omo sango....kawo!

Oriki Shango

Kawo Kaiyesile,
(Hail to the Chief.)

Etala mo juba gadagba mo juba.
(I greet you thirteen times.)

Shango pele o.
(Spirit of Lightning I am greeting you.)

Shango pele o.
(Spirit of Lightning I am greeting you.)

Shango pele o.
(Spirit of Lightning I am greeting you.)

Baba aladufe.
(Father who is loved by everyone.)

Shango pele o.
(Spirit of Lightning I am greeting you.)

Shango pele o.
(Spirit of Lightning I am greeting you.)

Shango pele o.
(Spirit of Lightning I am greeting you.)

Ni igba meta.
(I call you three times.)

Shango nuaa jeke awon o'iku.
(Spirit of Lightning protect us from disease and death.)

Ma ja kiki wa Òrun.
(Praise the power of Heaven.)

A dupe.
(I give you thanks.)

(May it be so. )



i would run from goliath.

large, looming things intimidate me. even if it's a goal i'm dead set on attaining.

i've learned that i work best when i can surround the problem, see it from all angles.

then i start dissecting it.

i take out the easiest parts first. feet. knees. make it a non-moving target. then i determine how long i can let it live before those feet and knees grow back. that's how i get my time frame.

then i start to disable it. use my snake venom. remove its senses, muddle its brain...the body becomes simply a formality to be swallowed, whole.

visualizing a huge wall a few miles ahead is not motivational. i don't have a battering ram mentality, nor am i fond of explosives. i don't have an "against all odds" sort of spirit.

sometimes, after a few strikes, i find i have to let the problem run away. even so, i keep it in my sights. run occasional reconnaissance missions. however, i don't relentlessly persue. i occupy myself with smaller prey.

bit by bit we eat the head of the rat...

but because i also have the gift of seeing quite far ahead of myself, i can get frustrated with this approach. there are times when it puts me in mind of stagnation. i start wondering why things don't move faster, why i can't have it NOW...etc.

but in times when i'm faced with the possibility of being overwhelmed, i have to think about things differently.

bit by bit...



ok. so normally i follow a bitch session with some gratitude. but while i am always grateful, i also realize that i am in need.

some "needs" are really wants, but that's ok.
i need some bliss. stat.

so. here we are.

the new job needs to have
my own office...that i can shut the door to. even if it's small.
more than enough liquid assets.
benefits (medical, dental, vacation/sick time...)
decent coworkers i can at least tolerate and at best enjoy as people
a balance of male & female coworkers.
a diverse group of coworkers/tolerance.
downtime when i need it, but generally a steady work pace.
opportunities for promotion.
no phd's.
some mechanism whereby i don't feel like i'm babysitting. or anybody's mama.

my new apartment/house needs to have
an area for a shrine room (large den, 2nd bedroom, basement...)
a large living room/common area
rent within $100 of what i'm paying now--incl heat, gas & hot water
plenty of windows/light like my current one
plenty of room for 'dare to run around in
windowsills for 'dare to sit on
ample storage/closet space
a tub i can soak in
heat efficient windows
if no a/c, good ceiling fans
a bedroom big enough to put a chaise/loveseat in
a decent laundry room. or washer/dryer in unit

general wants/needs
new clothes
new shoes
new bras/undies
ideas for rearranging the house
white clothes, especially skirts
a larger cat scratchy loungy thing
more music...& to be able to spend $50-75 on cds whenever i damn well please
a blissful vacation featuring an ocean
more time w/ honey. lots more.
pay off my credit cards
a decent savings account (coming soon!)
new computer (coming soon!)

