Thursday, April 30, 2009

New repairs and changes coming to E-Notes and website:

Upgrade 2009.

At times one's job, home or even marriage can become a cell. You find yourself confined and not knowing what to do. Self- help books will try to convince you that all you need is a key. Maybe it's one of the major reasons I don't read those books. The other approach is to view the cell as a desert. A place that is necessary if one is to find one's spiritual self. Have I been walking around like a desert monk and not realizing it? Who shaved my head? My family? My brother became a monk and prayers didn't save him. All his life I think he was trying to tell me something. After the last prayer one still has to deal with the sand and the Noonday heat. A cell has its bars. A soul will always have a thirst for water. We all long for just a cool sip before we die.
Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.
- Abba Moses

Looking for clues and trying to find some clarity...
One never knows when life is going to make sense. How many writers describe hurricanes but are destroyed by their own storms? I went back and read chapter 17 of my memoir Fathering Words. It's something I seldom do. The Miles in me not wanting to listen to the old music. But here are my own words:

Every man has the wilderness, the desert inside him...

I've been reading (non-stop) Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks and A Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris. Norris was one person I thought about obtaining a book blurb from when I completed my first memoir.

In these early morning hours her book has been making so much sense to me; perhaps explaining my attraction to the desert monks and also this noonday demon.

You will not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day,
not the plague that prowls in the darkness
nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.

Here are a few excerpts from ACEDIA & ME:

Monastic wisdom insists that when we are most tempted to feel bored, apathetic, and despondent over the meaninglessness of life we are on the verge of discovering our true self in relation to God.

It is just when the work seems most hopeless, and I am hard pressed to care whether I ever write another word or not, that the most valuable breakthroughs are likely to come. When I face trials in my life and work, I have found that the perspective of another - pastor, physician, counselor, editor - can bring me to my senses. But it's the work I have learned to do on my own - the self-editing, if you will - that has proved the most valuable.

The monastic men and women of the fourth century went into the desert for the specific purpose of combating their demons.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Here is the Republican Party's response to Obama's first 100 Days in office:
Watch the video outlining their response.
This video is sad. It has an elementary look and a let's play with the paste and scissors. Who does the editing of news footage for the Right and Republican Party? These folks would clip an angel's wings just so they could scare you with the devil's tail.
It's beyond obvious that the GOP has no ideas. They have No clue to what's going on in the world. Why would anyone vote these guys back into power?
So you get your picture taken with Hugo or even Fidel. Is that the end of the world???
How silly. These folks must want a return to the Cold War and the segregated past when everything existed in just black and white.
How long does it take an elephant to forget 8 years?


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Writers at Work: 25th Anniversary Conference
June 22-26, 2009
Spiro Arts in Silver Star Park City, Utah.
Specter's Switch
CHRISTOPHER HAYES. Washington is rocked by reports that the Pennsylvania Republican, hoping to preserve his political future, will become a Democrat.
A Liberal Democrat


will release an assessment of Obama's First 100 Days.

Go to our website for information:

Listening to V.RICH

The music of Vincent Richardson. He dropped off his CD at my office this week. Here is a link to his website:


Iranian-American journalist imprisoned in Iran since late January.
She is on a hunger strike.
Quote of the Day:

The first 100 of the 1,461 days in a presidential term are an imperfect predictor of how a leader will ultimately be judged. But they do offer a clear look at a president's style. Obama, on the whole, has been as crisp a decision maker and as calm an influence on his aides and his country as he was during the campaign.

- E.J. Dionne Jr.

The people covering their faces
with masks are afraid of death.
They want to live one more day.
Since death is invisible wash
your hands. Don't you want
to see the future? Don't touch
anything. Death is always on sale.
Hell continues to stay open late.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Monday, April 27, 2009


Swine Flu: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Outbreak

It's amazing how quickly the public can panic. So far it looks like the masks only come in blue and white. Flu Fears around the nation. How much protection can you get from these masks? Don't they really attract more bacteria as they become moist? Shouldn't the masks be worn primarily by people who are already sick? I was amused by the photograph of the nuns wearing masks in the Metropolitan cathedral in Mexico City. I can see God leaning forward to hear their prayers better. "Say, what?"

If you wanted to know how to stop the drug cartels from killing people just spread a virus. Noticed how nobody was in the streets of Mexico City. I bet crime went down. Should we have regular flu alarms? Might there be less deaths? It seems just last week more people were dying from bullets than germs. Let's do the math.
Lessons from Houdini

You practice disappearing
in front of a mirror. All your wife
can see is your face. Magic is how
your body vanished in bed. Once
you practiced with knives and hats.
The rabbit trick was a snap. Houdini
comes back from the dead to explain
how to escape from a trunk underwater.
He tells you to hide a divorce in your
marriage. Learn to pick the lock.
Convince yourself there are no chains.
Practice holding your breath. Count
the years. Surface through the pain.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Everyone is talking about OBAMA 100. Those first 100 days. What we should be talking about is OBAMA 101. We need to understand what's going on - not what we would like to see done. It seems this new administration is not just trying to repair the government but also chart a new course for our nation. President Carter tried to do the same. Funny how his name is seldom mentioned these days. Remember Carter's energy speeches and his focus on human rights?

