Monday, July 31, 2006

Well, I completed work on my next manuscript of poems: ON SATURDAYS, I SANTANA WITH YOU. Pub Date is early 2008. Look for a few excerpts from the book to appear on my website ( before September 2006. The book is dedicated to four wonderful friends: Grace Ali, Julia Galbus, Beverly Hunt and Wendy Rieger. The book is divided into seven sections, the last one contains some of the crazy prose poems I sent to my buddy Afaa M.Weaver (aka as the poet Micky to me).
You won't find any silly baseball trade rumors on my E-Notes. I would keep Soriano.
I don't think he's a great player but the Nationals need to have a few stars in the ballpark in order to attract fans. This is major league baseball not the little league. I don't want to spend money to watch kids grow - something they won't do overnight. Talking about the little leagues, I can't keep a straight face when I see Mike O'Connor on the mound. The guy was pitching batting practice to the Dodgers in his last game. Almost every ball was hit hard. Geez. Now the Nationals are talking about having an MRI exam for the guy. What's that going to show. Bad pitches?
A link to Mazen Kerbai an artist in Lebanon:
What about the damage to Lebanon's coast? Oil slicks polluting the once-pristine beaches. Fish, birds, and the earth- crying for humans to stop. Even a cease fire will not turn the waves back. Shame on all of us.

When will there be a time to love
We make time to debate religion
For passing bills and bulding prisons
For building fortunes and passing judgment
When will there be a time to love
At this point in history we have a choice to make
To either walk the path of love or be crippled by our hate
We have time to cause pollution
We have time to cause confusion
All wrapped up in our own illusions
When will there be a time to love
We have time to conquer nations
Time for oil exacavation
Hatred, violence and terrorism
When will there be a time to love
At this moment in time we have a choice to make
Father God is watching while we cause mother earth so much pain
It's such a shame

- Stevie Wonder

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Good progress made today on my poetry manuscript. I might be able to complete it by August 1st. That's my goal and target date. I've been doing major revision on number of poems. The collection will be divided into seven sections.

Please join us!

Sunday, August 20 at 4:00 pm
Part of the Sunday Kind of Love Reading Series: featuring poets from Beltway Poetry Quarterly's DC Places Issue, Belle Waring, Kenneth Carroll, Andrea Wyatt, Brian Gilmore, and Terence Winch. Followed by an open mic (please bring place poems about Washington DC by yourself or others). Hosted by Sarah Browning.
Free. Busboys & Poets, 14th & V Streets NW, U Street/Cardozo neighborhood, DC. (202) 387-POET.

The DC Places issue showcases 52 authors whose poems name specific sites in the city (streets, neighborhoods, parks, monuments, buildings), along with an interactive map. Edited by Kim Roberts and Andrea Carter Brown, the DC Places Issue is available for free on line at
Poet Naomi Shihab Nye will be in the area on Tuesday. She will be at the Aladdin's Lamp Children's Bookstore (2499 N. Harrison St in Arlington, VA). 7PM.
Quote of the Day:

I never really said everything I said.
- Yogi Berra
Miller's Law:

No culture has a monopoly on its content.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Vote on September 12th for Jamie Raskin - State Senate (Silver Spring/Takoma Park) for Maryland. Here is his website:

I haven't decided who should get my vote for mayor of DC.
Monitor how a new term is sneaking into newspapers and speeches. The term is "Rising Shiite crescent." Hmmm.
What must be done in the Middle East:

1. Cease- Fire
2. Prisoner Exchange
3. Negotiations for Peace- discussion of Palestinian Land and Israel's right to exist. 2 State solution. Economic development.
4. Dialogue with Syria and Iran and establishment of long-term relationships.
A Major loss...another death in the family:

The Honourable Dr Louise Bennett Coverley O.M.
7 September 1919 - 27 July 2006

Miss Lou ded an gaan. Lang liv de Afrikaan Queen!

Miss Lou passed away at the Scarborough Grace Hospital, Toronto, Canada
on 27 July 2006, having collapsed at her home earlier that morning.

Her death marks the passing of a legend. Never mind historical icons
such as Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley, Louise Bennett was the
mother, father and soul restorer of the Jamaican nation. No one had
done more to assist the Jamaican people in understanding themselves and
their uniqueness as a people crafted from the ravages of slavery and
colonialism than Miss Lou. The Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey focused
upon the African identity of Jamaican and other African heritage people
in the diaspora and the need for us to reconnect with Africa and reclaim
our heritage in the Motherland. Miss Lou devoted a lifetime to helping
the nation to understand who it is, where it came from, how where it
came from shaped who it is and how, in the process, ways of
communicating were forged which were unique to Jamaica and the way the
nation experienced and related to its world and to the world outside

Louise Bennett was a child prodigy where the Jamaican language was
concerned. Amazingly, while not yet a teenager, she determined that the
language she and those around her spoke was the language that should be
validated and used as a medium for expressing oneself in writing. She
had experienced that language as the one in which ordinary people gave
meaning to their lives, expressing their needs and wants, their joys and
their sorrows, their aspirations and their regrets. Yet, the medium of
teaching and instruction in school was not the language of the Jamaican
people but a foreign language which the majority of the nation could
neither speak nor write.

By the age of 14, she had written her first poem in Jamaican English,
popularly called 'dialect' at the time. Her creative abilities were
apparent even then and in her 20s she won a scholarship to attend the
prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in London, graduating
as a dramatist, actress and performer. She brought the art of dramatic
expression to her exploration, interpretation and use of the Jamaican
language, validating it as a language long before it was accredited as
such in the 1960s, largely through the work of people like Frederic
Cassidy and Robert Le Page.

The bibliography in the seminal writings of both these academics,
especially Jamaica Talk (Cassidy: 1961) and Dictionary of Jamaican English
(Cassidy & Le Page: 1967) include references to Louise Bennett's work dating
back to 1942 when the Gleaner published her Dialect Verses, one of her
earliest published works.

Miss Lou worked with repertory companies in various parts of England
where West Indian ex-servicemen and students from the islands as well
as the Windrush generation of migrants would have settled.

She did more than most to develop an awareness and understanding of
Jamaican folklore, of the sayings, proverbs and philosophies, the values
and principles of the ordinary working people. Using the medium of
poetry, drama and story telling in what was predominantly an oral
tradition, Miss Lou put the Jamaican people in touch with themselves,
with their wisdom, their irony and their quirkiness. Above all, she put
them in touch with their inner selves and their connectedness to Africa
by pointing up the fact that the entire society and its culture is
riddled with African retentions. Those retentions could still be seen
today in rites of passage, in religious practices, in music, in the
vocabulary and forms of speech in the Jamaican language, in percussion,
in food, in superstitions. Miss Lou brought it all alive through drama,
poetry, prose, chants, dance and song, and through her radio and
television shows that were hugely popular with people of all ages in
Jamaican society, shows such as Laugh with Louise, Miss Lou's Views,
The Lou and Ranny Show and the television show 'Ring Ding'.

When, in the 1960s and 1970s, children started to arrive in Britain in
increasing numbers from Jamaica to join parents and entered British
schools, a major issue in the assessment of their 'intelligence' and
their ability to cope with the schooling system was their language.
Because they were not seen as having a language in its own right that
was different from English, they were deemed to be speaking and writing
broken English as a variant of 'standard' English and therefore judged
as being poorly equipped to get on in the English schooling system.
Louise Bennett's work was invaluable in that it provided the ammunition
both to counteract those damaging and erroneous assessments and to give
Jamaican speakers a sense of self and a confidence in the language that
they spoke. It also helped to demonstrate that those Jamaican children
and their parents were speaking an entirely different language and that
they were being put at an educational disadvantage and subjected to
damaging stereotyping if that were not recognised.

Miss Lou became ambassador at large for the Jamaican people,
representing their country and its cultural heritage across the world
and giving permission to those of us involved in song writing, music
making, performance poetry, theatre and teaching, to claim the language
and be assertive in our use and projection of it. As such, she inspired
and created space for other early pioneers such as Andrew Salkey, Kamau
Brathwaite, and latterly Benjamin Zephaniah and the world renowned
Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Miss Lou married Eric Winston Coverley in 1954 and was widowed in 2002.

She was awarded the Order of Jamaica in 1974, the Order of Merit in
2001, the Institute of Jamaica.s Musgrave Silver and Gold Medals for
distinguished eminence in the field of Arts and Culture and the Norman
Manley Award for Excellence in the field of Arts. She held the
Honorary Degree Of Doctor of Letters from the University of the West
Indies and from York University in Toronto.

We in education and social and cultural life in Britain and Jamaicans at
home and in the second diaspora worldwide owe her an enormous debt and
give thanks for her long life and pioneering life's work.

Professor Gus John
The Seattle attack at the Jewish Center is another indication of why we can't assume geography is a cushion or buffer. Don't walk around beliving events in the world won't snatch your Ipod. Ideas, beliefs, wars can impregnate a person in the morning right after breakfast. A person can watch the news on television, arm themselves and make tomorrow's news with one simple act of hatred or violence. Jews and Jewish organizations around the world will have to take safety measures. So will all Americans traveling abroad. People will hold you responsible for the actions of a government you may or may not support. Religious lines seem to be the problem of the 21st century. If DuBois thought the Color Line was an issue, wait until the Holy Wars begin to gather more steam as we move beyond 2015. A return to the Crusades and everything else that has a Middle Age smell. This stinks.
Two years ago I was walking around the city of Haifa...
Do you remember right before Bush was elected the first time, and Condi was asked about the Middle East by a reporter, she responded by saying she was reading up on it. Hmmm. Well, what page is she on? Who has the study notes to share? Oh, and when did the Old Middle East become the New Middle East? Does this mean Palestinians are Indians? Once again we see labels peeling off the back of a can.
In the next presidential election we need to have a Peace candidate. A person needs to run on a Peace campaign...nothing about bringing home troops or even talking about Iraq and Afghanistan. Simply a Peace campaign in which the person is running to promote a new world view and vision. Let's ask the average American how they feel about Peace. Would they vote for it? I'm not talking about "ending" a war, I'm talking about trying to prevent new ones. Can we get some consensus around that?
I'm heading to Oslo soon. Maybe I should bring back a Peace Prize for someone Any takers?

