Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Elections this Sunday in Venezuela. Hugo's party will win big since opposition groups are pulling out...
Hugo would be making a huge mistake if he decides to make Constitutional changes in Venezuela. If he can run as many times as he likes it's just going to harm the nation down the road. Can you image if we did the same thing in the US? Nixon or Reagan for 30 years? It's just impossible to rule a nation for a long time without corruption taking hold, etc. If Hugo wants to make a key contribution to Venezuela then make sure economic plans reach the poor. Maintain good ties with the business community. Cut down on all the Anti-U.S. rhetoric. Have excellent relations with nearby nations. Don't be a Mugabe.
Well...there it is. Just like I thought. In the Wall Street Journal (today) there is mention of a Manning versus Manning SuperBowl. The media loves this type of stuff. Now, if you're a journalism student, watch how this story is different from all those tennis stories about Venus and Serena. Look for the Mannings to suddenly be America's family. QB genes - right? Please. Pittsburgh could have defeated the Colts on Monday night if they didn't have dumb coaching. First play TD? Please. I knew who to cover on the first play of the game and I'm watching from my bed. Offside kick to begin the half? That's just stupid. Why risk giving Peyton Manning half a field to work with??? It's only halftime. Oh...and you're never going to defeat Manning when the other QB is nothing but hype. Big Ben is really nothing but a small watch - if that. The guy just isn't one of the best QB's in the league. So who is going to beat the Colts?
Go with San Diego. A team with the best running back that will keep Peyton on the sidelines. Also they have a QB that can have a big game. You have to keep throwing the blitz at Manning...dirty the guy's uniform. Give him the hard hit. Notice how he was hurrying those passes after he had to run from that pocket? Manning reminds me of Marino. Good numbers but no rings. Oh, and we know if the Colts were to win the SuperBowl no one would even acknowledge Dungy's contribution. The guy is just on the sidelines wearing a headset. Right? Manning can throw all those TDs but everyone knows defense wins the game. Now...who should get that credit - Manning 2??
Did I miss something? Did the rioting stop in France? When? It's amazing how news stories just disappear.
Pay Attention. The Supreme Court is to hear its first abortion case in five years today. You make the call - should there be a law requiring that a parent or doctor be notified before a minor terminates a pregnancy? This is a difficult case. It's difficult because it involves a minor. As a parent I want to know what my children are doing. I think this case is also about privacy and not just abortion.
Saudi Poet Announces International Women’s Anthology
Molly Thomas-Hicks, Arab News

DHAHRAN, 30 November 2005 — Women of all nationalities are invited to submit their original creative writing for inclusion in an upcoming anthology of poetry, essays, and short fiction.

The book, tentatively entitled “Where Prayer Measures Time: The Women of Saudi Arabia Speak,” is the latest project of poet Nimah Ismail Nawwab. Her best-selling collection of poetry, “The Unfurling,” was published in 2004 to worldwide acclaim.

“The goal of this collection,” Nimah said, “is to provide a true representation of the variety of women living within the Kingdom by accepting submissions from both established and emerging writers. Women throughout the world are contributing to society in important ways. Saudi Arabia is no exception.”

The book will be published in English but work translated from Arabic is welcome. Any woman who has lived in Saudi Arabia is encouraged to submit.

Nimah sees literature as a way of building bridges between cultures. By creating a venue for women within the country to express their views on current issues she hopes to generate an opportunity for readers to gain insight and understanding of a part of Arab society which has often remained silent.

She conceived the idea for the anthology after noticing many false impressions about the lives of women in Saudi Arabia. “Misconception often leads to misunderstanding and intolerance,” she explained. “While giving poetry readings and presentations abroad I noticed a hunger for information about life in the Kingdom. It fit well with a long-held dream of mine to bring together writers in Saudi Arabia to work on a common project.”

Last summer she began assembling a group of professionals to serve as editors, readers, and translators. The team has members living abroad and in both the Eastern and Western Provinces of the country.

“I am a firm believer in the need for diversity,” said Nimah. “One of the most intriguing and exciting aspects of the anthology is that it embodies diversity on all levels. Our team, which consists of writers, academics, and poets living in Saudi Arabia and beyond, was chosen because each woman brought specific skills to the project. These skills, when combined, create a very strong body of knowledge. Our goal is for the anthology to serve as a mirror that accurately reflects the range of skill and experience of women within the Kingdom.”

Pit Menousek Pinegar, who will serve as the book’s poetry editor, commented, “An anthology of women’s voices — poems, stories, and essays — from Saudi Arabia can only deepen understanding in a world fraught with misunderstanding. Literature is international language. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that such a body of work has the potential to heal rifts between East and West.”

Pinegar lived in Saudi Arabia from 1982-1986. Her latest collection of poems, “The Physics of Transmigration,” was published in April 2005 and is nominated for a 2006 Pulitzer Prize.

Recent events underscore the need for understanding between vastly different cultures. Nimah has been called “the voice of Arab women” by media outlets such as Newsweek and The Washington Post. But it’s a title she seems uncomfortable accepting.

“I’m flattered that reviewers have found merit in my work but it’s wrong to think that one poet can represent or reflect the voices of an entire population,” she says. “I hope women throughout the Kingdom will be excited about the anthology project and support it by sending us their writing.”

She says many other well-known Saudi writers plan to submit work for inclusion in the anthology. “It’s important to have both established and emerging writers,” she explained. “Young people look up to pioneers willing to serve as mentors to a new generation of talent. I hope to continue the literary tradition of nurturing free expression and creativity.”

She believes readers will be impressed by the literary merit of the collection. “Our country is filled with bright, capable women. Many have been writing for years. I look forward to this anthology providing a home for their work.”

Submissions for the anthology are being accepted via Nimah’s website: Submissions should be copied and pasted into the form provided on the site.

Poems should be single spaced, one poem per page, with the author’s name and contact number on each page. Limit three poems per writer. Essays and fiction should be double spaced and formatted with one-inch margins. The author’s name and contact information should appear on the first page in the top left corner. Essays and stories of up to 3,000 words are accepted. Limit one prose submission per writer.

Submissions must be received no later than March 30, 2006. Complete guidelines can be found on the website. Further inquiries can be directed to

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The UN has more troops deployed around the world than any other body except the U.S. military. They have 80,000 peacekeepers in 18 places. Cost- $5 Billion annually.

Harper magazine just named its new editor -Roger D. Hodge.
Comment by Hodge:
"This is a great time to be editing a magazine. There is a global war on terror, a war in Iraq and we have a presidential administration that is collapsing. And we don't seem to have any politicians that know what to do about it. It is a very interesting time for Harper's."

New book by Eve Grubin is out. The title is MORNING PRAYER
Eve will be reading on January 24th at the Folger Shakespeare Libary.
202 675-0374
From the book WHISPERS, SECRETS AND PROMISES( Black Classic Press,1998) by E. Ethelbert Miller:


Outside Bolivia
the poor people of the world wait
for the ghost with no hands

In the hills and countryside
we continue to work for things
which remain invisible

Near Vallegrande
a door opens to a small church
revealing a wooden cross


Che is back. His face on so many banners in Bolivia. Another prophet? One looks at Malcolm X many years later. His comments about the future importance of Islam seem so accurate. So much change in the air...
The task ahead is to find nonviolent solutions to our problems. The struggle is to balance right and left. Christianity and Islam. Men and women. Poor and rich. Whites and people of color. The Beloved Community can embrace all these things. Words like love and tolerance just need to embrace our lips and kisses. The world suffers from a shortage of hugs. A simple gesture. A smile is just as powerful as a hurricane when confronted with the darkness of hatred. Kindness can uproot trees of prejudice.
How do we organize this into movements of social change? So many revolutions begin when we look into a mirror and change more than our hairstyles.
The Museum of the African Diaspora opened Saturday in San Francisco.
Here is the website and address:

685 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
415 358-7200
Urgent Note from The NAACP:

Dear Friends:

Last Friday, I met with Stan Tookie Williams, reformed gang leader, Nobel
Peace prize nominee, and acclaimed author, who is scheduled to be executed
in the state of California at 12:01AM on Tuesday, December 13, 2005. I left
our meeting with the certainty that Mr. Williams offers more in life than in
death and have committed the full support of the NAACP in his fight for

Having exhausted his appeals, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the only
person who can grant Mr. Williams clemency. At this critical time, I am
asking for your help by signing our petition in support of Stan Tookie
Williams. Every petition makes a difference and I promise each one will be
delivered to Governor Schwarzenegger.

Click here now and sign the petition today:

It is important that we come together to save the life of Stan Tookie
Williams because he has saved the lives of over 150,000 youth, as reported
by them, their parents, teachers and law enforcement officials. While on
death row, Stan has written a highly acclaimed children¹s book series that
educates young people to avoid gangs, crime and incarceration. He has also
worked to end gang violence through his peace protocol and Internet Project
for Street Peace, an international peer-mentoring program.

Click here now and sign the petition today:

Our goal is to generate 100,000 signatures and phone calls by Thursday,
December 8th, when Governor Schwarzenegger has scheduled a clemency hearing
in Sacramento, California. Together, we can save the life of Stan Tookie
Williams. I am counting on you to help make the difference.

Call Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Today:
Phone: 916-445-2841

I also ask that you, your friends, and family participate this Wednesday,
November 30, 2005, in the National Day of Action for Stan coordinated by
Campaign to End the Death Penalty. Rallies and Press Conferences will be
held in front of City Halls and other locations across the State of
California, the country and across the world.

For list of locations and to get involved click here now:

We thank you in advance for your support in this noble effort.

God bless you,

Bruce S. Gordon
NAACP President and CEO

PS. For more information on the Stan Williams¹ case go to:
I'll be teaching another summer workshop for the Provincetown Arts Center (July 9-14, 2006). The title of the workshop is WRITING THE POLITICAL POEM IN 2006 AND NOT 2008. I had a wonderful time last summer.
Folks are talking about having another American Writers Congress in 2007. More about this in future E-Notes.

