Friday, October 31, 2008


We do not consider him African American. We consider him an African.

- Atoki Ileka, Congo's U.N. Ambassador


CBCF Channel on YouTube

But compare the bunny-in-the-headlights Sarah Palin of just a few weeks ago with the much more poised and confident Sarah Palin of today. Ignorance isn't the same thing as stupidity. When Palin talks about economic policy these days, here sentences don't meander into the Twilight Zone the way they once did. She has more to say about foreign policy besides the fact that Russia is just across the Bering Strait. She has learned much in a very short time.

- Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post, October 31, 2008

Politics And Prose Bookstore


Robin G. Wilder and Jackson R. Bryer

Editors of



Sunday, November 9, 2008

5 PM

5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C.


I keep a small red book in my bag. In this little redbook I list books I hope to read in the future. It's almost January 2009. Here are the books that made it to my 2008 list. I hope to borrow many of these titles from the public library. A couple of the books I'll buy and place in my own personal collection. Maybe you might find something interesting to read on the list.

The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie M. Silko and James Wright.

A friend recently gave me a copy of this book as a gift.

A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis.

The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank

Sweet Tea: An Oral History of Black Gay Men In The South by E. Patrick Johnson

Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and The Black Working Class by Robin Kelley

Borders of a Dream: Selected Poems of Antonio Machado

Ballistics by Billy Collins

The Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

The Ghost Soldiers by James Tate

I read half of this book while sitting in Borders (Silver Spring, MD).

The Future of Reputation by Daniel Solove

Baldwin's Harlem by Herb Boyd

The Beautiful Struggle by Ta Nehisi Coates

The Thief And The Dogs by Naguib Mahfouz

Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob by Lee Siegel

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Storms Can't Hurt The Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce by Gabriel Cohen

Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen

The Insanity Defense by Woody Allen

The Pleasures of The Damned by Charles Bukowski

Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought For Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel

by Bettina Aptheker

Spiritual Radical: Abraham Heschel in America, 1940 -1972 by Edward Kaplan

Soft Power by Joseph Nye


Last night I was outside with Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Nat Turner, and a few folks from one of Toni Morrison's novels. I think one guy was called Milkman or Malcolm - I can't remember. Anyway, we were hanging on the corner waiting for The Great Pumpkin. Charlie Brown told us the Great Pumpkin was going to arrive around midnight.I had a new conk and was wearing a new suit. Garvey said I looked like a Black Star. Nat Turner said I was dressed to kill. Malcolm was speechless but a little critical. He said I looked too old school. I ignored him - not wanting to hear X more out of his mouth. When the Great Pumpkin arrives he is going to give us our real names. I love the name Ethelbert. I think it's so there.


Thursday, October 30, 2008


So it looks like the last card the McCain camp might play is the Khalidi one. Race, Israel, terrorism - put the old cards back on the table.. Get people talking about Israel and try to sway a few votes in Florida away from Obama. Right now I think many Jews that are retired are concerned with the economy. Why won't McCain focus on the issues? How is he going to help the nation and its people? Will an Ayers or Khalidi Halloween mask scare people into change? Boo.

Nyere needs 325 points this basketball season in order to reach his college career goal of 1000.
We start counting in a few days.

Politics: The End of the Dewey Decimal System.

A few days before the election and suddenly everyone in the media is talking about the African American vote and early voting. If McCain loses this election it might be because he made no attempt to "court" the black vote. His trip to Memphis and one NAACP Conference was like leaving a fifty cent tip under the tablecloth of an upscale restaurant. Why bother? If Obama wins this election it will be because of the African American vote, and the new generation of young people entering the political process for the first time.

Tricks and Treats?
Everyone is waiting for a last minute October surprise. Well, I guess it has to come Friday if it's going to dominate the weekend news. What could it be? Maybe nothing but the media looking once again to the past to predict the future. Difficult to do during a major transformation or what seems like a political tsunami taking place. The issue of race is dropping like the price of gas. Do we still need it or should we develop alternative energy and new ways of looking at each other?
McCain wants to be Truman without his Civil Rights courage. Didn't black people vote for Truman? I've read about Truman and McCain is no Truman. There are underdogs and there are strays. We seem to be fascinated by Truman holding up that newspaper proclaiming a Dewey victory. A nice image but today newspapers are going out of business. Is someone going to text McCain about the election results? Will he learn about what happened from his daughter's blog? Truman holding up that newspaper shows nothing today except how much the flow of information has changed. Pundits talk about old headlines, they fail to see that in 2008 the newspaper has also been defeated.


