Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Day/New Year tomorrrow. Today I finished reading Poet Lore submissions. I have an editors meeting with Rick and Jody on Tuesday. I've spent the rest of the day changing my upstairs office around. I've been throwing things away and putting stuff in better order. Since I will no longer be teaching at Bennington I can move files and folders down to the basement. By Monday, I should have all my final student evaluations completed. That's a wrap. By the middle of January I should be back to work on my next collection of poems and the second memoir.

I watched THE AVIATOR last night and came to the conclusion that I don't care for Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor. The best part of the movie was the Congressional hearings near the end. How could this film ever be nominated for a best picture of the year award? The Katharine Hepburn character was OK...mostly good lines so Blanchett was hitting with men on base. All one has to do is talk/read and you get an RBI or in this case an Oscar.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


The war was already inside our house
So I took down the curtains that had blocked
The sun and walked down the street to the corner
Where flies flew in and out of two bodies resting in the street
I covered them with curtains after looking into the windows of death

- E. Ethelbert Miller
You can purchase some nice cards from the new shop near the Takoma metro station.
THE CULTURE SHOP, INC, 341 Cedar Street, NW, 202 726-2211.
Wall Street Journal today:

The three-day transit strike was just the latest opportunity for some workers to put telecommuting technology to the test. Post-Sept.11 concerns about terror attacks, growing fears of pandemics from severe acute respiratory syndrome, and the avian flu, the increase in hurricanes, higher gas prices and greater traffic congestion, among other factors, have encouraged more people to find ways to work outside the office.

This year, 82.5 million workers world-wide have done their jobs at home one day a month, more than double the figure from 2000, according to Gartner Inc., a technology research firm. It predicts the figure will grow to more than 100 million workers by 2008.
I spent today in Baltimore visiting one of the best museums in the country. Rebecca Hoffberger the founder of the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) met me at the train station around 10AM and took me to an artistic paradise. The AVAM should be the place everyone should try and visit in 2006:
I fell in love with the place. They have the best gift shop. The Joy America Cafe on the top floor will rub your belly with goody delights.

AVAM is dedicated to the study, collection and exhibition of visionary art. Visionary art as defined by art produced by " self-taught individuals, usually without any formal training, whose works arise from an intensity of innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself."

Visionary artists are at their best untamed and a bit wild.
That's what you will see when you visit this place.

And what are the Other guys doing?

The big DADA exhibit is coming to the National Gallery of Art (February 19 -May 14).
The DADA Movement spanned from 1916 to 1924 and was a response to the crises of World War I as well as a critique of Modern Culture.
The National Gallery is located on the National Mall, between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue, NW.

I stopped by the Takoma Park Library and borrowed two books dealing with Ernest Hemingway. I've been composing a series of poems based on his work.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

So I'm sitting in the Savory this morning before Rose arrives...I have my NY Times... and I read that Jonathan Tasini is running against Hillary Clinton. Is that the old JT from the National Writers Union running with the fast crowd? Well, call me Monkey Junior and not King Kong. Amazing... Like Bill Bruckner letting that ball skip through his legs and bounce down the steps of history.
I had a long talk this morning with poet Rose Solari. We talked about book promotion and literary careers. If you're going to the AWP Conference in Austin look for her at the book fair. She just released ORPHEUS IN THE PARK.
Here is what Henry Taylor had to say about the Rose:

"I admire Rose Solari's poems for their steadiness in the presence of emotional challenge. She writes about the real things that happen to us, transforming them, by means of secure craft and loving attention to detail, into works of art that happen to us in more durable ways."

I think Rose should have her own literary products. Can you see yourself sitting in a cafe writing with a Solari? Maybe her slogan would be something like "Just Write It!"
If there is one artist I have high praise for in DC, it's ANU. Please try and support her:

Save the Date for

a play by 2006 Mayor's Arts Award Finalist for Outstanding Emerging Artist Anu Yadav

a solo play about forced relocation
and the human right to housing

Tues & Wed Jan 10, 11 2006

General Admission $10
Jan 12 - Feb 5, 2006
Thurs, Fri, Sat @ 7:30pm, Sun @3pm

Written and performed by Anu Yadav
Based on the housing struggle of
Friends and Residents of Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg
Directed and developed by Patrick Crowley

Mead Theater Lab
916 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(1 blk from the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro)

For reservations, contact or 202.315.1340

Weaving together theater, documentary and activism, 'Capers is a one-woman show based on the stories of families at the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg public housing projects -- also known as 'Capers -- in southeast DC who protested the government-funded relocation and demolition of their neighborhood. Solo performer Anu Yadav portrays nearly a dozen characters in this moving portrait of families struggling to fight for their community and their human right to a place to live.

'Capers is produced by Bare Stage Productions, LLC and funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Flashpoint, a Cultural Development Corporation project, is funded in part by the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, Gilbert and Jaylee Mead and the Max & Victoria Dreyfus Foundation.
Well the program with Marshall Keys at Grace Church went very well. Wow...what a turnout. It was nice to see so many old friends...even from Norway. I think I first started reading poetry to jazz around the early 1970s. One of my mentors Bob Stokes played bass and I read mostly poems by Henry Dumas. We did a number of performances at All Soul Church. Later I would read poems with Arnae, who is now a member of Sweet Honey In The Rock. Arnae and I were sidekicks for a spell. That's when I was living on Rhode Island Avenue and she had a small place around the corner on 15th.
Back in the day. Glad to see Arnae doing so well now. A good spirit with a lovely voice.

I received a note from Samiya Bashir. She has a new book out: WHEN THE APPLE FALLS,published by Red Bone Press. Here is the link to her website:

Michael Collins has a book coming out too: DIS B. FOR E. KNIGHT.
Poems inspired by the life of Etheridge Knight.
Collins can be reached at:

Anne Becker is conducting a workshop: WRITING THE BODY
For those who have experience with life threatening illnesses or chronic conditions, as patients, care-givers or family members.
Sundays, 3-6 in Takoma Park, MD
Cost $160
Contact info: or 301 270-8037

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

E-Note Review. End of the year. If you've enjoyed the E-Notes let me know. What should we talk about in the New Year?
I can be reached at the following email address:

Get Ready for 2006. Gas masks anyone? The last thing we need is a sequel to 2005.
Do you think God took a vacation in 2005, the way Morgan Freeman did in that movie?
If so, who do you think was left in charge with executive power? Would God approve of wiretapping? It's obvious he didn't spy on Adam and Eve. The serpent was in the business of exporting apples without Government approval. Shame. A wise guy with inside trade information. Too much knowledge of the market. Rumor has it that Adam and Eve were the first to rent when they left the garden. The serpent was into real estate too and told them where they could find a good garden apartment. Nothing but condos now and the devil looking to make a killing.
(for Ernest Hemingway)

Push the bead curtain aside.
We could have everything in the world.
The hills like white elephants.
It’s such a simple operation.
I care about you.
Do you care about me?
Do you want a beer?
Do you feel better?
I feel fine, baby.
Let’s catch the train to Barcelona.
The woman comes into the room with two drinks.
Anis del Toro?

E. Ethelbert Miller

Monday, December 26, 2005

NFL Coach of the Year - Pick One:
1. Lovie in Chi
2. Lewis in Cin
3. Dungy in Ind

NFL MVP: Tiki Barber or Santana Moss.

I just finished watching the Laker/Wizard game. Kwame Brown needs to play in Europe for 3 years. Let him pick his country. The guy has no game. Where are you Michael Jordan? This is your sin. The Lakers need a center who can give them 16 pts every night. They have no bench. These guys are as bad as the Knicks.

I'm taking the Eagles next week if Ramsey is the starting QB for Washington.
Upcoming birthday for one of my best friends in a few days. Happy Birthday JG. New Year love to you. Good to begin the New Year with joy...2005 was such a blue time.
One of the things I received as a Christmas gift was a small DVD player. So now I can increase the number of movies I watch a year. Is this good? I'll let you know by April. Meanwhile, I'm watching a few films I'm glad I missed when they were released.
Here are 3 you can skip:
Four Brothers. I have a feeling Singleton is Ellison with one good movie in him. We saw it years ago. Why was FOUR BROTHERS even made? Is it another attempt for Detroit to reclaim its image as one of America's bad towns? Please, cut the soundtrack and write a decent script.What planet does Wahlberg think he is walking around on? And the guy interupted a basketball game without getting his butt kick. Please. Now if I was writing the script he would have shot the ball right in the middle of the court and walked out. The saving grace of this film is Terrence Howard. He plays a cop who gets shot and maybe he wished it was earlier in the movie. Anyway, the adoptive mother who gets whacked at the beginning of the film, has so many ghosts roles afterwards that Singleton should have given her magical powers. The Detroit police department should sue. Oh, and did you see the big shootout at the old house and not a neighbor anywhere to be seen. Maybe Singleton couldn't find extras to play in something this bad.

