Saturday, September 30, 2006

Go West Young Writers:

$15 million grant goes to UW's writing program

The University of Washington's Creative Writing Program announced Thursday that it has been promised an estimated $15 million from the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Foundation — the largest bequest ever made to the College of Arts & Sciences.
"This planned gift," said Ron Irving, interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, "will mean appointment of more award-winning writers as faculty, and additional recruitment of the very best students."

Creative Writing Program director Maya Sonenberg added that the endowment will support graduate students in creative writing, allowing them to focus solely on their studies.
The Creative Writing Program's 10 faculty members include three winners of MacArthur Fellowships (Linda Bierds, Charles Johnson and Richard Kenney) and one National Book Award winner (Johnson for his novel "Middle Passage").

Grace Pollock, 87, is the widow of S. Wilson Pollock. She grew up in the Seattle area and attended the University of Washington, as did her four brothers. This bequest is the fourth gift from the Pollock family in 24 years.

Written by Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times book critic.
Fall 2006 Issue highlights the achievements of poets with strong ties to Washington, DC both past and present

The Profiles Issue features essays and interviews highlighting poets ranging from former US Poets Laureate, to editors of pioneering literary journals in DC, to tributes to poets who recently passed away. All have contributed to the lively and diverse literary community in the nation's capitol.

Table of Contents

Three DC Editors: Profiles of Caresse Crosby, William F. Clare, and Merrill Leffler
by Richard Peabody

In the Magnificent Region of Courage: An Interview with Louise Glück
by Grace Cavalieri

Leda in Red Sneakers: A Remembrance of Mona Van Duyn
by Andrea Carter Brown

Just Like Old Times: An Interview with Ed Cox
by E. Ethelbert Miller

Smoke in a House on Fire: A Profile of Gloria Oden
by Julia A. Galbus

Robert Sargent: Remembering a Friend and Poet
by Hastings Wyman

Cloaked Silences in Reetika Vazirani's Poetry
by Jane Alberdeston Coralin

Poet, Translator, and International Man of Intrigue: The Rod Smith Interview
by Daniel Gutstein

Read Beltway Poetry Quarterly at

Subscribe for free! Go to the “About Beltway” page:
I'm using the internet tonight - so why are we spending money to build a fence between Mexico and the US? A waste of money. Who gets this contract?
People will sell you books. People will sell you war. Everyone has an apology. Everyone has a sin. All of a sudden folks are pointing fingers about how we went to war. The truth is- the truth is not going to bring our sons and daughters back. The truth is not going to fix a broken country. We can't say we won't do it again because we are doing it again. Part of the failure rests with Congress. We have so few Statesmen these days. No one challenges anything. The Democratic Party must consist of Cub fans. Ernie Banks weeps for our nation tonight. Oh - is anyone talking about the next budget? How much more money are we going to give to this war effort? What are we going to cut?

How come we no longer hear about how the Iraqi police and military are being trained to Stand Up as we Stand down? Did someone steal all their uniforms? Geez. The media is to blame too.
They keep giving us words that make no sense. When did Islam become Islamism?

Why is the focus on Iran so much. What happened to Syria? Next it's going to be Venezuela.
I can smell the sulpher...
Watch for Nicaragua to be a "big" threat if Ortega climbs back into power. We refuse to babysit Korea, while China is thinking about stealing our prom date.

Do you remember the old days when it was just the good old USSR or maybe even Libya?
If we're not careful the Taliban is going to be a nightclub in Greenwich Village.
Slugging it out in the News:

I call them media slugs. That's what T.O. on the Dallas Cowboys is. We are forced for a "short" time period to consume his nonsense. It seems almost non-stop until it burns itself out or is replaced my another slug. "Our" glitch is that the slug appears on covers of magazines and on talk shows everywhere.

Folks vote and have opinions about the slug. This fuels their self-proclaimed importance. The slug tries to create news out of air. It's dangerous when a poltical person becomes a slug. An example would be Condi. We become more interested with her playing the piano than her views on the Middle East. Do slugs care?

Def of slug: a small shell-less mollusk or a bullet of irregular shape. Take your pick.
Ichiro Watch:
2 hits last night. Average at .322.
A strong finish should place him within the top four or five batters in the AL.
He should lead the league again in hits.
Crime in DC is always in the news. I've noticed the following -A number of times one sees a horrific crime reported. There is a mother on television crying because of the death of her son or daughter.The child is always described as a good kid in the media. Later we discover the kid was "running" with the wrong crowd, etc. No different from the profile of the Duke rape suspects. If these are such "good" kids why are they getting drunk, assaulting people and calling my sisters nigger? It's obvious that many parents have no clue what their kids are doing in the streets or maybe even in the next room. What's a police officer to do? There is no way we can reduce the number of domestic crimes that take place by simply putting more police in the street.
If a guy is going to kill his ex-girl friend or wife in the supermarket or mall, I don't think the police can stop that. So let's talk about the type of crime folks are afraid of. At the top of the list would have to be robbery, rapes and murders. We can also list anything that's drug related. Solutions will only be found if we improve the economic conditions of poor people. We also have to recognize we have "criminals" in our society. I was always against the belief back in the Sixties of viewing all black inmates as politcal prisoners. There are people who you just have to place behind bars. Now, you can run all the genetic and scientific tests, talk about how they might have been abused as a child,etc. Meanwhile, you have to protect others from folks who just want to choke, rob and kill because they enjoy it. You've seen the movies. These are folks who like the power that comes from torturing others. Sometimes these guys find employment as guards in parts of our society. Must we always be an equal opportunity employer? Hmmm We have many people who are repeat offenders. I think we have the technology to collect data on these individuals and place in a central bank for access by police. There is no reason why someone should be a career criminal and walking our streets. Can't we view these folks as terrorists too? Folks are keeping all these tabs on people with religious connections, but ignoring the folks who already have blood on their hands.
One type of crime which affects the quality of life in a city is vandalism, and people just taking other people's stuff. I hate this. Some people just want to take your stuff. They might even have more money in their pockets than you. They just want to take your stuff. Here is where we find many of the juvenile offenders. Race plays a big factor here. Change the colors of the offenders and we're suddenly talking about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Some things are called pranks in one community, in the other you get a "tag" on your butt which won't let you "get on with your life." You've heard that expression before. Why...because we are talking about "good" kids - right? Hmmm. That's not what my father would say.
Michael Steele's (yes he's running in Maryland but not the way Frederick Douglass ran) political television ads look like commercials for a dumb product. It's as bad as those Coors commercials. I expect better things from the Republican Party. Geez, a black guy playing with a dog and trying to get elected? Bow wow... And these guys want the black vote? Who are they trying to curb?
Reading about the transportation (car shortage) problems in Cuba this week, one wonders how long it will be before China exploits this possible market. One could also think about what trade could mean to the US. Would more people be able to keep jobs at GM if we were shipping cars to Cuba? It's important for the US to have dialogue with Cuba prior to Fidel's death. We are just going to have another serious hemisphere problem if we think we can return Cuba back to 1950 - once Fidel is gone. That's like asking Rosa Parks to catch a cab.

I'm certain there are numerous secret documents somewhere about how to "take" Cuba back. This stuff should be filed next to Iraq. No more failures please. No more broken nations because of greed, cultural misunderstandings, or Manifest Destiny.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm back in touch with poet Kamau Brathwaite thanks to the Amazing Ginger G. Brathwaite is giving a reading in New York on October 26th at 6PM. Place: Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe, 2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd, Between 124th & 125th Streets.
212 665-7400.

Brathwaite is one of the great poets of our time. His latest book is BORN TO SLOW HORSES (Wesleyan University Press). This book was the winner of the 2006 International Griffin Poetry Prize.

Brathwaite is one writer I'm going to try and bring to DC in the next few months. If you're interested in helping, drop me an email:
Dean Bernard Richardson (HU-Chapel) gave one of the best speeches I've ever heard on Howard's campus today. Maybe the full text will be printed on the HU website or in the school newspaper. Richardson's greatness can only be measured by his service to others. He is one of the gems reminding so many others at the institution that they need to shine.
On the 54 bus this evening, with three young black girls singing some song that shouldn't have lyrics. I listen to their voices trying to find each other. Hide and seek and no harmony. It's another example of what happens when you don't go to church on Sunday. These girls will never be Aretha. Their voices have that television video sound recording and not that Jesus is my man and savior hurt tone to it. I realize I must be listening to Janet Jackson's nipple. Listen to the intro on JJ's new album. It has a grade school sound to it. The songs are nothing but hallway sex. Only one person is enjoying it. In this case it must be Janet.