Obama's serious troubles will come not from the Right Wing but instead from folks on the Left. The torture issue is going to be a serious distraction. Just when you thought we were going to talk about health care, folks are going to run around talking about the past and getting to the bottom of what? The 24 show television scripts? Is Bauer back again? This is just going to divide the nation. Obama's election represented an attempt by Americans to come together.

Pushing the torture issue is just a camoflage for many Anti-Bush folks who feel Bush, Cheney and others are war criminals. This is protest rhetoric that becomes very serious when it moves from the streets to Congressional hearings. We already have young people running around dressed in black and throwing bricks and bottles like Lady Goldman was still living. No way you want this group to smell Bush meat. They would just go crazy and the result will be the creation of other crazies - and then the flag will be waved and burned and our nation will be a few steps away from becoming Somalia-West. I want to get to the future. Don't you?

Keep your eye on Pelosi - this woman must have season tickets for the past. Pirates on the Hill?

Nyere's poem "Eddie" by Mary Crawford: Presence of All Color" was published in the latest issue of Pioneer Review, Spring 2009.
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Your Actions vs. Your Beliefs

When we ask what makes a happy and meaningful life, one problem that can arise is the tendency to respond with an answer that doesn’t really come from the heart. At such times the conscious mind has one answer and the unconscious has another, so we become conflicted. An easy way to tell if you suffer from such an inner conflict is to see how well your daily activities match up with your beliefs. If you say that family is important to you but somehow don’t find much quality time with your family each week; if you say that spirituality is important but spend only a few hours a week engaged in spiritual practice; if you say that helping others is important but you can’t think easily of recent examples of your doing so, then there’s probably a significant gap between the beliefs you hold consciously and the unconscious ones that are running your life.

—Lorne Ladner, from The Lost Art of Compassion.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Today was the basketball banquet at Widener University. Nyere received two awards. One was for being the steal leader in the Commonwealth Conference.
He had 85. He finished 7th in the country.

He also received his Senior Award. During his 4 years at Widener the school record was 84-31. 4 NCAA Tournaments and 3 Commonwealth Championships.

Graduation in a few weeks. Congrats!
While at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Silver Spring, I visited their mini book shop. They were selling some wonderful titles for quarters and dollars. I purchased three books:

Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks and A Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
The Last Word: The New York Times Book of Obituaries and Farewells, A Celebration of Unusual Lives edited by Marvin Siegel
Excerpt from my Sunday sermon:

I've always felt that the journey of the poet is the measurement of steps to the heart. If we are poets, we are deep sea divers. We plunge into the sea of emotions, sometimes even unaware that we cannot swim. The only thing we can rely on is faith - faith in the unseen. The darkness is where the right word sometimes resides. The poet's discovery is what brings light back into the world.

Sunday Sermon:

I will be speaking at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland this morning.

9:15 AM and 11:15 AM
Baseball Tickets?

Why should Mayor Fenty or the D.C. City Council have access to free baseball tickets?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

April is Ayala Time:

2PM Today
When the Word is Written with poet Naomi Ayala

Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
801 K Street, NW

Don't Miss. Ayala will be reading her poetry and talking with E. Ethelbert Miller.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Race and Foreign Policy:

We've spent so much time discussing Obama and issue of race within the US, that we've failed to measure the other shift in the paradigm. Foreign policy is no longer the complete domain of white people. If one saw America as arrogant on the world stage, how much of that was cultural?
The Ugly American is often white not black. Obama shaking hands with other people of color is comforting and a fresh wave ushering in a new era.
Stephen Dunn and Maxine Kumin

Poetry Reading
May 2, 2009

Hamilton Club Building
32 Church Street, corner of Ellison Street
Paterson, New Jersey
Perry Mason was last seen in the lobby.

So everyone is talking about torture. I still think the real issue is how the Bush Administration "lied" the nation into a war. Folks simply accept the fact (today) that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq. But how do we explain the dead and destroyed lives? Is it just a footnote to history?
Quote of the Day:

For the fact is that officials in the Bush Administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract "confessions" that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way.

- Paul Krugman, The New York Times, April 24, 2009

Basketball News:

Davidson's Stephen Curry is skipping his senior year to enter the NBA draft. I think the Washington Wizards should take him. That would be my pick.

Out of the News: Robert Mugabe. Where did he go? Z for Zimbabwe?

Baseball News:

Frank Robinson is going to become a special assistant to Commissioner Bud Selig.
Back in Baltimore today. I will be speaking at the Creative Writing Forum at the Community College of Baltimore County-Dundalk.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Read Renee Shea's interview with Chimamanda Adichie:


When the bearded man on the screen
says the word infidel I collapse
into the wrong century. I fall through the hands
of pirates and warlords. Every poet should own a cape.
Every poem should have a secret identity.
During emergencies break glass and read.
Arm yourself but don't be a Crusade.
If you find yourself on the road to Mecca
ask the heart for directions. All prayers
have receipts. Every religion comes with
a price.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Celebrate National Poetry Month
with Jeffrey Renard Allen, Cheryl Clarke, Jacqueline Johnson, Karma Mayet Johnson and Willie Perdomo as they launch a new series showcasing the poetic range of Cave Canem’s accomplished New York City-area instructors.