THE UNLEASHED. Who let this dog of a film out? Jet Li's career is moving downwards as fast as his flying fists. Oh, and Morgan Freeman is stuck in this movie playing a blind man who plays and tunes pianos. He is a father/mentor to Jet Li who wears a collar around his neck, placed their by a crime boss. Please. Jet Li walks around like he is 7 years old throughout the entire movie. Every Asian should protest. The theme here is family. We all need one. Freeman should not list this on his resume. Couldn't he find another car to drive?

Near the end of this film, Sean Penn discovers a picture of Nicole Kidman(with a gun) running down a road with what I guess are liberation fighters in some made-up African country. I needed an interpreter for this nonsense. When white people say they have to go home to Africa, you know you've been had. Penn and Kidman sit around like two people without a condom. No chemistry between them. The only thing of note in this film is the bus bombing that takes place in Brooklyn. It's real and makes one realize how terrible bus bombings are. Kidman walks away with blood on her face but no lasting scars. Maybe I'll feel the same when I forget about this film next week.
But see this movie for just the first few minutes. African children killing people is the real story here; as well as the promise given too often by African leaders who disappoint new nations as bad Halle Berry doing Cat woman. What would Nkrumah say about all of this? Oh, and who made the African leader resemble Nelson Mandela?
Very sneaky but it's the same old language. I would be a fool to see this movie again without subtitles.

Well, after three bad movies - give me a book and a glass of wine. I'm listening to Chuck Brown and Eva Cassidy - The Other Side.
Tomorrow Night:

Enjoy an evening of Jazz & Poetry this Tuesday, Dec. 27th. Two pillars of the DC
cultural community, saxophonist Marshall Keys and poet and scholar E. Ethelbert
Miller will join forces for an unforgettable exchange of notes, words and ideas
at Grace Church in Georgetown. The evening begins at 7:30pm and features free
dessert and Starbucks coffee.

Marshall Keys, one of the most versatile saxophonists on the DC jazz scene has
played and recorded with such recognizable names in jazz and blues as Lionel
Hampton, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy
Scott, Hank Jones, Branford Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, and had a long association
with the legendary blues organist Jimmy McGriff. An in-demand globetrotting
musician, Keys has performed in jazz festivals all over the world, including
tours of South and Central America as a Jazz Ambassador.

Award-winning poet and respected scholar E. Ethelbert Miller is recognized
worldwide for his vital contributions to the literary landscape. He has more
than 10 books to his credit and has edited or contributed to countless other
collections of poetry and writings. Miller is the recipient of numerous awards,
including the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, the O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry
Prize, the DC Mayor's Art Award for literature, and in 2004 he was a Fulbright
Scholar in Israel. He is currently an editor of Poet Lore and is an Advisory
Board member for the African American Literature & Culture Society. Miller is
the Board Chairperson for the Institute for Policy Studies and has been the
Director of the African Amerian Resource Center of Howard University since 1974.

Grace Church is located at 1041 Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown, between M and K
streets. Maps and directions are available at, or call
Grace Church at 202-333-7100.

Admission is free, contributions to support future Jazz & Poetry events are
gratefully accepted. 2 hours of free parking

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I mourn for this lonely
Year that is passing
And my own being
Grows fainter and fades away.

- Kenneth Rexroth
Facts in today's Wall Street Journal:

Over 4,000 Internet sites purporting to be charities popped up in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina. Of those, the FBI said, at least 60% were bogus.
Yesterday while I was in Busboys & Poets I met a woman poet from New Zealand.
We exchanged cards and promised to stay in touch. Here is a link to what's going on in that part of the world: the Giants take Washington to the Barber (Shop). No playoffs for the Redskins this year. Turnovers will put an end to their season. Let's talk baseball.

Friday, December 23, 2005

OK what year is it? Are we sending a Ping Pong team to China?
We all know Cuba should play in the upcoming baseball tournament. Please let's not keep Cold War politics around for another century. Fidel calling Bush a fool is not going to help either. Drop the names and play the games.

Look at this:

In an attempt to eliminate a major concern of the U.S. government, the Cuban Baseball Federation announced Thursday night that any money gained by the national team would be donated to Hurricane Katrina victims.

Cuban baseball "would be willing for the money associated with participation in the classic to go to those displaced by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans," said the statement read on state television by baseball federation president Carlos Rodriguez.

Cuba is scheduled to play first-round games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and would remain in San Juan if it advances to the second round.

CUBA or FEMA...who ya gonna call?
I was invited today to speak at the Israeli Embassy on February 14, 2006, at 7PM. It will be the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright Israel program.
Washington Post - Best Picks for the week:
Saxophonist Marshall Keys and poet E. Ethelbert Miller
Tuesday at Grace Episcopal Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave, NW. 7:30 PM
202 333-7100
For more info are Keys:

While in Busboys (today) having a meeting with Keys, I ran into poet Omekongo Dibinga. He is a first generation Congolese-American. He performs his poetry in English, French and Swahili. He gave me a copy of his book (with CD): FROM THE LIMBS OF MY POETREE

The Eighth National Black Writers Conference will be held at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, March 30-April 2, 2006. I was invited but decided not to attend. The keynote speaker is going to be Marita Golden with Susan McHenry. Writers who will be giving talks and workshops include: Toni Blackman, Haki Madhubuti, Ishmael Reed, Walter Mosley, Steven Barnes, Carl Hancock Rux, Wesley Brown, Quincy Troupe and Manie Barron.
Kudos once again to Stevie Wonder for showing us the way with his SHELTER IN THE RAIN video. A moving tribute to those who survived Katrina and for all the many people who came to their rescue with love.

Outside the Redsox Nation
before the year ended
(and the world)
they cut "rich" johnny damon
down to size

- E. Ethelbert Miller
You just want to slip or maybe even crawl into 2006. Hearing about the death of Tony Dungy's son was not more nails in the coffin, it was another coffin and a reminder that death never sleeps. This has been a terrible year for African Americans well known and unknown. Blue notes keep falling and lately Bessie refuses to come back to bed. Sounds like the Blues is gonna keep on singing until we get it right.

The Dungy pain reminds us how high the suicide rate is among young black men. While the focus is primarily on blacks killing blacks, we overlook the many black boys who kill themselves. Why?

Remember the last lines of "For Black Poets Who Think of Suicide" by Etheridge Knight:

" Let All Black Poets die as Trumpets.
And be buried in the dust of marching feet."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The highlight of my day was meeting Stephen Deadwyler. Stephen is the designer of several "fantastic" book bags for kids. The bags are custom-designed using the covers of children books. One bag features the cover of Javaka Steptoe's IN DADDY'S ARMS I AM TALL. Wow -was all I could say when Stephen gave me 3 bags with the Steptoe cover. These bags will make wonderful gifts. Go to the following site for more information:
If you are a teacher,principal, or just a parent, you will want one of these book bags to give to a child.
Widener University continues to roll - 10-0. My son had his best game as a freshman.

Dec. 22 (vs. Immaculata)

Kris Clarkson's First-Half Double-Double Spurs Men's Basketball Past Immaculata, 84-50, to Remain Undefeated

12/22/05 -- Senior Kris Clarkson (Philadelphia, PA) needed just one half to sew up his sixth straight double-double, helping Widener remain unbeaten with an 84-50 triumph over Immaculata at Schwartz Center.

Clarkson poured in 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the opening half, when the Pioneers (10-0) shot 54 percent (22-of-41) from the floor and owned a 38-7 rebounding edge for a 53-19 lead. Senior Malcolm Thomas (Baltimore, MD) netted a team-high 12 points in the first 20 minutes.

The Mighty Macs (1-9) shot only 18 percent (5-of-28) in the first half.

Clarkson, named Commonwealth Conference Player of the Week on Monday for the fourth time this season, ended with 16 points and 13 rebounds over 22 minutes as Widener continued what is believed to be its best start in school history. Thomas poured in 14 points, junior Essien Ford (Baltimore, MD) and senior Brooke Tidswell (Mount Holly, NJ) netted 11 apiece and freshman Nyere Miller (Washington, DC) scored 10 off the bench.

The Pioneers finished shooting 45 percent (35-of-78) from the field with a season-best 10 three-pointers, thanks to three apiece from Ford and Miller. Junior Terry Smith (York, PA) grabbed nine rebounds as Widener owned a 62-22 edge.

Kyle Finklea scored 14 points and Justin Byrne added seven off the bench for Immaculata, which was held to only 34 percent (18-of-53) from the floor.

