octavia butler 6/22/47-2/24/06

i can't believe it...

i was introduced to her work thru kindred. i was interested in how a writer would treat the subject of a modern black person being sent back into slavery. of course, it turned out to be about much more than that.

and i was hooked.

after that, i came across wild seed in a bookstore, recognized the author's name, and bought it on faith. whoa.

science fiction about blk folks?
like...african spirits/tales embraced and brought to life?

later, i was given parable of the sower for my 25th birthday. i saw so much of myself in lauren, it was as if butler knew me. knew struggles that i'd barely articulated to anyone. i was seeing my thoughts/feelings reiterated to me, sometimes verbatim.

i was also stunned by butler's almost prophetic vision of this country's future, and how we're still careening towards it as i type this. in high school, i started a never-finished story along the same lines--gated communities, a super-drug wreaking havoc...i have no clue where i was going with it, but i'm sure she did a better job than i could have at the time.

i think i read sower in a day or two. i found out there was a sequel, and got that, too. parable of the talents--to me--didn't have the same magic as sower, but it still made some important points. and i enjoyed the "end" to the story.

bless her life.

the ancestors will embrace her, just as we thank her for the stories she left behind. may she return to the peace she was born with.


do people think before they speak?

"It's the right thing," said Leslee Unruh, leader of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse. "It's like Martin Luther King's approach - it's never the wrong time to do what's right. South Dakota is in a unique position to do something for the 800 children aborted every year."

800 kids, huh.
assuming she's right, what is that "unique position" exactly?

like...make sure they ALL have loving, stable homes?

or making sure that the parent(s) of those children have ALL the support/help/therapy they need to care for those babies properly?

improving the foster care system in the state--or around the nation for that matter?

re-opening homes for unwed mothers? what?

who's gonna pay for all that?

again i say:
whether you're pro-choice or pro-life
whether you've had one, none, or 12 abortions
whether you would have one yourself or not

we should all agree that the common sense approach is to keep the procedure--and other birth control methods--open, legal, available, and safe for any woman who chooses to exercise that right.


i still say that this isn't about abortion as such--women have been choosing whether or not to give birth for eons--but that now it can be done without all the drama & danger. and we all know that just gives the broads too much of a say in the matter.

when it was just a matter of herbs that could kill you or back alley hanger procedures, hey, more power. shame on you.

...but that's another post.

(in other news: god don't like ugly.)


well shut my mouth...

the congressional black caucus bitched up about katrina?

say it ain't so....

thank god for cynthia mckinney. she's doin the damn thing.

looks like the rest of them did something by introducing legislation, but to boycott the katrina committee meetings? eh. i dunno.

sins of the father/bible rant

ok. so there are a few things in the big book about the whole "sins of the father" deal.

here's one:

You will perish among the nations; the land of your enemies will devour you. Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their fathers' sins they will waste away. (leviticus 26:38-39)

and another:
'The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.' (numbers 14:18)

yes, i am aware that there are other passages--not even necessarily in the new testament--that contradict these statements. but that's a whole other discussion altogether.

my point is that taking things literally can really allow you to miss the point.

if you're just reading into the history that the author(s) is describing at the time, cool.

on the other hand, if you look at this allegorically/gnostically, i think that these passages reveal a lot about how parents need to be very careful not to live through their children.

(oh...if you're one of those folks who thinks i can't talk about these kinds of things 'cause i don't have babies, then feel free to stop reading right...about...now. i won't hold it against you.)

because a lot of us insist on raising our kids "just like we were raised"--without weeding out the dysfunctional elements--what some of us are doing isn't working.

as a community, we cannot afford to keep turning out broken men. we’re causing so much harm in the name of fucked up expecations, role reversals, and skewed visions. we must become aware enough to realize that this does not always equal love.

i think that’s what that bible verse really means. it’s not about some arbitrary moral code. it’s about the fact that if you don’t handle your shit, you’ll set it on the shoulders of your babies. and that will, in turn, cause more problems down the line. "perishing among the nations", if you will.

this is what happens to a dream deferred, langston.

a lot of folks are completely cynical about the bible, and understandably so. it's been held up as a bastion of truth when what we see as "scripture" today is horribly forged, mangled, and mistranslated. it has been ruthlessly wielded as a weapon to destroy the spirits and communities of people around the planet.

but there are nuggets of gold up in there. you just have to know how to shine the light so you can see 'em.

the myth

i thought this was interesting...