About 60 percent of day laborers in the District have not been paid for their work at some point, and about half have been paid less than the promised wage, according to a survey of 140 workers released yesterday.
Excerpt from an article in today's Washington Post. Based on a report by the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

Jermaine Jackson says THE JACKSON 5 are getting back together next year. A world tour with Michael and Janet is in the works...


Exodus in the Congo.

More refugees carrying their lives on their backs.

OK, please explain what this conflict is about.

Men with guns?

More sufferers in the world. No food. No peace.


Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy wants to outlaw graffiti making it a crime to write or draw on city walls and public buildings without permission. Penalties could include fines and even prison. Berlusconi wants to do this "because in some of our cities, it looks like we're in Africa rather than Europe.
Quote of the Day:

A lot is going wrong in this election, from malfunctioning electronic voting machines to voters being purged mistakenly from the rolls. But one thing is going very right: early voting. In the more than 30 states that allow early or no-excuse absentee voting, voters have been casting ballots in record numbers. Early voting has many advantages. The main one is that it makes it likely that more eligible voters will participate in democracy.

Editorial, The New York Times, October 30, 2008.


- E. Ethelbert Miller


I plan to go downtown to NPR this afternoon and record a commentary that will air on Sunday morning.I'll be talking about Walt Whitman. During these times of great change and American transformation one can find comfort (and direction) in LEAVES OF GRASS.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.


Dear Friends:

Vertigo Books is at risk.

We have short and long versions of why this is so, but both end with the same request: vote with your dollars now if you value our local economy and this store. Where you spend your money affects the world in which you live. For every $10 you spend at locally-owned businesses, $4.50 stays in our community. The math is simple and compelling:Vertigo Books $4.50Barnes & Noble/Borders $1.30Amazon $0.00.

The money you spend with us continues to circulate as we pay employees, buy supplies and pay taxes that are used to provide basic services to residents. Why are we struggling? It may be a perfect storm:

Market forces have not been kind to independent businesses and competition from Internet and chain booksellers is keen.

DC area residents use the Internet more than many areas.

An entire generation has grown up believing that Barnes & Noble, Borders and Amazon are the only places to buy books and this matters in a college town.

The area lacks a coherent Buy Local effort that makes consumers aware of the real cost of chains. Sales in 2008 are down substantially over last year. Vertigo Books simply cannot survive only on good wishes and fond thoughts.

If you believe, as we do, that bookstores are more than places of commerce, but places of community, conversation and ideas, we urge you to come in and shop. We'll recognize more than your credit card. Frequently we'll know your reading tastes (if not your name), ask how the new job is, whether your mom is doing well and lead you to the new book by your favorite writer. There is no log-in, no password required: just walk in the door. You vote with your dollars as you shop, so please reflect a moment before you purchase books for friends and family online.

Support retail diversity: shop consciously. You will do more to build a healthy local and state economy by shopping with locally-owned businesses--even in this gloomy time. Independents live in your community, support your causes, pay taxes, find your book like no search engine can (when you can only remember the color...and that turns out to be wrong :) and bring you outstanding value and events.

We enjoy serving the community we live in and have always told new employees our customers were the best around. But without your renewed support... Well, in the spirit of optimism, let's just close with our thanks for your commitment to keeping thoughtful book selling, with a little irreverence and independence, alive here on Route 1.

Todd Stewart, Bridget Warren &The Staff of Vertigo Books

PS-In thanks, we'll offer a galley (a book in prepublication form) to those who purchase $25 or more while supplies last. Quantities and selection limited. And join us for an event soon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008




On the train back north
Walter White loosens his tie. Another
lynching sits next to him looking out
the window. White thinks about the
report he has to write when he returns
to the NAACP office. Who will believe
the things he saw yesterday? The lynching
interrupts his thoughts. White rubs his
hands together like two logs waiting to
burn. The lynching starts a conversation
about the black man who raped his wife.
White listens to the rope in his words.
The train passes trees. The night is a
full moon of hate.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


"one 72-year old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world."