Widener returns to action January 5 at home against Goucher, beginning at 8:00 pm. Preceding that game, the Pioneers’ women’s team hosts Scranton at 6:00 pm.
Taylor Branch has completed the final volume of his definitive history of the Civil Rights Movement. The title is AT CANAAN'S EDGE,published by Simon & Schuster. Readers might want to begin with the first two volumes:

Branch will be having a book party in Baltimore at the Enoch Pratt Free Libary, 400 Cathedral Street, on the evening of Thursday, January 19, 2006.

Another book just published is Don Mee Choi's translation of WHEN THE PLUG GETS UNPLUGGED: Poems by Kim Hyesson. TinFish Press,

Checkout the cover of THE NEW YORKER (Dec 26 & Jan 2, 2006). What do you see first?
About 10 people of different ethnic backgounds are sitting in an airport because of their flights being delayed. That's what I noticed first. A closer look will reveal that everyone is reading a book. That's what people have in common. What's strange about the picture is that it unfortunately fails to capture reality. Can you sit in a public place anywhere and not have someone talk on a cell phone or be connected to an I-POD? I don't think so...

Toaster Matisyahu is coming to DC. He combines Hasidism and reggae.
9:30 Club, 815 V St, NW
Excerpt from interview in today's Express:
I think so.The term "avoda" is like worship, work, your mission , your place in the world, the thing that you're supposed to do.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I had the day off and went to Provision Library. I did some Poet Lore work, looked at magazines and read a few pages of Jimmy Santiago Baca's memoir A PLACE TO STAND.
In one of the literary publications I came across some new poems by Paul Beatty. I couldn't stop laughing. The guy is comic genius.

Since I was in DuPont Circle I paid a visit to Melody Record Shop. How long will a place like this be around. I love just walking down the aisles looking at the varous music sections. You can't download this experience.

I purchased a few music gifts. I treated myself to SANTANA ALL THAT I AM.

I met my daughter at her job and we walked over to Cafe Luna (on P Street) and had dinner. Afterwards we went to the DC Jewish Community Center and saw BETTY RULES.
It was a fun rock comedy.
Just Walk Away Renee...
I remember those old NY Transit strikes. The threat was usually on New Year's eve.
Folks didn't know whether to go out or stay home. Transit workers making an entire city suffer - shame on them. But how come whenever a strike takes place the media turns folks against the workers? Is it because the media have their own labor problems?
It's obvious most NY newspapers are anti-union. They report on the strike from the perspective of the "harmed and angry" public. You have to read down to paragraph 8 or 9 before you find out what the issues and reasons for the strike are. Pensions, healthcare, these are things every worker should be concerned about. Workers are not greedy or selfish. They are simply trying to improve their standard of living. Which brings me to Bolivia. Isn't Evo trying to improve the conditions of his people? I would prefer to know more about what his obstacles are. Why do we want this guy to fail? Are people to remain in poverty from one generation to the next? Who is responsible for this? Blame the victim? Walk like a Man or Just Walk on By?
Fun time over at WAMU doing the NPR Diane Rehm Show. EJ Dionne, Kate Lehrer and I were in the studio discussing THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis. Good calls from around the country.

From today's Wall Street Journal:

Lengthier sentences have led to a surge in the number of older inmates, who tend to pile up larger health-care bills.

Many criminologists and corrections officials believe that prisoners get significantly less dangerous after the age of 40 or so, although the reasons aren't well understood. Inmates themselves sometimes talk about "criminal menopause."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I had a nice time morning talk with Rajeev Kasat. A beautiful person putting his work in print. New book coming out in January - zerONEss.
Today Barnet Schecter sent me his new book THE DEVIL'S OWN WORK:THE CIVIL WAR DRAFT RIOTS AND THE FIGHT TO RECONSTRUCT AMERICA. It was just published by Walker & Company.

I also received the latest issue of 5AM. New poems by Liam Rector, Jan Beatty, Sarah Kanning, Timothy Mayo and Honoree Fanonee Jeffers.
New website:

December 7, 2005- February 28, 2006
Goethe-Institut Washington
812 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC
Gallery Hours:
Monday-Thursday 9-5
Friday 9-3

Monday, December 19, 2005

No more Western music to be in Iran. :-(
New York Times today (Page A24):

"Under "extraordinary" circumstances, the government also can wait 72 hours after beginning wiretaps to get a warrant, but the administration did not seek to do that under the special program, which monitors the international communications of some people inside the United States. The USA Patriot Act made it easier for the government to get warrants from the court for wiretaps and physical searches, changing the standards in some critical areas."

Of course. The show is 24 not 72.
Many of the issues the Bush Administration are discussing are actually episodes from the television show 24. If you think you know Rice then you don't know Jack. So what's ahead in the new season? That's what we should be looking into. 2006- Are you ready? Would you prefer reruns? Will that make you feel safer? OK, who is listening to your phone conversations? Who are you sharing these E-Notes with? Does the E stand for embedded? Hmmm.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

So what's going on in France? Where did the riots go? What's Al Gore doing?
And whatever happened to Alf? Who is Monica dating?
Don't you just want to know these things on a Sunday evening?
Indy won't win the SuperBowl this year. It's not Peyton's place. Knock the guy down a couple of times and you can beat him. I keep telling folks Brady is so much better.
Oh...and don't think about the Redskins going anywhere. Tiki time and bye bye until next year. The Giants will put an end to DC playoff nonsense. The Redskins are not a great team. The Cowboys need a more mobile QB and a Dorset type of running back. Maybe a new coach too.
In today's BOOK WORLD (Washington Post) D. Wellington reviews DIRECTED BY DESIRE by June Jordan. This is June's collected poems recently edited by Jan Heller Levi and Sara Miles. The book is published by Copper Canyon. Wellington begins his review by mentioning how many creative writing teachers would take June Jordan's poetry apart.
Well, I hope they do. This is what all good creative writing teachers should do with every poet. This is how we teach and learn. Throw and catch. Wellington claims June's book suffers from sprawl. "Jordan strikes me as a poet with a lot of things on her mind other than poetry." Pick-up any writer's collected poems and you're going to find many poems you want to skip over or read with a blindfold.There is not going to be a gem on every page. When you order the big meal, you need to know what you're getting.

Yes, June had a lot on her mind and thank God for that. Wellington makes it sound as if she didn't put serious "workshop" time into her writing. It's obvious that Wellington would love to separate June's poetry from her politics. Well, you can't do that. Critics also need to know how to read and understand political poems. Oh, and don't call June's sonnets complete disasters when folks are running around today calling everything with 14 lines a lottery number. Wellington's review is one of those terrorist alerts calling attention to form over content. This guy is looking for where the comma is and hoping it will save us like FEMA. Was June's work, wild, unpolished, and raw? This is like asking a black woman when is she going to have her hair done.
And maybe here I should quote a little Baraka. The poem "Titles" taken from THE DEAD LECTURER:

My head
is a fine
tangle. My soul, a
quick note, settled
in the flesh.
There are so many lyrics,
so many
who will not understand.

I will say this to you tho,
It is not as if
there were
any more beautiful

There are a couple of poems in DIRECTED BY DESIRE that June dedicated to me. I guess I should apologize for distracting her from the serious task of perfecting her craft.
Oh, punish me dear Wellington and not June. I too was directed by desire. What flames now claim our souls?

We survive our love
because we go on


- June Jordan
If you want to make a good literary donation before the end of the year, give to the following organizations:

Curbstone Press
Academy of American Poets
Hurston/Wright Foundation
Cave Canem
National Writers Union
Coffee House Press
The Writer's Center

If you write and call yourself a writer, then write a check too. :-) Invest in your literary community. Help build organizations for future writers.
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Good to see Tiki having a good year with the Giants. I can't believe how well he holds onto the ball. Do you remember all those fumbles a few years ago? MVP? Maybe.

