Friday, March 31, 2006

I spent the day at IPS. I attended a meeting of progressive academics. We discussed ways of strengthening the "progressive"infrastructure on colleges across the country. It's important to know who is doing what and where. I had a chance to meet, Lance Compa (from Cornell), Lloyd Jeff Dumas (Economists for Peace and Security), Gerry Epstein (University of Mass/Amherst) and Wendy Mink (Smith College). Always good things going on at IPS. Andy Shallal's mural of the history of IPS is almost finished in the conference room. It's as beautiful as his mural in the Langston Room at Busboys. Love and thanks for Andy for including my poem "where are the love poems for dictators" on the wall. Make a trip down to the IPS Office (1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600). This is worth a trip to IPS if you've never been there.

IPS Founder Marcus Raskin slipped me a CD of his music before I left. So tonight there will be no listening to Usher, Mahalia Jackson, Kirk Franklin, Four Tops, Alicia Keys, Sun Ra, or Dolly Parton. It's going to be Raskin and his "Elegy for the End of the Cold War. This is classical baby.
The otherside of Ellington.
The following program is part of my Window & Mirrors Series at the DCJCC. Please come.

The Washington Jewish Music Festival presents
Hasidic New Wave and Yakar Rhythms
RHYTHM & JAZZ: On the Edge of the Afro-Semitic Diaspora
Sunday, May 21, 7:00 pm
In advance: $15; Discounted Member, Student and Senior Price $10; Children under 10 $5
At the door: $20; Discounted Member, Student and Senior Price $14; Children under 10 $7
VENUE: Carnegie Institution of Washington,
1530 P Street NW(16th and P)

In an electrifying synthesis of rhythm and jazz, the premiere traditional-experimental Jewish jazz group Hasidic New Wave teams up with an improbable partner—the renowned Senegalese Sabar drum ensemble. Riveting to the eyes, exhilarating to the ears and provocative to the mind, these musical explorations expand the horizons of Afro-Semitic and Judeo-Muslim creative collaboration. Their first joint performance, at the New York Jazz Festival in 2000, was ecstatically received and broadcast on Black Entertainment Television’s “BET on Jazz.” They subsequently performed at New York’s Knitting Factory, Makor and The Museum of Jewish Heritage, and toured throughout Europe and North America. This is the collaboration’s Washington, DC debut. Renowned pianist Marilyn Lerner and vocalist Adrienne Cooper join as special guests.

Yakar Rhythms’ members (Alioune Faye, Ousmane Sall and Abdulaye Diop) have played with all the leading Senegalese artists from Youssou N’Dour to N’Diaye Rose and have recorded internationally with such luminaries as Stevie Wonder and Peter Gabriel.

Hasidic New Wave (featuring trumpeter Frank London of the Klezmatics, saxophonist Greg Wall, bassist Fima Ephron and drummer Aaron Alexander) have used their knowledge of traditional Jewish and contemporary African-American musics to forge a new synthesis that has garnered acclaim for their four CDs and their live shows.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Just like Harlem in the 1920s? Everyone must have been
at Busboys this evening. Members of Sweet Honey,
Michon Boston,
Yusef Jones, Dottie Green, Tony Regusters, Thomas Stanley and Paula, Harlee Little...there was a little Langston in me, laughing and having fun. So many folks in the Langston room. Alexis Peskine was having his art opening - The French Evolution.

Cool Thomas Stanley slipped me a copy of THE GIFT - LIVE AT SANGHA: November 6, 2004, William Hooker, Roy Campbell and Jason Hwang.

Life is good.
It’s time to enter the Nimrod/Hardman Awards competition for two annual awards given by Nimrod International Journal, deadline April 30, 2006. The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry offer first prizes of $2,000 and second prizes of $1,000, along with publication of the winning stories and poems, and a trip to Tulsa to receive the awards and take part in our annual writing workshop. Past winners include Sue Monk Kidd, Kate Small, Diane Glancy, Steve Lautermilch, Ellen Bass, Thomas Gough, Ruth Schwartz, and Sarah Flygare. Past judges for the Awards include Marvin Bell, Mark Doty, Janette Turner Hospital, Stanley Kunitz, W. S. Merwin, Pattiann Rogers, William Stafford, Ron Carlson, Edward Hirsch, and John Edgar Wideman.

I have included the Awards rules in this e-mail. Please contact us if you have any questions, or visit our website——to learn more about Nimrod. Also, feel free to share this information with any writing friends or groups. I hope to see your submission soon!


Eilis O’Neal
Managing Editor
Nimrod International Journal
I had a wonderful morning meeting with David Furchgott. He is the President and Founder of International Arts & Artists.
David introduced me to members of his staff, gave me a tour and talked about what his organization has been doing. They have a great space on 9 Hillyer Court (behind the Cosmos Club). David was kind enough to give me a catalog of Kara Walker's SLAVERY! SLAVERY! which was on display back in 2002 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In a previous E-Note, I made reference to Walker's current exhibit at the MET.
The best news coming out of Iraq in a long time:

News Alert 6:29 a.m. ET Thursday, March 30, 2006Journalist Jill Carroll Released in Iraq American journalist Jill Carroll, who had been held hostage by insurgents in Iraq, was freed Thursday in Baghdad after nearly three months in captivity. Carroll, 28, was turned over to an Iraqi political party and seen by Washington Post reporters.
So where is the ghost of Roger Maris? His hair still falling out from stress and all this news about steroids.

What does Willie Mays know about Bonds possible use of steroids? Hmm...Say What? Say Hey?
Hammerin Hank's records should stand until John Henry comes along. Look for Bonds to talk about early retirement or fake an injury for a couple of months. McGwire needs to answer some questions too. Poor Sammy Sosa. Who's going to translate this sadness into Spanish? Look for some big balls to roll soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Listening to Mahalia Jackson...Yes I'm on my way...

New book out:
This is another Red Hen book. Golden eggs?

Andrew P. Jackson
The 18th Annual Dorothy Porter Wesley Lecture, lecturer: Andrew P.
Jackson (Sekou Molefi Baako), Executive director, Langston Hughes
Community Library Cultural Center in New York and the President of the
Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

He will be speaking at 2:30 PM, Friday, April 7, 2006 in the Browsing
Room, Founders Library, Howard University.
More or less:
"The Bush administration recently chose not to seek additional money for reconstructing Iraq, even though the $20 billion spent to date has failed to restore the country's infrastructure to prewar levels. Law-enforcement officials are intensifying their probes into fraud and corruption that is believed to have occurred."

- Wall Street Journal, 3/29/06
OK, let's begin the media hype for the big NFL game later this year. Indianapolis Colts against the NY Giants on September 10th. Yep, Peyton Manning against his brother Eli. This is the Colts opening day game.
I'm going with the little brother.
Another NFL first will be a Monday night doubleheader: Minnesota Vikings/Washington Redskins playing at 7PM. San Diego/Oakland will be the second game.
Breakfast with Sarah B at the Mocha on U. When I arrived on the HU campus I walked over to the Fine Arts building to take a look at the faculty exhibit. A few good things. Checkout two pieces by Michael Platt: "Life Back To The Dead" and "Church." Kebedech Tekleab's "The Song of the Century: From Tsunami to Katrina from Darfur to Iraq" will pull you aside for a conversation. The work of Al Smith is always the annual surprise. One never knows what Smith is going to do. The guy has an internet of talent. Go see his "Woven Chord."
Before I was reading poems by Langston Hughes and Sterling Brown, I was in New York (Columbus High School) singing the songs of Paul Simon...and then came Dylan and Ochs. Paul Simon will release his first new album in six years on May 9th. "Surprise" will be released by Warner Records. Even Herbie Hancock is on this one.
Duke U or David Duke? Follow this rape allegation case. Look for it to disappear in the news or get big attention. Colleges hate scandels as much as they love to win the NCAA games. How will this play in the South? White men raping a black woman (who has children). Slavery days?
Oh, and what about the one black guy on the lacrosse team? What did he see? What did he not see? What did he not hear? Will he be as quiet as C. Thomas when this case goes to court? Is this a black lacrosse player like Jim Brown at Syracuse? Someone is going to have to be a hero here.
Speakout and do the right thing. Walls of silence up against DNA evidence. Will someone place the blame on the woman because she went to a private party and guys were drinking and well ---you heard it before. They were white and young and things just went too far. Which brings me back to a poem ("Poem about My Rights") by June Jordan after she was raped:

and if after stabbing him if after screams if
after begging the bastard and even if even after smashing
a hammer to his head if even after that if he
and his buddies fuck me after that
then I consented and there was
no rape because finally you understand finally
they fucked me over because I was wrong I was
wrong again to be me being me where I was /wrong
to be who I am
March 28, 2006
Contact: Kate Havelin, 651-642-1242
Cell, 612-414-1362


Twin Cities writers and journalists will gather outside the Federal Building in Minneapolis on Thursday, April 7th at 11:30am to call for the release of Michigan freelance journalist Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped while covering the war in Iraq. April 7th marks the three-month anniversary of Carroll's disappearance.