Anchorage Daily News
Quote of the Day:

This election is a milestone in the journey of our society to greater openness and flexibility, qualities that will serve us well as we confront the global challenges of the 21st century. In these extraordinary times, Barack Obama has made a better case for why he is the right choice for president.

- Charles McC. Mathias Jr. The Washington Post, October 28, 2008

I thought the OBAMA program with Deborah Willis and Kevin Merida was tonight. I even had my introduction ready to go. Well, the event is tomorrow night at 6:30 PM.
Sorry if I gave anyone the wrong information. Please don't smack me in the head on Wednesday night. If you see me - mumble and don't speak. Thanks.

Men's Basketball Ranked Seventh in Small College Hoops Preseason Poll and 23rd in Preseason Poll

Widener’s men’s basketball team was ranked seventh in the Small College Hoops Preseason Poll and 23rd in the Preseason Poll.

Widener (23-6) is coming off another standout season in which it won a second straight Commonwealth Conference title and appeared in the NCAA Tournament a third consecutive year. It was the team’s 14th Middle Atlantic/Commonwealth Conference championship and 16th trip to the NCAA Tournament.

The Pride also won an NCAA Tournament game in three straight years for the first time in school history and their three consecutive appearances are a first since going four years in a row from 1975-78.

All the starters return and that includes senior guard Charles Jones (Philadelphia, PA), who was tabbed first team all-conference and second team NABC All-Middle Atlantic District. He closed third in the league with 15.7 points per game and seventh with 2.72 assists per contest.

Junior guard Bobby Edmunds (Linwood, NJ), who was named second team all-conference helps the lineup with his solid shooting and all-around play. He finished 18th in the league with 9.2 points per game, third with 2.34 steals per game and first with a 1.35 assists/turnover ratio.

Senior guard and co-captain Nyere Miller (Washington, DC) gives the Pride many intangibles with his leadership, poise and demeanor. Named Most Outstanding Player of the conference tournament, he ended eighth in the conference with 12.3 points per game, first with 3.17 steals per contest and first with 2.34 three-pointers per game.

Senior center Matt Sosna (Stratford, NJ) stepped up last season in the post, ending 16th in the conference with 10.3 points per game, second at 6.7 rebounds per contest and sixth with a .550 shooting percentage. Junior forward Jamarr Johnson (Pittsgrove, NJ) gives Widener great presence in the paint, finishing 10th in the league with 4.9 rebounds per contest after seeing his minute dramatically rise.

Senior co-captain Tracy Jones (Indian Head, MD) is a factor coming off the bench, giving Widener plenty with his leadership, hard work and positive outlook.

Widener plays a demanding schedule that could potentially feature three NCAA Tournament teams. The squad could face King’s on November 16 at the latter’s tournament, will host Richard Stockton on November 25 and host Gettysburg on December 13.

2008-09 Small College Hoops Preseason Poll
1. Washington U. (MO)
2. Wisconsin-Whitewater 3. Capital 4. Ursinus 5. Randolph-Macon 6. Augustana 7. Widener 8. Wisconsin-Stevens Point 9. Wheaton (IL) 10. UMass. Dartmouth 11. Mary Hardin-Baylor 12. Buena Vista 13. Amherst 14. Gettysburg 15. Wooster 16. St. Thomas 17. Centre 18. Scranton 19. Lawrence 20. Puget Sound 21. Brandeis 22. Virginia Wesleyan 23. Salem St. 24. Cortland 25. Albion

2008-09 Preseason Poll
1 Washington U. (MO)
2 Augustana
3 Wheaton (IL)
4 Wisconsin-Whitewater
5 St. Thomas
6 Wisconsin-Stevens Point
7 Wisconsin-Platteville
8 Buena Vista
9 Brandeis
10 Mary Hardin-Baylor
11 Gettysburg
12 Ursinus
13 Centre
14 Randolph-Macon
15 Amherst
16 Rhode Island College
17 Elmhurst
18 Illinois Wesleyan
19 Lawrence
20 Hope
21 Wooster
22 Chicago
23 Widener
24 Virginia Wesleyan
25 Elms

I received a text message from my son this morning. He was outside at 5AM waiting for Obama.
He had a sweet seat in the second row.

Basketball season is about to start. Widener is ranked 7th in the country in the Small College Rankings. See link:
A 3rd straight conference title?

Video: Obama's Closing Argument:

Hey, where are the clean public restrooms in America?

Don't you have to go?