(you can see the original blog entry here)

feel free to comment...either here or over on myspace. i'm interested to see what parts of the myth folks are currently dealing with....what you've let go of...etc.


dubya's boo-boo & other issues....

this port takeover/controversy thing is funny to me. i guess dubya thought that some cold cash would override good old american racism and xenophobia.


the conspiracy theorist in me says one thing. the generally sane-thinking person says another. neither of them likes it, however. not because i think arabs = bad, but because i think that if something were to happen, this setup is far too convenient for comfort. and we'd wind up mired in more isolationism, more lies, and more bullshit, while compromising our position in the world even further.


just found this article via a discussion on okayplayer. i'm just gonna let it speak for itself:

Kenyona J. Moore was appalled when her 9-year-old son brought a worksheet home from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School last week called "The Four Robbers." It describes how to do a card trick while telling the story of four people who rob a house and get away with it.

The worksheet is designed to prepare children for next month's state standardized tests, but Moore saw it as promoting criminal activity to children growing up in a crime-ridden Baltimore neighborhood northwest of downtown. "This is being given out to inner-city children," she said. "The assumption is they can relate to this, and that's wrong."

and, towards the end of the article:

When Moore talked to her son, Musthapha Muhammad, about the assignment, she said he told her: "I don't wanna rob a house, Mommy." She said the underlying message of the worksheet to inner-city children is, "This is all you'll be able to do anyway."




~for frida

i'm gonna
get a huge turquoise ring
just for you
--maybe quartz
something suggesting otherwordly rhythms
heat capturing rubies?
multifaceted opals?

i'd like to carry
a bit of your shine
take on the silver of your earrings

your tears watered a generation
perhaps god will respect your wishes
and prevent your return
but pieces of you shall remain
to remind women
of the price and privilege
of freedom.

i'm a dreamer

as i procrastinated at work this morning, i decided: i need my daydreams.

since i’m not where i want to be (yet), these little snippets of hope keep me going til i get there.

they don’t interfere with work and other necessary evils (too much), so i figure i need to keep it up until i start working those dreams into my reality.

fk the haters.


unrequited (a work in progress...)

(i just found this again, and i'd almost forgotten why i started it...and who it was about in the first place, but...i remember now.)
i met him.
that was enough.
i figured once they saw the beauty in it
they’d accept it.

i didn’t think about
being without him
while i was falling in love

who does?

it was right. nothing wrong feels like that.
no one could take it from us
who would try?

there must be another way to forget...
to stop thinking coherently
about the whole mess
must be
i just haven’t found it yet...
too bad self-destruction really isn’t in my plan
but it began long before this haze settled around me.

i’m grateful for the good days--
there are many, many good days.
not enough to stop the fall, though.

i always fall back
into a color
and there he is and
here i am and...

i remember saying goodbye
rain tears skin

that night went slowly
molasses moving.
but it still moved.
i wished—no, willed—myself suspended in time
yet, it still moved.

how do you get over being denied love—
not love like a parent’s love,
but a love you know will expand you
until you’re so big only the universe can hold you...

now i’m just
so small
he’d hate to see me like this
if he even thinks of me anymore

i know he must think of me...what we had doesn’t go away
it just waits
around corners
in boxes
settles itself into walls
and waits for you to find it again.

it likes games of hide-and-go-seek
ring-around-the-temporal lobe
(not like that would go to the tune...)