"hurray, hormones!" pt. 2

i'm feeling weepy today.

admin day blows. i try to be grateful, but...eh. i'll say thank you 'cause that's what mommy taught me to do...but as ms. mcafee said,

Some bosses feel compelled to take their secretary, assistant, or whoever out to lunch on Secretaries Day. It's a nice gesture, but who wants to sit through that awkward meal? Anyone who has seen the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode in which Larry David takes his maid on a squirm-worthy lunch date at his country club knows the potential disaster of forced boss-employee conviviality. Instead of Secretaries Day, why not just chip in for a big cake on the Friday before Labor Day and toast everyone in the office—wouldn't that be kinder, not to mention easier? I'd much prefer that to a holiday that's a catch-all for "attagirl," "I'm sorry for being an insufferable employer," and "we should talk about that raise."

here, here.

speaking of raises, i didn't get the money i wanted. i did get a decent boost (we'll see how cruel uncle sam is shortly, i'm sure), but it's still barely what my starting salary would be elsewhere for the same work. so...i will be moving on.

i'm not mad, per se. my prayers were answered. it's a little frustrating, because even though i'm not fond of the job, i do like the people. and i know they appreciate me in their...way. but i need more money. period.

i really, really, really want to move, but i don't know how that's gonna work out. if i can get a moment to breathe, maybe i'll try looking online again today.

every time i think about the fact that i have not bought myself a new outfit/pair of shoes/even really cute underwear in godknowshowlong i want to scream. just about everything i own is practically worn out, hopelessly faded, or just plain old. it's like, i actually need shit at this point. it's not even about just buying stuff to have it.

food is about the only decadence i'm allowed, but i'm trying not to re-gain the weight i lost in february. and the farmer's market in all its cheapy goodness doesn't open until later next month.

honey's job is still working him half to death, and i miss him terribly. he's as supportive as he can be (he was angrier about the raise than i was...ha), and he says he's doing all this so that we can go somewhere this summer, but...i don't know. sometimes i'd just rather have him around for dinner and a movie instead. even so, getting to a beach this summer would greatly improve my mood. i just hope he's not so worn down he can't enjoy it, too.

maybe i need a few days off to get my head together.

or maybe i just need my period to start so i can just stop worrying over all this shit already.



open ltr to oprah winfrey from saul williams

long, but worth it. any emphasis is mine.

April 18, 2007

Dear Ms. Winfrey,

It is with the greatest respect and adoration of your loving spirit that I write you. As a young child, I would sit beside my mother everyday and watch your program. As a young adult, with children of my own, I spend much less time in front of the television, but I am ever thankful for the positive effect that you continue to have on our nation, history and culture. The example that you have set as someone unafraid to answer their calling, even when the reality of that calling insists that one self-actualize beyond the point of any given example, is humbling, and serves as the cornerstone of the greatest faith. You, love, are a pioneer.

I am a poet.

Growing up in Newburgh, NY, with a father as a minister and a mother as a school teacher, at a time when we fought for our heroes to be nationally recognized, I certainly was exposed to the great names and voices of our past. I took great pride in competing in my churches Black History Quiz Bowl and the countless events my mother organized in hopes of fostering a generation of youth well versed in the greatness as well as the horrors of our history. Yet, even in a household where I had the privilege of personally interacting with some of the most outspoken and courageous luminaries of our times, I must admit that the voices that resonated the most within me and made me want to speak up were those of my peers, and these peers were emcees. Rappers.

Yes, Ms. Winfrey, I am what my generation would call “a Hip Hop head.” Hip Hop has served as one of the greatest aspects of my self-definition. Lucky for me, I grew up in the 80’s when groups like Public Enemy, Rakim, The jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, and many more realized the power of their voices within the artform and chose to create music aimed at the upliftment of our generation.

As a student at Morehouse College where I studied Philosophy and Drama I was forced to venture across the street to Spelman College for all of my Drama classes, since Morehouse had no theater department of its own. I had few complaints. The performing arts scholarship awarded me by Michael Jackson had promised me a practically free ride to my dream school, which now had opened the doors to another campus that could make even the most focused of young boys dreamy, Spelman. One of my first theater professors, Pearle Cleage, shook me from my adolescent dream state. It was the year that Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” was released and our introduction to Snoop Dogg as he sang catchy hooks like “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks…” Although, it was a playwriting class, what seemed to take precedence was Ms. Cleages political ideology, which had recently been pressed and bound in her 1st book, Mad at Miles. As, you know, in this book she spoke of how she could not listen to the music of Miles Davis and his muted trumpet without hearing the muted screams of the women that he was outspoken about “man-handling”. It was my first exposure to the idea of an artist being held accountable for their actions outside of their art. It was the first time I had ever heard the word, “misogyny”. And as Ms. Cleage would walk into the classroom fuming over the women she would pass on campus, blasting those Snoop lyrics from their cars and jeeps, we, her students, would be privy to many freestyle rants and raves on the dangers of nodding our heads to a music that could serve as our own demise.