City of Alexandria Extends Deadline to October 1st for Poet Laureate
Individual Will Promote Appreciation of Poetry, Encourage Creative Writing
and Reading, and Promote Literacy through Poetry

The City of Alexandria has extended the deadline for the Poet Laureate search to October 1. Individuals can nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else. Nominees must distinguish themselves in the field of poetry through the body of work created; be a resident of the City for a minimum of one year and maintain residency through the three-year term of serve; must accept the Poet Laureate post as a ceremonial role, which includes presentations of work appropriate for all audiences; and be 18 years of age or older.

All nominations must be submitted to the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, 1108 Jefferson St., by Saturday, October 1, 2006.

For more information or to obtain a nomination form, call the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities at 703.838.4343, or visit

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I look for Barry Bonds to fade into the California sunset after this year. Will anybody remember the guy between Aaron and Ruth? Not really. I would expect a sweet deal to be made in the off season. All types of charges against Bonds might be dropped if the guy would just retire. This way baseball can save a few asteriks. Bonds should just pull a Barry Sanders and walk away from the game.
I really want Jay Williams to make the Nets. 3 years of hard work to make a comeback from his motorcycle accident. It's a miracle this guy can walk. Go Jay!

Joyce Maynard has a new book out. She will be on the campus of George Mason University next Tuesday, October 3rd. Check the schedule for the FALL FOR THE BOOK FESTIVAL:

I've been corresponding with her this morning. Here is information from her website:

A Letter from Joyce Archives

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Dear Friends,

In the many years of my writing career, I’ve tackled a pretty wide range of forms -- adult and young adult fiction, memoir, essay, magazine and radio journalism. With my novel To Die For –- published back in 1991 -- I used a real murder case (the story of Pamela Smart, a young woman who enlisted the assistance of her teenaged lover to kill her husband) as the basis for a novel. (And ultimately a movie. I like to think the role of my fictional killer, Suzanne Maretto, provided Nicole Kidman with the role that helped to launch her career. Not to mention, it provided me the opportunity for my own all-too-brief film appearance.)

But one form I’d never tried, in all those years, was a work of non-fiction reporting about a real crime. I’ve always been fascinated with crime (particularly murder), and I name, as one of the books I’ve most admired and studied, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. A year and a half ago, I decided to seek out a crime that might allow me to explore the genre myself. Finally, this fall, the results of that project will be published. My new book is called Internal Combustion: The Story of a Marriage and a Murder in the Motor City, set for release at the end of September.

For more information visit Joyce's website:

The Washington Post is reporting that Frank Robinson will not be back as manager of the Nationals next year. I've been saying Frank's days are numbered since the spring. I might have made a move after the All-Star game. In fairness to the guy, he never inherited a decent ball club. Frank is the type of guy you want in your organization, maybe scouting talent, and having real imput into the building of a team. Don't look for Frank to accept another position in baseball unless power comes with it.
I have no idea what the Poetry Foundation is doing. They just made Jack Prelutsky the first children's poet laureate. Why? The guy gets $25,000 and a medallion. The Foundation claims it wants more poets to write for children. Hmmm. Why not encourage young people to simply read more poetry? No need to give someone a job. This reminds me of the early days of the Black Panther Party. Huey and Bobby sitting around throwing out titles. Maybe I should be the First Minister of Verse or Deputy of The Lyric. I could surround myself with Spoken Word bodyguards known as Fruit of the Muse.
I think more attention should be given to who is going to be the next secretary general of the United Nations. Some of the candidates have presented short essays on the OP-ED page of the New York Times today. I like the comments by Jayantha Dhanapala( Sri Lanka) and Vaira Vike-Freiberga (Latvia). The next secretary general has to be a strong, respected voice for peace. No more failures. No standing around doing nothing while another nation breaks in half and countless new refugees flee into an unknown darkness.
The US media should begin to do full length profiles of all the candidates seeking this important world position.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New Project - Help needed:

The Vermont Studio Center is building 16 new studios for writers. I've been corresponding today with Gary Clark (VSC) about naming one of the studios for Reetika Vazirani. Gary sent back the following note:

"Absolutely, a named studio can be done with a $5,000 contribution. So far we have 5 of the 16 named. Nice hardwood plaques will be mounted by the studio door with a simple inscription, and a modest memorial (photo, sample of work if a writer, etc.) to the honoree is possible within the studio itself."

I'm willing to contribute some money. If you are interested in helping and also making a contribution, please let me know. I can be reached at:

Maybe a few of us can raise the money before the year is over. I think it's a nice way to remember Reetika.
What coup?
The new Thailand Mega-Airport is opening tomorrow. Suvarnabhumi Airport is located 15 1/2 miles east of Bangkok. However, without a rapid train line connecting the airport to central Bankgkok passengers will have to deal with the crowded roads...look for a train to start running in 2008. Big airports have opened in Asia in the recent years: Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, et al.
I guess bad leaders can be quickly flown away; and then in many other countries big leaders think they need big airplanes. I don't drive. I can't fly either.
The Sony Reader, a hand-held portable device for reading electronic books is now on sale after months of delays. Check Borders. The cost is $350.
Quote of the Day:

"The British people will, sometimes, forgive a wrong decision. But you know something, they won't forgive not deciding. They know the choices are hard."

Prime Minister Tony Blair addressing the Labor Party's Annual Conference
A little sports for today -
Clinton Portis is a good running back, not a great one. Let's be real.
Where do the Redskins think they are going? They only beat Houston. I could have beat Houston's football team with a few guys from my neighborhood. Who gave those guys NFL uniforms? Oh - and where are the Wizards going this year? The team is better but so are so many other teams. The Wizards will have to "Wade" in the water first if they want to get to the championship round.
This day is already done
Our lives are that much less
We're like fish in a shrinking pond
- Buddha

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Don't worry be happy:
I skipped my 6:30 AM morning walk. I had a meeting with Vinetta Gupta at Dos Gringos in Mt. Pleasant. Vinetta is a person I could spend the entire day talking with. The woman is fantastic, political and very funny. She is the director of Stop HIV/AIDS in India. Visit

Did some xeroxing of articles while at Howard. I have a good work-study student this fall. We are putting my extensive literary files in order. I'm discarding files of people I no longer have contact with, or can't remember who they are. I guess that comes with old age. It's impossible to keep everything. What's important is being able to find things quickly. I think everything will be completed by March 2007. These are my personal files that I've housed at Howard in order that they might be available to scholars doing research.

I had Noon meeting (at Tomato on Conn) with A. Billy S. Jones regarding the Kunte Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland. I'll try and provide some help and advice...will make a trip out there in November.

Buddy Bev arrived in the late afternoon and picked me up from work. We drove to Silver Spring and she helped me purchase a nice vest/sweater at the Men's Wearhouse. We also got ourselves some smoothies at Whole Foods, talked with several friends I ran into. It was fun.
These types of days can keep you sane and even happy.

What about tomorrow?
Could this be miracle week? Ichiro had 5 hits last night. .320 average. What if he is able to put together one of those torrid hitting streaks? A batting title?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Well we knew this had to change:

The US government is partially lifting its ban against carrying liquids and gels onto airliners, as long as they are purchased from secure airport stores, and will also permit small, travel-size toiletries brought from home.

When will we be able to keep our shoes on? What's going to be the next thing folks will have to leave outside the plane. Bras?

