Saturday, June 30, 2007

First book out from Gwyn McVay:
ORDINARY BEANS from Pecan Grove Press:
Box AL
1 Camino Santa Maria
San Antonio, TX 78228

This is what Bruce Weigl has to say about Gwyn's work:

A vividness and lushness of diction- that stubborn willingness to say whatever it takes to bring the poem alive for the reader - distinguishes Gwyn McVay's pomes from the vast majority of young poets publishing today. Combined with a serious and politically charged regard for our world, these poems are mature artistically as well as intellectually. When I came to the end, I wanted more.
Supreme nonsense? John Roberts sounds more like George Orwell than a chief justice. How do we make sense out of the following statement he made?

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

When I was five this was the type of response that made an adult wash your mouth out with soap.

Talkin' Law - Canada recently denied a visa to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. What would Tubman say?

Congrats to photographer Roland Freeman who was awarded the 2007 Bess Lomax Hawes Award. This is an NEA award - $20,000.
Freeman a fun guy has been doing great work documenting African American folklore. He did some wonderful work for Stephen Henderson and the Instutute for the Arts & Humanities at Howard University in the 1970s and 1980s.

Talkin' art? Mayor Fenty is trageting graffiti. I remember when this stuff hit the South Bronx and every train car was a tube of moving paint. I never cared for graffiti but find it interesting that we target to wipe it out without looking at the cultural implications. Where are the Hip Hop debates? Prison terms and fines for artists? Or is this first an attempt to halt gang growth and violence? Fenty's goal is to slash the amount of time it takes to remove graffiti; from 40 days to 72 hours. Way to go F-Man!

Talk to Me - out soon with Don Cheadle:

Rickie Lee Jones - THE SERMON ON EXPOSITION BOULEVARD...her recent album.
I'm back from Beantown. I went to Boston yesterday to give a reading and workshop at the William Joiner Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston:

Flying out of National Airport on Thursday morning was just crazy. The lines were so long - it had that refugee look. I was able to catch my flight because I did the self-serve/carry your stuff on board. Carolyn Forche didn't make it.

Bruce Weigl and I read together at the Harbor Art Gallery/U Mass Boston. My daughter came and it was great to see her. She has a wonderful internship at Harvard this summer. At the reading and workshop were some old friends. I made 2 new ones:
Jennifer Margulies who is the editor of Affirming Flame: Writing by Progressive Texas Poets in the Aftermath of September 11th; and Demetria Martinez author of Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana. Demetria and I talked and laughed about mutual friends - those Chavez women - Denise and Margo- who continue to bless the Southwest.

I missed Grace Paley and Robert Nichols but did pick-up a copy of their new book HERE AND SOMEWHERE ELSE published by The Feminist Press.

I stayed in Cambridge at a nice place -A Friendly Inn at Harvard (1673 Cambridge ST). My daughter and I walked over to Harvard Square on Thursday night. We had dinner at the Bombay Club. I recommend this place. Good food and a view.

Since the inn I was staying at was not far from my friend M. Srinavason apartment, I visited her and her son on Friday morning. It was her birthday so our breakfast together was special. M once lived in DC and at one time worked for PM Indira Gandhi in India.

Afterwards I went back down to Harvard Square to meet my daughter - I went by Grolier Bookstore but it was closed. I sat in the Au Bon Pain and read The New Times. I drew a funny funnel over the head of Clarence Thomas. Around 1 PM my daughter met me and we took the subway to her apartment. The Boston subway is so crowded I thought I was in Fenway Park.

My daughter and I had lunch at the Island Hopper (Southeast Asian Cuisine). Tasty soft shell crabs. We left the restaurant and walked down to the Boston Public Library. This is the type of Library - DC needs to have. When?

Late afternoon I flew back to DC. I read about half of Anosh Irani's The Song of Kahunsha while on the plane. Hey - you could read an entire collection of short stories (while on the runway) with the way the airlines are operating these days.

While away the mail came in. I have a few things to read this weekend:
The New York Observer
American Poetry Review (Stephen Dunn is on the cover)
NY Review of Books

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Job Opening:

Co-Director Needed

Peace Brigades International - USA
Washington, DC

Peace Brigades International (PBI-USA) is seeking a Co-Director. We are an NGO that protects human rights and promotes nonviolent transformation of conflicts. Our volunteers work with human rights defenders all over the world and provide unarmed accompaniment to those threatened by violence.

The Co-Director will coordinate recruitment of and support volunteers, help formulate and execute fundraising strategy, strengthen political and grass-roots networks, raise PBI/USA's visibility, supervise interns, database maintenance, and produce the monthly newsletter. Qualifications: Fluency in Spanish & English, excellent writing and public speaking skills, fundraising experience, computer skills, and ability to motivate others and lead.

Position is full-time, starting ASAP. Benefits include health insurance and 3 weeks paid vacation. Salary commensurate with exp. 202-232-0142v / 232-0143 fax OR email

Deadline to apply: July 9, 2007 end of business day EST
I sent out a couple of invitations to writers encouraging them to contribute work to the E-MAG. Look for some literary goodies in a few days.
New book out:

The 2nd Miller Classic at Bennington:

This is what Liam Rector (Director, Bennington Writing Seminars) said:

The poets won the game and it was a glorious game. (I watched the entire thing.) Ask Victoria for more details on the prize. The game is firmly set as Bennington Tradition (and no one forgets a good softball game, as you know...).
Another reason to vote for Edwards? What is Ann Coulter talking about? Why are people listening to her? Attack journalism sells too much these days and we are poorer because of it.
2007 Newark Black Film Festival is going on at The Newark Museum:
Be careful. Be very, very, careful.

New research shows that poison ivy is growing faster and producing more potent oil.
The reason is the rising ambient carbon-dioxide levels. It's helping to produce a plant with bigger leaves, and faster growth.
Quote of the Day:

When everyone has a blog, a My-Space page or Facebook entry, everyone is a publisher. When everyone has a cellphone with a camera in it, everyone is a paparazzo. When everyone can upload video on YouTube, everyone is a filmmaker. When everyone is a publisher, paparazzo or filmmaker, everyone else is a public figure. We're all public figures now. The blogosphere has made the global discussion so much richer - and each of us so much more transparent.

- Thomas L. Friedman
(NY Times Op-Ed, June 27, 2007)
Paris Hilton rejoins society. Is that a good thing?
The Future? Sometimes you realize there is hope for America. How can you tell? The small things that surprise. Yesterday, I'm sitting in the Mocha and I look over at the table in front of me - a young white kid is talking on his cell phone. I notice the back of his t-shirt - it's an old shirt. It says "1972 Chisholm- Unbought & Unbossed." Priceless.

The title of Shirley Chisholm's 1970 book. 2 excerpts from the introduction:

"That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black, and a woman proves, I would think, that our society is not yet either just or free."

"Of my two "handicaps," being female put many more obstacles in my path than being black."
You can't go wrong with Wright. Jay Wright has a new book out with Flood Editions:
Washington curse? Guzman's injury hurts the Nationals chance at being a wildcard team. So sad. Losing 2 games to the Breaves comes at a really bad time. They could be moving up instead of down. Say it ain't so Guz. Say it ain't so.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The days of summer can laugh at you. I try to make each day productive. This morning I learned a favorite coffee place on 18th street was closing. It was a place I visited and took refuge in- not too much of the rudeness of the city came through the door. DC has the feel of a new relief pitcher who can't get the first batter out.

Around noon I met Jo Reed at Union Station and we had a nice lunch across the street. I think this woman does wonderful radio work at WPFW.

I spent time on U Street reading a thesis for one of my George Mason students. The topic is Korean adoptees; very interesting research.

5PM I met Paul Barrow and his son Mike in front of Busboys. We were joined by Melissa Tuckey and Sarah Browning. Sarah's new book is just out from Wordworks. You might want to purchase a copy. WHISKEY IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN- WWW.WORDWORKSDC.COM

Paul was in town to participate in the ACLU and Amnesty International's Day of Action to support Senator Harkin's bill and pressure Congress to close Guantanamo. Paul videotaped an interview with me, Melissa and Sarah. You'll be able to see this on his hotmedia site soon:
We are talking about poetry,politics and spirituality.

I need to get ready now for my flight to Boston.

Monday, June 25, 2007

More information if you need more information and we need more information:
Check Charlie Rose:
Thanks to Dr. Priscilla Ramsey I have a box of items that document the career of the late poet Ahmos Zu-Bolton. Ramsey recently retired from HU and I guess this material was in her office.
It was funny to walk into the African American Resource Center and see on my desk waiting - poems by Zu. That's how it was in the old days (late 1970s) when we worked together here at Howard. We would be writing poems in the morning and making our typewriters sing. Zu's work always had that sweet craziness called genius -dripping from his.

Morgan Freeman is going to play Nelson Mandela. Oh, well. Who else could he play after playing God?

It the Nationals can sweep Atlanta this week - it's going to be playoff time soon.
Beating Atlanta will knock them below .500.
Oh No!
Did you see the NY Times today? Frontpage article "Japan Adapts to Tuna Shortage: Waiter, There's Deer in My Sushi."
Tuna shortage means folks are looking for alternatives.
What might we be eating on U Street when the Sushi bar opens?
Do you really want to know? Should everyone remain in the Mocha Hut until we know what's going on?
More media nonsense:
Do you really believe Americans would elect Michael Bloomberg as president, as a third-party candidate? Of course not. With a long election to cover, the media keeps selling itself by pushing a new name every few weeks. Who's next, Paris Hilton? Oh - too young. Months ago the focus was on Condi Rice. Another week it was Gore. Can you name all of the Republicans running for President? Of course not. Remember it's not about running, it's about running the country, and running it well.
In Japan, vending machine maker Fujitaka is developing models outfitted with software that can assess whether a customer trying to purchase cigarettes is at least 20 years old. The machine will scan a customer's face with a build-in camera, codifying and comparing facial features with data from a huge image bank.
(BusinessWeek - July 2, 2007)

After they test these models they should ship some to the DC area. I guess that guy who carded me a few days ago might be out of a job.