I had a wonderful conversation with my friend Molly who called me from the Middle East. True friendships have no borders.

Many thanks to Nicole who gave me a birthday gift of lovely sounds:Bebo & Cigala, Maria de Barros, Femi Kuti, and the music from Amelie.
I received this note today from my friend Monifa. Maybe someone is interested in this job opening.

Other than saying hello, I am writing to see if you know anyone with an MFA or PhD in English who might be interested in the Creative Writing position at Morgan State. We are looking for someone with strong publications and work in fiction, memoir, and drama. The course load is 4/4. If you know of anyone, please ask them to e-mail me at

I am well.

Peace and Love,


Dr. Monifa Love Asante, Associate Professor

Coordinator, Creative Writing Program

Department of English and Language Arts

1700 E. Coldspring Lane

202 Holmes Hall

Baltimore, MD 21251-0001

(443) 885-1163

Monday, November 28, 2005

"I believe we're not just interested in making beautiful poems, but we're trying to make a beautiful life. I think the courage we bring to poems is not only for our art but as if our lives themselves depended on it."
- Timothy Liu
There was an interesting little note in PARADE magazine yesterday. It was mentioned that Denzel Washington will direct and produce the film THE GREAT DEBATERS. It's about Melvin Tolson of Wiley College, whose debate team challenged and beat USC. I assume this must be the poet Melvin Tolson (1898-1966). Do you know what that means?
It means Tolson's poetry will get more attention. Yep, folks will be talking about Tolson and modern poetry. African American poets will start writing more poems with footnotes. He He
This could even be good for Liberia and their new woman leader. See the bio info below which is from the Modern American Poetry website:

Melvin B. Tolson: Biographical Note


Melvin B. Tolson was born in Moberly, Missouri, on February 6, 1898, and he died at the age of 67 on August 29, 1966, in Dallas, Texas, a few days after undergoing surgery for cancer. In 1922 he married Ruth Southall, and in 1924 he graduated with honors from Lincoln University. From 1924 until 1947 he taught at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, taking a year’s leave in 1930-31 to pursue work in a Master’s degree from Columbia University. His project for a thesis centered on interviewing members of the Harlem Renaissance. From 1947 onward he taught at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma (where he also served three terms, from 1954 to 1960, as Mayor).

From his year in New York emerged his first poetry, a group of short narratives, loosely allied with the free verse of Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology. A few of the poems from that manuscript were published from 1937 to 1939, but the whole work would await printing until the late 1970s when Robert M. Farnsworth presented it as A Gallery of Harlem Portraits.

Some elements, a few character-types, and the urban setting in these early poems all reappear in Tolson’s final published work, Harlem Gallery (1965), a long poem in several sections (each with the letter of the Greek alphabet), subtitled The Curator, and the first of a projected series of long poems on African American life. But the distance Tolson traveled in his own career can be dramatically measured between these two texts. A Gallery of Harlem Portraits reads as versified prose: "The big-bellied man limped / Toward the door of The Zachary Eat Shop," is the way that the poem entitled "Dave Zachary" opens: "Breathing a sigh of relief, he entered his domain. / ‘Hello, Zachary,’ came a din of voices." Tolson’s interest, in the 1930s, lies in accurately capturing aspects of a black vernacular – excerpts from songs, usually in a black dialect, appear scattered through the texts – but also in presenting black experience with a normalized face. In this poetry, Harlem is a viable community, held together by individuals both good and bad, both self-destructive and willing to help others. In Harlem Gallery, by contrast, Tolson writes within the artificial and highly intellectualized discourse that he began to develop in the postwar years. Now his lines, to use a phrase from 1930s jazz, "jump" as if galvanized: they are a heady mix of colorful slang and intellectual allusions, with an uptown / downtown overlap that is just barely held together by the ravishing sound of the words and a syntax that rips along at breathtaking speed:

It was I who taught Black Diamond
his first lesson in the Art of Picasso’s Benin,
at Waycross, Georgia –
aeons before Africa uncorked an uppercut:
many a tour de force of his
executed in Harlem dives and dead ends
has greened the wide-awake eyes
of such masters as
Giglio and Gentile,
Bufalino and Profaci.
O schoolmasters,
living and half-alive and dead,
the Zulu Club
is not the fittest place to recall,
by fits and starts,
Seneca’s young Nero
… and …
Aristotle’s youthful Alexander!

"Black Diamond," now a powerful underworld leader, was once a student of the Curator, in this passage set within the Zulu Club. It is characteristic of Tolson’s late work to allude to this pupil-student relationship in cultural terms that integrate local black experience with well-known historical referents by recalling Seneca and Nero, Aristotle and Alexander. It is no less characteristic to find lines moving swiftly, pushed by elegant alliteration and strikingly odd slang-like metaphors ("aeons before Africa uncorked an uppercut"). If immense pleasure is to be taken in the voluptuous sound of Tolson’s lines, there is just as much to admire in an intellectual presentation that is designed to be impressive. The identity, for example, of "Giglio and Gentile / Bufalino and Profaci" was tracked down by Robert Huot, in his 1971 University of Utah PhD thesis that annotates many (though by no means all) of the references – one of the first, but certainly not the last, of literary scholars who have paid their homage to Tolson’s work through scrupulously annotating it.

Tolson’s 1944 collection, Rendezvous with America (his first published book), revealed a poet in need of annotation, a poet who would take exceptional interest in matters of history but with special attention paid to that history which had fallen into obscurity. Names and events that have been forgotten often become, for Tolson, an index to just where a ruling ideology has successfully exerted its pressure. But little in the fairly straightforward stanzas in Rendezvous with America prepares for the quantum leap that Tolson took in 1947 when, invited to compose a centennial ode for the African republic of Liberia, he embarked upon a symphonic epic as detailed, as organized, and as rhapsodic as any of the major experimental long poems of the twentieth century. Self-consciously deciding that the African American poet had to become a "modernist," that the idioms practiced by Sterling A. Brown (and that Tolson had imitated in his own Gallery of Harlem Portraits) had to be set aside for an experimental discourse that invited a dense blending of various voices, he completed an eight-part sequence that, by any standard, must count among the most successful achievements of modern poetry.

Libretto not only sketches with admirable intensity and vividness a history of the founding of Liberia, but it restores the narrative of a significant African civilization (the Songhai empire). What is more, it positions itself carefully at a distinctive moment in world culture, at the close of a second major war, as a preparation for looking ahead prophetically to a genuinely transformed future. It accomplishes this through a range of distinctive writing styles, often displaying a staggering erudition. In a set of nearly two hundred footnotes, Tolson not only further justifies his work on explicit intellectual and historical grounds but he extends the thematics of his text even further, undertaking brief guerrilla forays where he unearths forgotten events and overlooked narratives and where he creatively and subversively associates texts and movements and historical facts.


So will the Redskin's now stop talking about trying to make the playoffs? The Rams will beat these guys next week. So will Dallas and New York. Talking about NY...can I do the kicking next week. Eli looks as good as his brother now. Look for the media this year (or next) to push for a Manning/Manning SuperBowl soon. Oh, can we get some college guys to play in the New England secondary? It's not tag football. Poor Brady.Finally, please, give the Cin coach some bigtime credit...Lewis baby. I love the guy when he was doing the defense for the Ravens. Is Palmer really that good? I would love to see these guys in the Bowl.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Haiti postponed their elections for the 4th time. The new date is January 8th.
This is one nation I pray will get itself together during my lifetime. Haiti should become a "sister" nation for every major African American community in the US. African American doctors and dentists should help develop clinics in Haiti. African American youngsters should "adopt" a friend in Haiti. African American writers should help develop libraries...
Programs should be started to plant trees, teach voting rights, put an end to armed violence; gangs should be trained to focus on prison reform, as well as working to protect communties and not destroy them. New roads and homes should be built...
RUMI FEST, June 17 & 18, 2006 at The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.
Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In an old E-Note I mentioned this site should be turned into a complex for the Arts & Humanities. One could move NEA, and NEH into this Northwest location. Folks could also find room for the DC Arts Commission and the Humanities Council of Washington.Oh, and let's give the Poet Laureate of the US a home during their tenure. The complex could house visiting (international) artists and scholars. It would be a place of residency for anyone during work at the Library of Congress or area colleges. The grounds could be a place for small theater festivals, concerts and of course poetry readings. A literary museum could be housed on the grounds too. In fact, we could move Poets House from New York down to DC. :-)
113 acres. Give the place to scholars and artists. We won't even demand mules.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sam Cooke on the record player.

Under construction is an Ahmos Zu-Bolton website:
His family is putting it together. Zu like Henry Dumas is one of those writers who one day will get his due. How many of us were listening to SunRa when he first played that space music? Zu was walking around doing stuff before some of these Southern Black writers were eating greens. Many would eventually leave the south and eat high on the hog. Me? I left the South Bronx long before HipHop... The Grandmaster wasn't even a flash and there were other last poets who names were only mentioned in funeral homes and maybe a cemetery or two. Ok...let me get back to writing and trying a little tenderness. Bless you Zu. I saw a couple of your old friends and many are still walking around angry like it was HooDoo between you and me. Zaki would perhaps call it Spell # 7. Time for me to get back to much work to do. I'm fighting Swiss Cheese History...People jumping from the Civil Rights Movement to the HipHop Generation. It's like folks in the late 1960s forgetting writers like Gloria Oden, Robert Hayden, Margaret Danner, Ray Durem, and so many others. There was African American poetry long before Cave Canem, The Dark Room Collective and Callaloo. Mention Adesanya's name today and folks don't even know his last name. Anybody seen Joe Johnson? I loved his work.
A day of basketball...Widener won the Gallaudet University Holiday Tournament. They are now 5-0 with a game next Tuesday. My son started his second game and did well. He hit 2 key free throws in the closing minutes.