Media suggestion. 60 Minutes or maybe Brian Williams on NBC should follow C. Booker and A.Fenty around for three to six months and see what they do. What "real" change will they make in the lives of people living in DC and NewArk? Moving beyond the handshakes, the smiles and the blackberry, what will people get? Who will fight for poor people? Do I dare watch television tonight and see Nagin smiling about New Orleans being "back in business" because the Dome is open. What's the difference between Nagin's head and the Dome? Hmmm. What's inside?
Tucked inside the latest issue of DIVERSE magazine (September 21, 2006, Volume 23, No.16) is a very important article by Diane Mehta on Black poetry. It's about the "options" for black poets. The focus is on the work being done by Thomas Sayers Ellis (at Sarah Lawrence College) and Haki Madhubuti (Chicago State University). Haki makes an honest statement on page 42:

"Traditional HBCUs suffer from a lack of vision. Most of these people are bought by corporate America. The humanities and certainly the arts are secondary to what HBCUs see as their mission. It takes a different perspective on the world to see how important art is."

I'm afraid this is why no creative writing program exists at a black college. There are some comments made by folks in the DIVERSE article that smells like cotton.

I did correspond with Diane Mehta today. I think she wrote a good piece. Here is the link to her website and other articles:
Pat Buchanan has a new book out. It's not for "us" barbarians. STATE OF EMERGENCY: THE THIRD WORLD INVASION AND CONQUEST OF AMERICA. This book is Anti-Immigration.
Wow -it comes with all the food group words: emergency, invasion, conquest.
Pat should adopt some colored kids and try to mellow. His views makes everyday seem like Halloween. Geez, I just looked in the mirror and I had a ring in my nose and an American Passport. Hey Pat- How did that happen? The fence around the South Bronx must have been opened during the 1950s. Well- there goes the neighborhood and the country. Right Pat? Or is that simply Pat on the Right.
Hey- but look - We share the same publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press.
Maybe we should exchange books or is that too American?
Putting a different face on Islam in America? Congrats to Professor Ingrid Mattson who was recently elected president of the Islamic Society of North America. The organization was founded in 1963, and today is a 20,000 member group representing many different types of Muslim groups. There was a profile of Mattson in the New York Times on September 20th.
So I went and read Hugo Chavez's recent remarks at the U.N. Because of his silly opening comments (about the Devil and Bush) it overshadowed some important information. Prior to visiting the U.N. he was in Cuba, attending the summit of the Nonaligned nations (more than 50 heads of state). Fidel Castro is the president of this group for the next three years. Chavez should have focused on what took place at this summit. It would have placed him in a strong position to have a seat on the security council of the U.N. We need better leaders on the political Left. Why give people like Mary Anastasia O'Grady who writes for the Wall Street Journal an excuse to call someone like Evo Morales "a kook from Caracas." Geez, the guy is president of a country. I don't want a "kook" running the U.S. either; but I'm not going to get into name calling. We should wage our struggle with dignity, nonviolence and love. If we do not seek to reach the higher ground then we might as well accept the status quo.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Treve de blues
- Leon Damas

Enotesjeffers.jpg (2977 bytes)Enotesyao2.jpg (3568 bytes)
Honoree F. Jeffers and Bro. Yao

Welcome to the E-MAG: A Sunday Kind Of Love.

On Sundays I invite other writers to share my E-Space and contribute their own E-Notes.

Today my guests are Honoree Fanonne Jeffers and Bro. Yao.

A native southerner, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers now lives on the prairie where she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma. She is the author of three books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue (Kent State, 2000); Outlandish Blues (Wesleyan, 2003); and Red Clay Suite (Southern Illinois, forthcoming in March 2007). She has received an award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. A fiction writer as well, her stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Story Quarterly and New England Review; she is at work on her first novel.

Bro. Yao (Hoke S. Glover III) is a poet living in the Washington Metropolitan Area. He has written for Black Issues Book Review and published poems in various journals and anthologies. He is also a Co-Owner of Karibu Books.


Last week (on the 14th of September) I read with Amiri Baraka at my alma mater, University of Alabama. Mr. Baraka was his usual hardcore self, and the intellectual discussions between us were heated but I tried very hard to be respectful. I don’t agree with many of Mr. Baraka’s political views (and some of his actions), but I also know that some of those same politics carved out a space for me in academia. It’s a delicate balance I try to maintain. During the luncheon earlier in the day (before the big reading that night), we debated the relevance of hiphop. I don’t think much of this musical form, and have been pretty vocal in my criticism. I believe that, except for a few exceptions (like Mos Def, whom I like—I own his first CD and keep reminding myself I need to get his latest; I hope he doesn’t disappoint me), many black male hiphop artists are being used as conduits for the destruction of the black community. There is such a nihilistic impulse in the music these days, and there actually has been for the past fifteen years. It is also extremely painful for me to hear black women referred to as “bitches” and “hoes” in the music and to know that young white boys—some of whom are my students—are listening to my brothers (whom I dearly love) refer to me and my sisters this way. Mr. Baraka said I sounded like Bill Cosby and that I was a black bourgeoisie Negro. I told him that I actually found those comments to be complimentary! It was a good, lively discussion.

Later that night, we read together; I went first and when I came down off the stage, I was exhausted, weeping and nearly collapsing as I walked back to my seat. The reasons are too many to go into, but suffice to say, coming home (to the south and to my alma mater, where I was the only black poet in the MFA program ten years ago and experienced a lot of pain) was an emotional experience. As I neared my seat, Mr. Baraka grabbed my hand and said, “That was beautiful!” So my world was round: no matter how different our views are, my elder was pleased with me.

This week was full of good news, although I had to set someone straight. Unlike when I was a younger woman, now that I am approaching forty, I try to explain to others why I get irritated. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. This week—and actually last week, too—I had to give a small lecture to a graduate student concerning her impoliteness: she called me by my first name without asking my permission. I’ve noticed that in academia these days, informality abounds. However, when it comes to young folk who haven’t “made their bones” (as my friend Tony Medina is fond of saying), it rankles. I suppose it is an ancestral sensitivity. I told the lady in question that when I was a child, I grew up hearing white children in Eatonton, Georgia call my grandmother by her first name, “Florence,” and hearing her call these children “Miss” or “Mister” even if they were only a few years old. I didn’t understand it, because I had been taught that only old people were called “Miss” or “Mister.” My mother tried to explain to me the reasons Grandma did this—she was old-fashioned, etc—but I didn’t get it because I was a little girl. Now that I do get, it makes me angry and still hurts my feelings, the disrespect my grandmother had to absorb just to survive.

I let the student know that it was only about twenty years ago that black folk received the gift of handles in front of their first names, and I’m not about to give up my handle when it took my ancestors such a struggle to get it for me. She didn’t get what I was saying, but I am hoping the lesson sinks in later, the way it did for me.

I think about struggle as it relates to my own poetry, and how some of the young black poets want to dismiss the struggles of their elders as “in the past.” Unfortunately, a graduate student calling me by my first name—but calling a white male faculty member “Doctor” or “Professor”—is a case of plus ça change, plus c’est le même chose. Or as my mama used to say, “It just be-es like that.” That incident served to remind me of why I’m here in the world, not just to write good poems but to walk upright in the world and demand my propers because, as a black woman, my poems have to work double and sometimes triple duty. So the incident became a blessing, even though it made me rather cranky.
I’ll end with one piece of good news from this week: I received the book cover for my third book, Red Clay Suite! Actually, the folks at SIU press send me two cover mock-ups (over email) and I was given the option of choosing. That has never happened to me, and I felt pretty special. I thought about how it took me a while to write the book because I was afraid—a few of the poems are about familial transgressions—and then, after I finished the book, it took me a while to place it. When the book won the second prize with Crab Orchard, I must confess I didn’t let myself get too excited. I thought, oh well, maybe someone felt sorry for me over there. Of course, now, I realize how stupid I was to think that. But the real issue was, I was feeling sorry for myself, and not being grateful for what the Creator had given me. When the book covers came over email, and I saw how beautiful they were, for the first time, I let myself experience the happiness and joy of placing the book

The following was written during the week of September 11- 19th:

We are the generation that does not have time for art. We want something to take us away. Not take us there. The artist have become a special type of specialist. They are those who make it their profession to look at things with beginner’s mind. To look at things so that they may receive consciousness from it. The documented moments someone has crafted and deposited in form demand attention that is different from what the average commercial, movie or t.v. show needs to make it enjoyable. Though looking at entertainment with the same focused attention one brings to contemplating a work of art-is to struggle with the ideas, forms and concepts-not merely feed oneself with the emotion. This connection between emotion and form is the current focus of my work-I carry it with me everyday.

