Monday, October 31, 2005

Here is the link to my son's basketball team - The Pioneers (Widener University)picture:
Number 13.
The Jewish Literary Festival at the DCJCC will take place from November 6-9 & 12-16, 2005.
Diwali Festival (Indian Festival of Light) on Howard's campus on Thursday, November 3rd. 12 Noon- 2 PM.
The Gallery Lounge, Blackburn Center.
The latest issue of the African American Review (AAR) is out. Story by William Henry Lewis, poem by A.B. Spellman, interview with Sonia Sanchez about her art of drama, and many other tasty treats.
Nominating Imam W. Deen Mohammed for a future Nobel Peace Prize is not a bad idea.
See article in the recent issue of Muslim Journal (November 4, 2005).
For more information or to have petition forms sent to you call Talib Rashada, Chairman of The Committee of the Committed at 410 740-5212.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

This is the speech that Keith Boykin wanted to deliver at the recent March.

Remarks Prepared for Delivery
The Millions More March
Saturday, October 15, 2005
By Keith Boykin

Good Afternoon. Today I am honored to stand here at the Millions More
Movement March as a representative of the National Black Justice Coalition,
the country’s only national civil rights organization for Black lesbians,
gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. The National Black Justice
Coalition strongly supports the goals of the Millions More Movement for
unity and inclusion of our entire community.

In February of this year, Minister Farrakhan and I participated in Tavis
Smiley’s annual “State of The Black Union” event in Atlanta. During a press
conference that day, Minister Farrakhan announced that women and gays would
be encouraged to participate in today’s March. “The makeup will be our
people, whoever we are,” he said. Then he added, “Male, female, gay,
straight, light, dark, rich, poor, ignorant, wise. We are family. We will be
coming together to discuss family business.”

After the press conference, I spoke to the Minister and I introduced myself.
“Minister Farrakhan,” I said, while shaking his hand, “My name is Keith
Boykin, and I am a Black gay man. And I want to thank you for your inclusive
comments about gays in the Million Man March.” Without missing a beat,
Minister Farrakhan responded to me with a long, warm embrace. “Brother, I
love you,” he said as we hugged. “We are all part of the family. We are all
part of the same community.” That was an historic moment.

Ten years ago, I joined more than a million of my brothers on this very
location for the Million Man March. At that time, there were no openly gay,
lesbian or bisexual speakers at that March. This time, however, I am able to
speak here today as an openly gay man because of the courageous leadership
of one man – Minister Louis Farrakhan. I publicly and honestly thank him and
salute him for the invitation to speak. The diversity of speakers assembled
here today is a powerful signal that we in the Black community will not
allow ourselves to be divided by differences of opinion, religion, gender,
class or sexual orientation ever again.

As Minister Farrakhan himself said in August, “we must not allow painful
utterances of the past or present, based on sincere belief, or based on our
ignorance, or based on our ideology or philosophy to cripple a movement that
deserves and needs all of us—and, when I say all, I mean all of us.”

Earlier this week, two of my colleagues and I sat with Minister Farrakhan,
his wife, his daughter, and his son, and with Rev. Willie Wilson, the
executive director of this March. Minister Farrakhan said it was the first
time he had ever sat down with a group of openly gay and lesbian African
Americans. Let me be honest. It was an intense, passionate and candid
meeting where both sides shared their pain and frustration with the other.
At the end of the discussion, however, we made progress. We realized that
there are no “both sides” of the table. There is only one side, and that is
the side of justice.

So today I accept the olive branch offered by Minister Farrakhan and Rev.
Wilson and offer an olive branch of my own. We acknowledge the hurt and pain
that has been caused by both sides in our past conflicts, and we fully
commit ourselves to heal the deep wounds that have hurt us. Thank you,
Minster Farrakhan and Rev. Wilson for the love.

We have disagreed in the past and we may disagree in the future, but we all
agree that we must move forward together. We all agree that we will not
allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media to create divisions among us.
We all agree that we are stronger together than we are apart. And we all
agree that the struggle for the liberation of our people is more important
than our individual differences of opinion.

Fifty years ago, Ralph Ellison wrote, "I am an invisible man. . . I am
invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. . . . When
they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of
their imagination -- indeed, everything and anything except me." Ralph
Ellison was talking about the invisibility of the African American, but the
same could be said of Black gays and lesbians.

When Dr. King spoke at the 1963 Civil Rights March, he called on one person,
Bayard Rustin, a Black gay man, to organize that march. When Duke Ellington
performed “Take The ‘A’ Train,” he called on one person, Billy Strayhorn, a
Black gay man to serve as his composer. And when Black actors and directors
put on performances of “A Raisin In The Sun,” they call on one person,
Lorraine Hansberry, a Black bisexual playwright, to serve as their muse.

Black culture as we know it today would not exist without the words of James
Baldwin, the poetry of Audre Lorde, or the choreography of Alvin Ailey. That
is why I am here today – to honor their legacy.

But I am also here to honor the living heroes and sheroes of today. My good
friend Phill Wilson likes to say that our people cannot love us if they do
not know us. So I want you to know who we are. I want you to know the
activist Angela Davis, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Alice Walker, the
Grammy-nominated recording artist Me'Shell Ndege'Ocello, Editor-at-Large and
former executive editor for ESSENCE magazine Linda Villarosa, and the former
Adviser to New York Mayor David Dinkins, Dr. Marjorie Hill.

And I want you to know the living male heroes. Men like New York City
Council Member Phillip Reed, Former Mayor of Cambridge Ken Reeves, Mayor of
Palm Springs Ron Oden, Bestselling Author E. Lynn Harris, and Harvard
University Chaplain Rev. Peter Gomes.

And finally, I want you to know that we are your brothers and sons and
fathers. We are your sisters and daughters and mothers. And we are your
cousins and nieces and nephews as well. We cannot separate ourselves from
the larger Black family because we are an integral part of the Black family.
We raise our families, we send money to our nephews, and yes we sing in the
choir as well.

The issues that affect Black gays and lesbians are issues that affect all
Black people. Last year I sat in the living room of a young mother who had
lost her child to violence in Newark, New Jersey. Her 15-year-old daughter,
Sakia Gunn, was murdered because the killer thought she was gay. When black
homosexuals and bisexuals are murdered, black heterosexual family members
still have to bury their kin. What happens to Black gays and lesbians
directly affects black straight people as well.

HIV and AIDS is the leading cause of death for young Black people, gay or
straight. Forty-five million Americans do not have health insurance, and too
many of this group are Black, gay or straight. Unemployment is still too
high among Black people, gay or straight. We are all connected.

When Black people were forced to sit in the back of the bus, Black gay
people were forced to sit in the back of the bus. When Black people could
not vote, Black lesbians could not vote. And when Black people are beaten
and abused by the police, Black bisexuals are beaten and abused by the

We share the same goals and aspirations as the rest of the Black community,
but none of us can accomplish those goals without unity and courage. We all
need courage in our lives. It took courage for you to come here today. It
took courage for Minister Farrakhan to invite me to speak today. And it will
take courage to heal the wounds that have divided us for far too long.

In the timeless words of Audre Lorde, "When I dare to be powerful – to use
my strength in the service of my vision – then it becomes less and less
important whether I am afraid." So I say to you today: Be strong, be proud,
be courageous.