I've been reading THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis. I'll start making my notes this week for the upcoming NPR broadcast on Wednesday, December 21st.

My daughter and I are going to see the film LIVE AND BECOME directed by Radu Mihaileanu at the DC Jewish Community Center on Wednesday. The film is about a young boy surviving the Ethiopian famine of the mid-1980s.This is the 16th year of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. just a few hours San Diego should defeat the Washington Redskins and folks can forget about going to the playoffs for another year. Look for Gibbs to try and find a race car escape from another blue season. The team is a long way from being a contender. They need improvement on special teams...someone who can "fly" after catching a punt, or a kickoff. They need another wide receiver...oh..and a Brady/Palmer/Manning type of QB. Oh...and a new owner? Sooner of later folks are going to ask questions about what's going on at the top chart. Oh...and please don't even think about going after T.Owens. We have enough problems in Washington. Send T Owens out to the Raiders so he can play catch with R. Moss.

If Indy goes undefeated no one will place Dungy's name next to Shula. Look for Manning to get all the credit. On another note, I don't expect Indy to go anywhere in the playoffs.
Lakers are in last place. Phil needs some ZEN on his team.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I'm just back from my son's basketball Holiday Tournament at Gallaudet University.
Widener defeated Hood College.My son made his first start (in college) and played a very good game at point guard. He had 8 pts. 2 three pointers. Widener is now 4-0.
Another game tomorrow at 3 PM.
Hush Now...Don't Explain. Light poles are vanishing in Baltimore. Thieves are sawing them down. Why? 130 light poles gone in the last several weeks. 30 foot poles, each weigh 250 pounds.
Is this a scrap metal money thing? What about the impact on a city's budget?
It costs $156.000 to replace each pole.
No lights just creates a crime setting. I hate stuff like this.
In The Wall Street Journal today there is an article about the global flu pandemic.
If it hits here are the following stock sectors that should perform well:
Companies that make antiviral drugs and vaccines, hospital chains, cleaning-product makers, home-entertainmnet providers, telecommunications and Internet-related companies and utilities.

Should we invest now?

Is the next movie folks are going to talk about SYRIANA?
One of the best actors working is in it - Jeffrey Wright.
You know your literary career is over when someone asks you to read during halftime.
Anyway...Mariah is walking around without a voice and thighs that might be playing Vegas soon. Braxton's singing of our national song is another reason why the war is going poorly.
I'm listening to Norah Jones - FEELS LIKE HOME

FBI has completed it investigation into the 1955 killing of Emmett Till. The report on the reopened case should be delivered before the end of the year. Will a grand jury consider indictments?

News item:
Bush is targeting U.S. accounts of leading government officials in Zimbabwe. Mugabe is being pushed to support democracy or face sanctions. I remember seeing Mugabe at the White long ago. Carter was president then. Mugabe is one of those guys who would have been a disappointing QB for the Redkskins.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving dinner. games. I've been reading August Wilson's KING HEDLEY II. I saw the production several years ago when it was at the Kennedy Center. It's fun to go back and read a play. Wilson's writing is such a marvel to read. So funny, in so many places.

I pulled the folder which contains my next collection of poems. I did some revisions.
I'll try and complete the manuscript before the year ends.

I pulled Chasen Gaver's work from my upstairs bookcase. It seems like he has been gone a long time. Someone requested the publication of one of his poems. Gaver left me in charge of his literary estate. I have a person who wants to reprint some of his poems coming to visit.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Featuring Hilary Tham’s Malaysian Stories

Hosted by
Kensington Row Bookshop

3786 Howard Ave.
Kensington, MD 20895

Wednesday, 7 December, at 7:00 pm
Come early to browse and chat. Refreshments provided.

Arranged by Judith McCombs

Mel Belin, Laura Brylawski-Miller, Ilana Goldberg, E. Ethelbert Miller, Miles Moore, & Christa Watters will read from Hilary Tham’s last book, Tin Mines and Concubines: Malaysian Fictions, and from the new Hilary Tham tribute issue of Potomac Review.

Hilary Tham’s eight books of poetry include The Tao of Mrs. Wei, Counting, and Bad Names for Women. Her memoir of a Malaysian-Chinese girlhood is called Lane with No Name. A Virginia Poetry Prize winner who was featured on NPR and MD Public TV, Tham was Editor-in-Chief for Word Works and Poetry Editor for Potomac Review. Tin Mines and Concubines is her first book of fiction.

Free and open to all with an open reading to follow

Next reading: Thursday, January 26, 2006, 7 pm
J. D. Smith, Paul Hopper, & Myra Sklarew
Oh, Get that Jelly Roll...
Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax.
Rounder records:
Language problems again? What does it mean to have US troops withdraw immediately from Iraq ? Does this mean folks start packing before midnight? Could immediate mean 3-4 years? Will Iraq enter the early stages of a Civil War? If so, which side should we support? Is the Middle East a better place today? Just a few questions as we celebrate Thanksgiving.
Troop reduction is the logical first step. But will we simply move troops over to Kuwait? Jarheads? It might be better to bring those National Guards back home. Folks are still needed in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I was reading Phillip Richard's BLACK HEART this afternoon. He has a chapter on Adolph Reed, an African American intellectual whose work I enjoy reading. I came across a statement by Reed that simply captures how I feel about HipHop and the present cultural movements. Reed writes:

"Cultural production can reflect and perhaps support a movement; it can never generate or substitute for one."

I wish we could place this statement in everyone's fortune cookie.

I'll be doing an NPR program on the morning of December 21st. I will be discussing THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis.
After Katrina... The best thing that might happen now is the rethinking of public housing.
Checkout the New York Times article today on page A16. "Storm Forces a Hard Look at Troubled Public Housing" by Clifford J. Levy.

"In the future, local and federal housing officials say, the poor will no longer be clustered in isolated, low-rise housing developments that had the disheartening feel of barracks and often became magnets for social ills."

It's about time we get away from these structures. Better housing, healthcare and education must reach the poor. We also need to place prison reform and educational programs for inmates back on our national agenda.
Sport News:
Ichiro criticized the Seattle Mariners in a Japanese newspaper for lacking leadership and direction. Might he be looking to go elsewhere in the near future?
Small news now that can become big news later:
Iraq's President Talabani met in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart and will confer with Ayatollah Khamenei. The coming together of two Shiite nations is an interesting thing to monitor. What's next? An informal federation?

Monday, November 21, 2005

$80 million Muhammad Ali Center opening in Louisville, Kentucky. The 5th floor of the six-story center is divided into 6 pavilions reflecting the core values of Ali's life and evolution. Maybe we should all divide our lives into these sections or stages: respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, giving and spirituality.
Ali! Ali!

Now,only 1 athlete has contributed to the museum. That's boxer Lennox Lewis.
Now, you know that's just a damn shame. I should jump-up on my toes and whip some behinds. Clay someone's head. After all this man has done....
Things like this would make Tubman take some of us back.
So let's look at all the pictures. What do they really say? Many newspapers (today) ran a photo of George Bush having problems opening a door after meeting with reporters in Beijing. Some papers just showed Bush giving that Chevy Chase expression. It made him look silly and dumb. An indication that the media will kick you when your down and claim you slippped on your own. Anyway, The New York Times ran 4 pictures,on their front page. When you "read" the pictures they make a different statement and seem very funny in a political way:

Picture 1: Bush is walking out of the room. He was leaving the session and walking Right. (Of course it's OUR left in the picture). This is the direction his administration has been going since they were elected. Right. Right.

Picture 2: There is a problem with the door. Yipes. Is this a scandal? A terrorist joke? What's a President to do?

Picture 3: Bush, turns around and there is a guy with a smile showing him a way out.
It means Bush has to turn and now go Left. Hmmmm

Picture 4: Bush is waving and exiting..somewhat like Nixon after he left Washington. Well, let's not jump to that yet. Anyway, Bush is smiling and it's a picture of a happy guy. Maybe a guy who has corrected his legacy.
Watch those little things in the news -
Iran's Parliament voted to require its government to block international inspections of its atomic facilities if it is referred to the Secuity Council.

I had a nice chat with Dr. Coleman this morning. He invited me to talk at the 17th Annual James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art. My topic will be the Black Arts Movement. The Colloquium will be held on the campus of Howard University from April 20-22, 2006.

This afternoon we had a meeting in the African American Resource Center to plan the upcoming August Wilson Tribute on Howard's campus. The date of the program is December 1, 2005, Cramton Auditorium, 4-6 PM.

Howard University's theater department, next spring, is doing EYES, poet Mari Evans' adaptation of Zoa Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. It's a musical.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

This is what we are doing at IPS:

Washington Post
Cities Show All Politics Is Local by Weighing In on Iraq
By Peter Slevin and Chris Cillizza
Sunday, November 20, 2005; A04

The Chicago City Council may not have much say in when U.S. troops
come home from Iraq. But that does not mean it has nothing to say.
The city is one of 67 around the country that have passed resolutions
calling for U.S. withdrawal, in hopes that they can help start a
groundswell that will force the hand of the Bush administration and

Others include Chapel Hill., N.C.; Gary, Ind.; dozens of towns in
Vermont; and, perhaps no surprise, such famously liberal
municipalities as Berkeley, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass. The
resolutions typically call on the U.S. government "to commence an
orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from
Iraq," while also shipping nonmilitary aid "necessary for the
security of Iraq's citizens and for the rebuilding of Iraq."

The efforts are being pushed by the D.C.-based Institute for Policy
Studies, which sponsored the prewar "Cities for Peace" campaign that
helped rally 165 cities to oppose the 2003 invasion. Director John
Cavanagh, pointing to polls that show growing public frustration with
the Iraq war, said that "we're at a fascinating tipping point."

"The Iraq story has become much more central than any of us would
have predicted in defining how the people in power govern and what
their values are," Cavanagh said. "I can imagine a majority within a
year to 18 months that would vote to cut off the money for the war.
That is a goal. There are different ways to end the war, but that's
the one that feels clearest."