Her words, coupled with the words of the young women I found myself interacting with forever changed how I listened to Hip Hop and quite frankly ruined what would have been a number of good songs for me. I had now been burdened with a level of awareness that made it impossible for me to enjoy what the growing masses were ushering into the mainstream. I was now becoming what many Hip Hop heads would call “a Backpacker”, a person who chooses to associate themselves with the more “conscious” or politically astute artists of the Hip Hop community. What we termed as “conscious” Hip Hop became our preference for dance and booming systems. Groups like X-Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian, Arrested Development, Gangstarr and others became the prevailing music of our circle. We also enjoyed the more playful Hip Hop of De La Soul, Heiroglyphics, Das FX, Organized Konfusion. Digable Planets, The Fugees, and more. We had more than enough positivity to fixate on. Hip Hop was diverse.

I had not yet begun writing poetry. Most of my friends hardly knew that I had been an emcee in high school. I no longer cared to identify myself as an emcee and my love of oratory seemed misplaced at Morehouse where most orators were actually preachers in training, speaking with the Southern drawl of Dr. King although they were 19 and from the North. I spent my time doing countless plays and school performances. I was in line to become what I thought would be the next Robeson, Sidney, Ossie, Denzel, Snipes… It wasn’t until I was in graduate school for acting at NYU that I was invited to a poetry reading in Manhattan where I heard Asha Bandele, Sapphire, Carl Hancock Rux, Reggie Gaines, Jessica Care Moore, and many others read poems that sometimes felt like monologues that my newly acquired journal started taking the form of a young poets’. Yet, I still noticed that I was a bit different from these poets who listed names like: Audrey Lourde, June Jordan, Sekou Sundiata etc, when asked why they began to write poetry. I knew that I had been inspired to write because of emcees like Rakim, Chuck D, LL, Run DMC… Hip Hop had informed my love of poetry as much or even more than my theater background which had exposed me to Shakespeare, Baraka, Fugard, Genet, Hansberry and countless others. In those days, just a mere decade ago, I started writing to fill the void between what I was hearing and what I wished I was hearing. It was not enough for me to critique the voices I heard blasting through the walls of my Brooklyn brownstone. I needed to create examples of where Hip Hop, particularly its lyricism, could go. I ventured to poetry readings with my friends and neighbors, Dante Smith (now Mos Def), Talib Kwele, Erycka Badu, Jessica Care Moore, Mums the Schemer, Beau Sia, Suheir Hammad…all poets that frequented the open mics and poetry slams that we commonly saw as “the other direction” when Hip hop reached that fork in the road as you discussed on your show this past week. On your show you asked the question, “Are all rappers poets?” Nice. I wanted to take the opportunity to answer this question for you.

The genius, as far as the marketability, of Hip Hop is in its competitiveness. Its roots are as much in the dignified aspects of our oral tradition as it is in the tradition of ”the dozens” or “signifying”. In Hip Hop, every emcee is automatically pitted against every other emcee, sort of like characters with super powers in comic books. No one wants to listen to a rapper unless they claim to be the best or the greatest. This sort of braggadocio leads to all sorts of tirades, showdowns, battles, and sometimes even deaths. In all cases, confidence is the ruling card. Because of the competitive stance that all emcees are prone to take, they, like soldiers begin to believe that they can show no sign of vulnerability. Thus, the most popular emcees of our age are often those that claim to be heartless or show no feelings or signs of emotion. The poet, on the other hand, is the one who realizes that their vulnerability is their power. Like you, unafraid to shed tears on countless shows, the poet finds strength in exposing their humanity, their vulnerability, thus making it possible for us to find connection and strength through their work. Many emcees have been poets. But, no, Ms. Winfrey, not all emcees are poets. Many choose gangsterism and business over the emotional terrain through which true artistry will lead. But they are not to blame. I would now like to address your question of leadership.

