Monday, April 30, 2007

Something to think about:

Will African nations ( or even Afrian Americans) boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of China's support of Sudan and it's failure to end the crisis in Darfur?
What about companies that support the Olympics?

Oh and you know folks won't want to Politicize the games - but then why do we place so much importance on getting those Gold medals?

Look for China to make some quick changes in the next few months. If there is a protest in Beijing most of the world won't see it.

But turning away from China - what can the US do to help Darfur after what we didn't do after Katrina? Should we boycott the war in Iraq?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just back from Widener U. I attended my son's basketball award dinner. He received a couple of awards. One was for being the leader in steals. I didn't know he was ranked as one of the top Division III players in the country in this category. His team is losing 4 players. Next year is my son's junior year. His team will have to defend the 2007 Commonwealth title and return to the NCAA tournament again. It would be nice to make it to the Final Four.
Moving beyond Katrina for a moment let's turn to the changing weather in the DC arts. I chuckled when I read the story about Tony Gittens in the Arts section of The Post today. All of a sudden folks are talking about Tony running the Filmfest DC as well as the Arts Commission as being a conflict of interest. We never heard about this until now. The reason for it now is that there is a new agenda for the arts under the new mayor. Look for more big time splash (with and without substance). Look for Opera on U Street in 3-5 years. Race will play a key role in the future of the arts in DC. Here I go again -right Ronald Reagan? Yep. Along with the changing economic development will come a change in the cultural world. The colors will change and maybe a few black people might be dancing or doing HipHop but they might as well as be dancing for coins on a street in New Orleans. Black culture will be reduced to cultural signs and tours. Ellington will be a condo and Langston will be a room.

I leave the DC Arts Commision next year. I'm leaving the Humanties Council on June 2, 2007.
This is the end of my E-career in terms of public service in the arts in DC. No more panels for me.

With so much changing in DC so fast, the E might just stand for erasure. These E-Notes are just evidence. Call me Equiano.
Thank you Washington Post. Glad to see an article about the homelesss who reside in the tunnel of the Bethesda Metro station. This was my concern in an old E-Note. I never thought the major issue in DC was education. It's the homeless issue and affordable housing. When will folks realize this! Read today's STYLE section and let's not say Bethesda is in Maryland and DC has no problem. This is not about borders it's about people. Let's make sure they are not invisible.
We can do something to help. Homes not shelters.
And you thought the Walter Reed story was awful. Geez. Reading about what happened to the Katrina AID in The Washington Post this morning just makes a person Kickass Angry. The US Government just blew this one. It makes you think about why the war in Iraq is not going well. Baghdad on Bourbon Street? So much AID wasted, which also means much money wasted. Which also means somebody is walking around with big pockets while others are living in FEMAvilles.

Was that Mayor Nagin walking (with Jesse Jackson) through the lower Ninth Ward the other day, or was he walking through the lower level of hell? You can't tell a devil these days and everybody seems to have a tail. One of the upcoming presidential debates should be held in New Orleans. We also need to have a March of the Saints on Washington this August. That's what King would do. Force Congress to act. Geez with all the Katrina AID wasted black folks should just ask for 40 acres and a mule. Maybe one could talk to an ass and get some better answers.
The E-MAG will appear later this week with a contribution from novelist Maria Golden.

I was reading this morning an article that appeared this weekend in The Wall Street Journal. The topic was sports figures and how much they give to charity. Many of the foundations started by athletes don't really give that much money away. Many serve as a way to hire family members.

Almost all of the organizations listed in The Wall Street Journal had a youth focus. It would be nice to see more athletes target our elders. This might also draw attention to the many athletes that are now older and suffering from sports injuries outside the public view. Doing more work with elders would help us not ignore members of our communities.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

This is sad and I was just speaking at this school a few weeks ago:

The Coppin State administration had recently cut the budget for the baseball team to $120,000, about half the 2006 figure, and had shown no indicaton that it intended to build an on-campus field. The Eagles play their home games at a park owned by the city of Baltimore and practice in a former funeral home purchased by the college. Before the first practice of the season, Lee had to move caskets to clear an area for workouts.

NY Times (April 28, 2007)
The anthology WE BEGIN HERE - POEMS FOR PALESTINE AND LEBANON came in the mail
yesterday. It's edited by Kamal Boullata and Kathy Engel. The book is dedicated to the memory of Egbal Ahmad and June Jordan. I have 4 poems in it. You can obtain the book from Interlink Books:
It sells for $20.
Back in 1982 we had to write poems for Lebanon....
I spent the entire day downtown attending the National Poetry Month celebration at the King Library. It was indoors this year; a smaller crowd but still a fun time enjoyed by all. Ken Carroll did an excellent job moving things along. Wendy Rieger was her darling self and read some of the poems she loved. I followed her with some poems from the latest issue of Poet Lore. Wendy invited a couple of friends - so we took some time to have lunch around the corner at Ella's. We sat outside and laughed until I had to return to the festival. I caught some poems by DJ Renegade and Brian Gilmore. Good to hear the work of folks you know but haven't heard in a long time. It's like putting on some Johnny Hartman and just relaxing. Around 2:30 I introduced Robert Pinsky. I love the guy and he just made the entire afternoon a place to be. Also at the King celebration was Sister Joy, Carolyn Joyner and the amazing Sandra Beasley. Before leaving downtown I went back to Ella's and treated Carolyn to a glass of wine. She drove me home and I spent the rest of the evening watching baseball - some of the Yankee/RedSox game and all of the Nats/Mets. Have you noticed an influx of RedSox caps in the DC area? An expansion of their Nation?
More about Howard:

So who will be the sweet 16th president of Howard U after Swygert? Frank Robinson or Tony Dungy? Will the school hire a pitcher or a catcher? A QB or a running back? Maybe we just need a good leadoff hitter or a dynamic punt returner. Baseball or football-- it all comes down to wanting the ball and building a first class educational institution. So what's the Miller Plan for HU and the way to put something in the win column?


1. Buildings and grounds upgrade. I'm talking light bulbs and removal of broken furniture and old carpet out of every building. No trash and tame those geese on the yard.

2. Upgrade of the entire library system; especially the Moorland-Spingarn Center.

3. Better support of the African and African American Departments.

4. The development of the first creative writing program at an HBCU; hiring of 3-4 major African American writers. Are we talking Toni Morrison for a year? Wole Soyinka?

5. A better sports program. A softball field for the girls. A large sports complex on Georgia Avenue. First place teams every year in MEAC. Final Four in 5-6 years.

6. Night School? Extend the normal operation of academic programs.

7. An HU Busboys and Poets Cafe on Georgia Avenue

8. Complete change of the food services. Study well and Eat Well. Healthy minds for the future.
Cut down on the stuff that's not good for black people.

9. More support for WHUT. More production of black shows.

10. A new desk for E. Ethelbert Miller

All of the above is possible (especially # 10). Good things for Howard University in the future.
I suggest the new 16th President of Howard turn to poetry (and poets) for ideas, but govern with the tools of prose.

Remember my E-Note about Ken Griffey Jr? Well the guy is out of the lineup already. This time it's pleurisy. No way this guy can place an entire season without something going wrong.

Can the Bulls (and the rest of us) move beyond the Jordan era? Let's hope so...let's step into the Deng.

Kidd & Carter instead of Kidd and No-play. The Nes look good so far.

Ichiro watch: 2 hits last night.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Local News:

All the stories are true. So just before leaving the Howard campus an email puts on its hat too.
I read about how the President of the Beloved University has made a decision to retire on June 30, 2008. I check the date twice to see if it should be a 7 but it's an 8. After weeks of rumors Sam Cooke is right. A change is gonna come. President Swygert is stepping down. This will mean a major change for the school. Swygert did a number of good things. So you have to give the guy his due. Looking foward - before the school hires a replacement - who will be on the Search Committee for a new Prez? How much imput will the HU faculty have? Has anybody been promised the job? One year of fun after Oprah speaks on the yard. There are a number of people who could run Howard. You might recall in my old E-Notes that I wanted that Nationals manager job. I wanted to replace Frank Robinson. Of course I had never managed a baseball team but look at the guy they hired. We both have the same amount of experience. Sometimes you have to take a risk. You don't just want to keep hiring the same old 6 NBA coaches everytime there is an opening. I hope Howard won't grab someone from a small HBCU and move them to the major leagues on Georgia Avenue. That's so tired. Oh, and let's not go with the Black Enterprise type either. Yes, of course the school needs money but let's not believe HU is another Starbucks. It's education not coffee that we do. Anyway, I wish Swygert well. Hmmm
I bet I could run Howard - just give me a poem and a prayer.
May Day 2007

Stop the Raids and Deportations!
A Day of Action for Immigrant Rights:

Declaration of Washington DC a Sanctuary City!