Cave Canem Instructors Read
Monday, April 27, 6:30 pm
The New School
Theresa Lang Student Center
55 West 13th Street
New York City
Quote of the Day:

A superstar, not a statesman, today leads our country. That may win short-term applause from foreign audiences, but do little for what should be the chief foreign policy preoccupation of any U.S. president: advancing America's long-term interests.

- Karl Rove.
When Guppies eat their Presidents:

The question of torture is getting a lot of attention in the media. Finally something to bog the Obama Administration down in. Look for the Democrats to make a mess out of this issue and lose control of government once again. Could you see this coming? Yep. Just go back to all those posters during the anti-war protests that wanted to convict Bush and Company for being war criminals. Throw some torture in front of this political lion and we are talking bones in the mouth.

This is not 24 and Jack Bauer's day in front of Congress - this is the US government during a time of economic crisis. Who from the Bush Administration are we going to punish? Are we going to place Bush, or Rice behind bars? The US nation was attacked on 9/11. Yes, I wanted the New England Patriots to win the Super bowl, but I'm not going to go back and say Eli Manning was in the grasp of a defender and so we have to change the score of the game. The game is over - and so is the Bush Administration. Leave the lessons and the judgements to historians and not Congress or President Obama. If we fail to do this, we will once again divide this nation around issues of patriotism. That's a no win situation. Game over.


I need your help with spreading the word about our Lucille Clifton Seminar, June 14-21, 2009. I am looking for college and high school teachers who want to learn about teaching her poetry and African American Poetry in general.

Please help us to locate teachers in DC and elsewhere who may want to attend. All of the information is listed on our website at flower.

I am anxious to have a good attendance because I hope to do a series of these seminars on living poets.Thanks, Ethelbert for your help.


Nyere Miller completes his college basketball career, finishing second on the all time steals list at Widener University with 257.

We've been hearing a lot about waterboarding over the last year, but we rarely have any detail about exactly what it is or how it works. Watch this amazing video done by a reporter for Playboy who decided to see if he could last 15 seconds of waterboarding. ..http://www.huffingt 2009/04/20/ playboy-journo- bets-he-ca_ n_189280. html

Radio Days:

Poets Melissa Tuckey and E. Ethelbert Miller join Jo Reed on WPFW this morning at 10AM.

Well, we have our hot issue now. It's national security and intelligence. Do you feel secure with the Left Wing Democrats in power? Yada Yada Yada. This is so old that it must come with a 1950s sticker. All one had to do is watch Jack Bauer for a season and you know that we torture folks. How many inmates are being tortured in US prisons right now? How many wives are in bad relationships and having their heads pushed into a sink? Torture is what the bad guys do and what the good guys can get away with. Funny how we love to play war games with rules. It's crazy. Teach me how to kill and maim in a nice way. Oh, and who reads the rule book anymore? Everyday it seems as if folks on the Right want a bomb to explode somewhere so that they can have another excuse to kick butt - the old-fashion way. We are locked into a way of thinking that's as dangerous as Mike Tyson at a beauty pageant.
Peace Development Fund:
Words from my friend Pornpimol Kanchanalak in Bangkok:

Listening to Jackie Mclean's Let Freedom Ring.

You know where he does that Bud Powell tune - I'll Keep Loving you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Spike Lee & Kobe Bryant

"Kobe Doin'Work a 90 minute documentary will air on ESPN on May 16th.
It was started in April 1970.
O(h) N(o):
I was reading the HU Hilltop today. There is a very good article about African American girls and obesity rates. I found it hard to believe that Ward 8 (DC) has over 60 percent of children through age 17 classified as obese. 70,000 residents in Ward 8 are overweight.

Whew...we are looking at serious high blood pressure and diabetes around the corner.

Diet changes needed now. Exercise for lunch. Live long and better!


I sat on the bus going downtown today reading my newspaper. Next to me was a lovely woman with a Kindle Reader. I asked her a number of questions and she guided me through the use of the K. Wow! She placed it in my hands and it felt less than the paper I was carrying. This Gizmo is sweet. I think I will purchase one before departing to Provincetown.

Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Facing the Enemy

Look deeply, not just while on your meditation cushion but wherever you are, whatever you are doing. Living mindfully is the best way to prevent accidents and protect yourself. Recognize your deep desire to live in peace and safety, to have the support you need, and to practice mindfulness. You might like to write down some of your observations and insights. The Buddha said that once we realize that we are the closest and most precious person on Earth to ourselves, we will stop treating ourselves as an enemy. This practice dissolves in us any wish we might have to harm ourselves or others.

–Thich Nhat Hanh, from Teachings on Love (Parallax Press)


I was just reading the front page article in the Muslim Journal (May 1, 2009) about the Imams meeting that took place, April 10-11, 2009 in Louisville. It was good to see all those African American Imams (supporters of the community W.Deen Mohammed). This represents an interesting group of people - maybe even the future of Islam in the US. African Americans might need to be at the center of all discussions around the Islamic faith. Especially when the topics are about Islam in the West, fundamentalism, the role of women in society, etc. I feel African Americans can assist in resolving some of the cultural differences between Muslims. I can't see an African American Imam deciding to ban jazz in America. This gives me hope for the future.
North Country Institute and Retreat for Writers of Color
Valcour Educational Conference Center in Plattsburgh, New York

Summer 2009 Retreat: Sunday July 26, through Thursday July 30, 2009.
Faculty workshop directed by:
Donna Hemans:
Major Jackson:

To receive an electronic version of flier and application contact:
Telephone: 718 270-6976

Halliburton profit decreases 35%.
No wonder Cheney has been talking about torture lately.