How far the effort goes remains to be seen. Cavanagh is the first to
concede that cities alone cannot make foreign policy.
The Chicago resolution, passed in September, took note of the death
toll, as well as the strain on U.S. military, National Guard and
Reserve units. It cites the war's cost -- upward of $200 million --
and argues that Chicago's portion could have paid for Head Start for
238,056 children for one year or 31,147 public school teachers for a
year. It also charges that the treatment of prisoners has inflamed
anti-American passions and increased the terrorist threat to U.S.

After the Sacramento City Council voted 8 to 1 for a "rapid and
comprehensive" withdrawal on Nov. 1, members received hundreds of
threatening e-mails saying things such as "You should be hanged" and
"Hope your children are beheaded." The e-mails mostly came from out
of state.


Well it was good to sit down with poet Ken Carroll today at BusBoys. Muse2Muse is fun to do. I'm glad folks found time to hear the words of a guy who makes a difference in DC.

Many thanks to everyone I saw on "BertDay." Your friendship keeps me rolling and feeling young.
OK...back to work and doing the DO.
This is such good news. I love these guys...

African American Bookstore Chain Expands to Baltimore, Maryland

Hyattsville, MD - Karibu Books is an African-American Bookstore chain with five locations in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Karibu (pronounced KA-REE- BOO) began with $500 dollars vending on the streets of Washington, DC and local college campuses. Twelve years later, Karibu is the largest African American Bookstore chain in the country.

When visiting Karibu, you will find the stores are well-lit, organized and easy to navigate. They offer a variety of subject categories from the recently popular Streetlife sections to Health, Children’s, Fiction, Autobiography, Music, Poetry and of course History. The company even boasts a Freemasonry section and newly added Current Affairs and Comics sections.

A valuable part of the “Karibu Experience” is the connection the stores create between the community and the authors of books. Karibu hosts over 500 events a year with countless literary and cultural icons including: Nikki Giovanni, Cornel West, Terry McMillan, Toni Morrison, Omar Tyree, Acklyn Lynch, J. California Cooper, Maya Angelou, Zane, Na’im Akbar, Spike Lee and many more.

On Wednesday, November 23rd 2005, Karibu will open the doors of its first expansion store in a new market, Baltimore, Maryland, Security Square Mall. Security Square fits perfectly with the company's concept of bringing a highly specialized product and service to Black communities. Across the country, African-Americans are reading at a larger rate than ever. It is the birth of what many call a “new renaissance” in African-American literature. Karibu believes if there is “access” people will buy! They are confident the customers in Baltimore will value their product, service and take great pleasure in the “Karibu Experience.”

YOU'RE INVITED Saturday, December 10th 2005, to Karibu's GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION! Come out and meet the Karibu Team, enjoy a fun filled day of raffles, giveaways and performances by Sistah Joy, poet and author of the best-seller, Lord I'm Dancin' As Fast As I Can and host & co-producer of the new Prince George's County poetry cable TV program, Sojourn With Words.

Karibu…Books By and About African people 365 days a year!

The company is headquartered in Prince George's County, MD, the wealthiest African American community in the country.

Karibu Locations: The Mall at Prince George's, Hyattsville, MD; Centre’ at Forestville, Forestville, MD; Iverson Mall, Hillcrest Heights, MD; Bowie Town Center, Bowie, MD; Pentagon City, Arlington, VA (Store Front Opening April 2006) and Security Square Mall, Baltimore, MD.

For more information on Karibu Books, visit

Last night we had a fine gathering of folks at BusBoys...we celebrated the anthology DANCE THE GUNS TO SILENCE: 100 Poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa edited by Kadija Sesay and Nii Ayikwei Parkes. Kadija. Lady Kadija should be Lady of the Year for 2005. Her new magazine SABLE is out too:
I plan to purchase (today) her book WRITE BLACK WRITE BRITISH: From Post Colonial to Black British Literature.

Well it's BertDay today...many thanks to folks who have sent presents and just tons of love. Special Return Love to my fellow BuddyBerters, especially Julia, Molly, Dan, Ada, Anu, Don Mee...Love you guys madly.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Public Meeting: See the Draft Final Recommendations for Mount Vernon Triange.
Wednesday, November 30th from 6-8 PM
National Public Radio Building/Boardroom East and West
635 Massachusetts Avenue,NW

Friday, November 18, 2005

IPS board meeting today. Things went well. Afterwards an afternoon at BusBoys and Poets. So many folks coming and going...I was looking for my mother to walk in.
Tomorrow we are having an IPS book party there, a gathering for the Dance the Guns to Silence anthology, and Sunday it's Muse2Muse and BertDAY.

Sad news sent to me from my friend Nimah in Saudi Arabia:

Woman poet "slain for her verse.

The Sunday Times, UK
By Christina Lamb
[Printer Friendly Version]

SHE risked torture, imprisonment, perhaps even death to study literature and write poetry in secret under the Taliban. Last week, when she should have been celebrating the success of her first book, Nadia Anjuman, was beaten to death in Herat, apparently murdered by her husband.
The 25-year-old Afghan had garnered wide praise in literary circles for the book Gule Dudi — Dark Flower — and was at work on a second volume.

Friends say her family was furious, believing that the publication of poetry by a woman about love and beauty had brought shame on it.

"She was a great poet and intellectual but, like so many Afghan women, she had to follow orders from her husband," said Nahid Baqi, her best friend at Herat University.

Farid Ahmad Majid Mia, 29, Anjuman's husband, is in police custody after confessing to having slapped her during a row. But he denies murder and claims that his wife committed suicide. The couple had a six-month-old son.

The death of the young writer has shocked a city which prides itself on its artistic heritage. It has also raised uncomfortable questions about how much the position of women in Afghanistan has improved since the fall of the Taliban to American-led forces four years ago.

"This is a tragic loss for Afghanistan," said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the United Nations. "Domestic violence is a concern. This case illustrates how bad this problem is here and how it manifests itself. Women face exceptional challenges."

Herat, in particular, has seen a number of women burn themselves to death rather than succumb to forced marriages.

Anjuman's movements were being limited by her husband, her friends believe. She had been invited to a ceremony celebrating the return to Herat of Amir Jan Sabouri, an Afghan singer, but failed to attend.

Her poetry alluded to an acute sense of confinement. "I am caged in this corner, full of melancholy and sorrow," she wrote in one "ghazal", or lyrical poem, adding: "My wings are closed and I cannot fly." It concludes: "I am an Afghan woman and must wail."

Afghan human rights groups condemned Anjuman's death as evidence that the government of President Hamid Karzai has failed to address the issue of domestic violence. It is especially tragic because she was one of a group of courageous women, known as the Sewing Circles of Herat, who risked their lives to keep the city's literary scene active under the Taliban regime.

Women were banned from working or studying by the Taliban, whose repressive edicts forbade women to laugh out loud or wear shoes that clicked. Female writers belonging to Herat's Literary Circle realised that one of the few things that women were still allowed to do was to sew. So three times a week groups of women in burqas would arrive at a doorway marked Golden Needle Sewing School.

Had the authorities investigated, they would have discovered that the sewing students never made any clothes. Once inside the school, a brave professor of literature from Herat University would talk to them about Shakespeare, Dostoevsky and other banned writers.

Under a regime where even teaching a daughter to read was a crime, they might have been hanged if they had been caught.

I was taken to meet some of these women by Ahmed Said Haghighi, president of the Literary Circle, in December 2001, only days after the Taliban had fled. One of them, Leila, said that she stayed up till the early hours doing calculus because she so feared that her brain would atrophy. "Life for women under the Taliban was no more than being cows in sheds," she said.

Anjuman was part of this remarkable group. After the Taliban fell, she went to Herat University to study literature. "She was becoming a great Persian poet," Haghighi said. Anjuman's husband was also a literature graduate. Speaking from prison he insisted: "I have not killed Nadia. How could I kill someone I loved? We had a small argument and I only slapped her on the face once.
"She went to another room and when she returned she told me she had swallowed poison. She said she had forgiven me for slapping her and pleaded, 'Don't tell anyone I have swallowed poison. Tell them I died from a heart attack'."

The authorities are sceptical of this account. "One of the reasons we suspect the husband is he did not take her to the hospital until four hours after beating her up," said Maria Bashir, the city's prosecutor.

Although Afghanistan's new constitution guarantees equal rights for men and women before the law, its conservative mindset has not changed. This is partly because of the continuing power of the American-backed warlords whose repressive views are similar to those of the Taliban.

Many women were allowed to stand in parliamentary elections in September, the results of which were being finalised yesterday. One of the most surprising results announced earlier in the count was in Herat, where Fauzia Gailani, a female aerobics instructor, topped the polls.

The 32-year-old mother of six said she was outraged by Anjuman's death and was compiling a list of such cases. "In Islam no one has the right to hit their wife," she said. "We hope the government will take action and stop crimes like this."

Additional reporting: Tim Albone, Kabul Christina Lamb is the author of The Sewing Circles of Herat (Flamingo)

Nimah Ismail Nawwab
The next few days are going to be hectic. Yesterday, didn't have enough hours. I did meet with my old friend Roberto Vargas. He introduced me to folks at the Venezuela Information Office. We had a good afternoon meeting. I have a couple of books to read about what's going on in that country.One is THE VENEZUELA READER edited by Olivia Burlingame Goumbri.

The IPS Board meeting went well last night. We had dinner and discussed the state of affairs. Friday we get down to business; fundraising is at the top of the agenda.

Two more Bennington packets to complete. I see where the poet Major Jackson will be taking my place as a member of the core faculty at Bennington. Glad to see there's still a Thurgood Marshall seat somewhere...