Nike might have a winner with the series of LeBron James commercials. It's a steal from Eddie Murphy but without James playing a grandmother. Thank you Nike and James for not doing that. So glad to see different generations of black men sitting around a table or in the same room. That old school reference sounds like the last Prince video (Musicology). OK, so is someone going to complain about the absence of the black woman in the Ads? If it was real old school we might call it "For Colored Men Who Want to Play basketball, when being cool is not enuf." Go figure...or better yet - Just Don't Do It. Listen to The Groove ALL. Call it What You Like. Keep the party moving...
Is New England back? A statement game was played today. I would love to see Indy play the Pats just one more time. Brady is still the best QB in the league.
Nuff said.
Happy New Year? Is it 2005 or 1984 in Istanbul? Thought crimes??? Against author Orhan Pamuk? Oh, boy. Hey- Always have extra busfare when traveling in a country where it's a crime to criticize the state, army or the founder of the republic. In a place like that only the Zoo animals are free to talk, everyone else is outside already walking around in a cage.
Australia makes you wonder where else might we see racial conflicts. Eva Sallis in today's NY Times (12/17/05) puts a finger on something that might be a reason for some of our problems. "It has become fashionable, perhaps to be racist..."
So you thought fur was out? Did folks support Hitler because of his boots? I think "bashing" is the new thing. What colors go with it? Look for the rude boys in Liberia to be back in the news. So the conflicts are also black against black. Soccerheads upset with the last election in Liberia. Will we ever learn to live in peace? What will the New Year bring? More of the same? Can you make a differenc? Will you try?
Change the game and outlaw the dunk. I saw just the ending of Trump's Apprentice and it reminded me of Sidney Poitier in GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. Randal Pinkett who won had numerous degrees and is ten years older with "mucho" experience over Lady Rebecca Jarvis (who is white). So the guy could he lose??? But then Trump plays the card that I found very disturbing. He asks Pinkett if he should also hire Jarvis. Pinkett said no which is the right response. But did you hear the boo birds in the audience? They wanted Pinkett to share what he had won. Why? There will always be Buffalo Bills fans. Why? Because only 1 TEAM wins the SuperBowl. There is no sharing the title. No way. By just suggesting the idea I lost respect for Trump, but he did reveal what happens so often in the business world. A black person moves into a position of leadership and all of a sudden someone pushes the idea of co-directors, or three vice-presidents. Yeah...change the game and outlaw the dunk.
As this year ends we are finally seeing our democracy at work. Congress is debating the issues and folks in both parties are stepping up to the plate. Profiles in Courage? It's also good to see the newspapers reporting on stuff...even if it's a year late. Without dialogue we can't protect our values. The Bush Administration is going to present historians and lawyers with some interesting cases to study in the future. How did 9/11 really change how our country operates? How many real cases of terrorism were stopped because of tactics adopted by various agencies? If you were President what would you have done after 9/11? No easy answers.But what makes us Americans are things like the Constitution and our Bill of Rights. It's not just the flag. I thought things got crazy when the government was taking the guns away from citizens in Louisiana and forcing them out of their homes. I'm certain that didn't go over well with some right wing types. But what was to be done? During an emergency we often adopt tactics and new rule changes. The problems begin when folks have their own agenda and become power crazy. "Yipes" is what we scream in the cartoons and then we run. Today where is there to run to?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Magazine for Contemporary Muslim Women: Azizah
Here is the website:

21st Annual Mayor's Arts Awards, Monday, January 9, 2006, 6 PM.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Perfoming Arts
Host: Jim Vance, NBC4 News Anchor

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Now I like Donovan McNabb...let me say that again...I like Donovan McNabb. Is he a great QB? Nope. The only great QB is Brady and he has the rings to prove it. I never thought Elway was great. I'm a Montana man. Peyton Manning is just Dan Marino with a helmet. But let me look comment on this NAACP blast of McNabb.
Yep...folks want black QBs to be pocket passers. Just listen to every announcer who calls a game. After a while black QBs start listening to their critics and they go the way of George Benson - they don't play jazz anymore. They don't run or scramble.
McNabb is better than Kordell Stewart but that's not saying much. There are many games in which Donovan should just run the ball; but you could never get Miles to play his old music. Maybe someone should slip McNabb a micky and make him run again; or maybe have his Mom put something in that soup he eats. "Get the runs if you refuse to run," that's what BrerBert says.
Now you know the US should not stop Cuba from playing in the World Baseball Classic.
That's just putting unnecessary Cold War politics on the field. Gee...when will this ever end??? The Berlin Wall is gone. Is Fidel really a threat? We would do more to advance Cuba/US relations if we had dialogue with the little island. We have to be respectful to Cuban Exiles but we can't hold US foreign policy hostage year after year. Damn we played PingPong with the Chinese. Even some conservative US senators have been trying to change our relationship with Cuba. From a businss/market perspective it makes sense to open the doors to better relations. Our failure to do this is just going to make it difficult to deal with those nations (like Venezuela)in our hemisphere that are moving to the Left. Cuba should be treated like the cousin or uncle you haven't seen in years. You know the guy who shows up at the family gathering with a young woman wearing a skirt too short...Everyone is talking about Cuba. It's time we stop looking up under her dress.
This morning I'm heading down to WPFW and do a 10AM radio show with Jo Reed. She's a good literary talk show host. I'll talk about a few of the books I read in 2005.

Snow and rain coming in today. I'm reading the FERLINGHETTI biography that I purchased last week. Music in the house right now is Marley and Third World. Jah way to end the year.

I'm finally back on track with the morning exercise routine. It feels good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I taped my next television show (Humanities Profiled) today. My guest was E.J. Dionne, columnist and author of several books including WHY AMERICANS HATE POLITICS and STAND UP FIGHT BACK: REPUBLICAN TOUGHS, DEMOCRATIC WIMPS, AND THE POLITICS OF REVENGE. Dionne is a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; that's where we conducted the interview.It was my last show working with Michon Boston (Producer). I'll miss her- she's family. The Dionne interview went well. Our focus was a discussion of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendment. This will be another program in the "WE The People" series sponsored by NEH.
How to begin the New Year:

Graduate student filmmakers from Miami University in Ohio came to the counterinaugural last January and filmed the protests in the streets. They also filmed the DC Poets Against the War reading at Karibu Books the night before and incorporated the readings and interviews into their compelling film, A Cold Day in DC. Save the date for the DC premiere screening in the new year. Here are the details:

Wednesday, January 11, 9 PM
D.C. Poets Against the War presents:
A Cold Day in DC: The Counter Inaugural
A film by David Sholle; produced by Andrea Chalfin
(Song of Dissent Productions, 2005 - 60 mins.)
Followed by discussion and an open mic

Busboys & Poets, 14th & V Streets, NW, Washington, DC

On January 20, 2005, Americans gathered in the nation's capital for the second inauguration of George W. Bush as the President of the United States. A cold Day in DC: The Counter Inaugural is a film about citizens challenging the administration and its policies, a story of those not seen or heard in mainstream media. This is a story of American citizens united in their dissent. Includes readings by D.C. Poets Against the War members Esther Iverem, Camille Dungy, and E. Ethelbert Miller and interviews with Miller and DCPAW Coordinator Sarah Browning. For more info:,
Well I heard this before:

"I look forward to spending more time with my family."
Marsha Evans, stepping down as head of the American Red Cross

Maybe we should all stay home and not go to work.
Who is writing these press release statements? Can we be a bit more creative? Honest?
Some folks are just being fired, others want to leave. Is the excuse just for the media? One's lawyers? So much of this stuff is sounding like jockspeech before and after a game. After Katrina, Evans should have said she was passing on first down.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I turn the page and read Jane Shore's poem in the latest issue of The New Yorker (Possession). It's about Reetika. I read the poem and I don't know if I like it or hate it. It's how I feel sometimes when I look at the pictures of RV I have around my house and I realize she's gone. Anger and sweet love. I have a recent gift from RV's's the journal RV was keeping - well maybe she was just making notes. Five,or maybe six pages filled with her handwriting. Why are the remaining pages so blank? Every time I open the book I read something that isn't there. Words can't explain what's gone.The blank pages keep telling me too much.

Sand and no beach
Another patrol…
You’re a hundred miles from Babylon
Marley was right about No woman No cry
Sun and heat turns sweat into rivers
You lie down with a bullet in your back
And you remember Zion

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Maybe we should all become monks,take a vow of silence and keep our hoods up.

I'm always amazed by some public person who steps down from a job before they were pushed out and mentions how they want to spend more time with their family. It's the same script over and over. Many folks immediately hit the lecture circuit and make money or they take another job in a few months. I'm waiting for the honest guy who steps in front of a camera and says he is stepping down from his job because he wants to spend more time with his mistress. How will the media respond to something like that? What if the mistress decides not to grant interviews?
My next MUSE2MUSE program is going to be Saturday, April 1, 2006, at Busboys & Poets (14th and V Street, NW).
My guest will be Naomi Ayala. Her reading will be in English and Spanish. Here is Naomi's bio note:

Naomi Ayala works as an education consultant, freelance writer, and teacher, and is a Visiting Humanities Scholar for Hermana a Hermana/Sister to Sister. Until recently, she served as Co-Chair of the Board of Directions of Teaching for Change: Building Social Justice, Starting in the Classroom. She is the author of Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone Press, 1997) – selected by the New York City Public Library as one of 1999’s Books for the Teen Age.