Two Minnesota unions are working together to build pressure for her release as well as to honor all journalists who have been killed, wounded, or kidnapped in Iraq. The Twin Cities chapter of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) and the Minnesota Newspaper Guild/Typographical Union (CWA Local 37002) have organized the vigil.

Since the Iraq war started three years ago, 86 journalists have been killed while reporting there. Reporters Without Borders notes that “The war in Iraq has proved to be the deadliest for journalists since World War II. A total of 86 journalists and media assistants have been killed in Iraq since the war began on 20 March 2003. This is more than the number killed during 20 years of war in Vietnam or the civil war in Algeria.”

"There is a common saying that freedom is not free, and neither is freedom of the press. Journalists like Jill Carroll choose to work in dangerous places so all of us can be informed. We Minnesota writers and journalists want to stand with our colleagues who have chosen to put themselves in danger so that all of us can better understand what is happening in Iraq," said Rob Ramer local freelance writer and National Writers Union executive committee member. "Jill Carroll is in captivity and being threatened with death because she ventured outside of the relative safety of the Green Zone in order to report the full picture of what is happening in Iraq. Whether you're a journalist or not, all of us depend on people like Jill Carroll so we can make informed decisions about our world."

On April 7th, at 11:30 am, outside the Federal Building and Courthouse at 4th Avenue and 4th Street in downtown Minneapolis, members of the two local unions will read the names of their fellow reporters who have been killed while trying to report the news.

Reporters Without Borders has launched an international awareness campaign about the risks faced by journalists in Iraq. It has also published a survey documenting the circumstances of how the 86 journalists died. Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world.
For more information, check
The NFL is thinking about banning some of the TD celeberations (again). It's a silly move. The TD celebrations add flavor to the game. Some of the celebrations are so original that you wish someone would call them in the huddle. Someone should thank Homer Jones for spiking the first football back in the 1960s.

Can you make sense out of this (The New Yorker) review of Mariah Carey's singing by Sasha Frere-Jones?
"Carey's freakish vocal ability explains part of her appeal. In the same way that people went to a San Francisco Giants game in order to see Barry Bonds hit a home run, people buy Carey's records in order to hear her do things with her voice that no one else can do."

The key word here is "freakish." Is Carey on steroids? Should we question the fact that she might break the world record for the most No.1 songs before she turns forty? I've never been a serious Carey fan. I like to remember a singer's voice and not just her legs.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A day of phone calls, emails and meetings. Fun talking and laughing with Brenda-Marie in New Orleans. Fun talking with first wife Mikki. Lunch time catfish with Linda G from Georgetown at Busboys. A wonderful Mocha meeting with the Amazing Ginger G after work. Spring coming...

Check the cover of THE NEW YORKER (April 3, 2006). Yep...big number 25 must be Barry Bonds.
A sly way to hint at steriod use.
Britt's coming? Brittany at Howard is putting together a cool site:
HoCoPoLitSo invites you to an afternoon of poetry with Maxine Kumin.
Friday, April 21, 2006, 4 PM
The Meeting House, Oakland Mills Village Center
5885 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD 21045
Reading and refreshments.
$25 per person
Show by your deeds what you're
destined to be.

- Paul Laurence Dunbar
New book out:
TURN THE PAGE AND YOU DON'T STOP: Sharing Successful Chapters In Our Lives With Youth. Edited by Patrick M. Oliver.
Information for you:

Great Home for Rent in Silver Spring, Maryland
Our wonderful single-family house is available for rent starting August 1, 2006. This family-friendly location is ideal for Washington commuters, with easy access to Metro and the Beltway. Walk to beautiful Sligo Creek Park or downtown Silver Spring or Takoma Park. The 2-story home has 4 bedrooms (master bedroom with private porch) , 2 baths, home office, family room, dining room, living room, large sceened porch, gorgeous yard with flowering trees, modern kitchen, central AC, driveway, upright piano and a treehouse! Rent is $2,500 month/unfurnished. Contact Keith Mason at or in Paris at 33 1 4524-7425 or 33 6 0849-0323.

Monday, March 27, 2006

If you have children you MUST obtain a copy of today's WALL STREET JOURNAL. They have an "excellent" article on "Love & Money" by Jeff D. Opdyke. He presents 9 questions partners should ask each other before getting married. Give (don't just share) this to your son and daughter before they tie any knots. The article is so good that I shared it with my wife and we talked about the mistakes we made. I needed to read this 25 years ago. Don't be like me. Get yourself a paper -now!
Exhibit: Paul Robeson, The Tallest Tree in Our Forest opens at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland on April 8th. It will be there until July 8th.
For info contact:
15 years and Somalia has been without a working government. What year is this? How long will Katrina sufferers wait for help? 15 years?

Former Liberian president Charles Taylor facing charges of crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone. How can one person destroy so many lives? We see this happening in country after country. Power corrupts and yet we have the potential to do so much good. When will things change? 15 years?

Here is a ethical question: Should bad dictators be aborted in their mother's wombs?
Do they have a right to life...A life that will destroy so many others?
Do we have a choice?
George Mason in the final 4. The starting 5 is from the Maryland suburbs. There are so many good basketball players coming right out of the DC/VA/MD area. Many of the colleges are becoming aware of this. Where is Waldo? Where is Howard?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I cleaned the front and back yards this morning. Flowers trying to find out what day and time it is. Color starting to see the world. I left the house around 9AM and headed to a board meeting at the Writer's Center. I read a few of Jeffrey Coleman's poems in SPIRITS DISTILLED. Some gems here. Check "The Isolated Road" and "Rivers Between Us." This book should be nominated for an award.

The Writer's Center board meetings are always funny. I enjoy the group. A Sunday kind of love.

I didn't get back home until early afternoon. Bills to pay. takes so long to do. I spent about an hour just writing checks. I took a break and went downstairs and watched the UConn/Mason basketball game with my daughter. It was like old times...both of us laughing...this time at Rudy Gay. The kid better not try and enter the NBA too soon. Where is his defense? Mason was lucky to pull the game out. They better make those freethrows in the next round or the slipper won't fit.

One thing I did today was send some money to the Carter Center in Atlanta. Jimmy Carter is one person I admire. I keep near my desk a picture of me and him shaking hands in the White House back in the seventies. It's important to contribute to organizations that are doing things to improve our world. I think we should all strive to be peacemakers; to fight injustice and suffering world-wide.

Tomorrow I'm heading over to the Howard University Gallery of Art. The 35th Annual Faculty Exhibition is up until April 21st. Don't miss.

OK...back to reading Poet Lore submissions and doing taxes.
Thinking About the Unthinkable?

1- What's after Hip Hop?
2- It's not about bringing our troops home but where are they going nex?
3. What do we do if Black/Hispanic riots become a national problem?
4. Will you give to the American Red Cross after a major US earthquake?
5. Why are we building walls in Israel and now Texas? Is the wall an outdated concept like privacy?
6. So aliens land from outerspace and request a meeting only with the Haitian Government, what do we do?
7. A US law is passed preventing the playing of all music by Sun Ra. There are no protests at historical black colleges.
8. The Cubs win the US World Series but the World Baseball Classic is now the World Series.
Cubs lose again?
9. Kwame Brown is an NBA all-star with 5 championship rings.
10.Buddy Bolden is elected mayor of New Orleans.
What can I say but - Hit That Jive, Jack (Nat King Cole Trio).
Put the Nation in your pocket, until I get back.
I found many of the Letters in THE NATION responding to Walter Mosley's "A New Black Power" essay to be lame at best. Where is our visionary thinking?
I received a note from the writer Gina Greenlee. I met her about 5 years ago when I gave a speech at the National Writer's Union Delegates Assembly in New York. Gina is the author of the new book CHEAPER THAN THERAPY: HOW TO KEEP LIFE'S SMALL PROBLEMS FROM BECOMING BIG ONES.
Discover Greek History and Culture
The Textile Museum
2320 S Street, NW
Saturday, April 1, 1-4 PM

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Check the cover of THE NATION (April 10th).
Sometimes I stumble into history
the way a small animal, a rabbit or a fox,
stumbles into a passing car's beam of light.
Sometimes I am the driver.