NEWS ALERT from The Wall Street Journal

June 25, 2007

The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech Monday, ruling against a high-school student and his "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner. Justices also barred ordinary taxpayers from challenging a White House initiative helping religious charities get a share of federal money. The court sided with developers and the Bush administration in a dispute with environmentalists over protecting endangered species. The court also loosened restrictions on corporate- and union-funded television ads that air close to elections.
AWP in 2008

I'll be participating in a panel at the AWP conference in NYC next year. Richard Michelson is putting it together. Here are some details:

Event Title: Poets in the Hood
Event Organizer: Richard Michelson.
Moderator: Richard Michelson
Participants: Martin Espada, E. Ethelbert Miller, Richard Michelson.

Neighborhoods in Brooklyn and The Bronx were, and still are ethnic and racial enclaves. E. Ethelbert Miller, a black poet, was born in 1950 in the South Bronx. Richard Michelson, a Jewish poet was born 1953 in East New York, Brooklyn, and Martin Espada, a Hispanic poet was born in 1957, just a few blocks from Michelson. All three poets will talk about the racial and political overtones of their poetry, and how the neighborhoods of their birth have affected their outlook and their voice.

New York is a city of diverse neighborhoods, and ethnicities. Often one group drives out another and other times they are forced by economic circumstances to coexist. These three poets, who have all written about race and poverty and politics in New York City, both in their poetry and essays, would bring a vivid sense of what it takes to rise above circumstances, and how their neighborhoods inspired them, both then and now.
Well, my son's team won again( yesterday) in their basketball summer league. That makes Widener 3-1 right now. Playoffs in August?
I received this information from Charles Johnson:

The Writer's Brush by Donald Friedman

"The itch to make dark marks on white paper is shared by many writers and artists," begins John Updike in his essay in The Writer's Brush, and this stunning collection will amaze lovers of the literary and fine arts alike.

Author Donald Friedman has gathered together reproductions of paintings, drawings, and sculpture—many from private collections, never before published—by a pantheon of great writer-artists, including thirteen Nobel laureates.

The result is astounding. Whether viewing the beautiful landscapes that Hermann Hesse credited with saving his life, the manuscript sketches that Fyodor Dostoevsky made of his characters, or the can-can dancers secretly drawn by Joseph Conrad, readers of The Writer's Brush will gain new insights into the lives and minds of their favorite writers and the nature of the creative process itself.

Accompanying the artwork are fascinating biographies that provide little-known details of the writers' lives in the visual arts and offer the writers' own observations on their art and the relationships they saw between word and image. While written for a broad audience, The Writer's Brush is also an essential reference work, with alphabetical and chronological listings of its subjects (the names boldfaced when they appear in other essays, for easy cross-referencing) and an extensive bibliography.

Friedman notes in his introduction that, for many of the writers anthologized here, a coin toss could have determined whether to spend the day standing in a smock or seated with a pen. The Writer's Brush brings together for the first time—in one, unique, affordable volume—both worlds of these writers in the definitive work on the writer-artist.
We will always have Paris and that could be the problem later this week. Why is this girl on CNN? Larry King should be dethrone for promoting this nonsense. How many jokes will Jay Leno get out of this?

Look for Paris Hilton to thank Jesus over and over. She has to cry a few times. Has she mastered the one teardrop? That's good for live television as well as still photos the next day.
Oh, and maybe Paris might surprise us with a prison poem. Any book she mentions she read in jail will increase in sales. Rumor has it that a guard gave her a copy of HOW WE SLEEP ON THE NIGHTS WE DON'T MAKE LOVE by E. Ethelbert Miller. I think that's just terrible.

No one is talking about it yet. It might begin at the All-Star game. Ordonez and Ichiro are on a roll. The next .400 hitter? Two players trying to do it might be good for both. Like Mac and Sosa. Instead of folks trying protect those Ted Williams days, the media might be encouraging. We love races. In this Bonds of a year, baseball might just focus on the .400 hitter -the "pure" hitter. No steroids here. Catch A Fire.

The other baseball story might just be those Nationals. The addition of Watson in CF and hitting in the bottom of the batting order - might just be what this team needs. The team also needs to keep Chad out of games unless he is really needed. It's obvious that this guy's concentration is off when he believes he has a cushion of a lead. Oh and let's just Nook the Nook. Logan's bonehead running is just as bad as his bonehead outfield play. This kid looks lost in the majors.
This guy is looking at minors this week. With Watson playing like a young Jackie Robinson the Nook has been nooked. The kid means well but right now the errors are mental. He also needs some batting tips too. Hey coach- work with him.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I'll finish reading THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy this evening. A couple of lines keep moving around in my head:

"Where you've nothing else construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them."

"If you break little promises you'll break big ones."
6th National Conference of African American Librarians will be meeting August 2-5, 2007 in Fort Worth, Texas.

While at the ALA conference, Patrick Oliver gave me a copy of SHINE YOUR LIGHT. This is a life skill workbook written by Sheron Smith (mother of Mos Def). This is a book I would recommend for folks. In fact I'm shipping my copy off to my son tomorrow morning. It's a nice way to bring order to one's life. The book is published by Say It Loud! It sells for $9.95.
MUSIC: Out this week - The Essential Paul Simon. 36 of his greatest songs.
I decided to become a poet after hearing those early Simon & Garfunkel tunes. Are there still 50 ways to leave your lover?
Quote of the Day:

It's absurd, reflecting his view from the first day he got into office that laws don't apply to him.

- Representative Henry Waxman (CA) talking about VP Dick Cheney.

I bet you Dick Cheney owns a dog. Iraq as a park? Just something to think about...

Speaking of laws. I picked up a copy of Revolution newspaper this morning after having breakfast at The Diner on 18th Street (with my friend Carin in town for the ALA). A copy of the paper had either been discarded or was on the ground waiting for the revolution. I noticed that the page it was opened to was an article about Barry Bonds and steroids. Nothing new in the article but it did make me go back and look at the comments made by Mark McGwire. It sounded so much as if McGwire had been blacklisted by Hollywood and not Major League baseball. Do you remember how 1950 his statement was?

"I will use whatever influence and popularity that I have to discourage young athletes from taking any drug that is not recommended by a doctor. What I will not do, however, is participate in naming names and implicating my frriends and teammates.

I do not sit in judgement of other players - whether it deals with their sexual preference, their marital problems or their personal habits - including whether or not they used chemical substances. That has never been my style, and I do not intend to change just because the cameras are turned on."

This seems like a swing against a witchhunt. McGwire might not make it into the hall of fame but I can see a playwright putting his life on stage. You don't have to be an Arthur Miller to see the connection.

African American Women Writers in New Jersey, 1836-2000.
A Biographical Dictionary and Bibliographic Guide by Sibyl E. Moses

Order from Rutgers University Press The book seslls for $23.95.

Moses was at the ALA Confernce and she slipped the above information into my hand. Pass it on...

Quote of the Day:

I am still married. But my hands and eyes have given my heart and soul the detour they needed to replenish themselves. I have almost finished my novel. And when I do, I will also end this marriage.

- Terry McMillan
Lately I've noticed that when I go to certain places downtown. A "kid" will stop me at the door and ask for an ID. Now do I look that young or do I look that black? You make the call; especially when everyone entering the place is not being asked to show their ID. So are we back to carrying passbooks like in the old South African days? This is another way of keeping "certain " people out of a place. It has nothing to do with how much beer or wine I might drink.
Nelson Mandela is free but what about Miller? Which brings me back to that Bucciarelli quote in the City Paper:

"This city is changing, and the poeple have to change with it."

I feel like a leopard trying to change his spots. In the new dog world big cats will have problems too. Help me - I'm having another Fanon moment.
New Callaloo is out. The first of four special 30th anniversary issues. Guest edited by Shona N. Jackson and Karina L. Cespedes.
Help Rebuild:

New Orleans Public Library Foundation
504 596-2615

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A long day but a fun day. I was on morning panel at the American Library Association Conference - "Break on Through to the Other Side: Cultural Programming for New Librarians"
organized by Kara Giles, program officer for ALA in Chicago. On the panel were old friends, Katie Strotman (Fairfax County Public Library), Frances Ashburn (Director, North Carolina Center for the Book) and Tom Phelps (NEH).

After a nice lunch at Clydes I walked over to the Convention Center and visited the exhibit hall. This is the heart and soul of the conference. So many old friends walking around or sitting behind tables and booths. Oh- and there was Naomi Ayala reading her poems in the center of things. I gave my buddy mucho hugs. Other hugs were saved for the NEA Lit dream team. They had a booth filled with tapes, posters and books about THE BIG READ program they sponsor. There was Lady Erika Koss and Madame Molly Hicks being beautiful and a joy to be around. After a Big Read there should be time for laughter.

While in the exhibit hall I stopped by the Black Classic Press table and rubbed the back of Paul Coates' head. It's always good to do this to your publisher now and then. It's just as important as writing. Paul was sharing space with Africa World Press. Their founder Kasahun was there and we also hugged like brother who had been separated for over 20 years. We couldn't remember the last time we saw each other. It was another out of Africa experience for both of us.