The challenge we face everyday is to open our hearts. I remember Essex Hemphill always ending his letters with "Love and Black Blessings." Yeah...Black Blessings for all of us.
Long day. Good day. I took the bus down to my daughter's apartment around 5AM. We took the Metro to the Pentagon. The train was crowded with runners going to the 30th Marine Marathon. A nice day to run.
I helped my daughter check her stuff and get ready for the race. Her starting time was 8:45 AM.
We decided to meet at Cosi (DuPont Circle) after the race.
I went back home first.

While waiting at Cosi I watched the first half of the Skin/Giant game. This game should put a stop to any division/Superbowl nonsense in DC. Tiki, Tiki, Tiki. The Skins got a big head beating up on SF. I don't think they can beat anyone in the East. Bring back those 2 late TDS against Dallas and this team is thinking about saying farewell to Gibbs. Oh...I'll watch the Ravens knock the Steelers off tomorrow.

My daughter ran the Marathon in 4hours and 46 minutes. It was good to see her walking into Cosi with her medal. Go Jazz.
We went up the street and had Chinese food on Connecticut Avenue. Before I walked her back to her apartment I went into Melody Records and purchased Toshi Reagon's "Have You Heard." Nothing like walking into a record store. How can downloading be this much fun?

Other sports:

The Latino Legends Team:

Ivan Rodriguez
Albert Pujols
Edgar Martinez
Rod Carew
Juan Marichal
Fernando Valenzuela
Roberto Clemente
Manny Ramierz
Vladimir Guerrero
Mariano Rivera
Alex Rodriguez
Pedro Martinez

For a good insight into the White House/CIA stuff checkout David Ignaius Op-Ed piece in today's Washington Post.

According to the Travel Industry Association of America:

D.C. is now the fourth-most popular tourism destination in the US. Come visit.

1. New York
2. Orlando
3. Las Vegas

Sad story of the week:
Wall Street Journal (10/26/05) - "On a Hong Kong Trail, A Serial Dog Slayer Terrorizes Pet Owners." Someone has been poisoning dogs for about a decade.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I checked some of those Sunday news programs to see who would be talking tomorrow.
It looks like Bush must be making some serious changes. This must be a long weekend for folks. No one is out front trying to put a spin on things. Look for some folks to want to move everything forward and look for others to want to examine the past - why did we go to war in Iraq? I was surprise not to find the newspapers asking questions about the VP. Have you noticed the media never shows you where Niger is?
I guess we are not suppose to know that either. Go figure.
2005 has been a year filled with images that keep sending you back to your eyes for tears. The picture (Washington Post/A12) of young boys in Iran pointing their "play" guns at the Israeli flag on "Jersualem Day" just made me weep for our future. Another generation growing up without a scent of peace in the air. Too many brown shirts in closets. Maybe the earthquakes and storms keep coming because the earth is tired of this hatred. I know I am. Maybe we should erase history and start again.
And why did that dangling Israeli flag remind me so much of a black body hanging from a tree?
I'm still reading newspapers and magazines that are in a big pile by my desk. I took a break and went downtown to Busboys & Poets. I spent the early evening with an old friend talking politics and culture.

Tomorrow I'll go downtown and cheer my daughter who is running in the 30th Marine Corps Marathon: 26 miles, 385 yards.

I might go to the movies in the afternoon.


Pool sitting
in Fresno. I
watch the Sun
trying to ask
the Wind for
a date.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
Now tell me this is not BS?

An America where blacks run Merrill Lynch, American Express and the State Department no longer needs civil rights activism of the Rosa Parks and James Weldon Johnson variety, and hasn't for decades. Thanks in large part to their diligence and sacrifices, the battle for legal equality has been fought and won. Blacks still face social and economic challenges, but these result mainly from self-inflicted cultural wounds, not a manifestly unjust society."
- Jason L. Riley in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL- 10/28/05

The problem with the above statement is that the attention is given to the guy/woman at the front of the line. Remember the old saying about how one couldn't eat "Bunche for lunch" and improve one's condition? Everyone can't win the lottery. Of course, everyone has a chance to win if they can buy a ticket. But what is the price of the ticket?

I'm happy for black faces in high places but one can't overlook our failure to improve our entire society. Unless we are going to have serious redistribution of wealth our problems are not going to disappear. Folks who have the money need to be more responsible. Use money to help improve the conditions of people who need food and shelter. What's with all the greed? How many cars and homes does one man need?
How many pairs of shoes, suits, etc? Some people just need a bottle of water.
If I had more money, I would do more...but of course I'm held back by these self-inflicted cultural wounds. Just this morning one of my poems put a gun to my head and said, "Don't move - don't write another word!"
Two more months before this year ends. Whew. What's coming before the last day of December?

Yes some say it's just a part of it
We've got to fulfill the book
- Bob Marley
"Poor Marriages, Poor Health" the recent essay by William Raspberry in the Washington Post presents only one side of the equation. How many men are suffering from depression,and other ailments because of bad marriages? According to the report that Raspberry makes reference to, the research finds that marriage brings small health benefits to black man - and none to black women. small? That's what I want to know. How many black men are sitting in their homes right now just longing for a hug, or maybe sweet words. Some of these sociological studies are like war reports. They can explain everything and explain nothing. The fact is, people are still dying for lack of love or what they think love is. Too many of us are blues people. Yes, we are black and blue.
PEN AMERICAN CENTER presents an evening of readings against torture, arbitrary detention and extraordinary rendition.
Tuesday, November 8th, at 7PM
The Great Hall, Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street at Third Avenue
New York City

Edward Albee
Paul Auster
Sandra Cisneros
Don DeLillo
Dave Eggers
Martin Espada
Philip Gourevitch
Jessica Hagedorn
Heidi Julavits
Nicole Krauss
Ricky Moody
Walter Mosley
Grace Paley
Emma Reverter
Salman Rushdie
Martha Southgate
Colson Whitehead
"To be sensual , I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread."
- James Baldwin THE FIRE NEXT TIME.
So look for the President to stay outside the Beltway for a few days. It might be a good idea to send Cheney somewhere. Maybe look for the guy to go to Cuba or Iran...something groundbreaking and not in the typical mode.
Notice how much of the discussion will be around someone's character. This is where we have serious media problems. It starts with people who are defending folks. For example, just look at what Cheney said about "Scooter." He claims that the guy is "one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever know." Notice how the the same speechwriter is at work here. Why do folks always say this? It's like writing the same letter of recommendation for ten different people.
The problem is not with Scooter's personality, it's with the policies folks endorse and promote. It's with their ideas. Let's focus on ideas not people. What did Scooter do? I don't want to know that the guy feeds his dog in the morning and goes to church. How many people were in the KKK and did the same thing? No, we need to focus on what people are doing, and the long term results. It's like the Watergate scandal and how it might have weaken the structure of our government. The issue was bigger than Nixon. Same situation today. With terrorism and Mother Nature kicking our righteous butts every week, it looks like our government is not working. That is a major problem - confidence in our country and leaders. I'm not talking political parties here either. People have to see their government working in order to believe in it. Look at what's going on in LA, Mississippi and Florida these days. Now, add the fact that our government might not be telling the truth about stuff. Oh, boy...serious problems here. Bush has to realize this. It's not about people and some of this short term greed stuff. It's about what is going to happen to our country if the people don't protest or the media fails to do its job. We fail the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. For example, the worse thing to do would be to stack the Supreme Court. It's vital that the Court always have a balance of political views. It's the only way we can move forward into the future. It's vital that a President always have different advisors around him. People who are not going to push a special agenda of their own (or others). Did we make a mistake around Iraq?
We need to have open discussions about this. If we don't it's going to further weaken our nation. It will make Homeland Security nothing but a padlock. How can we defend ourselves when the things we do we can't defend? Bush needs a new speechwriter. If I was on the staff I would be slipping some Mari Evans poems into his, speak the truth to the people. Just speak the truth. Now is the time to have the courage to lead and not simply watch the polls. Hmmm. I think Richard Nixon said that after he left office. Of course if the the present administration is just concerned about "damage" control then they fail the American people. Talking about the American people, I was in the Houston airport waiting to return to DC. In the terminal nobody was watching television. There was no interest in what was going on. Folks kept working on their computers, reading novels, and waiting for their planes to arrive. I looked around and wanted to yell - Wake Up!
I felt a little like a Spike Lee character. With earthquakes, floods, the Red Sox and White Sox winners of the World Series the last two years - what could be next?
It's easy to predict - look for a SF earthquake, the Cubs in the World Series, and a black person coming out of nowhere to be President of the US. He He OK, what about Martians and ET telling us it's over and they want the planet. Can you see FEMA in charge of finding everyone a space ship?