Just finished reading some of Judith Ortiz Cofer’s work, from A Love, Story Beginning in Spanish. The superstition poems are amazing. I have spent time thinking about secrets this week and the hidden messages carried in our speech, our walk the power trapped in our lives. These superstition poems capture that power. Her work inhabits the community space.

Received a call from Alan King, D.C. Poet at 12:00 on Thursday night. Used to meet with Alan, Derrick and Fred on a regular at the Tryst. They have since moved to Cage Nema to watch the Young Lion’s Play. The Young Lion’s smile while they play. Though it seems a little unusual, things should be that way. A group of young jazz musicians having fun-you can feel the fun in their music. This Thursday-Herbie Hancock happened to be at Nema and sat in with the guys. Alan called me and some other folks he was so excited. A rare citing of a jazz great on historic U Street. In the car coming home this evening I was explaining to my son who Herbie Hancock was. We have listened to Seven Steps to Heavan-the Miles Davis Recording. Herbie is the man who played with Miles that day. Alan said the citing was historic. The same night N’Gugi Wa Thiongo was in town sponsored by Trans Africa and Karibu. Alan made both events. There is a lot of positive cultural in this city.

Talked to another friend who just finished his defending his doctorate at Temple this week. What an accomplishment. 6 years of study. He just turned thirty-six. He commented that Frantz Fanon died at 36 with four books and he was just finishing his doctorate. Strange, where did all the time go. We laughed-we’ve been checking e-mail and answering cel phones for the last ten years. Add up all of those calls and all of those e-mails and a little bit of mindless word surfing and you might have a couple of books.


Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can they deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me. – Zora Neale Hurston
Let's go local for a moment...
What's F-Man going to do about the arts in DC? Is the guy going to read a poem now and then?
Is he going to be visible at art openings? We know F-Man is not a church guy - but what about the theater? Is F-Man going to increase or decrease funds for the DC Arts Commission. Failure to understand the importance of culture and the role it plays in economic development might put a hole in the balloon image of this city.
We let the media shape things too much. Notice how we keep seeing connections being made between Iran and Venezuela. This is why Hugo needs to get his act together. Why keep distracting folks with dumb rhetoric. This name calling is so silly. I look around and the world is suffering from a class of high school leaders. Where are the great statesmen? Our intellectuals have failed us. We shouldn't applaud nonsense, hatred, and things my mother told me not to do.
If Iran is going to be so strict about things maybe their leader should wear a tie.
Redux Beverages based in Las Vegas has introduced the drink Cocaine. They claim it's 350 times as strong as Red Bull. If that's true, then this stuff will make you pee thru a wall. Yipes.
Hezbollah has 20,000 rockets. Who counts these things? Who makes them? When will we start to close these plants? We will always have war until we prepare for peace.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The pictures of the weight room at Dunbar High School (front page Washington Post) was enough to make you cry and then place someone in jail. The conditions are unacceptable. What's also unacceptable is reporting a 15 year plan upgrade. DC is not some old Socialist nation with a 15-year economic plan. Remember those days? The changes must be immediate. It's like shouting "Freedom Now!" The sad thing with those Dunbar pictures is that there are so many other high schools and colleges (Hmmm) in the area in the same condition. This is neglect and not giving attention to taking care of stuff. These things should be corrected by Monday morning.

Everywhere I go these days, I see institutions that are just falling apart. Who is to blame? We are. We have folks in leadership positions who simply don't do any work. They dress well and drive big cars. They go to meetings and issue reports. Some are just consultants who consult.
Then we have greed and theft. We get new equipment and some idiot runs off with it the next day. Do we need Islamic law so that a kid can excercise with good equipment?

Why can't someone on an NBA basketball team donate new equipment by Monday?
I would place anyone in jail who says, "we are doing the best we can."
Well the U.S. Women's basketball team lost too. They were defeated by Russia ending a 26- game streak. Russia 75/US 68. The game was played a few days ago in Brazil. Funny how this received such small coverage in the sports pages of our newspapers.
Congrats to Adrienne Rich. She is going to receive the National Book Foundation's annual medal for distinguished contribution to American letters. I remember having such a nice time meeting her at an AWP conference in Arizona. That was the same conference where June Jordan and I sat in the lobby of the hotel being silly and thinking about doing a black love book together. Why does the past look so funny( and wonderful) while the present is simply a dangerous place to live?
Quote of the day:

"Don't think too much, it fucks with the trees."
- E.Ethelbert Miller
Frogs croaking in flooded paddies-
if there really is a world beyond,
echo far enough so my dead brother can hear.
- Ko Un
Tercet for 2 People


- E. Ethelbert Miller
Talking baseball before the playoffs...
I don't think Frank Robinson will be back at manager of the Nationals. I'm surprise he lasted so long. Some of it was sentimental...I love the guy. The team might have to go with a new manager and coaching staff. Let's get some new people in place and make the playoffs next season.

Can you still believe the LA Dodgers hitting all those homers? That's why the game is so great!

World Series - Yankees and Mets?
I don't want to watch the following clubs: San Diego, Oakland...

Detroit might provide us with the best talent to sing the National anthem at a few games. Stevie Wonder baby.

The other ball -
Look for the Ravens to put a BIG hurt on Cleveland this Sunday.
Oh...if the Redskins lose in Houston it's over for this year. If they struggle to a win - who can they beat in the NFC East? Please, why is Gibbs looking more like Linda Cropp each week?
So Portis plays and fumbles - then what? Brunell is one sack away from an injury. Look for the guy to be on the sidelines for 4-6 weeks.
When did Shawn Springs become a star?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Clifford Brown tonight. Memorial Album/Blue Note. Piles and piles of work on my desk. NEA proposals to read, a speech to complete, correspondence, etc. The writing life. I wonder what the other poets are doing these days.

Quote of the day:

There is no bad music, only bad performances.

- Ornette Coleman

People we seem to see too much of:
Peyton Manning, Queen Latifah, Tom Cruise...

People we seldom see:
Jay Wright, James Alan McPherson, Gloria Oden...

Oh Lord hold my hand, while I run this race
Oh Lord hold my hand, while I run this race
Oh Lord hold my hand, while I run this race
cause I don't want to run this race in vain

Oh Lord guide my feet, while I run this

- Traditional spiritual

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Just the other night I was watching the film "Bread & Roses" about Latino janitors organizing. It's a moving film which takes a look at the working conditions of people we see everyday. A few minutes ago, I received an email regarding the workers at Verizon Wireless. Here is an excerpt:

"Verizon wireless workers face a variety of problems on a day-to-day basis at work/in their workplaces. They are constantly harassed and pressured to make unreasonable sales quotas. Many Verizon Wireless employees are considered "permanent part-time", which means they work close to fulltime hours with little or no health benefits. They have little, if any, say about their own pay, working conditions and job security."

During these times of so much wealth...Why do so many have so little?
Reading Matters:
George Bush is reading 3 Shakespeares.
Hugo Chavez is reading Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Domination.
Religious holidays coming up in the Middle East--so sad knowing that bombs will probably fall in markets where people gather. How many people fasting are still hungry for the taste of violence?
Brandon Johnson's new book of poems is out from Word Works. The title is LOVE'S SKIN.
Brandon lives in DC. He is another one of those Cave Canem poets. I'll read his book on the train to Mason tomorrow. This book is part of the Hilary Tham Capital Collection, an imprint of Word Works.
I've been corresponding with a dear friend who lives in Thailand. She wrote and told me that a coup in her country is almost always bloodless and has "some comical elements to it." She says "its a strange time in Thailand, for the country, for our lives."

Yes, we live in strange times and it seems as if it's raining all over the world.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So this evening for some crazy reason I decided to race my daughter, at full speed down 16th Street. Well, now my knees are hurting after a half block dash. Still it felt good to know I could still "fly" even if the route is shorter. Not bad for someone looking at 56 in November. I guess 56 is better than 65.