The ALA conference was good for seeing folks like Reggie Harris, Lisa Moore, C.M. Mayo, Brenda Mitchell-Powell and Judy Cooper. Oh- and Ron Kavanaugh with his special Gwen Brooks issue of Mosaic. Don't miss this one:

The highlight of ALA (for me) was sharing the stage on Friday night with the author Anosh Irani. I love his work. He is the author of THE SONG OF KAHUNSHA and THE CRIPPLE AND HIS TALISMANS. Irani was born and raised in Bombay and moved to Vancouver in 1998. You can obtain his work from Milkweed:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ichiro Watch:

From June 11-17 he was 16 for 31.
During the 3 game series against the Houston Astros he went 9 for 13.
His average today is .358.
Required reading this week has to be Dave McKenna's article in The City Paper (June 22, 2007). See page 16 -"Pull Up a Stool." The battle over dog parks? Nothing but colonization if you read this piece. Folks just took down signs saying no dogs allowed on athletic fields. Who cares about the law?

If you can take down a sign you can put one up. And you wonder who invented those -No Coloreds and White Only signs. How many years ago was that? Not many if you ask me. This looks like more than a poop battle. I love this city but as Dylan said "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." The wind lately smells like...
Uptown on Lenox Avenue
Where a nickel costs a dime,
In these lush and thieving days
When million-dollar thieves
Glorify their million-dollar ways
In the press and on the radio and TV-
But won't let me
Skim even a dime-

Langston Hughes

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The next thing to monitor in the DC area are conflicts between Latinos and African Americans.
As landscape identity becomes a crisis - people being moved out one neighborhood and into another - look for numerous misunderstanding to take place. Groups to target right now before too many incidents open a pandora box are youth and the semi-unemployed; people with entry level job skills. Here are where the small battles take place. Let's not make ugly incidents make the city turn ugly.

So Wal-Mart is going to give folks who don't have bank accounts preppaid Visa Debit cards.
The future cashless society is also going to be one where folks might become Wal-Mart sharecroppers.
This company seems to be targeting the people who have little money mangement skills.

New magazines that came in the mail today are:
Black Enterprise
Creative Nonfiction
Best Life
Poets & Writers

Slam (basketball magazine a friend dropped by - Durant/Oden on the cover)
The 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis is hosting a pre-Prostrate Cancer Walk Reception on Monday, June 25, 2007,
at 6 p.m.

This is the first opportunity the community has to sign-up for the 5th Annual Prostrate Cancer Walk, which will be held on Saturday Aug. 18. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. in Keiner Plaza and the Walk will begin at 9 a.m. All men over the age of 40 who sign-up for the Walk will receive a free prostrate cancer screening, courtesy of Siteman Cancer Center, and free admission to the Missouri Black Expo, August 18 and 19, at America's Center.

The pre-Prostrate Cancer Walk Reception on Monday, June 25, 2007 at 6 p.m., will be held at the 100 Black Men Headquarters, 4631 Delmar, Blvd. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, please call 314-367-7778 or visit

The 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis gratefully thanks their supporters: ExpressScripts, Missouri Black Expo, and Siteman Cancer Center.
Poets In The House. Poets In The City:

Wednesday, June 20th, 7:00pm
POETIC CITY: Celebration on the Waterfront


Chris Abani, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Suji Kwock Kim,Carol Muske-Dukes, U Sam Oeur, Mark Strand & Franz Wright.

Join us for an unforgettable evening on the "front lawn" of the future Poets House, as the words of seven preeminent poets andthe tunes of the soul-infused, hip-hop artist Taylor McFerrin resound over the Hudson River at sunset.

@ Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City(1, 2, 3, A, C, E to Chambers St., walk west on Chambers untilyou reach the park on the waterfront).

Admission free--Presented by Poets House, in conjunction with the River to RiverFestival and Battery Park City Authority. Poetic City is made possible, in part, by the NEA and the Lower Manhattan CulturalCouncil.

Lee Briccetti, Executive DirectorPoets House72 Spring Street, 2nd FloorNew York, New York 10012212-431-7920 x2217212-431-8131 (fax)
Talking about America...

Despite all the attention being given to folks running for president, we should be wondering who they might appoint to the following positions:

Secretary of State
Secretary of Defense
Attorney General
National Security Advisor

Supreme Court
The Sweet Browning of America:

Release Party/Reading
Whiskey in the Garden of Eden by Sarah Browning
Sunday, July 15, 6-8 pm
Langston Room, Busboys & Poets
14th & V Streets, NW
Washington, DC
U Street/Cardozo on the Metro green line, 202-387-POET

A note from Victoria C at Bennington about the 2nd Miller Classic Softball Game at Bennington:

The poets creamed the prose writers, of course. I don’t remember the final score, but truly it was a total annihilation. Twenty one students played, on a perfect day—not too hot, except for the thrill of the leather, the crack of the bat! We worried a bit about the windows in Dewey House, but no smashes of glass.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beyond Race? Courtland Milloy's words in today's Post is typical DC. Black Folks are always whispering about race. I talk LOUD quite a bit about it myself - I majored in African American Studies. Remember when folks wondered what you could do with a degree in that subject? I think it's important to talk about race in DC because of the changing political climate. Let's not even go cultural right now...

Yes-The Fenty Era will dilute blackness when it comes to the holding of power positions. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I think the answer can be found when you look at Africa and the state of all African nations after political independence.

Some people benefit from blackness but many people don't. Too often we have seen black people move into positions of power and only fill their pockets with money. What's in your freezer? Poor black people get played with a black nationalist card and no table. Programs for the black poor are first job employment opportunties for the black middle class. Someone has to run things - right?

As soon as there are cuts to some of these positions - racism is shouted and the phones ring and the conferences are held and the same 50 black leaders fly in. These folks eat well and party like it's still 1999. They seem to always be flying -spreading their wings and getting out of the ghetto.

Meanwhile, the conditions of most Black people remains the same. I think Fenty is off to a good start in DC and I didn't vote for the guy. But I like how he is handling power. This is (and will always be) the major key.

Power and black people is what C.L.R. James talked about after Walter Rodney's death. How does one handle power? Think of the mistakes made by Nkrumah and compile your list of top 5.

How does a black leader use power to improve the lives of black people? Well it's back to "grounding" with one's brothers and sisters. ONCE Barry knew this as did Adam Clayton Powell. The key is keeping your feet on the ground and your head small. How do you stay humble? How do you balance the material things that suddenly appear? Or maybe you start running with the stars. Limo time?

Blackness is being redefined in the 21st century. A NEW black leader might have a white parent - should that overshadow fighting poverty and unemployment? I like how Fenty has borrowed the Bloomberg checklist approach to running a government. Make a list and then get things done. Simple. Very simple.

If you can find people willing to work to improve the lives of black people- Check the box and hire them. If they are black that means bonus points. It's not the only thing one should look for. If black people are going to sit around and not claim the future then we will prove those 1970s Black gatherings correct - Who Needs The Negro?
The New Yorker- Talk of the Town is on target. Yes, George Bush can point to success when it comes to changing the Supreme Court. Conservatives rule. So look for legal changes:

- Expand executive power
-End racial preferences intended to assist African Americans
-Speed executions
-Welcome religion into the public sphere
-Reverse Roe v. Wade

Laws change and things can be twisted very quickly. A new book out to remind us:
Random House. $27.95

Rachel Shea reviewed this book in yesterday's Washington Post. Her first paragraph just knocked me down:

"Between 1850 and 1906, thousands of Chinese were systematically expelled from roughly 100 towns in the Pacific Northwest. Chinatowns were burned to the ground, their residents sent on forced marches to the next settlement. Chinese laborers were murdered at work or in their beds. Some were lynched. Others were starved out as white citizens fired them from their job and refused to sell them food."

Can something like this happen again? Meanwhile in Guantanamo Bay...

New exhibit opening in Philadelphia. Askia Muhammad, journalist and News Director at WPFW has a photo show at The New Africa Center/Muslim American Museum & Archive. The location is 4243 Lancaster Avenue. Askia's show is "Western Sunrise, The Nation of Islam in the West."
E-Notes are created each day by taking in information from as many sources as possible. I hope to get the E-MAG back on track soon.

I think Thomas Friedman's OP-ED in The New York Times today is one of the more insightful things I've read in the last few months. Friedman examines why folks in the Middle East and elsewhere wear masks. I'm glad he wrote about this. He quotes Oscar Wilde:

'Give a man a mask and he'll tell you the truth.'

Here are two excerpts from Friedman's essay that I found very interesting:

"The mask both protects you against shame and liberates you to kill your brother - and their children.

Putting on a mask is also a way to gain power and enhance masculinity. People in black masks are always more frightening- not only physically, but because their sheer anonymity suggests that they answer to no one and no laws. In our society, it's usually only burglars, rapists or Ku Klux Klansmen who wear masks - either to terrorize others or make it easier to break the law. The mask literally says: "I don't play by the rules. Be afraid. Be very afraid."

Friedman also quotes Yaron Ezrahi a political theorist:

"Just as this new violence doesn't have a front, it doesn't have a face. It doesn't have boundaries."