Her work has appeared in numerous publications – most recently, in Feminist Teacher and The Washington Post’s Book World; Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Saheb Ghalam Daily, Hostos Review/Revista Hostoniana, Gargoyle, MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism, Saranac Review, and Tiger Tail, as well as in several anthologies of contemporary Latino writing (including Boriquén to Diasporican: Puerto Rican Poetry from Aboriginal Times to the New Millenium, and First Flight: 24 Latino Poets). Her translations of poetry have appeared both in the U.S. and Switzerland.

Naomi Ayala has also been the recipient of several awards and recognitions (among them, the Larry Neal Writers Award for Poetry, a Trailblazer Arts Award, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy of Environmental Justice Award, and has received U.S. Congressional Recognition for her work in the arts). Naomi Ayala has also been the recipient of two individual artists’ fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (2005 and 2003).

Condos and powederkegs. You look at images coming out of Australia...and you wonder when an incident might take place on one of those S buses on 16th Street in DC. A push over a seat, a refusal to move to the back of the bus...just some minor act of being nasty that send folks out into the streets smashing stuff, overturning cars, and yanking IPODS. Everyday I see an act that is just stone cold racist. The return of the Boers? You struggle with being kind. You search for a mantra that will permit you to walk the streets and ride the buses like a human being. Sometimes only Ellison could write this script. You're invisible to the person sitting next to you.
Sometimes you look across an aisle and there is a person in a deer pose. The fear of blackness and all the unknown it represents. You turn the page of the book you're reading; you ignore the person but you know the story. It's not the one you want to waste your time writing about. You're a Lion in Winter and Narnia is where the animals talk and many new DC residents don't. Go figure...find your way out of this wardrobe.
OTHER VOICES POETRY just published some of my poems. Now online:
The last few days I've been talking with folks about the Tookie Williams case. The death penalty at times I support; it's something I often disagree with friends and family about. A difficult decision to make especially if you love life. Tookie Williams was not a founder of the NAACP, nor was he Nat Turner. He was the founder of a major US gang. I just read a good statement by my old friend and lawyer Donald Temple. Some of his points were good ones. Temple is a lawyer. I can't really argue with him. I did share the following comment with Charles Johnson this morning:

Hi C,
I admire my friend Donald Temple but I don't buy into the logic of a few of his statements. Of course the odds are against black men in this society...and so many of us continue to BEAT the odds. It's frustrating to go into inner city schools today and see a defiance coming from black men you want to help. I listen to young people (including my son at times) who feel they know all the answers. I think of how my father raised me. If I had a hard head he reminded me that I had a soft butt. He also told me not to come back into the house saying I was sorry after doing wrong. You commit the crime you pay the price. So many people risking their lives for goodness or for protecting others. How many lives do gangs destroy? I don't think I could write a million poems that could bring one back.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I spent the early evening at Mocha Hut (U Street)talking with Anu. Her one woman show opens on January 12th at Flashpoint. I think tickets will be $10. More later
when she sends me the official press release.

Rajeev Kasat was also in Mocha Hut. He gave me a copy of his latest book EVERLUTIONARY.Rajeev is a positive brother who walks around making a difference in the world. Good aura...generous spirit.
I was waiting for something positive to happen before this year ended. So much death and strange things happening. Maybe it all began last year when the Red Sox won the World Series. Maybe the door to bizarro world opened. This year the White Sox won and that was crazy too. Cubs in 2006? Baseball resembles life and then we die with men on base - our love ones.

But today I heard from my friend Giovanni Singleton. She is putting out the best literary journal in the world. OK I'll put Mars and Jupiter on the list too.
Check out Nocturnes:

In her editorial statement Giovanni writes:
"The pages that follow then are a refuge for all who find themselves awake in a world that has taken corn and left nothing in its place."

It's important to support Giovanni. This is her 4th magazine. She's doing much of the work by herself. I nicknamed her Quill last year. She is the stem that stirs the genius of the race...
So Pat Riley is back. Magic made this guy look like a genius. Please- If Maimi wins it's because of Wade...not Shaq, not Pat...just Wade baby. Some of these NBA coaches are like boxers who can't stay away from the ring. Maybe Pat came back to teach the players how to look good in those suits and jackets they have to wear.
Information from my friend S. Pearl Sharp:

Now available at

2714 Georgia Ave., NW Washington, DC 20001
202/ 234-4755

S. Pearl Sharp's
How do we heal from the residuals of The Middle Passage?
Featuring Oscar Brown, Jr., Tom Feelings, Ysaye Barnwell,
Haile Gerima, Chester Higgins Jr. and others. 90 min.

"Beautiful and challenging..." Los Angeles Times
"Deeply engrossing..." The Black World
Winner, 6 festival awards

Note: VHS only. DVD will be available in February, 2006
My next public reading is Tuesday, December 27th at The Grace Episcopal Church, 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, at 7:30 PM; also on the program is alto saxophonist Marshall Keys.
My next public reading is Tuesday, December 27th at The Grace Episcopal Church, 1041 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, at 7:30 PM; also on the program is alto saxophonist Marshall Keys.
So maybe you won't write a memoir...Look into Ethical Wills. A way to pass values, hopes, stories and spiritual beliefs to children and friends.
For more information go to the Ethical Will site:
20 years since my brother Richard died. His spirit reminds me of how much more there is to do.

"It is very quiet. I think about this monastery that I am in. I think about the monks, my brothers, my fathers."
- Thomas Merton

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Listening to Joan Baez - "Farewell, Angelina" A classic album. Baez makes Dylan's words sound so sweet and prophetic.

Many of the football games today were a bust. No drama. Oh well...Redskins and Cowboys will change all that...
Nebraska Summer Writers' Conference, June 17-23, 2006.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

One thing I did discover today that was a nice surprise was the Tim McCarver Show.
I never cared too much for Tim when I was watching baseball games. Tonight I watched him interview former football star Chris Carter (Vikings). Tim was like Bill Moyers.
A wonderful show. I'm going to put in on my Saturday evening viewing schedule.

I love you so...Gone? Who will swear
you wouldn't have done good to the
country, that fulfillment wouldn't have
done good to you...

- Robert Lowell
July 6, 1968

I wrote a book blurb for Eugene McCarthy's COOL REFLECTIONS published in 1997. I said the following:

"Cool Reflections is poetry written by a man many consider to be a political saint.
Eugene McCarthy is a man of wit and wisdom. His poems are observations and tributes filled with grace. They echo the beauty we see in nature."

After all the news this evening, I'm upstairs playing an old recording by The Eureka Brass Band of New Orleans. Yes..."Take Your Burden To The Lord." What else can one do?
Sen. Eugene McCarthy gone. Oh man...another sad day. Too much darkness tonight.
I remember sharing a stage with the senator a couple of years ago. Ah...remember him not just for being against the war but for his poetry too.
Now Richard Pryor is gone too. This has not been a funny year for black people.
A productive day. A stack of bills placed in the mail. How come more bills go out but less money comes in? I completed a Bennington packet. I started preparing for my television interview with DJ Dionne next week. We will examine and discuss the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments.

I sat in the Starbucks on Connecticut and R with my friend Grace. We had a great time talking and laughing for a couple of hours.
Good to come home and receive a card from Suheir. I guess she's out there taking poetry to the people. Sweet Su.

ECHOES OF THE CARIBBEAN edited by C. Jeanean Gibbs was in the mail too.
New book of poems with many local West Indian poets.
Charles Johnson (author of Middle Passage) is one of my best literary friends. We spend a considerable amount of time corresponding about stuff. I thought it good to share comments I sent him this morning about the movie King Kong. We were talking about folks doing remakes. Here is what I said to Charles:

Hi C
I don't think we are running out of ideas. My take on King Kong is that we needed to restore the old images associated with New York. How best to place emphasis back on the Empire State Building. Do you remember what happened when the Towers were built? Some folks never liked them because it took away from the Empire. But the Towers were destroyed. I see the King Kong remake as a continuation of 9/11 healing. King Kong is also that love story about what we fear. Kong comes out of the darkness of America's imagination. Consider looking at this movie today as a Muslim fundamentalist. What do you see? Well, we can't overlooked the unveiled woman of this the blonde virgin a suicide bomber would give his life for?
Movie remakes provide comfort. They also try to restore our mythology. Hollywood is the center of America's soul. Wall Street is just it's arms...

Friday, December 09, 2005

A project of IPS is SEEN: Sustainable Energy & Economy Network. Here is information you might be interested in:

The Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies (Washington, DC) and the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam), works in partnership with citizens groups nationally and globally on environment, human rights and development issues with a particular focus on energy, climate change, environmental justice, gender equity, and economic issues, particularly as these play out in North/South relations.