Well, my son tonight will be playing his first basketball college game for Widener. I'm looking forward to his team coming to town for 2 games next week.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Now for the good news out of Iraq: No more beheadings. Where did that tactic go?
No more reported kidnappings? Or maybe just no more news...Hmmm.

The Rosa Parks Estate feud is enough to make one sit in the back of the bus.
Be sure to keep your stuff in order. Have a good Will. Do I own the rights to "BertDay" ??? What about those poems I wrote in college?
More things going on at Provisions Library. Here is a note from Joy Austin at the Humanities Council:

It is my great pleasure to invite you to the second discussion on the subject of Community Heritage Preservation: Identifying and Managing Local Grassroots Resources. This meeting will be held on Saturday, December 3rd from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm at Provisions Library, 1611 Connecticut Ave., NW.

As you will recall, we had a productive and enjoyable meeting in June, in which we were able to share our interests and concerns about engaging in neighborhood preservation activities. There were several outcomes which we will have a chance to discuss in this upcoming event but one was the request that the Humanities Council and other conveners commit to additional meetings to deepen the discussion around this subject. This December meeting is the beginning of that follow-up. In addition to the original conveners, Marya McQuirter, Angel Nieves and Patsy Fletcher, I am pleased to tell you that a few colleagues, who attended the June meeting, were involved in planning this December event, including Diane Tai, Dianne Dale, Judith Bauer, Lori Dodson, Patricia Tyson and Eddie Becker. I would like to thank them for their contributions.

On December 3rd, we will extend the conversation to include speakers from the areas of development, city government and preservation and tourism to consider the following questions: How can people living in neighborhoods in the city prepare themselves to document and promote that history? What kinds of partnerships and resources are necessary to advance this work? How can these efforts lead to business enterprises? They will include:

Judith Bauer, Licensed DC guide specializing in the history of the U Street area

Howard Riker, Hines, Chairman, Downtown Business Improvement District

Patricia Zingsheim, Director of Downtown Planning and Special Development Projects
Office of Planning Washington DC

We will also include a small group activity called Civic Reflection which is the practice of reading, thinking and talking together about our life in community and the activities that nourish that life: giving, serving, associating and leading.

Finally, we will have a discussion on how to move forward on the main ideas that came out of the June meeting: further opportunities for formal convening; a resource center; establishing communications and partnerships that can promote grassroots interest in historic preservation and a heritage development fund.

Please plan to attend and to share this invitation with someone like yourself in your own neighborhood or another one so that we can reach and expand the number of neighbors interested in historic preservation work. Let me know if you will attend by December 1, 2005 and if you are bringing a guest by calling (202-387-8391) or emailing me at

I look forward to your presence on December 3rd.


Joy Ford Austin

Executive Director

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Book Party for Esther Iverem will take place on December 2, 2005, at the Sumner School (1201 17th Street, NW) at 6;30P.M. Esther's new book is LIVING IN BABYLON.
Congrats to Lady Esther.
Why? Why?
So Hideki Matsui (NY Yankees) agrees to a 4 year contract worth $52 million.
Why is he making more money than Ichiro? Ichiro earns 11 million a year.'ve just read E-Note # 1000. More to come...
The Alexandria Black History Museum is opening the exhibit "The National Pastime in Black and White: The Negro Baseball League,1867-1955"
Reception, December 8, 2005. 6:00 PM -8:00 PM
The museum is located at: 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Virginia.
The exhibition remains on view until January 7, 2006
Gallery Hours: Tuesday- Saturday, 10AM to 4 PM.
Edwidge Danticat must have placed my name on the list to receive MASSACRE RIVER by Rene Philoctete. This is a New Directions book just published.
Philoctete was an acclaimed Haitian poet. Founder of the group Haiti Litteraire and the Spiraliste literary movement. He died in 1995.
Sometimes a friend writes such beautiful poetry that your friendship overshadows that person's genius and the friendship like the poems are things you just breathe and you take it for granted until you open your eyes instead of just your lungs.
I just received Sam Hamod's new collection - JUST LOVE POEMS FOR YOU. The forward is by Ishmael Reed who writes:

"The media image of a Muslim male is that of a walking rocket about to explode. Sam Hamod's tender love poems belie that image."

Hamod once lived in Washington and taught at Howard. He was on one of my Ascension readings with Greg Orfalea. He was also the director of the Islamic Center in Washington for a spell...

Hamod has published ten books. The last one was DYING WITH THE WRONG NAME: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS

Copies of Hamod's new book can be obtained from Contemporary Poetry Press, P.O.Box 1722, San Marcos, CA 92079-1722. $21.00

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Listen-Up, Black Men!
"Designing the Taxi: Rethinking New York City's Movable Public Space" is an exhibit that opened on November 3rd at the Manhattan gallery of Parsons the New School for Design.
If you can't catch a cab, catch the exhibit.
What is the future of the cab without us? Right? Who is going to wave when they go by?
Peter Drucker died on Friday. He was 95.
He was the first philosopher of management.
Here is some good Drucker advice for you managers out there. I know a few who should be doing this:

"Delegation requires clear assignment of a specific task, clear definition of the expected results and a deadline. Above all it requires that the subordinate to whom a task is delegated keep the boss fully informed. It is the subordinate's job to alert the boss immediately to any possible "surprise" - rather than to try to "protect" the boss against surprises..."

Drucker must have been thinking about colleges and governments when he wrote this.

Oh, and the Dalai Lama spoke about "internal disarmament" when he was in Washington DC. That means combating anger and hatred. We all walk around with our personal weapons of "minor" destruction. Don't we?
Join Us @ Busboys and Poets for a Backers Audition and...

Stage reading for the explosive play "Prison Poetry" winner of the 22nd Annual Larry Neal Award for Drama, with guest Clayton LeBouef from HBO's "The Wire."

Dec. 7th @ 7:30pm 14th & V St. NW
Hey- the fundraiser last night for Provisions Library was cool. Busboys&Poets continues to be the place for Progressives. Anu performed and she was just great.
How much talent does this young woman have? If this was soccer we would be talking Adu and not Anu. Keep an eye on Anu. The last local artist I was this high on was Essex Hemphill.

The rest of this week is going to be hectic. Humanities Council meeting today.
August Wilson tribute meeting at Howard. I might have to skip the Wal-Mart program at Busboys this evening. I need to return Bennington packets to my students. I think everyone was late getting their material to me this month.

I've been talking to some folks about a 2007 China trip. More about that later.
Old friend Roberto Vargas has been calling. We have a meeting on Thursday...Vargas was once the cultural attache at the Nicaraguan embassy.

IPS Board Meeting this week. Programs, programs this weekend too. Oh...will I make it to "BertDay" on Sunday? Maybe I can be like Ron Karenga and create my own holiday.
OK..."BertDay" will be a day in which we honor a black poet. On Sunday it will be Kenneth Carroll featured on my Muse2Muse program at 2PM (Busboys). Can you imagine, in a few more years there will be "BertDays" around the world like Juneteenth Celebrations...he he. And we can use the internet to organize. This could be bigger than my Ascension Series. He He

So A-Rod is MVP in baseball. The RedSox lose again. But there was Donovan throwing to the other team late in another football game. Why?
The guy is playing like that guy / who was playing for Pittsburgh. Where is Stewart now? Was TO right?

Talking football...the MVP for the Redskins is Sean Taylor. Without the guy on the field the Redskins secondary could play for New England.

Talking our VP still on the field? Look for Bush to try and make this trip to Asia a historical one. Somewhere folks are dusting off the old Nixon tapes.
The guy will return to the States as the New Bush. By summer 2006 - if there are no more "natural" disasters, look for the guy to be high in the polls again. The media will compare him to the "Comeback Kid" and float a few pictures of him, his dad and - yes Clinton. By the summer, Republicans will be "happy" again. No one will be thinking about the anniversary of Katrina. With a New Bush there will be a New New Orleans...and everything will be new again. The old problems will seem old and folks will march to the polls and vote in 2006...and the Demos will lose a few more seats and will miss another opportunity again. Black people will talk about a Black United Front, etc, etc. Does this all sound Old? Well, maybe the Cubs will win the World Series.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I received Patrick Sylvain's new poetry book in the mail today. The title is LOVE, LUST & LOSS (LANMOU, ANVI, PEDANS). Patrick writes in English and also Haitian Creole. He lives in Somerville.
From the author's note in the book:
"Where to start? Creatively, 2003 (and to some extent, 2004) was a difficult year. Confined within a crippling state of writer's block, I was unable to produce of interpolate my inner voice and converge with it on paper. My writing had been suffering as a consequence of emotional and work-related stress, demands on my time and the Haitian political strife that hammered my nerves. I inhabited a state of desolation where I was unable to build upon the creative fragments that somersaulted in my imagination."

Publisher:Memoire d'encrier
554, rue Bourgeoyes, H3K 2M4
Montreal, Quebec
Tel: 514 989-1491

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Will France go the way of Iraq? Somalia? It's becoming obvious that folks no longer look to nonviolence in order to bring about social change. This is unfortunate. We also are seeing gang violence and youth attacks that are motivated more by "fun" than ideology. It's like the "bashing" of the reality-based communities. This is what happens when you bring video game thinking back into the real world. The destruction of the state's ability to govern and maintain order creates chaos and threatens democracy. Who are the young leaders in France? Who has the power to make people go home and then sit down with members of government and demand change? Do you remember how Malcolm X could raise his hand and folks who had been protesting outside the police station went home? Does any young person in France have that power today? It's needed. The absence of leaders will give rise to gang violence, warlords and yes- pirates. It's important to look at the treatment of people of color in France, and begin go make changes. This is critical. If a state can't govern itself no changes will take place. France might have to call out its military. As soon as they cross that line, they will be falling down the staircase. The spinoff will be attacks against people of color in nearby European nations. It will be "get folks" before they "bash" stores, schools and cars and destroy one's way of life. I can see this happening in Germany. Look for a Hitler type of guy to become a strong advocate for kicking people of color out. For people of color born in Europe it will turn them into people without a country. They can't go to Northern Africa, or the Middle East, that's not their place of birth. So what happens? Do we build new walls around neighborhoods and check IDs? What if things go from throwing rocks and burning cars in France, to bombs? What if the riots only "simmer" down and go on for years? Pressure. It has taken a city like Washington DC several decades to rebuild from the riots of 1968. If this was a Sci-Fi movie we would all be given implanted chips beneath our skin to monitor our movement and record our activities. Yep...if you want to sit in a cafe and drink a glass of wine without a bomb going might come to this.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lady Leader in Africa today...Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf elected to head of state in Liberia. Let's hope the folks who supported George Weah won't turn into soccer rude boys and keep the nation from moving forward. So much work and money needed if Liberia is going to move into the 21st century. Oh, and those East African pirates are at it again.
Accoding to Reuters- 7 vessels and crews have been held captive. Five ships were attacked last week. Where is the UN?