TransAfrica Forum’s 13th Annual

Arthur R. Ashe, Jr. Foreign Policy Library Reception


Guest of Honor
Charlayne Hunter-Gault

Author, New News Out of Africa

Mistress of Ceremonies

Maureen Bunyan
News Anchor, WJLA-TV, Washington, D.C.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is the former bureau chief of CNN South Africa and is presently a freelance journalist in southern Africa and a commentator for National Public Radio. She was the first black woman admitted to the University of Georgia. In her new book, NEW NEWS OUT OF AFRICA: Uncovering Africa’s Renaissance, the acclaimed Emmy and Peabody-winning journalist and civil rights crusader shows us an Africa that is far more complex, thriving and beautiful than shown in most media coverage. In a unique approach that combines personal memoir and journalistic observation and analysis, Ms. Hunter-Gault re-defines news about this vast and complex continent and its people.

Saturday, October 7, 2006

3:30pm to 5:30pm

Mimi’s American Bistro
2120 P Street, N.W. Washington, D.C.

Donations: $50.00; $100.00; $500.00

Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 4, 2006
202.223.1960 ext 116 or

Business or Traditional Attire
Why must grown people call each other devils? It's so childish. So now here is Hugo calling Bush a devil at the UN. That's really unnecessary. Name calling between leaders is why so many people are suffering around the world. If Bush is the devil - who was Reagan? Who was Nixon? God? Please Hugo...there are so many other things you could be doing. Should I make a list? If we are to develop a serious progressive moment on the Left...we need to grow-up. thing you know Venezuela will be exporting bean pies and Hugo will be taking a trip in a space ship over Mexico.
Is this your Final Call Hugo?

I feel like Woody Allen
when Nicole's letter arrives,
takes off its coat and asks
for something to eat.

The letter sits at the table
staring at my back. After
making pasta and peeling shrimp,
I open a bottle of wine.

I cried,the last time
I had a drink with a letter. A friend
once told me I should just collect
the stamps, throw the envelopes

away with the love.

- E. Ethelbert Miller
New book in the mail this morning:

KATRINA'S LEGACY: White Racism and Black Reconstruction in New Orleans And The Gulf Coast by Eric Mann.
The publisher is Frontlines Press:

Eric Mann is director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center and member of the Bus Riders Union Planning Committee in Los Angeles. He is the co-host of the weekly radio show, VOICES FROM THE FRONTLINES on KPFK Pacifica in Los Angeles.
Space is the place:

There is a vacancy at the former "Foot Stop" retail space located in the
Gateway Georgia Avenue Main Street and commercial corridor (7719 Georgia
Avenue). The ground-floor space is a few blocks north of the Walter Reed
Army Medical Center, one block south of Montgomery College of Allied Health,
adjacent to the affluent communities of Shepherd Park, Takoma Park DC, and
North Takoma DC, and right at the D.C./Maryland line. There is plenty of
off-street parking available.

The total square footage is 4,000; with 2,000 on the main level and an
additional 2,000 of basement space. Off-street parking is available on site.
The owner is seeking $35 foot/triple net (may be negotiable) for the main
floor; and a nominal amount for the basement. The space is available

There is one bathroom, two HVAC systems, an alarm system and a hot water
heater. Please contact with any bona fide leads (or
reply mail Gateway).

Marc D. Loud, Executive Director
Gateway Georgia Avenue Revitalization Corporation

Since 2002, the Gateway Georgia Avenue Revitalization Corporation/Main
Street has finished 29 storefront upgrades in the upper Georgia Avenue
corridor, opened the Gateway Heliport Art Gallery, pioneered the
Gateway-Silver Spring ArtsWalk, won the American Institute of Architects
"Catalyst Award" for Storefront Improvement, won the Shepherd Park Citizens
Association Business Advocate of the Year award, been nominated by the
Committee of 100/Federal City Council for Storefront Improvement,
successfully advocated for Georgia Avenue land-use planning and parking
studies, implemented a zero-tolerance graffitti policy, organized a Gateway
Merchants "Clean Team", installed 29 lamppost banners, and provided
year-round landscaping to the area's 38 treeboxes. Ledo's Pizza and Pasta
Has Opened Along The Gateway Georgia Avenue corridor! Just Wait Until You
See Gateway's New Banners And Business Directory In September '06! It takes
a village, and Gateway salutes the many neighbors, ANC leaders, civic
associations, businesses, and government leaders that have made these
changes possible. Good Things Are Happening On Georgia Avenue!
Sad and unfortunate:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations received 1,972 complaints of harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment in 2005, up from 1,522 in 2004. Seventy-nine percent of the complaints came from 9 states.
There were 93 complaints in Washington DC last year.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Happy Birthday MOM.
China is increasing its peacekeeping force in Lebanon to 1,000. The country seems to be assuming more international responsibility. It's already flexing its economic muscle around the world.
The New York Times reported today that Princeton plans to expand its Black Studies Program. Hmmmmm. What about Howard?
Joanne Gabbin invited me down to Madison. I didn't know she established her 150 Franklin Street Gallery in 1995. It's a multicultural fine arts gallery in Harrisonburg. For Gallery hours call: 540 434-3824. The 150 is worth the trip to this part of Virginia.

Helping to make my time at Madison a wonderful one was poet Laurie Kutchins. She is the author of THE NIGHT PATH which won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award in 1997.

While on the road I checked my email using my new phone. Cool. Messages from Crouch, Heschel, et al.

Funny being back in DC and reading old newspaper articles about the Washington Redskins. Can you see these guys losing on Sunday to Houston? Yep...and 1 running back is not going to make a difference. The defense is not as good as last year.
No QB. Mark was running out of gas last year.

Oh, and want about the other "game" in town? F-Man seems to be moving quickly to put a new government together. Notice how he is already keeping a number of old move. In about 2-3 weeks folks will start whispering about the "color" of the new government. The balance of whites and blacks in key positions is going to be monitored by some of his supporters. Who is going to be the first group disappointed?
The quick decision to fire the Fire chief is already a good indication of what's going on...
I'm waiting to see a news article that will take a look at F-Man's inner circle.
I'm just back from talking with Giovanni Singleton at Union Station. So good to see her on the east coast for a spell. G lives in Oakland and is editor of Nocturnes, one of the best literary magazines in the country. We talked and shared food; before I headed back home G took me over to B.Dalton's and introduced me to Mandorla magazine.She said this publication had influenced her own journal. I put my $10 down on the counter and came away with issue # 9.

Sorry for no E-notes yesterday. I was at James Madison University, giving a reading, workshop and lecture.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Treve de blues
- Leon Damas





The week began with my usual anxiety about approaching my day job: teaching creative writing workshops at a college. I started with the work of poets from the Harlem Renaissance and the Negritude Movement: Langston Hughes, Helene Johnson, Aime Cesaire, and Leopold Senghor. I wanted to talk about temporal/spatial movement and the differences between realist and surrealist moments in the poems. It was met with resistance, and I couldn’t figure out why. It’s a talk I’ve given many times and it has always opened up a lively craft discussion. My audience this day, I realized, had a problem reading Hughes without reducing his work to their presuppositions about the blues. When I pointed to the meter of the poem, scanning the lines, a student wanted to hum a cliché blues line beneath it; he then started to play an air guitar to underscore his point. The idea of scanning a four-beat line in a Hughes poem and charting variations was a tall fence to get over.

Austin is a great town but not a very diverse town. Austin City Limits is happening as I write this. It’s hard to imagine this city being open to this many people of color descending on it for daily concerts in tandem. NPR had a story on this the week before I moved here, August 2005: “Blacks in Austin.” The show delved into the limitations of what the city is famous for—live music venues, 6th St. bars and restaurants, etc.—when it comes to black residents.

Okay, enough of the bad energy part of the week. Here’s the upside: I’ve been reading three books and one comic book series. I’ll start with the comic book. The Atom, a DC comic book super hero with the power to shrink himself to particle levels while maintaining super human strength, has been re-released as a solo series; he’s been a part of the Justice League of America since it’s inception, but he hasn’t had a solo series in nearly 30 years: The New Atom #1, #2 and #3 have just been released. The art and the writing are both top notch for this genre. Allan Moore, famous now for V for Vendetta, has another graphic novel that I just finished: The Watchman. This graphic novel has a film noir feel to it—language and mystery, included—but it has a very original and complex structure: it not only uses the usual comic book panels but also first-person journal entries and editorials in between each chapter giving backstory on each character. Brilliant stuff. I’m also filling in the gaps in my education by slowly nibbling on Lord Byron’s Don Juan. I’m at Canto V, so far, and climbing. The craft of bringing lyricism and narrative together in one place so inventively is dazzling in Lord Byron’s hands. And I also finished The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein. I’m trying to write a collection of poems that brings the filmmaker Oscar Micheaux together with Leo Frank. According to rumor, Micheaux’s first three films were loosely plotted on this murder case. Frank is one of those American tragedies that keep us looking for progress.
Be sure to read Joan Didion on Cheney in the latest issue (October 5th) of The New York Review of Books. Page 51.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ichiro Watch:
Ichiro became the first player in baseball history to have 200 hits in his first 6 seasons.