Friday, October 28, 2005

I just read Shelby Steele's Wall Street Journal essay (Wednesday, October 26th). Black intellectual can write some silly stuff and still get published. Some folks could help race relations by just saving white paper.
The Katrina aftermath is now a point of reference by which we measure or "see" black poverty. Gee was always there. Black intellectuals need to travel more. Get out and see the Black World like Garvey did. Walk the streets of Philadelphia like DuBois. Ground with one's brothers like Rodney. It's a very simple formula.
See the world and then write.

If we plan to solve the problems of poverty then we better get our coveralls out.
I remember my brother during his last years almost adopting a vow of poverty. He worked with Puerto Ricans living in his community. Many of his books and possessions he gave to his friends and neighbors.

The Other America will always be the "other" America until we see ourselves.
Look to the Sunday morning television shows to see who is going to defend the Bush Administration after a bad week. This sounds like a job for Condi. By next week everyone in the White House will be singing Stevie Wonder - So What The Fuss!

Shame on them.
Shame on US.
Look for T-Mac not to play too much this year. Tendinitis in both knees and the season is just starting. :-(

Congrats should be given to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History for reprinting another edition of THE MIS-EDUCATION OF THE NEGRO by Carter G. Woodson.
Well, I'm back from Fresno, California and Houston, Texas. I was giving talks on the work of Langston Hughes. This was part of "Branching Out: Poetry for the 21st Century" a joint project of Poets House (NY) and the Poetry Society of America. NEA funded the project. It consists of a contemporary poet giving a talk on a great poet.
Elizabeth Alexander has been discussing the work of Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Espada has been doing Pablo Neruda.
My talk in Fresno was at the Woodward Park Regional on October 24th. I read my own poems the next day. Both events were well attended. I saw an old friend and made several new ones. Many thanks to Jeanne Johnson and Linda Aragon.
On the way to Texas I ran into the poet Jane Miller in the Denver airport. It was great seeing her again. Whew...that brings back the old AWP Board meetings in Virginia.
When I arrived in Houston the Astros had just lost. I got caught in the traffic and didn't get to my hotel until after midnight. If you make a trip to Houston be sure to stay at the Doubletree Guest Suites (5353 Westheimer Road). I had a lovely suite on the 21st floor. A beautiful view of the city. It was my first time in Houston.

My reading on Thursday was at The Ensemble Theatre (3535 Main Street). You must see this space. So great to see a Black Theater that has been around for a long time. This is what is needed in so many other US cities. The executive director is the beautiful Janette Cosley. Here is where you can go for info:
Before my talk, the actor Steve J. Scott did a fine dramatic tribute to Langston.
After my program, the "ghost" of Charles Rowell came into view. It was nice to see Papa Callaloo in the house.

So, now I'm back in DC until next Saturday...then it's off to Kansas City.

Well, the city is still here. Small "Bush" burning and it looks like a fire in the White House. Libby was walking around on those crutches the other day looking very much like Barry Bonds when folks were talking about steroids.

Notice how the media will focus on Patrick Fitzgerald's personal life more than the serious matters. Oh, and this is about the WAR -Nothing else. It explains why Powell is gone. Did folks just lie to go to war? Did someone slip our President a Micky?
Will folks be calling for a new VP before the end of the year? Did our VP know about any of this? Ag-NEW.

Oh and the Miers nomination was killed by George Will on the first day. Why don't folks just give the pundit credit. Miers did look like she was out of the 1950s...not enough for the Neo-conservatives who would like to turn the country back to 1862 instead of 1863.
How come the Demos didn't complain about Miers?? The Democratic Party is becoming a little too spineless. The Demos should have echoed Will on Miers. If this is about finding the best people, let's find them.
The Republicans might be in trouble but I don't see the Demos swimming any better.

Look for Bush to become more presidential in the next couple of weeks. The guy will start thinking about his legacy and place in history. He might even "shock" the Right and select another "moderate" person for the Supreme court. If he really loves his friends he could be upset with how Miers was treated. With the current scandal he might cut away from the Right. Folks are looking for him to embrace the Right folks...I just don't see it happening. I still think Bush might have been sucker punched and might counter with a few surprises of his own. There are so many different interests fighting to control the US right now. Much "Plame" to go around.

Key political folks to follow the next several months: George Allen (R-Va),
Sam Brownback (R-Kan).

Look for folks in the government to start jumping ship soon. Who will be the first person to say they want to spend more time with their kids?

So there were the Astros losing in 4. 2005 and those guys can't find one black player? Shame.

Sheryl Swoopes scores three points for speaking out about who she wants to love.
Keep an eye on how the league "promotes" her next year. Will other women players start coming out? Will someone hit them with a new "dress" code? Go figure.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chuck Collins is VP of the Board of IPS:
Published on Friday, October 21, 2005 by

Inequality in America: Version 2.0
by Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel

Fall is inequality season. Every autumn, as the leaves change color, we
get a vivid new picture of the trends that pull us apart as a country.

This year is no different. But after almost three decades of
incrementally widening disparities of wealth and income, it's worth
noting that we've entered a new version of economic apartheid,
American-style. Let's call it Inequality 2.0.

The United States is now the third most unequal industrialized society
after Russia and Mexico. This is not a club we want to be part of.
Russia is a recovering kleptocracy, with a post-Soviet oligarchy
enriched by looting. And Mexico, despite joining the rich-nations club
of the Organization for Economic and Community Development, has some of
the most glaring poverty in the hemisphere.

In 2004, after three years of economic recovery, the U.S. Census
reports that poverty continues to grow, while the real median income
for full-time workers has declined. Since 2001, when the economy hit
bottom, the ranks of our nation's poor have grown by 4 million, and the
number of people without health insurance has swelled by 4.6 million to
over 45 million.

Income inequality is now near all-time highs, with over 50 percent of
2004 income going to the top fifth of households, and the biggest gains
going to the top 5 percent and 1 percent of households. The average CEO
now takes home a paycheck 431 times that of their average worker.

At the pinnacle of U.S. wealth, 2004 saw a dramatic increase in the
number of billionaires. According to Forbes Magazine, there are now 374
U.S. billionaires. The growth in billionaires took a dramatic leap
since the early 1980s, when the average net worth of the individuals on
the Forbes 400 list was $400 million. Today, the average net worth is
$2.8 billion. Wal-Mart's Walton family now has 771,287 times more than
the median U.S. household.

