) and just give points on content. Catania gives the best answers to difficult questions. After years of writing and listening to poetry I know BS when I hear it.

This is what I keep hearing from people who run for high office in this city. People recite their resume before they shake your hand. Old ties to a city can sometimes be like old ties to a plantation.

At the end of the day one needs to dream about Canada and find a new narrative. I would never confuse Catania with John Brown but the city could use an abolitionist these days. I live in Ward 4 and have listened to Bowser. She's a nice person but she's not Tubman. Many of us will vote for the person we simply like - but should I vote for a person by listening to what my mother taught me?

Should I look to see if their shoes are polished or a slip is hanging?  Should I watch them chew their food at a local meet and greet?  Of course not. I once got my mother to vote for John Lindsay when he was running for mayor of New York. For the first time ever my mother voted for someone who wasn't a Democrat. So many years later - I ask you - do you want a pilot who knows how to fly a plane or do you want a flight attendant? I listen to Bowser and she only seems to be telling me to have a nice flight and our city and can do better. Come Monday however - I'm going to vote early and vote for Catania. I suggest everyone vote and put their mask on first -then help the citizen sitting beside you. Oh, and trust God and the pilot.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Rose Solari's new book arrived in the mail today. The title is THE LAST GIRL (Alan Squire Publishing). I wrote this blurb for her:

Solari's poems begin from the center of her heart. Word seduction, myth given life again, these poems descend from the sky as if there was another beautiful galaxy out there, just beyond our reach, breaking apart, poem by poem.


I attended a Noon program at the Library of Congress today.  I had the opportunity to see my dear friend Veronique Tadjo again. She is one of the leading contemporary African writers.She is a winner of Le Grand Prix litteraire d'Afrique noire.  We met many years ago when she had a Fulbright that brought her to Howard University. Tadjo is a woman of grace and genius. I love her work. She gave me a copy of her new novel - FAR FROM MY FATHER (translated from the French by Amy Baram Reid) published by the University of Virginia Press.

VERONIQUE TADJO photo by Ethelbert

Thursday, October 16, 2014


At the Tuesday reception held before the 38th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award I found myself suddenly talking with Pramila Jayapal. It was as if we had met in another life and was back in the middle of an old conversation. This woman is simply amazing. I could listen to her all day. I hope people will vote for her in November. Here is a link to her website.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014


How soon before everyone has a temperature gun? Will they become as popular as cellphones? Fear always create a market for something.

Remember when Scuds created a demand for gas masks? So who is going to cash in on this Walmart?



IPS 38th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards

Each year we honor people and organizations at the LM Human Rights Awards ceremony who speak for the many who are silent, invisible or dead. We give awards to people who never turned their backs on hope or believed prisons and torture would make them confess to despair. It is beautiful to see men and woman who still love - and love deeply. Too often we see our rights as air - as if to simply breathe is an introduction to freedom. What I realize each year is that what we do at IPS is not just important - but essential.  What took place on September 21, 1976 is not just history but memory.The deaths of Letelier and Moffitt created a narrative that today we share - for comfort and strength. Memory is a reminder not to forget. What begins in struggle is often life-giving and transformative. Our stories will always be one of solidarity. It will be stories of how truth stopped to lean against us for support. How we find time year after year to comfort the survivors - which is all of us.

Bless our courage and dedication to do more.

E. Ethelbert Miller
IPS Board Chair


To everybody,

I want to let you know that the Potter's House Mural, "The Light of the World," is gone. It was painted over with beige paint today Tuesday October 13, 2014 between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. The first coat was applied at around 1:00 pm and the second coat was applied between 3:00 and 4:00 pm.

I just want to say thank you to all the people who supported the mural. Thank you for your letters of support and your gracious comments supporting the preservation of the mural. I guess all of these signs of support and appreciation were not enough to save it.

However, I am very thankful to all of you for your support! Thanks to all of you who signed the electronic petition and the paper petition and who gave me moral support. 
There was not a day that went by without a person stopping me on Columbia Road or calling me on the phone or emailing me, asking me about the status of the mural and giving me words of encouragement and telling me they hoped the mural would stay. This means a lot to me!

I feel very thankful to have seen all of these signs of support and appreciation.

I did delivered the electronic petition and the comments in favor of preserving the mural to the President of the Board of Directors and asked her to give it to all the Board Members. They told me that all the board members got the package with the comments of the petition and that they would review it. They even formed a committee to review the decision on the mural.
But now the mural is gone.

From the bottom of my heart, Thank you so very much for all your support!
Thanks to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for their letter of support. (I delivered your letter to the Board of Directors of the Potter's House).
Thanks to all the newspapers who wrote articles about the Potter's House Mural!
Thanks to John Carter for your wonderful letter of Support and to all who wrote letters!

I will make a postcard with the picture of the mural to remember the image of the candle. The mural served a good purpose, which was to bring joy to people and they told me that the mural touched the hearts of people, so in that regard, I am glad and I am content that my purpose as an artist was fulfilled.

I will post videos of the mural on my website www.Karlisima.com very soon.

Thank you all!
May God bless you all! And may the Universal Light keep shining on, in our hearts.
May the Light prevail forever.
Truly yours, a friend and a servant of the arts,
-Karlisima Rodas - Israel
Wishing you Blessings,Harmony, Peace, Love, Happiness & Joy
Karla C. Karlisima Rodas-Israel
Muralist Artist, Designer & Art Teacher 


I keep telling people Michon might just be the best political writer in the city without a big fan base. Michon writes while too many simply talk.  It's time to visit the Boston Market for good ideas and analysis.


Michon Boston photo by Ethelbert

John Berryman at 100