He stole his 32nd consecutive base, an American League record. Whew...
The guy is just awesome.
I received the latest issue of RE-MARKINGS (Vol.5, No.2, September 2006) from Nibir K. Ghosh (editor) in India. Nibir was kind enough to publish 5 of my poems. One is the "Che" poem included in the "Arts not Ads" project. Other poems are about the war, Stan Kenton and Ginger G. The first article in RE-MARKINGS is an essay by Stanley Crouch, "The Problem of Authenticity." The publication also includes "Gizmo" a short story by Charles Johnson. If you want to obtain a copy of this magazine write to Ghosh at:
Good to see Ginger G again. We had lunch at Busboys like old times. 14th street is changing again. A number of upscale places opening. Tonight I went down to the Arts on Foot Festival. Quite a number of people out, however I felt I was a character in that play - Day of Absence or maybe I was Jimmy Baldwin in Europe wishing I was home hugging my Bessie Smith album. It's amazing how you can be at an art event in DC now and be one of five African Americans. When I saw the limos parked on 14th street I felt they were the arrival of the long ships.

It was fun to see the "Art Not Ads" trucks, parked in front of 1515 14th Street this evening. I enjoyed working on the project with Velmoed Laanstra and Nora Halpern. They are both lovely creative people. Jessica Dawson wrote a very nice article in today's Washington Post.

Worth making a trip to see downtown is the photography of William Wegman at the Adamson Gallery (1515 14th St).

Talking about the Post, I read Colbert King's OP-Ed piece. He listed five ground rules for the F-Man transition team. Rule 2 was the one that caught my attention:

"The people who helped Adrian Fenty get elected aren't necessarily best suited to helping him govern." So who is going to help him? The old folks from previous administrations?

I find it interesting how the media and even F-Man are trying to make education the # 1 issue in the city. It really isn't. The number one issue is really affordable housing. I found it interesting how the "Latino" community was almost invisible during this election for mayor. Here is a community trying to hold onto Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights. Where are they going to go?

So you want to fix the schools, etc? Let's try and first fix our public library system. Repair schools? We can't even repair some of our local libraries. Look at the King Library. It's a King nightmare ((and not a dream space). I've always felt the library network was connected to our public educational system. It's going to take years to improve the local school system. Must we show Nagin patience?
It's important that F-Man not get an F after 5 or 6 months in office.

Being a good leader means mastering the art of compromise. Campaigning and running a government are two different things.
You can't change agencies from just the top. You have to change the social culture between people. It's about building a team and having people on the bottom beginning to see results. When the bottom moves forward, social change and even revolutions take place.
F-Man will have to become a visible and vocal advocate for the poor. Folks who need housing, jobs and better education opportunties.

I wonder what new decisions (and support) will help improve our public libraries. Will we get a new library under the F-Man?
What about the Arts Commission? The quality of life in this city has been enhanced because of this agency? What changes will be made there? Will the Commission continue to have a good budget?

What government cuts is F-Man going to make? People love you until you eliminate their jobs.

How many new people will move to DC looking for work? What if the national government changes next?

Are you afraid of the future or were you afraid in the past?

Friday, September 15, 2006

My daughter just sent me the following information:

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg
President, The George Washington University
cordially invites you to an address by

His Excellency Pervez Musharraf
President, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

with remarks by
Begum Sehba Musharraf
First Lady, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Friday, September 22, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
The George Washington University
Cloyd Heck Marvin Center
Dorothy Marvin Betts Theatre
800 21st Street, NW

R.s.v.p. by e-mail to or calling (202) 994-1600.

PLEASE NOTE: Plan to arrive early for security measures. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. Doors close at 1:00 p.m. A photo I.D. is required for entry. Laptops and large bags will not be permitted in the auditorium.
Coming attractions: Ginger G returns to U this week.
My son is getting ready for his second year of playing basketball at Widener U. His team last year made it to the SWEET 16 (NCAA, Division 3 schools). In the NY Times today was an article in the sports section about the importance of chemistry on a team. Jeff Janssen (NC-based consultant) talks about the Seven C's of Championship Team Building:

1. Common Goal
2. Commitment
3. Complimentary roles
4. Clear communication
5. Constructive conflict
6. Cohesion
7. Credible leadership
Please make note of this forthcoming anthology that will consist of poems about Lebanon:

We Begin Here
Edited by Kamal Boullata & Kathy Engel
(Interlink Books, New York . Northhampton)
Scheduled to appear in Spring 2007.
The Wild Bunch? This should be a good program.

Sunday, September 17 at 4:00 pm
Celebrate the wisdom and energy of D.C.'s young poets with the Sunday Kind of Love Reading Series, with guest host Reginald Dwayne Betts. Featuring: Alan King, Melanie Henderson, Anu Yadav, Fred Joiner, Patricia Biela, Reginald Dwayne Betts. Followed by an open mic. Series host: Sarah Browning, coordinator of D.C. Poets Against the War,
Busboys & Poets
14th & V Streets, NW, Washington, DC
U Street/Cardozo on the Green Line., 202-387-POET
For more info:
Ichiro Watch:
Ichiro had his best game in a long time. 3 hits, including a homer.
I'll be on WAMU radio (88.5). The program is Metro Connections:

Friday at 1:33 PM

Saturday at 5:33 AM and 2:33 PM

Monday at 2:33 AM

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Many E-Notes ago you will find info about the coming revolution in robotics. Well there on the front page of the Washington Post - a wonderful story about a woman with a bionic arm. She is able to control her arm by her thoughts alone...Whew.
Who will survive on Survivor tonight? Who will you be rooting for? How many race cards in a deck?
Former presidential candidate John Kerry is on Howard's campus today at 1PM.
Blackburn Ballroom.
F-Man made a good move going out to SE Washington after the election. How the new mayor responds to the needs of poor people in this city is going to affect the "image" of his administration. Considering someone like Tangherlini for a position in the new government is a wise choice too. The picture of F-Man on the front page of the Washington Post defines a moment in history. Will the Blackberry people contact him to do a commercial?
Developments in the U.S. military:

Navy Names New Arleigh Burke Class Guided-Missile Destroyer

The Department of the Navy announced today that the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, will be USS Gravely (DDG 107). The name honors Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., the first African American to achieve Flag Rank in the Navy. The announcement was made by Vice Admiral John Harvey, Chief of Naval Personnel during remarks at the National Historic Black Colleges and Universities Conference.

Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. was born in Richmond, Virginia, on 4 June 1922. After attending Virginia Union University, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve in September 1942. In 1943 he participated in a Navy program (V-12) designed to select and train highly qualified men for commissioning as officers in the Navy. On December 14, 1944 Gravely successfully completed midshipman training, becoming the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course. He was released from active duty in April 1946, but remained in the Naval Reserve.
Admiral Gravely was recalled to active duty in 1949. As part of the Navy's response to President Truman's Executive Order to desegregate the Armed Services, his initial assignment was as a Navy Recruiter, recruiting African Americans in the Washington, D.C. area. Gravely went from recruiting sailors to building a Navy career that lasted 38 years and included many distinguished accomplishments.

Among those accomplishments, are a string of impressive "firsts" that include: the first African American to command a U.S. Navy warship ( USS Theodore E. Chandler); the first African American to command an American warship under combat conditions since the Civil War (USS Taussig); the first African American to command a major naval warship (USS Jouett); the first African American admiral; the first African American to rise to the rank of Vice Admiral; and the first African American to command a U.S. Fleet (Commander, Third Fleet).