Does inequality matter? One problem is that concentrations of wealth
and power pose a danger to our democratic system. The corruption of
politics by big money might explain why for the last five years the
President and Congress have been more interested in repealing the
federal estate tax, paid only by multi-millionaires, than on
reinforcing levees along the Gulf Coast.

Now, to pay for hurricane reconstruction and the war in Iraq, Congress
is considering cuts in programs that help poor people, such as Medicaid
and Food Stamps. They have not yet considered fairer ways of reducing
the deficit by reversing special tax breaks for the rich, such as the
recent cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes.

Inequality is non-partisan. The pace of inequality has grown steadily
over three decades, under both Republican and Democratic
administrations and Congresses. The Gini index, the global measure of
inequality, grew as quickly under President Clinton as it has under
President George W. Bush. Widening disparities in the U.S. are the
result of three decades of bi-partisan public policies that have tilted
the rules of the economy to the benefit of major corporations and large
asset owners at the expense of people whose security comes from a

Public policies in trade, taxes, wages and social spending can make a
difference in mitigating national and global trends toward prolonged
inequality. But our priorities are moving in the wrong direction.

For example, the failure to raise the minimum wage from its 1997 level
of $5.15 an hour guarantees continued income stagnation for the working
poor for years to come. The President and Congress's focus on tax cuts
for the wealthy and their disinterest in government spending to expand
equal opportunity sets the stage for Inequality Version 3.0.

We shouldn't tolerate this drift toward an economic apartheid society.

Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel are co-authors of the new book,
"Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality and
Insecurity" (The New Press). Yeskel is co-director of Class Action.
Collins is Senior Fellow at United for a Fair Economy.

For information about the new book Economic Apartheid in America, go to
Yesterday my panel and memoir workshop went very well at the F. Scott Fitzgerald conference.

Did you see Bobby Jenks throwing that terrible heat in the World Series? 100 mph.
Nobody is gonna hit that.

Poetry Info:


Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa

As part of the Remember Saro-Wiwa campaign, Flipped Eye is publishing an anthology of 100 poems to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s and his comrades, known as the Ogoni 9, which took place on November 10, 1995. The anthology will be published on November 10, 2005.
Poems from Amiri Baraka, Kamau Brathwaite, Staceyann Chin, Merle Collins, Jayne Cortez, Fred D’Aguiar, Kwame Dawes, Martin Espada, Rachel E. Griffiths, Nathalie Handal, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Tony Medina, E. Ethelbert Miller, Kamilah A. Moon, Mutabaruka, Geoffrey Philp, Kevin Powell, Kalamu ya Salaam, Sonia Sanchez, Sharan Strange, Benjamin Zephaniah plus esteemed African poets living at home and abroad, including, Niyi Osundare, Veronique Tadjo, Chris Abani, Syl Cheney Coker, Chenjerai Hove, Odia Ofeimun, Jack Mapanje. Tanure Ojiade. Poems come from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Nepal. Poems have been included that are written in English, Catalan, Patios, and Scots.
The title, Dance the Guns to Silence is taken from Saro-Wiwa’s poem ‘Dance,’ with a Foreword written by Ken Wiwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s son. Editorial advisory was offered from the renowned Malawian poet now living in Britain Jack Mapanje. The result is an anthology of strong and thoughtful poems of tribute, ranging from words of social consciousness to hard hitting images and moving stories. Royalties go to the Ken Saro-Wiwa Foundation.
All Remember Saro-Wiwa, all remember how much
the struggle of the Ogoni people, align with their own
The Washington DC launch reading for
Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa will take place on
Date: Saturday, November 19
Time: 5.30pm-7.30pm
Place: Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St, NW (intersection: 14th and V Streets)
In collaboration with the TransAfrica Forum and Afrikafe Film Festival and support from American PEN Center. With special guest poet Sonia Sanchez plus Fred D’Aguiar, E. Ethelbert Miller, Kalamu ya Salaam, Tony Medina, Ogaga Ifowodo, Theodore Harris and guest poet from the UK, Rommi Smith. MC Kadija Sesay

Dance the Guns to Silence is commissioned and produced by African Writers Abroad (PEN) Centre/ Published by Flipped Eye For more information on the book, the launch event, images and review copies contact:

Shirley Horn gone...:-( She was 71.
May the Music Never End

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Be sure to read The New Yorker and the article about Bill Gates in Africa. Very Important.

I'm heading up to Rockville, Maryland, today to the F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference on the campus of Montgomery College. I'll be conducting a memoir workshop and moderating a panel on African American Literature in the 21st century.

Friday, October 21, 2005

So that's Prince playing guitar on SO WHAT THE FUSS. Guess that why my head was dancing.

Good news. Julia J and I are back together...look for our new line of Postcards in 2006.
Confirmation: Phylicia Rashad will be coming to the August Wilson tribute at Howard on November 17th.

Positivity - Stevie Wonder.
I went to Maryland to buy some shirts. In the store doing the selling was old T. Knight from my Cook Hall days. So much fun and laughter just seeing him. He was always one of the best dressed guys on campus. I told him I'm returning so he can help me shape my 2006 image. Next year I'll plan to do serious fundraising. Lookout Stern. If I can't play in the NBA, I can still look good right? Bert got Game?

Stevie on the player right now. I had to get the Wonderman CD. A Time to Love.

Getting ready to cheer for my daughter who will be running on October 30th in the Marine Marathon. She estimates it will take her about 4 hours and 20 minutes to complete the run. Go Jazz!

You know you're getting old when you son is returning to DC to attend the Howard Homecoming.

If you love Emily Dickinson pick-up a copy of the latest issue of The New England Quarterly (September 2005). "Have We Not a Hymn?" Dickinson and the Rhetoric of New England Revivalism" by Daniel L. Manheim.
If you want to know what IPS does and why it's important just go to The Washington Post today. On page A19 there is an excellent article about Judge Juan Guzman Tapia (of Chile). He received the IPS Letelier/Moffitt Human Rights Award this week at the National Press Club. I presented him with a copy of my book -WHERE ARE THE LOVE POEMS FOR DICTATORS?
For more information:

So should I start wearing a tie and jacket to work? New NBA dress codes. Where did this come from? Hmmm. NY Times reports that last season Stern (NBA) hired Matthew Dowd, the business strategist who helped shape Bush's re-election campaign. I guess they decided not to count Iverson's vote too.
I wonder what women in the WNBA will be wearing next season? No braids? No pants? No fancy underwear?
Does anyone demand that Bill Gates wear a tie?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A long day. I just finished watching Chris Rock's television show. I think it's funny and good. It's amazing how little tv I watch.

In the morning I met with Pete and Brain, two cool guys who want to put the issue of personal income inequality on the local and national agenda. We had a good conversation. More about this later...

In the afternoon I joined Sandra Shannon's HU committee that is organizing a tribute to the late August Wilson on November 17th. It will be held in Ira Aldridge Theater at 4PM.

I had a 4:30 meeting over at Busboys with Bill Fletcher (TransAfrica). It was good to get to know him better. It would be nice for IPS and TransAfrica Forum to do some projects together in 2006. After talking with Bill, I had dinner with Anu. I'm nominating her for one of those Mayor's Arts Awards. As she was putting her paperwork in order, I noticed how long ago it was when I won the Mayor's Arts Award for Excelllence in Literature - 1982. Whew!