Hawaii Pacific College (one semester)

North Idaho Community College (two semesters)

University of Idaho (two semesters)

Matanuska-Susitna (one semester)

University of Idaho (graduated)

Republican VP Nominee(priceless)
I did a morning interview with the Telemadrid Channel (Spain). I discussed the Obama campaign and upcoming election. The interview was conducted at Busboys and Poets (14th Street).


One of the things that might be outdated are borders and boundaries. Restrictions? Why?
Capital and labor often pay no attention to them. Click on the Internet and there are no tolls.
Zoom. Still nations cling to national identity and everyone is a nationalist these days. Just look around the world. Somewhere 2 countries are fighting over a plot of land which really seems silly if you're up in outer space looking back at earth. What's the fuss? One thing that the Bush Administration is leaving behind is the policy of overlooking borders and boundaries when it comes to fighting terrorism. The Bush Doctrine. Get the bad guys first before they walk down the beach and kick your sand castles over. Listening to the rhetoric of Obama and McCain it seems they will continue this policy. US attacks in Syria simply mirrors the similar attacks in Pakistan as the US goes after terrorist hideouts. What's the risk? Civilian deaths and nations feeling as if they have been raped. Today's wars don't adhere to lines in the sand. So how do we protect US interests? If we are talking about fighting global warming we are talking the entire planet right? Please don't knock the sun in the head with an umbrella if it tries to shine on your block. It's not really your block - remember?
Hey - Mr. Tax Man!


Quote of the Day:

Everybody talks by cellphone and the relationship evolves because you become increasingly distant from whomever you lie to, and you become increasingly close to whomever you tell the truth to.

Dr. Frank Pittman


2009 is the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial. If Obama is elected president look for many people to put their spin on this. Will it mean "mucho" conferences and books about race? You betcha! (Geez- I'm beginning to sound like Palin. I need to watch that Palin Watch).

I recently told a journalist (writing an article about Obama) that what was needed within the African American community was renovation of our intellectual infrastructure. With the political, economic and cultural transformation of our society taking place, we need to not reboot but rethink. Are we going to cling to DuBois and ideas like double consciousness while GM, as well as major television networks and newspapers are going out of business? We are a race with old ideas - and no major thinkers. Does anyone have an ideology anymore? I remember conversations with C.L.R. James and simply being amazed at how he could look at the world and make sense out of it. He would be monitoring political developments as well as changes in popular culture. Last week I sat down with a radical activist who wanted to sell me a copy of her radical newspaper. I chuckled when I told her I couldn't read it because it had no sports page.

I know a number of black people sitting around pondering what type of leadership Obama is going to provide to the "black "community. Hey -we need to replace the drum with text messaging before asking any questions. Oh, and what about those of us so mentally oppressed that the success of Obama makes us cuss our ugliness. We hate him because of his success and the success of our own failures. If Obama wins the door will not close on our wretchedness; instead we must begin to realize that the new World House comes with new doors and the opening to endless possibilities. If one wishes to live - one must learn to breathe again. Obama's election might just be the first "breath" of a people getting a second wind. Bicentennial without the blues this time? Dear Abe - Did you ever wonder what Douglass was thinking when he sat across the room? Was it slavery or freedom? I bet he was humming a little Sam Cooke.

Highly Recommended:

Andrew Sullivan's essay " Why I Blog" in the November issue of The Atlantic.

To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm's length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth.

Sullivan's essay is a good one to share in a workshop. Much to discuss and think about.


A few of us sat near the edge of the plantation, trying to hear the rumors about the latest polls. Was Lincoln going to sign the Emancipation Proclamation? Was it going to be next week? Old folks kept saying prayers and even young folks started to think about freedom. Yesterday someone ran into Tubman back from a battleground state. She said the lines were long. Folks were waiting to run away.

Others were waiting to vote.

Dear Friends,

Please mark your calendars for Witness for Peace’s Annual Holiday Party and Silent Auction! See the invitation below, and forward to your friends in the DC area!

When: December 5, 2008 at 7 pm.
Where: This year we will celebrate together at the very special Peace Mural Exhibition – which will be on display for just two months in the heart of Georgetown at 3336 M St NW. You won’t want to miss this impressive, interactive expression of war and peacemaking. Click here to learn more about the Peace Mural, and Huong, the artist.
Click here to RSVP

Monday, October 27, 2008

The MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts
University of Baltimore
Fall 2008 Reading Series presents a conversation with Alison Granucci, Literary Agent

Tuesday, Oct 28, 5:30 p.m.
Student Center, 5th floor, Bogomolny Room

Reception to follow!