but there’s nothing i should have done differently
could have done differently
we were
it was
and that was that.

i think...when my speech starts to slur in my thoughts
i know i’m almost there
that place where none of it matters anymore and i can
for awhile

think a bit
get my bearings.

if i left tonight would he care?
it’s not his fault he fell in love with someone he’d never have

it’s all their fault.
i blame them.

they took him from me over a semantic dispute with god
the god that god gave to me
he was my god...wasn’t he?
i was locked away
and blk folks can’t afford towers
so it was just my room
four little walls
and no way to gain perspective

he took me away from all that--bless his heart--
i don’t love him like that
i don’t love him like god
i only loved him like god
that sugarhoneysweet velvetvoiced boy
i loved

i suppose i’m being punished.
and all such sayings...

(to be continued...)


not much going on...

just wanted to say hi, shoot the shit & what not.

this weekend i was introduced to the wholistic wellness for the hip hop generation video...produced by this dude.

i don't think i'll ever be that serious. but, hey. more power to him.

i do, however, commend him for coming at the subject of holistic health from a perspective that young folks can understand and learn from. i could easily see 12-18 yr olds seeing that and being touched by the message. i know his mother taught me a thing or two.

the n-word is still getting quite a bit of attention these days...as it should. i don't think it's ok for us or white ppl to use it. we must be one of the most self-hating race of folks ever. we internalize and accept just about every negative image of ourselves there is with very little critical thought. and that's just sad.

i may come back around sometime today. who knows.


on: coretta scott king's funeral

(by william rivers pitt)

"Trapped Like a Rat"

The funeral for civil rights leader Coretta Scott King on Tuesday was quite a sight to see. The depth of sadness in the room could not be overcome by the happiness that came with the celebration of her life and accomplishments. It was the measure of Mrs. King's impact upon our society that four presidents - Carter, Bush, Clinton and Bush - sat before her flower-draped casket and spoke of her life.

And then, of course, the foolishness began. The nattering nabobs of network nonsense blithered into their cable news studios to deplore all the political statements that were served up before the appreciative crowd in that church. It was the Wellstone funeral all over again.

Let's be clear. The life of Coretta Scott King was one that involved politics from every angle. Any lifelong struggle against poverty, racism and war is going to be a life immersed in politics. That is simply the way it is; because so many politicians and political ideologies center around statements and legislation that directly add to the burdens of the poor and minorities, any person choosing to fight poverty and racism is going to wind up dealing in politics.

Gandhi was elected to no office in his entire lifetime, but every action he took involved politics. The same can be said for Martin Luther King Jr., who won no elections but changed politics in America forever. Coretta Scott King held no office, but her work affected the politics of this country in every way. Ask Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan, who received a warm telephone call from Mrs. King while standing vigil outside George W. Bush's ranch in Crawford last August. If this was not a political act, then political acts do not exist.

Politics belonged in that church on Tuesday. Period.

A good deal of the humbug arising from the political statements at the funeral are based upon the fact that George W. Bush changed his schedule to appear at the event. Because he did this, the thinking goes, he should be above the pointed criticism he absorbed up on that stage. Smart money says he came to the funeral only to avoid the criticism he would have received had he not shown up with those three other presidents. Smart money likewise says he came to try and shore up his poll numbers with African Americans; his support among this constituency stands in the low single digits, well within the margin of error in any poll, suggesting his actual support among this group is zero. This is, however, an issue for another day.

The central tenet of the civil rights movement has, is and will always be one simple truth: one must speak truth to power in order to affect change. This was the maxim by which Coretta Scott King lived her life, and the maxim by which her husband lived and ultimately died by. Had her funeral not involved speaking truth to power, the ceremony would have been incomplete. George W. Bush heard on Tuesday some hard truths that his fanatical insulation has to date spared him from. It may have been the healthiest moment this republic has absorbed in years.