"I document the feelings of our time in relation to myself and my own people, and of course, the problems of our democracy."
- Langston Hughes (1963)
Here are my baseball MVP picks for next week:

David Ortiz - Red Sox
Albert Pujols - Cardinals
Reminder, the benefit for Provisions Library is Monday, November 14th, at BusBoys & Poets (14th & V Street, NW) at 6:30 PM. I'll be there...come and see Anu Yadav and Son of Nun.
Provisions is a good organization to support:
It's located at 1611 Connecticut Avenue, NW

On November 20th at Busboys, I'll be hosting my 4th Muse2Muse at 2PM with poet Kenneth Carroll.
November 20th is also "BertDay." I'll be 55. My sister's birthday is tomorrow. I should tell her age in my E-Notes. He He
Happy Birthday, dear Sister...wishing you many more.

I have a Writer's Center Board meeting this Sunday. The Howard University August Wilson Tribute has been moved from November 17th to December 1st.

I'm getting ready for the IPS Board meeting November 17-18.

Oh, don't forget the book party for the DANCE THE GUNS TO SILENCE ANTHOLOGY on November 19th, at BusBoys at 5:30 PM.
It feels good being home. I'm back from giving the keynote speech at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The event was "Ahmos Zu-Bolton Poetry Festival and the 45th Anniversary Celebration of the Black Arts Movement." The program was organized by Julius Thompson. He is the director of Black Studies at the university. He recently completed work on THE AGE OF LYNCHING IN MISSISSIPPI: 1886-1965.

Ahmos Zu-Bolton was a very important, poet, publisher, editor, journalist and storyteller. We were a team back in the 1970s when we operated Eneryg Black South Press. We edited SYNERGY the first anthology of DC Black poetry. I also worked with Ahmos in helping him publish HooDoo magazine. HooDoo was a key journal, along with Obsidian and Callaloo in opening the doors for many of those voices coming after the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s.
Ahmos had a major influence on my development as a writer. Because of him I was introduced to the work of, Jodi Braxton, May Miller, Wanda Coleman, Lorenzo Thomas, Jerry Ward, Ai, Yusef Komunyakaa, and many others.
Try and obtain a copy of Zu-Bolton's own poetry - AIN'T NO SPRING CHICKEN is a collection of his selected poems published in 1998. Zu-Bolton's work can be found in THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2003 edited by Yusef Komunyakaa.
I haven't seen Julia Wright in a number of years. She's a fascinating woman. Here are some of her comments about why Paris Is Burning. Excerpts are taken from www.democracynow, November 9th:

AMY GOODMAN: Julia Wright, from your perspective in Paris, can you talk about what is happening right now?

JULIA WRIGHT: Well, I had a very eerie feeling of déjà vu. And you'll forgive me, Amy, for being haunted by the first page of Black Boy, my father wrote, when at four years old he felt left out, and they were poor, and he was hungry, and nobody was paying attention to his brother and him. And he wandered listlessly about the room. And he stood before the shimmering embers, fascinated by the quivering coals. And a new idea of a game grew and took root in his mind. Why not throw something into the fire and watch it burn? And then, why not burn the curtains? And then, when the adults realize the house is on fire, he hides under the house. And what really struck me when I reread these pages a few moments ago was, yes, the house was on fire, but I was determined not to leave my place of safety.

And I've been working, Amy, with the youth of the suburbs who are now in this state of unrest. And there was an incident on the 27th of October that sparked this accumulation of so-called riots. I don't like the word “riots.” Anger, anyway. I just have to tell you about this anecdote. Two kids were walking a little late, okay. Maybe they had some weed in their pocket. Maybe they didn't. But they were the wrong color, and they were the wrong age. And they were seen by two policemen in helmets, what we call gardes mobiles, with their Plexiglas shield and their whatever you call it, the electric whatever, like prodding cattle, you know?

And these kids, it was like in a video game. They just ran. That was their reflex. And they climbed the fence, and they didn't look at the notice on the fence. And there they were in the middle of a high-power voltage electric generator, and they were electrocuted to death. Nothing was left of them. And this was the spark. And it's so telling to us who still have the death penalty in the United States and, in fact, the electric chair, where these two kids had no chairs to burn on. And I still feel eerie, because as I work with youth, 20 years -- 20 days before that happened, I asked one of the youths who's very gifted to write a statement on how he felt. Could I read the first five lines of that statement?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes. Go ahead.

JULIA WRIGHT: "I am 20 years old, and I don't want to survive here. From death row to the prison of Abu Ghraib, from Baghdad to New Orleans, from Chicago's Southside to the French hoods, here, over there where you are, chaos. We're no political spinners. We're just voices, live from the street where we live, where we become wise, where we are duty-bound to take control out of respect for those who are prevented from setting foot in it. That very street I visualize without peace stones."

This is a 20-year-old. He wrote this on the first of October. The two kids burned to death on the 28th of October. And the suburbs have been burning since.

AMY GOODMAN: Julia Wright, American activist who lives in Paris, also daughter of Richard Wright, author of Black Boy, Native Son, and other books.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This morning I gave my talk on the work of Ahmos Zu-Bolton (keynote speech) on the campus of University of Missouri (Columbia). I have a panel presentation this afternoon...more later.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

News comment about pirates:

Other known defenses on cruise ships include high-pressure firehoses used to prevent intruders from boarding ships. That method was also used by the Spirit's crew. Seabourn Cruise Line, the Carnival Corp. subsidiary that operates the ship, also has bought high-tech sonic weapons, which were developed for the U.S. military after the Cole bombing.

The Long Range Acoustical Device sends earsplitting noise in a concentrated beam. Its maker, American Technology Corp. of San Diego, doesn't know of any cruise lines other than Miami-based Seabourn that have installed them, said A.J. Ballard, the company's director of military operations.

But Callahan questioned why the Spirit was about 100 miles off Somalia, which has no effective government and is ruled by warlords. The International Maritime Bureau has for several months warned ships to stay at least 150 miles away from Somalia's coast because of an increase in pirate attacks.

Please note these are not the type of pirates Bob Marley once sung about...
T.O. needs a new PR agent. Funny how an act can turn old so quickly. It would be different if T.O. had some political substance besides just his ego. But how high can the Eagles fly without him? Poor Brady on Monday Night Football. I think the guy is the best QB in the NFL. Too bad he can't play defense. bad is that New England secondary? Many of those balls Manning was throwing would have been intercepted by a good club. Pats didn't rush and hit him hard early in the game. That's my book on the guy. He is one of the "cute" QBs that you hit hard very early in the game, even if you get a penalty. This will force him to rush throws...
You also have to have good cover guys - a great safety and the Colts will lose everytime. Funny how the media wants to give the guy all the credit for wins. Dungy gets no credit for this. Another TAMPA BAYING of his ass, like what happened in Florida.
The media is turning Manning into the guy has to win the SuperBowl so that he can be great. Manning reminds me so much of Marino. Good stats and nothing else. I belong to the Brady bunch. Does that make me a true Patriot?

Oh, and what about the other games? Demos win in NJ and VA. Look for the Republican Party to play this down. A sign of things too come? Impossible to tell. The world can change so much before next years election.

Can we do something about those pirates off the coast of East Africa? I hate reading about stuff like that. What year is it? Will we ever get to the future? Warloads, Crusades, wonder Bush feels like a Texan and a gunslinger. The entire world is going backwards and we might as well be living in the days of the old West.
Terrorists as bandits. Folks wanting to burn your stagecoach in France.
I'm waiting for the Gold Rush and the 49ers. Maybe I'll just stop reading Langston and start reading Dunbar. Maybe writing in dialect is the way to go. Maybe it's the way I can become a spoken word artist instead of simply a poet. Maybe I should try on the Mask that Dunbar left behind. If things are going backwards then I need to quote that old Baraka remember the cool one...TO TURN THEIR EVIL BACKWARDS IS TO LIVE. Yeah just turn those words around - Live/evil. Let's start with ourselves. Isn't that what the word jihad really means?