Alison Granucci joins us from New York as part of our yearly "Editors Series"
to talk about representing writers, producing events, and starting her own business
(or, making a living as an artist).

Ms. Granucci is Valzhyna Mort's agent, the Belarusian poet who gave a spectacular poetry
reading here two weeks ago. She also represents Lucille Clifton, Diane Ackerman,
Robery Bly, Cornelius Eady, Patricia Smith, Gerald Stern, and many others.
She is president of Blue Flower Arts, an organization "committed to fostering poetry, literature, and the arts in this country."

The series is sponsored by the Yale Gordon College of Liberal Arts Advisory Council.
This program is free and open to the public.

Call 410.837.6022 or email for information.

Carter G. Woodson Institute

University of Virginia
2009-2010 Woodson
Residential Fellowship Search

Those scholars whose work focuses on Africa and the African Diaspora are encouraged to apply. Visit website:

Application deadline is December 1, 2008

Important: Economic Blues.

Prepare for the worst-case scenario.
Have a personal emergency fund that will keep you going for 6 months.
Vocabulary building?

A new international financial architecture.

Look for this term to be used in the media more.


It looks like Republicans are already thinking about the future of their party. It's time to reexamine conservative ideas. What works? What failed? What if there had been no war in Iraq? Subtract the sex scandals- would Republicans be doing better? Whatever happened to moderate Republicans? There must be more folks like Colin Powell. Might we see a new generation of Republican leaders emerge after an Obama victory? If McCain is defeated will Palin get the blame? During the next 2-3 years conservative intellectuals will need to regroup.

Friends and Family.

We're in the final week of what can best be described as one of the most historic and important elections of a lifetime. The elections of 2000 and 2004 have produced much more information about voting suppression and voting rights.

I'm one of those people who has trust issues with electronic or touch-screen voting. Call me old school, and yes, I still write paper checks. But there's something about having physical evidence or a paper trail that gives me a sense of legitimacy. Here is a site where you can find out if your state has electronic voting or both electronic and paper voting options.

Early voting is discovering some of the voter machine “glitches.” Nevertheless, if you have any trouble voting (early or on Nov. 4) or suspect any kind of problem at your polling place that prevents you or any person from casting a ballot, call 1-866-OUR VOTE (1-866-687-8683). Add this as a speed dial on your cell phone.

- If you have not voted yet (early voting), verify your voter status and location of your poll. Visit to find your State Board of Elections.

- Assist relatives, seniors, and friends verify their status and their options re voting early or absentee. Download or get a copy of a sample ballot and review the ballot with them (review it for yourself).

Remember my Recommendation re the STRAIGHT PARTY VOTE. If you have a STRAIGHT PARTY VOTE ballot, take the extra time to mark each contest separate starting with the PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT box. A STRAIGHT PARTY VOTE does not apply to the Presidential election; only local/state elections. Other voter rights groups are recommending this as well.

- Inform your employer or staff when you plan to vote and allow yourself 3-4 hours in case of long lines. You have the legal right to take time off to vote. For managers and employers, I'd suggest including this as an agenda item in your next staff meeting re staff time, leave policy, and coverage on November 4.

- If you don't have a state issued i.d. (driver's or non-driver's license), get one! If you have a relative or friend who doesn't have one, and is registered to vote, be sure they get a state issued i.d. before November 4. It's a good thing to have overall.

- Share this information.

Citizen Michon


The Anchorage Daily News (the largest newspaper in Alaska) is endorsing Obama.
I guess from Alaska these days one can see Obama as well as Russia.

Well it's not basketball season yet but my son called a few days ago - excited about Obama speaking at Widener University tomorrow:

Senator Barack Obama to Visit Widener Oct. 28.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama will visit Widener University's Main Campus in Chester, PA, on Tuesday, October 28. Senator Obama is scheduled to speak on the field behind Old Main at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to all students, faculty, staff, and the public.

All classes schededuled for the Main Campus on Tuesday, Oct. 28 will be cancelled until 2 p.m., so students and faculty may attend if they so desire. In addition, offices may close for staff to attend the event if they so choose.