The company cut personnel in the US and Canada by about 2,000 positions.

The O Report:

The Obama Administration has no plans to reopen talks on NAFTA. Do you remember all the NAFTA concern during the campaign? It looks like the Obama group will go slow on this one. There is the ongoing push to strengthen labor and environmental rules. Obama might add and not reopen. Funny how this isn't a big issue on page one of some newspapers. Isn't this a campaign promise not being kept?
Another book to place on the growing list:

CHE'S AFTERLIFE: The Legacy of an Image by Michael Casey.
This book received a good review in The New York Times on Tuesday. Here is the last paragraph written by Michiko Kakutani:

For many, Che has become a generic symbol of the underdog, the idealist, the iconoclast, the man willing to die for a cause. He has become, as Mr. Casey writes, "the quintessential postmodern icon" signifying "anything to anyone and everything to everyone."

KENNETH CARROLL will be the honoree at the DC Area Writing Project Seventh Annual Benefit Gala.

Friday, May 15, 2009
6:30 PM- 9:00 PM

Fort McNair Officers Club
Entrance at Second and Q Streets, Southwest, Washington, DC.
For more information: 202 806-7524
Suggested Charitable contribution is $50 per person.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What are you doing tomorrow Ethelbert?


A.B. once wrote about black people gathering.
It's what we do when we love. Derrick and Alan
talking in Busboys at the book counter.
2 brothers making poems while others drink and eat.
Who told them they could fast?
Why do these 2 brothers have all the light
in the room around their shoulders?
What do they know?
What do we need to read?

- E. Ethelbert Miller
More Media Nonsense:

Eugene Robinson writing in today's Washington Post about Obama and Hugo is another unnecessary and sad article to read. So shouldn't we have been reading Eduardo Galeano's book anyway? Did anyone inquire if Hugo Chavez purchased his copy of Open Veins of Latin Amrica from an independent bookstore? So you shake hands with another lover of books. Is that a crime? If Obama had turned his back or refused the handshake of Chavez, would we have had another - please don't touch the Queen moment? With so much silliness in the air, it's a wonder if we will every solve any conflicts. When did it all come down to the "feelings" between leaders? Benito never had a smile.

The manipulation of news in our society is just unbelievable. The following is the headline on the front page of The Wall Street Journal:


What does this have to do with the morning rush hour? Really nothing or nothing really. Is this really the key story of the day? No. But why are we reading this? It's all part of the old National Security scare. With Obama shaking hands with Hugo and thinking about a new Cuban policy - oh- and with the release of secret torture documents - yipes! What's a Dick Cheney to do? We have to make the public believe that our nation is vulnerable to an attack and that we might all die before the next E-Note. Will you see a follow-up story to this computer spy/fighter-jet project? Probably not. The mainstream media has too much to handle right now. No one topic to hit over and over our heads with. The media needs a Rev. Wright issue or a big natural disaster to puppet our emotions with for a few days. With Obama hitting threes - the Republicans are gasping for air and a first round draft pick. Notice how The Wall Street Journal is trying to help the Right Wing by calling fouls on the Left. They have no game right now and no star player coming off the bench. Think of Sarah Palin as Kwame Brown.
Father's Day. Today is my daughter's 27th birthday. She graduates from law school in a few weeks. I told her this morning it was time to be reborn. LOL. LOL.

I have no sense of time. I only know it keeps disappearing the day after Monday. How did my daughter become this old? Fatherhood at times is still a fog to me. Sometimes I look at my daughter from across a room and I think - "well I did something right that first time." Is it possible I could still learn how to drive? Maybe, but it's best to know where you're going.

I picked up a copy of my first memoir and read what I remembered 27 years ago. Here are two excerpts from Fathering Words: The Making of an African American writer:

I was at work when Denise called. She had gone to see her doctor because she wasn't feeling well. Now her voice had this joyful tone to it. She sounded like a person who had escaped jury duty, discovered a mistake the IRS made, or maybe had a winning lottery ticket hidden somewhere in the corner of her overcoat. "Guess what, Daddy?" She laughed over the phone. Her words bopped me upside my head like a beanball thrown by Nolan Ryan or Dwight Gooden in the old days. I was knocked down behind my desk like Don Zimmer. I was speechless like one of those early colored characters in the movies. Feet don't fail me now, I was thinking. How many times had I waited for a woman to say, "Well don't worry, sometimes I'm late."

Who am I? What small child will appear in a few months to call me daddy? How can I be a father when I am still trying to understand what a son or being a brother means? Who am I fathering? What soul will soon walk this earth, with a smile that resembles my own? Boy or girl? What name will we select?


Monday, April 20, 2009



Hello-We expect Saturday, April 25 to be our last day with our doors open. We'll begin selling our fixtures: bookshelves and display units + posters and memorabilia on Monday. We'll have office furniture and more later in the week. If you are interested in anything, let us know at We'll post the balance on Craiglist.