Monday, November 07, 2005

T.O. is a basket without a case. Eagles had to cut the guy. A serious distraction.
Look for the guy to be out in California with a Raiders outfit next year. Moss and Owens as wide receivers. Hmmm. I can't see another club hiring the guy. When the Circus comes to town you want to see more than clowns. Eagles might not make the playoffs. I've never been high on Donovan...I like him as a person...class act...but give me Brady. In fact, I'm going to stop this E-Note and check the game. It's Monday Night and you know what that means. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!
> (October 31, 2005) Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript
> Library has acquired the papers of Hubert Henry Harrison (1883-1927),
> the prominent Harlem writer, public speaker, and activist whose work
> influenced a generation of African American intellectuals and
> The papers collection spans the years 1893 to 1928 and features
> manuscripts, scrapbooks, diaries, correspondence, photographs and
> annotated books from Harrison's personal library. With rare letters
> personal exchanges among pivotal figures such as Marcus Garvey,
> McKay, and A. Philip Randolph, the Harrison collection documents a
> critical period of cultural and political debate about the role of
> and class in the United States.
> "Harrison played a seminal role in shaping twentieth-century Black
> intellectual thought and social activism," said Jeffrey B. Perry,
> author of a two-volume biography of Harrison to be published by
> Columbia University Press, the first volume of which will appear in
> 2006. "Columbia's purchase of the Harrison papers and its
> to make them available to scholars should spawn many new avenues of
> research. The papers fill significant gaps in our historical
> of the early twentieth century and offer important insights on
America today."
> Born in 1883 in the Danish West Indian colony of St. Croix, Harrison
> became the leading African American voice in the Socialist Party of
> America, as well as a founder and lead writer for the World War I era
> "New Negro" movement. His views on the relationship between economic
> and racial injustice had a profound influence on Marcus Garvey's
> nationalism and on A. Philip Randolph's labor organizing. A
> and popular soapbox orator, Harrison was known to give as many as
> outdoor talks a week, on topics that ranged from secularism to
> of speech to birth control. In his later years, Harrison became a
> for New York Board of Education, speaking on public education issues
at New
> York University, City College of New York, and Columbia.
> The NAACP leader William Pickens called Harrison a "walking
cyclopedia" of
> history and literature. Harrison was instrumental in founding the New
> Public Library.s Division of Negro Literature, History, and Prints,
> grew into the internationally-recognized Schomburg Center for
Research in
> Black Culture. Harrison also served as editor of New Negro magazine,
> managing editor of Garvey's Negro World, and was a prolific writer of
> essays and book reviews for such publications as the New York Times,
> New Republic, and the Nation.
> "Hubert Harrison was an intellectual giant, and given his humble
> beginnings and slender resources, his achievements in the realm of
> ideas and letters appear as miraculous and enigmatic as those of his
> hero, Frederick Douglass," said Winston James, Associate Professor of
> History at Columbia and author of Holding Aloft the Banner of
> Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth Century America, as well as a
> volume study of Claude McKay, also forthcoming from Columbia
> Press. "No one has thought more deeply, boldly and clearly about the
> condition of Afro-America in the early twentieth century than
> It is a pity that his achievements have remained forgotten for so
> Following Harrison's death in 1927, the papers were stored in the
> Harlem apartments of his relatives, until Harrison's daughter
> them to Perry in 1983 for preservation and inventory. The collection
> comprises 22 archival boxes and approximately 100 books from
> personal library, many with his marginal notations. The Rare Book and
> Manuscript Library plans to make Harrison's writings, edited with
> introductions and annotations by Dr. Perry, available in searchable
> online along with additional biographical material and a digital
> from the papers. The library can provide users with limited access to
the papers
> while they are being processed. Patrons should make an appointment by
> the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at 212-854-5153.
Here is a link to my daughter running the recent Marine Marathon in Washington,D.C.
Go JazzMobile!

I went over to Georgetown University and spoke to two classes taught by Libbie Rifkin. I'm tired and must be running on fumes.
In the mail - a special Yusef Komunyakaa issue of Callaloo. A copy of BLACK HEART: THE MORAL LIFE OF RECENT AFRICAN AMERICAN LETTERS by Phillip M. Richards. Phillip's book looks interesting.
Liberalism and tolerance are going to get a serious challenge in France. We are trying to explain what's going on and that's a major problem. In the past when there were poltical upheavals and riots, one knew that behind it all was a challenge to ideas of capitalism and maybe the advocating of a new social system. What is it this time? How many young Muslim men in France want to live under Islamic law? I don't hear anything about that right now...
I did read this morning in the NY Times a young kid saying it was "fun to burn cars."
And this might go to the heart of the matter. I call it Soccer thinking after a game. Folks just want to bash things for no reason at all. Violence as a joyful act.
More and more it looks like folks are going to start creating "Bubble" communities.
Heavily guarded compounds keeping "the others" outside. It's either that or the rise of hardline politicians who just want to get ride of the problem(s) as quickly as possible. We know this never works. The struggle simply becomes protracted. I don't think the solution is just finding jobs and better housing for folks. At the center of this seems to be another "Lost" generation of young people. What do they believe in? What do they want for the future? Or maybe there is no future, there is just now, and the slow movement of things moving backwards. It's like downloading all the music you've every wanted to hear or listen to...and you come to the last song. What lies beyond? Do you cut off your ears? Or do you suddenly decide you don't want to listen to music anymore. You embrace the silence, or maybe you become angry, and one day you discover you're dying,so you decide to set fire to a car or building. Maybe you throw a rock at the police, not because of what they represent but you love the joy of hitting your target. The clink of stone on helmet. You laugh and run off into the smoke, with destination -nowhere.
Paris is burning...what city will be next?
I just returned from Kansas City, Missouri. My talk on Langston Hughes went well.
Folks chuckled because I thought I was in Kansas, Kansas. :-) I flew Midwest Airlines which is a good airlines. Plenty of room space and 2 warm cookies for your belly. Not bad for a hungry poet. I arrived in Kansas City on Saturday morning and took a nice Limo to the Marriott on the Country Club Plaza (4445 Main Street). The rooms are not bad but the food is low on the food chart. The entire Oakland Raider football team was staying there too. Poor guys probably played bad because of hotel food.

My talk was at the American Jazz Museum (The Blue Room), located in the historic 18th & Vine Zazz District. This is a cool spot. Bird Lives!
In the audience were a couple of old friends - so it was a fun afternoon. Many thanks for Margaret Clark and Tracy Milsap for a wonderful "Branching Out" program.
These events are coordinated by Poets House in New York.
Glenn North gave me a copy of his chapbook A SMALL FORTUNE also the CD "Out of the Comfort Zone/Gerald Dunn & The Jazz Disciples.

The flight back home was filled with KC Chief fans. Where do they live in the DC area?
Serious football fans I guess. Anyway, the parents who sat behind me with the crying baby should have drawn a penalty. 15 rows back. Place them on a wing? One can see why kids get away with so much these days. Oh well...I must be getting old. I didn't get any reading done on the plane. Thank God, for the cookies.

Whew...close call out in Evansville. Glad Julia G is OK. Tornados, flood and quakes.
Hey, what's with the pirates off the coast of East Africa??? What year is this?
And then the Sunday, New York front page picture of prisoners in Malawi. It reminded me of a slave ship and the Middle Passage. These conditions should not exist in the 21st Century. Pirates, can you believe that?? The UN needs to put an end to it.
Pirates are also grabbing the food shipments the hungry need in places like Somalia.

What's going to happen next?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A good weblog to check is:
This site was organized by nine leading Black law professors. You might want to read the commentary about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

Look for media focus to shift to France and their young people of color. Riots can push a society to the right or left. Follow the impact this might have on England, Germany and the Netherlands. The media will probably focus on issues of high unemployment, poor housing and religion. If Islam is viewed as the bad guy behind all this then it's going to further divide the world into camps. Folks will start talking about a new Crusade and pushing the Moors back to where they came from. The only problem is that many of these young people were not born in Northern Africa or the Middle East...they were born in France. Either Europe will become multicultural or Fascism will rise again.
Racism might create a political candidate that will want to just detain folks -strip them of their rights. On the otherside, look for the burning of cars to be followed
by bombings. If this occurs we have a level 2 alert. Right now the protest is not what you can label the behavior of a soccer crowd gone bad. This is serious.

Oh, and talking about soccer, was that President Hugo C jumping up and down like he was at a soccer match? When third world leaders begin to dance in public, imperialism will always try to change the tune. Look for Chavez to become the new Fidel. Oh, did you see all those Che banners flying in Argentina? Hmmm. There are many African Americans walking around with Che shirts...any connection? Nah...
just a fashion...but for how long? What happens when a young person puts on a t-shirt and then reads a book? First Che, now Chavez?
As the two wars continue overseas, a third front might open in this hemisphere.
Somewhere, someone is probably looking for a connection they can make between Hugo C and terrorism. All you need is for someone to find a paperclip made in Venezuela on a bomb in Iraq. Bolton or Condi will use that as a way for the US to put pressure on Hugo C. Who writes the scripts?

Friday, November 04, 2005

I met Brenda-Marie at Busboys this evening. In the house were other bookwriters and celebs: Thomas Sayers Ellis, Dr. Flect Henderson, et al. A typical day at what's the happening place right now in DC.

Ellis had copies of his SONG ON, which is the 12th in the Chaplet Series printed by WinteRed Press: 2306 27th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55406.

Friday night and I'm listening to Otis Redding once again.
School is out. I find it very interesting when looking at the photographs coming out of country after country, that young people are not in school. When and how are they going to obtain the skills needed to run the world.
Throwing rocks, shooting guns,-- without an attempt to create a better society is just backwards or what could be another casting for Clockwork Orange or Lord of the Flies.
We are living during a time of bubble politics. Our problem is that the air is getting thin...
What are young people fighting for today? Socialism? An Islamic State? A Hip Hop World?
It looks like something is happening here, but we don't know what it is. Do you Mr. Jones?
Chicago should not sell copies of Sports Illustrated this week. Boycott? The White Sox wait 88 years to win the World Series and they can't be placed on the Cover of SI????
That little circle in the right hand corner of the mag cover is not going to make it.
No -Much shame here. I smell the butt of a Cub fan behind all this.

Young African American writers in college might want to look into the Annual Hurston-Wright Award for College writers. $1000 for first place. Two finalists will receive $500. For information about the contest visit the Hurston-Wright Foundation website:
SUNY Buffalo
March 23-4, 2006
Deadline: January 15, 2006

"Samuel R. Delany: A Critical Symposium" is a conference intended to provide
an interdisciplinary forum for world-class scholars and innovative writers to
discuss and celebrate Delany's work. As such, it will be the first event of its
in the United States.