Fast for immigrant rights:

Starting Saturday morning April 28th 11am
at Lamont Park, Lamont & Mount Pleasant Sts.
Rally: Tuesday, May 1st
Malcolm X Park (15th and Euclid Sts. NW DC) 2-7pm

Sponsored by
The D.C. Committee for Immigrant Rights, Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, the Metro DC Interfaith Sanctuary Network, and the Latino Media Collective

Endorsed By:
Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, candidate, Ward 4 City Council; Rev. Whit Hutchinson, Metro D.C. Interfaith Sanctuary Network; ANSWER, Busboys and Poets, Cimarrones: Afro-Latino Student Union, Community Roots-UMD, 50 Years is Enough, FMLN-DC, Iglesia Lutherana Santa Maria, the International Socialist Organization, Latino Student Union- UMD, Latinos Unidos, the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association, Project South, and the Washington Peace Center, Mexico Solidarity Network, Partnership for Civil Justice, Nicaragua-Venezuela Network, Asamblea Nacional de Ex-Braceros de Tlaxcala, Voices on the Border.
INFO.David Thurston: 646-382-4181; Sonia Umanzor: 301-270-2053 email
My friend Selam suprised me this morning. She was in town from London. We met many years ago when she worked at IPS. Gosh - I could talk with this sister about politics all day long. Selam who is from Ethiopia will be living in Canada for a few months. If I was building an organization she would be one of the early hires. So much talent out here in the world - we need another Black Star Line.

I dashed downtown and read the poem for the day at the King Library. You go into a small room and you have access to the PA system. Hee Hee. Well, I was tempted to pull a Big Bert and turn the clocks back to 1984. Oh...such fun a person could have if the devil called more than once.

Anyway, everyone is getting ready for the poetry festival tomorrow. Try and get down to the King Library (901 G Street, NW) around 11AM. Wendy Rieger is the honorary chair and will be reading a few poems that she likes. While in the library I ran into the new chief librarian of the DC Public Library. Ginnie Cooper in the flesh. I gave her two hugs. It was our first time meeting.
She didn't believe I was with Homeland Security. I did checkout 2 books: Jersey Rain by Pinsky which I didn't have a copy of and Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen.

Well the work day is coming to an end.
I was running until the "Baker" cut me down. Thanks Houston. Much love.

After Seeing Ethelbert at Howard U Library in Spring

The secret in the wind beating rain is a woman
You my, I-could-not-make-it-love, and I clumsily fasten protection
Of an old coat zipper, shivering in the recess of a chapel nearby,
Hope for a taxi.

I have just been talking Black Philosophy
In upper reaches of a failing library. I have money and
A great hotel. Head down I move into the rain, arrive at
Georgia Avenue and a swimming Banneker place where
dark D.C. once summered.
Filled in now and desolate under gray-ends of workday light.

The cab stops immediately, red taillights blinking.
My hypotheses are sound. Publishers love me. My friends win
Pulitzer Prizes. And I am headed for the rich part of town,
Know your voice is at the end of the line.

- Houston Baker, Jr.
NFL Update:

What the Vick is going on?
Eight Men Out? No, Hillary is in the game. So the first Democratic debate took place at South Carolina State University. I didn't see it but look at what I did see. On the front page of The New York Times there is a photograph of all 8 candidates running for president. On the front page of the Washington Post there is just a picture of Clinton and Obama. Now this is why folks try to get their news from alternative outlets. The Post wants us in 2007 to believe the race is just between Clinton and Obama. How did they decide this and why? We shouldn't let the media teach our brains to vote. The Washington Post should practice the policy of inform- don't tell.
Don't tell us who we should vote for. Is this just as bad as the Blacksox scandal. Say - it ain't so.

Monday, April 30th
7:30 PM at the DC. Jewish Community Center (1529 16th Street, NW)

HYAM PLUTZIK: AMERICAN POET is being screened in celebration of National Poetry Month.
This is a beautiful film.

Post-screening discussion with Ku-Ling Siegel (Co-director), Edward Moran (Literary researcher) and E. Ethelbert Miller (poet and literary activist)

Recommended reading HYAM PLUTZIK The Collected Poems. Foreword by Anthony Hecht
Boa Editions.

Hyam Plutzik (1911-1962) was a native of Brooklyn and a graduate of Trinity College and Yale University. He taught modern literature and creative writing at the University of Rochester.
At the time of his death he was Dean Professor of Rhetoric and Poetry. Plutzik was the recipiet of various grants and awards, including an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1950), a Ford Foundation Faculty Fellowship (1954) , and the Lillian Fairchild Award (1959).
Upcoming poetry program. Thanks Sarah.

We Begin Here: Poems for Palestine & Lebanon
I need to see this:

The other black dance companyLong Beach Press-Telegram - Long Beach,CA,USA... the San Francisco-based dance troupe Kin, the work for seven dancers is set to the poetry and music of Carl Hancock Rux and text by E. Ethelbert Miller.
The following is interesting when we discuss the American family:

It was reported in the Associated Press that basketball player Sabastian Telfair (Boston Celtics)
had supported 17 relatives on his salary since being drafted out of high school. That's quite a number of people. Is nobody else working? Can they find work? The economics might explain why guys are trying to get into the NBA. It's a meal ticket for an entire family. I can't even name 17 relatives.
So the Smithsonian plans to charge admission ($5) to their new permanent exhibition at the National Museum of National History - Butterflies and Plants: Partners in Evolution. There should be a protest by the American people. Can't we find the money to support the Smithsonian? Is the only thing that will remain free - the Staten Island ferry?

Heading into Friday it feels good to sit down and clear the desk in the home office. The work folder in my bag is filled with manuscripts, and correspondence. I need to "upgrade" the business side of my career. Better monitoring of folks publishing my work, etc. This summer the focus is just on the writing of the second memoir.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Upcoming: The 24th Annual Larry Neal Writers' Awards Ceremony.
May 11, 2007
Folger Shakespeare Library
Washington, D.C.

6-8 PM
Mistress of Ceremonies : Renee Poussaint
Today was a productive day. Fun doing Jo Reed's radio show on WPFW with Kim Roberts and all those poets on the phone. Be sure to find a copy of Kim's new book - THE KIMNAMA. It's published by the new company VRZHU Press:

Around noon I sat down with author and activist Clarence Lusane at IPS. We did the radio show DEFINING THE ISSUES. You can access the program by going to the IPS website:

Lusane is the author of COLIN POWELL AND CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Foreign Policy, Race and the New American Century.
We know our President had fun dancing and beating the drum yesterday. But what was the drum saying? Was this an attempt to strike fear in the minds of our enemies? Did you observe the "surge" in the President's hands and hips? The President dancing to an African drum in the White House; next month there is a Blue Moon. Ah- could this mean the next US President might just be black and have African roots? Oh, those crazy drums, those crazy, crazy drums.
It makes everyone want to throw their hands in the air and act like they just don't care.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Name That War" by Max Boot is the best Opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal today. It's a must read for writers and another reason why we must reclaim language. Check it out and share with someone.
A morning conversation with Shyree. More work on the Lusane interview that will take place tomorrow at IPS. I called my Mom in New York and told her about the article about aging that's in The New Yorker. She enjoyed the telephone call; also a brief talk with Ginger G.

I plan to treat myself to a nice dinner around 5PM. Thai Duck?

I went across the hall from my office and borrowed Nancy Wilson "Greatest Hits" from Joyce.
Some of these songs read like my personal headlines. Geez. What should I listen to first?
If there is one piece of music that I asssociate with my brother it's TOCCATA AND FUGUE IN D MINOR by Bach. I don't think anyone will play this on the organ as good as my brother played it when he was alive. I'm listening to it now and it makes me wonder about what song or musical composition I'll leave behind in someone's memory.Might it be something by The Isley Brothers, one of those songs of longing and desire? Where is my fugue? My life reduced now to the absence of touch and simply the marriage of technique.

"By the age of sixty, Americans have lost on aveage, a third of their teeth. After eighty -five, almost forty per cent have no teeth at all."

This statement is from "The Way We Age Now" by Atul Gawande in the current issue of The New Yorker. Highly recommended reading.
These words will make you cry:

The cell phones in the pockets of the dead students were still ringing when we were told that it was wrong to ask why. As the police cleared the bodies from the Virginia Tech engineering building, the cell phones rang, in the eccentric varieties of ring tones, as parents kept trying to see if their children were O.K. To imagine the feelings of the police as they carried the bodies and heard the ringing is heartrending, to imagine the feelings of the parents who were calling - dread, desperate hope for a sudden answer and the bliss of reassurance, dawning grief - is unbearable.

- The New Yorker (The Talk of The Town), April 30, 2007
New vocabulary term introduced by the media: Obamanomics.

Quote of the Day:

What is critical to understanding someone is not necessarily having had his or her experience; it is being able to imagine what it would be like to have it.
- Richard A. Friedman, M.D.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Now I'm home...walk through the door-turn the music up so that I can breathe.

Janis Joplin singing "Ball and Chain."

Life just ain't fair...
Today I had a wonderful time at Lake Braddock High School. Mike Mariani continues to do a stellar job teaching and inspiring students to write.

He dropped me off at Busboys around 4 PM. The Renaissance was still going on - Randall, Truth, Lady Becky of Simmons, D-Man, Maria Maria, Alan, Cool Fred all in one place like gravity reminding us that it's not the poems but the pull.

I had a meeting with Brandon Lewis at 6PM. One of my star students from Mason last semester. We sat at the bar like it was Casablanca and talked about the work he needs to do in order to graduate.

How does Jack Bauer get so much done in 24 hours?
The Wall Street Journal had a very good section on health issues that affect men. Key things guys should be concerned with:

Blood pressure
Waist size
Sexual function

On average men at any age are 40% more likely to die than women.

Stress and depression are two major things that exact a serious toll on men.

The article mentioned that men need to be aware of their waist circumference. Avoid the risk factor for heart disease.