“It’s fitting that this type of ship be named after a man who was able to set a true course for our nation’s Navy, and at the same time transform challenges into accomplishments and lead the way for a future generation of Naval Warfighters” said Harvey.

USS Gravely (DDG 107) will provide a dynamic multi-mission platform to lead the Navy into the future. Utilizing a gas turbine propulsion system the ship can operate independently or as part of carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. Combat systems centers around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-lD, multi-function phased array radar. The combination of Aegis, the Vertical Launching System, an advanced anti-submarine warfare system, advanced anti-aircraft missiles and Tomahawk, the Burke-class continues the revolution at sea.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Couric slips to third place. Well, that didn't take long. The problem with her program is editing, graphics,etc. Why can't folks sit behind a desk for 1/2 hour?
Is it me or has anyone ever listened to Couric's voice. It's more sweet than serious.
It's like Michael Jackson singing ballads. Ben OR Bin? For too long many of us have taken our news dark like the color of coffee. Must we consume Diet-News now? Or would you prefer Couric-lite instead of Coors?
So look who is in the New York Times today...NO Nagin the Mayor. Geez- this guy is talking about folks being patient. A hurricane should slap him on his beanie. Folks claim that Nagin is always out of town. Hee Hee...the guy wants folks to return to New Orleans - and he won't even stay there. Is there going to be a recall effort soon? Nagin says "the citizens are in the driver's seat in the city's recovery."
What's his role? Being a jaywalker?? The guy is talking about "a market-driven recovery effot." Who is he fooling. This type of rhetoric won't float after a flood.
This nonsense has to upset the ghost of Tom Dent.
Events to Mark
the 30th Anniversary
of the
Assassinations of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Karpen Moffitt

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sheridan Circle Memorial Program
Sunday, September 17, 10-11 am
Sheridan Circle (23rd and Massachusetts Ave. NW)

Please join us for music, poetry and reflections in honor of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and American Ronni Karpen Moffitt, who were killed by agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on September 21, 1976.

Until September 11, 2001, the car bombing on Massachusetts Ave. was the most infamous act of international terrorism ever to take place in our nation's capital. Letelier and Moffitt were colleagues at the Institute for Policy Studies, where Letelier had become one of the most outspoken critics of Pinochet. Moffitt was a 25-year-old development associate. For three decades, the pursuit of justice for their murders has been a symbol of hope for victims of tyranny everywhere.

The program will take place outdoors at the site of the assassination and end with a laying of flowers on the Letelier-Moffitt memorial across the street from Sheridan Circle. In July, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet laid a wreath at the memorial during her first official visit to Washington, DC.

September 17 Sheridan Circle Program Speakers:

Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies (emcee)
Rev. Osagyefo Sekou (invocation)

Fabiola Letelier, sister of Orlando Letelier and President of the Chilean human rights legal organization CODEPU. A tireless advocate for justice, Fabiola is today one of Chile’s leading human rights attorneys and currently serves as counsel in a case against Pinochet for the murder of a key witness in the Letelier case

Ambassador Mariano Fernandez, Chilean Ambassador to the United States

Peter Kornbluh, National Security Archive, author, “The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability”

Sherry Weiss, cousin of Ronni Moffitt

Sena Tsikata, who currently holds Ronni’s job title at the Institute for Policy Studies

Saul Landau, poet, author of “Assassination on Embassy Row,” and Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies

Music: Luci Murphy and the Shanti Yoga Ashram musicians

Luci Murphy is a longtime musical performer and human rights activist who reaches diverse audiences with her ability to sing in ten languages. She draws on the folkloric traditions of all these cultures, as well as her own roots in Spirituals, Blues and Jazz.

30 Years After the Letelier-Moffitt Murders –
Where are We on the Road to Ending Impunity for Dictators?
Tuesday, September 19, 10 – 11:30 am
Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th St. NW, Suite 600 (16th and L streets)


Fabiola Letelier, sister of Orlando Letelier and President of the Chilean human rights legal organization CODEPU. A tireless advocate for justice, Fabiola is today one of Chile’s leading human rights attorneys and currently serves as counsel in a case against Pinochet and other Chilean and Uruguayan military officers for the murder of a key witness in the Letelier case, DINA chemist Eugenio Berríos.

Saul Landau, Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies. After the 1976 assassination, Saul led an independent investigation into the crime, resulting in the book “Assassination on Embassy Row” (co-authored by John Dinges). He is the author of more than a dozen books and an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker.
In the mail today a package from Elouise Matthews. She sent me a copy of her inspirational poems - SYMPHONY IN MY SOUL. Matthews is a Christian educator, and a prayer intercessor. I like that term. She lives in Maryland.

ESSENCE Magazine is looking for sisters who are doing it right. Did
you buy your first house by the age of 25? Did you unload all of your
student loans before your 30th birthday? Are you in your 40s and about
to retire with a nice stash in the bank? Have you been investing for
some time? If you think you've got it going on financially for someone
in your age group, email us at wealth@essence.wea. We are looking for
African American women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s who have
reached significant financial milestones and want to share their story
for possible inclusion in an upcoming story. Please include your full
name, age, home city and state and contact information. Submissions
will be received until September 25, 2006. We look forward to hearing
from you! ~The Editors at ESSENCE Magazine.
Now the good news:

Jamie Wins Smashing Victory!

Major Upset Leads to Excitement About Progressive Revival.

Congrats to Jamie Raskin for his victory to the Maryland State Senate (District 20)
Jamie is the son of Marc Raskin the founder of IPS.
News from Mogadishu:
Islamic militia officials who closed a radio station have allowed it back on the air so long as it does not play music.

What are the birds doing these days?
Apple Events:

Tribute to Stanley Kunitz, on September 20th at the 92nd Street Y in New York.
With poets Mark Doty, Sharon Olds, Marie Howe, Galway Kinnell and Genine Lentine.

Betye Saar: Migrations/Transformations
Exhibition of her new work at the Rosenfeld Gallery in New York City until October 28th.
Well congrats to F-man. I guess he will be our next mayor. The next relationship to watch is the one between him and the City Council. I thought Johns would have done better - well maybe next time. F-Man now has the difficult task of putting a government together. Who will serve? Who will serve somebody? Who won yesterday?
Developers? Poor people? White people? Young people?

Things to look for under F-Man:
Who will speak to the press?
Who will be the next police commissioner?
What's the plan for education?
How will F-Man respond to the needs of the Latino community?

Hey- can we get a tree policy? Cut, trim and plant? No need for power to go out like we live in Baghdad everytime a storm hits.

What's F-Man position on the Arts? Will there be a new director of the Arts Commission?

If F-Man keeps knocking on doors the next 4 years - who is going to be running the government? Is there life after Halloween?

What's the plan for the next 4 years? Will F-Man have the support of the next president of the US?

Well, I'm still waiting for F-Man to visit IPS. Oh - that's not the International Pothole Society.

What will Mayor Williams do now? Play baseball for the Nationals next year?

So many questions but I have poems to write. Look at what happened to Jonetta Barras...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I had a nice conversation this afternoon with Ken Tolson, the grandson of the poet Melvin B. Tolson. Denzel Washington is making a film about the first national black debate team Melvin Tolson founded. Hopefully, this will bring more attention to a great African American writer. Tolson wrote the LIBRETTO FOR THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA in 1953. THE HARLEM GALLERY is his other work. Tolson died in 1966 at the age of 68.
I started the morning by reading a short essay by Raymond Carver - "Friendship" in his book of uncollected writings, NO HEROICS, PLEASE. Carver was writing about his relationship with Tobias Wolff and Richard Ford.

Almost all my relationships with writers can be reduced to emails and a phone call now and then. The isolation is something I guess I'm growing to accept as I grow older. I'm that third beer Toni Morrison once wrote about. Many doors closing...
Well I voted for Marie Johns. Let's see what happens during the next 4 years. Studio DC the new sitcom?
G Fine Art is a beautiful gallery run by Annie Gawlak. It's located at 1515 14th Street, NW. I went there this morning with Welmoed Wiannstra to record an interview that will air on WAMU. Stephanie Kaye, from the radio station was there to ask Wel & Me questions about the upcoming Street Scenes exhibit. Look for the Art Not Ads trucks to move around the city presenting poetry, visual, and media art. I think the Washington Post is doing an article about this on Saturday.