Preparations for Senator Obama's visit will begin on Monday. During this time, expect stricter security and limited access to parking. All students, faculty, and staff must carry their Widener I.D. with them at all times on Monday and Tuesday, October 27 and 28.Because access to the Main Campus in Chester and to some parking lots may be limited beginning Monday evening through Tuesday afternoon, students, faculty, and staff may need to change their parking and/or travel plans accordingly.

The university will continue to update members of the campus community about the event, parking, and logisitics as more information becomes available. Look for updates on Campus Cruiser. Widener is proud to present this educational opportunity for members of the university to participate more fully in the political life of our community. The views expressed by the candidate do not represent official Widener University support or endorsement of any one presidential candidate or political party.


It might as well be next season for the following NFL teams:

Kansas City
San Francisco

The big NFL surprise might be the New England Patriots making it to the Superbowl without Brady.

Best division to watch is the National Conference East Division.
Washington is looking good but could Philadelphia become the next Boston?
Phillies now and Eagles later? Everyone wants a cheese steak.
Mo' Better Politics?

A week away from our national election and talk is now turning to Democratic Rule. Suddenly we are being told that it's better to have checks and balances in our government. No one was talking about this when the Republican Party was in power and pushing their agenda. I remember after the Ronald Reagan victory how folks starting talking about the Reagan Revolution - and even today the signs at the National Airport support this. So I guess there was a revolution. If Obama was to win the election by a large margin - would we awake on November 5th to the Obama Revolution? I doubt it. Connect Obama's name with a word like revolution and folks will be talking about some sinister secret agenda that might even bring back the afro.

If Obama is elected next week it's going to be important that he morph into FDR. America is going to be looking for a New Deal, a Fair Deal, or just someone to deal. Correcting the economic conditions is going to require new rules and maybe even new institutions. An Obama Administration will have to navigate through a minefield of complex issues. From day one - look for Obama to be attacked by the Right Wing. Will we hear more talk about socialism as the government is required to do more? How long will "progressives" give Obama a honeymoon. Already folks are talking about cutting the military budget. I have no idea what world these folks are living in. No way the military budget is going to be cut - or should be. The next president must rebuild our military. We might need to look into war profiteering and see where money is being wasted. Everybody want's to be a contractor these days.

Obama can quickly lose a percentage of his support base if he appoints too many old Clinton people and Washington insiders to his cabinet. A few of the names already being circulated I wouldn't take to the prom - or even kiss again. Of course any new folks put in key positions without proper experience will be chewed and digested by Fox News or the Palin Hour.

How much can a new president accomplish in 4 years? After 2 years one has to think about being re-elected. Looking ahead to the next 4 years - what new nation or crisis will change our vocabulary? Who will organize the first major protest against Obama? What will be the issue?
Oh, and what about the souls of black folks? After such exuberance and joy from electing a black person to the White House, what do we do next? We did nothing after the Million Man March.
Do we expect more from just 1 black man?

Order now:

How We Sleep On The Nights We Don't Make Love by E. Ethelbert Miller.

$!3.95 (Curbstone Press)

A nice gift for your lover. Poems to read while in bed.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it must always be told.

- James Baldwin


Elaine Savory has a long essay on the poetry of Kamau Brathwaite in the latest issue of Transition (99) magazine.
The Dangling Conversation

And you read your emily dickinson,
And I my robert frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what weve lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

- Paul Simon


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The polls open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM.

There are 143 polling places in the District of Columbia.

Visit website:

Avoid the crowds. If you can, go to the polls during off hours: 10AM-11:30AM and 1:30PM-3:30PM.
Take a friend to vote. Why go alone.

M.NourbeSe Philip just sent me a copy of her new book - ZONG!

The publisher is Wesleyan University Press

Here is what the press release says:

In her powerful new book of poetry, Zong!, M. NourbeSe Philip journeys into language to explore the use of the fragment. Relying entirely on the words of the legal decision Gregson v. Gilbert,Philips creates an anti-narrative that attempts to tell a story by not telling. The Gregson v. Gilbert decision is the only existing public document related to the 1781 massacre of some 150 Africans who were held on the ship Zong. When they began to fall sick from the extended voyage, the captain of the Zong drowned them so that the ship's owner could collect insurance monies for "lost property."