Tomorrow is my Buddy Bev's birthday. Wishing her many more happy ones.
Houston Astros in the World Series - first time for Texas. Look for the White House
to plug into this. Bush loves baseball. Images of politicians around winners always looks good in the media. You can't lose. Look for Bush and guys like Nolan Ryan to be in the spotlight. Look for a lot of military involvement in the opening ceremonies. Oh...and I know some black folks from New Orleans are going to be given some tickets even if they don't have real homes yet.

Wilma the next storm; another indication that we are moving backwards. Think Flintstones. Folks walking around like Fred and Barney. No shoes and living in...

Talking with Daphne (IPS) last night, I think she is correct about folks not talking more about better environmental policies. Where are the black leaders who might not want black people to move back into New Orleans because of the health risks? Everyone talks about racism, etc. Let's focus on how we can save the earth first.
Get those Nationalist flags out and look not just at the red and black....There is a green part too. Who wants land that is going to make us sick - or kill us like the Klan on Dark Night. Where are the poets who will write about the Mississippi gulf like Neruda staring out at the sea?
The 29th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award ceremony was a huge success.
Awards were given to Barrios Unidos and Judge Juan Guzman Tapia. So many people you just wanted to talk with all evening long. Just being next to Harry Belafonte is a reminder that the struggle continues. Giving out the awards were Joyce Horman and Constance L. Rice. Horman lost her husband in the aftermath of the 1973 Chilean coup.
The 1982 Academy Award-winning movie "Missing" starring Sisy Spacek and Jack Lemmon was based on her life story. Rice is Condi's cousin and boy is she eloquent and dynamic. A graduate of Harvard and NYU, she is a Civil Rights lawyer in California.She has received more than 50 major awards for her work in expanding opportunity and advancing multi-racial democracy.

It was good to see Isabel Letelier again. Also good to hug Saul Landau and so many others. And there was Andy outside of Busboys for an evening with his beautiful wife.
He should get an award next year just for what he has created on the corner of 14th and V Streets. Oh, and there was Lady Otero who is profiled in the latest issue of Newsweek. Yes the one with Oprah on the cover. You know I'm going out to get my magazine as soon as I can. Maria was the inspiration for a short story I wrote several years ago.

So it was a nice evening. James Early gave me a ride home and there was Rebbe waiting for me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I completed work on my Langston Hughes lecture. It looks good. Now, I'll work on the Zu-Bolton speech and maybe read the submission packets for Poet Lore magazine.

A surprise call from my old friend Roberto Vargas today. Funny guy. I remember when we did a number of programs in DC in support of Nicaragua. I remember when all the poets were flying to that country...
Roberto was the cultural attache back then. Ernesto Cardinal was in town in those days. I wonder if Roberto is trying to get the old band together again. What movie is this?

Tonight is the 29th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. International award being given to Judge Juan Guzman Tapia.
Place: National Press Club Ballroom
529 14th Street
5:30 reception
7PM program.
Floods, earthquakes,and now Kwame Brown dropping 19pts on the Wizards. What's next?

God -I'm Bert and not Noah- please give me the rainbow sign.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Split Rock Arts Program at the University of Minnesota is now accepting Workshop Proposals for Summer 2006

Full information available at:
Job Announcement:
The Department of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University seeks candidates for two approved tenure-track positions in Creative Writing, poetry, at the Assistant, Associate or Full level to begin Fall 2006
Normal teaching load three courses per semester
To apply: Submit a letter of application, vitae, 3 letters of recommendation, a ten page writing sample and evidence of teaching effectiveness. Only semi-finalists will be asked to send copies of their books. Send all materials to:

Chair, Search Committee
Creative Writing Department
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

Review of applications will begin November 1, 2005
OK. I'm ready for the Saturday Fitzgerald Conference at Montgomery College in Rockville. I'll be moderating a panel on African American Writing in the 21st Century at 10:15AM. On the panel are Kenneth Carroll, Patricia Elam and Merle Collins. I'll conduct a workshop memoir from 1:30 - 4:30 PM.
Yesterday I purchased a copy of FOR GOD AND COUNTRY: FAITH AND PATRIOTISM UNDER FIRE by James Yee. He is the former U.S. Army Chaplain who was at Guantanamo Bay.I plan to talk about the first chapter of this book in my workshop. Yee gave me a nice acknowledgement in his book.

Now to put my Langston Hughes notes in order.

I just got a note from Afaa Michael Weaver...he had a line that just started a poem in my head. He wrote about eating "fried porgies as big as whales." I can still smell those babies cooking in my mother's kitchen.
I've done a good amount of work on my November talk on Ahmos Zu-Bolton. I'm running out of days before I leave for California on Sunday. The next three days I'm just going to read and breathe Langston Hughes.

I'm trying to make time for my talks. So much to prepare for...

Yesterday a reporter called from Iran wanting help and explanation on something that was said at the Million March. I laughed with the guy and told him he didn't have a Brooklyn accent. I gave him a few people to call...the guy was on a deadline. Does everyone in the world now have my cell number?

The good thing about U Street now is that you can bump into folks in the cafes.
Yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with film maker Halie Gerima. I love the guy and I only see him every three or four years. He is working on a film about slavery (Maroons.) The guy is always working - the James Brown of independent films.

Haircut today. Gotta look good for the road.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Interesting article on Bill Gates in the Howard Hilltop. Gates was on campus last Friday. According to the newspaper story, Gates talked about the next 10 years changing the world more than the last 30. New innovations will inclued a computer device that will be able to understand signs written in another language. Gates also talked about the development of the tablet computer, which will revolutionize the field of education.

Good to see Gates wearing a plain white button down shirt and brown slacks. Dress code? Hmmm.
Just another indication of what we should be paying attention to. Substance above style is my mantra. So is work before play. Humility is you want to be a hero.
Good to know Al Colon was in town and survived Katrina. Good to count him among the Million and not the many thousands gone.

2 Bennington packets shipped out this morning. Just one more on my desk.

I just received the Library of Congress Literary Series. Don't miss the following:

Brenda-Marie Osbey - November 3rd Montpelier Room at 6:45 P.M.
George Garrett - November 10th, Mumford Room, at 6:45 P.M.
John Haines - December 8th, Mumford Room, at 6:45 P.M.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Good to see Chicago going to the World Series. Ozzie G - Manager of the Year?'s crying time again for Washington Redskin fans. The season is over if they can't beat SF next Sunday. No locker room excuses. The team is still weak on kickoff and punt returns. Thrash is just a nice guy helping out. Look for the defense to start getting beat as teams have more film and they face better competition. Can this team beat NY and Philadelphia? If they can't - no playoffs this year. Not letting A-man play is another reason why I can't root for these guys. Putting people in the doghouse and not expecting folks to bark. This is why butts get bit in the long run and why old folks say every dog will have his day. What's up dog?
Excerpt from my memoir THE FIFTH INNING:

You know you’re getting old when you don’t listen to “black leaders” anymore. When did I become one of those black men you see playing checkers outside a corner store? If I had more faith I would be a deacon by now. I could be a pallbearer wearing white gloves and standing by the side of a coffin. Is The Movement dead? Would Jackson and Farrakhan have better luck if they played Vegas?

Call my name. I want to believe. I want to walk with angels. I continue to write poetry believing in the goodness of man. I have no desire to march.
I want to fly. No one talks about love anymore.

There are millions of old black men. Count them. Survivors and lovers.
What survives is love. What loves to survive?