As soon as you see someone in your neighborhood wearing a ski mask and there is no snow or cold weather - then the world's problems are at your doorstep.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Poets defeated the fiction writers in the 2nd Miller Classic at Bennington on Sunday. The score was 6-4. Love those Happy-Headed Muses.
An Illustrated Talk by Photographer Jason Miccolo Johnson

Friday, June 22, 2007
7 PM

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA)
200 N. Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23220-4007
ANACOSTIA EXPOSED Photographic and Literary Expose.
Local and international artists collaborate on a project to explore one of Washington DC's most controversial neighborhoods.
Opens 6/30 at Honfleur Gallery.
1241 Good Hope Road SE
Washington DC 20020
Quote of the Day:

"So the masked men of Fatah have the run of the West Bank while the masked men of Hamas have their dominion in Gaza."

- Fouad Ajami
See, it's birds too and not just people of color on U Street.

Checkout Verlyn Klinkenborg's essay in today's New York Times (Editorial Observer):


6 -19-07

Palestine cracks into 2.
7 Children killed in Afghanistan.
3 soldiers killed in Lebanon.

In Manchester, Tennessee
Ornette Coleman 77
collapses on stage from the heat.

Is the Cold War over in 2007?
Congrats to Papa Tiger. The Woods are happy. Global warming or just love?
Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro is now second in batting in the AL. Ordonez on Detroit is hitting .370. Ichiro is at .356.
I expect Ichiro to catch him before the month is over.

Ichiro has 100 hits (already) and leads the AL. Two behind the NL leader (Holliday,Col).

Ichiro is third in steals with 19.

Ichiro is tied for 7th in runs scored.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Poetry at the Folger next season. Here is the batting order:

David Wojahn
John Ashbery
Richard Howard
Kay Ryan
Gerald Stern & Ross Gay
Galway Kinnell & Mark Doty
Quincy Troupe & Tyehimba Jess
Lucille Clifton

I've been invited to introduce Troupe and Jess on April 7, 2008.
Two good things in the mail today. One is THE DARFUR ANTHOLOGY published by Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois. The proceeds of this book go to International Rescue Committee

Some of the contributors include:

Tim Seibles
David Mura
Martha Cooley
Michael Waters
Bob Shacochis

I have 4 new poems in this collection.
If you want to order copies contact Rachael Tecza at:

The other item in the mail was the new NEA CD for The Big Read. This one is a discussion of the novel THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers. The CD is narrated by Dana Gioia and feature comments by:
Edward Albee
Alan Arkin
Virginia Spencer Carr
Blake Hazard
E. Ethelbert Miller
P.J. O'Rourke
Mary-Louise Parker
Gore Vidal
Jim White

- Silent Auction
-Film about the Artists
- Light refreshments

June 21, 2007
6:30 PM

Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives
1201 17th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

For additional information:

From Fred Joiner, host of Intersections, the new poetry series at Honfleur:

Hello Lovers of Poetry, Art and Music!This is a friendly reminder about the second session of INTERSECTIONS for the month of June; Wednesday June 20th at 7:30 PM at the Honfleur Gallery 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE Washington , D.C. 20020

Refreshments will be provided. Suggested donation is $2

If you missed the last INTERSECTIONS you really missed a special evening. It was truly an in evening of intersections and influences. A group of poets from the Washington Middle School for Girls read to us from their original works created in their poetry workshop facilitated by Monet Cooper.

Patrick Washington and Joel Dias Porter traded sets of poem that were rich in music and imagery It was really exciting to see these two poets present their work together particular because Washington cited Porter as one of the reasons he writes poetry.

Also, Paris based artist Delphine Perlstein added volumes to the discussion, as she explained how she uses text and poetry in her paintings.

This Wednesday June 20th promises to be equally as engaging, as INTERSECTIONS welcomes Melissa Tuckey & Carolyn Joyner.

Melissa Tuckey is an activist, poet, and teacher. Her poems have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Painted Bride Quarterly, Poet Lore, Southeast Review, and others. Her chapbook "Rope as Witness" is published by Pudding House Publications. She's the Events Coordinator for DC Poets Against the War and teaches writing at George Mason University.

Carolyn Joyner is Cave Canem Fellow and has performed her poetry in the DC area at several venues, including Heart & Soul Cafe, It's Your Mug, the House of Ruth, Mangos, Cafe Bloom, Culture Cafe and Sankofa Books and Video. She also performed at the 7th Annual Black Writers Conference at Chicago State University. In March of 1998 she toured England with "Collective Voices," a DC-based Female Poetry Group. Carolyn holds a Master of Arts degree in writing, with a focus on poetry, from Johns Hopkins University.

As always, the Reading Series will conclude with a discussion and 30-minute open mic session. Get there early to reserve your spot.

This event will be held at the Honfleur Gallery located at 1241 Good Hope Rd SE in Washington DC., 202-889-5000 x 141.
Memorial Service for Arts Patron - Herb White
Friday, June 22nd. 5 PM
Friend's Center at 22 nd Street, NW.
Are you hyperconnected?
I can't read the work of Mary Anastasia O'Grady without laughing sometimes. It would be dangerous to have this writer working for the State Department or White House. How many wars would she lead us into?

Check this opening paragraph from her Wall Street Journal porch:

"Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega wants to party like it's 1979. And why not? He's back at the helm of his country, which is once again prime real estate for enemies of the U.S."

Prime real estate for enemies of the US??? O'Grady sounds like a developer in DC who can't sell a condo right now.

Check this line of thinking:

"Like Soviet communism before it, Islamic fundamentialism has a strategic interest in establishing a foothold in the Western Hemisphere."

What island would O'Grady have us bomb? Blockade?

The problem in this hemisphere is that the US keeps holding on to old policies and 20th century thinking. Cold War thinking is just not going to make it anymore. The US should be trading with Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. We should be sending baseball teams down to these nations to help improve cultural ties. Increase trade. Put an end to regional poverty. Think about serious land reform. Why keep pushing nations into the arms of Iran by failing to trade with them. We also need to stop treating other nations like babies or kids. Nicaragua is not behaving - so spank Ortega? Please. What is going to happen when these nations become adults?

Oh, and yes there are parties in Nicaragua. I remember going to one in Managua - in the 1980s and dancing with Rosario ---Ortega's wife who is also a poet. Dancing might just keep us out of wars. Who will be the next DJ in the White House?
Notes from the Past:

Google News Alert for: E. Ethelbert Miller
Gifted Black male writers flex their intellects - criticism on an ...Diverse - Fairfax,VA,USAby E. Ethelbert Miller In the opening essay of "Speak My Name," titled, "How Does It Feel To Be A Problem?" novelist Trey Ellis...

Monday, June 25th
7:30 PM - 9 PM

The New School
Tishman Auditorium
66 West 12th Street
New York City


Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Bob Herbert
LaShawn Jefferson
Rachel Mayanja
Celia Dugger

or call (888) NYT-1870
Trade rumors?
Maybe the Lakers should trade Kobe to the Wizards (for the entire club). Then the Wizards could grab a few Georgetown players next year and make a run at the playoffs.

Hey, Redskins Fans! Please -no talk about going to the SuperBowl this season. Thank you.
What about the mental health of people in DC?
With the city changing so quickly in terms of race and culture - what happens to the people who feel displaced? What happens to their sense of identity which is often linked to neighborhoods and friends? Depression? Anger? Who will measure this? Everyday I feel as if I'm having a Fanon moment. Help - pass me a pill.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fun Moment of the Day:

Ginger G finds a papaya in Harlem and talks about it on her cellphone.
What would Ellison say?
Heat wave coming. Hot on the streets too. DC becoming a Gaza of a place. What is black on black crime but another civil war. We don't need black masks in order to kill. Where does our rage come from? The only theft seems to be the taking of a you can't even say the cause is economics. I have a feeling that too many killers are employed. Are the murders gang-related? What is a gang -five guys without a basketball? Or one gun as a ref?
Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro is hitting about .350 now. Can he raise his average to .400 by September?
I think it's possible. The key is his number of multiple hit games. I predict maybe 1-2 small slumps. He can afford to drop maybe 10 points during these periods
Could this be the baseball story of the year? Bonds who?
But what did you really learn in America?

In yesterday's Washington Post there was an article about teens from the Middle East. 650 Middle Eastern high school students had been participating in a 10 -month exchange program in the US sponsored by the State Department. I was struck by a comment made by Mouloud Mouhoubi of Algeria. While living in LaFayette, GA he had a chance to attend a KKK meeting in Alabama. According to Mouhoubi he heard someone at the meeting say "So black people are still here; we need to take them down." Mouhoubi is quoted in the paper as saying "I was like, the Civil War is still alive."

Maybe so, the leader of Iraq was just a few days ago quoting Lincoln. Go figure.

I wonder about the other 649 teens. What impressions will they take back to their countries about race relations? Young ambassadors will some day grow old.
Quote of the Day:

"As testament to his status, or to his isolation, Bonds maintains a large corner locker made virtually private by its close proximity to a wide pillar. The space includes a lounge chair, a large television and an unwelcoming ambience that signals to teammates: There is only one Giant."

