Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Copies of E. Ethelbert Miller's poetry books can be obtained from Black Classic Press in Baltimore:



LECTURE: Frida Kahlo - Her Art & Her Pain with F. Lennox Campello

Thursday, July 16th

6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center for Healing & the Arts
1632 U Street, NW,
Washington, D.C.


One thing folks might want to suggest is the naming of a moon site after Michael Jackson when man returns to Lunarville in a few years.

Nothing like some real moonwalking.
Today about 30% of the U.S. job market - roughly 42 million workers - is made up of independent contractors, part-time or temporary staffers, and the self-employed. By the end of the next decade, long after this recession is a distant memory, this "contingent" workforce will have grown to about 40% of the market, experts predict.

- Money magazine, July 2009


It feels strange being back in DC after my residency in Provincetown, MA. Many thanks to the Gaea Foundation for awarding me a grant. I've written many new poems and have outlined plans for my next life cycle - the 6th inning.

Later this afternoon I'll be doing an interview with the BBC, a program that will air during the 4th of July celebration. I should soon be recording another NPR program...

It will take me about 3 days to catch-up with correspondence, old newspapers and magazines. It's been interesting watching my children make their transition into their next level of life too.

My son is living in Pennsylvania, working in a management training program and coaching his old college team in the summer leagues. His love and passion for the game of basketball has quickly moved into coaching. This seems like what he really wants to do. Meanwhile, my daughter has disappeared into the books as she prepares to take the bar exam.

I need to get back to writing my speech about Obama. In several weeks I will be back in Norway.

Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company?

- Zora Neale Hurston

Monday, June 29, 2009

SAVE THE DATE: September 24, 2009

THE DIANE REHM SHOW - Celebrating 30 Years!

30th Anniversary of The Diane Rehm Show
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium

For information, please call (202) 636-8743


PAUL ROBESON, Illustrated by George Ford.

Publisher Lee & Low Books

Forthcoming book:

I and I Bob Marley, a biography in verse by Tony Medina.

Have you been thinking about putting together a humanities-based project and need funding? Has your friend or relative? The Humanities Council of Washington, DC would like to help. We are looking for grantees for our FINAL Grant Cycle of 2009.

Major grants range from $1,501 to $5,000. The deadline to provide the Humanities Council with a Letter of Intent to apply for a major grant is Monday August 3, 2009. A letter of intent and invitation from the Humanities Council is required for all major grant applicants.

Small and planning grants are available for up to $1,500. The deadline to apply for a small or planning grant is Tuesday September 2, 2009. A letter of intent is not required.

We highly recommend that ALL potential Grantees attend a Grants Assistance Workshop.

Please CLICK on the workshop for which you would like to attend:

Wednesday July 1, 2009; 12PM to 1:30PM
Southeast Neighborhood Library (Ward 6)403 7th Street SEMetro: Eastern Market (Orange, Blue)

Thursday July 9, 2009; 6PM to 7:30PM
Lamont-Riggs Neighborhood Library (Ward 5)5401 South Dakota Avenue NEMetro: Fort Totten (Green)

Monday July 13, 2009; 6PM to 7:30PM
Big Chair Chess Club (Ward 7)4322 Sheriff Road NEMetro: Minnesota Avenue (Orange)

Thursday July 16, 2009 12PM to 1:30PM
Anacostia Community Museum (Ward 8)1901 Fort Place, SEBus Line: W2 or W3

Thursday July 16, 2009; 6PM to 7:30PM
Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library (Ward 3)3310 Connecticut Avenue NWMetro: Cleveland Park (Red)

Monday July 20, 2009 12PM to 1:30PM
Humanities Council of Washington, DC (Ward 1)925 U Street NWMetro: U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo (Green, Yellow)

For more information please visit the Grants Section of our website and be sure to attend one of our workshops listed above!

Best regards,

Albert Shaheen
Director of Grants and Special Projects
Humanities Council of Washington, DC
925 U Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 387-8391 ext. 17
(202) 387-8149 (fax)

Quote of the Day:

May Satan grow a fourth mouth where Madoff can spend the rest of eternity.

- Burt Ross

10,000 E-Notes since 2004.


So there is President Zelaya of Honduras in Costa Rica - in his pajamas, saying he is still the president. Remember MJ making that court appearance...
I just received in the mail (from Jo Reed) copies of a new Big Read CD. This one is for Tim O'Brien's book THE THINGS THEY CARRIED.
Discussing O'Brien's book are:
Andrew Carroll
Lan Samantha Chang
Richard Currey
Max Paul Friedman
Alice McDermott
E. Ethelbert Miller
Craig Mullaney
Tim O'Brien

Readings by Bradley Whitford
Narrated by David Kipen
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Appreciating Ourselves and Taking Responsibility for Ourselves

A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don't appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness toward themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused. Instead of appreciating our lives, we often take our existence for granted or we find it depressing and burdensome.