Call my name- it has only been fifty years or more.

Yesterday I spent much of day talking with poet Anne Becker. She read a few of her poems and we talked about many of the people we've known over the years. Look for Anne to be out and about more in 2006. Anne is a gem of a person. In the old days she was working with the Watershed Foundation and taping many of the best American poets. Do you remember those old BlackBox days?

Thanks to Bennington buddy Molly, I'm in touch with poet Nimah Nawwab in Saudi Arabia. Yesterday we started exchanging emails. There was a nice profile of Nimah in Newsweek magazine earlier this year. She is the first Saudi poet writing in English to be published by an American Press. Her book is THE UNFURLING (Selwa Press).

Charles Simic has a review of Anne Carson's book DECREATIONS in the latest issue of The New York Review of Books. what's in the Cards? Whatever happened to Bob Gibson? Ken Boyer? Stan the Man? The Cards keep folding - where are the playing cards??? Losing to Boston last year. Shame. That's as bad as the Democrats losing. Now Cards are losing to Houston...Oh my God. Houston in the World Series? A rebound for George Bush? Clemens pitching once again into the Hall of Fame. Andy P sticking it to the other George in New York. Ex-Yankees playing in the World Series. Oh...and the White Sox. Did you notice how better these guys started playing once they changed their uniforms? White Sox hats are cool. Don't you love how good the black looks on these guy? What a plus for race relations.
Oh...and you know Shoeless Joe will be back...say it's so.

No Nobel for Adonis. What's happening in that game? What about OZ?
August Wilson should have been given the Nobel before Pinter. Yes - I said that.
Quote me.

The world would be a better place if we all had tasty treats. Right?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Some final stats:

Ichiro - 206 hits (Second in the AL)
- 12 triples (Second in the AL)
No bean pies for me today. :-)
The whole world renewed! I want to offer water to all who thirst for a new world. I want to light a fire so they can warm themselves on a cold evening.
- Ko Un

Friday, October 14, 2005

I had a wonderful time on the campus of Montgomery College (Germantown campus) today.
This was made possible because of the kindness of Sally McClean who teaches English at the school. I met her department chair and dean. I gave a reading in her class; poems and a short excerpt from FATHERING WORDS.

Before heading home I dropped by Provisions Library.

This evening I also came home with some new music:
Genius & Friends - Ray Charles
Without A Song - Sonny Rollins
Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
(The store owner gave me a poster from the concert - sweet!)

Had a good/long telephone conversation with Anu about art and culture. Tonight I'll either rest or do Bennington packets and Poet Lore stuff.

So many things I just want to read.
Find time to make time. Oh...the daily grind of being a free person of color.
Charles Johnson just sent me a copy of his essay on the Million Man March that appears in the Wall Street Journal today. I sent back several comments. His editor should have caught some things. I'm certain there will be comments and maybe attacks on CJ. Without dialogue we cannot advance the intellectual tradition so vital to the development of the African American community.

Sweet Honey In The Rock annual concert is Friday, October 28th at 7:30 PM
The Warner Theatre
For tickets, call (202) 397-SEAT or visit

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be in town on Sunday, November 13th at 3PM
MCI Center, Washington, DC
Tickets are $25, $40, $60 and $100
That's mucho Dalai(s).

So Ashbery and Merwin are finalists for the National Book Awards. That's like Multinational corporations still dominating our lives.
And STAR DUST by Bidart? I'm still recovering from his Bennington reading. I like the guy but who are the judges for these literary awards? How come we don't see more poets represented by smaller book companies making it to the finals? Even the Yankees don't win every year. I want to see a year when the finalists for poetry are not published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Copper Canyon and some of the other suspects...
If this continues we will need new poetry awards. I'm so happy Marita Golden started giving out awards for black writers with her Hurston/Wright Awards. Too bad it's just for fiction.

Talkin'Poetry - new book by Deborah Brown, Annie Finch and Maxine Kumin is out.
LOFTY DOGMAS: Poets on Poetics.
It looks like a good text/workshop book.
The publisher is The University of Arkansas Press. to Montgomery College today.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
TransAfrica Forum’s Arthur R. Ashe, Jr. Foreign Policy
Library and the
Afro-Colombian Working Group present

"Invisibility, Discrimination and the Territorial
Collective Rights of
Colombians of African Descent"
Featuring Afro-Colombian Activist Zulia Mena
TransAfrica Forum, 1426 21st Street, NW, Second Floor,
Washington, DC 20036

Metro: Dupont Circle (Red Line, Use Q
Morning meeting at Kramers with Susan R. I put a Bennington packet in the mail. I should be finished with everything by Sunday. Afaa's correspondence ready for shipment. Attention needs to be given to Poet Lore. Rick dropped off two more packets to read.

I started pulling Zu-Bolton material so that I can work on my keynote speech at the University of Missouri in November. The title of my talk is "In Search of the Hoo-Doo Man: Reconstructing Ahmos Zu-Bolton. Much of the work we did together was between 1975 -1980. That includes Hoo-Doo magazines 2- 7.
Dr. Julius Thompson is pulling the program together. He is head of the Black Studies Program at the University of MO in Columbia, Missouri.

I missed the opening of Sam Gilliam's exhibit at the Corcoran. I'll have to get down to see it later this month. Sam Gilliam will discuss his art and have a dialogue with Lowery Stokes Sims on November 3rd at 7PM. Admission is $25.

Bill Gates is on Howard's campus tomorrow. 6th Annual Student Leadership Institute.
The program is by invitation only. Hmmmm.
Must be for the Talented 10th.

I'll be speaking tomorrow at Montgomery College (Germantown Campus). Sally McClean is using my memoir in her class. I'll also talk about the second memoir that I'm presently working on.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I walked around the HU campus today. That's something I seldom do because of my schedule. I visited the artist Kebedech Tekleab in the Fine Arts Building. She is a wonderful painter who migrated from Ethiopia in 1989. I knew her mentor Skunder Boghossian.Some of Kebedech's work embraces the themes of displacement, exile and loss.

I ran into Michael Nelson (HU Press). I love the guy. He is the sales and marketing manager at HU Press. He told me about the new HU PRESS release of NO BOUNDARIES: A CANCER SURGEON'S ODYSSEY by Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall.
Leffall is a renowed surgeon, professor and medical spokeman. Nelson and I walked over to his office so I could obtain a copy of the new book.
Here is the press website:

Down the hall from the HU Press are many offices filled with people I sometime see having lunch. I have no idea what they do, or even who they are. Anyway, I discovered one woman is responsible for compiling the list of names that are submitted for honorary degrees from Howard University. I gave her two names, which she placed into her computer file ( I felt like I was voting in Florida) for consideration. I suggested Hank Aaron and Rachel Robinson.
Who knows where it will go, but I did the do.
Lori Tsang will be giving a poetry reading on October 20th, 6:30 PM at the Chinatown Starbucks.
The latest issue of The Nation (10/24/05) has a good article by Michael T. Klare. Try and read "Revving Up The China Threat."