You may recall that in immediate response to the attacks of September 11th, our president took the national stage to say to the American public and the world that we would “…show no sign of vulnerability”. Here is the same word that distinguishes poets from rappers, but in its history, more accurately, women from men. To make such a statement is to align oneself with the ideology that instills in us a sense of vulnerability meaning “weakness”. And these meanings all take their place under the heading of what we consciously or subconsciously characterize as traits of the feminine. The weapon of mass destruction is the one that asserts that a holy trinity would be a father, a male child, and a ghost when common sense tells us that the holiest of trinities would be a mother, a father, and a child: Family. The vulnerability that we see as weakness is the saving grace of the drunken driver who because of their drunken/vulnerable state survives the fatal accident that kills the passengers in the approaching vehicle who tighten their grip and show no physical vulnerability in the face of their fear. Vulnerability is also the saving grace of the skate boarder who attempts a trick and remembers to stay loose and not tense during their fall. Likewise, vulnerability has been the saving grace of the African American struggle as we have been whipped, jailed, spat upon, called names, and killed, yet continue to strive forward mostly non-violently towards our highest goals. But today we are at a crossroads, because the institutions that have sold us the crosses we wear around our necks are the most overt in the denigration of women and thus humanity. That is why I write you today, Ms. Winfrey. We cannot address the root of what plagues Hip Hop without addressing the root of what plagues today’s society and the world.

You see, Ms. Winfrey, at it’s worse; Hip Hop is simply a reflection of the society that birthed it. Our love affair with gangsterism and the denigration of women is not rooted in Hip Hop; rather it is rooted in the very core of our personal faith and religions. The gangsters that rule Hip Hop are the same gangsters that rule our nation. 50 Cent and George Bush have the same birthday (July 6th). For a Hip Hop artist to say “I do what I wanna do/Don’t care if I get caught/The DA could play this mothaf@kin tape in court/I’ll kill you/ I ain’t playin’” epitomizes the confidence and braggadocio we expect an admire from a rapper who claims to represent the lowest denominator. When a world leader with the spirit of a cowboy (the true original gangster of the West: raping, stealing land, and pillaging, as we clapped and cheered.) takes the position of doing what he wants to do, regardless of whether the UN or American public would take him to court, then we have witnessed true gangsterism and violent negligence. Yet, there is nothing more negligent than attempting to address a problem one finds on a branch by censoring the leaves.

Name calling, racist generalizations, sexist perceptions, are all rooted in something much deeper than an uncensored music. Like the rest of the world, I watched footage on AOL of you dancing mindlessly to 50 Cent on your fiftieth birthday as he proclaimed, “I got the ex/if you’re into taking drugs/ I’m into having sex/ I ain’t into making love” and you looked like you were having a great time. No judgment. I like that song too. Just as I do, James Brown’s Sex Machine or Grand Master Flashes “White Lines”. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll is how the story goes. Censorship will never solve our problems. It will only foster the sub-cultures of the underground, which inevitably inhabit the mainstream. There is nothing more mainstream than the denigration of women as projected through religious doctrine. Please understand, I am by no means opposing the teachings of Jesus, by example (he wasn’t Christian), but rather the men that have used his teachings to control and manipulate the masses. Hip Hop, like Rock and Roll, like the media, and the government, all reflect an idea of power that labels vulnerability as weakness. I can only imagine the non-emotive hardness that you have had to show in order to secure your empire from the grips of those that once stood in your way: the old guard. You reflect our changing times. As time progresses we sometimes outgrow what may have served us along the way. This time, what we have outgrown, is not hip hop, rather it is the festering remnants of a God depicted as an angry and jealous male, by men who were angry and jealous over the minute role that they played in the everyday story of creation. I am sure that you have covered ideas such as these on your show, but we must make a connection before our disconnect proves fatal.

We are a nation at war. What we fail to see is that we are fighting ourselves. There is no true hatred of women in Hip Hop. At the root of our nature we inherently worship the feminine. Our overall attention to the nurturing guidance of our mothers and grandmothers as well as our ideas of what is sexy and beautiful all support this. But when the idea of the feminine is taken out of the idea of what is divine or sacred then that worship becomes objectification. When our governed morality asserts that a woman is either a virgin or a whore, then our understanding of sexuality becomes warped. Note the dangling platinum crosses over the bare asses being smacked in the videos. The emcees of my generation are the ministers of my father’s generation. They too had a warped perspective of the feminine. Censoring songs, sermons, or the tirades of radio personalities will change nothing except the format of our discussion. If we are to sincerely address the change we are praying for then we must first address to whom we are praying.