People threaten to commit suicide because they aren't getting what they think they deserve out of life. They blackmail others with the threat of suicide, saying that they will kill themselves if certain things don't change. Certainly we should take our lives seriously, but that doesn't mean driving ourselves to the brink of disaster by complaining about our problems or holding a grudge against the world. We have to accept personal responsibility for uplifting our lives.

–Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Sanity We Are Born WIth (Shambhala Publications)


Right about now you start checking folks SAT scores.

This is what happens when there is a vacuum and fools rush in. This is so sad it's almost shameful. Take away the air or the airwaves?

Michael Jackson article published in Thailand:



I fly over the bay
The shells of my old self on the beach
New tide coming

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ichiro Watch:

3 hits last night.
Average is at .375

Saturday, June 27, 2009

I asked one woman about her fears. She said sometimes she imagines an earthquake in Tehran. She dashes out but forgets her hijab. She stands in the ruins, hair loose and paralyzed, awaiting her punishment. And she looked at me wide-eyed as if to say: do you understand, does the world understand our desperation?

an excerpt from "Iran's Second Sex" by Roger Cohen, The New York Times, 6/27/09.
Quote of the Day:

The flesh is weak, the heart disobedient and marriages hard.

- Charles M. Blow

This is what will happen to the women.
This is what will happen to mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and grandmothers.
This is what is probably happening now.

Some of the women will be arrested.
Some of the women will return home and be warned.
Some of the women will stay in prison.

Some of the women will be in prison for hours.
Some of the women will be in prison for days.
Some of the women will be in prison for months.

Many women will forget they are in prison.

Some of the women will be blindfolded.
Some of the women will be tortured.
Some of the women will be raped.

Some will confess to truth.
Some will confess to lies.
Some will simply confess.

Other women will cover their faces.
Other women will cover their hair.
Other women will cover their lives.

This is what happens to mothers.
This is what will happen to our sisters.
This is what happens to aunts.
This is what will happen to our daughters.

There are many grandmothers who are silent.
There are many grandmothers praying in the back of mosques.
There are too many grandmothers swaying in sorrow.

This is what happens to mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and grandmothers.
This is what many men in the world witness.
This is what many men give birth to.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Burning the Buddha

Americans like to refer to one of the old Zen stories about how a master took a wooden Buddha image, chopped it up, and made a fire, warming himself by its flames. Seeing this, a monk asked, "What are you doing, setting fire to the Buddha?"

The master replied, "Where is Buddha?"

The opposite goes on in America. In America we want to burn the Buddha images to begin with. You see, that monk was stuck on the form. In America, we are antiform, so the pointing goes in another direction. If you're attached to neither existence nor nonexistence, you manifest a sixteen-foot golden Buddha in a pile of rubbish, appearing and disappearing.

–John Daido Loori in Essential Zen, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi & Tensho David Schneider (HarperCollins)


Chester Higgins is one of the world's great photographers. See below:

Dear Ethelbert,
For the first time I visited the southern tribes in the Omo Valley. It was a step back in time. These various tribes live in the corner where Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya come together. A four day drive south of Addis Ababa, we had to camp out for 15 nights. Negotiated with the village elders to pay the people for posing. Brought a carload of lighting equipment to setup my studio without walls, and had great fun making these images.

Hope you find the images enjoyable. Please have a look at;

With the construction of a new Gibe 3 dam on the Omo River, in a few years time, much of their lands will be flooded and their lives challenged. Next year, I will return to continue my visual census of these inspiring people.

Feel free to share with like-minded friends,



Ichiro Watch:

2 hits last night.
6th straight multiple hit game.
34 multiple hit games this season. The most in the major leagues.
Average is now .371

Friday, June 26, 2009


Spanish lawmakers voted to reduce the scope of the law that allows judges to investigate crimes against humanity anywhere in the world. This curtails the work of Judge Baltasar Garzon. He was a believer in the principle of universal jurisdiction. He was going to open an investigation into 6 former White House officials that he believed were responsible for torture at Guantanamo.

Evander Holyfield's estate is again facing foreclosure. Why did this guy decide he needed a 235-acre estate outside of Atlanta? Does his boxing butt need 109 rooms, 3 kitchens, and 17 bathrooms? When I was being raised, I was taught to pee in one place.


Walter Cronkite
He was the anchor of "CBS Evening News" from 1962 to 1981.
and either I'm nobody, or I'm a nation.

