Friday, November 30, 2007

Celebrating the Life of TOM TERRELL

Friday, December 7, 2007
"Wake" - 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Stewart Funeral Home, Inc.
4001 Benning Road, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20019
(202) 399-3600

Saturday, December 8, 2007
"Celebration of Life"
9:00 A.M. Viewing
11:00 A.M. Funeral Service
Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel at Howard University
6th Street and Howard Place, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059
(202) 806-7280

Internment and Repast - TBA
I need to make a list of films I want to see before the year ends. One is STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING. Right now the movie is only showing in New York and Los Angeles. It was reviewed in USA TODAY (11/30/07).

Report card time is coming soon. How will Mayor Fenty do? How much has changed in the city?
It's difficult to ignore the crime rise.
Folks need to discuss the economic reasons behind it. Where are the jobs? Folks walking around with no skills. Soon the city might be divided into Green Zones and compounds. Look for home invasions to increase- carjacking is becoming outdated. Putting police on foot patrols is not going to stop the big crime waves. That's a PR tactic. It might be easier to simply place folks who commit crimes (more than once) into a central data system and monitor them with chips planted in their butts. Scan an ass instead of all hands on deck. Well -
My son's basketball team continues to roll. Widener is off to a 6-0 start this season.
Game tomorrow...

Sunday might be one of the few days I'll be cheering for the Redskins. It's going to be an emotional game as players and fans remember Sean Taylor. The Bills should be an easy team to defeat, but you never know. Both teams are 5-6. If the Bills jump out first and get a lead it could place added pressure on Washington. The desire to win for Sean could make players tight; a loss could be devasting, especially if they were to lose because of their secondary; the absence of Taylor too obvious to ignore and difficult to forget. I remember the Yankees winning their game after Munson's death. I think it was Murcer getting the key hit. What will happen come Sunday?
I came home to discover that I've been granted a residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts next year.
This will give me the opportunity to work on my second memoir - THE FIFTH INNING.
Yahoo! Thanks to Miriam and Julia for those support letters. Nothing like having time to write.
Before this year ends I want to make the changes to my next collection of poems and get the manuscript off to Curbstone. Time to finish projects.
I just received 2 DVDs of the interview I gave to THE HISTORY MAKERS. I was also invited to join their speakers bureau.
Look for me under artmakers.
Quote of the Day:


- Liam Rector
Quote of the Week:

To build a durable peace, it takes a shared agenda, a willingness by moderates to work together to support one another and help each other beat back the extremists in each camp. It takes something that has been sorely lacking since the deaths of Anwar sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein: a certain moral courage.

- Thomas Friedman
Quote of the Week:

We want peace. We demand an end to terror, an end to incitement and to hatred. We are prepared to make a painful compromise, rife with risks, in order to realize these aspirations.

- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
After Annapolis there are a few things that must take place in the Middle East:

1. Dismantling of Israeli settlements in the West Bank
2. Determining the borders of a Palestinian state
3. The status of Jerusalem
4. The fate of Palestinian refugees
Farewell to Tom Terrell: July 16, 1950 - November 29, 2007.
Well I'm back from spending a few days in Utah. A good trip- a chance to see old friends again. I gave a lecture on Langston Hughes at the main library in Salt Lake City on Wednesday and a reading there of my own work on Thursday evening. Gosh - you have to see this library. It's the best designed building I've ever seen. The architect responsible for this gem is Moshe Safdie.
This is the type of main library Washington D.C. needs Someone should fly the mayor and members of the City Council out to view this place. Throw in a few Utah Jazz tickets if they are reluctant to make the trip.

I flew out to Utah on Tuesday afternoon. I read on the plane, Therman B. O'Daniel's edited collection of essays on Hughes - LANGSTON HUGHES: BLACK GENIUS, A Critical Evaluation.
During the flight I talked with a nice woman who was a personal trainer and lived in Montana.
(On the return trip I read BETWEEN TWO WORLDS by Zainab Salbi.)

I stayed at the Little America Hotel. A recommended site if you plan to visit. I was well taken care of by the librarians at the Salt Lake City Public Library. Many thanks to Cathy, Blair and sweet Gail.

Being back in Utah gave me the opportunity to spend time with the novelist Christine Allen-Yazzie. I can't believe that when we first met she was in high school. Yipes.

My talk on Langston went well. It's part of the Branching Out program:
The program is sponsored by Poets House, Poetry Society of America and funded by NEH.
Many thanks to Marsha Howard for coordinating my trips the last several months.

My Thursday poetry reading was sponsored by City Arts. Joel Long is the Godfather behind this wonderful organization and series. They put out a nice City Art Journal.

At my reading was the poet M. Dane Picard whom I had met many years ago at a Writer's At Work Conference in Park City, Utah. He gave me a copy of his new book - A LATE ROUNDUP
published by Vestal Press( 3520 Westwood Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84109.

Well, let me catch my breath for a moment - sort the mail and answer the hundreds of emails
that need a rub behind the ears.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The death of Sean Taylor leaves a huge hole in the heart's secondary.

Sending prayers to Taylor's family, friends and fellow football players.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mo Better Sports:
My son's game from last Friday
Men's Basketball Uses Red-Hot Shooting to Post 87-82 Victory Against Gwynedd-Mercy

11/23/07 -- Junior NYERE MILLER (Washington, DC) in his hometown led five players in double figures with 20 points for Widener in an 87-82 victory over Gwynedd-Mercy at the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament.

Miller shot 8-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-10 from 3-point range to fall two points shy of his career best.

This helped Widener shoot 57 percent (36-of-63) from the floor, including 58 percent (15-of-26) in the second half, and 9-of-22 from beyond the arc.

Junior Charles Jones (Philadelphia, PA) and freshman Clinton Cole (Upper Darby, PA) scored 13 points apiece for the Pride (3-0). Jamarr Johnson (Pittsgrove, PA) netted 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting and fellow sophomore Bobby Edmunds (Linwood, NJ) added 11 and eight rebounds.
Gwynedd-Mercy (2-1) was held to just 39 percent shooting (13-of-33) in the second half after hitting 59 percent (16-of-27) in the opening half.

Tom Keenan scored 17 points with Matt Johnson adding 16 for the Griffins.
FROM : The Writer's Center:

BIG EVENT: Writer’s Center in Bethesda at 7:30 pm Tuesday evening, December 4. Kwame Dawes, Carol Ann Davis, Linda Ferguson, Susan Meyers, and Marjory Wentworth will read.

A book signing and reception after the reading. Free admission. For more information, people can visit our web site,, or call 301-654-8664.
New Mosaic magazine is out. Covergirl is Tayari Jones. Nice to see an article about novelist William Demby in this issue. The publisher is still Ron Kavanaugh. Managing editor is Felicia Pride. You can subscribe online:
Upcoming event at the Millennium Arts Salon located at 1213 Girard Street, NW
IT's All About Art: Scholars Speak
Deborah Willis...the Art of Photography
December 1, 2007

Deb Willis is Professor of Photography and Imaging at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts. I just love this woman. Her picture should be in every house. Why take pictures at all, if we can't have one of Deb. Thanks Deb for all you do for photography and African American culture. Put a frame around my words and call it love.

Vice President Dick Cheney
has been diagnosed
with an irregular heartbeat.
Community News:

Join us Tuesday, November 27th for a Poetry Coffeehouse celebrating the new book, "Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones" edited by Kwame Alexander, and featuring Jacqueline Jules, Deanna Nikaido, Katy Richey, Angela Boykin Turnbull, and Mary Sherman Willis, and many others.

Come at 7:30pm for the reading + free coffee and dessert, or come early at 6:15pm for a pre-reading conversation with the artists. You're most welcome as early or late as your schedule allows.

Jacqueline Jules is an elementary school librarian and author of eight children's books. Her poetry has appeared in over 60 journals across the US and she was a 1999 and 2007 winner of the Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division's Moving Words Poetry Contest, and a 2002 recipient of the SCBWI Honor Plaque for Poetry.

Deanna Nikaido is the author of a book of poems, Vibrating with Silence. She attended the University of Maryland and the Art Center College of Design. She has been featured at readings at the Baltimore Book Festival, the Capital BookFest, and the Visionary Art Museum.