Talking about Presidents - what do Carter and Clinton have to say about the crisis in the Middle East? Where are their OP-ED essays?? Did I miss something?
The light flickers. The AC unit stops. The power is gone. I'm reading a book in the sun room so I still have sun. It's early afternoon. 90 degrees outside. But this is not Beirut or Gaza so I expect the lights to go back on - soon. It's not Liberia so I won't have to wait 14 years. Why are we so blessed? Think of grandparents sitting in a shelter - maybe 80 years old and having the wartime experience. Grandchildren on a boat back to America while they descend into hell. Somewhere the light no longer's gone.

Ichiro watch. 2 hits last night. The AL Batting title race might be decided by who remains hot in August. This might just come down to a battle between Ichiro and Jeter. I expect Mauer's average to drop. It already has. At .373 he maintains a 26 point lead over Ichiro. This is down from what was almost a forty point lead. I think Ichiro is good for one more amazing how streak. It would mean hitting over .500 for about three weeks. If he can get to .381 by the end of August - then it will be only Septmber preventing him from hitting .400. Not impossible. With everyone talking steroids - Ichiro represents the essence of the game right now.

Don't baseball trade rumors sound just like slavery? What if Soriano decided to run away? Have Tubmans will Travel.
I'm completing the reading of Ibsen's Doll House. Two books arrived in the mail today. 2 Levato:
MARRIAGE * BONES by Lauren Levato
MARGINAL STATE by Francesco Levato
They live in Chicago. Their books are published by fractaledgepress.
Well, maybe we will have a cease fire in the Middle East before those dog days of August arrive.Bow Wow go the bombs. Yipes say the people. We need to acknowledge the failure of political leadership around the world. Boy do we need a stronger UN. Who is going to replace Mr. A? What does A - stand for? Hmmmm.

Placing nations on bad guy lists also might not work. Look at Libya.
Remember when they were on the list? Once again I think the problem rests in treating nations like children. We want nations to behave and obey their parents.
How do you run a single-planet household?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Quote of the day:

"I was a Republican until they lost their minds."
- Charles Barkley (former NBA Star)
National Baseball Hall of Fame will induct the following individuals:

Ray Brown
Willard Brown
Andy Cooper
Frank Grant
Pete Hill
Biz Mackey
Effa Manley
Jose Mendez
Alex Pompez
Cum Posey
Louis Santop
Mule Shuttles
Ben Taylor
Cristobal Torriente
Sol White
J.L. Wilkinson
Jud Wilson

Seventeen supremely talented black baseball players will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. The Cooperstown event will honor legends of the Negro leagues.
Thomas Friedman is in Syria. Here is an excerpt from his columm in today's New York Times (OP-ED page):

"Some of the most primordial, tribal passions, which always lurk beneath the surface here - Sunnis versus Shiites, Jews versus Muslims, Lebanese versus Syrians - but are usually held in check by modern states or bonds of civilization , are exploding to the top. There is nothing that you can't do to someone in the Middle East today, and there is no leader or movement - no Nelson Mandela and no million-mom march - coming ot of this region, or into this region, to put a stop to the madness."
Bad news:

Las Vegas passed a city ordinace (effective today) making it illegal to offer as much as a biscuit to a poor person in a city park.
Good News:

Chad and Sudan signed a Peace Deal. The agreement calls for a joint military commission to monitor their borders.

President Bush signed an extension of the Voting Rights Act.
Do you remember reading all that nonsense on the internet about how this was not going to happen?
Introduction to the Blogosphere:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

So after 14 years of war, Monrovia, Liberia has lights. Yes electricity in the big city. 14 years. Can you imagine that??? How long has Edison been dead? How long will it take for lights to be back in the GAZA or Beirut? 14 years? This is unacceptable. Is there full power yet in New Orleans? We are pushing people back into caves. Does Bin Laden know something we don't know? Is it our destiny to join Barney and Frank and all the other Flintstones? How come space travel seems so attractive now that I'm getting older?
Was it Nikki Giovanni who was talking/rapping about Mars coming to us because we can't get to Mars? Or was it the other way around? Hmmmm. Have you noticed with all the wars and bloodshed that earth is turning into a red planet too? Maybe the redness begins with states and simply spreads.
Well I call him the Tiger Woods of literature. Yep, look for the literary Tiger to win all the awards again when his new book comes out in a few weeks. I'm talking about Edward P. Jones. His new book ALL AUNT HAGAR'S CHILDREN is coming out from Amistad. Some of us caught a peak from this book in those copies of The New Yorker we still keep by the table in the living room. Jones knows how to tell a story the way a grandmother makes quilts. The color and the pattern is what we keep passing on to those who want to learn the skill. Look for Jones to get that National Book Award, that P-Prize and throw in the PEN/Faulkner nomination too.
Today went by very fast. Bank. Downtown to the King Library. Oh...if you think our city needs a new main library just take a tour of the existing structure on 9th and G. Did this place survive a coup? It has that battered dictator palace feel and look.
Maybe shelling took place and armed forces turned them back. I checked out a few items: Peter Gynt by Ibsen, Four Major Plays by Ibsen, and a Norway guidebook.

I sat in the Cosi at 12th and G and read the newspapers. Ginger G arrived around 1 PM and we had Thai food around the corner. Not the best but the conversation and laughter was sweet. Thanks G.

Now I'm home and Soriano is still here. I guess that means another day of survival without the blues.
Ada, Ada, Ada, - Her name is on the cover of The Atlantic magazine (Fiction Issue 2006). Yep, Ada Udechukwu. Read her story "Night Bus" on page 46. Ada is a star who brings her own sky.
So the Nationals are playing good baseball but still not good enough to take our minds away from the war. I was struck by two photographs in the newspapers today. One was on the front page of the New York Times. Lady Condi holding her head like it's a migraine and probably forgetting it was her own bad advice years ago- telling Bush not to get involved in the Middle East conflict. Overlooking the fact that it was the US presence that kept the various factions at least talking about peace and settlement.Now look at what is going on? Condi is a European specialist without a prayer rug. Another photograph was a picture of a cemetary destroyed in Israel.That picture was on the front page of The Post/Express. I guess even the dead can't escape this nonsense. Someone please play Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need of Love Today." Don't delay.
A friend writes me from Israel and mentions how it's like living in a bubble. She mentions the fear of just one suicide bombing...

I thought of writing a story once about a person who is a serial bomber living in Baghdad. He is not motivated by religion or politics but simply his own personal darkness. He blows things up for the joy and the destruction it gives him. He hides behind the words of politicians and religious leaders. He is protected by the chaos of the war. He is discovered one day leaving a market bombing by a young Muslim woman who falls in love with him at first sight. She follows him home (she follows him almost everyday and soon discovers his secret) - the man is in exile from Sudan. He is a laborer who was working on the project to rebuild Bablyon before the war started.He is marginal in the Iraqi society. His anger about conditions in Sudan is what makes him build bombs. The woman is afraid to tell anyone what she discovers; a family member sees her walking by herself in the wrong (man's) neighborhood. He scolds her and pushes her into her own darkness. She dreams about being the bomber's lover. The two characters meet several months later near a US road block. The woman knows a bomb is about to explode, but her own sadness (or is it love) prevents her from telling anyone. The bomb explodes. End of movie. OK if you see this on the screen anywhere - in any form...send me a check. If you want to start shooting the film - give me a cameo.
I have dark South Bronx features.
Keep playing the music, the songs will come.
It's all we can do.
It's all we can do.
I'm home - on vacation? How can one take a vacation from what's going on in the world? We could all be one day, week, month away from losing our own homes. Wars and storms keep reminding everyone that reality is not a show on television but always demands an active participant. Who do you care for first? The family displaced from New Orleans? What about the second Tsunami? Which African country needs your help? Sudan? Somalia? What about Haiti? What about folks crossing the border looking for work? What about the young black kid in jail? What about old people living in the streets? So you think about Beirut and it's broken too. Another country knocked off the shelf of civilization. You begin to wonder about the leaders we elect around the world. How do they sleep? Must every nation create a 9/11 in order to prevent a 9/11?
I'm heading to Oslo in a few days. That seems strange to me -even surreal. Oslo - a city I seem to always connect with peace and peacemakers. I wonder what I'll see there? I think of Martin Luther King, Jr coming back from that city, a prize in his hand, but a Vietnam waiting around every corner.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I came across a speech Langston Hughes made in March 1959 at The First Conference of Negro Writers. This event was sponsored by the American Society of African Culture and held at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York. The committee that planned this conference consisted of John O. Killens, Loften Mitchell (chairman), Julian Mayfield,William Branch, Sarah E. Wright and John H. Clarke.
Here is an excerpt from what Langston said:

"To create a market for your writing you have to be consistent, professional, a continuing writer - not just a one-article or a one-story or a one-book man. Those expert vendors, the literary agents, do not like to be bothered with a one-shot writer. No money in them. Agents like to help build a career, not light a flash in the pan. With one-shot writers, literary hucksters cannot pay their income taxes. Nor can publishers get their money back on what they lose on the first book. Even if you are a good writer, but not consistent, you probably will not get far. Color has nothing to do with writing as such. So I would say, in your mind don't be a colored writer even when dealing in racial material. Be a writer first. Like an egg: first egg; then an Easter egg, the color applied."
Quote of the day:

"You do the best you can within the concentration camp."
- Woody Allen
While reading A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS by Amos Oz, I came across this beautiful passage about books:

My father had a sensual relationship with his books. He loved feeling them, stroking them, sniffing them. He took a physical pleasure in books: he could not stop himself, he had to reach out and touch them, even other people's books. And books then were sexier than books today: they were good to sniff and stroke and fondle. There were books with gold writing on fragrant, slightly rough leather bindings, that gave you gooseflesh when you touched them, as though you were groping something private and inaccessible, something that seemed to tremble at your touch. And there were other books that were bound in cloth-covered cardboard, stuck with a glue that had a wonderful smell. Every book had its own private, provocative scent. Sometimes the cloth came away from the cardboard, like a saucy skirt, and it was hard to resist the temptation to peep into the dark space between body and clothin and sniff those dizzying smells.
Well I made it to one of the Capital Fringe events. Sarah B and I went to see Holly Bass perform her DIARY OF A BABY DIVA at the Calvary Baptist Church last night.
There is another performance tonight (10PM) and then one on Saturday at 3PM. Holly is simply great. I found myself laughing so much. Don't miss this show.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In the latest issue of The New Yorker (July 31, 2006) there is a review of Ngugi wa Thiong'o'new novel (WIZARD OF THE CROW ) by John Updike. There is also a long essay about Castro and Cuba by Jon Lee Anderson.
Save October 18th 2006 for the next big IPS event. Wednesday, October 18th at 5:30 PM we will be having the 30th Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards at the National Press Club. We will be honoring Maher Arar and the Center for Constitutional Rights for their path-breaking work against torture, and the Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign on behalf of Katrina survivors. Our special guest will be VANESSA REDGRAVE.

For more about IPS, go to our website:
If you want to order tickets to the October event, call (202) 234-9382. Ext.277.
More comments about The Miller Classic:

Mr. Miller,

Much to their dismay, I played for the poets this summer in the softball game at Bennington College that you so generously sponsored. Even though we lost the game, poets prevailed nonetheless. I left the bookstore with April Bernard’s excellent collection, Swan Electric, with my share of the kitty.

This summer was my first semester at the Bennington MFA program and I met a lot of great people out in the field. Thanks so much for the gift of the game and of poetry.


Erica Plouffe Lazure (June 08)
I made major changes to my poetry manuscript yesterday. Things are looking good. I'll be sending it off to Curbstone Press next month.

I have three manuscripts that came in the mail the last few days.I have to read and write blurbs. One is a collection of poems by Randall Horton.

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Monica last night. She was informing me about what Quakers believe. OK - let me turn to the work of George Fox.
She also told me that Henry Taylor has a new book of poetry from LSU Press. The title is CROOKED RUN.
One thing I'm happy about is The Miller Classic. That's the softball game I decided to sponsor each year at Bennington. Poets throwing metaphors at fiction writers. It's another way of bringing writers together - outside of the workshop. Everyone who plays gets to select a book of poetry from the bookstore. Next year the winners will get cool Miller Classic T-shirts. Here is what one person had to say about the game:

Hey Ethelbert,

You probably don't remember me but I was a non-fiction student who arrived at Bennington two terms before you left. You lent me the tapes of your extraordinary work with soldiers. I was inspired then by your ability to meld together literature and the issues of the world. I miss that presence at Bennington. But not your softball game. My team won and I bought my first poetry book--ever! That I also owe to you.

Blessings and I hope our paths cross again,

Jay Paris

Monday, July 24, 2006

Dead at 72 - Mako
Japanese Actor.
Co-founder of East West Players. Received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Sand Pebbles.
So a movie star walks around his old neighborhood. Is this really going to reduce crime? Let's get real. Here is a simple and better way to plant some seeds of change:

- Have each child keep their room in order. Make that bed. Wash those clothes.
- Give your child 3-5 daily tasks to complete. I think we once called these things chores.
- Children should be responsible for keeping their building and street clean too. Pick-up the trash and don't throw things on the ground. Don't step over stuff.
- Every child should read a daily newspaper.
- Children should be taught "money matters" skills each week.
- 1/2 hour daily exercise in the morning or evening.
- Once a week a child should prepare a meal for their family. Shop, cook, and clean.
- Oh...and there was always a curfew - back in the day.
I worked on my poetry manuscript today. It might be finished by the end of the week.
I'm making a list of names of folks to contact for blurbs. I'm enjoying my working vacation. It felt good to stay around the house and put things in order. If folks have any church organizations looking for donations of clothes, books and toys, just let me know. My son is boxing quite a bit of stuff other people could use.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I'm getting ready to slip a clipping from the NY Times (from Friday) into an envelope for my Mom.
It's about medication errors. Yipes. 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications. The extra expense of treating drug-related injuries occurring in hospitals come to about $3.5 billion a year. Medication errors could be avoided if doctors adopted electronic prescribing and if patients made more effort to know about the risks of the drugs they take. Be sure you're getting the proper dose of a drug. Too much of something might zap you out of here.
So if you don't want to grab those dirty subway poles - grab some city mitts. Price is $20. Go to
The morning to early afternoon was spent at the Writer's Center (board meeting).We are getting ready to celebrate our 30th anniversary. More to come in future E-Notes.

I finished putting my basement in order. It's amazing what extra bookcases can do for the writing life. I'm calling the space the Miller Bunker. A place to do serious stuff - mainly sort and discard much of what I've been collecting the last thirty years. I'm finding things that will help with the poetry course I'll be teaching at Mason.

I just downloaded a long interview with Hezbollah leader Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah. It's the transcript of an Al-Jazeera interview. I want to read what this guy is saying - not excerpts.
Sending love out to Cornelius Eady. Stay strong...
Nations to monitor even if they are not in the headlines:

Mexico - What happens next? Who won the last election?
Ethiopia - Troops in Somalia? Another conflict brewing?
Nicaragua - The return of Danny O and the Sandinistas?
Liberia - What is the Lady President doing?
Haiti - Always a question ???
Ghana - Next year it's 50 years of independence. Anybody talking about Nkrumah?
Please read John McLaughlin (Senior fellow at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University) in the Outlook Section of the Washington Post today. This guy says what I've been doing E-notes about. It's so vital that we talk to people- even the "bad guys." Our failure to keep the various parties in the Middle East at the table, has resulted in the present crisis. Read what McLaughlin has to say. Check his 5 lessons that we need to remember about the Middle East. Place a star next to his lesson # 4. This OP-Ed piece is must reading.
I keep checking on my friends in the Middle East. One person wrote back and said the following:

"...just got back from a four day yoga retreat. Everyone chanting their om-shanti-shalom with fighter jets flying overhead. Quite surreal. Where this is all going is hard to say."

Yes, our world is becoming so surreal. We have access to more information. Our best neighbors can live on the otherside of the world. With technology comes responsibility. Still no matter what governments do, people must maintain heart to heart contact.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I saw some of the Nationals/Cubs game on television. I think folks around town are going to be hurt if Soriano gets traded. The guy had 3 doubles and a triple today. The new owners need to keep him around in order to fill the seats. You need maybe 1-2 All-Stars to reach the playoffs. Soriano and Zimmerman could fill that bill right now. Why make one more trade? This is not the Knicks. It's baseball.
It felt good not going outside today. My new basement bookcases are ready. I'll spend the next few days putting things in order. I found a Eudora Welty book I had been searching for the last few years. Whew. Finally a place to store record albums and tapes. I guess I'll be moving CDs down to the basement soon too. Things keep changing...

Camp Casey, made famous when Casey Sheehan's mother Cindy camped out
in Crawford Texas demanding to speak to President Bush about the war
in Iraq, will move to the Washington Mall on September 5. Casey
Sheehan was killed in Iraq and Cindy has become an outspoken opponent
of the invasion. To be called Camp Democracy, the encampment will
occupy different spaces on the Mall from September 5 through September
21. Groups are invited to set up tables, sponsor tents, and provide
entertainment. For more information go to:
I was always curious about how a world could keep waking up every morning and looking for its coffee while Jews were being placed in camps; or how one's Japanese neighbors could be taken away without a hand being raised to say -stop! But then I think of Rwanda and Bosnia and Sudan and the list is so long of places where many people were kille -- AND I did NOTHING. So do we add Lebanon to the list? Bombs continue to fall and no one even wants to whisper the words - cease fire. Why is Rice going to the Middle East? Why are we shipping more bombs to the Middle East?
Why do we seem to not value the lives of Arab people? Maybe we might have to begin to ignore our governments and establish "people to people" ties. Tolerance, respect, love, peace, these must become the cornerstone of our vocabulary in the 21st century. Must I wait for an elected leader to say it? What can I do? What can you do? What can we do?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Well, it's Friday and I guess we can add another broken country to the world's list: Lebanon. How long does it take to rebuild an infrastructure? Look at New Orleans - one year later, and this is within the US. Once a central government can't govern look for all type of criminal activity to replace it. Crime fills a vacuum. How many people are now refugees? Their lives destroyed. How many will suffer the long darkness? Depression. Homelessness. How many will turn to God? How many will serve the devil? How many will give up on man and discover the beast that lives within all of us? What would you do to survive? What would you do to protect your family? And why has our world changed? Because of a few people with certain beliefs? Is this nothing but a cheap airport novel that we're stuck in?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

It might make sense to not trade Soriano- especially when you look at the players the Nationals are getting in trades. The new guys really are not an improvement. Let's be honest. The team has few Superstars. Zimmerman is the only guy who looks like the real deal - and you can hit a ball right at him and he has problems. The Nationals have a DC smell which means we are looking at nine Wizards on the field instead of five.
Do you really expect the Wizards to win the NBA championship in the next 5 years?
Of course not. It's the same with the Nationals. The best this team can do is be a wild-card team in 4 years. It's not about getting better - it's about getting better while teams like the NY Mets are getting better. If the Nationals could find 3 hall of fame starters this team would be on the rise. They would also need either a batting or home run champ in the lineup. As I mentioned yesterday - we also need a field of gold gloves. Defense rules in every sport.
The First Lady's next National Book Festival will be September 30th. The Fringe Theater Festival begins in DC tomorrow...