Thank you, Ms. Winfrey, for your forum, your heart, and your vision. May you find the strength and support to bring about the changes you wish to see in ways that do more than perpetuate the myth of enmity.

In loving kindness,

Saul Williams

welcome to another edition of "hurray, hormones!"


i've probably said this before: i almost prefer mood swings.

being totally and utterly dissatisfied with your life situation and wanting to change it within 24-72 hours isn't realistic. yet, lately, i go thru this just about every month.

normally the dissatisfaction isn't that much of an issue--i can give myself a little pep talk and be fine. but when the hormones get involved, i want to set ablaze any and everything i percieve as an obstacle so i can move on.

i want results. yesterday.

i demand to know why i'm not living in a palace on a mountaintop, soaking my feet in a beautiful, clear stream. and why life has to be so goddamned hard all the time (mind you, i haven't lived a hard life. it just feels hard right now 'cause i can't go out and buy myself 5 pairs of candy-colored shoes or hop on a plane on a whim).

i want to be catered to, pampered. or at least be allowed to sit and meditate at will so i can consult intuitive solutions to the things i find dissatisfying. 'cause after 8 hours in my "cage", i'm usually too tired and irritated to meditate about anything.

i want peace, quiet. i want to be allowed to dream for as long as i want and wake up when i want, not to the sound of a shrieking alarm clock, which leaves me feeling disoriented and groggy.

but...i'm here at work, as usual. trying to make it through the day without snapping--verbally or otherwise. and i always manage.

but the process can be exhausting.



work in progress...started last night

puts out fire
quenches thirst
melts ice

seeks its level
wears away stone
washes away uselessness
mixes with anything and becomes
a solution

i was born under the sign
that has no enemy
osmotic and self-purifying
i can etch my name in mountains

there is a waterfall
between my thighs
warm and undulating
accepting of warm men
gateway for returning souls...

the essence
of my spirit
gives life to the world

(c) 2007 l.a.m.

adupe pupo (thank you very much)


good food
egungun mi
vacation days
ile mi
cats who curl up next to you just when you need it
idile mi
trips to target
def poetry on dvd


what is it about taxes

that just makes you wanna jump off a bridge
or scream incessantly for hours
or march to the irs offices with torches like they did in the monster movies...

i need to have some kids
buy a house
get more student debt

actually, i need to stop forgetting about them and have a professional look at the stuff so i don't get screwed, 'cause this time of year, i can ALWAYS feel the changes in the tax laws, even if i have no clue under god what they are.

hell, i don't even wanna pay taxes, seeing as most of them seem to get used for some wasteful, corrupt, or otherwise heinous shit.

at least the state gave me $8!!

ah well.
it's done for now.

i'm going to bed. lol.


sometimes i can't keep up with my mind

stories and poems race through, trying to be caught and heard
but i can only do about three things at one time well
get into four or five and i start slippin on at least one
but the words want all my attention
they abhor multitasking

my creativity is pretty overwhelming
which is probably why i've spent so much time trying to
subdue and/or
harness it

by now i understand that it's like my hair:
does what it wants when it wants
and grows like wildfire
or weeds
different textures and colors
all thrown into one me

and i gotta try to make sense of it.

don imus is an ass, but

there is something to be said for the fact that i can turn on just about any radio station right now and hear someone saying, in some capacity, that "we don't love these hoes..."

and they don't mean caucasian hoes.


we have to remember that we're not the only ones listening.
and some folks don't know where to draw the line
or when to shut their mouths.

(addendum 4.13.2007: they said it better.)

(addendum 4.13.2007: newt gingrich is also an ass. but we knew that.)


light years

If you don't know you can be light years
Away from your true destination. No conscious escalation
Until I get with good vibration
I'm never gonna get to use that
use that earthly power
Can never take the place of peace of mind
Losing all sense of direction.