Katy Richey teaches English in Silver Spring, MD. She has been published in Beltway Poetry Quarterly and has performed her poetry at venues and festivals in the Washington DC area.

Angela Boykin Turnbull is a poet and editor who has performed her work in the US, London, and Paris. She is the former president of the African American Writer's Guild and a recent participant in the Jenny McKean Moore Writer's Program at George Washington University.

Mary Sherman Willis lives in Virginia and teaches at the George Washington University. Her poems and reviews have appeared in The New Republic, The Iowa Review, Shenandoah, and The Hudson Review.

This reading will celebrate the publication of Family Pictures: Poems & Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones, edited by Kwame Alexander. As Kwame writes in his introduction: "This book is a celebration of the paradise of family. The woes and wonders. This book includes over 70 poets--new and established--and 10 photographers--award winning and emerging. Family Pictures aims to show the variety and value of family love, especially the joys of remind us that no matter the time or circumstance--whether peril or promise--family matters and it always lasts."

Grace Church is located at 1041 Wisconsin Ave., between M and K streets. Free parking is available at AMC Loews Georgetown movie theater, a block away at Wisconsin & K Street

I admire this woman.
Institute for Policy Studies (IPS):

We will be having our last IPS Salon on December 9th. Please contact Sena (see below) if you're interested in attending. RSVP is required.

Dear Friends,

The Institute for Policy Studies invites you to attend and participate in an afternoon discussion, led by our special guest, Zainab Salbi, Founder and CEO of Women For Women International.

Our Salon will take place at the home of Marjan and Andy Shallal - 1831 Kalorama Road NW, Washington, DC 20009 - on December 9th, 2007 from 4pm to 6pm.

About the speaker:

Zainab Salbi founded Women For Women International in 1993 to support women in conflict and post conflict regions around the world. By identifying support services and by using a holistic approach, Women For Women International engages and empowers women into becoming active participants and leaders as they revamp and contribute to the political and economic processes of their communities. Ms. Salbi is an activist, social entrepreneur and author of several best sellers including, The Other Side of War: Women’s Stories of Survival and Hope, which introduces readers to women who survived wars and triumphed in rebuilding their communities.

We sincerely hope that you are able to join us for a wonderful evening.

Please RSVP at or call 202-787-5277.

Warm Regards,

- Sena

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sports Update:

Please no excuses for the Washington Redskins losing again. This team isn't good. Oh, here is Gibbs again:

"I'm proud of our guys the way they came fighting back in the second half."

No you should be angry with your guys throwing the game away in the first half -Dude!

Oh, I don't want to hear about Campbell having a great game but making mistakes at the end.

If you throw interceptions you get the Eli Manning award and folks boo your butt. Campbell is responsible for losing the game just like Manning. After a few more of these same mistakes week after week, folks will begin to wake-up. I think no one is sleeping in New York right now.
Can you see Campbell doing the same thing against the Bills and Bears? What will folks say - give him more time? No- let the jury give the verdict now. Campbell is not going to be a great QB. Moss should be traded. Portis is not a great back. Can you name anyone on the Washington team that's going to the Hall of Fame? Hopefully, this is Gibbs last year. Take Joe B on the coaching staff- please - I hate listening to this guy explain a loss every week. And why would Washington even think about trying to reach the playoffs. What would they do if they got there??? Get their uniforms dirty? Look for the Bills to beat these guys too.
More Sports:
From my son's games:

Gallaudet Holiday Tournament
11/24/07 -- Junior Charles Jones (Philadelphia, PA) poured in 18 points and was named Most Valuable Player of the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament, which Widener captured with a 68-52 victory over Union in Washington, DC.

Jones scored seven points during Widener's 26-5 run that opened the game over the first 10 minutes. Junior NYERE MILLER (Washington, DC) netted six in that span.

This helped the Pride (4-0) shoot 50 percent (17-of-34) from the floor in the first half and hold the Dutchmen (1-1) to only 30 percent (8-of-27),
Sophomore Jamarr Johnson (Pittsgrove, NJ) and freshman Tavaris Smith (Owings, MD) scored 10 points apiece for Widener, which shot 45 percent (26-of-58) overall. Jones, junior Matt Sosna (Stratford, NJ) and freshman Branden Washington (Elkridge, MD) each had six rebounds as Widener owned a 44-29 edge.

Deion McAllister scored 10 points for Union, which shot only 28 percent (14-of-51) from the floor and was 5-of-24 from 3-point range.

Jones earned his honor by scoring 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting along with notching eight rebounds and five steals over two games.

MILLER ended with 26 points for the weekend and was named to the all-tournament team along with Washington.

Widener on Tuesday visits Cabrini at 8:00 pm.
In the Book World section of the Washington Post today there is a review of THE SHOCK DOCTRINE by Naomi Klein. Klein's book is a must read.

Quote of the Day:

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
- Pablo Neruda

Jim Harrison reviewed THE PLEASURES OF THE DAMNED, Poems, 1951-1993 by Charles Bukowski, in The New York Times Book Review (November 25, 2007). Harrison's has three lines in his review that I just had to write down:

Poetry shouldn't tell us what we already know, though of course it can revive what we think we know.

...historically, poets are better off with imaginary lovers.

It is not poetry that lasts but good poems, a critical difference.
Sports Update:
My son's team (Widener U) continues on a roll. They won yesterday, defeating Union College (NY) for the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament championship. My son was selected for the All Tournament team and came home with another trophy.
Widener is now 4-0 for the season.

Take Tampa Bay today.
New England is good for 35+ points against Philadelphia.

Keep an eye on the Atlanta Hawks.
Knicks need to clean house. Trade Marbury and a few players for Kobe? Let Mr. IT(homas) run a Magic Johnson Starbucks in Harlem or back in Detroit. Bring back Bill Bradley and the old school; or let Spike Lee or Woody Allen coach.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


No, we do not want to catch up with anyone. What we want to do is go forward all the time, night and day, in the company of Man, in the company of all men.

- Frantz Fanon
Thanks to good friends (Julia and Lorrie) I'm listening to new music. Right now it's Caetano Veloso.
See interview with Marci Alboher in BusinessWeek (12/3/07) about not settling for one line of work. She claims she coined the term slash. I suspect she might simply be a Pittsburgh Steeler fan...anyway the woman has a book - ONE PERSON/MULTIPLE CAREERS: A NEW MODEL FOR WORK/LIFE SUCCESS. So many of us doing more than one thing these days. The nature of work keeps changing. Why are we still stuck on the 5 day work week?

Talking about work, I received some interesting mail yesterday. It was from the District Economic Empowerment Coaltion. Their mailing was protesting the failure of DC residents being given the opportunity to help build the new ballpark for the Nationals.
Health News:

The FDA is going to have hearings on November 29th to look into the harmful effects of salt. This might result in new regulations. Too much salt can be a killer. Sodium causes high blood pressure, and is a key cause of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Salt restrictions might be in the future, even warning labels on food - like it was tobacco. Don't you want to live longer?
Quote of the Day:

Talking explores History. Doing rewrites it.

- IBM Advertisement in BusinessWeek magazine (12/3/07)
OK...time to read some Poet Lore submissions. Support the magazine.
I spent yesterday morning reading Elizabeth Alexander's POWER & POSSIBILITY. Recommended reading is her essay on Dunbar. Liz was always a literary star; one of my favorite people. Glad to see this book of essays out. More books of this type are needed but I'm waiting for the world to change.
More basketball on Saturday afternoon at the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament. My son's team advances to the championship game at 3 PM. On Friday night they played an exciting game against Gwynedd-Mercy. With his former DC Warriors coaches looking on, my son kept Widener U in the game during the first half by scoring over twenty points. More details later.

Friday, November 23, 2007


What year is this?
Who had the most turkey yesterday? Why?
What's the difference between white meat and dark meat?
Why is my belly full but others hungry?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Just open the Gates and I'll get it myself.