Was that Ichiro beating the New York Yankees all by himself the other day?

A review of the new Museum of the African Diaspora was in the New York Times. Here is the website for the museum:
I reported this in old E-Note. I have no idea when I'll make it back to S.F. I must be part of the diaspora.

Historical moment: Ginger G stopped near G Street and tried on her new glasses this afternoon. If I was Langston I would have written a poem like "When Sue Wears Red" with words like:

When Susanna Jones wears red
A queen from some time-dead Egyptian night
Walks once again.

Blow trumpets, Jesus!
The Big Read kickoff was well done this morning. When historians look back at the Bush Administration they need to acknowledge the wonderful things achieved by the NEA under the leadership of Dana Gioia. The guy brings style and substance to events.
Today at the Library of Congress, the First Lady who is the Honorary Chair of the Big Read got things going. The program consisted of speeches, readings and films.
The special video greeting by Ray Bradbury was the highlight for me. Staff members were handing out boxes of CDs that focused on the 4 books that make this program go:
THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
FAHRENHEIT 451 BY Ray Bradbury

I sat next to Bendik (from the Norwegian Embassy) and Debora Hansen (Department of Education/Delaware. Afterwards I saw sweet Molly (from Bennington)and her husband with those 2 cool boys. Molly just joined the NEA staff and it looks like Big fun for her.
How do you build a baseball team? So the Nationals will have new owners starting tomorrow. They want to paint the town (DC) red.I'm red (already) just from crying. Well let's look at what's been going on in terms of trades. Austin Kearns is not the outfielder for the future. He's is just more of the same. Didn't we have that Preston Wilson guy here last year? Look if you want to have a quality team then you need maybe 2 gold glove outfielders -with great arms. They have to have speed too. Oh, and they must hit over .290. If we use this as a standard then the Nationals have no outfielders. Oh - and Escobar can hit but the guy can't play the outfield. If this was the AL, he would be my DH. Since this is the NL - then put him in a trade and send him somewhere. John Patterson needs surgery. That hurts. I thought this guy was the only person on the team that could pitch. Sorry Chief C - I'm including relief pitchers too.

I'm still surprise to see Frank Robinson in the dugout. The guy must keep a Wes Unself clown outfit in his closet.It's sad but Frank has to go...
I would recommend people see PARADISE NOW. It's an interesting examination of the thinking behind a suicide bomber. The film presents different viewpoints while placing the Palestinian question in the center stage. PARADISE NOW is also one of those films that's dark, sad but also rich with humor at times.

I pulled from my stack of books A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS by Amos Oz. It's his memoir that was published a couple of years ago. I had started reading it and didn't have time to finish it. Now,with the war going on in the Middle East I'll go back to it.

I still haven't started working on my course for George Mason. I can't find the outlined I did about a month ago. Boy, do I need an assistant. So many things to balance and try to complete. I did send off the blurb for Remica Bingham's first book. Congrats. Rem Rem. I have 2 other manuscripts I need to read and return to folks.

I might try and finish my own book (On Saturdays, I Santana With You) while on vacation next week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I finished the Roth novel. I'll dig around and find a few more books to read before getting to work on my Mason course. I'm trying to relax before heading overseas to Norway.

Tomorrow is THE BIG READ celebration at the Library of Congress. Laura Bush, Dana Gioia and many VIPs will be at the Library of Congress for this new National Endowment for the Arts initiative. The Big Read is designed to restore literary reading to American public culture. For information go to this site:
I'll head down to the Library of Congress around 7:30AM that should get me there before doors start opening.

D.C. Arts Commission meeting tomorrow too.
Coming home from work in the heat just made me weep. The 70 bus heading north to Mombasa or somewhere near. No air condition. Just hot bodies among the blues people.
An African brother trying to sell CDs and I felt he was unaware that almost everyone is downloading music these days. He would have done better selling cold bottles of water. I knew I should never have decided to take the bus home. Three blocks from Howard I was looking at a curve ball breaking over the plate. I couldn't move and the bus was stuck in traffic. The last time things were this bad I was sitting on a runway in Yemen. The plane was just heating up and I was panting like a lost puppie. No way will I do this again. From now on it's the Underground railroad for me. Tubman will see me at Metro Center.
Harlem Book Fair
Harlem, NY
July 22, 2006
Over 50,000 people are expected to attend the 8th annual Harlem Book Fair, Saturday, July 22, on West 135th Street, between 5th and 7th Avenues, from 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Publishers, writers, literacy vendors will exhibit and author panel discussions will be televised by C-Span’s Book TV.
Event website:

Hush now, please explain.
How can 50,000 people celebrate without GG being in the crowd? It must be a book fair and not a party. I bet the ghosts of Ellington and Strayhorn will be jamming when GG hits NYC. Yams will be sold on 125th Street again. Garveyites will start a new parade. Langston's Madam will have to tip her hat to Miz GG - That's Ginger G to you.
Maureen Dowd is one reason why the New York Times is still a good newspaper. Dowd is funny as well as critical of the Bush Administration. Tough stuff you always expect from her. Today it's no different. "Animal House Summit" finds her writing darts.

I had a nice morning reading the newspaper at Dos Gringos...took the bus over to Georgia Avenue and then walked down Columbia Road to Howard. I had never taken this route to work. It's something I might do on a regular basis whenever the weather is nice.

I cleaned an office across the hall from the Resource Center. I'm getting ready to host a Fulbright scholar from Africa. He will be arriving around the middle of August.

A morning conversation with Ginger G produced the quote of the day. GG said, "If you find yourself being the smartest person in your group, then you need to find yourself a new group."

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I'm safe there in your arms
- Norah Jones

It's not the first day but the second day
you open your eyes and you see your legs
are not there or maybe it's just an arm
missing from the room. You realize God
was not listening to your prayers when
you opened your mouth in wonder. God
was talking to someone in the next room.
You overheard their whispers and it made
your fever curious. It's faith that keeps
you thinking God might be making the rounds
tonight. The doctors and nurses can't return
what's yours. It's almost the third day
and you want someone to place a miracle
on your tongue. Nothing bitter -
just the sweet of it.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
3 movies to watch in the next two days:

1. Paradise Now
2. Brokeback Mountain
3. The Boys of Baraka

I'll try and finish reading Philip Roth's EVERYMAN by tomorrow. Poet Lore meeting on Tuesday evening. A number of good poems selected for the next issue.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where do people get their information from? I've been trying to follow events in the Middle East...keeping an eye out for Peace. I read George Will's piece in today's Washington Post. He mentions that 1000 rockets were fired at the population of Israel. 1000? Is that true? I can't even imagine that many rockets falling. I saw where a few hit Haifa. Do Hezbollah have 1000 rockets? One of the disturbing things about the movie Lord of War was the large number of guns folks could purchase on the black market. This is another problem which needs a solution. We also need to find a way to keep Iraqi military and police uniforms in safe boxes. It seems like any bad guy can get one. Geez - it's a good thing the standard Iraqi uniform comes without a Zorro mask.
California has Hollywood but DC has HollyBass:

Holly Bass’ one-woman show, Diary of a Baby Diva, follows one girl’s path of self-discovery from nerdy teacher’s pet to darling of the diva set. More than a monologue, Baby Diva includes fantasy lip synch sessions set to 80s pop music, supermodel runway walking and over a dozen on-stage costume changes. As her character says in the play, “Sometimes being yourself means dressing up like someone else…” “Mesmerizing.” (Village Voice) “[Bass is] indisputably funny” in a play that’s “Holden Caulfield meets Sandra Bernhard meets RuPaul.” (Washington Post) “Hilarious…worthy of being lumped in [John] Waters’ catalogue.” (Florida’s Entertaining U) This 75-minute performance takes place at Calvary Baptist Church – Woodard Hall, 777 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.
Five shows:
Sat, July 22, 10:30pm; (special opening night post-show happy hour)
Mon, July 24, 7:30pm;
Tues, July 25, 8:00pm;
Wed, July 26, 10:00pm;
Sat, July 29, 3:00pm.
TICKETS: All shows $15.
Otherworldly? OK let's place that word in our vocabulary. Thanks Oprah. Does this describe my life too? Do you remember the show "My Favorite Martian" with the guy who could grow those antennas? When I was young every woman I wanted to date was otherworldly. It's a reason why so many guys look at the sky and sing the blues: Oh, baby - why are you so far away tonight?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Let's begin to put some of these stories together:

#1 We are beginning to hear more talk about finding alternative energy and not depending on overseas oil - and this is even coming from the Bush Administration. So let's assume that oil is out like a record player or a video cassette within 10 years. We are now getting our energy from everywhere else including the sun - and nuclear sources. So maybe in 2006 we are in a transition stage for many of the big oil companies. Maybe they are pulling out of the oil business without telling us. But like the wise business folks they are, they also decide to destroy (or not repair) the infrastructure of those old oil producing nations. These places now become wastelands - Nigeria is probably there, Iraq could be right behind them. Maybe all the money going into protecting oil rigs,is just going into folks pockets. Companies really don't want to repair anything. They do however want the contracts, and these might just as well be phony ones. How much money can be made in "rebuilding" stuff that is already outdated? Quite a bit I imagine. Companies might soon not want the old oil producing countries pumping oil because it cuts into the new energy market.So keep them fighting. We might not want Korea or Iran to produce nuclear energy if it's cheap and is an alternative for them too. Just something to think about as one thinks about the unthinkable.
New book of poems from Bruce Weigl:
Ausable Press, 2006. $14.00
One of the few sane voices walking around and speaking out on the crisis in the Middle East is Rabbi Michael Lerner. This guy might just be holding a candle with a bright flame right now. Go to the following site:

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It seems like only yesterday I was walking around in the streets of Haifa. I was in Israel the day Yasir Arafat died. People were wondering what was going to happen next. I guess,now we know. We are at the beginning of a long-term conflict. Can you imagine if the present Middle East fight is like what we see in other parts of the world - Somalia, Sudan, etc. War for many, many, years. Why? Let's do some math here. The following numbers are taken from an article that is in today's New York Times:

"There are believed to be up to 3,500 active Hezbollah supporters, including some 300 hard-core guerrillas..."