Here are a few sites to visit:
I've always liked the Lakers. But let's hit Kobe in the head with a Kobe. The last few minutes of the game on Sunday (against Phoenix) was crazy. Did Bryant think he could make any of those shots he took? Pass the ball. The Lakers need another player to every now and then just ignore Kobe. Take some shots. Don't give the ball to him. But the problem with this team is on defense.
Smush is always smushed when he is on Nash. The guy looks like a matador on the court. He spends more time running alongside Nash that he should simply be a cane.

I've been watching less NBA games. I did catch some lockeroom banter from the Wizards last week. One problem that DC teams have is trying to explain why someone beat them. The Wizards often sound like the Redskins. These guy seem to look for an excuse inside their sneakers after every defeat. Sometimes the other team is just better. Not great but simply better.
Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro went 3 for 5 against the Rangers.
.323 average
I'm listening to BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY. Remember them? Janis Joplin on vocals. A strange way to begin the morning but I feel good today.
I guess it all comes down to "Cheap Thrills" when you look at life sideways.

Yesterday ended on a good note. I spoke to a wonderful group of creative writing students at UDC around 4 PM. Matthew Petti is doing good job teaching there. UDC puts out a lit mag called Phoenix. Marita Golden's presence can be felt even among the poets.
When I was leaving the campus I bumped into Lady T and Ms. AB. These two women are from the future - high tech and genius. They are responsible for my website and these E-Notes. They were looking for the Nikki Giovanni program. I told them it had been canceled. We decided to ride in Lady T's "spacemobile" down to Cleveland Park -where AB ordered a table of exotic foods that woke me up this morning. It was fun sitting outdoors, laughing as the day was coming to an end with people rushing home to change clothes and maybe jog or just take kids out for treats. On days like this, Washington flirts with every tourist and this place seems like a heaven of a city.

Janis Jopin is singing " Summertime" as I write this. Yes, it's coming and one of these mornings I'm gonna rise up singing. I'm gonna spread my wings and take to the sky.
One of the best and the brightest is gone. David Halberstam, journalist and author, dead at 73.

"A writer should be like a playright - putting people on stage, putting ideas on stage, making the reader become the audience."

- David Halberstam

Monday, April 23, 2007

For Immediate Release
Friday, April 20, 2007
Contact: Joia Jefferson Nuri
202-234-9382/cell 240-603-7905

Defining The Issues
Evolution of a Revolutionary Series:
Clarence Lusane

Thursday, April 26, 2007
Institute for Policy Studies
1112 Sixteenth Street, N.W. Ste. 600
(Farragut North Metro)

The Institute for Policy Studies is documenting the lives of the men and women who are shaping American progressive public policy with a series of discussions entitled, The Evolution of A Revolutionary. In each program the host will explore the life of someone who is making a difference in the world.

On Thursday, April 26 at 12:30pm, series host E. Ethelbert Miller will be joined by scholar/activist Clarence Lusane. Dr. Lusane is a professor at the American University in Washington, D.C. He is an authority on race, politics, human rights, and electoral politics, and teaches comparative race relations and modern social movements. His most recent book is entitled: Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice: Foreign Policy, Race, and the New American Century. Dr. Lusane focuses much of his work on the plight of Africans living in Europe their impact on the entire diaspora. His ground-breaking research is the foundation for African public policy work across the country.

The program is open to the public and is being recorded for use by independent radio stations across the world.

Guest: Clarence Lusane

E. Ethelbert Miller, IPS Board Chair & Director, African American Resource Center, Howard University.

WHEN: Thursday, April 26, 2007, 12:30pm
WHERE: IPS, 1112 Sixteenth Street, N.W., Ste. 600

The previous guest on the series was James Early. The entire series will be available on CD and at

The Institute for Policy Studies is the oldest progressive think tank in Washington. Defining The Issues is a bi-weekly discussion and radio taping with a live audience, featuring nationally known speakers and providing cutting edge analysis on the defining issues confronting the United States and the world. The entire program is available in digital audio at two hours following the discussion.

NEWS ALERT from The Wall Street Journal
April 23, 2007

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, has died, a Kremlin official said. He was 76 years old.
Is that Sheila Crider having an arts exhibit on Girard Street??
Sheila, Sheila, one of the most talented sisters to emerge in DC during the 1970s. Always doing wonderful experimental stuff. Writing and painting - someone nicknamed her Zora - back in the day. How else could we understand someone who pushed the "margins" of our lives. Crider had that Adrienne Kennedy type of genius. Back then you wanted to take her out on a date but you looked in the mirror and saw that you were just a Funny Face Negro. What could you say to this woman? Just grin? Now years later it's "Dual Perspectives." Crider and Preston Sampson having a Salon Talk, Exhibition and Opening Reception - on Saturday, April 28th, 1213 Girard St, NW.
The cost is $25 5- 8 PM
This event is sponsored by the Millennium Arts Salon
Oh Sheila C- the world is so happy for you.
So who will be the new leader of France?
Nicolas Sarkozy or Segolene Royal?
How will this election influence Europe? The US?
What does socialism mean in the 21st Century?
Could a Royal win help Clinton? Women moving into leadership positions...
Must reading:
Bob Herbert's OP-ED today. Don't miss. Share with a friend.
More from the Druckerman review:

"Speaking of virtual. Ms. Cruckerman devotes only brief attention to cyberspace. "Not only are affairs not principally about sex," she writes about Internet intimacy, "but you can have an affair without even taking your clothes off." Yet the book's strict geographical and cultural divisions are transcended by what is now possible online, and the behavior encouraged by e-contact warrants greater curiosity. It may be the adultery of the future."

OH,NO...can you see the E-NOTES being banned in the future? YIPES!
How do we explain this?

LUST IN TRANSLATION: The Rules of Infidelity From Tokyo to Tennessee
by Pamela Druckerman is reviewed in the NY Times.
In Druckerman's book a Frenchman explains that he dropped out of therapy soon after meeting the woman who became his mistress, and since he was finally happy.
Another Frenchman explains in Druckerman's book that he felt reasonably justified in opting for extramarital sex because of his wife's appearance.

Well, the French are having their elections right now. Every person should have a ballot.
Well finally!

Good to see Houghton Mifflin taking out an AD in todays NY Times for Natasha Trethewey - winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.

Go Nat!
Quote of the Day:

"Everybody's got their own opinion. It is what it is."
- Ben Wallace, Chicago Bulls
Well, let's look at this statement in William Rhoden's column (NY Times) today:

"...Aaron is still wounded from the experience of catching and passing Babe Ruth. He received death threats and hate mail. On top of that, the commissioner at the time, Bowie Kuhn, was not present in 1974 when Aaron broke Ruth's career home run record."

OK, let's read "race" into the Bonds home run chase of Aaron's record. Is Barry Bonds receiving death threats today because he might break Aaron's record? Is he getting hate mail? If so, is the mail a focus on Bonds and baseball or Bonds and Aaron?
This would be an interesting subject to explore. Can you imagine a black person maybe hitting in more than 56 straight games and not getting death threats? Why? Don't make me force you to read "race" into this...

The only way we can move forward in our society and not think about race is by thinking about it first. We have such a long way to go...
As the stories in the media focus on the healing in Blacksburg and Virginia Tech, you just know there are many people who can't sleep and who are very angry. How does one deal with bills, the loss of income, the depression that won't go away everytime you think about your love one? Grief and mourning is not a late night television show. It's a marathon and that's with the strength to continue. How many parents just won't laugh or smile again. I focus on the laughter and smile because by some strange coincidence almost all the television interviews began to sound the same. Everyone remembered the dead having a nice smile. I found this interesting.
It's like when you listen to an NBA game and the person talks about a player's smile. What is that suppose to mean? I've noticed over the years how the news is filtered and then edited. We want a look and a feel to be broadcast. But why won't the media raise the questions that need to be confronted? I keep returning to issues of race, because that's what my field is. This is what you do if you majored in African American Studies. You try to understand and "read" race. You ask the question - does race matter? Notice how in today's New York Times there is a reference to Korean-American churches and congregants reflecting on the fact the VT killer was Korean.
But why not examine the racism that Koreans confront on a daily basis? Why not examine how difficult it is for young Koreans to be trapped between two worlds? Discuss being Korean in a white middle-class neighborhood. These are sensitive issues but they seem (to me) to be at the center of trying to get a grasp on what went wrong at VT. Once again, the failure to examine racism and mental illness will continue to result in us looking at the news and asking- why? If we simply want to focus on smiles, then we will continue to think everything is OK and back to normal. I think many people (off camera) know that's just not the case. Too often the news makes me sick and I don't feel like smiling anymore. Sometimes we just have to keep crying until it stops.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say...
Did you visit the Curbstone Press site this month?
It's National Poetry Month - buy a book. :-)
Playing the Numbers:

- An average of 100 people a day die in Iraq

- 750,000 Iraqis refugees in Jordan
-2 Million Iraqis refugees in Syria

Saudi Arabia is building a $7 billion border fence to keep Iraqis out.

A discrete subsection of the human race is insane. A larger subsection may not be clinically psychotic but is still sufficiently resentful, vengeful, envious, grandiose and myopically self-pitying to be dangerous. Even if you zapped every gun off the planet, these folks could still get hold of knives, baseball bats, jagged shards of glass or machetes (think of Rwanda). We live in a world of multiple risks - traffic accidents, lightning bolts, avalanches - the biggest risk we live around every day is other people. The unhinged, the angry, the malevolent circulating in our midst amount to social bad weather. Whenever we walk out the door, we take the chance that malice will rain on our heads.