Please help us get the word out and share this chance to save with friends and colleagues via listservs or forwarding. In case you missed last week's announcement, you can read more here.

It is amazing how many good books we had, we still have a strong selection.EVERYTHING IN THE STORE IS 20% OFF. If you've been eyeing that special something, come in and grab it now, before someone else does. No checks, returns or exchanges.

Please join us at the store tonight for one last event (and on Facebook).Vertigo Books Wake & PotluckSaturday, April 18 5 pm-??Gather with other customers, ex-employees, authors and friends of Vertigo one last time. Bring a dish or something to drink and join us for a free form wake and potluck. If you shopped, read or worked here, we want to see you. (If anyone would like to bring paper plates, cups and so on, please send an email to the store at Children are welcome.Our apologies if this is a duplicate notice.

Thank you, Todd Stewart, Bridget Warren &The Staff of Vertigo Books

Come in and browse, there are many titles to choose from, but shop now for best selection.Please stay in touch-- follow us via twitter or visit Vertigo Books on Facebook where you can join our customers' Vertigo Books Appreciation Society or the Save Vertigo Books Group.Vertigo Books Find Us

7346 Baltimore Ave. College Park MD 20740301-779-9300A short walk from the College Park Metro on the Green Line (exit west toward the residential neighborhood) & one block south of campus on Route 1.Mon-Fri 10-8 Sat 10-7 Sun 12-5

PARKING TROUBLE? Please try the parking lot one block south of Vertigo Books, at the corner of Hartwick Rd. and Rt. 1. This lot is near Applebee's and FedEx/Kinko's and less congested than the parking immediately in front of our store AND you can put more time on the meters. FREE parking in both lots on Sunday and holidays.

This is the most disturbing thing I've read this year.

Extremist Tide Rises in Pakistan:


THE 21st Century will be fought between the governments of man and God.

This is going to get ugly.
UN: UNdone Again.

Sooner or later the rhetoric just gets old and tired. Nations are not going to move any closer to resolving issues if "leaders" use a place like the United Nations as a stage for theater. What's the point? Anyone coming to the UN should be about building bridges. Everyone wants to put the donkey tail on Israel. Geez. We need to talk about Palestinian economic development and homeland. Be positive and not negative. Fueling the air with references to genocide and racism is not going to change the future, it's only going to keep us in the present and in a political deadlock state. I know the history of Palestine as much as I know the history of U.S. slavery. Now what? Are we going to keep our heads in the history hole? Iran needs a new leader. When is the next election? I think in the clip you will see a number of chairs that wanted to follow the diplomats.
This is the same type of movie that could play in Durban. What would the world do without racism? Weep?

Click here:
Diplomats walk out en masse

Interview with Charlise Lyles:


With the Obama Administration opening up several fronts at once - the Republican Party is walking around clueless. They have no ideas or new policies. They had none for saving the economy and they have none for shaping a new foreign policy. It's difficult to call Obama soft and liberal if he is giving the OK to takeout pirates, sending drones into Pakistan and supporting benefits for the military and their families. Newspapers like the Wall Street Journal have nothing to write about unless it's the typical complaining.

So Hugo and Obama shake hands. What should the US be doing? Not shaking hands with the leader of another nation -is that a policy? Of course not.

Obama is changing the image of America in the world. People of color and women are now beginning to chart the course for the ship of state. Gone is the old Western arrogance and the treatment of nations like they were children.

Obama at 100 Days
Wednesday, April 22, 5:30 PM
Washington Hilton Hotel
1919 Connecticut Ave, NW
Georgetown Room
As Barack Obama marks his 100th day, The Nation magazine is hosting a forum to assess his administration's progress on a range of progressive issues, from the economy to the climate crisis, healthcare, foreign policy and transparency in government. Obama @ 100 will explore the policy victories already achieved and the political challenges that lie ahead. Featuring Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), with The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel, Christopher Hayes, William Greider, Ari Melber, John Nichols and Deepak Bhargava. The free event takes place at the Washington Hilton, Georgetown Room, 1919 Connecticut Avenue, NWPlease RSVP to: ______________________________________________________________________
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Clean out your garage

Imagine a cluttered garage. You can’t walk two steps without bumping into some old junk and stubbing your toe. It’s the same way in the mind; you can’t walk two steps without bumping into some painful memories, rigid self-perception, or unyielding belief about yourself and the world. Our minds are full of these things, and mediation is not going to eradicate these thoughts. Instead, mindfulness practice helps to create the sense of spaciousness without creating more junk. Mindfulness is a way of enlarging the cluttered garage of our minds. And occasionally, you might even get an opportunity to throw out a piece of useless junk.

–Arnie Kozak, from Wild Chickens and Petty Tyrants (Wisdom)

The War Resisters League & Witness Against Torture's 100 Days Campaign to Shut Down Guantanamo and End Torture invites you to a roundtable discussion on :

War, Prisons & Torture - At Home & Abroad
Monday, April 20, 7PM

Featuring WRL national committee members Frida Berrigan, Senior Program Associate of the Arms and Security Initiative of the New American Foundation , Matt Meyer, editor of Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free U.S. Political Prisoners (2008, PM Press), Joanne Sheehan, former chair, War Resisters International and contributor to Handbook for Nonviolent Campaigns; staff of WRL-New England along with Susan Crane, Plowshares activist and member of Jonah House and other special guests

FOUNDRY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 1500 16th Street NW, Washington, DC.