I'm just getting around to reading "Forty Acres and a Gap in Wealth" by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
This important essay was in the New York Times (OP-ED) last Sunday, November 18th.
Gates writes about the importance of home ownership among African Americans:

People who own property feel a sense of ownership in their future and their society. They study, save, work, strive and vote. And people trapped in a culture of tenancy do not.

I like Gates but the above statement is "intellectual groping" for a solution or answers to black plight. Not groping as in looking for something in the dark or under a bed - it's groping as in someone feeling your butt and saying they didn't do it. Go figure.

My parents were working class- West Indian types. We didn't feel trapped in the St. Mary's Projects. My father worked and saved. We even saved S&H Green stamps. My mother voted for every Democratic candidate who ran for office in New York. We had Christmas gifts under the tree. OK- so the elevator didn't work now and then- and someone always pissed in it. But what if they had went out behind their own garden fence and pissed into the wind? Would they have survived the South Bronx? Home ownership means very little if the people inside the home don't love each other and have values that will pull pants up and put a little soap in one's month now and then. Home is what and where you make it. In small apartments across this country there are black people renting and wishing only that the Lord will continue to bless them in small ways. They are not the Younger family - or raisins in the sun. They are decent working class people who desire good schools, safe streets and simple respect. I'll take that over 40 acres and a mule and still prosper.

The old rope-a-dope? Remember Ali against the ropes being hit over and over - and then right before a round he makes that quick slip and the guy is throwing more jabs and blows than you can count. This seems how the Bush Administration is moving into its last year. The Annapolis Middle East Conference is an attempt to win a round for history. But why so late in the fight? Why didn't we do this years ago? The same with Korea. Years of following policies that don't work and now trying to tie a bow around a box (or country) and celebrating the holidays and good times. How much destroyed by mistakes made by key members of the Bush Administration who are no longer in office; guys who have slipped back into private life to be on corporate boards, write memoirs, or teach at some college and wait for another round they can jump into. So many of us pushed against the ropes, nations "boxed "into ruins and - instead of us trying to bring peace into the world we've decided to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.
Oh, America, let us begin again. Meanwhile, someone play Misty for me.
Quote of the Day:

And in North Philly, during an epidemic of gang wars and gang related deaths, we used colored light bulbs to light our inner city basements creating an atmosphere where everyone could come together and dance. Then, we'd depend on The Miracles to do the rest.

- Alexs Pate

You see another "stranger"

in the neighborhood and you
want to blow your bugle.

You're surrounded and every
condo swears it's your last stand.

Custer! someone yells -
are we homeless or dead?

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Air travel:

Bags failing to make connections account for 60 percent of mishandled bags.
American Eagle has the worst bag-handling record of 20 airlines tracked by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics

One in every 138 checked bags was lost during the first nine months of 2007.
Ethelbert in Salt Lake City, Utah:

BRANCHING OUT: E. ETHELBERT MILLER ON LANGSTON HUGHES Poet and Fulbright scholar Miller explores the work of the groundbreaking African-American poet. Main Library Auditorium, 210 E. 400 South, 524-8200, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Notes from John Feffer (be sure to read


If you're going to throw rocks at the government, you'd better dress up for the occasion. That's the take-away point from the media coverage of the protests in Pakistan. Splashed across the front page of newspapers last week was a picture of a Pakistani lawyer in a suit launching a projectile at the police. The photo editors couldn't resist showcasing such a delicious juxtaposition of law and disorder.

The coverage in The Washington Post was particularly revealing, though not in the ways intended. In his attempt to deconstruct the image of the lawyer-protestor, for instance, Philip Kennicott succeeded only in displaying his own class prejudices. "Men in suits don't throw things," he writes. "If they confront police, they do it politely, in letters, in words spoken softly, reasonably, between reasonable men."

Excuse me? Men in suits throw things all the time. The suits in the U.S. government, for instance, throw bombs at other countries. But alas, we have no pictures of these government officials breaking laws by signing orders to wage war, promote regime change, or stoke revolution. The truth is, men in suits are just as unreasonable, impolite, and confrontational as your average anti-war protestor—or more so. They simply don't do it in the streets.

The anti-war and anti-globalization movements should take note. Forget pink. Forget Bread and Puppet. Forget peace signs, catchy slogans, Zapatista ski masks, and sensible protest wear. If we want to get media coverage and strike fear in the heart of Washington, we should come out for the next demonstration, all 500,000 of us, in our best interview suits.
Keeping Up With Pakistan:
Quote of the Day:

Well, yeah. I'm still trying to figure out why I got into a struggle with this woman about the name "Cave Canem." Why did you call it that? Did you want to let people know you visited Rome? How does that speak to the people you say you represent or you want to teach. Why don't they just call it "beware of the dog?"

- Amiri Baraka
Ginger G gave me copies of Black Renaissance Noire yesterday. It's the slick magazine coming out of NYU - Quincy Troupe is the editor. Troupe is often associated with good publications: Confrontations, American Rag, Code...
The new fall issue (Vol. 7, No.3) has interviews with Baraka (I'm reading now) and Ngugi.
Work by Alexs Pate, Ishmael Reed, Richard Perry, A. Van Jordan, Angela Jackson, et al.
The Childhood Asthma Epidemic: Confronting Global Warming and Air
Pollution in DC

November 29, 2007, 7:00-9:00 pm

Howard University, Washington DC

Sponsored by:
Engineers without Borders, HU Chapter
DC Metro Science for the People
DC Statehood Green Party

Introduction Dr. Jane Zara, DC Metro Science for the People

7:00 Video on Pollution and Global Warming
7:05 Environmental Justice and Climate Change, Kari Fulton, Campaign
Coordinator of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative
7:25 Health Effects of Air Pollution-Asthma in DC
7:40 A DC Congestion Charge, Dr. David Schwartzman, HU, DCSGP
8:00 Safe Bicycling Alternatives, Eve DeCoursey, DC Bicyclists Association)
8:15 Questions and Discussion

Location: ROOM 105, LOCKE HALL
Howard University, Washington DC

Metro: Shaw/Howard University Station - Green Line


According to Dr. Ned Holstein, executive director of Fathers and Families (in Massachusetts) the following are the five biggest stressors a human being can face:

- The death of a child.
- The loss of a spouse.
- The loss of a home.
- Serious financial reversal.
- Losing a relationship with a child.
War News:
Nothing but happy pictures coming out of Iraq these days. Look for folks to use the holidays to support the troops. Thanksgiving and Christmas is always a good background for politicians. Either the President or Vice President will slip into Iraq to be with the troops for a few hours - to eat and talk turkey. Which candidate is trying on a flak jacket right now?
Soldier images will be all around the football games tomorrow. Look for someone like McCain to try and get the most out of the war. He supported the surge and will be looking for his own surge in the polls. Will this guy be handing out a little turkey in the Middle East? Let's wait and see.

But what about the political problems in Iraq? Notice how no one seems to mention the names of the Iraqi leaders anymore. What about the political solutions to the area?
Where did Iran disappear to?
The "New" New Orleans?
Last Saturday, elections were held in NO and Jacquelyn Clarkson won a seat on the City Council.
For the first time in over two decades there is now a white majority on the council. The total number of votes casted in the election -52, 614 was down from 113,000 when the city voted for mayor back in March. That's when the city re-elected C. Ray Nagin as mayor. Why? Why? Why? According to the NY Times yesterday virtually none of the post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction projects planned by the city have gotten off the ground.

I'm listening to Alicia Keys - AS I AM {listen here}. My daughter gave me a copy yesterday. It will take a couple of plays to see what really moves me. No song jumps out so far.

Last night I saw American Gangster. A good movie- Washington seems to enjoy being a bad guy these days. This movie borrows heavily from other Mafia flicks. I did chuckle when Frank Lucas (D. Washington) comes out of church near the end of the movie, to find nothing but police officers; it was a reversal of Washington playing Malcolm X and coming out of the police station to see a long line of Black Muslims. Too bad Lucas couldn't raise his hand and make the police disappear. I guess Malcolm had more power.
Important Sports Correction:

My son's game on Friday will be at 6 PM (and not 8 PM) on the Gallaudet campus. Come and see the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament. Widener U is 2-0.
So where do we go from here?
It's after Bert Day and the beginning of the New World.
Day 1.