- Lionel Shriver
Washington Post (Outlook, April 22, 2007)
Chuck Hagel (Republican, U.S. Senator from Nebraska) says it all in the Washington Post today:

"We must start by understanding what's really happening in Iraq. According to the National Intelligence Estimate released in February, the conflict has become a "self-sustaining inter-sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunnis" and also includes "extensive Shia-on-Shia violence." This means that Iraq is being consumed by sectarian warfare, much of it driven by Shiite or Sunni militias - not al-Qaeda terrorists. Yes, there are admirers of Osama bin Laden in the country, including a full-blown al-Qaeda branch. But terrorists are not the core problem; Sunni-Shiite violence is. The Bush Administration's rhetoric has not been nearly clear enough on this key point. American occupation cannot stop a civil war in Iraq. Our military, superb as it is, can only do so much. The only lasting answer to Iraq's anquish will come from a political resolution. There will be no military solution to Iraq."

Well a Republican said it - not me. I've been pushing in my E-Notes for a political solution for how long now?
New book for poets:

EDGAR ALLAN POE & JUKE-BOX: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop. Edited and annotated by Alice Quinn ( Farrar, Straus & Giroux) $15.
Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro was hitting .313 on Friday. I need to check and see what he did yesterday.

I think he might be hitting .321. And rising....
Check Yourself Out:

These folks scan the internet for defamatory or offensive material abou you. Helps get it removed or suprressed. Services begin at $10 a month.
Sunday in Virginia. How many people are trapped between forgetting and remembering what took place at VT this week? We talk about healing and moving forward, but even healing leaves a scar. A photograph of a lost love is nothing but a wound. A smile in a picture bleeds a time of happiness gone away. How do you walk pass a room in a house without trying to convince yourself that your child is still at school? Sunday in Virginia and maybe you go to church or maybe you just sit outside in the sun. The weatherman say it's going to be a nice spring day, maybe almost feeling like summer. The problem with weather reports is that they always come after the news. The news coming out of Virginia this week was horrible, as Gil once told me - it seems like winter in America.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

But if there is a God, we need Him now
"Where is your God?"
That's what my friends ask me
And I say it's taken Him so long
Cause we've got so far to come...

- Stevie Wonder
I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
- James Taylor

Almost Sunday, I'll pack a bag and look for a new cafe tomorrow. Funny how people starting talking about the need of having a "third place" to go to after this issue of homelessness became very visible in our society. The idea of home can be defined so many ways. But why do poets go into exile? The heart is borderless but it still breaks. If you can save one of the broken pieces you might be able to better grasp what home means. Too many of us have only scars in our hands from holding God knows what. Trying to make a home?
Solstice Summer Writers' Conference 2007

Listening to Nina Simone playing "Bye Bye Blackbird" on piano. Next it will be "Willow Weep For Me"
It's been that type of day.
Happy Birthday Jasmine-Simone!
Today is my daughter's 25th birthday. I remember my first day of fatherhood. A day of joy followed by watching a person grow quickly into womanhood. But what happens when you look around and see the growing sadness of your own shadow? The silence no one understands. Now and then a song captures the hum inside your soul. Blues lyrics pasted inside the back of your head. How many men begin to mumble to themselves from the pain of loneliness. Black men missing not in action but instead from being trapped inside their own vows. You look at your daughter and wonder where all that love came from? You recognize your half...

Jazz musician Andrew Hill died yesterday. 75.

In my collection his albums - Black Fire and Smokestack.

I went up to Silver Spring and had a quick lunch at the Austin Grill. I sat next to two people talking about dogs (Afghans) the entire time. A bow wow in the butt. I went outside after placing a twenty on the table. I found a chair and sat in the sun. I watched the lovers walking in spring.
On clear days you can feel old. Why did I always pass so many old men sitting on the bench when I was growing up? Men who took comfort in the streets because their beds were harder than the outside benches. Their wives saw them as losers and so they counted their numbers for comfort and safety.

I pulled together a number of questions for my Wednesday radio interview with Clarence Lusane at IPS. I'll continue to do my reading and research tomorrow.

On Wednesday morning I'll do a radio program with Jo Reed at WPFW. We will be talking aout the new issue of Poet LOre magazine. It's out.

A busy week coming up. I'll visit a lit class at UDC on Monday. Tuesday it's out to Lake Braddock HS. I'll introduce Robert Pinsky at the King Library on Saturday. That's when the DC Library will be having its poetry festival for National Poetry Month. Wendy Rieger is the special host. It should be a fun day. Kickoff is at 11AM. Next trip is to Little Rock in a few days.

Worth reading is David Kaiser letter to The New York Review of Books (May 10, 2007). He has a letter about rape in prisons.

"Prisoner rape goes on with appalling frequency, not because it is inevitable or because we don't know how to prevent it, but because we have lacked the will and the resources to do so. And because too many people still fail to recognize that rape in detention is a violation of human rights - that, no matter what a person has done, rape should never be a part of the penalty."

Stop Prisoner Rape's Web site:

Friday, April 20, 2007

Don't tell Alex Rodriguez that it's only April.
It's good to see the guy happy and having fun. Way to go A-RoD!
Hey- where are all the Congrats for Natasha Trewethey??
Film to see:

A film by Desmond Nakano

Tuesday, May 8th 6:30PM - 9PM
Ring Auditorium
Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
7th Street and Independence, SW

For more information:
OK - Here are my first GAME NBA PLAYOFFS Picks:

Dallas over Warriors
Lakers over Suns
San Antonio over Denver
Houston over Utah

Detroit over Orlando
Wizards over Cleveland (Look for a surprise in game 1)
Nets over Raptors (Could this be the year of the Nets?)
Miami over Chicago (This might be the best series to watch)
Safe sex?

Doctors in New York recently removed a woman's gall bladder through her vagina.
Donald Rumsfeld's categories of knowledge:

1. Known Knowns
2. Known unknowns
3. Unknown unknowns
Quote of the Day:

" Everybody leads a fictional life."
- Clifford Irving
Albert Murray was recently awarded the W.E.B. DuBois medal by Harvard University's Institute for African and African American Research. Murray has always been like Erroll Garner to me. A jazz name you know but don't listen much to. My ex-father-in-law played with Garner. (Eddie Calhoun on bass). So Murray's books are in my library but they often sleep on the shelf. Maybe I never got into Murray because I didn't get into Ellison or think he was JFK. I guess I'm a Baldwin/Wright type of guy. It seems Murray's success is also due to the support (and intellectual credit) he continues to receive from Stanley Crouch and Wynton Marsalis. Why blow your own horn when you have the talented Wynton doing it? When I do read some Murray the stuff is OK but it never seems like Black Einstein physics. I kept missing the genius. Is it me or is it Murray? Anyway, congrats!
Quote of the Day:

"Ideological warfare is based on the art of liberating people to enslave them - more precisely, to claim to liberate them the better to enslave them, to preach independence so as to force them into servitude."
- Jean-Francois Revel
Art Exhibit:

"Philosophy of Time Travel"
at the Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street
(212) 864-4500

Are you going Ginger G?
See the review in today's New York Times. Page B28.
Mo' Better Politics?
So the House votes to give DC a House vote. I can see Bush giving this a veto. How can you give DC a vote in the House without first giving us Statehood? Duh. I must not be reading my Constitution right. Where are our senators? Do they just want to keep us in the House? Nah- this plays nice in the media and a Fenty parade but let's not be fools or simply hungry for some political crumbs. Full representation without compromise.
The other game? DC Politics:

I guess I'll vote for Renee Bowser on May 1st (Special election). She's my choice to be on the DC City Council and serve in the old Fenty seat or what we might call the mayor's stool. Renee Bowser is the Bowser without the money. The other Bowser on the ballot is Muriel. The M really stands for money. If you have cash you don't have to say anything about the issues. Power is expensive but doing nothing seems to cost so much more these days.
Ichiro Watch:

Well he is hitting .300 after a poor start. Not bad. Let's see how his average begins to climb during the month of May. My guest is a .340 average by June.
Back to ART:

Street Scenes DC,, invites you to take a look at the images from Yoko Ono' IMAGINE PEACE Project. They include photographs of Yoko Ono's performance at THEARC in Southeast Washington, her dedication of Wish Trees at the Tidal Basin during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the dedication of the permanent Wish Tree she donated to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Denial? Strange how we are willing to discuss race but not racism. Notice the many articles about Cho Seung-Hui's Korean background. On those Limbaugh radio shows you can smell the racism. Listen to comments by Michael Savage. Now listen to the various "experts" talk about psychotic depression, avoidant personality disorder, and schizophrena-paranoid types. How can you simply scotch-tape these terms on to the heads of people of color? What does "normal" mean for a person of color in a white world? How much must the person adjust - to be considered normal? Might normal mean white? What if one's personality just can't cope with the pressure of "fitting" in or being accepted? Think of the various psychological terms about one's behavior and apply them to the following individuals: Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, or even Jackie Robinson. Was Robinson a "loner" during those early Dodger days? Didn't Jackie have a temper? Was that his "rage" on the basepaths that we see captured in those photographs? And what about Amiri Baraka and that old play THE DUTCHMAN. Remember Clay saying:

"They say, "I love Bessie Smith." And don't even understand that Bessie Smith is saying. " Kiss my ass, kiss my black unruly ass." Before love, suffering, desire, anything you can explain. she's saying, and very plainly, "Kiss my black ass." And if you don't know that, it's you that's doing the kissing."