The intensifying US-Chinese struggle for oil is seen, for instance, in China's aggressive pursuit of supplies in such countries as Angola, Canada, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Venezuela. Until recently China derived very little of its petroleum from these countries; now it has struck deals with all of them for new supplies. That China is competing so vigorously with the United States for access to foreign oil is worrisome enough to American business leaders and government officials, given the likelihood that this will result in higher energy costs and a slowing economy...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Read the latest issue of THE FINAL CALL. Check Farrakhan's speech on Hurricane Katrina. It's the type of speech where you get to first base and then you take a lead off first and someone will just pick you off because you went too far out.
African American leaders need to be more responsible. Farrakhan repeats all the levee levee stuff. Have you heard the one about the member of the Army Corp of Engineers who saw burn makes on the concrete of the levee, took some of the concrete and spirited it away in his vest and sent it to his friends in the Armed Forensic Laboratory...
Oh, let me stop. Where do folks get this information from?
But turn the page and there's a good interview in the Final Call with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. I guess my mother was right about how to shop. You have to pick and look for the good stuff.

The Million Man March which is now the Millions More Movement is taking place on Saturday, October 15th at 9AM on the National Mall.
One day posterity will remember these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage.
- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Tomorrow (October 12th) is the last class in the Barnet series at IPS. We will be talking about Richard Barnet's THE LEAN YEARS. IPS Senior Scholar Bob Alvarez will lead the discussion starting at 6:45 PM at the IPS office located at 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1020. It's free, so try to attend.
Look for Black/Jewish discussions to be back in the news after the release of Marc Levin's documentary "Protocols of Zion." Release date is October 21st. The title of the movie comes from THE PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION. It's a publication that claims there is a Jewish plot for world domination.

Are we moving backwards or forwards?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Look for everyone in San Francisco to be looking over their shoulders next year.
1906 was the big earthquake and fire.What will the anniversary bring? Are we ready?

A couple of positive things to think about and do:

With daily newspapers having money problems, I suggest they begin publishing short fiction and poetry on a regular basis. Pull in ads from the publishing industry.

It was nice to see that Sunday, NY Times article about the writers workspace in Manhattan. This is what DC needs. I had the idea in the back of my head for years. It would be nice to find a progressive developer to create a space in NE Washington. Maybe off of New York Avenue...Metro access too.
I'll bring the idea to the Arts Commission (again) this week. Writers in the area that might support the project - send me an email.
So you wonder what's going to happen next? After floods and earthquakes, what's the next page in the Bible? Well let's go with plague. A disease we can't see...a virus sending thousands to hospitals and doctors racing against time looking for a cure. Folks jumping back every time someone coughs. Stores selling special gloves for public transportation and cute face masks to cover one's mouth and nose. A shortage of doctors and nurses...
Since the government has no answers they begin to focus again on how to overthrow Fidel.Months pass and we watch the entire crisis on television. We hate the acting but the plot seems real.

"My riches can't buy everything..."
- As Tears Go By - Rolling Stones
More music moved from the basement. Willie Colon playing this afternoon. The only thing missing are tasty treats, laughter and the Bronx.
One of the best photos of the year is in today's paper. Checkout Eric Gay's picture of Chris Burke "floating" home after hitting a home run in the 18th inning of the Atlanta/Houston game. Priceless.

Today's NY Times has a review of John Coltrane Quartet's ONE DOWN, ONE UP.
Gotta get, Gotta Buy.

Oh...and what would Pat Robertson think of the "Alison Lapper Pregnant" sculpture in Trafalgar Square?
Well I was waiting, just waiting for this:

"Robertson Accuses Chavez of Seeking Nuclear Material from Iran."
A12 Washington Post, October 10th.

I knew it was just a matter of time before someone in the basement of the State Department or at a nearby Starbucks decided to link something like this to Chavez.
Oh, and of course he has been giving money to bin Laden after 9/11. Whew...the government must be hiring MFA students to write this stuff. It's so predictable. Oh, and watch for Nicaragua to be back on our "worry" list. With Danny O bringing back the Sandinista band, look for the old cold war music to play again.
Soon we will be back in the hemisphere fighting the spread of Communism. This is the easy war to fight. Look for folks to forget what's going on in Afghanistan and Iraq.
With a Civil War taking place in Iraq, US soldiers will not be the main targets. This might result in a weekly slowing down of combat deaths. Push the war off the front pages and folks will just think it's another earthquake in Asia or somewhere.
So many terrible things happening in the world at once, it's hard to cry for someone without saving a tear for someone else. Either God or Mother Nature is trying to tell us something. Maybe this is the first day of science fiction.

Octavia Butler will be at Busboys & Poets (2021 14th ST, NW) on October 27th at 6:30 PM.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Saturday, October 08, 2005

El Duque. El Duque.
How many years will the Red Sox fans weep now? I watched some of the game down at Busboys. Tony Medina was there - I didn't know the guy was a ballhawk from the Bronx like myself. Busboys was jumping yesterday with a poetry PoW Wow meeting. Charlotte, Derrick, Bomani, Sarah B, et al. The question: How best to present poetry in the new space? Around 6 PM the Boston sisters arrived. Michon and Sister T. They are two royal madames. Michon was showing her Che film. I stayed around long enough to give her a hug. I found a table by the window and waiting for Wendy to arrive. We spent the early evening laughing, talking about books, politics and life stuff. After food we went over to the book space. I sat in the window area talking with Mark Cimino. Mark writes and serves as an editor for THE WASHINGTON SPARK. It's a good alternative newspaper with more politics and information than the CITY PAPER.

Hard raining falling. A large tree down the street fell. :-( I keep looking up at the trees around my house. They are leaning just enough for me to purchase a cross and a prayer rug.

I need 2 days to do Bennington work. Upstairs desk need cleaning again.

Kwame Alexander sent me a copy of his new book - DANCING NAKED ON THE FLOOR
For order information go to:

Marty Newman in Jerusalem also sent me a copy of his new book - the title is EXCEPTIONAL THRESHOLDS. I need to send him a note. Thanks Marty.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Sarah is a sweet noodle
A stir fry against the war

- E. Ethelbert Miller
CONGRATS to the International Atomic Energy Agency for receiving the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
I don't know where my hands begin
and my heart ends.
- Naomi Ayala
The first issue of SARANAC REVIEW is out. The journal has a cool look and a good list of writers: Wesley Brown, Naomi Ayala, Honoree Jeffers, and Amy Gerstler et al. Oh and me. :-) SARANAC is published by the Department of English, SUNY Plattsburgh.
Visit their site:
I just received Walt Harrington's new book in the mail. The title is THE BEHOLDER'S EYE: A COLLECTION OF AMERICA'S FINEST PERSONAL JOURNALISM (Grove Press). In the good old days Walt wrote for the Washington Post. I always thought he was the best writer at the paper. What a great guy. He is now teaching literary journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is also the author of CROSSINGS: A WHITE MAN'S JOURNEY INTO BLACK AMERICA.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"Bert Day" is just a reminder that we all grow old and must accept more responsibility. We also must try and correct the motion of history. I just read a piece by Baraka calling for a United Front. Hmmm. I heard that before. That really isn't going to solve anything. 125 black people in colorful clothes quoting DuBois, Malcolm, Fanon, Robeson, etc...just is not going to make it anymore. Do we really need another conference? Agenda paper? The question is a simple one - Bambara raised it in the begining of her novel THE SALT EATERS. Minnie Ransom, asks Velma Henry - "Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?"
This is the question every black person living in America should ask themselves. All the "doctors" have told us what is wrong. We don't need any description of our sickness anymore. We know what the problems are - don't we??? Didn't we know there was poverty in America before Katrina? Why the surprise in how our government responded? Do the police come when you call them? Can a black man catch a cab? Do we have quality health care? Folks want to talk about stuff again like we just finished looking at THE COLOR PURPLE. Mr. Mr. Mr. what can I say?
"Bert Day" is November 20th. I'll be 55. On that day I'll be hosting a Muse2Muse program at Busboys and Poets with Kenneth Carroll. He will be reading from his work. I'll be conducting a craft interview with him too. It will all take place starting at 2PM. After the program, I'll be hanging around holding a glass of cold wine and trying to stay young. Come join the fun. It's a Sunday- it's gonna all be good.
On Wednesday, 7 December 2005, 7 pm, Mel Belin, E. Ethelbert Miller, Miles Moore, Christa Watters and others will remember Hilary Tham, and read from her new book, TIN MINES AND CONCUBINES: MALAYSIAN FICTIONS at Kensington Row Bookshop, 3786 Howard Avenue, Kensington MD 301 9499416. Come early to browse and chat. Refreshments provided. Members of the audience will be invited to add their remembrances. Free.