- Dan Barry (NY Times, June 17th, 2007).
It's Father's Day. My father was not into holidays, gifts or celebrations. He was always in the back room of the house. Watching television or talking to himself. I would sometimes listen to his one man conversations but could never determine the plot; I did know my father was bitter about things. Life? I learned from my brother that my father was a religious man. So I guess he was talking to God all the time. Maybe he had a good relationship with him. When I look at my childhood I guess my father did have a friend somewhere. I pretty much had a happy time growing up. I had toys and clothes. The one thing I never had was my own room.
I was the third child- the baby of the family. So I had baby space. The closet in the hallway. Maybe 2 shelves where I could keep things that were special to me. Baseball cards and books.
Maybe my father was always talking about moving his family to a better apartment, a place where everyone could have a place; and we did move once - from 938 Longwood Avenue to 665 Westchester Avenue. From the growing El Barrio to the projects. The move to the St.Mary's projects in the South Bronx must have been a big moment in my father's life. Finally, he was placing his family where there was daily heat and hot water if one needed it. The roaches and bugs would no longer turn the television on and watch their own shows. We would take an elevator to our new apartment and looking out the window - we would see LaGuardia Airport. I remember turning away from the window once and asking my father if he ever wanted to fly on a plane. No he said and I knew that he was happy to view the world from the 17th floor. I would learn to fly and bring things back to my father.The writing life would take me to many places overseas my father could only imagine. I called him from Baghdad back in the early 1980s. I was in Iraq attending a poetry festival. A missile from Iran had exploded near the hotel where I was staying.

I wanted to return home as soon as possible. I didn't know until much later how my voice had affected my father. My mother told me that when he got off the phone all he could say was "trapped again." Now many years later I realized my father was talking about-us- him and me. My father was trapped too - in his life and outside his dreams. His life was lived through his children and he had lost one already (my brother) and now my life was in harm's way. I was in a war zone and missiles were falling. My father had no desire to fly or even look at the sky - I guess in his wisdom he knew there were moments in a man's life when the sky falls and breaks. One can either try to pick-up the pieces and risk cutting one's hands on the jagged edges or one can look into the huge hole in the sky and try to catch a glimpse of heaven. But like too many of us - my father walked around with blood on his hands and the blues coming from his voice.

I keep trying to remember the words of my father's song. I keep talking to myself as the space surrounding me continues to grow smaller and smaller. Father's Day and my children grown and
living in distant cities. Maybe tonight I'll get a phone call. The bombs are still falling in Baghdad.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

While in Takoma Park I stopped near the Savory and read one of the poems displayed for the public. It was "Love after Love" by Derek Walcott. It's just a beautiful poem. It's taken from his 1976 book SEA GRAPES.

Try and find a copy for yourself.

- fROM: cOOl paPA BeRt
Check the profile of Mayor Mike in the latest issue of BusinessWeek (June 25, 2007). Mayor Bloomberg of New York reveals how he governs a city like a CEO. Bloomberg's style is the model that Fenty is using in DC. What can you learn from the article?

- The City is A Brand
-The voters are customers
- Hire smart and delegate
- Be Bold, Be Fearless

Bloomberg's approach is to create a checklist and then check. The goal is to get things done as quickly as possible.
Take Notes:

About 1.5 million people live in Gaza, which is about twice the geographic size of DC.

Youth unemployment in Gaza is 39% for men and 45% for women.

Fatah means - conquest. Hamas means - zeal.

Hamas was founded in 1987 as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that formed in Egypt in 1928.
Thinking about the future - by 2012 we could be in the middle of WWIII. The Midde East seems to be falling apart. How far are we from the following happening:

- Israel sending troops into Gaza
-The US bombing Iran
- Lebanon becoming another Iraq
- The downfall of the government in Turkey
- The spreading of war into Eastern Africa (Somalia and Kenya)
- Crackdown on dissent within the US
- The election of a new US president who has no clue of what to do. Yipes!
I walked over to the Savory in Takoma Park. I think I like the place because the people are older - couples with young children. If you sit outside you're not staring at people coming out of a Metro stop. The conversations are not about real estate. I met Brooke Stanley. She's a wonderful fiction writer. We had fun discussing a short story she had written. I like the walk to the Savory (and back) on a day like today. I know I'm getting the exercise I need. During these walks I often realize how much time I spend by myself.

I spent the last two days boxing up personal files for the Gelman Library at George Washington University. I gave them several boxes a few months ago. I'm slowly closing a door and chapter to my life. I came across a funny letter from the SciFi writer Ben Bova. He wrote me back in 1974 talking about how there were no black science fiction writers. I'm so glad I got to witness the future.
Herb White dead at 71. I hadn't seen him in many years. This man had a tremendous impact on the DC arts community. Long before Busboys there was Herb's located near DuPont Circle. I might have first walked in there with the writer Dan Moldea. Those might have been the WIW years.

I'm certain it was Dan who introduced me to Herb. The friendship would grow and for many year's I lived in Herb's building on Fuller Street. Back then the apartment was big enough for small kids. Everyone loved the large balcony and one could sit there all day and count drug pushers and busts. It was an amazing block. Something Spike Lee could never find in Brooklyn.
One night we even had a big party with such guests as Gloria Naylor. The balcony was where I would sit with friends like Lori Tsang and Anan Ameri. Once a group of poets walked by and I felt "Alain Locke Happy" that I worked at Howard. I also remember walking home from the Capstone the day I learned my brother had died. I climbed the stars on the side of the building - opened my door and went straight to the bedroom and pulled the covers over my head.

Fuller Street and Herb living upstairs with art parties all the time. I went up there one night and met Paul Winfield. It was that type of place and Herb was that type of guy - generous with everything. I think he might have only raised my rent once while I lived downstairs from him.

I think of Herb riding in his black limo - his close friend Barbara Raskin laughing and this was as close as 1920 I would get. Herb was an arts patron who knew art and loved artists. Yes, I was once part of that circle of writers at the special table at Herb's. Ron Goldfarb hosting the affairs and everyone talking like they worked at the Washington Post. I was the only poet and it was fun and it motivated me to go home and write a memoir just to prove that I could write more than a stanza or two. Herb placed my picture on the wall of his restaurant and I once looked at myself and said maybe he believes in me the way he believed in so many others. Herb will be missed.

Friday, June 15, 2007

C.M. Mayo will have a reading, slide show and book signing on June 17th at 5PM.
1541 14TH Street, NW (Corner of 14th & Q)

Come breathe - THE MIRACULOUS AIR - Mayo's new book.
Let's go back and look at perhaps another mistake we made in the Middle East. After Hamas won parliamentary elections last year - the US lead a global campaign to isolate Hamas. We also gave aid and arms to Abbas. But let's talk democracy here. Didn't Hamas win a fair election? Didn't the people vote for their leadership? So now someone wearing a mask is sitting in Abbas chair and saying - Hey Condi -you're going to have to talk to me , now.

What if the focus had been on economic trade and development with the Palestinians and putting all political discussion on the backburner? It would be impossible for Hamas to simply organize a press conference and recognize Israel. That's just not going to happen. So why force the issue? Might low key diplomacy have worked better? Where is the moderate position?
Palestinians want peace as much as everyone else. I'm certain there will alway be some radicals seeking a way to attack Israel. I think Israel can (and must) protect itself and secure its borders without oppressing the Palestinians. How can people live in peace, if the leadership and governments keep playing politics. So where do we go from here?

Do we now have a radical Islamic movement sticking in the side of Israel? Are we looking at 2 Palestines: Gaza and West Bank?
What will happen to secularism? Will it crumble with Fatah?
Talkin' television, this was one of the best descriptions of THE SOPRANOS:

"The drama of Tony, the great post-9/11 drama of him, is that he is trying to hold on in a world he thinks is breaking to pieces. He has a sense, even though he's only in his 40s, that the best times have passed, not only for the Italian mob but for everyone, for the country - that he'd missed out on something, and that even though he lives in a mansion, even though he is rich and comfortable and always has food in the refrigerator and Carm can go to Paris and the kids go to private school- for all of that, he fears he's part of some long downhill slide, a slide that he can't stop, that no one can, that no one will. Out there, he told his son and daughter, it is the year 2000, but in here it's 1950. His bluster, his desperate desire to re-create order with the rough tools of his disordered heart and brain, are comic, poignant, ridiculous, human."

-Peggy Noonan/The Wall St. Journal June 9-10, 2007

Now if I can just place much of this into my second memoir - I'm done.
Important information if you want to know what's going on in the world:

Askariya Mosque in Samarra:

Main structure was built in the 10th century.
The famous golden dome was completed in 1905.

The site contains the tombs of the 10th and 11th imams, Ali Al-Hadi and his son Hassan Al-Askari.

Askari was the father of the 12th imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, the "hidden iman."

Are you waiting for the 12th Iman to restore justice to the world?
Dumb stuff on the OP-ED page. I'm so happy we have E-Notes. Owen West and Bing West made this silly comment in the NY Times today. Here is the comment they made about Iraq:

"The war in Iraq would be over in a week if the insurgents wore uniforms. Instead, they hide in plain sight, and Iraqi and American soldiers have no means of checking the true identity and history of anyone they stop."

If a student included this statement in a high school report I would give them a D or F. This statement provides no respect or understanding of the people in Iraq. Yes - if they wore uniforms, spoke English and were NY Mets fans, everything would be easy to control in Baghdad. Right? How crazy can that be?
I think the Obama Girl might have a hit on her hands. Her song"I GOT A CRUSH ON OBAMA" is clever - not bad lyrics. The issue of race and sex is one that sticks out. Hmmm. How much will be the issue. Too much discussion might just take the fun away. After a couple of listens...I did prefer Obama Girl over some of the music I've heard lately. Hey - Obama, pick-up it's E.
No more burgers? I received this information in today's email:

Farm workers who pick tomatoes for Burger King's sandwiches earn 40 to 50 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, a rate that has not risen significantly in nearly 30 years. Workers who toil from dawn to dusk must pick two tons of tomatoes to earn $50 in one day.

Worse yet, modern-day slavery has reemerged in Florida's fields; since 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted five slavery rings, freeing more than 1,000 workers. As a major buyer of Florida tomatoes, Burger King's purchasing practices place downward pressure on farm worker wages and put corporate profits before human dignity.