- Yehuda Amichai
I guess I spent the entire day at Busboys. I arrived before it opened at 10AM. Inside was Alexis Peskine hanging his artwork. Alexis lives in Paris. He is the person who painted the mural in the Howard University bookstore featuring several African American writers (Ethelbert is included). Alexis is having an opening reception at Busboys on Thursday, March 30th, 5-8PM.
Alexis is represented by Tonya Jordan. She can be reached at: 202 297-1053.

Cool A.L.Nielsen walked into BusBoys a little after 10AM. Aldon Nielsen is one of the best literary scholars in the US. Someone should do a very long interview with him...send it to a place like the African American Review. I still think A.L. must have been playing sax once in SunRa's band of space travelers. Check his criticism out...avant-garde stuff too. Years ago this guy was writing wonderful poems and making claim to the first Larry Neal Award.

I was waiting for Karen DeWitt. Karen always reminded me of Roz Cash the actress. It was good to see her, and just talk for our hours. Karen is like family, she makes a guy feel like a girlfriend and the time passes quickly. Karen is one of those African Americans who made a difference everywhere she worked: NY Times, NightLine...
Karen and I went from Busboys to Mocha...we also stopped at Creme on U. It was the first time I went into the place. Nice folks. I understand now why Starbucks has to place a store on both sides of the street. Folks like me are like chickens that don't cross -what's on the otherside? I know.

Karen and I sat in Mocha and lovely Jyotika and child was there. Oh...what an Angel of a child.
Jyotika with that gorgeous Mom- glow. Sitting at the next table was Alfia Johnson who is going to do a one-woman show one day. Something to look for...
While in the Mocha, I received a phone call from the Amazing Ginger G. Get well soon G.

Around the middle of the afternoon I slipped back into Busboys. The Black Arts Movement was sitting at a table: Askia Toure, Marvin X, Lamont Steptoe, Tony Medina, cool Fred and Alan. It was like Black Fire without Baraka and Neal.

I ducked into the Langston Room for the HAM-Arts Night organized by Wilson High School students. Fun time for all. Poetry, music and performance. The guest poets were Naomi Ayala, Sarah Browning and Shahid Buttar. It was nice meeting Fiona Kohrman and MT Connolly.

Before calling it a day and heading home I ran into Sage Morgan-Hubbard at the bookstore.
I remember when she was in Middle school with my own she is a young woman giving art to the world.

On my way back home I ran into Jarvis Grant on the bus; another Howard - Cook Hall guy from the old days. A master photographer who is responsible for giving eyes back their sight.
I have to read a few poems later today at Busboys & Poets. It's an event involving students from Wilson H.S. The program will be from 5-7 PM.

Jeffrey Coleman sent me a copy of his new book of poems - SPIRITS DISTILLED.
It's a Red Hen Press book. Coleman has a couple of upcoming readings in the area:
Georgetown Branch Library on April 10th. 7PM
The Writer's Center on April 29th
Karibu Books on May 25th at 6:30 PM
Coleman's book is highly recommended by Lucille Clifton and Norman Dubie.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Washington Post Photo
Sad to see the protests in Paris become violent. On the front page of the Washington Post (today) is a guy bashing a car. Who is this guy? Where is he from? What womb did he come out of? What is this guy's politics? According to the Post article, hooded gangs of youth emerged from side streets after the peaceful march of 140,000 protesting job laws. This is a worldwide problem. I remember going to protests years ago and there would be folks taunting and wanting a confrontation with the police. If the police did bang a few heads, the media next day ignored the purpose of the march and simply wrote about property damage. I hope we won't see important movements for social change held hostage by few crazies out to play clockwork orange. I'm also getting tired of folks running around with ski masks. Have you noticed everyone wears them these days - terrorists as well as police. Prisoners as well as guards. What type of human rights fashion statement is this? Who invented the hood? When did the hood create the hoodlum?
The Cultural Institute of Mexico and NEA is sponsoring a reading and book party on April 19th, 7PM at the Cultural Institute of Mexico (2829 16th Street, NW). The book celebration is for CONNECTING THE LINES AND LINEAS CONECTADAS. This is a two-volume bilingual anthology of contemporary poetry from Mexico and the United States. This sounds like another good project being promoted by Dana Gioia. Gioia has done an excellent job as chairman of NEA.
What about the NBA? Look for the basketball stock of J.J. Redick to go down. If he can't find his shot during an NCAA championship game, don't think he's going to find it when he turns pro. The game will continue to get more physical.
Is this the curse of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated again? Adam Morrison was laying facedown on the hardwood too.
Kara Walker's AFTER THE DELUGE is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) until July 30th. There is a review of the show in today's New York Times. The MET is located at 5th Avenue and 82nd Street. 212 535-7710.
After reading about all those points Kwame Brown scored for the Lakers, I decided not to write any E-Notes yesterday. Is this more bad news for the Bush Administration? Yesterday was a good day. I ran into my old friend Tom Terrell at the Takoma station. A wonderful Howard man who said he was moving back to Washington. Tom was the photographer taking all those pictures for the school newspaper back in the early '70s. The guy knows the music too. Having him back in the city is what Lucille Clifton would call "good news."
Talking about the city, last night the Humanities Council of Washington DC celebrated its 25th Anniversary at the Arts Club of Washington. Awards were given to the Founders of the Council:
Sophy Burnham, Roderick French, E. Ethelbert Miller, Delano Lewis, Maria Otero, Samuel F. Smith and Cynthia Smith. It was joy time. Alan Jabbour was playing his fiddle, there was a Hand Dance demonstrations and simply good times shared by all. Mayor Williams was there and having fun too. Also in the audience was the amazing Ginger G. She loaned me a copy of the film Chameli by Sudhir Mishra. Michon and her Mom gave me a ride home and just being around these two lovely ladies made it a desert of an evening.
Around 10 PM, there was a ground delivery of a package to my home. A crackerjack surprise -WIND IN A BOX, a new collection of poems by Terrance Hayes. Hayes is one of those African American male writers who is changing the landscape of American poetry. What's needed are a few major critics to step forward and begin writing about these guys: Kevin Young, Tom Sayers Ellis, Major Jackson, A. Van Jordan, Jess -US. These writers are the New Dunbars. They have removed their masks and are on the move - living in every state you can more Harlem baby...these guys are in Texas, Vermont and Steeler country. Folks need to put down those black romance books and start romancing the poems these men are writing. The New Dunbars(that's just me doing some branding) is the most important occurance in African American literature since Morrison danced with Sula and Walker discovered purple before Prince. So what's needed to get this news out? A cover story in Poets & Writers, a big Sunday New York Times Magazine story, and maybe a long piece in The New Yorker or on NPR. But wait...the world has changed. Why wait. Let's just Blog away and promote these guys. They are changing the literary world. It's sad that many of the African American literary critics are stuck in the Black Arts Movement like it was Europe. Get out of Europe. Move beyond the Sixties. This is 2006.
A new century, a new literature, New Dunbars.
Oh, I know there will be feedback from all those young talented African American women poets, who feel I'm overlooking their work. Nope. I'm just tired of reading about how young black men are victims and thugs. I look around and Black men are taking care of business. Let's just celebrate them. So Honoree -don't get upset with me. I love you madly.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

In other news...

There are many young black men around this country working hard. They
will help improve conditions in this world. I received my son's mid-term
grades and was very happy to see a 3.5 average. These are the stories
that are out there in many homes. We just need to tell them and
encourage other positive songs to be sung. Everyday young black men
should count their blessings and then they should do something to bless
others. In many ways I feel my children bless my life.
This is What's Going On:

Marvin Gaye Park
To Be Dedicated on April 2nd 2006 at 3 pm

A resolution to change the name of Watts Branch Park to Marvin Gaye Park was
passed at a D.C. Council meeting last month. It's a long swath of land that
winds through Northeast, and it played a prominent role at the beginning of
Gaye's musical journey. For more information on the dedication ceremony, contact
Steve Coleman at 202-462-7275 or visit

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

God must be reading E-Notes too. I leave work and walk down Georgia Avenue to the Metro.
A woman hands me a small brochure. I open it and read:

"Did you know that God has a special invitation for you? He doesn't require that you dress up to approach Him or turn over a new leaf to impress Him. You can come just as you are. This is the most important invitation you will ever receive. "

I guess it's heaven and not Hampton for me.
Well - no cornrows or dreadlocks at the Hampton Business School. What would Bob Marley do?
Hair codes until some white person says it's OK ? I have no idea what dress for success means. Bill Gates looks like he is always going to a science fair. So many people making money outside the office. People making money in their underwear. The folks with money always wear whatever they want. Folks who are poor put more money into clothes than ideas.
A good business is built around a good product and service to the customer. Give me a polite Rasta with dreads over a person with a suit who thinks I'm invisible.
Job for you?