Congrats to D-Man who is now Cool Papa Betts with a young son.

Many thanks to Ginger G for always being the special friend. Yesterday was a wonderful day. Thanks to Allen, Jasmine-Simone, Denise, Nyere-Gibran, Bev, Julia, Lorrie, Yael, Carolyn, Andy Man and all those Busboys. Thanks to Roy McKay and Wendy Rieger from TV land -who got things going on Monday. Thanks to all the students of Kamel Igoudjil at the School Without Walls (who were reading my memoir and being graded). Thanks to Jamila Coleman for the ride home. Thanks to Wissal for the shout out from the Middle East -our friendship started in Yemen and it continues to grow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today is BERT DAY!

Lana Turner has collapsed!

- Frank O'Hara

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quote of the Day:

I'm a firm believer that when you're dead, naming a street after you doesn't help your matabolism.

- Woody Allen
Ayo is releasing her album (JOYFUL) tomorrow on Bert Day:

6th day of no train service in France. More strikes coming.
More numbers. 2300 people dead from the Bangladesh Cyclone. How many of these people are poor? Who will count their numbers? Who will say 2300 prayers?
The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society believes the death toll could reach 10,000. When do we stop counting? How much aid money should come from the US? Back to those numbers again.
Numbers. Maybe it's good that I was never good at math. It started in PS 39 in the Bronx. I sat next to Phyllis and between the two of us we were able to match zeros on our tests. I eventually learned to count on my fingers and left poor Phyllis behind. Many years later I saw her waiting for the subway at a Bronx Station. I didn't have the courage to ask how she was doing. She was on her way to work and I wondered who had hired her; what life skills did we both lack? I was in college and not heading to medical school. Numbers might have been the reason I had a fascination with Robert McNamara. Boy could that guy count until the dead started coming back in large numbers from Vietnam. Which brings me to today's news. The "number" of attacks are down in Iraq. What does this really mean? According to US military statistics last week there were 575 attacks, down from 700 attacks. I must be missing something here. 575 attacks is not how one defines peace or is it? Just change the numbers, subtract 125 attacks while asking yourself how many people were killed or wounded. How many more families destroyed?
I received a few days ago,a film by Brendan Mitchell - 435,000 Pounds Per Square Inch.
Mitchell explores what a black person becoming US President would mean for our society.
E. Ethelbert Miller is one of the people who was interviewed.
PBS: HOMEFRONT: World War II in Washington airs on December 2nd at 8PM on WETA TV 26.
Sports Update:

My son seems to be off to having a good basketball season.
In his first game he had 9 pts, 5 steals and 3 assists.
Second game - 3 pts and 4 assists.

This Friday begins the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament,on the Gallaudet campus.
Game time is 8 PM. We will look for your face in the place.

Saturday's game will be either 1 or 3 PM depending on what happens on Friday.
If Widener wins their first game then they will play the championship game at 3 PM on Saturday.
Upcoming court dates:

December 7th - Barry Bonds to be arraigned in US District Court, SF.

December 10th -Michael Vick to be sentenced.

January 11th -Marion Jones to be sentenced.


Treve de blues
- Leon Damas



Dear Ethelbert:
A racist incident occurred at my show and I don't know what to do about it. I hope you can tell me a way of dealing with it.
This fall I produced off-off Broadway my dramatic collage, Three Eco-Friendly Self-Propelled Clowns, in an attempt to make American audiences aware of the homophobia and racism that still exist in Romania, my place of birth. My intention was and still is to take the show back there to try to improve the situation.

Some of the text is based on actual words said by real Romanian people, and it was traumatic just translating their words. See, they talk about turning Gypsy people into soap, and I am partly Gypsy. Gypsy people are not hippies that have a romantic life style. They are Europe’s people of color and face situations similar to those that African American here faced before the sixties.

I didn’t know I was Gypsy until I was in my mid-twenties, when I was a student in American Studies and I came home to work on my genealogical tree for an exam. We were in the kitchen and my mom whispered our grandpa, the blacksmith, was a Gypsy, but we shouldn’t dream of saying anything to our father! Can you imagine a life like that? When I gave birth to my son, the first thing she asked was not if the baby was a boy or a girl, but if his skin was dark!

I came to America not to pursue a life of prosperity but to lead a free, authentic life, yes, to celebrate who I am and make sure my son is proud of his heritage and doesn’t face discrimination. I came here believing what JFK in his 1963 Address on Civil Rights said, that is “…every American ought to have the right to be treated as he would wish to be treated, as one would wish his children to be treated.”

Based on the facts I describe below, I fear it is not so.

1. Last week I had the director of the Romanian Cultural Center, a non-profit put together by anti-communist immigrants in the '70s, disrupted the show during an anti-racism/pro-Gypsy monologue. The gentleman heckled the actress and then when I asked him to keep his comments for after the show, he left in a huff, disparaging the show and saying to his companion, but loud enough for my crew to overhear it, “Who the fuck gives a shit about the Gypsies?!”

Earlier, when I told this same gentleman over the phone (he had called to make reservations as a result of my mailing out the show press release) that I am myself part Gypsy, he remarked that I for sure was a temperamental woman and he was eager to meet me. Then over coffee he asked me to read his palm. I didn't tell him to fuck off with his stereotypical, racist remarks because I was taken by surprise. It was the first time that I’d made it publicly known to Romanians that I am part Gypsy, and because I respected his anti-communist activities and we were looking for a sponsor to go with the show to Romania, I didn’t want to make waves. But it offended me.

2. In an attempt to reconnect with the local Romanian arts community I attended a Romanian production at la Mama Theater sponsored by the Romanian Cultural Institute, a state agency. The play, about a lesbian nun who was killed during an exorcism in a monastery in Romania in 2005, was based on a book of interviews, so we got a realistic depiction of Romanian day-by-day life and speech. That is, from beginning to end we heard homophobic, racist/anti-Gypsy, and anti-Semitic discourse going on in Romanian on stage and translated accurately in supra-titles.

The anti-Semitic remarks, however, were not translated. The play’s racism was not addressed either in the Q&A session or in the playbill. The homophobia was slightly touched upon, but all that we really heard was how fantastic the director was. The intention of the creator was not clear: Was he attempting to portray Romanian reality in order to make us have a catharsis, or he was unaware of its homophobia and racism? If he was going for catharsis, then why didn't he translate the anti-Semitic remarks too? Could it be that he is well aware that in America, in NYC, the Jewish community would have been highly offended and likely to react negatively to his enterprise, whereas he knows that as Edward Said remarked, “Gypsies are the only group about which anything could be said without challenge or demurral”?

It hurts me that such shows get applauded in NYC, today. I left a racist society, and here it is again in my face, in my hometown.
It is sickening what's going on in Europe. People, journalists, even the Foreign Minister say incredibly racist things and they go unchecked.

Examples, “Gypsy people are monkeys, scumbags, sub-humans, thieves, and born criminals.” “Too bad Hitler didn't exterminate them.” “We should relocate the Gypsies in the Sahara Desert.” This was the Romanian Foreign Minister during his visit to Egypt commenting on Roma immigrants being expelled from Italy.

Also, as I was reading the supra-tiles I realized it is so weird, all nation names are written in English with capital letter. But Gypsy is always lower case… Basic respect denied.

I would like to do something about it, but I don't know how and what. I hoped there was a mechanism that concerned citizens could use, but wherever I called in NYC, they told me we have freedom of speech here and everybody can say whatever they want, so the only thing I can do is raise awareness thru the media.

I got in touch with the Roma writer of the pro-tolerance/Gypsy monologue and he said this situation is explosive and he’d raise hell in Romania. Well, I am torn about raising hell. I don’t want my incidents to create more conflict, but to make all parties involved that racism is unacceptable. Also, I asked him if it was safe for my parents and sister who are unprotected back home. He said I shouldn't worry and nothing will happen to them. Well, I do worry. Gypsy villages do get burnt down in Romania!

I hope you advise me on what to do, or connect me with some organizations that might take interest in the issue.