Click here to send a message to Burger King: "Farm workers deserve fair wages!"
Last year, Sojourners supporters like you sent over 25,000 letters in support of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' (CIW) campaign to urge McDonald's to do right by Florida farm workers.

Together, we helped to win an important victory, as McDonald's recently committed to work with the CIW to improve wages and enforce a code of conduct for conditions in the fields. And YUM! Brands, corporate parent to such chains as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut, has made the same commitment.
Worth making a trip to Knoxville for:

Bernice Reagon and her daughter Toshi Reagon will be performing on September 1st.
It's all part of the Benefit Concert for the Highlander Research and Education Center.
8 PM
Bijou Box Office
Tennessee Theater
604 South Gay Street
Knoxville, TN
Ms. Hugo? So I'm reading in today's NY Times that banks in Venezuela are doing very well. So well that they are giving out "mucho" loans in these boom times. One person who has taken advantage of the "expansion" in credit is Betzaida Guerra. She secured $5000 in order to pay for surgery to enlarge her breasts. She was so excited. She recently finished paying off her 12-month loan. "The way out has arrived" she was quoted as saying. How should we interpret this?
Ah -might the District be just as good as Dublin? Call me Leopold and push the clocks back to 1904.

JOY TO THE WORLD: Wonderful News to tell:

Sandra Beasley just won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. Her book THEORIES OF FALLING will be published next year.

Additional info: You can see the announcement here:
(Click on "Contests," at the top, for details.)

So I called my son - 3 minutes into the first Spurs/Cav game and told him it was over - give the MVP award to Tony Parker. Geez - if the broom was in the closet - the door was never closed.
How many times did Parker slice through the defense of the Cavs? Look for folks to be wearing his jersey this fall. Move over D-Wade? Nah...Parker is good but he needs commercials.

Oh...and how about does Nationals. Only 8 games out of first place in their division. If they can sweep the next group of birdies (BlueJays) they will be out of the cellar and ready to do damage to the league. This team could make folks forget about a new president coming to town. Can you imagine going to the playoffs in 2007 and a new stadium coming soon too? Look for Nationals shirts and caps to be selling big time late August and early September.

So you don't believe me? Look at what Ichiro is hitting - .340.
Go back and look at my old E-Notes. Bert knows baseball. Ichiro is moving at a pace where he might flirt with .400 later this season. You don't believe it's possible?
I caught that Ella Fitz tribute last night on PBS. for ears. Was good to hear Take 6 perform.

Question for the Day:
Don't you want to play a mandolin like Paul McCartney?
Movie to see: A Mighty Heart. I want to see how this story of Daniel Pearl is presented. I'm not a big fan of Angelina Jolie but the jury is still out on a number of trials.

Congrats to Per Petterson of Norway. He won the International Impac Dublin Literary Award
($133,000). Petterson is the author of OUT STEALING HORSES. I was given this book by his editor when I was is Oslo last year. Petterson's success should open the door for more writers living in Norway.
Best quote on a T-shirt yesterday (Green Line/Metro):

New memoir from poet Naomi Shihab Nye's father:

DOES THE LAND REMEMBER ME? A MEMOIR OF PALESTINE by Aziz Shihab(Syracuse University Press, 2007)

So sad to see the news coming out of Gaza.
Yesterday's New York Times front page had a picture of 7 armed Fatah gunmen. If you looked at the photo closely it was amazing to see all seven guns pointing in a different direction. This is symbolic of the problem in so many societies. Chaos is worst than Civil War.

Many Voices, One Nation: Washington D.C.
Friday, June 22nd, 7:00 pm - 10:00pm
JW Marriott, Salon I & II
Free, no registration required.

Don't miss this annual celebration of the literary diversity and creativity that enriches our world.

This inspiring event will showcase the talent and imagination of writers from across the land as they weave a tapestry of spoken word, expressing the myriad of experiences from our varied ethnic, cultural, and lifestyle traditions, and our fundamental unity within the global human family.

If you've experienced a MVON, you know that this is an unforgettable conference kick-off. Book-signing reception included.

Featuring: Nancy Garden, renowned YA author of Endgame and Annie on My Mind; Patrice Gaines, journalist, author, and prison reform activist; Reginald Harris, poet and Head of the Information Technology Support Department for the Enoch Pratt Free Library; Anosh Irani, Bombay-born novelist and playwright residing in Canada; C. M. Mayo, Texan author and award-winning travel writer; E. Ethelbert Miller, author, literary activist and director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University; Mary Kay Ricks, Washington D.C. journalist, author and student of D.C. history and abolitionism; students from the D.C. Writers Corps, a community non-profit that fosters the literary and creative talents of local youth; Tim Tingle, Choctaw storyteller and award-winning author of Native American fiction and folklore; and performances by the Ishangi Family African Dance and Drum Group, a world renown cultural performance group; and go-go band Lissen Da Grew^p. Go-go is a subgenre of funk, which originated in the Washington, D.C. area during the mid- to late-1970s.

Photos from past Many Voices, One Nation can be seen at --

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Link: Click and read.

My Forebears, Whitman, Brown & CoxBy Dan Vera There are a lot of amazing pieces there including a remembrance by Richard McCann, and an old interview of Ed Cox by E. Ethelbert Miller which was originally in the old Washington Review (where the above Cox photo by Jesse Winch comes ...GayWisdom -
What are the poets doing these days?
Sunday is not just Father's Day but it's the big day for -THE SECOND MILLER CLASSIC SOFTBALL GAME at Bennington. The game will be played at 2:30 PM. Poets against Fiction writers on the Commons Lawn (Bennington College).
The winners will be able to purchase books of poetry at the Bennington Bookstore.
Go Poets!
Hey - was that Ethelbert with a new "look" this morning? Yep- I bet it was. New glasses for BertMan. Now he won't have to write poems to protect his secret identity. With those new glasses folks won't recognize him. This guy could be dangerous. Look out!
OK who wrote Nouri- al-Maliki's OP-ED in The Wall Street Journal (June 12th)? Maliki is our guy in Iraq right. He is the prime minister. I couldn't buy him comparing the situation in Iraq to the US Civil War. This guy isn't Lincoln. First I found it funny that the PM of Iraq would even associate himself with the word Civil War. Is this guy also trying to compare a religious conflict to a battle around slavery and state rights? Whew..that's not in the Koran.
Someone around Maliki must have a business degree and not a history one. The Opinion speech in the WSJ was what one might call "reaching" to put pieces together with scotch tape and paste.
It just won't work. The attack against holy shrines means that one is looking at peace coming to the Iraq maybe in 30-50 years. The Middle East is burning right now. Our failure to understand history only fans the flames. Oh, if one could just free the slaves. Right? Maliki might be our Robert E. Lee, a nice guy on a losing team.
Good to see some Magic coming to town. Magic Johnson and his company Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds has teamed up with Lowe Enterprises Investors to purchase the 42-year old Hilton Washington (1919 Connecticut Avnue). The cost is $290 million. Magic plans a two year $100 million renovation.
Places to watch:
Kenya, Turkey and Lebanon.
The increase of bombing in these countries is not a good sign for peace in the world. Another Iraq in the world and we might be looking at WWIII without borders.
Sad to see the world not moving forward. The absence of great leaders? Where are our men and women of peace and ideas?

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen might be one. He has created the $3 - Life Straw. The nine-inch-long straw filters up to 185 gallons of water...
See Newsweek (June 18, 2007) page 20.
More than 1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water. This can correct things.

Congrats to Chinua Achebe. He is the winner of the Man Booker International Prize.
$118,500. Can a Nobel Prize be next?
Achebe is the author of the classic THINGS FALL APART (1958).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Contemporary Art of Iran And Its Diaspora

Friday June 22- Saturday August 4, 2007
Opening Reception: Thursday June 21 6-9 PM

Ellipse Arts Center
4350 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 125
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2007 Conference
July 26-29, 2007

So Tiger pitcher Justin Verlander is throwing a no-hitter...
But what are all those birds doing in the outfield? Gulls and not angels?
The game had a softball look to it.

LeBron looking for a foul call at the end of theNBA game yesterday - so much like Kwame Brown looking for help. Give the kid a broom for the summer.

Be sure to read the nice profile of Nolan Richardson in the USA Today (6/13/07). He is the coach for Mexico's national team. Richardson won the NCAA tournament in 1994 with Arkansas.
Congrats to 1st Wife Mikki G who is retiring this month after 34 years of working at the Navy Federal Credit Union. Wasn't it just yesterday that I saw her walking on 4th street near the Women's Quad at Howard? Mikki always listening to those Smokey Robinson songs. Her love made me believe in miracles. What becomes of such glitter? What endures? Is it the type of love old folks told me about?
Dancer Liz Lerman is mailing out her "Seven Ways To Be Creative." I like two of them:

Embarce paradox. Hold two ideas in your head at once. Find something to respect at both ends of the spectrum.

Turn discomfort into inquiry.
So you leave town for a few days and the future flirts with the past but keeps walking. The DC Arts Commission is moving to a new location: 2901 14th Street, NW. The new chair is Anne Ashmore-Hudson.