The English Department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland at Historic St. Mary’s City is accepting applications for a one-year sabbatical replacement to teach three courses a semester, including first-year composition (two each semester), creative writing, and advanced fiction. MFA or PhD required. $30,000 plus benefits. Applications due April 15. To apply, please submit cover letter, dossier, and short writing sample. Write to Robin Bates, Chair, Search Committee, at 18952 E. Fisher Road, St. Mary’s College of MD, St. Mary’s City MD 20686. SMCM is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. Visit our website:
Red Bull (the energy drink) just purchased the soccer team known as the MetroStars. They will now be called the New York Red Bulls. Look for corporations to move from the naming of stadiums to taking over the team's name. I should be endorsing paper products and pens. Bert Tips for writers on the go. I still think Rose Solari should do this. Solari...what a great name for a product. Hey Babe! What do you think? "Solari for the writer who thought there was nothing else to write."
My daughter told me about the following:

I've just learned about a website ( that is definitely worth the time to check out.

Whew...keeping up with the kids requires an internet.
So who made the decision not to have Belafonte speak at Coretta's funeral? It was probably members of the Black middle-class wanting to be proper. I doubt if it was even the Bush( men). What I think is important to note in Belafonte's comments is that he was not going to be rude with Bush in the audience. At the same time he was not going to compromise his politics. Neither did former President Carter who made reference to the government's wiretapping of MLK.
Here is where there is a lesson for all of us. It takes courage to address certain issues. I think however we can disagree without going overboard and hurting ourselves. I knew Belafonte's comments in Venezuela were going to become a problem as soon as he said them. Poor choice of words? I think it's important to oppose the war in Iraq without creating a rhetoric war here in the States. It makes it difficult to organize and support a strong anti-war movement. Now folks want to make Belafonte an issue. I think this Belafonte "incident" tells us a lot about the King family- which might be no different from the Jacksons of Gary, Indiana.
Hard decisions need to be made around rebuilding New Orleans. Here is the key question we need to be asking : Is the area environmentally safe?

We also need to think about creating "new" cities in other parts of the country. These cities would be built for Katrina victims. They would be high-tech. The best schools and public housing would be constructed. Each city would have it's own police force, teachers, etc. Emphasis would be placed on providing skills to everyone who lives in the area. The towns might be business towns...linked to a corporation that invests not only in their product but the people who use it.

If we think about building "new cities" elsewhere then we move people out of hurricane paths, etc. Natural disasters have a way of changing things; we just have to make sure it's for the better. We need to think New Ideas and not just New Orleans.
Bush is already talking about the next president having to find an Iraqi exit. There is no way the US is going to be out of Iraq in the next 10 years. Let's just be honest with ourselves. The country is broken and it's going to take a long time to fix. Just multiple every death by a family and you have anger, grief and and a ton of tears that is not going to heal the earth or the hearts of future generations. We've opened so many doors to hatred that forgiveness isn't even an exam question.
Brokeback Mountain is being rushed into DVD release to take advantage of the Oscar buzz. Look for it to be in the stores on April 4th.

The World Baseball Classic was a big business success. Major league baseball made a profit. It's a nice way to move beyond the steriod issues. The next Classic will be in 2009. Look for the US to be more serious about these games. Everyone else is. How it will play against March Madness is something folks will have to think about. Look for more baseball teams to come from Europe. Major league baseball might even start playing more exhibition games's all about the market. Look for China to enter this too.
All that stuff about stars getting injured will be push aside as folks begin to make big bucks.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Have you visited the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement website?
3 months away from another hurricane season. Another round of blues for blues people?
"On the Shoulders of Giants" is a documentary film being produced by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It's about the The New York Rens or the New York Renaissance Five, a trailblazing all-black team named for Harlem's Renaissance Casino. Between 1922 and 1949 the Rens won 2,588 and lost 529. Look for the film to be released by November, DVD in February, with the release of a companion CD and book.
The new president of the PEN American Center is Ron Chernow. I'm a member of the organization but I'm not really connected to it. A number of years ago I served on the board. Susan Sontag was president. Nowadays I just send a check north as a matter of principle, nothing more...

In the New York Times today there was an article about lung cancer and how it strikes nonsmokers. I remember before Zoe Anglesley died how she felt her illness was due to the workplace. According to the Times, there are other factors besides smoking that can give you lung cancer:

- Secondhand smoke
- Exposure to asbestos
- Indoor radon
- Workplace carcinogens
- Scarred and irradiated lungs (people with repeated lung infections like bronchitis and pneumonia
- Air pollution
- Poor diet (a diet deficient in fruits and vegetables)

Why? Why is Disney presenting TARZAN, The Broadway Musical? Do we really need to see this (again)?
Ichiro baby! Just Ichiro...Suzuki doubled, singled and drove in a run. He also scored three times, in the World Baseball Classic. Fantastic base running. Yakyu - I love the game.
Will C. Rice leave the Bush Administration for the big NFL job? Hmmm. 2 years left playing for the White House, things are going bad, do you punt? Dropkick like Flutie?

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Nationals should trade Soriano before the season begins. Is this T.O. in a baseball cap?
3121 - Prince is back. Nothing but "Black Sweat."
Second World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace, from March 19-22, 2006 in Seville-Spain. Peace will only take place when people begin to cross the lines that keep us apart.
My sister took me to see my Mom today. I didn't know what to expect. It was nice to discover that my Mom was looking better than ever. It was good visit. She provided my sister and I with a ton of family history. So much you never know about your roots. I wish I had a tape recorder. I've been relaxing watching television...24 on Fox and also the World Baseball Classic on ESPN. It looks like Japan is going to win...just what I expected.
I read the Sunday New York Times article about Barack Obama. The Cuomo factor at work here again. Give one good speech at the Democratic convention and folks want you to be president of the country. We must be very hungry for candidates. Why do people feel I'll be happy with a bowl of Rice? What else is on the menu? Why is this suddenly buffet?
Year 4 of the war. What if the war goes on for 15-20 years? How will it change our nation? Walking around New York it's impossible to relate to what's going on many miles away. There is no draft intruding on civilian life. There is no White House in New York. No Walter Reed Hospital reminding me of the injured young. To "think" about the war is like selecting a book to read or changing the television channel. What about the economics of war? How long can we pay for things in Iraq without making spending cuts at home. Slowly this is beginning to happen. I'm still looking for hope in small things. It's almost spring. Will peace ever bloom?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Baseball without the March madness? Ichiro baby! 3 hits...2 stolen bases...Japan will face Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. Are you watching the NCAA games?

Fun time in New York. Yesterday I walked around the city. I was on St. Mark's Place and thought of those Saturdays when my brother and I walked around the Village. I spent the late afternoon with my friend Elana, a fantastic painter who lives on Bleecker. We had lunch at Noho.
I went into a couple of bookstores before descending back to the Wall Street Inn.
On Sunday around noon, my sister and I took the ferry over to Staten Island for my 2:30 reading at the public library. Not that many people came out but the show goes on. It's good to spend some family time with my sister.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Is everyone always at Busboys? I met with my friend Bendik from the Norwegian Embassy.
He presented me with a gift of Ibsen's Poems. I'll try and visit Norway in August.
While in Busboys I ran into so many of my dear friends: Buddy Bev, D-Man, and the amazing Ginger G. Don was behind his book counter and even Menkie was in the house. What a place.
Pam walking around being as lovely as ever. Where was Andy and Derrick? This was Black Press Week and the luncheon was at Busboys:

HipHop info:
Two months until the release of "THE DA VINCI CODE." This will mean numerous articles and discussions about Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Get ready.

Harlen Levy's Op-Ed piece in the New York Times (March 17, 2006) on DNA is a good piece.
Check it out:
" DNA databases should expand, but some fundamental principles should guide their development: government should aim DNA collection at those most likely to commit the crimes DNA can solve (rape and murder); before expanding collection, it should focus on improving laboratories and testing samples from unsolved violent crimes sitting untested in storage closets or refrigerators; and it should recognize (as have some but not all of our courts) that it does not have an unlimited right to every person's DNA without showing of special need."
Have you noticed how the media selects candidates for us? Do you really believe Sen. Clinton could win a national election? Are folks in Mississippi, Texas or Alabama going to vote for her?
Could she even win upstate New York? Now what about Condoleezza Rice? I think she is very smart but wouldn't she represent the same policies as Bush? Do we just want to see a black face in a high place. Is this a new show -Governmental Idol?
Don't, Don't, Don't believe the hype...

Lyn Hejinian

There were more storytellers than there were stories, so that everyone in the family had a version of history and it was impossible to get close to the original, or to know "what really happened."