After the urban riots of the 1960s a number of major American cities elected Black mayors. Capital as well as white business (and people) had fled to the suburbs. How to change the flow of labor and capital was a key issue. Remember how we called it Destroyed and not Detroit? Walk along a popular U Street today and one has to give some credit to Mayor Barry. Are we talking Reeves building? Capitalism will always find a vaccum. Where others might flee, capitalists smell money - and rush in. Consider the future "gentrification" of Cuba. Forget about Fidel and just look at Cuba as a market - 90 miles away from the U.S. Soon Starbucks will be in Havana and pictures of Che will be on their walls. The Florida Marlins will play some of their home games in Havana. Look for Obama to open the doors to a new era in this hemisphere. One can begin to see a thriving t-shirt business in Haiti marketing his image to nearby nations. There is money to be made south of the U.S.

Within 5 years, folks will be working in Columbia, Bolivia and sending money back to relatives living "unemployed" in the cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Look for new economic migrations to take place. We need the markets. Many students graduating from colleges in the United States will take their first jobs not in Atlanta but somewhere in Brazil or Chile. A major boost to the airlines industry might be regional flights to new destinations in South America. Call it Bolivar Air. Much of this growth will probably take place under the watch of the second Black president. That person might probably be Harold Ford Jr of Tennessee. Yes, their is a Ford in our future.

The economy is going to reboot soon and when it does it will have a new hairdo. Will we call it the Afro or the Che?

Sunday, April 19, 2009



Join IPS for a celebration of this important historical event with a screening of Saul Landau's film FIDEL.

April 20, 2009
6:00PM to 8:00 PM

Busboys and Poets
2021 14th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

Seating is limited, so please RSVP to Farrah Hassen at:
What people are saying about The 5th Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller:


I really enjoyed reading you book. When I started reading it, I could not put it down. The memoir gave me a window into you. I really did not get to really know you during my time at Howard, but I will always consider you a friend. I can remember some great conversations that we had back then.

I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I never married, but came close a few times. I have had my ups and downs with women---but I still love them.

I understand women now at my age. I have a lot of female friends and I value all of them. I also have good relationships with all the mothers of my three children.

My youngest son is doing great and I am so proud of him. I am in the process of influencing him to go to Howard's Law School in about four to five years.

I am starting to look at my own mortality and looking back at my own history as a father, a son, a lover and a friend to those who have been influences, good and bad, on my own existential journey through life.

I am starting to appreciate what the Zen Master argue concerning the Lifeless Life or that Life and Death are one are the same.

I really like what the Taoist Masters argue: that one should be in harmony with the eternal Tao. In other words directing our relative Tao(Mind, Body and Spirit) in the direction of the eternal Tao: relative and eternal balance or Taoist Harmony.

I am also coming to the realization, as I get older, that I understand so much more about life and about me.

When I perform my kung fu forms, I understand the forms much better now than I did when I was younger. I am starting to understand what the Zen Masters argue about one seeking the formless form: meaning that the execution of the form's movements and the completion of the form are one in the same. I performed a demonstration about a week ago and I knew when I started the form and when I ended the form, but I did not really remember all the movements that I did when doing the form.

I am on the path to this Zen realization or enlightenment: doing and completion are one.

The Taoist in me would also argue that when the relative Tao (harmony of mind, spirit and body exist) it is easier to become in harmony with the eternal Tao.

This is goal of all Taoist.

Your memoir reminded me of the words on a bronze plaque that I wrote for a Japanese Garden that I designed for a court yard at Fresno City College.

Four Seasons Japanese Garden

Granite Lantern Lights the Way
Knowledge Enlightens

Evergreens Hints Timelessness
Earth and Universe

Deciduous Mark Seasons
Our Mortality

Garden Birth Serenity
Contemplate Accept

Muse Spring Summer Fall Winter
Pine Successfulness

Your memoir also motivated me to write this Four Seasons of Life Haiku:

Four Seasons Of Life

Spring Is Youthfulness
Carefree With Dreams of Success
Growth of Mind and Body

Summer Is Newness
Education Parenting
Preparing Offspring

Fall is Forecasting
Contemplating One's Life Path
Joy and Forgiveness

Winter Is Closure
Reflecting On One's Journey
Seeking Life's Meaning

Take care and thanks for writing your memoir.

Homer Gee Greene, Jr.
Fresno City College

Brenda Greene interviews E. Ethelbert Miller tonight on WNYE in New York.
7PM. The program is Writers on Writing.

I am doing yard work while the poem
indoors writes itself. I break twigs and pull
weeds,as the poem looks for words.

There are times when we both stop
and catch our breath. The poem
dreaming of revision.The grass needing water.