President Jimmy Carter, who has come to be one of the harshest critics of Mr. Bush, hurled fire across the stage over the deplorable administration response to Hurricane Katrina. "This commemorative ceremony this morning and this afternoon is not only to acknowledge the great contributions of Coretta and Martin, but to remind us that the struggle for equal rights is not over," said Carter. "We only have to recall the color of the faces of those in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, those who were most devastated by Katrina, to know that there are not yet equal opportunities for all Americans."

Carter also took a moment to drop a brick over the recent revelations that the NSA has been spying on Americans, without court approval or warrants, at the behest of Mr. Bush. "It was difficult for them personally," said Carter, "with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretapping, other surveillance, and as you know, harassment from the FBI."

By far, the harshest criticism came from Rev. Joseph Lowery, a King protégé, who spoke of Mrs. King's staunch opposition to the occupation of Iraq. "She deplored the terror inflicted by our smart bombs on missions way afar," said Lowery. "We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. But Coretta knew, and we knew, that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war, billions more, but no more for the poor."

Would Coretta Scott King have approved of this? One can be certain that the woman who said "If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children" would have certainly approved.

This was a day for speaking truth to power, but it was more than that. Mr. Bush and his people have worked incredibly hard to keep this president from hearing anything that rubs against what he believes to be true. He speaks before hand-picked crowds of adoring supporters, never once seeing the face of someone who thinks he is running the nation into the ground. Millions upon millions of protesters have followed his every move, and yet it is almost certain he has never laid eyes upon a single one of them.

On Tuesday, by his own design. George W. Bush was trapped like a rat on that stage. He was forced to listen to eloquent denunciations of his politics and his policies, perhaps for the first time since he took office. The effect upon him was clear; during the speeches delivered by Rev. Lowery and president Carter, Bush looked as if he was sucking on a particularly bitter lemon.

When one speaks truth to power, especially arrogant power, that is usually the effect. Coretta Scott King would have approved.

1st Corinthians 13:1-7

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.


the personal is political

i got a link to the sistah vegan project in an email this morning.

i've been poking around the site and, well, this is hella interesting.

although animal rights activists like peta and others have been dealing with the whole issue of eating & ethics for years, how many times has this been examined within the black community?

the "no pork on my fork" link on the right margin will take you to blackvegetarians.org, one of the few resources i've found on the web by and for black people who are interested in vegan/veggie lifestyles (various myspace pages notwithstanding).

like, ok. ms. harper breaks it down like this:

For example, Dick Gregory has piqued my academic interests in linking perceptions of equality to food patterns. He has advocated the need for Blacks to better understand Black health crisis and impediments to equality by analyzing their traditional Soul Food practices. It is interesting to me that he perceives the Black Soul Food diet as being diametrically opposed to the liberation of Blacks... This slave food, in his opinion, has manifested into what is now called the Soul Food diet, hindering Blacks from understanding what true social justice is.[6] I am also interested in how food beliefs among African American females may embody internalized oppression.[7] A brief analysis of bell hooks[8] memoir, Bone Black, will portray such an example.

Raised in a heteropatriarchal household of the 1950s, hooks’ mother “whipped” her for being too skinny and for not eating enough. The punishment stemmed from a belief that Black men did not desire marriage with skinny women. With no desire to marry, hooks was still forced to eat to nourish her body for a future husband she would be expected to serve. In her household, female food consumption was linked to servitude to a husband. It is here I see a manifestation of internalized slave-master ideology within her mother’s perception of Black gender roles and food consumption... Through her mother’s food beliefs, a conundrum in her mother’s perception of equality manifests: she frequently subjected hooks to the same injustices that her ancestors endured. Strangely, hooks notes that her mother was conscious of the necessity to liberate Blacks from White racism. Her advocacy for the racial liberation of a Black collective while simultaneously practicing food beliefs that sustain heterosexism and predefined gender roles are fascinating. These are the types of paradoxes I wish to unlock.

say WHAT?

i hope she keeps this site updated, 'cause i am really interested in what she finds out.

girls v. women

(an email forward i actually enjoyed reading...i deleted the obligatory "pass it on line", however)

Girls leave their schedule wide-open and wait for a guy to call and make plans.
Grown women make their own plans and nicely tell the guy to get in where he fits in.