- Lyn Hejinian

Donald Hall

When the poet disappears
the poem becomes visible.

- Donald Hall

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In the late afternoon I sat in the Mocha with Anu. It's always a good conversation. Photographer Jason Johnson was in the hut too. Johnson attended the funeral for Gordon Parks. If you want to know who is coming after Parks - check Johnson's website and his new book out this spring:
It's so important we keep the African American cultural, painting, music, literature, dance and theater. Keep it going. Move or Die.

Talking about cultural events. Some of the best poetry readings have been taking place at the Poetry Coffeehouse at Grace Church in Georgetown (1041 Wisconsin Ave). 202 333-7100.

Remica Bingham, one of my Bennington students will be reading there on Tuesday, March 21st, 7:30 PM. On the 28th of March, poet Brandon Johnson will be kicking it with jazz and Donato Soviero. BJ has a new book out- THE STRANGERS BETWEEN.

Writer,Jose Edmundo Paz-Soldan (from Bolivia) will be giving a talk about Evo Morales on March 23rd, 6:30 PM at the Iglesias Conference Center Auditorium, 1330 New York Avenue, NW.
For now everyone will be into March Madness and will overlook what's going on in the rest of the world. TEAM USA was defeated and will not advance in the World Baseball Classic. This is a big loss and an indication that the best baseball is being played outside the US. Look for the next two games to be very intense. Korea/Japan - The Dominican Republic/Cuba. Whew!I took Japan going into these games because my favorite player is Ichiro. If Cuba wins the big one look for Fidel to do a big jig in Havana. So what went wrong for the US? Are the best US players actually guys who were born outside the US? Which brings things back to DC. How many young African American kids living in DC will grow-up wanting to play for The Nationals? I hardly ever see an African American youngster carrying a baseball glove or bat. Traveling around the city I don't see anyone playing baseball. Even in my own house, I think my son swung a bat just a couple of times.
Every nation might be confronted in the future with the following taking place at the same time:
1. Terrorism and organized crime out of control
2. Plague
3. Environmental disaster(s)
4 Civil War

What does a Government do when earthquakes begin to fly with Bird flu?

Joan Acocella

There is a good review of Gretchen Edgren's THE PLAYMATE BOOK: SIX DECADES OF CENTERFOLDS by Joan Acocella in THE NEW YORKER (March 20, 2006). It's amazing how our culture has been breastfed for so many

This week I borrowed two films from Provisions Library:
Johnny Grey Eyes
The new U.S. Doctrine also has a section on confronting global threats such as avian influenza, AIDS, environmental destruction and natural disasters. I think how we respond to these issues is even more important that our response to the Islamic revolution taking place in the world today. I mention the term Islamic revolution because it appears to have dropped from the media and public use. You might recall we heard a lot about the Islamic revolution during our hostage crisis with Iran. Well, do you think it ended or went away? Around the world there are many people who strongly feel that living under Islamic law is the answer to everyone's problems (I'm afraid to take a poll). This is where we begin to see the battle between ideas. It looks like our attention now moves from Marx to Mohammad. How does one practice tolerance in this changing world? Where are the new advocates who support non-violence as a tool for social change? Oh...and what will become of the old "race" issues? Will race continue to matter in the 21st Century?

Polls? I think it was Nixon who said a president shouldn't think about them. You can't lead or govern if you do. So Bush numbers are low. Do you really care? Are we going to kick him out of the White House like this is a reality show? I think that would be dumb. The issue
here is not Bush (a person) but his ideas. I was very happy to see Bush talking again about his 2002 Doctrine. This is the most important doctrine to be developed since the end of the Cold War.

This is the Doctrine intellectuals, think tanks and as well as Congress, should
be looking at and debating. For example, think about how these "new" ideas might
affect a highly robotic military. Would the US intervene in more countries,
knowing the cost of human life would be kept low because of robotic soldiers and
vehicles? How close would the new Doctrine bring us to nuclear war?
Would the US ever use a nuclear weapon in a preemptive war?
Just a few things to think about...once again it looks like we must think about the unthinkable.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

If you want to know more about the war in Iraq, I suggest you read "Can You Say 'Permanent Bases'? by Tom Engelhardt. You can also find it in the latest issue of The Nation (March 27th, 2006), page 28 - if you're standing in a store without cash.

Haile Gerima

Haile Gerima's latest film is THE MAROONS.

The documentary features noted historians such as Asa Hilliard, Herbert Aptheker, Keith Baird and Dianne Baird N'Diaye. Last month the FINAL CALL published an article about Gerima and the work he was doing. Yesterday I saw Papa Gerima in Mocha Hut with his lovely wife. It was like one of those sweet Ossie Davis/Ruby Dee moments. Black love and the reason why people running to the mountains became Maroons. Love or Die. Freedom songs waiting to be told. I'm looking foward to seeing the new

Upcoming lecture:
Fedric M. Miller, professor of History at St. Joseph's University, will be speaking on the following topic:

"Who Slept in Washington's Bed?: The President's House, Slavery, and Marking Sacred Space at Independence Park."

April 20th. 5PM
Charles Sumner Schooll'
1201 17th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.
Dwight Gooden caught again. It's always upsetting looking at the pictures of former stars. Their bodies are often nothing but shells. Peanut shells -the kind you find in the ballparks. It's obvious the major leagues (all of them) lack a solid drug treatment program.

Howard University Gallery of Art is having the opening reception of The 35th Annual Faculty Exhibition, Friday, March 24, 2006, 4PM-7PM
Howard University Gallery of Art, 202 806-7070.

I had a morning meeting with Sarah B. at the DCJCC. We are planning a "Windows & Mirrors"
program for May 21st, 7PM. We will be presenting the music of HASIDIC NEW WAVE and Alioune Faye & YAKAR RHYTHMS. More details in future E-Notes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Steel Pulse playing... EARTH CRISIS (1984).
Gerald Early has a review of Taylor Branch's AT CANAAN'S EDGE in the latest issue of THE NATION (March 27, 2006). In it one will find one of the more honest summarys of King's life:
has a review of Taylor Branch's AT CANAAN'S EDGE in the latest issue of THE NATION (March 27, 2006). In it one will find one of the more honest summarys of King's life:

"Addicted to sleeping pills, cheating habitually on his wife, downing straight whiskeys in quiet moments (which his denomination forbade), smoking cigarettes while trying to cope with the constant threat of death and consumed by self-righteousness, egotism and guilt over his affairs and his fame, King comes across as an amazingly courageous, if fatalistic, man, by turns practical and romantic, and far tougher that our plaster-saint version of him comes close to suggesting. He accepted the real possibility of an untimely death with the Christian shrug of "if it is God's will." And what else could he do? He could hardly fret about staying alive, and he was far more concerned about threats to his family. He worked astonishingly long hours, embarking on grueling fundraising tours and adeptly dealing with the press. He tolerated a group of nearly unmanageable advisers and the grand egos of all the clerical members of the Southern Chrisitian Leadership Conference, who knew that he ultimately called the shots, and who remained loyal to him to the end. Although he was not an especially good administrator, he was deft at handling the domineering personalities around him, much as Duke Ellington handled the stars of his band. He was a star in a way that no other black leader before or since has been."

People walking around wondering if there is going to be a Civil War in Iraq. Did the US Civil War begin with Gettysburg ? Folks were dying long before that battle. If the war in Iraq is going to end it will have to be at the table. Who has the power the stabilize the nation? This looks like one of those places where historians might talk about the 100 year war. OK - pick another number.

Sad news again:


“Full Recovery Expected As Author Continues Writing”

Sunday, March 5, 2006
CONTACT: Linda Wharton Boyd
:(202) 291-6435 – O; (202) 669-9139- C

Washington, DC – Today, Ellis Gordon, Jr., husband to bestselling author and mental health advocate, Bebe Moore Campbell announced that his wife was recently diagnosed with a neurological condition that will require her full attention for recovery. During recovery, Campbell will continue her writing, but her other activities and appearances have been cancelled for the next 90-120 days.

Ms. Campbell’s physician, Dr. Keith Black, a world renowned neurosurgeon who made the diagnosis stated, “With the prescribed treatment for her condition and with the proper time to heal and rest, there is every reason to believe that Ms. Campbell will have a normal recovery and will resume her regular schedule of activities. She is in the best of care.”

Calls and expressions of concerns have been received and acknowledged by Campbell’s family. “We appreciate the care, love and acts of concerns of our many family and friends,” said Gordon, Jr. “Your continued prayers are invited.”

The family requests that the public respects Ms. Campbell’s privacy during this time. “She needs this time to heal and recover so that she may return full time to her life’s work and continue with her passion and one of her greatest gifts from God, writing,” Gordon Jr., said.