SEEN views these issues as inextricably linked to global security, and therefore applies a human security paradigm as a framework for guiding its work. True security will only be achieved if we address the root causes of challenges we face as a global community collectively. Throughout this century, wars have been fought over fossil fuels. The reliance of rich countries on fossil fuels fosters a climate of insecurity, and a rationale for large military budgets in the North. In the South, it often fosters or nurtures autocratic or dictatorial regimes and corruption, while exacerbating poverty and destroying subsistence cultures and sustainable livelihoods. A continued rapid consumption of fossil fuels also ensures catastrophic environmental consequences: Climate change is a serious, emerging threat to the stability of the planet's ecosystems, and a particular hazard to the world's poorest people. The threat of climate change also brings more urgency to the need to reorient energy-related investments, using them to provide abundant, clean, safe energy for human needs and sustainable livelihoods.

SEEN views energy not as an issue that can be examined in isolation, but rather as a vital resource embedded in a development strategy that must simultaneously address other fundamentals, such as education, health care, public participation in decision-making, and economic opportunities for the poorest. And toward that goal, SEEN is working to steer the financial investments of wealthy countries away from support for fossil fuels and toward more socially responsible and environmentally friendly alternatives, while ensuring that the fundamental building blocks of human development are not stripped away. Support for energy efficiency and renewable energy is a key element, together with creating the conditions to meet the needs of the poorest, North and South, in an equitable and democratic manner.

SEEN works to marshal the wisdom of the people most directly impacted by energy and economic issues--from workers in the North to the indigenous people of the Niger Delta, village India, or the Amazon--in finding solutions and advancing a just transition to a sustainable economy. (For example, see Oilwatch Declaration and Jharkhand Declaration.) SEEN also provides information resources to a global network of citizens groups, non-governmental organizations, government officials, and the media. Our research focuses on investments made by international financial institutions and government agencies in developing countries and economies in transition--where the largest energy investments will be made in coming decades--as well as in economically disadvantaged regions of the U.S.

In addition to sharing information resources and advocacy work, SEEN is facilitating the formation of a global network of activists, all of whom are working on one or more of the following issues: international financial institutions and export credit agencies’ investments in fossil fuels, the human rights and environmental consequences of these investments, local community needs and participation in development, climate change, energy policies and political and corporate interests, clean energy alternatives, among others. SEEN convenes regular conferences around the world on many of these subjects, with the goal of educating activists, the media, and the general public about the problems associated with fossil fuel investments. SEEN also aims to help provide the tools to challenge these investments, and works with others to provide alternative forms of investment and technology that are truly sustainable and meet the human needs of a growing population, particularly the poorest.
For more information, please contact:

Daphne Wysham
SEEN Director
733-15th St., NW, Suite 1020
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-234-9382, X208
Fax: 202-387-7915

Jim Vallette
SEEN Research Director
400 Seawall Road
Southwest Harbor, Maine 04679 USA
Phone: 1-207-244-3106
Fax: 1-561-431-0139

Nadia Martinez
SEEN Latin America coordinator
733-15th St., NW, Suite 1020
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-234-9382, X209
Fax: 202-387-7915
Picture how the world is run. In the NY Times (12/9/05) on page A6 there is a picture of Condoleezza Rice and the NATO foreign ministers in Brussels. One woman in a group of 27 men. Almost everyone is looking in a different direction. It's the type of picture in which you know someone has just grabbed your ass.
Under construction:
Make note and check back.
Here are upcoming elections to watch. They are very important:


Evo Morales is the Bolivian indigenous leader trying to win on December 18th.
Look for the US business community to start to worry about the move to the Left in many of these countries. So what have we learned from last century? It's important to acknowledge nationalism. The issues of poverty must be addressed. I'm curious to see what position the Pope is going to play in the next few years. Is liberation theology coming back? Those images of Che have such a Christ-like look. If so it will challenge the distribution of wealth and power.
It's the only Christian thing to do. The Catholic church will have to decide who it will serve. What would Jesus do?
It's important this time to find a balance between right/ avoid Civil Wars and human rights violations by the military or other groups. What will organized crime do? Will new government programs cut into their money making? What about the Anti-American rhetoric? Look for the upcoming World baseball classic in March to be a cultural confrontation and bragging rights to the hemisphere. Folks will want to defeat Bonds as well Bush. Is it symbolic that many of the American players are older? We have to embrace a changing world and find a way to respect and take care of our fellow human beings. Maybe the mutual love for a baseball will make our leaders realize that the earth is also round. Just don't try to bounce it...or throw it away.
Yep, just like I thought. Classical music will be next in the NBA. Stern is against the blaring of loud music and sound effects during basketball games. He wants to experiment with "silent night" at a few games. So now we will have the banning of the drum at Congo Square again? Slavery baby, just keep dribbling. Oh, and the guy wants to bring back the old basketball shorts. How stern can this guy be? Just paint the game another color and call it something else.

Oh, and please, Peyton Manning is not the best QB in football. It's Brady. Place Peyton on his butt a few times in a game and see those passes sink into the ground too. The Colts won't even make it to the SuperBowl. Nothing but another pony looking for a show.

And why? Trade Wilkerson for Soriano??? How many games did Wilkerson save with his glove??? Now, the good news is that the Nationals declined t offer arbitration to Preston Wilson. This guy was responsible for the Nationals decline in the second half of the season. How many times did he bat and hit nothing but air with key runners on base?? He didn't even advance the runners in a number of key games. Glad to see him go. Mookie to him. Soriano another guy looking for hype.

Oh, and do we need another war between Ethiopia and Eriteria again??? Really - what's with border conflicts in the 21st Century??? These two countries need more internet access. Fighting over borders and boundaries is so outdated.

Well, Howard University finally released their big Alumni Directory. I could even find myself listed on page 335. I checked to see if everything was OK. Who is Myere? Hmmm.That's not my son. Oh, well-that's why he is in Chester, PA right now. It's good to see this book out. It should put old friends back in touch. I wonder where some folks are: Charlene Porter, Cathy Bell, Carl Payton, Diane Dillon, Reggie and Barbara Moss, Marcia Evans, Margaret Chavis, Steve Jones, and Veronica Lowe???? Well, maybe I should read the big book and see who is going to heaven.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is moving to a new location. Our new home (starting December 19th) will be located at 1112 16th Street, Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Our phone numbers will remain the same. Here is our

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Good news from my friend Don Mee Choi. She has new translated work just released.
Here is the press information from TinFish Press:

I'm pleased to announce publication of When the Plug Gets Unplugged by Kim Hyesoon, translated by Don Mee Choi. Kim Hyesoon is one of the most prominent poets in South Korea, and Don Mee Choi lives in Seattle where she translates the work of Korean women poets. Chapbook design by Mike Cueva.
> These are poems about rats, spoken by rats. From "This Night":
> A rat
> devours a sleeping white rabbit
> Dark blood spills out of the rabbit cage
> A rat devours a piglet that has fallen into a pot of porridge

> A rat devours the new baby in the cradle
> Mommy has gone to the restaurant to wash dishes
> A rat slips in and out of a freshly buried corpse

> Anyone who gets this message can buy the chapbook for $8 from Tinfish Press, 47-728 Hui Kelu Street #9, Kaneohe, HI 96744.
I had a good afternoon. A visit from Sonsyrea Tate. Tate is now working as editor of THE WASHINGTON INFORMER. We laughed and talked like old times. I remember when she was writing her memoir THE LITTLE X about growing up inside the Nation of Islam. The latest issue of the INFORMER has an article about the Ken Sara-Wiwa reading that was held at Busboys & Poets.

I received an email from the Academy of American Poets. It was in regards to their adopt a poet program. Donated funds go to the upkeep of a poet's page on their website. I adopted two poets last year: Sterling Brown and Robert Hayden. I decided to increase my contribution to the Academy and sent funds for a Tolson page. I learned today that the Academy has no Tolson page. I suggested they create one; meanwhile I decided to adopt June Jordan. I think she would laugh about that idea.