On my part, I’m writing letters to all people I’ve mentioned above, asking them to explain and rectify their positions and to be aware of the impact their racism has. I'll also write an opinion piece that I will post on my website at and try to get it published both here and in Romania, but I am not well connected as a journalist anymore, so any ideas would help....

This experience was depressing. Made me curse, “Whoever’s idea it was for me to come out of the closet publicly as a Gypsy should go to hell. Were it up to me, I wouldn't want to be a Gypsy anymore.”

People are so busy with their Christmas shopping, they don't hear you. Gypsies, who? What? It seems that American people have forgotten their own past, both with its horrors and victories. I think it’s everybody’s issue. Again, as JFK said, “This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was rounded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
Can you help, please?

Happy holidays,

Ella Veres is a writer/performer/image maker living in NYC, hailing from Transylvania.
Rose Solari and I took our poems on the road. We read at the Minas (Gallery) located at 815 W. 36th Street. A neighborhood in Baltimore I had never visited. The ride to B-town was Big Fun with Rose and her husband (Jim) checking a Mapquest in the car. We passed The Ravens losing in their stadium.

Hosting the poetry reading at Minas was the remarkable Nicole Pekarske. Warm and lovely she is the author of INTERMISSA, VENUS which was published in 2004 by Cherry Grove Collections in Cincinnati. If someone was looking for a woman to play Helen of Troy, Nicole would get my vote.

After the reading we all walked down the street to a cafe where the wine was. On the way back to DC I kept checking the Patriots/Bills game. It seems the Pats were scoring every few miles.
Two touchdowns were scored during the time it took to travel from Silver Spring to my house.
If this team can stay healthy they will go undefeated.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

From my friend Joe Lapp in Pakistan:


Political events have been happening at record pace here in Pakistan,as you are probably aware if you've been paying any attention to international news lately. Despite the recent imposition of emergency rule, Jules and I are quite safe and not much affected in our desert town of Quetta. I just posted on my website some thoughts from the last few weeks of political upheaval.

You can find them on the frontpage of
Sunday, Sunday-
I'll be heading up to Bethesda for a board meeting at The Writer's Center. Afterwards, I'll be taking a trip to Baltimore with Rose Solari - we have a 4 PM reading at the Minas Gallery. The programs at the gallery are organized by Nicole Pekarske and Rosemary Klein. It will be nice to see Rosemary again. How many years has it been...

Many years ago I was made an honorary citizen of Baltimore.

Well, it's almost "Bert Day" (Tuesday) and it seems like a wonderful week coming up. Dinner with TV star -Wendy, Breakfast with Ginger G, Thanksgiving dinner, and my son's basketball tournament on Friday and Saturday. Then it will be off to Utah.

Finish strong is what everyone should try to do before 2007 ends. Look back at those New Year Resolutions. What did you accomplish? I can see where I failed to save the targeted amount of money I wanted to. Hm mm- what else is new? I need to complete my poetry manuscript.
I did make a number of new friends this year. The highlights of 2007 (for me) was watching my son's team win their conference championship and just the other day making dinner with my daughter, sharing dumplings and talking about world events. It's also been a good year in hearing back from folks who have enjoyed the E-Notes and E-MAG. Special thanks to Adrienne Black for keeping thing up and running. Special shout outs to Julia in Indiana for her friendship
and support. Without her scholarship I would be a footnote in life. Other special thanks to Ginger G for all the long phone conversations and laughter. Eternal friendships will always burn bright. Hey - did D-Man (Betts) become a father yet? Thanks and love to the Jahi family for making me a Godfather. Final thanks to Denise and our tough love -marriage is a meridian, it's often an imaginary circle we become trapped in or it defines our life at it's highest point. The Buddha is helping me to understand. Talkin' Buddha - thanks to Charles Johnson out in Seattle for his many gifts, wisdom and light. Love to Alexs and Soo Jin and the new Baby Pate in Minnesota. I love you guys more than the Twins. Oh, and thank you 2007 for putting me back in touch with Robert Skinner - boyhood buddy from the Bronx. Not even Arthur C. Clarke could have predicted our lives.

So let's get ready to party like it's 2008! Yesterday, I lost my favorite hat. I take that as an omen that I need to be thinking new thoughts and embracing the future. Take your hats off and -Fly right!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm just back from Chester (PA) and watching my son's baseketball team (Widener U) defeat Catholic University. They are now 2-0 and off to a better start than last year. The Widener team is much better; good ball movement and the players seem to trust each other. This team should continue to get better. I have no idea how my son is out there running around on an ankle that would have me in a hot tub right now. Amazing. Anyway, look for Widener to be playing in DC on November 23 and 24 in the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament. Come out and support the team.

Al Gore will return to the White House after Thanksgiving.
President Bush is honoring 5 Americans who won Nobel Prizes this year. Look for photographers to run around and take picture of the Gore /Bush handshake. Of course there will be a few Jay Leno jokes - like maybe Bush telling Gore he was just renting and plans to move out of the White House after the next election. Or maybe Gore might joke - "Hey George, please don't steal my Nobel." These guys could even take a tour of DC and walk around near the Supreme Court building. What's a white lie if told by folks wearing black robes? Their eyes were watching Florida.
There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to do it well.
- Walter P. Reuther, UAW President, 1946-1970

Visit website:

Friday, November 16, 2007

You Are A Galaxy To Me

a man dreams of a woman's
nakedness and her body
becomes his pillow. he sleeps
as if he was making love. he
makes loves to her with his
eyes closed and his heart
open.there is nothing but desire
in darkness. there is nothing.
there is nothing but the need
to be inside her.
there is nothing else to dream
about. a man falls off the world
from loving a woman too much.
there is too much space
between bodies. a man holds
his penis like a star.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Today was my IPS board meeting. We just added two new board members: Harriet Barlow and Jodie Evans. Our organization continues to grow and develop. For four decades, moving ideas into action for Peace, Justice and the Environment. After the board meeting we watched the new film MY SUICIDE. IPS board member Larry Janss is the excutive director. The cast includes Mariel Hemingway, David Carradine and Gabriel Sunday in the leading role. The film explores teen suicide. It's a subject that we need to talk more about. This film is raw and hard hitting yet at the same time funny and tender while carrying the weight of its darkness. Difficult for me not to think about my friends who have committed suicide. Try not to miss this film when it starts showing around the country.

Before leaving the IPS meeting, board member Chuck Collins gave me a copy of his new book -THE MORAL MEASURE OF THE ECONOMY which he wrote with co-author Mary Wright.'
This is an Orbis book. I remember when all I did was read stuff being produced by this company. Collins is a senior fellow at IPS. He is co-founder of the Boston-based United for a Fair Economy and Responsible Wealth and the author of ECONOMIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA, WEALTH AND OUR COMMONWEALTH (with Bill Gates, Sr.) and THE WEALTH INEQUALITY READER. Collins new book is an examination of economic justice. It's a primer of Catholic social teaching applied to economic life.

Today is my son's first basketball game. He is fighting an injury, so I have no idea how his first game will go:

Men's Basketball Picked to Repeat as Commonwealth Conference Champions

11/15/07 -- Widener’s men’s basketball team was picked to win a second straight Commonwealth Conference championship based on a vote by the league’s coaches.

Widener received high praise despite the graduation of its top three scorers. Among the top returnees is junior guard NYERE MILLER (Washington, DC), who closed 25th in the conference with 9.5 points per game, second with 2.29 steals, 10th with a .396 three-point percentage and tied for second with 59 three-pointers.

Sophomore guard Bobby Edmunds (Linwood, NJ) ended sixth on the squad with 5.3 points per game and fourth with 27 three-pointers. He also closed fourth in the conference with 1.86 steals per contest.

Widener (15-13, 7-7 CC) last season won its first conference title since 2001 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

The Pride defeated Messiah and Juniata in the conference tournament and topped King’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling at eventual national champion Amherst.

The Pride look to overcome the loss of forward Malcolm Thomas and Essien Ford. Thomas was named first team all-league after closing third in the league with 16.3 points per game and eighth with 6.3 rebounds per contest. A second-team pick, Ford ended fourth with 16.0 points per contest, fourth with 58 three-pointers and hit the game-winning jumper as time expired in the conference final at Juniata.