- Derek Walcott


The last time I saw the great Pan-Africanist and intellectual C.L.R. James, I was in London. I sat by his bed while some of the Race Today folks were having a party downstairs. After asking how I was doing, I remember James talking about Michael Jackson. He felt "this young man" was the greatest entertainer he had ever seen. I think from that moment on, I had a different take on Jackson. I took all of his changes to be nothing but a work of art. His ability to change was remarkable. In many ways he represented the future. In a sex starved world maybe it's good that someone looks androgynous. In a world filled with Pirates, maybe it's good that someone believes in Peter Pan. In a world where reality shows compete with reality, maybe our only escape is into animation and Never Never Land.

Just a few days ago, I spent about an hour watching old Jackson footage on Utube. I did this after watching performances by other entertainers. Michael Jackson still leaves one breathless. The music, the moves, the military precision - and the anger. To me, Michael Jackson always seemed angry when he danced. Whatever demons possessed him, or drove him, seemed to almost lash out at the audience. The crotch grabbing was perhaps another way of just giving all of us the finger, or placing emphasis on the fact that he was never Diana Ross in drag.

Michael Jackson was dangerous, because we live in dangerous times. The violence around us is often cartoonish. Consider all the car bombs that explode in the world. Shouldn't all the victims be able to get up and run again? When I think of Michael Jackson's little outfits, his pants raised so that we see his cute socks, all I can see is Disney. Jackson's moonwalking was so surreal that is was almost pure animation.

I saw him perform once. It was the Victory Tour with his brothers. The sound system was awful that night but who cared. I was thrilled just "watching" the guy perform. Thrill is the word that will probably always be attached to him. His album Thriller changed music and music videos.

I never liked the title "King of Pop" which sounded too much like some leader in a third world nation. Some place where the leader's pictures are more developed than the leader. I never wanted to compare Michael to Elvis. I'm still trying to understand the marriage to his daughter. If there is one positive note to come out of tonight's sadness, it's that we won't have to remember Michael Jackson as a 50 year old entertainer trying to reclaim stardust or pay the bills.

Maybe the sudden loss of this great performer will force all of us to look at our own lives. We judged Michael Jackson too often and we laughed at him and thought that he was wacko. He was tabloid material but aren't we all? Don't we all have some crazy Disney soundtrack playing in our heads? How else to explain our behavior towards our fellow human beings.

I think I'll remember Michael Jackson the way I remember Peter Pan. I don't want his singing and dancing to end. Yes, we all want him back.

Ichiro Watch:

On June 12th I mentioned in an E-Note, that one should watch and see if Ichiro could hit . 375 by the end of June. Last night he had 4 hits. This raised his average to .369. Seattle is getting ready to play the Dodgers and Red Sox soon. This means tough competition and good pitching. It also is a chance for Seattle to make a surprise run at leading their division. Some of the games might have a playoff atmosphere. This might increase Ichiro's focus and concentration when hitting. I"m certain he would like to play in the post-season this year. We either will see a brief slump or a hitting demonstration. The 4 hits last night could be the start of Ichiro entering a zone. Let's see how many multiple hits games he has in the next few days. If he is in the middle of a great season look for his average to reach around .390 near the end of July.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


My summer class "A Poem About the Body" will be held in Takoma Park, instead of at the Writer's Center.

It will begin Monday, June 29 and will consist of five meetings through mid-August. Fee is $250.
There is still room for a few more participants. If you're interested you can contact me by phone (301)270-8037.

Also pleased to let you know that I've been reappointed to a second term as poet laureate (Takoma Park, MD) and am already at work on more collaboration projects, including a new exhibition of collaborations between visual artists and poets, "This Is Our Body," including an interactive piece that will allow viewers to participate in the work. And we'll have performances and improv opportunities for poets, dancers, and musicians, and community members.

Hope that your summer is restorative with time for rest, relaxation and stimulation!


This is like the end of music and dancing. Gone at 50.

Another person not making it through the 5th Inning.


Farrah Fawcett dead at the age of 62.


Is it possible we could be at war with this nation by August 1st?

Listening to this wonderful CD - CONGO TO CUBA
It's an Afro-Latino musical odyssey from Africa to Cuba and back again.
Here are a few names:

Chico Alvarez
Mama Sissoko
Alfredo Valdes
Gnonnas Pedro
Pape Fall
Chocolate Armenteros

Washington Wizards and NBA Notes:
So I missed the recent trade for Randy Foye and Mike (no relations) Miller. These guys have nice stats but are they All-Stars? Let's see who goes # 5 in the draft and let's follow that person's career for 2-3 years. Look and see what players go #6, 7, 8 in the draft too. All these guys could have been Wizards. We continue to live in Washington without any shame. Oh, and the trading of Etan means less poetry for DC denizens. Somebody just moved up on the waiting list to read at Busboys.