Expressions of concern and comfort may be sent to Ms. Campbell at 3255 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90010-1418. Email messages may be sent to and visit for updates

For more information, please contact, publicist, Linda Boyd of The Wharton Group at (202) 291- 6435, (202) 726-4515 or (202) 669-9139.
Early this morning the sky had a Charlton Heston look. Clouds were low and gray.
The air had that prostitute tease...In other words if you want more warm weather you're going to have to pay. Punishment is what this all looks like if you have a bible close to your bed or in your purse. Tornadoes, global warming, earthquakes, rain; cold one day and hot the next. Homes being knockdown by the wind and folks rushing to get to the next shelter like the three little pigs. These must be wolf days, what do you think? Mother Nature ain't no suicide bomber, so wiretapping is out.What should we do? Prayer is not an option. It's obvious we need to pay more attention to the environment.
"Excuse me while I disappear."
- John Chaney
Chaney departs with a Diz/Bird type of comment. The hipster coach at Temple. I cheered for him the way I always wanted Thompson to win at Georgetown. It was like believing in Joe Louis or Jackie Robinson. I wish Chaney had won the big one.

One thing to note in the World Baseball Classic...Ken Griffey is hitting very well.
That can only mean one thing. The poor guy will suffer an injury between now and the end of April. I wish this guy had stayed in Seattle. Can you see him and Ichiro in the same outfield?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Antwaan Randle El can have a major impact on the Redskins as a punt returner. I see this contribution being bigger than playing WR. This is still Santana's team. I thought he should have received votes for MVP last season. Of course with Washington's luck, look for them to have QB problems by July. Is Ramsey gone or going?
"Good Night, and Good Luck" and "Where are Tomorrow's Murrow Boys?"Friday, March 24, 2006 at 8 p.m. at American University's Greenberg TheatreThe Newseum's Frank Bond joins a panel discussion exploring Edward R. Murrow's legacy after a screening of "Good Night, and Good Luck." Others discussing "Where are Tomorrow's Murrow Boys?" include Nick Clooney and Bob Edwards.Tickets are $5 for the general public and free for students with an ID.The program is part of American University's Reel Journalism Screenings & Symposia. For more information, go to American University’s website ( Greenberg Theatre is located at 4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW, a few blocks from the Tenleytown/AU Metro (Red line) stop.
Lunch at Busboys today (with Carla B who teaches in my department). Going to Busboys is like opening a box of crackerjacks. You never know who you're going to meet. Surprise!Today it was Hilary Jones from Minnesota. She came to my April 21, 2005 talk on June Jordan at the University of Minnesota. It's great when a person has a good vibe and halo glow over their heads. Hilary seems like a member of that group.

Talkin Busboys...I was reading Derrick Brown's chapbook THE UNSCENE. Here is another poet with a DC flavor in his mocha poems. The strength of this collection rests on Brown's Sweet Home Men Series. Special in this book is "Thirty Mile Woman Sixo's Song." Here is a sip:

Gather me. Love
the pieces that
I am.
Give me back to me
in all the right

- Derrick Weston Brown.
Lift Every Voice And Sing:

Nearly 250 Howard University Students Spend Spring Break in New Orleans Assisting with Restoration Efforts

Instead of spending spring break having “fun in the sun,” nearly 250 Howard University students have opted to participate in the University’s 2006 Alternative Spring Break (ASB) journey to New Orleans, Louisiana, to assist those devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Students, chaperones, and team leaders departed the University on Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11, at 5 p.m. on a 20-hour bus trip to New Orleans and will return on Saturday, March 18. Participants are being hosted by St. Bernard’s Parish where they will sleep in tents and receive three daily meals.
ASB provides an opportunity for an eclectic mix of Howard students to join together in service. In this weeklong endeavor, students, including graduate and law school students, have traveled to New Orleans to assist with continued restoration efforts along with Habitat for Humanity. They also will participate in various outreach programs, including service projects with various schools, to assist survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
“These students feel humbly commissioned to take action and affect change this spring break instead of just returning home or partying all week as many college students often do,” said Alexis Logan, ASB student coordinator.
“Each year, ASB exposes students to diverse cultures and religious traditions through service and activism,” said Rev. Dr. Bernard Richardson, dean, Howard University Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. “Students are immersed in unique settings or atmospheres to provide immediate assistance and reflect on the challenges prevalent in many communities throughout society. Concepts of social justice, economic disparity, and community outreach are explored through the lens of spirituality and faith. The experience forms a foundation for students to understand their role and responsibility in helping to rebuild shattered and struggling parts of society through vocation and service.”
This service opportunity is coordinated by the Office of the Dean of the Chapel and sponsored by the Spiritual and Ethical Dimensions of Leadership Initiative.

Muslim Journal (March 17th). Sad to see the story about the hate crime committed against The International League of Muslim Women in Detroit. To help restore things and make donations, here is an address:

Detroit Headquarters of ILMW
P.O.Box 28384
Detroit, MI 48228

Some of the positive things in the world are taking place in South America. Chile just elected their first female president. Congrats to Michelle Bachelet. Will Peru be next with Lourdes Flores?

In the March 13th issue of Jet magazine there is a reference to E. Ethelbert Miller under National Headliners. It's about the poem "We Embrace" that will be engraved near the entrance to the DuPont Circle Metro Station.

Is Ebony magazine next for the colored poet? I cry Dunbar and wish I knew him.

I spent the early morning hours reading stories in D.C. NOIR edited by Pelecanos:
"The Names of the Lost" by Richard Currey and "First" by Kenji Jasper. I thought Jasper's first novel (DARK) was very good and should be required reading in DC high schools. I didn't care too much for DAKOTA GRAND his second book.

Before heading to work I had to take care of some city business down around 5th & D. I asked a guard for directions and he sent me two blocks out of my way. For a moment I thought I was in a bad western or maybe the last bit of footage in Blazing Saddles. I sat in the lobby of a building that had that old Eastern European feel to it. Maybe I was living under a dictatorship and didn't know it.

I took the 70 bus up to Howard. Spring break and the place is empty - except for the geese. Hmm. See an earlier E-Note. I pointed north and they looked at me funny.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

More nonsense?
"Ichiro Suzuki, not known for his power, hit Jake Peavy's third pitch of the game into the right-field bleachers to give Japan a 1-0 lead."

Hey man...Ichiro can hit homers when he wants to. The World Baseball Classic is going to have to compete with March Madness. That's going to be difficult unless it's the US against Cuba for the championship. Look for the Dominican Republic to have their say about things.
Kwame Nkrumah should come back and take Kwame Brown's Laker uniform AND name from him. Kwame has no game. I just watched him mishandle a nice Kobe B. pass. I turned the television off. Geez. What did Michael Jordan ever see in this guy? Mike, was it the sneakers?
Please tell me Mike? Please, Please, Please.
Everyday, a politician who gets caught doing wrong or a guy who can't break the tackles anymore, or hit the curve or throw the curve, decides he wants to spend more time with "the" kids. What a smokescreen for nonsense. Let's be honest, these folks are not going to babysitting for the next several years. It's the golf course and the mistress, while their kids are just an additive on a label. If I said I was going to stop writing poems this afternoon and spend more time with the kids, my kids would tell me to go do something with myself. It's fashionable to mention the kids in public even if you don't see them in private.
Jamie Raskin is running for the Maryland State Senate.
He is having a fundraiser on March 24th, 6:00 - 10:00 PM at Los Arrieros, 7926 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD. 20910.
Good Will writing:

"In any case, Bonds's records must remain part of baseball's history. His hits happened. Erase them, and there will be discrepancies in baseball's bookkeeping about the records of the pitchers who gave them up. George Orwell said that in totalitarian societies, yesterday's weather could be changed by decree. Baseball, indeed America, is not like that."
- George F. Will
Well my son's basketball team had a good year. Here is a summary of the last game:

Mar. 10 (vs. William Paterson)