How would we workshop Baraka's play today? Would we call the police after listening or reading the dialogue between Clay and Lula?

Maybe today's it's the media that's doing the kissing. They keep reporting the news but they just don't get what Cho Seung-Hui is saying. This failure is the reason why our future might remain dark. It seems as if we want to answer the multiple choice questions and not the question demanding the long essay on the last page.

One can see a similar problem within American foreign policy. Our failure to discuss race and racism is why we haven't done much around Darfur.

Racism can become a very bad word when we try to ignore it. Let's speak the truth to the people.
Give a guy a gun, he thinks he's superman. Give him two and he thinks he's God.
- John Woo's Hard Boiled

Thursday, April 19, 2007

When Creative Writing Provides a Clue

Cho Seung-Hui, the senior Virginia Tech English major who apparently killed 32 people on campus Monday before turning the gun on himself, seems to have fancied himself a writer.

The entire article can be found at the below link:
What's going on in Mogadishu?
Where is the news?
It was nice taking the MARC up to Baltimore this morning. I had a nice time at Coppin State University. What a joy to talk to Ann Cobb who teaches there. She is the sister of Charlie Cobb, journalist and Civil Rights activist. Charlie Cobb is a person I've admired since I was 17 and just out of high school. That was back in those old Drum & Spear days. I was a young worker at Bookazine in Manhattan.

Being in Baltimore however can give you the blues. Black men in the streets - and not just the sky seems gray. Even here in DC the problem of the homeless seems to be growing. Just take a ride to the Bethesda station on the Red Line - sad to see a fleet of carts keeping warm in the tunnel.
Maybe we just don't want to say- what we know we need to say. The media is claiming Cho Seung-Hui statements are incoherent. They seem very clear to me. In an earlier E-Note I mentioned the need to explore mental illness and racism. Why do people of color go from being silent to acts of rage? Do we need to bring Fanon in here? Cho's being teased for how he talked, etc, etc. Things like this can take it's toll on a very sensitive individual. Oh - and what about the comments about wealth? Here is nothing but the 2 America's we hear politicians talking about - right? So let's look at Cho's writing, not for the narrative but for its fragmentation. Broken pieces from a broken individual? Our failure to understand another culture and how cultures clash inside our heads will mean we won't be able to understand the alerts. We don't even know what "color" the alert is.

We also need to have some type of restrictions on the images we broadcast. No need to give another "loner" a costume idea. Why encourage someone to attend dress rehersal?
On the otherhand we can no longer contain or monitor the free flow of information; still I don't want to see a movie made out of this by the end of fall. Whatever happened to the word shame.
Have we none?
More music for you. Thanks Maria...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Study the media during a time of crisis. The Virginia Tech story pushed Imus off the front page.
The war in Iraq won't go away - it's back today and very hungry. Notice the search for happy stories; a spin that might prevent a viewer from turning away from the news. How long can you listen to the blues before you turn blue (or black)?

Meanwhile we keep looking for a narrative. How else can we make sense of the world?
The tree didn't fall on your house but how do you explain the storm? How do you explain what took place at Virginia Tech? Will a person's writings provide any clues? How often does a writing teacher tell the workshop participants to simply workshop the poem or prose without thinking about the author? Just focus on the text - right?

Cho Seung-Hui is not the only loner out there. The Wall Street Journal in its editorial today mentioned that "there are evil and psychotic people in this world." Is everyone that is psychotic also evil? I don't think so.

Why do some people just explode with rage and anger? By coincidence I'm reading WHERE THE BODY MEETS MEMORY by David Mura right now. He writes:

"Since I was so desperate to deny my racial identity, I never sought to break out of this zone of silence, to become more conscious of how race or ethnicity affected my life and my desires."

Might it make sense (now) that Cho Seung-Hui began to stalk women. The objects of desire?

Was Cho Seung-Hui suffering from depression? Was he mentally ill? If we say yes - then how much of it might be due to racism? It's interesting that people seldom want to talk about racism and mental illness. But let's place Cho Seung-Hui in the middle-class mostly white enviornment. How do we know how well he is doing? What should he adjust to? What if he feels he is different?

So much we will never know. I do know there are probably many individuals out there that might be ticking time bombs. How do we help them. How do we bring them home?
Where did the day go?
I went to the dentist and then down to the BBC on M Street. I did a live broadcast for the BBC Northern Ireland. I was interviewed by William Crawley - a fun guy. We talked about Nikki Giovanni's comments at Virginia Tech yesterday. I mentioned how the poet serves as witness and gives testimony - also how it's important to present the light of hope to a community; especially during dark times.

I spoke to Wendy on my cellphone as I walked up Georgia Avenue and back to Howard. I stopped in Negril and puchased a fish sandwich. I'll probably work late...tomorrow I have to travel to Baltimore and give a talk at Coppin State.
A wonderful friendship keeps joy in the air.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Oh, Africa!
The latest issue of THE WRITER'S CHRONICLE is out. May/Summer 2007.
Vol. 39, No. 6
Interviews with Lynne Schwartz and Charles Wright
Yes, I'm Lost Without You:
New Book:

I just received in the mail INNOCENCE ( Ohio State University Press) by Jean Nordhaus.
Might this woman become the next poet laureate of Washington D.C.? A good choice, I think.
Stamp increase coming.
How much will it cost to mail yourself to freedom now?

First class postage will be forty-two cents.
A Big Poetry Event in Maryland:

Thursday, April 26, 2007
4:30 PM Program
5:30 PM Reception and Poets Laureate Book Signing

R. Lee Hornbake Library at the University of Maryland

The current and former poet laureates of Maryland will be present:

Michael Glaser
Michael Collier
Linda Pastan
Lucille Clifton
The American Poetry Museum presents INTERSECTIONS

Honfleur Gallery - 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE Washington , D.C.

April 18th, 2007 at 7:30pm

Hosted by Fred Joiner.

Suggested Donation is $2.

Come join the inaugural event, an evening full of visual art and poetry at the Honfleur Gallery, featuring the poetry of :

Colette Bryce,
Kyle Dargan
and the beloved Holly Bass

There will be a question and answer session with the featured readers.

The evening will close with an open mic .
Happy-Headed Muse? With Black woman defending their image and honor in the media these days it was wonderful to see Natasha Trethewey being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. She now joins that historical All-star team of Gwendolyn Brooks, Rita Dove and Yusef Komunyakaa. Trethewey won for her book NATIVE GUARD. I haven't read this collection yet, but I do recall several years ago, Tretheway sending a few poems to the African American Review. The work was so good I had to drop her a note before the poems were published. Look for a number of other African American poets, in the future, to win many of the major literary awards in this country. In fact African American poets might become so dominant in this genre that someone might compare it to the NBA. One reason for this is Cave Canem and its growing influence on the American literary landscape. Soon a national network will be created that will begin to sit on panels and judge grants and fellowships. Before then we still have to monitor our absence. Last night The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer made reference to a few of the winners of this year Pulitzer Prizes such as, Cormac McCarthy for THE ROAD. There was no mention of Natasha Tretheway. I found this very strange since the NewsHour receives funds from The Poetry Foundation. Should I call Al Sharpton about this?
Yesterday the weather was bad and so was the news. Mass murder in Blacksburg. You immediately think of young people running for their lives- no grade given for how fast they can run. One minute you're taking notes in a classroom and the next minute death is grading you on a curve.

I thought of one of my son's friends who played on the Virginia Tech basketball team. I had just seen him on television during the NCAA tournament. I was praying not to see his face on television again.
So many people losing children. Too many whys and too many guns in society.

The media will try to explain the reasons. No way they will know what a person was thinking when they first starting shooting. Did a demon enter a body? Is this the work of a renegade ghost? Some people will find comfort in their faith, others will turn away and join the grayness of the sky. The weather keeps changing and we continue to struggle to survive. Nothing surprises me anymore - this must be the killing season.

Monday, April 16, 2007

So there is going to be a touring exhibition of "black goodies" according to an article in the New York Times today. This is an idea of a few African American scholars and artists. Tavis Smiley is involved and so is Henry Louis Gates, Jr and Cornel West. But first check the picture of Smiley and West on page B4 of The NY Times. It makes these guys look like buffoons and not intellectuals. Are they saluting someone or just trying to keep the sun out of their eyes? The photographer is Shiho Fukada. Does race matter here too? Is West and Company going to bring a new "traveling show" and make me jump Jim Crow?
Quote of the Day:

"I think the circumstances are different with Barry because he's going through all this steroids stuff. Most of it is simply because of the press. They've accused Barry of taking these prohibited substances. So I'm not going to sit here and say that Barry is guilty. I can't do that. Because black people have been found guilty before we were proven guilty for many, many years."

Hank Aaron
Google Blogs Alert for: E. Ethelbert Miller
Reading at Woodland Pattern + Poem: Ethelbert MillerBy John K(John K) Friday, I was on the road again, this time to Milwaukee, to read at the extraordinary Woodland Pattern Book Center with poet E. Ethelbert Miller. Despite the fact that it's closer to Chicago than St. Louis, I'd never been to Milwaukee .
I spent the morning and early afternoon at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. Invited once again by the wonderful Evanthia Lambrakopoulos. I think we met about 28 years ago...
It was good talking with the students at B-CC. I discussed the political poem - poetry of witness.
I read two new poems.