Widener was picked first despite receiving just one first-place vote. Albright with three first-place votes and Lebanon Valley with one were tied for second.

Widener opens its season Friday, when its hosts the Oki Data Americas Tip-Off. The Pride host Williamson Trade at 6:00 pm and Catholic battles Delaware Valley at 8:00 pm. The consolation game Saturday is at 1:00 pm and the final is at 3:00 pm.
News from Sally Ashton:

The DMQ Review is pleased to announce the release of the Autumn 2007 issue featuring the poetry of R.S. Armstrong, Michael Baker, Chris Crittenden, Andrew Demcak, Brent Goodman, Melissa Holm, Kim Mahler, Rodney Nelson, Larry Rapant, Amy Bracken Sparks, Susan Varnot, Donna Vorreyer, Christine Walsh, and Cyril Wong with artwork by Bob Dornberg.

In collaboration with Peter Davis, editor of a Poet’s Bookshelf: Contemporary Poets On Books That Shaped Their Art, the DMQ Review is also pleased to celebrate the pre-release of a next volume, Poet’s Bookshelf II, forthcoming from Barnwood Press, 2008 (, with the essays of three poets. Please enjoy Noah Eli Gordon, Marge Piercy, and Reginald Shepherd as our Autumn 2007 Featured Poets.

Like the original Poet’s Bookshelf, volume two comprises an exciting collection of responses from some of America’s leading contemporary poets discussing the 5-10 books most essential to their development. Each thoughtful response provides both young and veteran poet insights into the creative process and underlines the importance of reading in the life of any successful writer.

Check it out,

Sally Ashton, Editor in Chief
Associate Editors: Mary Donnelly, Kelsea Habecker, Marjorie Manwaring,
Assistant Editor: Jennifer K. Sweeney
Features Editor: Peter Davis


Barry Bonds indicted. A sad day for baseball. The sports writers will go crazy. Will he be voted into the Hall of Fame or the Hall of Shame? The only person happy about this news might be OJ Simpson. Now the media has another person to kick around. Say it ain't so Barry. Say it ain't so.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Long(er) and Winding Road to the White House
Covering the Race for the 2008 Presidential Election

New Moderator:
John King, CNN Chief National Political Correspondent

Chris Cillizza,
Ron Fournier, The Associated Press
Derek McGinty, WUSA-TV (Just Added)
Norah O’Donnell, NBC News
Susan Page, USA Today
Jake Tapper, ABC News (Just Added)

Seats Still Available! Email NORMANC@RTNDA.ORG

Monday, December 3, 2007
Reception & Program 6:30 - 9:00 PM
National Press Club
529 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045

Sponsored By:
AP – The Associated Press
National Press Club
Quote of the Day:

What happens is you become the hat on your own head.

- Norman Mailer

IPS Annual Board Meeting today and tomorrow. This evening I'll be interviewing two IPS Board members: Elsbeth Bothe and Frances (Sissy) T. Farenthold.

For more about IPS go to:
Crossing Meridian in Search of the Color Purple?

Maps of the Alice Walker Driving Tour are available at the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, 105 S. Washington Street in Eatonton, Georgia: 706-485-7701.
Passing the Gravel?

Because Mike Gravel, the former senator from Alaska, did not raise $1 million he will be excluded from the Democratic candidates for president debate in Las Vegas tonight. This is another example of how we place money before ideas. If you can raise money does this make you smart or simply clever? What if your money comes primarily from "bad" guys, will you be able do do "good" once in office?

Dear Colleagues:

I have been asked to speak at the Howard University English Department’s Graduate Colloquium on Wednesday, November 28th, at 4:00 PM, exact location to be announced soon, on an area of my current research. My presentation title is going to be "High Jinks and High Moral Compasses: An Introduction to Today's 'Black' British Fiction."

And here is a brief abstract:

The novels written by the youngest generation of “black” British writers are full of tricksters, hipsters, and jesters; even so, the writers—fully aware of the new sociopolitical challenges of being “black” in Britain—are careful to endow their creations with ethical gravitas so that readers are teased into thoughtful consideration of social and cultural realities and the safest ways to alter them, when necessary.

Please, do let me know if you will be able to save the day and time. I would love to see you in “my audience.” Indeed, it would inspire me if I could be sure in advance that you would be in the room. If you know of others who might like to attend, please let them know about the event and, please, pass along their names to me.

Warmest regards,

R. Victoria Arana, Ph.D., FRSA
Professor of English
Alain Locke Hall #250
Howard University
2600 6th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059-0002
Tel. (202) 806-6114 direct
Tel. (202) 806-6730 messages

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Darrell Bourque replaces Brenda Marie Osbey as poet laureate of Louisiana.

Read about Darrell Bourque's work here:
Quote of the Day:

Never look a monkey in the eye, never raise your eyebrows at one: it's interpreted as a challenge.
- Sonya Ghosh
NY TIMES, November 14, 2007
More about the CUT LOOSE THE BODY program at AU:

Read Joe Ross's full post here:

Major Earthquake Hit Northern Chile. A magnitude 7.8
I had a morning meeting at Unity Health Care, Inc. Jeffrey A. Suiter invited me over to meet members of the staff. I met with a wonderful group of people:

Michelle Madison - VP of the Unity Health Care Foundation
Audrey White - Director of Community and Corporate Relations
Namia Hashim - Volunteers Are Important People Program Director
Mjiba Frehiwot - Manager of Volunteer and Community Programs.

Jeff is responsible for coordinating volunteer programs. Michelle gave a good overview of the organization:
Unity is the fourth largest community health center network in the nation.

Just walking into 3020 14th Street and you know this organization is at the center of things.
It was started by Vince Keane who left the Catholic priesthood and decided to pursue a new calling - one of delivering health services to the poor.

The morning meeting was filled with an exchange of ideas, laughter and warmth. I was invited to join their board, something I will seriously consider doing. I have a nice packet of material to read and digest.

At the end of the meeting, Audrey White gave me a copy of her book. It's an inspirational.motivational guide - BE UP!
Quote of the Day:

In one of his most influential essays, the late economist Milton Friedman articulated contemporary capitalism's core tactical nostrum, what I call the shock doctrine. He observed that "only a crisis- actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.

- Naomi Klein (The Nation, November 26th, 2007)
I read Virginia Chase Sutton's WHAT BRINGS YOU TO DEL AMO last night. I see why this book won the 2007 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize. Sutton's examination of mental illness
is a must read.

Every morning I still wake at four,
take a little stroll down the hall. Someone's
sitting in the safe chair, coloring,
a couple of patients are sobbing.
A few manage to sleep somehow,

their stuffed toys lost in rumpled blankets,
their arms flung out,
curled on plastic mattresses
under the constant light.

(from the poem Therapy-Interfering Behavior)

What pulls me into this poem is the reference to the safe chair. In the next line someone is sobbing. Everything taking place under a constant light. There is a helplessness, a link to childhood and toys. The constant light however is more for surveillance rather than providing comfort for the patients. How many people are trapped inside themselves inside the same room? Other recommended poems in Sutton's collection are:

Ars Poetica
Life's A Banquet
Telling My Cousins About Sex
Never Construct Narrative
When the DJ changes the music the world dances:

Looking for Daniel Ortega? What's going on in Nicaragua? No news in the news. It's amazing how countries fall in and out of our daily conversations. Poor Burma has to take a back seat to Pakistan. Might the Philippines push Pakistan off the front page? When will Ecuador become a threat to US security? Is the surge really working in Iraq? Does this mean that Iran is no longer a problem? What about the political improvement in Baghdad and beyond? Does the Iraqi government work? Good surge news is good for the McCain camp. Is this war wagging some one's tail? I need a smart puppy to sniff a butt or two.
Follow the Quill: The most important literary journal in the United States is being edited by giovanni singleton. Nothing comes close. If you hear about another fire in California it might be this publication burning into new minds and readers.

from nocturnes (re)view A CALL FOR WORK:

Divination Deadline: January 15, 2008 (not a postmark deadline; no e-mail submissions)

editor: giovanni singleton
advisors: arnold j. kemp, douglas kearney, douglas “d. scot” miller, opal moore, harryette mullen, vanessa merina, and amarnath ravva

nocturnes (re)view, a journal committed to publishing quality innovative (experimental/avant-garde) critical and creative art from throughout the African Diaspora and other contested spaces, seeks work for its 5th anniversary issue, “Divination.”