Fenty selected a chancellor for eduction. So glad he got away from career superintendents who move from one city to another like old NBA coaches. Michelle Rhee might be some fresh air.But check the Washington Post editorial yesterday for a hanging slip onfnonsense - "That she is a Korean American woman seeking to head a system serving mostly African American children will disappoint some." The "some" must be the pockets of nationalists and Washingtonians who number more than the pandas in this city. DC is beginning to have a multicultural face in terms of new power and decision making. I like how Fenty is making tough decisions and not involving too many chefs. What he is doing is making a power statement. It's important that he be his own man in his first year. Looks like the fun is just getting started. Yes to Rhee. The world is not just white and black. How African Americans work with Koreans and other people of
color is the challenge of the 21st Century.
Monitor your credit reports regularly for errors. You can order your credit reports at:
I'm back from Jacksonville. The birthplace of James Weldon Johnson. I gave a talk on Langston Hughes at the Main Library. A nice short trip. A chance to have dinner on Monday with my cousin Ken. His mom was my favorite aunt and Godmother. All our New York years reduced to memories and photographs. We sat at Benny's Steak & Seafood looking at the river by The Landing, eating Mahi-Mahi and Salmon. The clock watched our laughter disappear into the night.

Being away from DC gave me a good opportunity to work on my second memoir. I wrote a key passsage that I think will define everything I've been feeling the last few years.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New York Times: June 11th.

"The country, one of the poorest in the region, has just issued three postage stamps bearing Mr. Bush's likeness, and a street in front of the Parliament building has been renamed for him. At the mosque in the center of town, Uncle Sam hats were stacked in a window seat in the prayer room."

But what about Uncle Sam's shoes?
OK who gave the OK for Bush to get so close to the crowd in Albania? If you check the picture on the front page of The New York Times you can tell it was the White House. Notice the flag in the crowd. It's the type you give out to schools and folks at the Republican Convention. Wave. Wave. Cheer and smile.

I'm certain the crowd consisted of some type of Albanian club or government agency that was treated to some eats afterwards. Bush is low in his ratings. Somewhere you need someone to show you a little love. I saw footage of this Albanian parade and thought it was good therapy for the Prez.

It's hard to smile when you are fighting an unpopular war. Don't you just love being in Fusche Kruje?
Tony, Tony, Tony.
Give Parker the MVP award if the Spurs win the next 2 games in Cleveland. This guy set the tone in the first game. Yesterday he just placed his sneaker on the pedal and kept it there. James looks like a kid out of high school and in his first NBA Finals. He will need 40 points in a game for the Cavaliers to win something.
Who knows - Cleveland could win the next 2 games and the NBA leadership and television folks will be happy. What's a country without drama?

Matsuzaka is 7-5. Let's see what this guy doe slate in the season.
Ousmane Sembene is dead at 84. The Senegalese filmmaker and writer was a key figure in Africa's postcolonial cultural awakening. He was seen as the father of African cinema. Be sure to see BLACK GIRL which he made in 1965.
Sembene knew how to explore tradition and modernity. Some of his films were also wonderful for their humor.
I have an old copy of his movie MANDABI in my African American Resource Center at Howard.
Many years ago I remember working in my office and he walked in. Wow...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What's missing from our lives? It might be songs by Gamble & Huff. We need a steady dose of their music - play their songs wherever there is a crib or a woman expecting a child. Love music before a child leaves the womb. Don't you miss the lyrics? I don't know about you but that's "Where I Wanna Be."

Why are we letting our music kill us today?

Where are the new spirituals? What song can I sing that will lead me out of this bondage?
We need someone to blow the trumpet (again?). Our ears need to be free. Don't you want to be free?

We download when we need to UPload. Reach! Don't let the music you listen to - kill you.

----and then John Coltrane wrote Meditations.
Paris Hilton Unplugged? Maybe this is the real story here. If young people have become addicted to a way of life - what happens when they have to go cold turkey without a cellphone or silly conversations. It's just you and the walls. Who are you? What is life really about? During a time of celebrity culture, what happens when someone gives you a number and a cell?

Who will get the first Paris Hilton interview? Will she become a spokesperson for people behind bars? Bono has Africa. Might Paris speaks for "political" prisoners?

Or maybe this is the ultimate reality show. The crying and the calling for one's Mom is the OJ Bronco chase - it's something we will remember - and isn't that what this is all about? Fame for the moment. More fame for the next moment. Pushing oneself until you're just Paris- and people don't even think of the city, when they say your name.
Don't move from Sunday into Monday without reading Matt Bai's story on John Edward's plan to end poverty. Bai has written the cover story for The New York Times Magazine (June 10th).
This is the type of journalism we need to read more of before slipping into a voting booth.
As you know I've been a supporter of Edward's from day one. You won't mistake me for an O-bama. Read Bai's take on poverty and Edwards. I don't think we can eradicate poverty in America but I know we can dminish it. Bai defines poverty in his article and I found it to be helpful in gaining a better understanding of what's going on:

1. Being poor means, quite literally, that you don't have money.
2. Bai also talks about human capital. This is the "less visible resources, aside from money, that many poor people lack: education, marketable skills, contacts, self-discipline."

What are you lacking?
Are you thinking Post-black? I might be entering my Post-Bert period. Does that sound like nonsense to you? Well read Jori Finkel's "A Reluctant Fraternity, Thinking Post-Black" in the Art section of The New York Times (6/10/07). Finkel is trying to help us understand the work of Edgar Arceneaux, Rodney McMillian, Mark Bradford and Kori Newkirk. they are all black. Is that why they are all in the same article? I knew as soon as I started reading this newspaper article it was going to be similar to something I stuck in a cat box back in the 1970s.

Why do we keep thinking all black artists have to be doing the same thing? People are individuals and they also belong to a group. No one has a monopoly on blackness - nor can you define it one way. Still I don't need someone to tell me which way the river bends. Too often we let someone else define our geography and give us terms and say call yourself - post-black. Or maybe we get some black intellectual to explain what the drums are saying. Thank you Adolph Reed for bringing this to our attention years ago. So what is Christine Kim at the Studio talking about? Are there different - or new possibilities (today) for discussing race or is it just the changing same? ---Right now I'm listening to Patti Labelle singing "If You Don't Know Me By Now." Nuff said. All I can say is that I'm an African American writer - if you don't know me by now - you will never know me. Don't call me Post-Black. I thought you knew me by now...but I guess you don't. Thanks LaBelle. Thanks Finkel? Artists will continue to create without limitations...race is not a prison or's the essence or the universal blackness that we come out of...if you think you're not black OR SOMETHING ELSE - remember what Langston said - "ASK, YOUR MAMA."
Father's Day Coming. Damu Lives!
So who is doing some of the best artistic work in the city right now? The prize would have to go to the Superduo: Visual artist Michael Platt and poet Carol Beane. The two art books they have produced will give all eyes a new standard for beauty. The personal weds history in much of their work. So why do so many of us suffer from divorce these days? Here is a link to Platt's work:
MUSIC? Well I didn't say it but I heard it. Just go back to one of my recent E-Notes Remember what I said about Rihanna?
Here is Sarah Godfrey reviewing Rihanna's GOOD GIRL GONE BAD in the Washington Post:

"Rihanna is the most recent urban songstress to spit out her bubble-gum sound..."

"Rihanna just doesn't have a strong voice like the Brit singer(Amy Winehouse). And when she tries to sing as if she does, it seems she hasn't just "gone bad," she rotten."

Well I agree. I also thought Winehouse was a cold brew too. Mercy and Merci.
The focus is on crime in Columbia Heights this week. See Washington Post( today). With the rapid transition of DC look for this to "end "by next year. Development will push the crime further North into other residential neighborhoods. This isn't rocket science.
It's very difficult to stop crime without getting at the economic problems. You also can't stop domestic fights, and the simple rage folks walk around with. Get me Fanon on the phone. Hello- Wretched of the Earth? You can't fight gangs unless you deal with racism and target groups.
When you hear terms like cease-fire in the vocabulary of the police, then you know they are losing the "hot" war and just want to make it "cold." Cold Wars are the ones that "protect" the new residents. Touch them and they will drop the BOMB on you. Meanwhile, in the "Third World" the violence continues. The increase of more visible police in Columbia Heights looks like NATO on the move. Save Europe and the Condos?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Not a bad day. I spent much of it over at the Savory in Takoma Park (MD). I met a nice fiction writer by the name of Brooke. We talked for a long time about her fiction and writing. She was in the John Hopkins program. She also took some classes at The Writer's Center in Maryland. Brooke began the conversation because she saw my Poets& Writer's bag and I was sitting at a table reading submissions for Poet Lore. Do I look like an editor?

I completed 2 Poet Lore packets. I have 2 more to do. I came back home and took a nap before watching the Nationals play the Twins. Washington has a good team. Great to see Guzman hitting. If this team can make it to .500 right after the All-Star game - lookout! Wildcard run? It would be good for the city. With all the talk from the mayor and some "cultural" types about this being a World Class Cultural city - it won't be nothing but rhetoric without some champs on the field and court. Where would New York be without the Yankees? Ruth could have built Broadway too.

The Nationals need to make some of the pilgrims put away those Red Sox caps. I don't see the Redskins going anywhere unless Campbell is the next Joe Montana. The Wizards need a center and a dynamic point guard. Mystics - nuff said. Zimmerman is a star. LEgit. Maybe this is will be the summer of 2007 - a time when Washington is a place known for wins and not just war.

Right now I'm listening to Janis Joplin singing - "I Need A Man to Love" and "Summertime.",baby, no no no - don't you cry.

I need to take to the sky....