I'm busy answering emails. I received a call from Houston Baker, Jr - I'm looking forward to talking with him this afternoon at Howard.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Many thanks to Erika Carruth for her friendship and kindness. She sent me a copy of Amy Winehouse's BACK TO BLACK. I've been listening to it the last two day. Well- I'm listening to it right now too. I'm not sold on this woman's wine or voice. It has a Macy Gray sound without the accent on the last notes. The problem here might be the songs Winehouse is singing. She wrote all except one (Track 7). Funny how that's the one song I really liked. It might be nice for Winehouse to do an album of old classics. Remember when Chaka Khan decided to sing a few jazz tunes? Not a great album but a nice glass of wine. I'll keep listening to Amy's CD - maybe it just isnt' the house taste. What should I order next? Erika, what do you recommend? The red this time? We've already been back to black.
Civil Rights Movement:

From August 1967 to March 1968, Father James Groppi led more than 200 marches across Milwaukee to protest housing conditions.
Groppi died in 1985.
While I was out in Milwaukee I picked up a copy of the Shepherd Express newspaper. There was an ad for a lecture Dr. Ruth Wilson gave yesterday (April 14th) at Marquette University and also the Black Holocaust Museum. In the ad were the following statements:

Wisconsin has the # 1 rate of incarceration for Black men in the nation.

In Wisconsin, 1 out of every 6 Black males aged 18 to 54 is in prison (15%)
-2000 US Census and WI Dept of Corrections.

In 2000, for every 10 Black men enrolled in college or universities there were 12.3 black men incarcerated.

In Central Milwaukee, 55% of working age males are unemployed.
We are meant to be witnesses to a possibility which we will not live to see, but we have to bring it out. It has nothing to do with you and nothing to do with me. It has to do with what we know human beings have been and can become, and that is so subversive that it is called poetry.

- James Baldwin
August 1970

Saturday, April 14, 2007

No E MAG tomorrow. I still have to put aside some funds for home computer repairs. In a few weeks the E MAG will be back and much better. So E-Watch.
Ichiro Watch:

A serious slump? Striking out too much. What's going on? Average is way below .200.
I'm heading back to DC today. I had a good 2 days in Milwaukee. I gave a talk on Langston Hughes at the downtown public library on Thursday. Last night I gave a reading with John Keene at the Woodland Pattern Book Center. A wonderful place:
It was good to see John again. So many talented African American writers around the country changing our literary landscape. The Dark Room Collective and Cave Canem have given us another Renaissance. I feel better than a New Negro.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Today is my son's birthday. Nyere -Gibran. 20 years today. Way to go...Much love.

I just finished reading A RAP ON RACE. That's the wonderful dialogue between Margaret Mead and James Baldwin. I came across the following statement by Baldwin on the last page:

"It's difficult to be born, difficult to learn to walk, difficult to grow old, difficult to die and difficult to live for everybody, everywhere..."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm in Milwaukee for a few days. Look for E-Notes on Saturday.

Do Nothin- Until You Hear From Me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nikki Rosa?

Poet Nikki Giovanni will read from her work, Monday April 23rd at seven pm at the University of the District of Columbia, 42oo Connecticut Avenue N.W. Wash D.C. 20008.

The reading is free and open to the public.
The reading will be held in the main auditorium building 46 and will be followed by a reception and book signing.
Things to watch:

Follow the upcoming elections in Nigeria. Balloting begins on Saturday.
Excerpt from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL today:

"World leaders are watching the elections nervously. In testimony before Congress in February, Mike McConnell, the highest-ranking U.S. intelligence official , listed a failed Nigerian election as one of the biggest threats this year to national security."

Nigerian presidential candidates:

1. Atiku Abubakar
2. Muhammadu Buhari
3. Umaru Yar'Adua
Well it was just a matter of time: and

Now if we would only just give a F-------------
Interesting stats:

Recent studies by the U.S. Department of Education claim that Black students are enrolling in graduate schools more than whites.
No hankies and no applause. Hank Aaron has no intention of being at the game if Bonds breaks his record.

"I don't want to be around that sort of thing anymore. I just want to be at peace with myself. I don't want to answer questions. "
- H. Aaron
Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro struckout 3 times yesterday. His average is at .308
Tonight he faces Matsuzaka in Boston.
Folks in Japan will be watching this game.
Biggie Smalls is dead.
Actor Calvin Lockhart died on March 29th. He was in a number of black movies. I liked him in the film LET'S DO IT AGAIN (1975) which was directed by Sidney Poitier. That's the film in which he plays the gangster Biggie Smalls.
Maybe we should all wear the # 42 this weekend and honor Jackie Robinson. Where are the 42 poems to honor this man?
Hmmm...a nice project for Cave Canem?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Just back from the funeral for Ambassador Elliott P. Skinner. was something seeing folks I hadn't seen in over 35 years. Much warmth- and so I guess this is what remains with the living.
Thank YOU!
The Federal Communications Commission said it won't change the rule that cellphones must be turned off during airline flights.
Things to Watch:

Ecuador votes on a referendum Sunday to approve the creation of a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the Andean nation's constitution. Ecuador could have a new Constitution by 2008.
Of the 3,131 soldiers killed in Iraq as of Feb.3, a total of 143 were single parents, according to the U.S. Defense Department. To assist caregivers in these situations, Congress is considering legislation that would allow some or all of a soldier's death gratuity to go to the children's grandparents or other guardians.

- From the AARP Bulletin, April 2007
Who is Don Imus?
How did he get into my E-Notes? Is the hacker back?

Let's turn to more important news. Didn't you find it interesting that Moktada al-Sadr could rally thousands of people into the streets in Iraq and there was no violence or the fear of violence? Sadr is the only name I can really recognize after 4 years of conflict in Iraq. What does this mean? It means that this is one guy the US is going to have to sit down with in the near future. Is it possible to call for a cease fire by next Ramadan?

Meanwhile things seem to be getting worse in Afghanistan.
Global Warming, Global Warning or just an Imus?
When people hate they get hot - don't they? Some people turn red when yelling at folks.
There is also a link between racism and radiation. You can't see it and it spreads. The problem with slurs is that the damage is already done. The air is no longer clean and the water tastes funny. Apologies mean nothing after the trees can't grow because of forest fires started by hate rhetoric. Why fan the flames and then apologize? If you are going to have a low-tolerance for crime let's have one for hate speech too. If you sneak on the subway and get caught you pay the price. If we don't do something then the next thing we know you might want to steal a purse and you know where that leads - to calling black women basketball players - nappy-headed ??? -which is a verbal assault and might be considered psychological rape. Oh, and why confess to folks like Sharpton and Jackson? Why do we even have shock jocks on the air? Shouldn't all jocks wear straps?
Do we want the world to be ruled by DickHeads? Are we a society just waiting to have an Imus
and the pain that comes with it too? Nuff said or Hush Now, Don't Explain!
The 19th Annual Dorothy Porter Wesley Lecture will present Charles L. Blockson.
Noted Bibliophile, author and Black Studies Scholar
Curator Emeritus, Charles L. Bockson Collection, Temple University

2:30 PM
Friday, April 20, 2007
Browsing Room, Founders Library
Howard University

Monday, April 09, 2007

Quote of the Day:

My goal is to be a female Ethelbert Miller ;o)

- Shyree Mezick
War Update:

Sooner or later Muqtda al-Sadr is going to have to sit down at a Peace table. How many deaths will take place before this happens?

Are things going downhill in Afghanistan?

What's the status of the 5 Iranians detained by US troops in Iraq since January?

What's the status of the Israeli soldiers that were captured in Lebanon?
Josh Rushing's new book is now available. Look for MISSION AL JAZEERA.

Rushing was the speaker at the first IPS Salon held last month. Our next Salon will be in May and it will feature Barbara Ehrenreich.
A sweet secret?
You can get a really good bag of cookies from Potbelly. Check the one at 1635 Connecticut Avenue, NW. These cookies are far superior to some of the stuff they push at Cosi and Starbucks.
The Washington Nationals lost another game. You might recall I wanted the job as manager of this baseball club. Just check some of the E-Notes from last year. I think baseball is a poet's game. 60 years ago Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. This would be a good year to hire a poet like myself. I can write a cool batting order using tercets. I can teach players how to hit between the lines. I know how to workshop relief pitchers. I've got skills!
Sad news...

Dr. Robert Cummings (Chair, African Studies, Howard University) recently died.
A great guy. One of my favorite people on the HU campus. I'll miss the laughter...

Dr. Elliott Skinner (Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Columbia University and former U.S.
Ambassadoer to Upper Volta 1966-9) died on Sunday, April 1, 2007.
Funeral services for Skinner will be held on Tuesday April 10th at Rankin Chapel (Howard University) at 11 A.M.


The Department of Fine & Performing Arts, Bowie State University is hosting a Spring Arts Festival at BSU from April 16-21, 2007.

We are presenting a weeklong series that will consist of visual art workshops, performances, community discussion and more, including: * On Wed April 18, 2007, from 1-3 PM & later from 5-7 PM, we are especially proud to present the legendary jazz musician/educator, Dr. Donald Byrd, sponsored by the NEA Jazzmasters Lecture Series, and he will also be apart of a special panel discussion/presentation titled, AUDIOVISION; in which several artists such as James Phillips, Frank Smith, Jeff Henriquez, Tewodross Melchishua, moderated by Gina Lewis.