The author of thirty-four books of fiction and nonfiction, Samuel R. Delany has
had an enormous influence across a wide range of American literary and critical
endeavor. His work has been anthologized in the Norton Anthology of African
American Literature, he has won four Nebula awards for his science fiction and
a Hugo for his autobiography, The Motion of Light in Water, and for his whole
body of work he has been awarded the William Whitehead Memorial Award for
a Lifetime Contribution to Lesbian and Gay Literature.

The goal of the conference is to begin to build critical bridges between the
fields of writing and inquiry in which Delany has made his mark. Suggested
topics for discussion include, but are in no way limited to, the relation of
Delany's work to science fiction, feminism, African American literature, queer
theory, contemporary philosophy, urban theory, postmodernism, Marxism,
psychoanalysis, and cyberculture. It will also encourage dialogue between
academics and writers who have claimed Delany as an influence. In this way, it
is hoped, the conference will mark the beginning of a new wave of scholarship
on a writer whose interrogations of gender and sexuality, race and class, genre
and theory, and identity and difference have been and will remain of vital
importance to American literature and thought.

Of special importance to this conference is that Mr. Delany himself will be
attending and giving a reading. Also speaking will be novelist and critic Lance

For further updates on the conference, check this posting and visit the
conference website at

Please e-mail a 500-word abstract to before
January 15, 2006.


Interview questions poets are never asked. This one is from Sports Illustrated:
SI: Your life is on the line. Pick one current NBA player and one from history to take the shot.

One of those found political poems that you laugh at even if you're Republican:

No Dick
Means a Bush
Without Balls


So good to see Brenda-Marie Osbey last night. She gave a memorable reading at the Library of Congress. I can see this woman being the US poet laureate one day.
Right now she is the poet laureate for the state of Louisiana. So why not the other 49?

If you can't wait for the SuperBowl(which is now going to be played during Black History Month) then simply watch the game on Monday night - Indy for Brady. 9PM.
November 7th. Brady is my guy. Take New England.

I need a 2 week vacation starting...

I have 2 more upcoming speeches to give. One in Kansas and the other in Missouri. They will be on poets Langston Hughes and Ahmos Zu-Bolton.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Problems in Ethiopia too. Oh- Jah!
Is Paris Burning?
What's going on over there?
I just spoke with Brenda-Marie Osbey...She has a reading this evening. I hope you can attend. Here is the information. Share with friends.

Louisiana Poet Laureate Brenda Marie Osbey to Read at the Library of Congress on Nov. 3

The poet laureate of Louisiana, Brenda Marie Osbey,
will read from her work at the Library of Congress at
6:45 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, in the Montpelier Room
on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial
Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.
The program, presented under the auspices of the
Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund,
is free and open to the public; no tickets or
reservations are required.

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Osbey was
artist-in-residence at Dillard University in New
Orleans, where she conducted seminars and colloquia in
literature, creative writing and New Orleans black
culture. She is now a visiting assistant professor of
English at Louisiana State University, while Dillard
remains closed.

Osbey is the author of “All Saints: New and Selected
Poems” (Louisiana State University Press, 1997), which
received the 1998 American Book Award. Her other works
include “Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman”
(1991), “In These Houses” (1988) and “Ceremony for
Minneconjoux” (1985).

A native of New Orleans, Osbey earned her bachelor’s
degree from Dillard and her master’s from the
University of Kentucky. She also attended the
Université Paul Valéry at Montpéllier, France.

Among her awards and honors are the Camargo Foundation
Fellowship (Cassis, France, 2004); the Louisiana
Division of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship
(1994); the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation
Maxi-Grant (1993); and the National Endowment for the
Arts Creative Writing Fellowship (1990). She has been
a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work
Center in Provincetown, the Kentucky Foundation for
Women, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the
Millay Colony and the Bunting Institute of Radcliff
College, Harvard University.

In spring 2005, Brenda Marie Osbey was named poet
laureate of the state of Louisiana.
I've been invited to Reporters Roundtable (Ch.16) to tape a discussion about the death of Rosa Parks, Civil Rights and what it means for Black America today.

Brenda-Marie Osbey coming to town. She has a reading at the Library of Congress tomorow.

OK big mistake made on my end. I did a FEMA. I mailed out the fundraising letters for the Provisions Library Benefit and forgot to include the return envelopes. :-(
So if you receive info about the November 14th program for Provisions, use your own beautiful envelopes and send a check to Provisions Library. Here is the address:

Provisions Library
1611 Connecticute Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

The November 14th benefit is going to be at Busboys & Poets (14th and V Streets, NW).
6:30 PM. On the program is Anu Yadav, Son of Nun, Kristina Gray and Iona R. Brown.

Busboys is the talk of the town. However, the other cool spot is Provisions Library.
If you're looking for a quiet place to read and study, this could be your 3rd space.
Everyone needs a 3rd space - a place away from the office and home.
Provisions Library always has a fantastic art exhibit up. So you get to surround your head with good art and images that make one think. It's like plugging your head into the matrix. Oh, and you're not going to find a better collection of journals and magazines to read on art and poltics.

Provisions is right across from the DuPont Circle Metro station. So no need to drive and look for parking. Just take the train...the 42 bus stops nearby too. is the website if you haven't seen the sun today:
So what is Ashcroft doing this morning?
Names just vanish from the media.

As I might have mentioned in an E-Note, after the earthquakes and the floods the only thing left was the plague. Bush alerts and Duct Tape for your nose. Who will get the contract on the drug cures?
We have become a nation of counterpunchers. We just sit around waiting for a new topic or crisis to knock us in our heads. No wonder Michael Jackson is living in Bahrain.

I'm listening to Otis Redding this morning..."You Don't Miss Your Water..."

I miss my water.
I want my water
I need my water
I love my water

I'm a little thirsty now.

Ichiro recently won his fifth consecutive Gold Glove Award.

"Defense usually doesn't make headlines, but it goes a long way towards winning baseball games"
- Derek Jeter

So you're heading to work this morning...What are you going to play? Offense or defense?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My friend D read The New Yorker profile of Ashbery. I laughed when I received his email:

"read the ashbery profile. i didnt even want to read his poems after reading the profile. i read the article on new poets in poets and writers as well and coupled together it seems crazy. one article has all these people who've tried and tried to write for years without being published. and the other has this older cat who won all these awards for one book saying he often doesnt understand himself and will change one line to something that is totally different in content and meaning to something else that sounds similar. maybe i should cut out pieces of my journal and start submitting them.

did u like ashbery's poems before and or after reading the profile? i feel cheated when someone says they wrote and didnt understand what they wrote, but not as a variety, but as a rule. it seems unbelievable. i dont know. i still like to read things that make some sort of sense."


Yeah D that's why we are celebrating our birthdays this month and trying not to think old thoughts. some poems will make you feel old, although poets are known to keep writing about love.
On Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 7 pm, Mel Belin, Laura Brylawski-Miller, E. Ethelbert Miller, Miles Moore, Christa Watters, and family will read from Hilary Tham's new book, TIN MINES AND CONCUBINES: MALAYSIAN FICTIONS, and from the new tribute issue of POTOMAC REVIEW, at Kensington Row Bookshop, 3786 Howard Avenue, Kensington MD 301 9499416. Come early to browse and chat. Refreshments provided. An open reading will follow. Free.
Now and then I enjoy reading George Will. His Op-ed essay in the Post yesterday was on the mark. The Demos need to really step up to the plate and begin debating their ideas regarding the Constitution. This is a key battle. We are in the middle of a war of ideas. If we don't fight for what we believe in, the entire society suffers from the absence of dialogue. A key issue (for me) will always be the protection of minority rights and tolerance for others. The separation of church and state is essential. The Constitution should embrace and protect. It's the walls, floor and ceiling of the space we live in. It should be defended at all times. If you want to know what defines us as Americans, just go to our historical documents. Be sure to include the Emancipation Proclamation. :-)
Required reading: The profile of John Ashbery in the latest issue (November 7, 2005) of THE NEW YORKER.
Please write and let me know your thoughts. I guess everyone can be a poet. The key is to have cool friends who are painters. I must be running with the wrong crowd.
Here is an excerpt from the Ashbery article:

"Do you ever feel baffled sometimes yourself by what you've written? she asked.
"Yes," he said.
"Oh, good, because I do, too,"she said, clearly relived.
"You're not alone," he told her.

Well, I guess that makes three of us.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Saving Tips for the next three Bush years:

1. Pay down debt
2. Avoid impulse buying
3. Lower utility expenses
4. Cut back on entertainment
Look for more China news in the media. Bush has an upcoming trip to that nation.
Robert Skidelsky has a good article "The Chinese Shadow" in The New York Review of Books (November 17th).

I stopped in BusBoys and sat at the bar (something I seldom do). Good conversation with photographer Jason M. Johnson. Look for his big book next spring - SOUL SANCTUARY/IMAGES OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN WORSHIP EXPERIENCE. He had a copy of the manuscript with him. This book is going to bless many homes. Congrats Jason.
Here is his website: www.

While in BusBoys I met Karin Wiedemann. She is a yoga instructor. Funny and cool.
Look for folks to be bending their bones in Busboys in a few weeks.

Folks at Howard are in an uproar over Milloy's Post piece. Glad I was out of town.
Our failure to understand the role of journalists in society can often create silly misunderstandings. At the same time schools and organizations must protect their image. Can you imagine if this had happened before the Millions March? Milloy's head on a bean pie? He He Anyway, I love the guy. Think of all the other folks we would have "hung" if we lived under a dictator: Juan Williams, Stanley Crouch, et al.
This would be sad since these guys are such excellent writers. I respect their opinions and insight. If they ruffle my political feathers, I still know how to fly.
I also realize I'm not the only bird in the sky.
Oh, the power of words. The need to speak the truth to the people. Wings & Things.

Good to see folks loving Rosa Parks. I hope we spread some of the love to our living elder John Hope Franklin. His memoir was just released.

Getting back to would be nice if the University honored Hank Aaron next year, or maybe even Frank Robinson.