How many people are in the world?? How many lives are being changed by less than 4,000 people? This makes no sense to me. I'm not even going to talk about politics and what people are fighting for. I'm just doing the math. This is like one person blowing up the world because he gets into a heated arguement with his wife.
So you're running for your life in either Israel or Lebanon. Maybe your home has just been destroyed or maybe you're just sitting in the dark now without power. Your children are crying and asking you what's going on? Who did this? Why? What type of leaders are we electing all around the world in the 21st century? Why is the UN so weak that you prefer green tea? There is no economic problem we can't solve today.There is no need for people to fight over natural resources unless folks just want to be greedy and don't want to share. But let's look at other issues. The word democracy. What does it mean? How imporant is the separation of church and state?What should be the role of women in society? Hidden within these few issues are mucho problems. It seems we are never going to agree on some things. But what do you do if someone believes you shouldn't be thinking a certain way- And will kill you? So you've been cursed because some holy text said so many, many years ago. You can't argue with the text because it's sacred. So what do you do? I will always have a problem with someone who tells me they know what God said. I hate to be lectured to by someone quoting scripture as if it was the Communist Manifesto. Remember that little book? I know God is here. I respect people who read the Bible and the Quran.
I have copies in my library. I also have other books. No matter how much I read, I still need to do good things with my actions. I must respect life and embrace all that is YES in the world. I know War is NO not YES. There is no sane reason for what's going on in the Middle East right now. Don't tell me about history because I can't change it. I do have the power to change tomorrow by changing today. Here are the simple facts - Israel exists. It's not going away like a fever. Here is another fact - the Palestinians have a right to a homeland. Let's not use words like occupation or Zionism, etc. Let's just talk about a "new" Middle East. Let's just talk about what we need to build - not destroy. It's very difficult to forgive someone who is responsible for the death of someone you love. You carry that pain, anger and hurt forever. A wound heals but it never disappears. Yet, what is love but a balm, what is healing but an attempt to embrace something beyond one's imagination.
This is why peace seems to difficult to obtain...we fail to imagine it. We see every treaty and cease fire as being medicine that won't cure anything. The reason for this is because we lack faith in ourselves and in our fellow human beings. Because of this we are afraid of the darkness that slowly engulf us. We do nothing but permit another bomb to fall.
Things are just getting out of control.
I find the Bush Administration to be too silent about things. The present war could spread to Syria and Iran before the end of the month.
So bicycle rickshaws are here in DC now? Yes, one can feel that chill of colonialism in the air. That Third World "pull" backwards as an Ugly American knocks my farecard out of my hand somewhere near K Street. I'm a Buddhist monk setting myself on fire or maybe something else is burning. Is it the history of my city? Ashes to ashes and dust to dust?
One art exhibit I hope to see during my vacation is "Klee and America."
It's at The Phillips Collecton, 21st at Q Street, NW
The exhibit will on view from June 17 - September 10, 2006.
Here in DC the race for mayor only seems to be about which candidate can raise the most money. Don't people have ideas? I'll pay for one.
Looking beyond the bombing in the Middle East, one wonders -who is going to get all the rebuilding contracts? Who profits from war? Who will make money from rebuilding the Gaza and Beirut? What if there was a relationship between what was destroyed today and rebuilt tomorrow? We know there are people who will sell guns to everyone. It has nothing to do with ideas, politics or religion. Have Gun Will Travel. Need Energy Will Rebuild. All for hire. All for money? Just another way of reading beyond the headlines and thinking about the unthinkable.
Sunday. Three years ago the poet Reetika Vazirani left us. This morning I'll make the journey with her mom to the cemetery.

Excerpt from a poem I wrote for Reetika:

Even after he learns about her death
when he knows she is not home or
maybe not in the mood to talk
he calls her phone to listen to her voice
on the answering machine
reminding him to leave a message

Saturday, July 15, 2006

This morning I took a long walk with my Buddy Bev. It's something we might try to do every weekend. Long walks with a friend - is priceless. Be sure to drink plenty of water because of the heat. If your parents are in their 80s - check on them. Be sure they are drinking plenty of water and that their house or apartment is cool and comfortable. This is important.
Tell them to think water and drink water.
Is it too difficult to call for a cease-fire in the Middle East? If we ever reach the future, hopefully we will arrive at a place where identity is not link primarily to land. Why must people fight over land? Why do we have borders and boundaries? Why are we so afraid of people who are different? The land belongs to no one and everyone.
Miller's Law:

Spend less and save more. Invest when you can.
New guy in town. Paul Greenhalgh is the new Corcoran Gallery Director.
I wish him well. Over the years I've done quite a number of programs at the Corcoran. Greenhalgh wants to model the Corcoran after a think tank. A wonderful concept. You have to love a someone who says:

"If you worry about money first, you do cheap ideas. You shouldn't do cheap ideas. You should do the best ideas, and raise the money once you have had the good idea."
Oh, now look at this- it's in the Washington Post (Sports Section) too. Phillies pitcher Brett Myers was recently arrested for hitting his wife in the face. He comes back to the club and says the following:

"I want to apologize to my wife, my family, my teammates, the entire Phillies organization, and especially the fans."

Hey Brett - maybe this is the problem. Just talk to your wife! She's the only person you need to apologize to. Domestic violence is a serious issue.
If you spend too much time thinking about what other people think you'll never take the time to correct the problem. Don't hit the person you love.
Love more and don't hit. If you're a true pitcher, save those strikes and your arm for when you're in the ball park - playing a game. Don't play with another person's life and well being.
The following was in the Washington Post (Sports Section) today:

"Orioles officials postponed Saturday's Brian Roberts bobblehead giveaway because the 20,000 dolls the club received from the manufacturers appeared to have dark blue skin."

All this time I thought dolls were judged by their "character" and the joy they gave to others. But I see now it's the color of their skin. (smile)
Another day of woe and war. Is this daylight or just morning? What day is it? It's another day after 9/11. I've always felt that one of the most important speeches by a US president was the one Bush made after the airplane attacks. We can now look back at that speech and call it the Bush Doctrine. It might just shape how we live for perhaps a century or two. Read the Bush Doctrine and you'll understand why we won't be able to solve the Middle East crisis today or tomorrow or the next day after that one. The reason is that the Bush Doctrine rules out talking to rogue regimes. These are nations that might protect groups that we define as terrorists. Once you're placed on that list baby you might as well sit in the corner with one of those dunce caps. No economic treats for you at snack time. No water either. You're going to be forced to look at a wall or face isolation from the rest of the classroom and world. If you throw a bomb when the teacher's back is turned you're asking for more trouble. Now - why you're in the corner in the first place is never going to be looked into.
If you're a troublemaker that's your label for life. We can't continue to treat countries like they are children. We can't just label a group or nation a terrorist without looking at who they are. What is the history behind their demands? We also have to maintain constant dialogue with people in the 21st century. If we cannot sit around and even listen to the complaints people have, we will never move to the next level of understanding them. There are so many stories we just don't know. Why?
Well, we too often listen to ourselves. We talk when other people want to talk; so there is no conversation or community. If we don't understand the pain of our enemy, that person will always be our enemy. The human potential rests with the human capacity to transform and to love. Love is linked to forgiveness, compassion and enlightenment. Do you wish to live in darkness? In the Middle East too many people are living this way.If you go outside today, look into a stranger's eye and see the light. You might also see your reflection for the first time. Love yourself and love others.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Watchout for the news media talking more about the increase in the price of oil now that war is raging in the Middle East. The focus should be on blood not oil. Too many people are dying.
The focus should be on finding another blueprint for peace.

The US needs to take a leadership role and try to bring this conflict to an end. This can only be done by supporting both Israel and the Palestinians. Difficult? Yes, but who said it was easy?
You have to listen to both sides.
Talking about movies why don't we go back to this new deal R Johnson is doing. The New York Times was talking about BET Johnson doing Urban films. Well, in the Washington Post (Biz Sec today) there is talk about the focus being on family films. Will I see my family on the screen? How many pews of a black church do you want to watch? Must we visit the beauty parlor and barbershop everyday (or just again)? There is nothing worst than a boring film about the African American middle class discovering they are black. Low budget films can come with low budget scripts. Do you want to be one acting job away from slavery?
Movies I will watch this weekend:

Walk the Line
good night, and good luck
Yesterday was a busy day. I pushed myself into my work trying to protect myself from the war.
Correspondence and email went out all morning. I was hitting everything with the sweet part of the bat. Why take a break? In the afternoon Andrea Carter stepped into my office looking lost.
She was. I didn't know who she was until I saw the bags. Yep - there they were. Uppity Negro bags. Carter thing. This is the woman folks have been talking about. We had a long talk and I gave her several ideas that put an up in her uppity. You can contact her at:

I had to G2 it over to P street and Starbucks (between 14th & 15th) to meet with Bendik (Counselor for Cultural Affairs/Royal Norwegian Embassy). We agreed on dates for my August trip to Norway. I'll take the route that will let me see Iceland. I remember being in 4th grade trying to find that country on the map.