Bad weather coming this way.
Thank you Dogg for saying what I thought. Snoop Dogg was interviewed in the Wall Street Journal today. One question was - How do you decide what products to endorse?
This is what the Dogg barked back:
"Basically, it has to be a produce I like or it has to be a big money deal...The check has to have a whole bunch of zeos at the end of the number. It doesn't matter what the front number is as long as it has lots of zeros at the end."
Snoop will never be a little bow wow.
This is bad news...The Supreme Court decided unanimously Social Security checks can be garnished to pay off old student-loan debt.
Many of us are going to be old and broke.
Screening this week at E Street Cinema: Winter Soldier
DC Poets Against the War presents Susan Tischy and Mike Maggio, Saturday, December 10 after the 7 pm screening

In the winter of 1971, a month after the revelations of the My Lai massacre, a public inquiry into war crimes committed by American forces in Vietnam was held at a motel in Detroit. Organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War with support from Jane Fonda and Mark Lane, more than 125 veterans (including the young John Kerry) spoke of atrocities they had witnessed and committed. Though attended by press and television news crews, almost nothing was reported to the American public. This rarely-seen documentary eerily reminds us that recent tortures and murders of prisoners held in detention by the American military may not be as unprecedented as the government claims. (

Susan Tichy's poems have been widely published in the US and Britain, and have been recognized by awards from the National Poetry Series and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her third book, _Bone Pagoda_, poems on Vietnam, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press. She lives in Colorado and in Virginia, where she teaches at George Mason University.

Mike Maggio's credits include fiction and poetry in Potomac Review, Pleiades, Apalachee Quarterly, The L.A. Weekly, The Washington CityPaper, and others. His most recent publication is a collection of short stories entitled Sifting Through the Madness (Xlibris, Inc, 2001). He has also published a chapbook of poetry entitled Oranges From Palestine (Mardi Gras Press, 1996). He is currently a student in the MFA program at George Mason University.

Winter Soldier screens at E Street Landmark Cinema December 9 - 16. 555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004 (entrance on E Street between 10th and 11th Street); (202) 452-7672;
Last night a nice band of friends gathered together at the Kensington Row Bookshop in Maryland. We celebrated the life and work of Hilary Tham who died this year. Tham was a jewel of a person and a wonderful writer. Many folks from Word Works were in the audience. Good to see Donna Denize, Karen Alenier, Grace Cavalieri and others.
We read Tham's poems and stories. I selected excerpts from her book COUNTING. It's a long poem that Tham published in 2000.

A Hilary Tham Memorial is being started at the Viginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Send tax-deductible donation made to:
VCCA, Attention: Sara Goodwin & Hilary Tham Memorial
154 San Angelo Dr, Amherst, VA. 24521

It was fun going to the Tham reading with Anne Becker. We passed her old home and many of the places that are now childhood memories. I thought we were - yes - in Narnia. Queen Anne as my guide. The Kensington Row Bookshop might not be the Wardrobe but its has to be one of the best small bookshops in the area. One could spend a day just finding things. I came away with a copy of Barry Silesky's biography of Ferlinghetti. A hardback edition for about $6.
Here is the number for the Kensington Row Bookshop: 301 949-9416.

Talking books, Word Works is getting ready to release a collection by Brandon D. Johnson. The title is LOVE SKIN. Congrats Brandon. He is another one of those Cave Canem writers producing fine work. I'm looking forward to reading his new book.

Hey...shoutout thanks to writer Yolanda Young for sending me a sweet holiday gift.
A nice copy of Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY. This was one of my brother's favorite books. From the preface:

"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all."
- Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Brady's Bunch. A good choice for Sportsman of the year. I think Tom Brady is the best QB in football since Montana. Sports Illustrated did well. The entire White Sox team would be my second choice for the award.

Now who will be TIME Person of the Year? I would select the Katrina victims. My second and third picks would be Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
Secret camps in Europe is going to be a hard sell. Folks will think it's WWII again.
All you have to do is watch the television series 24 and you know what we do. Jack was torturing folks for an entire season. War is a dirty game. What do you do if the guy on the other team is beheading folks? A difficult call. It gets back to all the terrorist alerts...maybe you just don't want to know about such things. Yet if we place our heads in the ground what happens to democracy and human rights? Who will defend the innocent victims? The future will demand that we all have courage to speak out against injustice wherever it is. Let history be our judge - our angel.

So what about the NBA dress code in terms of the length of shorts on the court? Look for basketball to thrive on an influx of European players and move beyond the HipHop crowd. Stern is Stern. No more drum in Congo Square. Cornrows are going to be next.
Sports is a business and players are going to resemble their owners. You'll know it's over when you hear a classical music rendition of our national song. Just play strings baby!

The other Bert is in The New Yorker(December 12)...Bert Williams. Lend me that mask. Cork me up. I'll be pissing blues backstage. Do you care or are you just sad for me?

Poet John Haines is reading at the Library of Congress tomorrow at 6:45 P.M.
I'm hooking up with Wendy R for a poetry program at the Potter's House on Friday at 7 P.M. Wendy will be the guest MC for the evening. Tonight a Hilary Tham reading at the Kensington Bookstore in Maryland.I'll be reading two of her poems from COUNTING. Hilary died this year...she will be missed. I wrote the following blurb for COUNTING:

"The poet's journey follows a path out of darkness. Hilary Tham is a person who moves beyond borders and boundaries. COUNTING measures the complexity of her life. Here race embraces faith and the reader is witness to Tham's transformation into a person who glitters and glows. She reminds us that the human spirit only lives when it evolves. In COUNTING Tham sometimes reminds me of Ginsberg,giving Kaddish for a loved one or asking America to confess or change. There is much in this book; what should we do with this unending light?"
Long day. Good day. Yesterday. I went to the bank and barber...then down to Cosi where I read a couple of newspapers. I waited for Provisions Library to open at Noon.
I hope to spend more time there in 2006. Provisions is the Resource Center for Activism and the Arts. It's located at 1611 Connecticut Avenue, NW. When I left I ran into T. Boston who invited me to have lunch with her at Chipotle. We had a nice meal and wonderful conversation. Around 3:45 I took the Red Line to the Writer's Center in Bethesda. We had a meeting on how to improve the running of Poet Lore. I think in 2005 we need to make sure publications have strong backing if they are associated with institutions. Good full-time staff is essential. As I move into 2006, this might be another project I might have to think twice about.

I went down to Busboys to meet my friend Rebecca Hoffberger. She is the founder of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. While waiting for her I had a nice chat with Colman McCarthy. This man is a peace/nonviolence institution. The author of I'D RATHER TEACH PEACE. He teased me about not having won one of those big awards.

Rebecca and I were joined by her friend Sandra - an artist and writer. We hit it off immediately. The three of us left Busboys and went down to Cafe Atlantico on 8th Street and had dinner. Funny how the city changes from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Looking back at yesterday...
The article in the Washington Post on Black Museums and their lack of donors is a key story to clip. I'm still amazed at how few black people supported the the Ali Museum in Louisville. What's going to happen with the National Museum that is going to be built in DC?

I couldn't believe the short article on Vieques in the Wall Street Journal. It looks like the place that was once a bombing range for the U.S. Navy is now a vacation spot.

BioPic on Nina Simone is coming out soon. Nuff Said.

I read an article about the situation at Hampton U and just cried. My people. My people. Where is Ralph Ellison when we need him?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Why are folks getting ready to watch a remake of King Kong? It this a NY attempt to bring back the Empire State building as the main attraction of New York? Are blondes back? Please explain this one to me.
Can you imagine if we could all star in remakes? I can see myself walking across Howard's campus wearing an afro, I'm reading THE QUOTABLE KARENGA. I bump into my roomate and he whispers in my ear that the Cress Theory of Color isn't true. Now I'm as upset as King Kong or Denz in Training Day.
Dentist today. Out of pocket expense...reimbursement later. We need to have better health care. Do you know why poor people don't smile? We can't afford too.

I completed my essay on Ahmos Zu-Bolton and sent it out to Redmond's DrumVoices Revue.

I had lunch over at the Firehook Bakery on Connecticut Avenue with my film friend Andrea. She spent time talking to me about the artist Jo Baer. I have to read up on her work.

In the recent AARP Bulletin it was mentioned that only 0.3 percent of the Internet's estimated 53.4 million bloggers are age 50 or older. Well, I'm an African American male and 55. Whoaaa. Do I count?

OK...World Baseball Classic is coming. A 16 nation tournament. Games will be played from March 3 -20 in Japan, Puerto Rico and the US (Florida, Arizona and California).
Here is the website:
Might these game replace the Fall Classic?

I heard from Rebecca Villarreal today. She is alive and well and living in Chicago.
Here is her website:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Much of the day was spent at a Writer's Center board meeting. It was our fundraising retreat. The Center will soon be celebrating its 30th Anniversary.There will be an Open House on January 21, 2006. Noon- 3 PM. Poet, Rose Solari just joined out board. A wonderful person. The latest issue of Poet Lore is out. Do you have your copy? Center website:

I watched the Rams/Redskin game. How many times do folks have to mention the Rams QB went to Harvard???