There are afternoons when the poem looks
through the window and wishes it was making
love instead of writing.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
In the 21st Century the last battle will be between the forces of theocracy and those who believe in democracy. It's going to be impossible to walk the line. One man's heaven is another man's hell. Evil is fear we don't understand. If you ever see me in a crowd waving my fist and shouting crazy slogans into the air or demanding death to someone - you will know that I've lost my mind.
Time to bury me before the martyrs appear. What year will they arrive? 2020?
The only thing I do is write.
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Saturday, April 18, 2009

(O)h boy - look what just spilled into the news. What should we do?

So, not only does Obama change the rhetoric around Cuba, there he is shaking hands in Trinidad with Hugo, Evo and Lula. Is it possible that all these nations can suddenly be on the same page and work jointly at improving conditions in this hemisphere? This is so needed. Obama looks like Bolivar. Watch the Right Wing try to change the channel. The only problem is that with the US economy running low on gas, we might just have to begin changing the rules of the game. How many businesses are waiting to rush into Cuba. End the embargo now? You betcha!

Finally the U.S. is moving forward in the right direction around Cuba. Fighting Fidel was getting old. It was like waiting for the Washington Wizards to win another NBA championship. It will be interesting to see how Obama does in Florida in the next election? Cuban Americans have to be happy with the new administration. Too often policies are shaped by organizations that won't move forward. This is what holds us back at times in trying to break the deadlock in the Middle East. It's impossible if people don't want to see a new day. The future begins with trust.


It was good to see Secretary of State Clinton in Haiti the other day. She spoke about another economic crisis pushing Latin America and the Caribbean into another "lost decade." Decade? Haiti seems to have been lost since the Haitian Revolution. So sad to see this nation that was once a beckon of Black hope to the world to be trapped in such a hopeless situation. We are going to give this nation $324 million. They were seeking $900 million. This is nothing when you are trying to recover from history and four hurricanes from last year. Clinton did talk about granting temporary legal status to Haitians who have come to the U.S. illegally. This is necessary since so many Haitians in the US send money back home to relatives. I've never visited Haiti. My major connection and link to the nation these days is with Lady E. Edwidge (Danticat). Her short stories and novels pull me into the world I need to understand and experience. We met in Brooklyn many, many years ago. This woman has such an amazing grace. I love her politics and spirit. Three large posters of her are in my home office. I love Danticat's love for family. The mother of two girls - I see her as another First Lady. I got a note back from her the other day - she was back in Haiti again. Her children learning the earth beneath their feet. Will they sing their mother's song or their own?
Here is an excerpt of the speech I gave at the Race and Emancipation In The Age of Lincoln conference at Howard University yesterday:

Perhaps we are all Blues People, because at this historical moment we seem to be starting over once again. 2009 marks the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth. It coincides with the election of Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency. Lincoln's legacy has been an inspiration to Obama. His campaign speeches last year in some ways echoed those given by Lincoln. Where Lincoln fought to save the Union, Obama in his Philadelphia speech in March 2008, challenged all Americans to create a more perfect union.

Although Lincoln has not been as important to my thinking as he has been to President Obama, I have noticed that at times the man and his times slips into my poetry. I'm also aware that as an African American my concept of freedom is at times hidden under Lincoln's black garments or perhaps stuck in the bottom of his hat. Lincoln's name, deeds and monuments are linked to the Emancipation Proclamation. However we care to interpret history, Lincoln's name in many ways is connected to our basic understanding and idea of freedom.

As a creative writer who emerged in the 1960s, I found my voice during a decade in which one slogan was "Freedom Now." I started writing poetry in 1968, a few years after the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. James Baldwin writing in The Fire Next Time released in 1963 said the following:

In short, we the black and white, deeply need each other here, if we are really to become a nation- if we are ready that is to achieve our identity, our maturity as men and women.

As the Civil Rights Movement transformed itself into demands for Black Power, many new African American voices emerged. Writers such as Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Carolyn Rodgers and Don L. Lee (Haki Madhubuti), began to create a more militant African American literature; poems, plays and stories reflected the new Black consciousness that exploded across this nation after the Harlem Riot of 1964 and the Watts Riot of 1965. The new literature although angry in tone was also filled with the celebration of blackness. In some ways one could say this new literature was sassy and decided it would claim it's place. Pardon us, Mr. Lincoln.

I will be heading up to Baltimore today for the CityLit Festival at the Central Library from 10 A.M. - 5 P.M. I'm on a memoir panel with Jennifer Baszile (author of THE BLACK GIRL NEXT DOOR). For a complete schedule of events go to:


Will this be a good year for the Seattle Mariners? They are playing well so far. Ichiro another hit last night. Griffey has his smile back. Look out.

Friday, April 17, 2009

E. Ethelbert Miller talks with Abdul Ali:


A poetry reading featuring E. Ethelbert Miller and Melissa Tuckey

Wednesday April 29 from 12:00-1 pm

Institute for Policy Studies
1112 16th Street NW; Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036;
two blocks from Farragut North Metro

E. Ethelbert Miller is a literary activist. He is the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. Mr. Miller is also the board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank located in Washington, D.C. He is a board member of The Writer's Center and editor of Poet Lore magazine. The author of several collections of poems, his last collection How We Sleep On The Nights We Don't Make Love (Curbstone Press, 2004) was an Independent Publisher Award Finalist. Miller received the 1995 O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize. He was awarded in 1996 an honorary doctorate of literature from Emory & Henry College. In 2003 his memoir Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (St. Martin’s Press, 2000), was selected by DC WE READ for its one book, one city program sponsored by the D.C. Public Libraries. In 2004 Miller was awarded a Fulbright to visit Israel. Poets & Writers presented him with the 2007 Barnes & Noble/ Writers for Writers Award. In March 2009, Busboys and Poets Press published The 5th Inning, a second memoir. Mr. Miller is often heard on National Public Radio (NPR).