Girls want to control the man in their life.
Grown women know that if he's truly hers, he doesn't need controlling.

Girls check you for not calling them.
Grown women are too busy to realize you hadn't.

Girls try to put a man 'on lock' by using sex.
Grown women know that it's the sex of the mental kind that makes a man want to 'lock' you down.

Girls fake-moan, lay there and take the stabbing.
Grown women say, "Just stop", get up, get dressed, and walk out.

Girls are afraid to be alone.
Grown women revel in it-- using it as a time for personal growth.

Girls ignore the good guys.
Grown women ignore the bad guys.

Girls make you come.
Grown women make you come home.

Girls worry about not being pretty and/or good enough for their man.
Grown women know that they are pretty and/or good enough for any man.

Girls try to monopolize all their man's time (i.e, don't want him hanging with his friends).
Grown women realize that a lil' bit of space makes the 'together time' even more special -- and goes to kick it with her own friends!

Girls think a guy crying is weak.
Grown women offer their shoulder and a tissue.

Girls want to be spoiled and 'tell' their man so.
Grown women 'show' him and make him comfortable enough to reciprocate w/o fear of losing his 'manhood'.

Girls get hurt by one man and make all men pay for it.
Grown women know that that was just one man.

Girls fall in love, chase aimlessly after the object of their affection, ignoring all 'signs'.
Grown women know that sometimes the one you love, don't always love you back -- and move on, without bitterness.


baby blues

hormones win again.

honey & i ate at the cheesecake factory last night. there was a doll of a baby girl at the table next to us (and some bad parenting at the table behind us).

then there was that baby dream last night.

this really sucks.

i don’t think i’ve ever had a serious biological imperative that I couldn’t fulfill in some way. i guess that’s how this "biological clock" thing is. i know i can’t do anything about it right now, even though it’s a bitch to keep from feeling like I should.

it's as if my ovaries are screaming, “what are we doing here? just get it over with already!”

an itch i can’t scratch.

i'm knee deep in pregnant & breastfeeding coworkers. every menstrual cycle feels like some sort of failure.

am i going crazy?

funny thing is, i'm sure that if i get to, say, 35 or so without getting pregnant, i’ll be fine.

but do the next few years of my life have to be hell because of those little vomity, sleep-sucking, baby powdery people?

in the dream, i was holding one. i think he was mine. he was smiling, very happy. not overly fat. brown. i was happy.

i couldn’t get a handle on where i was or who i was with, but i was holding him and talking to someone. it was almost like an isolated image or vision vs. a whole dream sequence with a beginning/end.

i dunno. maybe it’ll happen someday.

my heart/spirit/body can't get around my ego.
don't wanna mess with my body.
what the hell are you gonna do with a kid?
i like my freedom, dammit.

well, fuck it.

since i'm clearly not pregnant, i’m getting fucked up at this show saturday. that’s all there is to it.

if i can’t get what i want, i can at least get toasty mourning it.

cheers, bitches.


state of the union

cindy sheehan's arrest in her own words.


and if you like lemon juice in your wounds, here's the full text.

i admit to not watching/listening/reading the address personally. i figured it was the same address dude's been giving for the last 6 yrs or so.

(addendum--2/3...doesn't feel so good when it's you they're watching, does it?)


i really hate ruined evenings.

what i hate more is when grown-ass people need babysitters.
when said people ruin my night in the process, well....

i'm probably being selfish...but fuck it.

(addendum 2-2-06: my new fancy ass phone made me miss some messages that were crucial to my understanding of said situation and, well, shit. foot, meet mouth.)