Don't you cry.
You never want anyone's child to go to jail - but there are laws. It's what you tell your kids everyday.
Don't get in trouble. I sat a few weeks ago in a court room. There in front of me was another sad case of a young black boy caught in the system. The crime was one of those joy night types. What was this young kid looking at? Several years. No family was in the room. The kid was as naked as the day he was born. Helpless too and probably not a bad kid. I could tell he was not a multimillionaire and was not going to be fitted with a bracelet and sent home. All this brings me to why Paris is crying. PH is calling for her Mom because reality is real and not a show. Do the privilege go to jail? Not if they can help it. Crime may not pay but you can get a discount if you have money and connections. Many of us may not live the beautiful lives but we are not ugly and it's sad that we are invisible and no one cares. Yesterday, I was coming home on the bus and a young girl who looked like Paris didn't want to sit down next to me. Another day on the DC Metro. I didn't care. I thought about how no one was sitting next to Rosa Parks either. This is the price of the ticket and maybe I don't care if Paris has to stand or go to jail. Maybe there is just a little less love in my heart or maybe I'm just angry about how the scales of justice never seems to tip the way it should. Maybe if I could host a reality show - things would be different. Meanwhile, I'm trying to find my way in this world of living color. We will always have Paris.


Oh those Atlantic recordings, just a reminder of why we crossed the ocean.
Quotes of the Day:

Prejudice and bigotry are brought the sheer force of determination of individuals to succeed and the refusal of a human being to let prejudice define the parameters of the possible.

- Condoleezza Rice

I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequalities in the world - the appalling disaparities of health and wealth and opportunity that condemn milllions of people to lives of poverty, disease and despair.

- Bill Gates (Dropped out of Harvard in 1975. Excerpt from Commencement speech at Harvard in 2007)

I started reading Fast Company magazine for the first time this week. It's a good journal edited by Robert Safian. Website link:

So I was on U Street yesterday afternoon and saw where a new sushi bar is opening next to the Mocha Hut. I started eating more sushi after trips to New York to see my Mom. A good place can be found across the street from her apartment near Chambers Street. Sushi on U...wait until Ginger G hears about this. It might make her long for DC the way Zora did for Eatonville. Anyway, we all might want to purchase copies of THE SUSHI ECONOMY: Globalization and the making of a modern delicacy by Sasha Issenberg.

With all these new places opening around town...the "old" spots will have to find ways to keep their patrons. What makes the Mocha nice is that you can always find new art
work on the walls. This place could be the happening for young artists with visual wares. A couple of guest curators and a few splash spash openings and folks might be talking about the Mocha "Color" School. I bet the poet Freddy J. knows how to paint strips. We had fun sitting outside the Hut yesterday - like two black men in Lagos or Dakar. Nothing like a Friday to rest one's Negritude.

Earlier in the day I had a long talk on the phone with Ginger G. One of those conversations that makes one hug your cellphone - the range of topics - that makes a good friendship - priceless. Later in the evening I also laughed and talked on the phone with poet buddy Naomi Ayala. She has a new book coming out in a few months from Curbstone Press.

Oh, and fiction writer Hank Lewis is now in town. He will be teaching at the U in College Park this fall..
Sweet Lew was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner prize last year. I love this guy...

Well, I have a new refrigerator. It came yesterday and my water is nice and cold. I looked in my freezer and didn't see my $90,000. Does anyone know where it is? Yo -Jefferson. Check the old frig the folks took. See ya - I'm heading to Jacksonville next week.

Friday, June 08, 2007

So which Vanity Fair magazine (July issue) did you purchase? I got the one with Brad Pitt and Bishop Tutu. I love the Bishop...once ran into him coming out of the DuPont Circle Metro station.
The Vanity Cover with Condoleezza Rice and President Bush is interesting. Condi has a badd girl expression. Even the cover with her and Bono seems to capture a spicy Rice. Maya Angelou looks very wise in her pixs. Bill Gates looks as if he wanted to pay someone so he could escape the photo session. Is Oprah really that beautiful? Iman didn't need Alicia Keys in her frame. It's obvious after looking at all these covers why Iman is a supermodel. Other people just have their pictures taken. Iman invented the pose. let me read about AFRICA. That's what this is all about right? Remind me...
This looks like a good issue. Can you name all the African filmmakers on page 184-185?
Nice girl but her voice takes me back to P.S. 39 in the Bronx. If I was older I could sneak a kiss in a hallway - no way I can listen to several tracks.
Quote of the Day:

His writing was shaped by the legitimate worry that human beings were merging with the technology that was supposed to be serving them and becoming less human (which is to say, more machine-like) in the bargain.

Brent Staples writing about the novelist Philip K. Dick in The New York Times (6/8/07).
7th & T - another place where people vanish. Now there is a Wachovia Bank on the corner.
Wachovia ranks 5th in private wealth management in the US. Its clients are typically executives, doctors and lawyers.

Wachovia goes where the money is. Look for this bank to be like Starbucks. A Wachovia next to every Condo?

So where did the people go who for years were just hanging around the pool hall? Everyday I see homeless black men, standing and sitting on the shores of Africa - the others long gone with the ships.

Is A New World Coming or is the Old One just fading away?
Don't Miss:

The Division of United States Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs invite you to a discussion of the findings of a

Task Force on Muslim Americans in the U.S. Foreign Policy Discourse

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
6th floor Flom Auditorium
Continental breakfast is available at 8:30 a.m.

With speakers:

Lee H. Hamilton
President and Director, Woodrow Wilson Center

Farooq Kathwari
Co-chair of the Task Force, and Chairman, President and CEO, Ethan Allen, Inc.

Lynn Martin
Co-chair of the Task Force, and former U.S. congresswoman and U.S. Secretary of Labor

Peter Skerry
Professor of Political Science, Boston College

Ambassador Edward S. Walker, Jr.
Adjunct Scholar, Middle East Institute

Daniel Benjamin
Director, Center on the United States and Europe, The Brookings Institution

The Task Force, convened by The Chicago Council to examine opportunities for engaging Muslim Americans more fully in the U.S. foreign policy discourse, will report on its recommendations for:

strengthening relations between Muslim Americans and government agencies
increasing Muslim American civic and political participation
educating the American public about Islam and the American Muslim community
strengthening the structure and capacity of existing Muslim American organizations
developing new institutions for serving these ends.

Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20004–3027

Directions are available at our web site at

This is a free public event; but RSVPs are required. Please respond with acceptances only to
News about the In-Laws. Congrats to Pa & Ma King:

For some of us the idea of freedom is still a rumor.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

IPS Long Range Planning meeting today. It went well...
Myra MacPherson left me a copy of her new book at the IPS office. It's a biography of I.F.Stone - ALL GOVERNMENTS LIE! THE LIFE AND TIMES OF REBEL JOURNALIST I.F.STONE.

Whew...I haven't seen Myra in years and I missed her the other week. :-(
You have to love the woman - she is the author of the classic LONG TIME PASSING, a book about the Vietnam War.

So - I have the Ellison biography to finish, along with the new bio on Condi and now I.F. Stone.
This must be the good life. Summer reading.
Where is the love?

Back at HU...tried to print out someone's thesis and now nothing is working. Not a happy Bert.
Should I blame Mugabe? If governments lie, do colleges tell the truth? Hmmm.
Pieces from a novel?

In the end it was our music that destroyed us. Someone had discovered how to reverse the spiritual essence of it and sell it back to us like spoiled meat.
So Paris is out of jail so soon. She must be a political prisoner.
Why do the poor still remain behind bars?
Did this woman decide to make a 3 day commercial?
I guess those FREE PARIS posters must really work. Awesome. What about Nicole? Brandy?
The Division of United States Studies and the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars are pleased to invite you to a discussion of:

Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans

with author Jean Pfaelzer
Professor of American Studies and English, University of Delaware


Janelle Wong
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Southern California

Franklin Odo
Director, Asian Pacific American Program, Smithsonian Institution

In 1885, the Chinese residents of Tacoma, Washington were dragged from their homes and forced out of the city. Two days later Tacoma’s Chinatown was burned to the ground. It was only one of dozens of incidents in the second half of the 19th century during which Chinese immigrants living in the western United States were attacked, banished, and murdered.

The Chinese thought of themselves as building new lives in the this country. Many whites, however, viewed them as sojourners, uninterested in conforming to American values and focused only on taking jobs from white citizens so they could send money back to China. Local lawmakers responded by passing anti-Chinese legislation. From the vantage point of the first half of the twenty-first century, the tale resonates with uncanny echoes.

Jean Pfaelzer will recount the largely unknown story of how the Chinese fought back: suing for reparations, repeatedly rebuilding their vandalized homes, claiming their children’s right to public education.

Thursday, June 21, 2007
3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Fifth floor conference room
Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20004 –3027

Directions are available at our web site at

This is a free public event; but RSVPs are required.
Maybe this explains everything:

As you know I've been talking quite a bit about how people of color seem to be disappearing from DC. You walk down a street - and suddenly a building is being renovated and everyone from the old neighborhood is gone. Large apartment buildings vacant. But did you ever see the moving trucks?? Where did the people go? Well, in the New York Times (see page A33) there is an article about how the metropolitan area phone book is shrinking. Check this -

"But the fat phone book, a fixture of the urban American household in the last century, is losing some of its girth as more people give up their land lines for cellphones. When they do, their names disappear from the phone book."

Maybe our names disappear first - then our legs and arms - finally our heads. Only our smiles left - to grin back at da folks. Heh Heh!
A land of too many prophets?

The name Muhammad now ranks # 2 in popular boys' names in Britain. The name Jack is # 1.
It's Your Mug?

Edinburgh University in Scotland recently stripped President Robert Mugabe of the honorary degree it awarded him back in 1984. Oh - Zimbabwe. Look at how things decline. I remember meeting Mugabe at the White House when Carter was US President.