Shaq going to Cleveland means that the road back to the NBA finals has to go through Orlando.
Can you see Shaq making it in Cleveland? This is still Jim Brown territory until LeBron becomes a true King.

Oh, and let's see what the Lakers do. They have to make some changes to get better.
Quote of the Day:

I think I speak for us all when I say that if a governor wants to fly off for a rendezvous with his mistress, the first rule should be: leave a phone number. If you must flee to a love nest, make sure it's one with an Internet connection.

- Gail Collins

Begin to monitor the number of articles that will begin to appear about the moon in the media.

Buzz is back with a book. Alan Bean, the fourth man to walk on the moon (did you know that?) is profiled in today's New York Times. We are getting ready for moon colonization, baby. Dust off those old telescopes. Now is the time to invest in moon dust. Will space movies be back again?
Was the recent Star Trek film just a teaser? Who will be the first person to blog from the moon?
Ah, the return of the lunatics.

Venezuela and the U.S. are getting ready to exchange ambassadors again. This indicates an improvement in relations with the two nations. Now can Hugo Chavez be serious for a few months? Please no silly rhetoric...
Small news:
What's going on in Yemen? Another failed state? This nation might creep into frontpage news later this summer.
The O Report

Next up - Immigration reform. Are you ready?


What will the Washington Wizards do? I'm getting ready to laugh. Who will they pick?
Will this team's front office ever get it right?
Ichiro Watch:

2 hits last night.


Chips of fog in my hair
Time slowly moving
Mistakes hide everything then departs

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So you're the "Black" Bernie Madoff, how many years do you get for selling crack?

Madoff's lawyers are seeking a 12-year term. The charges facing Bernard Madoff carry maximum terms totaling 150 years.

Are you going to buy Dick Cheney's memoir published by Simon & Schuster?
Don't you want to save your money and buy additional copies of THE 5TH INNING for your friends?
Cheney is getting $2 million for his book deal. Poor Miller will never be a millionaire, so buy his memoir the next time you're in Busboys and Poets.

Rudy Giuliani has an OP-ED in the New York Times today. The guy must be running for governor of New York. Rudy's run for the presidency dropped quicker than the stock market. His current newspaper ideas for putting New York State back together is as creative as wrapping fish. How long will Rudy keep trying to play the numbers? Someone call 911.

Question for the Day:

Do women politicians ever have affairs?


One thing that always kept me from becoming a true believer( I love you Eric Hoffer) was the language I found in publications or heard in speeches. It just turned me off. From Black Panthers to the Nation of Islam, to those folks handing out those cute Revolutionary Communist newspapers, I always found myself choking on the rhetoric. Now comes the government of Iran with lame language and excuses for the recent political unrest in their streets.

Check this:

"Britain, America and the Zionist regime (Israel) were behind the recent unrest in Tehran."
-Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli

It's obvious that the Interior Minister is not a Twitter user. Must we still cling to calling Israel a Zionist regime? Let's drop a few words here. Oh, and did all three nations work together to upset Iran or was everything dependent on freelancers? It would be easier if Iran would just face-up to their problems. Geez -maybe they should just blame the Negro.

Nicholas D. Kristof | What to Do About Darfur

Iran's Mousavi "Under 24-Hour Guard"
Small news:

Obama will send an ambassador to Syria soon. Good to see an improvement in relations with this nation.

Manny (Ramirez) will be back next week. San Diego are you ready?

Ichiro Watch:

2 hits last night.
Another multiple hit game.


We are becoming Electronic Tribes (ET) and this could wreck havoc on the Nation State. The ET unlike the old tribes have no geographical boundaries keeping them in check. It's also possible to belong to several tribes at once.

Today we have the challenge of being one or many. Unity or diversity? Americans or World Citizens? It depends on our consciousness and how large we wish our tribe to be. But do we have a choice? If one unplugs from the electronic world today one fails to connect with the future. The ET then becomes an "old" tribe or a failed state. Compare Somalia with Iran and it becomes obvious of where hope and despair resides.

Iran is trying to repress an ET that desires more democracy. By trying to censor the media or preventing people from blogging and using Twitter, the government runs the risk of moving backwards in time. Under a Theocracy a government will only want one picture on a Facebook.
This opens the door to cave living. Would you prefer to paint on a wall or Google? Take your pick.