M.NourbeSe Philip is a poet, writer and lawyer whose previous collections of poetry include She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1989). Born in Tobago, she now resides in Toronto, Ontario.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

PUTTING THE TEDDY TO BED. Getting one's Roosevelt right.

After all the talk about Mavericks and Teddy Roosevelt what's next? Well, if Obama wins the election in November look for the media to cast him as FDR.

Web chats instead of the old Fireside ones? Obama (as FDR) will have to save our economy by building new structures and programs. So maybe we should all do some quick reading about how Franklin D. Roosevelt dealt with the Great Depression. Hey - might this mean WPA projects for writers and artists? Poems are bridges - let's build and get America back on its feet. Let's put the Teddy(McCain) to rest. Can you see Michele Obama as Eleanor? Who will play Bethune?
I'm feeling a little Langston right now. So many Scottsboro boys these days...


If Obama wins the election the "new" Rice could have a key position in the next Administration. Rice was assistant secretary of state for African affairs under Clinton.


Prayer Warriors?
Spiritual Warfare?

I found the article (Palin's Faith Is Linked to Form of Pentecostalism Known as Spiritual Warfare) in today's New York Times about Palin's church in Alaska to be very disturbing. Folks talking about witchcraft sounds like the sequel to the pirates off the coast of Somalia. What year is this? Demons? Soon someone will be chasing a black guy down the street looking for his tail. When folks talk about driving out demons and the ultimate goal is to "purify" the earth, it shakes my poems right down to their knees. Bishop Thomas Muthee - the Kenyan preacher blessing Palin makes me want to holler. And you thought Jumping Jeremiah was strange. All this time I thought it was the "devil" who didn't want me to vote for Obama. Was I "palling" around with the wrong guy?

Don't Think Twice It's Alright:





I made a mistake...

- Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

But if we are indeed caught up in the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, the ones who will fare the worst are those who already are poor or near-poor. There are millions of them, and yet they remain essentially invisible. A step down for them is a step into destitution.

- Bob Herbert, The New York Times, October 25, 2008.


My friend Young Soon Kim had a very nice review in the New York Times today. Kim is a Korean-born choreographer and has a performance at the John Ryan Theater, 25 Jay Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn, (718) 855-8822. Kim and I met at Star Island many years ago.
It would be nice to see her perform in Washington, D.C.

Listening to Anita Baker - Giving You The Best That I Got.

This is a sweet album. I pulled it from the basement vault this afternoon.
THE E(dorsement) in DC:


Kwame R. Brown
David Schwartzman


THE (E)ndorsement:

Many months ago I was excited about the presidential campaign of John Edwards. I even helped to co-sponsor a fundraiser for him in Washington. My major reason for supporting Edwards was due to his concern about ending poverty in America. I consider this to be one of the major issues facing our nation. It was the issue that John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy and Paul Wellstone often spoke about. I thought it was important for Edwards to launch his campaign in New Orleans. How many lives were changed by Katrina? Who is concerned about the poor in Galveston? Today one only hears about the problems of the middle class. The poor have become invisible once again.

I plan to vote for Obama in a few days. The guy gets my vote because of the campaign, team and network he has put together. A good president must be able to pull together people. This is how one begins to govern. Obama is an intellectual who knows how to listen. If elected he will be faced with putting together an administration that will reflect the change he wishes to implement in Washington. I'm certain a number of people will begin to sour towards Obama even before he takes office in January. If he surrounds himself with too many old Clinton people then he might as well wear a dress and call himself Hillary. What schools will be represented on his staff?Harvard and Princeton? How many African Americans will be in his cabinet? Look for black people to start counting heads. I think he should keep Gates as Secretary of Defense. Key positions to fill will be Secretary of the Treasury, State, as well as Attorney General. I'm also curious as to who he will appoint to be the ambassador to the UN.

Under Obama I don't expect any military budget reductions. I suspect there will be an increase here. How much are we going to invest in Afghanistan? In terms of foreign policy I hope we don't return to the Cold War Era. What part of the world should Obama visit first as a new president?

I think it needs to be to the Caribbean and South America. I would love for Obama to visit Haiti.
We need better relations with Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua.
Will Obama develop a new policy towards Africa? Darfur, Zimbabwe? What about the Middle East? Where's the plan?