I've been reading Cleve Overton's memoir IN THE SHADOW OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY.
He is the only guy I know that had a chance to see Hiroshima (a year later) after the bomb was dropped. This is what he writes in his book:

"There were no dead bodies now, only rubble and small footpaths zigzagging through the devastation. There was an eerie quiet. There were no people or birds, no human voices or sounds, other than our own muted conversation as we tried to express our horror at what we were seeing. Everything seemed to be in harsh shades of gray. I was here barely a year after the blast, and I knew the shock would stay with me many more years."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Move over George there is another Bush on fire. This one plays for USC. What a performance against UCLA. The guy could have run for 300 yards. Will he be able to do this in the NFL? My daughter and I watched the game laughing ourselves silly.

I had a good day. My friend Susan came up from Virginia. We had lunch in Silver Spring, talked about writing and work. If I had a pad for everything Susan said I would have another book. I love her use of language, her joy for life. We have that high school type of friendship. We sit around and do nothing but talk; kick each other in the leg and share cookies and candy.

My son had another basketball game. I checked Widener's website and saw he played 9 minutes: 3 assists and 1 steal. I think he is making a good adjustment from high school to college ball. I'm happy to see him getting some minutes in his freshman year. Many guys just sit on the end of that bench that first year. Widener is 7-0.

Otis Redding playing again...

I sent some poems out for publication today.
AS one grows older there is that attempt to "bead" together the good days. Seldom do I wear a necklace, so the beads are often missing. But last night was a good one. Dinner with Buddy Bev at the Iron Gate Restaurant (1734 N Street, NW). This place will make you feel as if you're overseas. The food is excellent. With Winter here...the fireplace adds romance to any evening. This place must be crowded on Valentine's Day.

After dinner it was the Wizards losing to the Bucks. It was the first time I saw the "new" Wizards. They lost at the buzzer. :-( I think Butler is a player to watch. I don't know how far the Wizards can go this year. They still need more from their center position. Etan might have to write longer poems coming off the bench.
Daniels wouldn't be on my team. Maybe it's those leg garments he wears...Jordan throwbacks?

Friday, December 02, 2005

The other sad war news is coming out from federal prosecutors looking into crimes stemming from schemes to steer millions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction funds into hands of people who are just up to no good. Funds are needed if Iraq is to rebuild. How can we make any progress if folks are stealing? And these folks are Americans...I think they are putting US soldiers at risk by making their jobs more difficult. I'll never understand greed.
It's always sad to hear about the death of US soldiers. Prayers for the many parents who will not be able to celebrate the holidays with happiness in their hearts. War kills. Trouble Times...we weep into the holes in our hands. Why is there no peace? Why is everything so red?
Teaching the Montgomery Bus Boycott: 50 Years Later

On the 50th Anniversary of Montgomery Bus Boycott, it is time to honor the complete story of the boycott and the thousands of people whose sacrifice and courage sustained it and changed the course of our history. In too many American classrooms, the boycott is stripped down to one key phrase "Rosa Parks was tired." This, however, discounts Rosa Parks’ activist history and the highly skilled organizing required to sustain a 381-day boycott of public transportation in Montgomery.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of this historic event and to combat these myths, Teaching for Change has created a special website section on the Montgomery Bus Boycott which includes lessons (two of which are from Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching), a mythbusters quiz (based on Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching), a carefully selected list of books, resources for photos and primary documents, and a list of websites. This special section can be found on both of our websites and We hope you find these resources useful. If you have any additional items you recommend that we post please feel free to contact me.


Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching has been selected by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) as the core curriculum for their exhibit "381 Days: The Montgomery Bus Boycott Story." Vanjo Productions has selected Putting the Movement Back into Civil Rights Teaching as the book to distribute to all teachers who bring students to the youth performances of the play "If this Hat Could Talk: The Untold Stories of Dr. Dorothy Height ."

Best Regards,

Ilana Sabban
Publications Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Teaching for Change: winner of the NAME Organization of the Year award in 2004

Tel: (202) 588-7206
Fax: (202) 238-0109

I thought it would be a good idea to share the above information with you. People make history.

This morning I met with Cleve Overton. Cleve has just written his memoir - IN THE SHADOW OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY.
For information about the book contact: Diaspora Voices Press, 3301 9th Street, NE,
Washington, D.C. 20017. The book sells for $16.95.
The HU tribute to August Wilson yesterday was a very nice event. I was impressed by the quality of the production. The highlight (for me) was Reuben Santiago-Hudson doing an excerpt from Wilson's "Gem of the Ocean." The music was good too. Kiyanna Cox and Rosiland Gonsalves would have made Ma and Bessie proud. I sat in the audience with my friend Grace A; a gentle soul and beautiful spirit. There are some people you meet that bring light to life. Grace is one of them.

The National Writers Union had an author's celebration/bookfair at Busboys. It was good to see so many old friends. The local chapter of the NWU seems much stronger than it was a few years ago. It's beginning to feel like Boston or Minnesota.

Well, tonight I'll be going to the basketball game with my buddy Bev...a chance to check on those Wizards. Oh, take the Rams on Sunday. Look for the secondary to have a tough day guarding receivers.

Is Frank Robinson going to be back with the Nationals? If he has to make major changes to his coaching staff, he might retire. A man needs friends in the dugout or else the game is no longer fun. Baseball is about teams and's not just a business. You can't put a price tag on being in the World Series. One can sell the game of baseball but not it's spirit and charm. A fan risking his life to catch a priceless.

Holidays are coming...where are the tasty treats?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Another death in the family: Fanny Ellison (93) the wife of Ralph Ellison. They were married in August 1946. She was James Weldon Johnson's assistant while she was enrolled at Fisk. Fanny Ellison founded the Negro People's Theater in the mid-1920s.
She typed and edited much of Ralph Ellison's work.

A must read in today's NY Times is "A Man's Right to Choose" by Dalton Conley.
I think many men will understand what Dalton is saying. I know I do.
So why are black colleges so different? Hmmm. The other H School is in the news for pulling aside a few students for protesting against Bush. Bush is not the issue here. It's education and training leadership for the future. How can a black school print proper "protest" protocol in their handbook? This is like having slaves write their own black codes. I've always told students as well as faculty members at different schools to always be sure someone is not changing the fine print in those rule books. Don't jaywalk during a revolution. Folks will pull you aside and get you on those technical things. But check this...what would Martin Luther King, Jr do? How can one celebrate and honor Rosa Parks and not realize that being black is being radical, nine times out of ten. I laughed after I read the material my son received from the H school(he was accepted but went elsewhere). As a parent I couldn't agree to some of the stuff in the packet. What year is this? What's the price of cotton?
Baseball player Vic Power died (78) this week. Man...this guy was great. Style baby.
All the way. The one hand catch at first base. 7 Gold gloves. How many times did I try to be like VP while growing up in the South Bronx? For more info on Power
go to Larry Moffi's book THIS SIDE OF COOPERSTOWN: AN ORAL HISTORY OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IN THE 1950S. The book was published by the Univesity of Iowa Press in 1996.
Next year folks in Puerto Rico, as well as stadiums around the country should get some Vic Lives! posters. Yeah...don't forget the guy. Thanks Moffi.
Yesterday I slept late. I have a few days off this month. Recharge the old battery.
I had a meeting over at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (located on 3100 South Street). This is a very cool hotel. I love the design and interior layout. Georgetown is a part of Washington I seldom visit. It's just not on my radar. When I was younger, my first wife (Mikki) and I were always going to the movies around Wisconsin Avenue. Sweet memories that slip thru the fishnets. Anyway, I met with my dear friend Addai and his friend Tony. They represent the organization TRIBUTE. They are putting together the big LISTEN CAMPAIGN 2006 which is a multi-media global broadcast advocacy...
Their big event will be a live broadcast from Madison Square Garden on July 29th.
Reaching 60 countries and 500 million people.
Here is the Tribute website:

Addai and I also talked about the upcoming anniversary of Ghana's independence. More about that in future E-Notes.

In the late afternoon I went over to my daughter's job near DuPont Circle. We got together and went to the DC Jewish Community Center on 16th Street. I took her to see the film LIVE AND BECOME directed by Radu Mihaileanu.
I highly recommend this movie.
It's about an Ethiopian mother who conspires to place her seven-year old non Jewish son with a group of Falashas bound for Israel. It's the only way for him to survive the Ethiopian famine of the mid-1980s. The boy grows up adopting a double identity, embracing Judaism while keeping the truth of his origins a secret.
This film features the actor Sirak Sabahat. My daughter and I had a chance to meet him before the movie started. He was in town for the VIP premiere.

After the movie my daughter and I had dinner at BUA a Thai restaurant located at 1635 P Street. Good food.