We are also moving into a historical period in which repressive governments will sell its citizens smartphones and computers that spy on them. Not just monitor your activity but talk back to you when you speak or even think the "wrong" thoughts. So you type a certain idea (or words) on the screen and your computer engages you in a discussion. The object is for you to become more user friendly to your machine. Think good thoughts and it will not only be nice to you - it will assist you with your work. Failure to agree would result in your device turning you over to the proper authorities with a transcript of everything you've been thinking. Yes, in this case the glove will fit every time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reading LOVE by Toni Morrison this evening.

"This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won't work anymore in Iran," he said. "This is not about the United States and the West; this is about the people of Iran and the future that they -- and only they -- will choose."

- President Obama


There was a moment right before Obama won the last election that people in the McCain camp refused to believe what was happening. They didn't like the election results, all those states going for Obama. How could this happen? How could the news networks report this to them? Suddenly, there was a chant for Fox News.

Democracy can be problematic but reality can be a MF.

I remember in the 1970s how many of us wondered what would happen in 1984. Orwell's novel was the future, and it was one that we feared. Could there ever be a Big Brother? How could people live in a society like that? But then how did people live in Germany and go to work everyday and not be aware of what was happening around them. I recall in India, a few years ago, riots between various religious groups. A news reporter asked a woman, what happened to her neighbors? She said she didn't know. Her neighbors had been attacked and their home was destroyed, yet the woman looked at the reporter with a blank face.

I read the newspapers and the stories coming out of Iran with a blank face. Let's go back not to 1984 but to those comments that Ahmadinejad made about the Holocaust. How could a man who believes this historical nightmare never happened ever think about losing an election? What if a majority of the people in Iran thinks the same way as this guy? Oh, and what about the "Bradley" affect overseas? How many Iranians might have said they were going to vote for Moussavi but instead voted for Ahmadinejad? In a society where a government wants to control the internet, it's very possible that many people are afraid and believe they are constantly being watched and have no privacy. What will they do when they vote?

I remember that election night when Obama won, and I turned on the television and saw thousands of people dancing in the DC streets. What I didn't see were pictures of neighborhoods that felt Obama's election was the beginning of bible punishment and the last days. Let's get a tally on all those racist incidents that took place around the country in protest to the election of a black man.

Now compare DC with Tehran after an election. If we just project the images coming out of a major city in a country is that a true indication of who won? What shocks people is the size of Ahmadinejad's win. This is why people feel the election was stolen. But recall Ayatollah Khamenei's logic and interrepretation of events. He concluded that if the election was very close, perhaps it might have been stolen. But that was not the case in Iran. A big theft however will always cover for a little one. That's Miller's Law.

However in Iran there are some people who believe the Holocaust never happened. We have to keep returning to this point because it's reflective of what could be the thinking of the majority of people in Iran. Iran is a Theocracy not a democracy. Everything is Divine. What the recent events in Iran shown more than anything else is how so many people are suffocating under this type of government. This is why one sees so many women and educated people marching and protesting. They want to breathe. When one has access to the internet, one has an open window and air and information enters your lungs. Soon you can't breathe the air in your own nation. If you want better air you better think Green.

But where was Ahmadinejad's political strength? It was in the rural areas of Iran. The man was also an incumbent, which is good for a few points. Yet, the major factor one has to measure is Islam. I've always felt that the Iranian Revolution that took place several years ago was one of the major occurrences in recent world history. It was from that moment that Islam (again) became a major force in the shaping of world events.

One can project that the crackdown in Iran will be brutal during the next few weeks. When the stories come out of how many have died or have been arrested, tortured or have disappeared, our world will weep. Conservatives will attack the Obama Administration for standing on the sidelines. Even though what can you do if it's not your ball or game? The political Left won't know what to think of Hugo Chavez (again). Hugo is a buddy of Ahmadinejad. I'm certain Fox News is going to broadcast those Obama/Chavez pictures again.

It's also going to be very difficult for Obama or Clinton to sit down with the Iranians after the crackdown. Iran is also going to make governments (including the US) very aware of how the new communication technology can be an effective organizing tool. Will there be attempts to control things in the US? You betcha!

Begin to monitor how in small communities across America the Right will begin to use the new technology to keep track of immigrants, Gays and people of color. We would be thinking more about this if next year was 1984 instead of 2010. Can you imagine if McCain had won and not Obama? Do you remember how Hillary Clinton was trying to give new meaning to numbers?
Hmmm, now that I think about it (again) maybe that will be the ice breaker when the US and Iran start talking (again).