Back in the US I don't expect an Obama Administration to really help large urban cities. Health care needs to be the O-Team's first big legislative victory. In fact, one objective an Obama White House should pursue is to be the leader of the Democratic programs. Congress has really dropped the ball the last two years. There has been a failure of leadership on the Hill. No need to mention names. It's so obvious.

The nation and the world is entering a major transformation. An Obama victory will help accelerate it. Many old industries will disappear during the next four years. New markets and wealth will be created as more people are pushed into poverty and despair. America is fast becoming two societies. One poor, the other rich. Funny how the word socialism is being thrown around again. Where are the socialists? Is the Free market no longer free? Obama, what are we going to do? History right now seems too young to go steady.


Israel's preeminent novelist and author of UNTIL THE END OF THE LAND.

October 29th. Noon.

American University
Abramson Family Recital Hall
Katzen Arts Center
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.


Tuesday, October 28th
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM


Marshall Keys - alto sax
Herman Burney -bass
Reuben Jackson - on poems

St. Mary's Episcopal Church
Foggy Bottom
728 23rd Street, NW
Washington, D.C.
Health News:

Type 2 Diabetes.
Controlling weight is very important. Losing 7 to 10 percent of your body weight can lower your insulin resistance and help your blood sugar levels come down naturally.

A person with diabetes should pay close attention to meal planning.

Physical activity is important too. Regular walks can make a difference.

For help managing your diabetes visit:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Quote of the Day:

Mr. McCain offers more of the Republican every-man-for-himself ideology, now lying in shards on Wall Street and in Americans' bank accounts.

- Editorial, The New York Times, October 24, 2008.
My daughter sent me the link to the following article:



Moorland-Spingarn Research Center presents FOCUS III 2008

"Reflections on the 2008 Presidential Race and America's Future"

Speaker: Ronald W. Walters.

Director, African American Leadership Center
The James MacGregor Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
6 PM

The Forum
The Blackburn Center
Howard University
We'd sit out there in the yard. You didn't have to say anything. You didn't have to have no other meaning. Everybody just sitting out. That was some of the best times I had in life.

Old Joe in August Wilson's RADIO GOLF


Christine Allen-Yazzie recently won the Utah Literary Award in fiction for her novel THE ARC AND THE SEDIMENT.

I wrote a blurb for Christine's book:

Christine Allen-Yazzie has given us a novel that is gutsy, sad, and disturbing. Her book is a commentary (and improvisation) on race, love, and commitment. Gretta's song echoes the last days of Billie Holiday. Where is Lance, her husband and loverman? What is the voice inside her head saying? Why won't you be able to put this book down.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

MISSING FROM THE RHETORIC OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN is talk about poverty and poor people. Where did they go? Invisible once again? This is the issue we need to be talking about. It's the one that shapes the direction of our society. Yes, spreading the wealth around is a good slogan. Seeing the other as one's beloved is the first step towards transforming our society. Funny how some people think the government helping someone is socialism when really it's just common sense.

A 2005 U.S. Census Bureau shows nearly 19 percent of D.C. residents (104,000) people live at or below the poverty line. D.C. has the third highest poverty rate in the nation.

Out of a D.C. population of 588, 292 - 6,044 are homeless.

Chronic homeless make up 36% of the homeless population.
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 1100
Washington DC 20009
202 299 0460


The Washington Post reported today that basketball player Gilbert Arenas will not be voting this November. Arenas is fearful that both candidates will raise his taxes. Arenas is also quoted as saying - "People get sour-faced when you talk about politics and voting."

OK. Is something only wrong with this guy's knee?
Is this what the 0 stands for?


December 4, 2008

Sixth and I Historic Synagogue

600 I Street, NW

Call Politics and Prose, 202 364-1919 for Tickets.

Tickets are $12

Morrison will be talking about her latest novel A MERCY.


The Gathering of Tents for Darfur

An Interfaith Event

National Mall, November 7-9, 2008
Hundreds of activist groups will unite on the National Mall to send a message to the Darfuri people:

We care about ending your five years of suffering.
We're sending help directly to your communities.


Pass me my Hendrix:



Well I...


Makeover - $150,000.

Saying a complete sentence - Priceless.

There is no great difference in the reality of one country or another, because it is always people you meet everywhere. They may look different or be dressed differently, or may have a different education or position. But they are all the same. They are all people to be loved. They are all hungry for love.

- Mother Teresa