Men’s Basketball Suffers 52-45 Loss to William Paterson in NCAA Tournament Sectional Semifinals
3/10/06 – Junior Malcolm Thomas (Baltimore, MD) scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the second half for Widener, which saw its season end with a 52-45 loss to William Paterson at the NCAA Tournament sectional semifinals in Virginia Beach, VA.
Widener (23-6) went on a 12-5 run to close to 50-45 with 24 seconds left thanks to eight points from Thomas, including two 3-pointers. But the Pioneers could get not closer despite holding William Paterson (23-7) without a basket in the final 4:16.
Senior Kris Clarkson (Philadelphia, PA) had 11 points and 14 rebounds with junior Essien Ford (Baltimore, MD) netting 10 points for Widener, which shot just 32 percent (14-of-44) overall and 27 percent (6-of-22) in the second half. The Pioneers were held without a basket for an 8 1/2 minute stretch in the second half.
The loss ends a standout career for Clarkson. The 2005-06 Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year finishes 16th in school history with 1,136 points and also grabbed 694 rebounds. He entered the game leading the league in points, rebounds, steals, blocks and offensive rebounds.
It was the furthest Widener has gone in the NCAA Tournament since a quarterfinal appearance in 1987. The loss concludes a season in which the Pioneers were ranked as high as second in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Poll and received votes in the Top 25 poll.
Luis Martinez scored 22 points for WPU, which only shot 38 percent (18-of-47) from the floor and 4-of-14 from 3-point range.
Ford scored seven first-half points as Widener trailed, 26-21, at intermission. Clarkson and Blakey netted five points, but the Pioneers shot only 36 percent (8-of-22) from the field in the opening half.
Who needs a text when you have an image? Check the photo of the National Security Council(NSC) staff in the Outlook section of the Washington Post today (Page B3). Here we have the new generation who are guiding us in this post-Cold War world. But why is Frederick Jones (the one black guy in the picture) kneeling? Ah...let's read race (not religion) into this. It's just an image so let's not protest in the streets. I chuckled when I saw the photo. Photographers frame stuff and people get framed. In the NSC photo Jones looks like a mascot and not a player. OK...maybe if this was a baseball picture, Jones would either be the batboy or the shortstop.
Maybe a good field/no hit type of guy. A .250 hitter at best. So these are the folks who are leading us? Funny how they remind me of the type of people I pass on the streets and they don't see me. I'm as invisible as the third world without a famine or a coup. I'm a walking conflict waiting to explode. Write about me in a policy report, bookmark my expressions and turn me into a memo.
We are, each of us, the one who
wakens first,
who stirs first and sees, there
in the first dawn,
the stranger.

- Louise Gluck
"There is no reason good can't triumph over evil, if only angels will get organized along the lines of the mafia."
- Kurt Vonnegut
In the latest issue of The Atlantic Monnthly one can find Jeffrey Tayler's article "Worse Than Iraq?" which is about Nigeria. This piece will make you weep:

"Since Nigeria gained independence, in 1960, its rulers-military and civilian alike - have systematically squandered or stolen some $400 billion in government money."

"...most the the windfall oil profits of the last few years have gone toward refurbishing mansions for the elite."

"The U.N. Human Development Index ranks Nigeria as having one of the worst standards of living, below both Haiti and Bangladesh. For all its oil weath, and after seven years of governance by one of Africa's most highly touted democrats, Nigeria has become the largest failed state on earth."
Science-fiction is right around the corner. I remember reading Sci-Fi back in the early 1960s. There was often some compound struggling to exist either on earth or another planet. Outside was some form of life, perhaps mutants trying to get in - to kill folks. Barbarians at the door?
Yesterday I read Dr. Wafa Sultan's and circled her comments:

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposities, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality."

OK...which side are you on?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Facts that were in the the Wall Street Journal:
Since 2000, an average of about 400 immigrants have died every year trying to illegally enter the U.S. across the U.S.-Mexican border. About 240 people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall during its 28-year existence.
Baseball stuff.
One player to watch this year is Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez. How good is this kid?

If you want to know what Hoyt Wilhelm knew then order THE KNUCKLEBOOK by Dave Clark.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Knuckleball.
Lady Di(Sylvia D. Beverly) dropped by the house and gave me a copy of her new book: FOREVER IN YOUR EYES. If you desire a collection of these poems contact her at:

Friday, March 10, 2006

I took the Metro over to UDC and had a nice evening. Marita Golden (writer-in-residence) should be a Dean. It was fun participating in her literary series. I read poems from the new collection I'm working on - ON SATURDAYS, I SANTANA WITH YOU. Wendy R was in the audience, so I read a poem I wrote for her. I also read excerpts from the second memoir I've been working on. After my reading, Marita conducted a short interview and took a few questions from the audience. Four other writers also shared their work before the end of the program:D-Man (Betts), Jennifer Queen, Bernadette Van Field and Katrina Benston.

The evening unfortunately ended on a blue note. My wife called and told me that our son's basketball team (Widener U) was defeated. So that means an end to his freshman season. Next year he should be a starter and facing new challenges.

I'm going to enjoy the weekend...listen to that warm weather outside. Ah...
I pulled several books written by Ariel Dorfman from the Howard U stacks:




I'll be interviewing Dorfman at the DC Jewish Community Center in June.

"It might not be long before the geese lay eggs and build nests."
- Dr. Richard Duffield/Biology professor

Yes, we love to geese.

Richard Duffield

Dr. Duffield received his doctorate from the University of Georgia. He received his B.S. from Muskinggum College and his M.S. from the University of Massachusetts. He is a graduate professor in the
Department of Biology. Dr. Duffield is the author or co-author of twelve published articles. His research interests can be divided into six areas. Early research publications focused on the chemical ecology of
insects and the role of these secretions in their biology. Education: B.S., 1967, Biology, at Muskingum College.

I found THE HILLTOP (HU) newspaper to be very funny today. Check this. The lead story is about all the Canadian geese that have "peacefully" taken over the campus. Anyway one student is quoted as saying "They should go back to Canada where they came from."
Later in the article George Wallace - yes a guy by the name of George Wallace is quoted as saying "They have become a nuisance speices throughout the east coast, and have been known to cause problems on college campuses and golf courses. Some people hire dogs, and used chemical repellants to chase them off."

Hmmm...I've heard that before.
The poet Nimah Ismail Nawwab was kind enough to share a new poem with me. Nimah is
one of the leading poets in the Arab world. She lives in Saudi Arabia. In corresponding with her I felt other writers might be interested in what I said:

Hi Nimah,
I don't think it's about developing or writing an "I" poem. I think as poets we must begin to see the "I" in others. A good political poem is also a very personal one. This is why the political poet should always write about love. It's not just passion but also desire and the seeking of the beloved community. A place where we celebrate each other for our sameness and our differences. I seek the common language, and the love between tongues.

Sweet son's team (Widener) plays against the William Paterson Pioneers (NJ) in Norfolk tonight. Trying to get to the final 4 and beyond.
2006 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship.
If you want to introduce your young child to the theater look into this program:
STAGES FOR ALL AGES: or call (202) 334-5885
Iraq war entering its 4th year.
U.S. is spending $5.9 billion a month.
$1 billion for Afghanistan.
This is 18% more than fiscal year 2005.

There are other numbers too...
How much is each human life worth?
When will this end?
Yesterday morning I did a radio show on WPFW. I talked with Gloria M. about the upcoming engraving of one of my poems ("We Embrace") at the entrance of the DuPont Circle Metro station.
In the current issue of the THE CURRENT newspaper (DuPont neighborhood) there is an article by Ian Thomas about this project.

Talkin DC...I dropped by the Takoma Park Library on my way home. I returned the Michael Jackson book that Jefferson wrote. On the shelf for new arrivals was D.C.NOIR edited by George Pelecanos. This book was in the window of Kramers bookstore. I saw it last night while waiting for Del. I didn't get a chance to check it, but that's why we have the public library. Well I read Pelecanos delightful intro as well as his story "The Confidential Informant." This is a fun book.
Everyone should be reading it on the Metro. You could read maybe 1-2 stories by the time you arrived at Vienna. This is also a lunchtime book when you don't have a date or maybe your part of the city lacks the good looking people. Why sit doing nothing when you can read a story that will pull you right into a DC neighborhood. If the Metro section of the Washington Post printed fiction this would be it. This book is like wet paint on a new condo. Do we still live here?
D.C. Noir baby...dark like us.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My old friend Tamara Smiley Hamilton came to see me today. Tamara was at
Howard when poet Leon Damas was here. She was his assistant. So much fun laughing again. Tamara just released her book of poems SOUL QUAKE. Info:

Book Illustrations are by E. J. Hobson.
I borrowed two films from Provisions. I'll be watching the following:

Stand and Deliver


I just received THE WRITER'S CHRONICLE (March/April 2006)
The new issue has an interview with Amy Gerstler. I had the opportunity to teach with her at Bennington. That was my last positive experience there. Amy is a wonderful person and poet. The G stands for gem. Amy's most recent book of poems is GHOST GIRL (2004). She won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1990 for BITTER ANGEL.
May 17-19, 2006
American University, Katzen Arts Center
Register online at:
by April 15, 2006.
Address by NEA Chairman Dana Gioia on May 18th.
Who should attend?
Graduate students in arts management, public policy, various arts fields, and arts education.
Arts professionals.
Arts critics and journalism students.
A good late afternoon conversation with Sita Reddy. She's the director of education at Provisions Library. Contact her if you want to know what's going on there.
Provisions is one of best places for progressive artists and activists in the area.