Monday, June 22, 2009


(for Michon)

There are moments
in baseball games when you
keep wondering why your manager
won't take you out. Either the strike zone
disappears or you find yourself suddenly pitching
batting practice. You can't get anyone out and you
realize you'll never be loved. After your death you
might be remembered in conversations when poets
gather with wine or beer and talk about anthologies.
Someone might recall your early work or the year
you had a good season and a cheap chapbook. No one
will recall how you once played in the Old Negro Leagues
and Baldwin and Brooks said you reminded them
of Jackie. Oh, how quickly the years pass
and your hair turns gray.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Know the feeling of love - not just the idea of it.
Sadness comes when you understand the blues are not an abstraction.

All problems are keys.
Turn them correctly or find a new lock.

(for Iran)

They say the world is green again.
Is democracy growing?
I walk outside to listen to the air.

I wait for the rain of protest.
I stare at the clouds of repression.
Why the darkness still and why the chill?

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Things to monitor in the news:

A decrease in the number of women protesters in Iran. Fewer women in the streets could be a measurement of political repression.

How soon will the Kang Nam, a North Korean ship heading to Myanmar, sail into our front page headlines?
Quote of the Day:

Air power contains the seeds of our own destruction if we do not use it responsibly.

- Gen. Stanley McChrystal
New US Commander in Afghanistan

The world is profoundly sad and someone has to weep its sorrows.


The lonesome lover hands me
her card. It reads:

Burial comes with a vacancy.
Walk in beauty on the path to love.

- E. Ethelbert Miller


A store on Commercial Street
Many Buddhas in the window

A tourist stops and looks for a path
There is only one doorway

- E. Ethelbert Miller


My last week here
I stay in the moment
There is no tomorrow

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Ichiro Watch:

3 hits last night.

"We have been pragmatic and pedestrian about our erotic lives for too long..."
- Cristina Nehring

Nehring is the author of A VINDICATION OF LOVE: RECLAIMING ROMANCE FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY ( Harper/HarperCollins Publishers). $24.99.

Book Discussion:

Sunday, July 12th at 4 PM.
Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Street, NW

Michon Boston (of The Big Read) will direct a book discussion of THE 5TH INNING by E. Ethelbert Miller.

If you've read the memoir, now is the time to talk about it with friends and lovers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The Need to Reinvent Father’s Day
By Rob Okun

How can we comfortably celebrate Father’s Day in the middle of a domestic violence epidemic? Yes, suffering and celebrating are simultaneous truths in life. But there is an urgency—and opportunity—right now to transform this holiday. Fatherhood has perhaps never been more visible than today, in part because of the current occupant of the White House (and the vice-president, who for many years was a single dad). Let’s seize the moment to transform the day from one of consumerism to one of activism.

Even though it’s a minority of men who perpetrate violence against women, the results are devastating. Think what it could mean if Father’s Day became a time men stepped forward as peacemakers in our families. Grandfathers, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, cousins, and neighbors could all be involved. There would be plenty of time for suppertime barbeques if we spent Father’s Day advocating on behalf of women’s and girls safety and, as a byproduct, for boys and men’s growth. If we can’t work to achieve peace in our homes how can we expect to end violence between nations?

Scan the headlines and there’s likely to be a story about a guy who’s beaten up his wife or girlfriend. Where I live in western Massachusetts, a man recently beat to death his partner, the daughter of friends’ of friends. It knocked the wind out of me. I never get used to it.

Over the years I’ve spoken at rallies in the aftermath of domestic violence murders and it never gets easier. A minority of men are perpetuating a cruel lie that says it’s okay for men to beat the woman they proclaim to love. Outrageous. It’s got to stop.

I know the vast majority of fathers—and men—aren’t violent. Yet there’s a small, vocal element out there promoting a dangerous, tough guy brand of masculinity. If the majority of nonviolent men stand mute, then manhood ends up being defined by screaming dads threatening coaches at Little League games, Rush Limbaugh and his ilk, and untold brooding brothers-in-law restricting contact with your sister. We can’t let that happen. The days of, “Hey, I’m a good guy, I don’t abuse my wife, assault women, or insist her “no” really meant “yes”’ should long be over. To challenge a twisted definition of masculinity that condones men subjugating women requires leaving the sidelines of silence for the playing fields of action. It’s a cop out to claim this epidemic is a women’s issue. For decades women have been doing the heavy lifting to prevent domestic violence. More men need to join. Now.

To start, we need to take a hard look at the privilege and entitlement we’ve long assumed as our birthright. We have to be willing to ditch the old model of men as king of the castle. There are greater rewards across the moat in the vineyards of equality: an increase in emotional literacy. Closer connections with the women and other men in our lives. Deeper relationships with our children.

Much has been made of President Obama inviting his wife on a couple of dates recently. Commentators have been a twitter with how unfair many men felt it was, claiming the president had raised the relationship bar too high. President Obama deserves no extra points for paying attention to his marriage or his children. Sure, he’s modeling how a man and father ought to act but he’d undoubtedly agree that he merits no special pat on the back for doing so.