While in Starbucks beautiful Nefretiti Makenta came in. When was the last time I saw her?
Nef just completed her film "Word is Bond" which will air on television in February 2007. She had been working on this project for a few years. Good to see it done.

It rained yesterday afternoon but that didn't stop the Ginger G from appearing like a rainbow.
We went to Logans on P. It was my first time there. Bendik was suppose to join us but had went back to the the Embassy and then got caught it traffic. I had the meatloaf and garlic potatoes that was very good. The G sat across from me thinking about Harlem -not knowing she was already her own renaissance.

Just before seven we walked over to the Studio Theater for the Hip Hop Theater Festival. I saw the novelist Marita Golden crossing the street and felt I was walking in the right direction. As I grow older I've noticed less hip in my hop--so the evening experience was new to me. It was also one of those rare moments where I was surrounded mostly by young people and I was not in a school, prison, or on a bus. There was nice energy in this crowd and a long line began to quickly grow at the Studio. Well, a very long line. Folks had to be turned away. Well - being an Arts Commissioner for the city has its Ups. My friend Jose found me tickets and I felt like a Redskin fan getting into the stadium. Thanks Jose.

The Hip Hop Theater Festival consisted of an evening of short plays. Five this evening:

Herstory: Love Forever, Hip Hop by Goldie Patrick
The 70 by John H. Muller & Justin L. McNeil
Uppity Negroes on Parade by Holly Bass
Hidden Pages by Terah Jackson
Sentenced by John Johnson

The most creative piece was by Holly Bass. You knew this as soon as the first actress hit the stage. It I was eating something sweet last night then Holly's short play was the creame filling.
Every aspect of Hip Hop was on display - the visual, the dance and the word. It also had that old school Michael Jackson precision in terms of movement. A Holly Bass trademark.

Terah Jackson's work was memorable for its subject matter (prison) and its explanation of language. It was didactic in a very interesting way.

The only other short I enjoyed was the one about the 70 bus. Yes the 70 - that's the one I ride everyday when I go to work. I would have included more actors in this short production. I was surprise everyone in the play had a seat. The 70 is usuallycrowded with several conversations going on at the same time. This piece should have moved in that direction instead of following the typical bus route.

During the entire evening an older man sat in front of me talking like he had missed rehersal. He was enjoying the evening in a loud fashion - and maybe this is why it was Hip Hop Theater and not Shakespeare. There were many moments when folks in the audience just talked back to the stage...comments filled with wisdom and laughter. What I found is that this spontaneous response extended and enriched the performance( at times). Ginger G poked me in the side and reminded me that I was a Proper Negro if not Uppity. So I hit the guy on his head with my program like I was "tagging" a wall.
Yesterday day I heard from my DimaBean. It has been a long time. Dima, such a wonderful, talented Arab American poet living in California. She sent me a note and it was filled with tears, sadness and hurt. I thought of Dima. My DimaBean. I read the news again and there was a reference to the city of Haifa. I remember two years ago looking at its port. Haifa - a special place for members of the Bahai faith. Which brings me back to what I felt the last time I was in the Middle East. Here at Ground Zero where almost every religion has a heart - why is man so committed to hatred and violence? Why can we not love Or even speak the word today? How will my DimaBeans grow?
Someone might look at the events in the Middle East and start taking sides. There is only one side to take- and that's means one has to side with PEACE. There is no other alternative. The problem is finding leaders that are going to let go off the past in order to embrace the future. It's going to mean letting go of terms like occupation, Zionism, etc. It's going to mean not looking back to Hitler and WWII. It's going to require the acceptance that the loss of land does not mean the loss of identity. Maybe we are all Palestinians. Maybe we are all Jews.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The only thing to pay attention to right now are the developments in the Middle East. With the war already being fought in southern Lebanon -look for it to quickly spread to Beirut. If the Israeli soldiers that have been captured are taken to Iran or someone claims Iran is behind recent events - then look for Israel to attack Iran. Ridiculous? Not really. It's a quick way to prevent Iran from trying to build what ever nuclear things were being built. Israel is following a very aggressive foreign policy. It's similar to the one outlined by Bush after 9/11. I don't expect the present adminstration to call a halt to Israel's actions...especially if a war spreads to Iran. The goal is to target key power plants. This might also be an attack against radical Islam - which means we will find things turning ugly around the world. Any attack on Beirut is going to crush the hearts of many people around the world. Beirut is like Paris. It's a city with a wonderful history. To see bombs falling on it just brings back the darkness of World War II and images we thought had ended in Europe. Look for a serious battle to take place in the media. There will be images you will see and won't see. Why is there no peace in the world? Where are the peacemakers?
Do you know Ron Gettelfinger? He is the UAW president. Here is an excerpt from his State of the Union address at the 34th UAW Constitutional Convention held June 12-15 in Las Vegas:

"And let us make this point clear: Our fight has never been with workers in other countries and it isn't today. Our fight is with those who want to give multinational corporations free rein to pit workers in the advanced industrialized nations against workers in the newly industrialized countries in a brutal race to the bottom that none of us can ever win. Our fight is with those who believe corporate profits are more important than workers' rights, human dignity and decent environmental standards."
I'm serving as chair of the Host Committee for the 13th Annual reception supporting the TransAfrica Forum's Arthur R. Ashe, Jr. Foreign Policy Library. The reception will be held on Saturday, October 21st at 3:30 PM at Mimi's American Bistro. The invited guest author is Edwidge Danticat. For more information contact Mr. Mwiza Munthali, Director of Information, TransAfrica Forum: 202 223-1960. Ext. 137.
OK here is a summer job (maybe thesis) for someone interested in monitoring the media. Compile a list of how often someone in the media talks about how wonderful a black person smiles while playing their sport. Don't they like Gary Payton's scowl? I do. Maybe Gary refuses to wear white gloves.
00? Look for Bond(s) to be in the headlines in a few days. Will he be indicted for income-tax evasion?
Fear of a Black Thing? Trouble coming? It's reported in the NY Times Business section (today) that Robert Johnson (BET Founder) is forming a business with The Weinstein Company (Founders of Miramax). They want to be a major force in minority entertainment from producing films and television programming to the internet. They want to produce low-cost films for the urban market. You can replace the word "urban" with booty and boobs. That's what we will probably get. Urban is nothing but a key word for a certain type of art product - call it lifestyle.
If what Johnson and Company produces is going to be urban than I want to be rural or maybe island. BET was not without its critics. Look for this new business venture to exploit a market without any concerns to ethical issues. If it sells they will push it. Now of course I could be wrong. Robert Johnson has done so many good things in his life right? Don't you wish Emerge magazine was still here? If I'm wrong in a few years about Robert Johnson then I'll change my name from Ethelbert to Bert the Bobcat.


Hey -parents! Hey -students! Books will be needed if you're
going to college. Is the summer over? Here is some buying
online information:

Always check ISBN numbers. New editions of books mean new page numbers.
Don't have the wrong book in class. This might result in you looking dumb or just not
doing your homework and having a lame excuse.

Oh - and what's with all those gang problems in Rio De Janeiro? Prison reform is seriously
needed in that country. Why do we always wait for problems to happen? What impact might
the situation in Brazil have on the prison problems in California? This is the type of question
we need to ask ourselves in the 21st century.

PHOTOS: Israel's Lebanon Offensive Continues
Smoke rises over Beirut's international airport after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike. (AP)

Before we start talking ONLY about the rise of oil because of
war in the Middle East, let's stop the war from spreading.
Israel is taking a very hard line and seem to be implementing a
plan that was in the works as soon as the Palestinians changed
their government. I don't think this is about getting one
soldier back home. This is bigger than saving Private Ryan.

PHOTOS: Israel's Lebanon Offensive Continues
Smoke rises over Beirut's international airport after it was hit by an Israeli airstrike. (AP)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Here is what IPS is doing:

Professor Ron Rapoport and the Institute for Policy Studies invite you to a seminar on:
WHAT: "The Relevance of Ross Perot and Third Parties to Politics Today"
WHO: with Ronald Rapoport, author of "Three's a Crowd:The Dynamic of Third Parties, Ross Perot, and Republican Resurgence" (University of Michigan Press, 2005).

WHEN: Monday, July 17, 2-3:30 pm
WHERE: IPS Conference Room, 1112 16th St., NW (16th and L), Suite 600
DISCUSSION PANEL: Marcus Raskin (Co-founder of IPS), will moderate a discussion among author Ron Rapoport, John Cavanagh (IPS Director), and David Kamens (Distinguished Senior Fellow at George Mason University).

Chair of the Department of Government at the College of William and Mary, Ron Rapoport has carefully analyzed the 19 percent of the electorate who voted for Perot in 1992, and how Newt Gingrich captured many of them with his "Contract with America" in the mid-1990s. The current Republican Party has abandoned many of the issues dear to these voters' hearts and they may once again be up for grabs in 2008. Join Professor Rapoport for a discussion at IPS on the book and these issues.