Many divination systems are encoded in or reveal their wisdom through verse, charts, diagrams, or other art forms. Whether it is by throwing bones, dominoes, or dice, work for this issue should consider the formal or ritual aspect of Divination more so than simple fortune-telling.

Submissions connected to or inspired by the Ifa Oracle, Tibetan Mö, Tarot, Tea Leaves, Palmistry, Scrying, the Ling Qi Jing, Numerology, Runes, Dowsing, Bibliomancy, or other such systems will be of primary interest.

Work may also take a general approach to the “Divine” as a larger quest for understanding.

nocturnes (re)view warmly welcomes hybrid-genre work as well as poetry (a minimum of 5-7 poems/pages), essays and non-fiction (up to 3,000 words), prose and fiction (up to 3,000 words), visual art (b/w), reviews (up to 500 words), drama, comics, performance texts, interviews, etc.

Submission guidelines: (Please read carefully.) Send previously unpublished work and cover letter on disk or CD in MS Word with one (1) typed/printed copy and a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage should you want your work returned. Visual work should be scanned (300 DPI or higher) and submitted on disk or CD in .tif or .jpg format. Translations should be accompanied by original language texts.

All submissions MUST include a cover letter (on disk/CD and hard-copy) with: 1) brief statement about the work2) a 3-5 sentence author bio3) author e-mail address & contact information .

Mail submissions to:nocturnes (re)viewPO Box 3653Oakland, CA 94609

Notes: nocturnes (re)view does not accept simultaneous submissions. Only international submissions are accepted by e-mail. Address all queries to: editor@

Trying to work...waiting for my son to call back. It looks like he might miss a couple of basketball games because of an ankle injury. :-(
The first game is this Friday.

Look for Dallas to score 40 or more points against Washington on Sunday. If that happens the football season is over for Gibbs and Company. The defense on this team was never that good.
There is no one on the Washington football team that's going to the Hall of Fame. That should tell you something about the quality of players in the locker room.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Another Busboys note:
I purchased a copy of BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: ESCAPE FROM TYRANNY: GROWING UP IN THE SHADOW OF SADDAM by Zainab Salbi. She will be our next IPS Salon guest. The date is December 9th. Let me know if you're interested in attending. I can be reached at:
I'll read a couple of chapters of Salbi's memoir before retiring for the evening.
Back to Busboys - while sitting there eating a burger this evening, Buddy Shyree loaned me her copy of Words.Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip -Hop Culture. What's going on? I better read this.

I'll get back on a reading and writing track after my IPS board meeting this week. I did finish the Sherman Alexie short story (while on the 70 bus) that's in Peabody's KISS THE SKY. "Because My Father Always Said He Was the Only Indian Who Saw Jimi Hendrix Play "The Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock" is just a wonderful father/son story with a beautiful ending. Give me Alexie on any day of the week.

That's the title of a new collection of poems by Virginia Chase Sutton. I received a copy of it in the mail today. Thanks Virginia. We met many years ago when I was visiting Arizona. Virginia is a college buddy of Reuben Jackson.
Here is a link to Sutton's place:
I can't help it if I'm greedy. So as I'm leaving Busboys this evening - I spot at the door copies of DC North (November issue). On the cover is Sandra Beasley - the poet/genius of DC. I grab 5 copies of the publication. So wonderful to see something written about this talented writer who also works for American Scholar Magazine. SB has published poems in Poet Lore. In DC North
Beasley is described as a poetry ambassador. That's a good title for her. Here is a link to her website:
From the Bay Area to Port Kavkaz, Russia -oil spills. 30,000 birds and countless fish have been killed in Russia. The Black Sea is now black from oil. An ecological catastrophe. How safe are Russian tankers?
I went over to Benjamin Banneker Academic High School around Noon. I was invited to participate in "Parent/Community Teach In Day." I spoke to a sophmore class of about 12 students.

A few points I touched on were:

- The changing nature of work.
- How one should spend their leisure time.
- The need to always be learning new skills.
- Being open to relocate to a new geographical area when seeking employment
- Civic responsibility. How to be a change agent. Service to others.
- Answering key philosophical questions - Who are you? Why are you here?

I was invited to Banneker by Bevadine Terrell the Assistant Principal.
Save the date:

November 15 - 18, 2007 New York University New York, New York

HERE & NOW:African and African American Art & Film Conference.

Here and Now: African and African American Art and Film Conference focuses on contemporary expressions in art and cinema from multiple perspectives within the realm of African and African American visual culture.

This four day conference looks at how African and African American artists interpreted, documented, chronicled, and created images over the last twenty years.

By re-examining visual history through the voices of artists, art historians, filmmakers, photographers, activists, editors, writers, collectors and gallerists, "Here and Now" encourages a diverse perspective of the imagery created in the 21st century.

The conference is free, but space is limited. To pre-register send an email to: or visit us at for additional information.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Tisch School of the Arts and the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University. Co-sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Friends of MOMA.



Another Survivor of the South Bronx. Oh, those old Fort Apache Days - where have they gone?
Mo Better Politics?

It's all about packaging. Might John McCain be seen as the second coming of Teddy Roosevelt?
Keep an eye on how folks will begin talking about how McCain is rising in the polls.
Nothing but love for Lally:
"I ain't talkin' about it, I'm livin' it."
- Jay-Z

But are diamonds for <> forever?
So I'm in the CVS this morning (the one near Georgia Avenue and Underwood) and I walk by the counter and there is Michael Jackson on the cover of Ebony looking good. When was the last time we saw this guy looking attractive? Ebony is making its mark with its covers as Harriette Cole (the creative director) continues to create. Look for folks to start wanting to be on the cover of Ebony like they want to be on Oprah. Cole is bringing back the pose and the glamour.
The true "leaders" however will continue to star in black and white.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My good literary friend Charles Johnson continues to stay busy:
Cut Loose the Body: Poetry as "Anti-Code"
Ethelbert is going to miss the Washington/Dallas football game on Sunday. I can't believe he is going to be giving a poetry reading in Baltimore at 4PM!! Checkout the link: Minás Gallery Events

- Elie Wiesel from his Nobel acceptance speech.

In black neighborhoods, skateboarding was regarded as something foreign that crept in from the suburbs. "Black people would look at me like I was the brother who fell from another planet,"
said Steven Snyder, 45, a former professional skateboarder and a manager at Uprise Skateboard Shop in Chicago. He compares the social stigma of skating within the black community to that of "making out with a white woman in the 1950s down South."

The New York Times, Sunday, November 11, 2007.

Hmmm. Did Emmett Till own a skateboard?


Treve de blues
- Leon Damas



Words for Julius E. Thompson (July 15, 1946-October 26, 2007)

There is much to say about the life and works of Julius Eric Thompson, but in this November moment it is best to let his own words illuminate the essential features of generosity. Generosity to his family, to his friends, to his Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity brothers, to his students and chance acquaintances, to those in need ---- generosity was his greatest virtue.

Immediately after the conference on Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston he sponsored on November 2-3, 2006, he wrote a brief note to me (on the conference report). “Dear Jerry, / Thanks, again for all / of your support, & for a great visit. /Fraternally, /Julius E. Thompson.”

He attached a poem, dated 4 November 2006, which he dedicated to Julia Wright, Colia L. Clark, and me,

“The Life and Work of Richard Wright (1908-1960) and Zora Neale Hurston (1891?-1960).”

Did they try to wake us up?
Did they suggest a road that we might travel on?
And when the darkness came,
With the lateness of the hour --
Did they not say:“Give peace a chance”?
“Give hope another day”?
Did they not live so that We could advance to a new tomorrow?

In asking these questions to which the answers must be “Yes, Julius, they did wake us up, map out directions, caution us not to practice mindless violence, urge us to hope, and lived lives that are models of who we might move onward and upward into a new tomorrow.”