Vladimir Levchev came by the African American Resource Center. He gave me a copy of his book THE RAINBOW MASON.
Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers:
Vladimir is from Bulgaria and is a graduate of the M.F.A. program at American University. If you want to invite him for readings here is a contact address:
I'll be shipping my August Wilson material out to the University of Minnesota today.
I have a morning meeting with Sarah B.
Will try and make it down to the Arena Stage and catch their new production of BORN YESTERDAY by Garson Kanin.

The Barnet class at IPS was excellent last night. We had a wonderful discussion of GLOBAL REACH. Next week will be the last class. Our topic will be an examination of Barnet's THE LEAN YEARS:POLITICS IN THE AGE OF SCARCITY.

Bennington packets coming in..
I need to have a productive weekend. Thank God for Columbus. I just "discovered" how much work I have to do.

George Will's comments in the Washington Post yesterday is an indication of how the Right is very divided over the Bush Administration. However, it means nothing without alternatives and leadership coming from somewhere else. If conservative folks in Congress rejected Bush's nomination to the Supreme Court and demanded someone more conservative it would mean the end of the Bush Administration as we know it. It would mean he is a lame duck. When high officials start resigning to look for new jobs or spend more time with the kids, then it's already 2008. I still feel the key politician will have to emerge from the Republican Party. That individual will have to be a moderate on many issues. Key is a plan to end the war(s). He would have to win the nomination against the conservatives and maybe build a cabinet that includes Democrats. This is no different than the Demos moving to the center the last several years. If we wanted to put together strange coalitions - think Jeb Bush and Jesse Jackson. The failure to think outside the box is going to prevent us from dealing with the future. A good new model to explore is the Newt/Hilary one. Let's tackle the issues and try to reshape our society so that it works. Better healthcare is a good place to start. Poverty can't be touched unless we support the redistribution of wealth. Oh, Oh.
Meanwhile, in the African American community I know something is happening but I just don't know what it is. Do you Mr. Jones?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Quick trip to the now I'm smiling and looking for Tasty Treats.

I received a note from my son this afternoon. Widener's Basketball schedule is online. I'll get to see my son play November 25-26 at the Gallaudet Holiday Tournament. I'll also checkout his game at Goucher on January 5th.

I'm in the middle of getting ready to ship my August Wilson files to the Givens Collection at the University of Minnesota. I have a good amount of material collected over the years.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Wednesday, October 5th. We will discuss Dick Barnet's GLOBAL REACH at IPS with John Cavanagh and Sarah Anderson. The class will be held at 733 15th Street, NW, Suite 1020. Time is 6:45PM to 8:45PM.
GLOBAL REACH was the first detailed book to look into the power and reach of global corporations. Don't miss.
James J. Yee's memoir will be published this week. The title is FOR GOD AND COUNTRY: FAITH AND PATRIOTISM. Mr. Yee was the former Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay.

Excerpt from my comments made at Wilson H.S. last Saturday:

" When people ask about what we must do to guarantee peace in the world, my response is that we must believe in the Beloved Community. We must love first. Only then can we build a place where tolerance and kindness is practiced. A place where there is unity and not uniformity. A place where sharing and humility are not abstract principles or concepts but things we practice on a daily basis."

Monday, October 03, 2005

I received the following information from IPS fellow Daphnne Wysham:

Scientists who have been exceedingly accurate in the past say:

"The 2005 Atlantic basin hurricane season has already been one of
the most active and is already the most destructive season on
record. We project that October will continue the trend of
above-average activity that we have witnessed in the preceding
four months of the hurricane season."

Alice Matttison's new book arrived in the mail today. Congrats Alice!
The title is IN CASE WE'RE SEPARATED. William Morrow is the publisher.
Sponsored by Beltway Poetry Quarterly and Busboys and Poets

Wednesday, October 26
6:30 pm
Free Admission
Full restaurant and bar service available

Featuring readings by
Three acclaimed DC poets influenced by Hughes's considerable legacy.
The poets will read works by Hughes as well as their own original poetry.

With a slide show presentation by KIM ROBERTS on where Hughes lived, worked, and hung out in Washington, DC during the time he lived in the city (1924-1926) at the beginning of his career.

Busboys & Poets, 14th and V Streets NW (202) 387-POET.

I spent the day down at NEA reading and discussing grant proposals. I have a pile of things to read this evening:
NY Review of Books
Writer's Chronicle
The Nation

No Monday Night Football for me. Tomorrow I'll watch the baseball playoffs. Ichiro finished hitting over .300.

I've been listening to Dylan...The Shot of Love album; also Blood On The Tracks.
The first October week. The fun things I have to do:
Monday: NEA panel.
Tuesday:Visit to Provision Library to see art exhibit.
Wednesday: Barnet Class: The 4th Session. We will discuss Barnet's book GLOBAL REACH.
Thursday: Breakfast with Sarah B. Afternoon meeting with Sasha. Arena Stage -play.
Friday - I need to check on Conference at U. MD. Dinner with Wendy R.
Saturday- Bennington packets due.
Sunday-Monday - Holiday Weekend - Work on Langston Hughes lecture.

Books to complete reading: Father Joe. More poems by Anne Sexton...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

August Wilson - gone- dead at 60.
I will miss him very much.
In my office a picture of August, Charles Johnson and myself laughing in Seattle.
Wilson's work changed the world. He gave brightness to blackness. He changed the American stage. Amen. Peace go with you brother.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

My son in town for 2 days drove me to Vertigo Bookstore (College Park, MD) in the morning. I purchased a copy of Arnold Rampersad's new anthology - THE OXFORD ANTHOLOGY OF AFRICAN -AMERICAN POETRY. It has that IN SEARCH OF COLOR... feel to it; it even opens with "Today's News" by Elizabeth Alexander. This is an easy to read collection and might become very popular for the general reader. I have 4 poems in the book.

In the afternoon I went to Wilson Senior High School and participated in their Humanities, Arts and Media Academy. I was on the "Humanities and International Peace" panel with John Dinges, Peter Perl, and Corey Oser. Katherine Ferrey from the World Bank was the moderator. We spoke to about 100 kids. I read my poem "There Are Oceans Left To Kill."

Nancy Arbuthnot was in the audience. After the program she gave me a copy of her book WILD WASHINGTON: Animal Scuptures A to Z. It's a book which highlights all the animal sculpture around DC. I wrote a short forward for it. The book was published by the Annapolis Publishing Company.
Saturday and I'm listening to Fela on the turntable. I've been moving many of my old albums up from the basement. The old sounds are still good: WAR -what is it good for?