Other news... a possible trip to Norway this summer. More later.
NWU-President Calls for Release of Freelance Journalist Jill Carroll

Contact: Tom Gradel, 773-561-1040
Gerard Colby, 212-254-0279
For Immediate Release (February 28, 2006)

Gerard Colby, President of the

National Writers Union, , the nation's union
of freelance writers, has joined the international organization Reporters
Without Borders in calling for the release of American freelance journalist
Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped on the outskirts of Baghdad on January 7th.
Carroll was writing freelance articles for the Christian Science Monitor at
the time of her abduction. She had planned to interview a Sunni politician
in one of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Baghdad when several well
dressed men took over her car and apparently killed her interpreter. Her
driver escaped.

Carroll's abductors demanded the release of all female prisoners in Iraq,
and set an initial deadline for January 20, which they later extended to
February 26th."With the deadline of Jill's threatened execution now passed,
and no definitive word of her safety or whereabouts, we must assume that
she is still alive. We as freelance journalists must redouble our efforts
to bring attention to Jill Carroll's plight and the difficulties she and
other freelance journalists have been facing in Iraq," Colby said in a
prepared press release.

"Iraq is becoming more dangerous by the day," he said. "Only
last week, a woman reporter for Al Arabiya newspaper, Atwar Bahjat, and two
of her associates were murdered in Samarra near the revered Shiite shrine
that was bombed. Sadly, she was one of the journalists who was working with
the Christian Science Monitor to try and obtain Jill Carroll's release."

Colby noted that freelance journalists are particularly at
risk in Iraq, since they do not have the same protections in Iraq that
embedded reporters have. "Jill Carroll herself wrote about reporters
'becoming virtual prisoners in their hotel rooms,'" Colby said. "She
described how embedded journalists are not allowed to venture beyond
armored cars and the heavily protected Green Zone.

"Jill Carroll, on the other hand, was going out into Baghdad
neighborhoods, talking to civilians, getting their stories. "That's how
much she cared about getting the truth to the American people about
conditions in Iraq."

In his statement, Colby pointed to a report recently released
by the New York Committee to Protect Journalists describing Iraq as the
deadliest country for journalists in the last quarter century. Since the
war began in March, 2003, 61 journalists have died, surpassing 58
journalists killed in Algeria from 1993-1996.

Colby also joined Reporters Without Borders in calling for the
release of two Iraqi journalists, Reem Zaid and Marwant Khazal, who were
abducted outside the offices of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group, on
February 2nd.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Today I'll ship out all of my Amiri Baraka correspondence to the Givens Collection (University of Minnesota) for preservation. I'll send old flyers and programs next week. It's amazing the amount of stuff one can collect just about one writer. A few days ago I came across some old material about Octavia Butler, while cleaning in my basement.
March of the Penguins? Let's be honest - How many people are going to read
Alan Greenspan's book
? Not that many. They might buy it but they are not going to read it.Another big advance for a big book while little people get nothing.
Who controls the literary reserve board? Is it ethical for poets to take hostages?
The latest issue (March/April 2006) of The American Poetry Review has Jason Shinder, Vivian Gornick, Mark Doty, Amiri Baraka and others discussing Allen Ginsberg's classic poem "Howl." Ginsberg wrote the poem 50 years ago. His words still echo that prophetic truth:

A dream team of poets sharing their knowledge:

The WORD WORKS, in cooperation with Grace Episcopal Church of Georgetown,announces four Saturday In The Works Workshops from 10 am to 2 pm:

March 25: Free Verse Line Breaks, a workshop examining poetic lines as a unit of meaning led by Kim Roberts.

April 8: Poet Stage Right! Tips on voice project and stage presence led by Karren Alenier.

April 22: Writing As If Your Life Depends On It, a forum for writing original poems led by Grace Cavalieri.

Teasing the Poem into Existence While Dismissing the Muse, a forum for writing original poems led by Rod Jellema.

Each class costs $55. Those students who pay by check and who register by March 15 may take a discount of $5 on each workshop. Visit
or call 301-581-9439 for complete information. Class location is Grace Church, 1041 Wisconsin Ave, NW, DC.
One more note about the Oscar song by Three 6 Mafia. It does contain a Kobe lyric reference and how he prepares for game night. This song along with new Nike ads captures the return of the Kobe. Do you remember how he once seemed to be outside the rap videos and everything was bouncing Iverson's way? Maybe the possibility of going to jail made Kobe more acceptable to rappers. Do you think that hotel girl was trying to "pimp" Kobe? She does have more cash today and money for her rent. Go figure.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What is a camera? A photograph? I didn't know until I discovered the work of Gordon Parks. I knew his pictures before I knew his name. He gave me LIFE when I was a boy. Years later I would meet him at the Corcoran and at Howard University. I was struck by the beauty of his face and hair. This man was a renaissance. He was like Carver, always finding something new to plant or do. I will miss him. The world suddenly has become too dark (again). Maybe we no longer know how to see. Maybe tomorrow we need to rise and take a walk in the Park(s). Maybe we should all stop and give thanks that Gordon Parks lived among us, and he shared what he saw, and he left his pictures, books and films behind, like trees and blades of grass.

Yo, Barry! Folks have a BB gun.
This ain't good.

Reporters Say Bonds Used Performance-Enhancing Drugs.

San Francisco Chronicle Reporters Say Slugger Used Human Growth Hormone,

NEW YORK (March 7) - Major League Baseball home run record holder Barry Bonds used a vast array of performance-enhancing drugs, including steroids and human growth hormone, for at least five seasons beginning in 1998, according to a book written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.

An excerpt of "Game of Shadows," which provides details of the San Francisco slugger's extensive doping program, appears in the March 13 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Here are two good search engines to use:  and

I typed my name into the Kartoo engine(I like it better than the Dog) and discovered a treasure chest of stuff I had written (and have no knowledge of today). A good way to develop a bibliography.
I had a fun afternoon with Biela, a wonderful young writer. Like many African American writers today, she is interested in getting accepted into the Cave Canem Workshop. I told her maybe she should put together a CAVE CANEM PREP COURSE. How should a person organize and select their poems? What would help someone gain admission? Almost all organizations and panels have a way of conveying tastes and values. I told Biela she should consider putting together a book, AVOIDING THE LITERARY BLUES LIKE BIELA. This handbook would discuss the importance of workshops. It would examine the Spoken Word on the Page, forms known and unknown, etc. Who and what to read before going to CC. Biela has a Lucille Clifton type of grace. I wished her well with her CC application. Should one huff and puff and blow the Cave down if she is rejected? Would this mark the return of the angry black poet? Beware of line breaks that cut in the dark.
Don't forget
Jill Carroll.
Prayers for her release.
See the dynamic and wonderful Anu in another production:

Haroun and the Sea of Stories
produced by the Theater Alliance
March 2 through April 2 at H Street Playhouse
1365 H Street NE

and then April 6-9 at Roundhouse Theater in Silver Spring.

performances are Thursday, Friday Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 2. you can visit the website for more info or to buy tickets!

Haroun and the Sea of Stories
One of the best terms of the day can be found in Philip Kennicott's essay (in today's Washington Post) on Three 6 Mafia's Oscar win. He uses the term "cultural brush fire." Yes, that's what we too often encounter every year. A movie or song becomes nothing more than a brush fire. We burn ourselves spending too much time talking about it.
Washington Post Article
Did you notice how quickly those ads for Brokeback Mountain changed once the film became successful? Now let's be real. CRASH is not a great movie. It's not even a good one. I did find it funny how Don Cheadle was the big name going into the promotion of things and suddenly got dropped. It felt like the guy was back in Rwanda and not California. Despite all the various races represented in CRASH the Academy rewards the white people. It was as if this was a Dutton/Bullock film. We are still blind to others. If anyone should have been given an award it should have been the Latino guy who was fixing the locks.
The "lock" was the metaphor that made the film not the car crash. Folks were either locked in or out of cars, getting their locks changed, or unable to lock their doors. But what did the Ads give us - the white man/black woman image. The "lovers" embrace? Geez, was their relationship really the central part of the movie? Other than being in an actual crash - No. But it provides the dropkick that even Doug Flutie would be proud of.See Crash Trailer

Monday, March 06, 2006

Now the Puck is gone too. Dead at 45. He didn't even make it into the 5th inning (his 50s). Kirby has no Twin in Minnesota. One of the best baseball players to play in the Twin Cities. He made the plays when the plays had to be made.