The idea behind Father’s Day as a time to acknowledge what it takes to raise children—and the precious gift of being a parent—is a wonderful reason to celebrate. But in a world where too many fathers and men are angry, hurt, and hurting others, maybe it’s time for a moratorium on conventional Father’s Day gift giving. Maybe some of the millions going to cards and gifts could be better directed to a fund supporting women’s and girls' safety, and boys’ and men’s education. Maybe the president and vice-president would be among the first to make contributions. That would be a stimulus package I could really get behind.

Rob Okun is editor of Voice Male magazine (www.voicemalemagazine.org
Ichiro Watch:

Ichiro's streak of 43 consecutive games reaching base ended on Tuesday.

Tricycle's Daily Dharma

Release Fear

When we look deeply into our fear, we see the desire for permanence. We're afraid of change. Our anger, our fear, our despair are born from our wrong perceptions, from our notions of being and non-being, coming and going, rising and falling. If we practice looking deeply, we find out that these notions cannot be applied to reality. We can touch our true nature, we can touch the ultimate dimension and this brings about non-fear. When we trust that insight of no birth and no death, joy becomes possible every moment of our lives.

–Thich Nhat Hanh, from Answers from the Heart (Parallax Press)

Happy Father's Day!

My father would never turn his back on his family. My father went to work more than Cal Ripken. He did his duty. My father fell in love while the country still had a draft. He enlisted with Enid, my mother. His tour of duty received few medals and fewer thanks. For much of my childhood my father was simply there. He slept, ate, watched television, and went to work. If he had a few days off in the summer he enjoyed going to the beach. My father couldn't swim...

Excerpt from THE 5TH INNING by E. Ethelbert Miller

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In the latest issue of The New Yorker there is an advertisement from the GQ Gentlemen's Fund. It's for "The Better Men Better World Search.

GQ is looking for folks who are working hard to make the world a better place.

To submit names go to: thegentlemensfund.com

Here is my short list of men who are working to make this world a better place:

Sanho Tree
John Cavanagh
Andy Shallal
D. Wayne Betts
Charles Johnson
Bob Holman
Lou Stovall
Joe Ross
Bill Moyers
Jimmy Carter
John Feffer
David Mura
Alexs Pate
Greg Carr
Don Russell
Listening to The Beatles. Abby Road.
How come I don't hear this type of music when I cross Georgia Avenue?



Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I’m hundreds of miles away from my son and daughter. They are 22 and 27 and living in two different cities. I’m not a missing dad. I’ve never been missing. Neither was my father. I come from the tradition of quiet and silent men. The tradition of fathers who never left their wives and children, but instead “disappeared” into basements, backrooms, back porches and bedroom corners. The tradition of men who could always be found asleep in front of a television set or sitting in the dark mumbling at walls.

I come from the tradition of fathers who were watchers and providers; men who were ignored or unable to help during emergencies. My fatherhood has been defined by such things as the inability to drive, master the tools in a toolbox, or place a star at the top of a Christmas tree. How many times during a family crisis did my wife just pick-up the phone and call her brother in Iowa or a friend living down the street?

Within his own home, my father was never viewed as “the smart one.” This title was bestowed on my brother Richard, his first born and later my sister as a result of her becoming a nurse. Every family should have someone in the medical profession. It’s like having a second key or a smoke detector that works.

I grew up watching my father pushed into the corners of rooms at family gatherings in Brooklyn. No one every looked to him for an opinion. I never heard him having any major political agreement or disagreement with someone. My father was invisible until someone died. That was when he became a man of comfort for relatives that he always considered distant.

When I think about my father, I am reminded about the loneliness that comes with fatherhood. I am reminded of the intimacy that never raised it’s hand. Stoic is a word I can’t use to describe him. Sadness seems like the proper sweater he could have worn.

My father, Egberto Miller coming home late from work, night after night. My mother always up and ready to fix him something to eat. Yet how often did she join him at the table? Where was the intimacy? Was it the darkness outside the kitchen window? Did my parents just simply speak a common language?

The shadow of my father continues to fall over my fatherhood, as the period of my life moves toward fall. My children are grown. They are perhaps a few years from becoming parents. I picked up the newspaper today and read where President Obama wants to begin a national conversation on fatherhood. A conversation, maybe that’s what was missing during all my days of fatherhood. A conversation, not a lecture or an explanation. A conversation where one talks and listens, and where one is listened to. How many of us live quiet lives of desperation? We live without partners, within and outside marriage.

We talk about fathers and fatherhood but we often lip sync. We say those things we want others to hear. My father never really said much to me. My conversation was always with my mother, as I find my own children are with theirs.