~jamiroquai, "light years"

i'm trying to refrain from saying i hate my job until i have someplace else to go.

still, having to deal with my inner child's temper tantrums upon waking on weekday mornings has become a little tiring.

i feel like i can't understand my dreams because i'm too busy trying to fight off the bullshit and boredom of my days.

my spirit isn't the only thing that's free. sometimes i feel like i was born to be freedom, period. but that's not something that's easy to be when you're trying to be a "grown-up" in this society. saving up precious "vacation" days just to have a little time to breathe...and hell, at least i get vacation...wtf is that about?

you know what? fk it.
i'm grateful for what i have
and where i am.
i'm aware of my progression
at least i'm writing fairly regularly again...

this situation has always been temporary.

i'ma be aight.

still. when that alarm clock goes off...


emotional detox

these prove far more potent than the physical ones. at least for me.

when you fast, cleanse, etc., you have much more control over the process.

your mind/spirit doesn't have the 24 hour window your digestive system does. it might flush out at random, hitting you with all kinds of craziness.

i woke up from one dream silently screaming

another had me frustrated, hurt, and even a little jealous

yet another made me remember there are things you don't get "over". ever.

the one that had me terrified really shouldn't have. a swarm of red ants crawled up my legs and over my body. at the time, i was (supposedly) filming a movie. had i remembered that, i would have known it was all an elaborate fake and could have learned something from it all. ah, hindsight.

instead, the ants started coming (until they "touched" me i "knew" they weren't real...), and i started screaming. i opened my eyes with every nerve in my body tingling, cottonmouthed, praying i didn't really scream that loudly.

the frustration dream put me within almost-spitting distance of someone i miss terribly, but i couldn't go to him. in the last dream i had of him, i figured it wasn't worth speaking to him, but now--even though he was much farther away physically--i despised not being able to run to the street (i watched him from a window) and make myself known. when i saw him invite a woman to sit down with him, obviously flirting, i became livid--but only for the second it took me to realize how irrational that was.

in the next scene, i saw him, obviously ill, in a wheelchair (on tv, of all places). i was maddened. how could that have happened to him? where was i? couldn't i heal him? i sensed he might have been sick when i saw him from the window and hated myself for not getting to him then.

the third dream had me speaking to a jennifer hudson clone who was also a therapist. she spoke-sang all these questions to try and gauge my feelings about my 20someodd year old molestation and i'm wondering "who the hell is she & what business is it of hers?". all the while, i'm in a house that i'm told belongs to me, but is full of a stranger's things. obviously that one drudged up quite a few emotions.

i've dealt with that situation via all the proper channels, but what ppl don't tell you is the disclaimer: innocence doesn't really get lost, just violated. stolen from. afterwards, it hangs around the victim trying to remember what it was, and all its requisite pain must be given its due respect and expression.

i woke up feeling relatively rested, considering.

all i can do is be grateful i see this for what it is and pray that it has cleared the way for much more positive, illuminating dreams for the rest of the week.

i say all this to say: don't run from your nightmares. look them dead in the face and figure out what they're trying to say.


maferefun egungun mi

if you are of african descent
no matter your current spiritual path
please, please, please do yourself a favor:
commune with your ancestors.

it doesn't take much.
and it has nothing to do with replacing god.

uplifting those who have gone before is just as necessary as uplifting our people on this plane.



free floss!

apparently they have some "get your floss on" campaign for the students here at my place of employment.

so...i now have a pretty little (free!) blue box of dental floss from "united concordia"--a group of ppl concerned with "insuring america's dental health".

at least that's what the box says.

the fact that this was pretty much the highlight of my day should strike you as rather tragic. lol.

happy friday!


goddess garden

i've decided that once i get my house, i'm going to build an outdoor goddess garden. i'll need statues, incense holders, places for candles, baubles, pretty stones and shells, etc.

pantheon to include:

quan yin
kali ma
maybe aida wedo
definitely some kind of replica of the venus of willendorf
something for saartjie

what i can't decide is if i want to just scatter them throughout the garden or just set aside a particular corner as sacred ground. i'm sure it'll depend on how much space i have...

if i can get something fenced in i'll even go out and dance in the moonlight! if not, i'll be content to quietly meditate in front of it--for the neighbors' sake, of course.


more gratitude...

'cause that's all i can think to write about today

warm showers
love love love love love
smiles & laughter
clean sheets
egungun mi
crock pots
diners w/ yummy veggie food
decaffeinated (sorta) coffee