But our answers to the poem must acknowledge that the questions affirm the exemplary life of a poet, administrator, editor, historian, and cultural critic named Julius Thompson.

The greatest gift a poet can give to his friends is a poem, crafted words of wisdom, words of insight, words to live by. Such was his generosity. He had an afterthought and added a postscript:

Did they not take us down
And bring us back up again?

“Yes, Julius. And so did you. You took us down, with impeccable research and scholarly integrity, by way of the histories you wrote, into the function of black newspapers, the lives of Hiram Revels, Percy Greene, and Dudley Randall, the black press and the Black Arts Movement, the indelible memory of lynching; you brought us up again with the poems in Hopes Tied Up in Promises, Blues Said: Walk On, Mississippi Witness, the Anthology of Black Mississippi Poets, and the several hundred unpublished poems you sent me over a period of thirty-four years.”

What we must forever remember is that Julius Thompson was a man who used his brilliance and sharp wit to make plain to us the nature of everyday struggles. He was and is a model of how boundless generosity and humility produce goodness, beauty, and truth in a tormented world.

Bio Note:

Jerry W. Ward, Jr.Professor of English and African World Studies,Dillard University in New Orleans.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

So much love at The Writer's Center today. Robin Becker and Michael Lally reading their poems and celebrating the 118th birthday of Poet Lore magazine. Poets everywhere in the audience like the good old days. Doug Lang, Terrence Winch, Myra Sklarew, Jane Shore, Barbara Goldberg, Pat Garfunkel, Merrell Leffler and this might have just been in the front row. I arrived at the Center about an hour before the program. There was a handsome Jason DeYoung managing a new beard; Richard Peabody slipping in the backdoor. He gave me a copy of KISS THE SKY - an anthology of fiction and poetry inspired by Jimi Hendrix. This is the type of book you run away with in your back pocket. You take this book on the road. Everyone in Seattle should be reading it. Richard claims Hendrix was busted for jaywalking in DC. If that's true then folks should get a ticket for not reading this book.

Becker and Lally were great. All-Stars behind a podium. It was good to see both of them again.
Becker from my old AWP Board days - and Lally from the 1970s - when I was writing love poems that had no erections.

I've always loved those long solos Lally wrote. In my introduction I said the following about him:

What I remember about hearing Lally read for the first time, was how his work was also cool and the poems embraced you with long narratives - and Lally told you everything about his life; and the sound of it filled your ears like jazz. He wrote about New Jersey and crossing the color line to date. His hero was Jackie Robinson and when he returned to Washington after many years away - the first thing I noticed was that his hair had turned gray - just like Jackie's. When he read it was like he had returned to DC just to steal home - like Jackie; and there I was jumping up and down like Yogi Berra (in the World Series) swearing not that he was out but that his work was just as exciting as when he first broke in.
Poetry -Try it:

Monday, November 12, 8:00 pm

Kim Roberts and Teri Ellen Cross present a reading from the "Evolving City" issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, featuring Jose Padua, Katherine Young, Katy Richey, and Jessica Haney
Followed by open mic--please bring poems on the urban experience!

Busboys and Poets,
4251 S. Campbell Ave.,
Shirlington neighborhood, Arlington, VA.

(703) 379-9756.

Free Admission.
Watch McCain begin to ride the surge. The media will call him the "Comeback Kid." Looks like Rudy might be on the ticket as VP.
The political landscape will change after the first 2 months of 2008. Who will survive?
Are things getting better in Iraq and worse in Afghanistan?
Raise your hand if you know the answer.
Keep an eye on the Student Movement in Venezuela. A crack in the Chavez? Hugo calls the students "daddy's boys." How can you build a country without the support of students? Is this the beginning of a "soft" coup?

Yesterday there was an excellent article in The New York Times about batteries. Do you really trust the Bunny?
So many types of batteries in the stores. The best kind are the alkaline ones. Avoid buying carbon zinc batteries, and those with heavy duty labels.

Do not put rechargeable batteries in flashlights because they drain quickly even when not being used.

Don't believe that stuff about placing batteries in refigerators - it will not prolong shelf life and the condensation when you take the batteries out can damage them.

Duracell Pre-Charged Rechargeable is intended for use in digital cameras, MP3 players and portable games. $12.99 for four.
Many thanks for Amy P for driving me home last night from AU. Good conversation and laughter. My cat Rebbe waiting for me (as usual). I'm tired but pushing ahead. Didn't someone invent the 4 day work week? Today I have to go to the Writer's Center (Bethesda) for the birthday bash for Poet Lore. Reading will be Robin Becker and Michael Lally. Jody Bolz will introduce Becker and I'll say something about Lally. Party time is 2PM.

I'll head back home in time to watch the Colts play the Chargers. Watching sports is my key form of relaxation these days. This looks like another go/go week. Department Chair Search Committee meeting, IPS Annual Board Meeting, my son's season opening basketball game.

Countdown to "Bert Day" and becoming 57 on November 20th.

So many things going on as the world waits for the return of Ginger G.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I met my good friend Naomi at Starbucks on 18th Street (Columbia Rd,NW) this morning. We walked down to DuPont Circle for breakfast. A nice way to begin a Saturday...

Around 11AM I went down to the Verizon Center with Baruti Jahi to watch Georgetown University play against William & Mary. Surprisingly it was a pretty close game until the last few minutes. I went to see how a couple of the new guys on Georgetown looked. 2 of the incoming freshman played against my son in high school. Hard to tell after 1 game where this team will go - FINAL 4?

This evening I participated in a reading at the Katzen AU Museum coordinated by Rose Berger and Joe Ross. They are the editors of the anthology CUT LOOSE THE BODY: An Anthology of Poems on Torture and Fernando Botero's Abu Ghraib Paintings. What a crowd for the reading!
Awesome. I had a nice opportunity prior to the reading to talk with Mary Sklarew and Barbara Goldberg.

Cut loose the body. Tenderize
the flesh with baton and boot
licks until its own wine pools
about the fruit and blends
into the cloth's own red

- Kyle G. Dargan


Noted American author Norman Mailer has died at age 84.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Oh, those Lannans! Congrats to Dinaw Mengestu, Claudia Rankine, Matthew Zapruder and Tyehimba Jess.

I had a wonderful time today at McKinley Technology High School. I participated in the PEN/Faulkner in Schools Program. Students had been reading my memoir Fathering Words.
I discussed the writing of the memoir, answered questions and listened to poems they had written -inspired by statements they found in my book. I did a book signing afterwards.

When I arrived home around 4 PM I learned that my son's college was in lock down. There had been threats of violence against students on the campus. This is the type of thing a parent fears. Suddenly you're hoping your son or daughter will answer their cell phones when you call.

There are no safe havens in the world. Every life sooner or later makes an appearance on the 6 o'clock news.
An All African American cast of Tennessee Williams's CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF will hit the theater next February. Why? Why are folks still doing these tye dye productions? Can't we do something more original? Is Debbie Allen directing this?
This Weekend:

Come raise a glass to Poet Lore, America's oldest poetry journal, on its 118th birthday!

Join us on Sunday, November 11, 2007,
2:00 pm at the Writer's Center in Bethesda
for a poetry reading by:

Robin Becker & Michael Lally

(Reception & book signing to follow.)
The Writer's Center * 4508 Walsh St. * Bethesda, MD 20815 * (301) 654-8664
It looks like our next IPS Salon will be on December 9th with Zainab Salbi. She is the author of the memoir - BETWEEN TWO WORLDS and the founder of Women for Women International(

Let me know if you might be interested in attending. I can be contacted at:
Link to IPS:
Martha Stewart in Pakistan?
Putting Benazir Bhutto under house arrest looks like a bad move. But what's a Musharraf to do? The removal of Musharraf could create another Iraq. Without a strong military leader how will one deal with the Islamic extremists? On the other hand how can one govern without the support of the people. If this was a movie then a small CIA plot would be hatched with a James Bond hero and Musharraf would be replaced by a young military general in a quick coup. Elections would be promised to take place in 90 days but then unrest would occur and the new military leader (for the good of the country) would have to suspend elections and place democracy in a drawer. This would start the cycle all over again. Looks like we could be stuck in "rinse" again.