Please contact for further information.
I'm back to thinking about the unthinkable. Is this the beginning of the 20th century again?
How close are we to a World War or nuclear war? The old key trouble spots are heating up again. The Middle East and India/Pakistan. Things are not looking good. So quickly things can escalate. Matters could be made worse if any suicide bombing takes place inside Israel within the next two weeks. India is rocking too. I can't imagine the fear people are having about just getting on a train in Bombay. 8 bombs in one day. If we don't pay attention to the number of people killed each day( around the world) then a nuclear bomb could be dropped and we would react the same way. Our ears stuck in IPODs. Imagine 800,000 to 1 million or more people gone in one day and you get up and go to work because you live in Trenton or Tucson. You worry about things because your internet service is down. You watch CNN for 3 days and then you want to get back to American Idol. I'm thinking about the unthinkable but for how long?
Did you see those crazy numbers in Courtland Milloy's column today???
Read this and weep:

"According to D.C. police, 420 juveniles taken into custody on armed-robbery charges in the city this year had been arrested before. Including the robbery case, 144 of them have been arrested twice; 102, three times; 74 four times; 44, five times; 29, six times; 10, seven times; five, eight times; five nine times; three, 10 times; one, 11 times; one, 12 times; and two,14 times."

OK, let's look at these numbers and make some tough decisions. Can you imagine being a father and having your son arrested 14 times?? Now you know I love baseball, so I'm not even going to stop with the person who was arrested 3 times. Let's just call that a strikeout. So we (society) give you another time at bat. But baby, if you've been arrested 14 times you shouldn't be playing baseball. Game over. Now - what should we do? If I was Richard Wright, I would want to interview the two kids who were arrested 14 times. Yes, baby...I want to know their story. This is bigger than Bigger. I also think we need to place these guys under serious observation and testing. Yes, baby- bring out the experiments, the drugs...let's play with the DNA - because something is going on here and we need to know what it is. Fourteen times you've been behind bars?? I have to do some testing. Sorry. I have to take some urine. Baby you have to give me blood. What is wrong with you??? Don't tell me your father left. Don't tell me you were abused. Don't tell me you can't find Jesus. Don't tell me you don't have a girlfriend. Don't tell me any of this after you've been to jail 14 times. We have to study you. We have to know what makes you tick. Do I sound like Truman Capote?? Talk to me baby, I'm a writer...I want to listen to your story.I need to write 14 chapters. I need to write 14 books. I need to start over 14 times just in order to get it straight. I'm all for forgiveness baby...but take these two "experimental" tablets and let's see what happens in the morning. If you don't feel better, I'll find something else. We can't let you out and have you hurt an innocent person and make it 15. No, baby. We can't do that -and I say I love you.
They sedated me at the hospital this morning. I don't remember anything. I'm the Manchurian Poet. I was walking down the street this afternoon and someone mistook me for a spoken word artist. Geez, what did they do to me? What happened to the book of poems I was writing? Where are my line breaks?

I'm OK. The patient -me - A 55 year old male had a colonoscopy today. One small polyp at 60cm was removed. No abnormalities. Now how does my personal stuff affect you? You should talk to your primary care physician about colon cancer prevention. Colonoscopy is the most accurate way to examine the entire colon. Here are a few facts:

-Colon cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer in the U.S.
-Colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death from cancer
- Removing polyps prevents cancer!!!
In yesterday's Washington Post, Papi Kymone Freeman made the following interesting remark:

"The theater is the last hope that we have of having anything that can remotely be controlled by the people."

Well, this is why people struggle in Mexico and everywhere else in the world. The people must reclaim the decision making over their lives. Freeman's statement opens the door to a discussion of democracy. It goes back to the recent film I saw about the coup in Venezuela. It was the people who fought back and refused to be pushed back into the "theater" of oppression. They refused to sit in the audience (or their homes) while someone took the streets from them.

It's important to place the truth on the stage and that truth must reflect the vision for how we wish to live.
I'll finish reading Cleaver's SOUL ON ISLAM later today. This book is more about Islamic principles than it is about Ahmad Maceo Eldridge Cleaver. I still don't know who the guy is and why he embraced a new faith. The book is also lacking in structure. It does however place in the center of the room one of the things that should be discussed. I find it interesting how as soon as a man becomes a Muslim he begins to worry about sex and women. It always seems to be one of the first things a person begins to focus on in order to control and develop their moral discipline. Women appear to be the main distraction in life. They prevent a person from being aware of God all the time. So let's cover them up or place them behind us in the mosque. One can see how in some very strict Muslim communties there might be no place for certain types of music, art or sports. Isn't all this stuff a distraction from praying and thinking about God? Why play basketball or run track? Is this why God placed us here? But must we always deny the body? Is the flesh bad or just our ideas about the flesh? The other questions one could ask is - "Should we be praying all the time?" Do we abandon this life for the next one? Can a person answer this question without first turning to the Quran? Do we read the Quran for guidance or do we read it like a map? Do we need help with life's journey or do we need to be told where to go? Oh, and if I got lost - could I stop and ask a woman for directions?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Eight bombs in Bombay. More violence and death. I wonder how many people right now are making bombs. Why? I can't understand it. I can't understand how someone can cut a person's throat in Georgetown and then go to Wendy's for a burger. The concept of man must still be an experiment.
Was that the Baby Diva in the Washington Post today? Holly Bass - the talented wonderwoman. I didn't know she coined the term "hip-hop theater." (I'm claiming the term literary activist) Try and get to Studio to see Holly on Thursday evening. Rumors are even spreading that Ginger G might be in the audience sporting a new look. So much going on in this city. I'm happy that I'm a Free Person of Color - in the Douglass tradition.
Hey- Florence Marfo in England. Thanks for the card. I received it today. Everything is up and well with the meds. I'm OK and hope you're OK.
The new Nationals owners takeover the baseball team on July 25th. They plan to reach out to the fans and upgrade RFK stadium. New concession items. Yum. We are talking cheese steaks and Italian sausages. Now you see why I'm getting those med exams? Anyway, I chuckled when I read that the new owners wanted to "Paint the Town Red." Whew. Can you imagine if this was back in the 1950s. Painting DC red would put a Communism scare right under everyone's bed.
DC meanwhile continues to change colors as neighborhoods change and the challenge is to find a way to make this place a better city for all.
Back to the hospital for some more tests tomorrow. It's important to get those exams when you start living in the middle of the road. You never know when some part might not be working right. Take time to be safe. When was your last physical exam? Make that appointment tomorrow.
The Caribbean Literary Festival will be held on Antigua, November 2-5, 2006. I'll be heading down there as a featured author. It sounds like fun in the sun and words in the sand. More details in a later E-Note.
I took the subway down to the Mocha this morning. Sitting outside was Marie Johns. She gave me a warm smile that didn't convey she was running for something. It's what I look for in a politician. Maybe this woman could be mayor. I haven't decided who to vote for yet. Who should I give the purple finger to? Who might give the people the finger if we elect them? Who are the people? Yesterday at Busboys -the organization- DC Vote had a meeting. The Langston Room was filled mostly with people who didn't look like me. I had ordered a burger with chips when I first got there,soon I was looking for 3/5 of a vote. Which city will have the most interesting future - New Orleans, Baghdad or DC?

I had a good meeting at Mocha with Marc Loud, excutive director of GATEWAY. He is working to develop Georgia Avenue. We talked about the area and the role artists might play. Marc is interested in art organizations and artists contacting him. If you're interested in maybe a future studio space, drop him a note. Here is his email address:
Here is a link to his company:
I'm hoping we will meet with the faculty and graduate students of Howard's Art Department in the near future.
Don't forget New Orleans:
New movie coming to the area -WONDROUS OBLIVION with Delroy Lindo. A film for Cricket Lovers (one game I just don't understand). This picture is getting rave reviews. There will be a exclusive showing of it on July 21st at the Avalon Theatre (5612 Connecticut Ave, NW).
Visit for details.
Yesterday I gave a talk about memoir writing to teachers participating in the summer workshop coordinated by the DC Area Writing Project. A wonderful group that really promotes writing and honors writers. Next year they will be honoring Marita Golden. This year it was Sharon Bell Mathis. Talking about a book disguised as a memoir - it has to be SOUL ON ISLAM. Yes, the book is written by a Cleaver. Ahmad Maceo Eldridge Cleaver (son). The best thing about this book might be the fact that the author is a muslim and is living in Qatar. I was very happy to read about that. Why? Well, because I always had serious questions about where Eldridge Cleaver was taking us. Yipes. I still remember the demands for "PussyPower" echoing out of Cramton Auditorium into my little single room in Cook Hall one night. Cleaver had come to campus with what I knew was simple nonsense. Just like a few years later the guy was marketing pants with a pocket place to keep your penis safe. Do you really need the FBI to put a stop to this? Crazy, baby - so I'm glad Maceo didn't inherit his father's wardrobe. SOUL ON ISLAM has good intentions and maybe it should be translated into Arabic. This is just a nice way to say the writing is poor. English poor. Not even workshop poor. I laughed when I read this line on page 12:

"The Black Panthers were armed to stop police brutality. They had many shootouts with the police."

Well, give me a sandwich and some cookies.
One of the hardest working people in DC must be Pamela Pinnock. Pam coordinates all those wonderful events at Busboys & Poets. It was so nice to receive 2 poems (haiku) from her yesterday. P2 is writing and this is just another reason why the world is still beautiful. Well there is also D2 (Derrick and Don). Thanks for what you do. Keep teaching and the world will change.