These artists and other invited musicians will discuss the relationship between visual art and especially music, especially jazz (hip-hop, soul, the blues and more).

Thurs April 19, 2007, A film on NeoSoul, "There's No Such Thing As NeoSoul" directed by Stephanie Renee.

The Theatre department will be presenting August Wilson's, "Two Trains Running." We are working to promote and advertise this event to the BSU campus and the Bowie community in general, and want this to be a success and can use your individual support.

All These events (except for the theatre performances) are free and open to the public and all are welcome. Below is a link to our flier/calendar, just click on the festival image to download the schedule (PDF):
Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad
Sometimes I wish that life was never ending
But all good things they say never last

- Prince
Quote of the Day:

"Many students decided to change career goals as a result of the trip."

- Bernard Richardson, dean of Howard University's Rankin Memorial Chapel.
For the second year Richardson took Howard students to New Orleans to help
with the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
The Monday after Easter. Where did Jesus go?
Is he hiding inside of you?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tomorrow is Easter. When I was a young boy that was the day my brother (Richard) would blast Handal's Messiah off the walls of our small Bronx apartment. It was something he did when he came home from church. It was a happy time -one that I would discover later in the poems of Lucille Clifton and Nikki Giovanni. Yes - good times! But now the years, race the color of one's hair and you realize how much disappears into the silence of cemeteries. Easter reduced to a colored egg on a kitchen counter.

I was reading a magazine (Sable) and came across Kamau Brathwaite's reference to Derek Walcott's 1992 Nobel lecture. Something stirred inside of me - the movement of my soul?
Walcott words echoed what Yoko Ono was talking about last week - which was Palm Sunday.
Just before she said good-bye to the audience at TheArc (in SE Washington) she remembered to bring out a large picture of a beautiful vase. She also placed on the stage the actual pieces of the vase (now broken) and encouraged everyone to take a piece. She said it would be wonderful if we could all return 10 years later with the pieces we had taken and rebuild the vase. Walcott is a bit more eloquent in his lecture - listen:

"Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole. The glue that fits the pieces is the sealing of the original shape. It is such a love that reassembles our African and Asiatic fragments..."

When I read this in the Sable interview with Brathwaite, I felt it captured what I've been trying to write about in my E-Notes the last few months.

So many communties and nations broken. How do we repair the future? So much is dependent on love. Why are our hands not sticky from the glue - the loving? Is this not want a woman once left on my fingertips after an intimate moment. The love...the essence of the act. How often is one just left with the fragrance --how difficult is it for one to imagine peace?

"The sigh of history rises over ruins not over landscapes."
- Derek Walcott
Discover DC:

WalkingTown- DC is taking place on April 21 and 22.
Check the schedule:
Call 202-661-7581 for more information.
So earlier I'm sitting in a Starbucks on Connecticut Avenue, reading some sports pages - and suddenly I wonder what is Mitch Richmond doing? So strange for his name to enter my thoughts...

But then again - I could have been thinking about Ricky Williams putting down his yoga map to rejoin the NFL. What a strange day. No wonder it's snowing outside.
Saad Eskander is the library director of the Iraq National Library. Here is a link to his online diary:

This is one guy we need to support.
A cold day, and yes Prince - sometimes it does snow in April. But why? I'm at Provisions Library today. I'll work here until the late afternoon. Will start working on my Robert Pinsky introduction. He will be giving a reading at the King Library later this month.

I have to repair my home computer so that means no E-MAG tomorrow; maybe no E-Notes either. I'm thinking about moving the E-MAG from Sunday to Monday. I'll still request submissions by midnight Saturday. Some small changes...

No real news unless Nancy Pelosi is not "behaving" herself. What's with that Cheney comment?
I get upset when discipline terms are used to describe leaders and countries. So Korea is being a bad boy - blockade him and place a funnel on his head? Pelosi is in Syria - is she a real bad girl for talking to Assad? Nonsense. There is too much suffering in the world for people not to talk.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro is hitting .400
23 rd Annual Symposium on African American Culture & Philosophy Held in conjunction with theAnnual Meeting of the Alain Locke Society.
"Harlem Renaissance: Aesthetics, Values and Identity.
Keynote speaker:Arnold Rampersad

Stewart Center
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana

November 1-3, 2007
Recommended reading - Pamela Druckerman's OP-ED piece on relationships in today's NY Times. Druckerman is the author of LUST IN TRANSLATION: THE RULES OF INFIDELITY FROM TOYKO TO TENNESSEE.

Life is a journey. Too many red and green lights. Drive -he said, but watch where you're going.
One game.
How good is Matsuzaka in Boston? You judge a pitcher the second time he faces a club. It's too early in the season to rave - especially if it costs $103 million.
Darryl Stingley gone at 55. August 12, 1978.
New England Patriots receiver paralyzed by Jack Tatum.

I never knew what to call Tatum. How could a guy never apology for his actions?
Don't be Invisible - Try to attend:

Noted literary scholar and biographer Arnold Rampersad has written a new
biography on Ralph Ellison that will be published on April 24.

On Thursday, May 3, the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress will
present Prof. Rampersad in a discussion and book signing of Ralph Ellison: A
Biography in the Pickford Theater (James Madison Memorial Bldg., third floor)
at Noon.
Good Miller News:
My daughter was elected secretary of the Black Law Student Association (BLSA) at George Washington University's Law School. Congrats to Jasmine-Simone.
Will DC follow the China model? After the Communist Party failed to wipe out Classical music in China, it's now back and considered an essential component of "advanced culture." Yes, I know you thought it was jazz. Might the Lincoln Theater on U Street become a major "arena" for Classical music? With a "new "board and "new" money anything is possible. With jazz disappearing at the Smithsonian one might look around to see what will grow after the cherry blossoms. Sometimes it snows in April. Did Prince say that? I wonder what he was singing about? Imagine DC sponsoring a big Classical Music Festival highlighting China - in time to coincide with the Olympics. Beijing on U?

Crazy or just who we are these days? PLANET TERROR?
Walter Isaacson will make a 22-city tour promoting his new book, EINSTEIN: HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE. Isaacson is also the author of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: AN AMERICAN LIFE and the biography KISSINGER (published in 1992).
The Einstein print run is 4oo,000.
Who writes the news?
Read this last paragraph from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL today:

"But by reverting to their Vietnam message of retreat and by blaming Mr. Bush for all the world's ills, Democrats on Capitol Hill may once again convince voters that they can't be trusted with the White House in a dangerous world."

This is just foolishness.

No reason why Democrats shouldn't try and change American foreign policy. How many mistakes have been made in the last several years. Can we tell lies from truth? Our democracy is built around our leaders having options. No reason why we can't talk to Iran or Syria. We've talked to them in the past and we will talk to them in the future. No reason why we can't push for a new policy with Cuba. It's become obvious that we need more people to people contact if we are to have a brighter future. Governments around the world are misbehaving badly.
Information to know:

Walter Reed Hospital is named for Major Walter Reed, an Army physician who treated troops during the Spanish-American War and is credited for knowing how to fight Yellow Fever. The hospital opened in 1901.
21st Annual Washington, DC International Film Festival
April 19-29, 2007

For information:
Birthday celebrations tonight. My daughter and son were both born in April. This year they will be 25 and 20. It's MILLER TIME!

Washington, DC area-wide art celebration APRIL - JULY, 2007
My friend Nimah (in Saudi Arabia) sent me a copy of MASTERPIECES OF MODERN URDU POETRY edited by K.C. Kanda. The collection is filled with many ghazals.
The book is published by the New Dawn Press Group an imprint of Sterling Publishers:
The Howard University Baha'i Student Association and the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Washington, D.C. is sponsoring a talk by James Makawa. Makawa is the co-founder and chief excutive of the Africa Channel. The title of his talk is "Connecting Hearts and Minds of Africa."
He will be speaking tomorrow at 3 PM in the Andrew Rankin Memorial at Howard University.
In 1912 Abdu'l- Baha spoke on the campus of Howard.
Quote of the Day:

My friends all look different - I look just the same.

- Prince

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Today was an IPS day - Interviews with candidates seeking a staff position. In the early afternoon staff and fellows had lunch and we watched my television interview with Andy Shallal.
This program (Humanities Profiled) will air on DCTV in June.

Check the new Foreign Policy In Focus for my interview with poet Martin Espada (see the Fiesta section):

African Americans in baseball has declined from 25% in the 1970s to 8.4% last year.
In the 1965 All-Star Game there were 8 of 18 starters that were African Americans. Last year there were only two.

Ichiro Watch:
Two hits yesterday.
Average is .375
If he can maintain a high average going into June it's going to be another 200 hit season.

60th Anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier.
We should all wear the No. 42 on April 15th.

Who is casting the spell on these guys? Arenas is out now with a left knee injury.
The season is over. Who can they defeat in the playoffs?
Should I become a Bobcats fan? Never!

Good to see that first win. It's so important to avoid the basement of your division.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My first E-PICK is reviewed in THE NEW YORKER. See the review of Dinaw Mengestu's THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT HEAVEN BEARS on page 83 of The New Yorker (April 9, 2007).
This book is going to be nominated for a few awards. Stay tuned.
Military Logic:

There has been an average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theater of operations during the last 22 months , and a total of 2, 112 deaths, that gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000. The rate in Washington, D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000. That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in our Nation's Capitol...