Melissa Tuckey is co-director of Split This Rock, an organization supported by Institute for Policy Studies. She's author of Rope as Witness (Pudding House Press, 2007) and her poems have been widely published in literary journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Hayden's Ferry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Verse Daily, and anthologized in DC Poets Against the War Anthology, Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds, and Poets for Palestine Anthology. She's recipient of artist fellowship grants from DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities and Ohio Arts Council. She holds an MA in literature from Ohio University and MFA in poetry from George Mason University.

This event is free and open to the public. Bring a brown bag lunch, if you like.

The Institute for Policy Studies is a progressive think tank founded in 1963, working on issues of peace, justice and the environment.

Split This Rock is an organization dedicated to "calling poets to a greater role in public life."
Quote of the Day:

Now that Barack Obama is President, the cats still need to be fed. The weeds still need to be pulled. Each day still has only twenty-four hours.

- Sy Safransky
Independent Films:

This is my friend Ambessa Berhe's website. Enjoy. I plan to look at his work-in-progress this weekend. Yesterday he gave me a copy of Fragmented Lives.

American Violet is out today.

Michael O'Keefe is in it. O'Keefe was a contributor to
the E-MAG back on November 12, 2006.
RACE AND EMANCIPATION IN THE AGE OF LINCOLN: A Conference sponsored by Howard University and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

April 16-18, 2009

School of Business Auditorium, Howard University.

I will be giving a talk at the 11:30 AM Session. The panel topic is: Emancipation in the United States.

Moderator: Ira Berlin
Presenters: Joseph Reidy, Kate Masur, E. Ethelbert Miller

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I was walking down the street this morning
with my ears listening to John Lennon.
The sun was in my eyes and the ground
was drying from the rain. For the first time
in days I felt good. There was even a few dollars
in my pocket, more than enough for lunch.
I passed a homeless couple;their carts filled
with everything. Imagine waiting for a place
to open so that you could find shelter. Imagine
waiting for a place to close and being forced
to wander. Imagine all the people living
this way. This morning I knew I was not
a dreamer. I knew I was not the only one.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

IMAGINE by John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world

You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope someday you'll join us

And the world will live as one
The first steps to overcoming underdevelopment are those that ensure that the people have enough protein, good medical care, solid education. Without these basic investments you cannot move forward with meaningful development.

- Fidel Castro.



Yes, privacy is like clothes. People with underwear are always trying to hide something.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

The percentage of black players in baseball increased to 10.2 percent last year. The first rise since 1995.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prediction:Look for the Washington Wizards to win no more than 20 games this year.The only teams they will be able to beat are: L.A. Clippers, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota.If they get lucky look for 1-2 games won at the buzzer.The Wizards organization needs a change we can believe in. Too bad Obama has a day job. He mentioned having a presence in DC while being president. Might he be a good 6th man?

Well, the season ended yesterday for the Washington Wizards. Their record was 19-63. OK - that Lotto for me. Where is my check?

Look for this team to waste their upcoming draft pick by selecting someone they will eventually trade to Detroit.
Book Omen?

On my way to the Metro I passed the Howard University Bookstore. I was surprised to see a copy of The 5th Inning in the window, going one on one with the Obama books. I need to check the polls.

Bob Holman:

I spoke on the phone with Bob yesterday. Fun guy. He sent me this wonderful link. See below.

I think it's excellent. Bob Holman as Holy man? A poet prophet on the road?

Bob Holman

Proprietor, Bowery Poetry Club
Visiting Professor of Writing, Columbia University
Visiting Professor of Writing, NYU

308 Bowery NY NY 10012 212-334-6414

Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro played his first game of the season yesterday. He went 2 for 5, including a home run and a steal. 4 RBI. Average is .400.
Two new books came in the mail yesterday:

AND THEN YOU KNOW: New and Selected Poems by Kwame Alexander.

VOICE LIKE WATER by Deanna Nikaido.

Both of these books come with sweet Cds in the back. Poems for the Open Ears.
Your head is a souvenir.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


A Taliban firing squad executed a young couple trying to elope in the Nimruz province of Afghanistan. The woman was 19; the man was 21.
Columbia Road

So maybe I was hungry and homeless last night.
Did you inquire? Did you offer to share what was in your bag?

How did you know I wasn't carrying candles or music?
The streets are so cold these days. The eyes of women so dark.

-E. Ethelbert Miller

Radio Days:

I'll be talking about The 5th Inning on two radio programs today:

WNYE (New York) 91.5 FM. The show is Writers on Writing hosted by Brenda Greene. The program will be taped at 1PM today and aired on Sunday at 7PM.

At 3PM I will join Gladys Brooks on WPFW (DC) 89.3 FM. The program is LIVE.