Talking about change, I'm glad I attended the TransAfrica gathering at Busboys on Monday.
They presented an interesting film on Hugo Chavez and Venezuela - "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." This was a fascinating account of the attempted coup to overthrow Chavez. It's also a lesson in democracy and how people make history when that stand united. Geez, it shows the key role the media has (and must play) in getting the truth to the people. Looking at the film and how it showed Chavez being removed from office to be taken somewhere and flown out of the country, just made me think of Haiti and other nations where democracy is just overlooked because of other interests (usually economic). If things like this continue we are just going to be on the wrong side of history. When you see leaders like Chavez walking down the street in their countries and seeing the love poor people have for them - you know what this is all about. It means that a guy like Hugo is big Hope. With this type of power comes Huge, not simply Hugo responsibilites. It's also fragile. Money placed in the pockets of a few key businessmen or generals can bring the curtain down. The freedom play ends and oppression remains sitting in its chair.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Well the first Miller Classic at Bennington was held this summer. It's the softball game I decided to sponsor for the students enrolled in the Bennington Writing Seminars. Here is what Victoria Clausi said about the event:

"The poets, I'm sorry to report, lost the game, but everybody had a great time, and everyone who played was given a voucher to use toward the purchase of a poetry book (so poetry won) in the bookstore (and JC and Richard made sure the funds went toward poetry books). "

I'll increase my donation next year.
Information for poetry lovers:

Friday July 14, at 8:00 p.m., poets Anne Becker and Rose Solari read in a new series co-sponsored by The Writer's Center and Savory Café. Savory Cafe is located at 7071 Carroll Avenue in the Old Town section of Takoma Park. The phone number is 301-270-2233. Admission is free.
"My life- as an artist, at least - can be charted as precisely as a fever: the highs and lows, the very definite cycles. I started writing when I was eight - out of the blue, uninspired by any example. I'd never known anyone who wrote; indeed, I knew few people who read. But the fact was, the only four things that interested me were: reading books, going to the movies, tap dancing and drawing pictures. Then one day I started writing, not knowing that I had chained myself for life to a noble but merciless master. When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended solely for self-flagellation."
- Truman Capote
(From the preface of MUSIC FOR CHAMELEONS)
Ornette Coleman is going to release "Sound Grammar" on September 12th. It's his first album in more than a decade. The music was recorded last year in Germany.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

While at the baseball game I told my friend Linda about the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." It's funny that we only sing the second stanza and not the first and third. The lyrics to this popular song was written by Jack Norworth. Notice how today no one makes any reference to Katie Casey.

Katie Casey was baseball mad
Had the fever and had it bad
Just to root for the home town crew
Every sou Katie blew
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said, "No
I'll tell you what you can do."

Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don't care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for the home team
If they don't win, it's a shame
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
At the old ball game

Katie Casey saw all the games
Knew the players by their first names
Told the umpire he was wrong
All along, good and strong
When the score was just two to two
Katie Casey knew what to do
Just to cheer up the boys she knew
She made the gang sing this song
I'm just back from RFK and watching the Nationals lose another game. What year is it when Piazza can come off the bench and beat you? Anyway, it was a great day. I was the guest of my friend Linda G. We watched a couple of innings of the game from one of the VIP boxes. I had a chance to talk with one of the guys helping to design the new stadium. The Nationals were playing San Diego so the crowd was at 22,000. Around the 3rd inning Linda and I took our seats not far from home plate (third base side). The Nats put up some runs but Escobar in centerfield must have misplayed about 5 balls hit his way. This guy should be on a little league team. He either can't play the outfield or he needs an eye exam so he can see the ball when it's coming his way. I don't care that the guy hit a home run and had some other hits. Teams win because of their defense. If it's missing they lose like today. Oh...and the bullpen is just awful this year. Relief pitchers throw strikes. They must have excellent control. You don't walk people in the late innings! Jose Guillen is looking so bad that he should try and raffle hits during the pre-game show. I can't see him or a number of other guys in a Nats uniform after this month. Yes, Frank is gone too. Sorry Frank. So long Soriano.
Something to think about?
In a society in which laptops and cellphones keep us mobile (and connected), might not the mobile home make a big comeback? One could move one's entire home in order to avoid natural disasters or seek employment. This might mean in areas like New Orleans - the concept of new home ownership might now come with no land attached. What can you do with forty acres and a mule in cyberspace?
If we give too much attention to the worldwide Islamic Revolution that is taking place we just might overlook the major development that is changing our world. It's the movement of indigenous populations throughout this hemisphere. People are fighting to put an end to poverty, reclaim land, and insure that democracy is built on the shoulders of the masses and not political or economic elites. No more looking at the masses as if they were asses. In the future someone will say "Chiapas" and perhaps a new language will have started there. One wonders if the hands that were removed from Che in Bolivia are now leaving fingerprints wherever people dream about becoming new men and women. Our failure to resolve rural problems in Mexico (and elsewhere) will prevent us from finding a solution to immigration issues. If we overlook how global warming is changing the lifestyles of indigenous people near Alaska we won't even know which way to look. North or South?
Come hell or high water? Well, we've seen the high water so hell must be on its way. A couple of things to check in today's New York Times. One is a front page NY Times Book Review of Doug Brinkley's THE GREAT DELUGE. In the same issue is a critical review of Donald Hall's WHITE APPLES AND THE TASTE OF STONE. Dan Chiasson begins his review of Hall's book with two statements that made me think and made me think about Hall:

There are two kinds of poets: the ones who tell the stories, and the ones about whom the stories get told. Donald Hall - poet, critic, anthologist, poetry editor of The Paris Review during its early years, editor of "The Oxoford Book of American Literary Anecdotes" and, as of last month, this country's poet laureate - is of the first group: warm chronicler or eager gossip, depending on the precise ratio of tribute to malice in any given tale. Anecdote-compilers like Hall often seem to want badly to cross over to the other group.

Hall always adored his elders, a preference that could make him seem prematurely elderly.

I guess this is what I felt when I was sitting in Tishman Hall (listening to the Hall)l when I was teaching at Bennington. I like Hall and his work but I also felt the guy embraced history a bit too much. If we were talking about baseball it's like holding on to Ruth and refusing to acknowledge that Hank Aaron was born. The past is what we stand on, it's not where we live. Maybe that's why I now and then put some books down and walk across the hall into the next room.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I spent much of the day at Busboys with Brenda Greene. Ms. B runs the Black Writer's Conference up in Brooklyn at Medgar Evers College. She met so many people that she ran out of cards. Busboys is that type of place. Before meeting her I did some more Crouch reading and came across a funny quote which he attributed to Bellow:

"Man takes a huge step backward when he fails to understand that he can't eat with his ass and shit with his mouth."

Today was also a day to talk with friends on the phone: Julia, Ginger G, Bendik...

I did computer repairs at home. Be sure to get that SURGE PROTECTION! time - I'm going to watch CAPOTE tonight. I did enjoy 16 Blocks. Mos Def was very good...the nonstop talking was great. Bruce Willis snuck out of the black & white of Sin City to make this movie.
Ichiro Watch: Mauer on the Twins is leading Ichiro by about 41 pts. Ichiro is hitting .347. Let's see what happens the first two weeks after the All-Star game.
If seems if we want to move towards peace in the Middle East we might have to change the language we use. I notice in the media that Israeli soldiers are always fighting Palestinian gunmen. But this is a war - right? How come it's not Israeli soldiers fighting Palestinian soldiers?
The gunmen term seems to remove the political conflict from discussion. The language turns everything into good guys and bad guys. How can we ever move to a 2 -state solution in the area? What are gunmen but thugs - right? If we refuse to acknowledge the humanity of our enemies we will always have enemies - there will never be peace in the world.
I finished reading Lee Martin's THE BRIGHT FOREVER last night. I'm now moving into reading a couple of books by Stanley Crouch. This is something I wanted to do for a long time. Many folks have an opinion about Crouch but most folks don't read what he writes. I know people who dislike Crouch just because of something Baraka wrote about him. I first was introduced to Crouch by one of my mentors (Bob Stokes). He gave me a copy of "Ain't No Ambulances for No Niggers Tonight" which is still a classic. I also remember reading Crouch's long review of the anthology BLACK FIRE in an issue of Journal of Black Poetry. It was because of things like this that I invited Crouch to be on one of my early Ascension programs, that I held at Howard. What I remember about Crouch when I first met him was his wonderful laughter. The guy was just funny...and this brings me to something which we need to look at. I think of Baraka, Henry Louis Gates, Paul Beatty as just real funny (smart) guys. Too often folks miss their humor or feel they have to be race police and dismiss what they say. Anyway, back to Crouch. I think the guy started hitting fastballs when he wrote a few pieces for the Village Voice. That was back in the day when the Village Voice was a voice and you could read a good essay. It's like our own City Paper today. When was the last time there was a decent front page article in that rag?? A serious city needs a serious alternative newspaper. Well Crouch had some good pieces in the Voice and you could sometimes place some greens and cornbread next to it and call it Greg Tate or Thulani Davis. Crouch throws out things that you might be upset with but they have more than a grain of truth. I just started reading his book THE ARTIFICIAL WHITE MAN this morning. I chuckled when on page 13 he calls Francis Cress Welsing, an intellectual buffoon of the first order. Now what Crouch does here takes courage. You can measure the head of a Black Nationalist by using the Cress scale. I don't own anything by this woman. You would have to inject me with a copy of the ISIS PAPERS, and maybe I might turn a different color. More black? But I have many friends who really enjoy reading the work of Welsing and feel her views help explain reality in America. I can't argue with that but I can leave it on the bookshelf. I never accepted much of Welsing said because I was often video taping her in the seventies when she spoke on Howard's campus. I have tapes of things that made no sense when I hit the playback button. Really, during one talk she went into a detail discussion of why we use "white" chalk to write on a "black" board. Hmmm.And this explained why we were enslaved? How would Welsing explain a power point presentation today? Which brings me back to Crouch -- the guy is throwing darts and a few are hitting their mark. I haven't played darts since I was a kid...I need to keep reading.