- Captain Christopher D. Mayhugh
Army Medical Service Corps
News for the Nagin:

2007 might be a very active hurricane season. Experts are predicting 17 storms; five of them major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph.

It very important to try and get folks out of those mobile homes. Those things won't survive a major hurricane. This looks like another disaster waiting to happen. NO mayor in NO means NO help. Subtract the O and you get N(agin).
We should all be on our way to Damascus...
Pelosi's trip can't hurt things. If we would talk more there would be less violence in the world.
So McCain is having problems raising money. OK. That's end of his campaign. See ya Mac. Once again the focus is on money. Maybe the reason why McCain can't raise money is because he is supporting the present war in Iraq. Hello Media - it's the war! Not the money. McCain can't go anywhere with his ideas. The American public isn't stupid.

This is a reminder that it’s time to enter the Nimrod/Hardman Awards competition for two annual awards given by Nimrod International Journal, deadline April 30, 2007.

The Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction and The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry offer first prizes of $2,000 and second prizes of $1,000, along with publication of the winning stories and poems, and a trip to Tulsa to receive the awards and take part in our annual writing workshop.

Past winners include Sue Monk Kidd, Kate Small, Diane Glancy, Steve Lautermilch, Ellen Bass, Thomas Gough, Ruth Schwartz, and Sarah Flygare.

Past judges for the Awards include Marvin Bell, Mark Doty, Janette Turner Hospital, Stanley Kunitz, W. S. Merwin, Pattiann Rogers, William Stafford, Ron Carlson, Edward Hirsch, and John Edgar Wideman.
People to Watch:

Jati Lindsay (photographer).
His work is on the cover (and inside) of THE WASHINGTON CITY PAPER.
Scenes from U Street (2003-2007) . See the issue for March 30th.

The pictures in the newspaper reveal how much this city has changed. The telling image is the one of "Steve, Dwayne,Kymone, 1300 Block." Here we find three black men smiling and exchanging greetings. Behind them is a young white man carrying his daughter on his shoulders.
His daughter is also smiling- but looking at the photographer or is it the future? The white people are on the move, so that's why they are slightly out of focus. The black men seem not to have a clue to what is happening behind them. They are either in their own world or already invisible. One guy has a headset around his neck. Here is the disconnect...
Somewhere the music is playing and he can't hear it anymore. U Street Unplugged might be a good title for this picture.


I like the thinking behind this.

Iran Pardons
Plans To Free Brits
Iran's president says he will release 15 British military personnel.
Gallery Talk, April 24th 5 PM - featuring Sherman Edmiston and Lou Hudnel.
This major art exhibit will be at the Katzen /American University Museum
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.
Artists in the show include:
Charles Alston, Edward M.Bannister, Romare Bearden, John Bigggers, Sam Gilliam, John W. Hardick. Lois Mailou Jones, Edward M. Porter, William E. Scott, Charles Sebree, Allen Stringfellow, Henry O. Tanner, Alma Thomas, and Mose Tolliver.
Another major loss:

Eddie Robinson, the legendary Grambling State football coach has passed away.
He died late Tuesday evening. He was 88.
Waiting for August?

African-AmericanTheater (ACT) of Washington, D.C. has begun posting excerpts from some their various stage and video productions online at:
Hurston/Wright Foundation

Summer Writing Workshop

Hurston/Wright Writers' Week is the nation's only multi-genre summer writer's workshop for writers of African descent with a tuition-free component for high school students.

Since the first workshop in the summer of 1996, over 850 writers have attended the weeklong program of classes and presentations by publishers, agents, and writers. [Learn More]
Well let's create some new words and terms. Anyone can play right? I like the term "Money Primary." This is what's going on right now. Picking our leaders by how much money they can raise. This is stupid and also dangerous. I like saying dangerous alot these days. It's like bringing back those "color" alerts. Orange, Red, remember? Dangerous sounds like the label of a new Michael Jackson release.

Did you see the review of Bill Bradley's new book in the New York Times yesterday? I listed his new book THE NEW AMERICAN STORY in a previous E-Note. Bradley talks about how people campaign not to change the world but to please their audiences.
OK who decided to create the word Islamism? Geez. This word is being dropped into our vocabulary like one of those old scud missles. It's not a cute thing. It's just dangerous and plays with your tongue. Isn't every ISM a bad word? Well , except Capitalism. Right?


Islamism - just what is it? Many Muslims on the Move?

OK, remember in the old days when the teacher said to use the word in a sentence? Here is something from yesterday's The Wall Street Journal:

"Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the in humane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values."


I guess it's time for activism. We need to protect our language from new words that might be dangerous to not just our ears.

Illiteracy rate has been increasing in China. The number of people who cannot read or write grew by 30 million over the past 5 years. The reason? Young rural poor dropping out of school to seek jobs in the cities; a result of the economic boom.

The first regular-season NFL game will be played in London (Giants/Miami) on October 28, 2007.

Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 37 years old. Robert Mugabe is 83.
75TH Anniversary of the Highlander Center: August 31- September 2, 2007

Continue to fight for democracy and justice.
If you get a chance read the interview with Elizabeth Edwards by Jonathan Alter in Newsweek (April 9, 2007). It's by far one of the best interviews I've read this year. One can only admire this woman's courage and intellect:

" I'm not praying for God to save me from cancer. I'm not. God will enlighten me when the time comes. And if I've done the right thing, I will be enlightened. And if I believe, I'll be saved. And that's all he promises me."
I'll be heading out to Milwaukee next week. Here is a link to what I'll be doing:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Today I'll be at the DC Arts Commission chairing the panel that will be giving out Hip Hop grants.

Look for some E-Notes later this evening.

Happy National Poetry Month!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Nancy Cunard's NEGRO ANTHOLOGY 1931-1933 is a classic. One could teach an entire course simply using this book as a text.
150 voices of both races.

Here is an excerpt from her foreword:

"But the Negro is no longer preoccupied solely by religion. Progressive members of the race are aware that they must fight every way they can to advance and to maintain whatsoever they have already achieved against inconceivable opposition.

The book is out but we need to see the movie.

Who would play Henry Crowder?
NANCY CUNARD: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist by Lois Gordon.
Columbia University Press $ 32.50

OK...who is working on the script?
More poetry in April:

Music & Poetry: Joy Harjo and Friends
Saturday, April 21st 3 PM
National Museum of the American Indian
4th Street & Independence Ave, SW
that just keeps breaking what it means to be human:

April 2, 2007

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Guantanamo detainees who want to mount a court challenge to their five-year-long confinement, a victory for the Bush administration's legal strategy in its fight against terrorism.

How will historians judge this?

Ah, baseball. Tom Glavine keeps looking good. I'll be happy when he gets that 300th victory.

Oh, the Wizards can say good-bye to their playoff hopes. Without Caron Butler the team can't win. With Miami getting Wade back it looks like things are heating up again.
Is it all about the money or is it about ideas? Who really cares how much money Clinton is able to raise? This is really nonsense created by the media. They also go around stroking egos and getting people (with no qualifications) to run for president. This is why the world is a mess. We select leaders like it's a game show or a high school contest.
It's National Poetry Month:

Happy National Poetry Month! Celebrate with the Spring Issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly: "The Science of Love"

The Spring 2007 issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, guest edited by Kwame Alexander, features five women whose training in science and medicine influences the way they write about relationships. Featuring poems by:

Jennifer GreshamKaty RicheyMaureen O'DeaTonya Maria MatthewsDeanna Nikaido

As Kwame Alexander writes in his introduction, "Scientists are finding that, after all, love really comes down to a chemical addiction between people. Here I was thinking that my wife was attracted to my sonnets and sestinas, and all along it was Dopamine. Maybe it’s not so cut and dry, but certainly there is a connection, and this issue of Beltway takes a look at the intersection of science and love..."
There are passages in AMERICAN ISLAM by Paul M. Barrett that keep making me chuckle. Here is something I read last night:

"Siraj Wahhaj, a Brooklyn native born in 1950, was originally named Jeffrey Kearse. At the age of seven he challenged his mother: "How come we got to go to church anyway?" She took a leather strap and whacked the boy a couple of times, he recalled. "Now you understand why you got to go to church? she asked. Jeffrey thereafter won an award for perfect church attendance and later taught at a Baptist Sunday school."

Yep, that's the old school. Don't you miss it? My mother and father didn't raise me on poetry.
I still recall the strap rhyming on my butt; a couplet of pain. Do you know why this black boy sings?
Click on the Art not Ads Video - Art Truck.
There you will find the Street Scenes project I worked on a few months ago.
Yesterday I went over to THE ARC (1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE) and saw Yoko Ono. She gave a private performace and dedicated Wish Trees for Anacostia. Ono's IMAGINE PEACE is the third installation of Street Scenes. These are art projects for the city that have been curated by Nora Halpern and Welmoed Laanstra. These two women continue to bring good energy and ideas to the arts community. I had never seen Ono perform. I had only heard about her. The woman at 70 is still amazing and thinking out of the box. She's avant-garde and then some. Her work gives you the experience first and then it makes you think. In THE RINGING EAR anthology that Nikky Finney recently edited there is an interview (in the back pages) with Lucille Clifton. Clifton made the following comment - "The job of the art, it seems to me, is to not leave you where it found you." That's what Yoko Ono's work does.