What we never seem to talk about is how the men who stayed with their families suffered from the absence of intimacy in their lives. We never talk about the quiet death of their hearts. We fail to record these stories because we prefer myths and fairy tales. We want to believe in happy endings, especially on Father’s day. I remember my father this June because he was a good man. Was he happy? No. I overheard my father praying one day to God. I was little at the time. I was surprised to see my father on his knees in the bedroom. I was even more surprised when God didn’t answer.

- E. Ethelbert Miller

- June 20, 2009


OBIT: Ali Akbar Khan, 87.
Master of the sarod. One of the greatest musicians in the world
"Chemical enhancement won't kill the game; it is the cover-up that could be fatal."
- Zev Chafets

I just read "Let Steroids Into the Hall of Fame" by Zev Chafets in today's New York Times. This is the best essay I've read about baseball this year. Gosh - I agree with much of what Chafets is saying. Just go back and read my recent E-Notes about Sosa and Manny. Chafets seems to be looking at the politics behind the headlines. I still think the real issue in baseball is economics and control of the game by conservative owners. The public is also being fed some "pure" nonsense by sportswriters, who need bread and butter to survive. I chuckled when Chafets ending his OP-ED with the following paragraph:

The Baseball Hall of Fame, which stared as a local tourist attraction and a major-league publicity stunt, has since become a national field of dreams - and now a battlefield. If it surrenders to the moralists who want to turn back the clock to some imagined golden era, and excommunicates the greatest stars anyone has ever see, it will suffer the fate of all battlefields located on the wrong side of history. Obscurity.

Zev Chafets has a book coming out soon. I can't wait to read it. The title is COOPERSTOWN CONFIDENTIAL: HEROES, ROGUES AND THE INSIDE STORY OF THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME.


Remembering - Egberto Miller, the man from Panama.

My favorite words by Toni Morrison can be found in chapter 4, of THE SONG OF SOLOMON.
I read these words back in the 1970s and never forgot them:

She was the third beer. Not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it's there, because it can't hurt and because what difference does it make?

It's funny to read this today because I no longer drink beer or wine.
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

The Cool Heart

The world of distraction spins around and around, while moving continuously to keep itself amused and entertained. It transports us to a world of fantasy, or a world of controversy, or competition, or of just about anything other than the one true existence that is right before us. Distraction keeps our heads turned in the direction of momentary pleasures, excitement, and delight.

On the other hand, the cool heart, with its spiritual energy, is the sobering factor that keeps us focused on worthier goals. It tempers the euphoria of petty fun. It settles us firmly down on Earth, grounding and sobering us with a clear view into life’s many facets in a balanced manner. The cool heart is unmoved by the intoxication of the world. The wise heart is the cool heart. It directs us to a profound state where we are liberated from the burden and stench of self-consciousness. Nothing can be better than that.

–Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu with Emily Popp, from Meeting the Monkey Halfway (Weiser)


Alex Ovechkin won his second straight Hart Memorial trophy as the N.H.L's most valuable player.

This is good news for Washington, D.C. The city needs to become a major sports winner. Right now hockey has the lead. The problem might be ownership and simple day to day management when it comes to why DC has poor baseball, basketball and football teams. Do you see any Ovechkins on the other Washington teams? Of course not, and that's the problem. No MVP players on the Wizards, Nationals or Redskins. No dominate hall of fame type guys. Let's not talk potential either. There is not a serious future contender on any of the teams. Unless Lady Luck decides to bless us with one of those unforgettable seasons - nothing is going to happen.

Now, what could give Washington D.C. a complete makeover in a few months? An undefeated football season by the Washington Redskins. Wouldn't that be bizarre and beautiful for the city?
It's possible because football is the one sport where you can get all the breaks and the prayer moments. Other teams losing their best players in the pre-season, teams that are in the same conference. A weak schedule. Quick wins. When a team goes 8-0, it can start thinking, or thinking too much. Football is full of emotion and teams just getting hot, or a couple of players having banner years. It can happen...

Next week the Washington Wizards will play the fool again. The organization will use the NBA draft to select a player that will probably not be able to play immediately, which means the guy isn't going to be the next Kobe or Lebron. Curses again. Who once said that? Some villain in one of those comic books? A Clippers fan?

Oh, I heard Pedro Martinez's had a workout in the Dominican Republic yesterday. Why can't the Nationals get this guy for the second-half of the baseball season? I would put Pedro in the bullpen and have him pitch maybe 2-4 innings a game. Can you imagine how many more games the Nationals would have won this year with a decent bullpen? Oh, I still want to manager this club. I have poems and will travel.