Emma S. Etuk came by the HU Resource Center around 2 PM. I hadn't seen the guy in a long time. He gave me one of his books - THE INDISPENSABLE VISIONARY: Turning Your Dreams Into Realities.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm so happy I don't watch ESPN on a regular basis. Geez - the graphics and commercials give me a headache. They are also very ugly. I tried to watch the Redskins/Viking NFL game without thinking it was Madden 2007. Oh- and Kornheiser, Tirico, and Theismann are like 3 people on cell phones. These guys talk too much about the same thing over and over. It's a bad combination. Oh - and did we have to have J(Ray Charles) Foxx in the booth and all those shots of Tom Cruise? I almost turned the channel to see what Bush was talking about. But the Vikings won. The Redskin defense is not playing like last year. These guys just are not that good. If they would just take one week at a time - they would be OK. These guys would have no chance against the Ravens, Eagles or any other birds. 0-1 and more 0s to come.
Another upcoming event: 5th Annual Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Ceremony. Hosted by S. Epatha Merkerson. 7PM, November 3rd,at the National Press Club.
or e-mail:
In the mail today, a nice gift from my friend Nicole A. We met several months ago in DC. Nicole was recently in Thailand (she is living in NJ), and the present she sent was a hand carved sandalwood Buddha. Thanks and E-hugs Nicole.
I've been laughing the last two days with my fellow poet Primus St. John (out in Oregon). He is working with the Oregon Literary Review (on line journal). I plan to send him a few poems later this week.

Check the site:

Here is information about Primus:

Primus St. John (Poetry Editor) is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Communion: Poems, 1976-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1999), which won the Western States Book Award and Dreamer (1990), which received the 1990 Hazel Hall Award for Poetry. He is editor of the anthologies From Here We Speak(1993) and Zero Makes Me Hungry (1976). His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He has taught writing and literature at Portland State University for almost 30 years.
I'm still shaking my head about the NY Times editorial (yesterday) about the ban on carry-on luggage.
Here- read this silly stuff:

"Separating people from their laptops during flights would be painful, although some people could surely use the time to go over reading material, or even revert to pen and paper."

Nothing like a luggage problem to encourage people to pack themselves (inside). I have problems with the carry-on policies. I've been on a couple of airplanes (international flights) that still serve sharp knives with their meals.What's up with that? The liquid ban seems like a joke too. I lost one of my pens to a screener in Germany. The good thing was that the guy looked very literary. So we go from taking our shoes off in airports to discarding all liquids. If I was James Bond wouldn't I use my own urine to create an explosive? Might that be possible? Let's hope not. How would we prevent something like that from happening? With so many people on steroids, who knows what's in the common pee these days.
African writer Ngugi Wa Thiongo is coming to Howard University on Thursday, September 14th, 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM.
Ngugi has a new novel out: WIZARD OF THE CROW. Yesterday this book was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review. Other books by Ngugi include:

Weep Not Child
The River Between
A Grain of Wheat
Petals of Blood
Devil on the Cross
Detained: A Writer's Prison Diary
Decolonizing the Mind
Moving the Center

The program on the 14th of September will be sponsored by African Studies (HU) and TransAfrica Forum.
Did you see the excerpts from Susan Sontag's notebooks and diaries? They were in the New York Times Magazine yesterday. Here are a few:

"In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person;I create myself."

"Nothing prevents me from being a writer except laziness."

"The writer is in love with himself...and makes his books out of that meeting and that violence."

"Art= a way of getting in touch with one's own insanity."
I watched 3 football games yesterday. Maybe we should give the Ravens their SuperBowl rings right now. Dallas will not go far with Bledsoe. TO is a basket case waiting for the eggs to drop.
Why does Peyton Manning have so many commercials? I got tired of the Manning home movies very quickly. The key to stopping the Colts is to have a serious pass rush and getting very physical with Harrison. Take away the favorite receiver in every game. Oh- and take a few of those roughing the passer penalities too. Why is Chad Morton still trying to return kicks? Look for Reggie Bush to bigger than Ray Ray Nagin in New Orleans before the year ends. A good job for the NO mayor might be as punter of the Colts. He could sit on the bench and do nothing. Wear a nice uniform and not get dirty.

A busy week for me. NPR today, a couple of speeches to work on, G. Mason class preparation, the return of Ginger G, an upcoming trip to James Madison University, and more.

While walking
in Rock Creek

I wonder why
my feet keep

the earth

- E. Ethelbert Miller

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Treve de blues
- Leon Damas

Welcome to the E-MAG: A Sunday kind of love.

On Sundays I invite other writers to share my E-space and contribute their own E-Notes. Today my guests are Nimah Ismail Nawwab, Ching-In Chen, and Jody Bolz.

Nimah Ismail Nawwab is a writer, photographer, lecturer, activist and poet living in Saudi Arabia. She is the author of the best selling book THE UNFURLING. Ching-In Chen is a writer and community organizer based in the Boston area. She is volunteering through INCITE! New Orleans with the New Orleans Women's Health and Justice Initiative for the month of September. Jody Bolz is the editor of Poet Lore magazine.

# 1

Dhahran- East Coast of Arabia.

From the heat of Arabia and back to its heat, as the summer vacation in the UK is over, got immersed in a move to a new house following the holidays…

Setting up the office has been a labor of love and exhaustion. But finally getting back on track with more reading and writing as the office takes shape. Got some congratulary emails after being offline with the move from poets Naomi Shihab Nye and Pit Pinegar.

Then caught up the latest on our women's issues in Kingdom and worked on an outline of a story on a new trend of marriages and marriages as a whole- a subject which seems a mystery in an essentially segregated society. How do young couples meet in and what are the challenges?… A large ongoing uproar is now raging on both the male and female sides of the fence with supporters and decriers of a kind of marriage that allows each party to be independent financially and physically as well..

As each day begins, a cup of tea with milk and cardamom and the sounds of Fayrouz and Loreena Mckennitt. I start working, followed by the latest Destiny's Child, Kelly Clarkson and others throughout the day as helpful mood setters for poems and articles. The thumping beats are a must and I can't write anymore without background sound with the type of intensity needed for poetry. Another mood setter is the clicking of keypads of my trusty laptop. For the life of me, I can not write long hand any longer.

Worked on a feature on Saudi women for the magazine have been involved with as a reviewer and contributor for the last 13years; Aramco World magazine now renamed Saudi Aramco World. Sent the latest issue to some new friends, pointing out excellent stories on the origins of the Blues and decorative elements of Nubian homes at

Molly Hicks Thomas, to whom I owe my introduction to Ethelbert, will be a co author of the women's piece and I miss her a lot. Having a fellow writer nearby was a real treasure as writing clubs are almost non existent. Her musical Southern dialect and warm friendship have been great. So her recent move to Washington DC, has led to emails and a few calls since then. She started work at the National Endowment of Arts, very excited for her.

On Tuesday had a photo shoot for an interview with a local English paper on my work as a Young Global Leader. The shoot took over an hour as photos were taken in alternating mode of dress--in a business suit and also in traditional embroidered dress. A personal hobby has been collecting traditional regional Saudi and Middle Eastern dresses, which are worn at the majority of my poetry readings in Arabia and beyond.

Proofread for the last time submissions of an international anthology the 'World Strand' by Academici with Markus Vinzent as a publisher and editor Joneve McCormick, to be published in Germany near Christmas time, funny how one project relates to another.

Roger Humes of the Other Voices International Project, had recommended my poems to the editors of the Academici anthology and he is now very busy with his own anthology featuring 250 international poets, a long-held passion of his in addition to music…It has been great to get Roger's feedback on poetry related matters, almost like going to a writer's conference.

Sent an email to several poets and writers in the UK, U.S and Canada on Coleman Bark's latest honor. The email started a debate in some cases about poetry translations. Roger Humes had some excellent comments and I heard back from several poets I haven't contacted in a while including Nathalie Handal and Mohja Kahf.

Mohja sent a press release about her new novel 'The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel' on East and West as well as Sunni and Shia. Funny, in our family in Mecca, we never even thought of the two as separate sects with issues of contention!
Thinking of the past when such distinctions weren't around twists my heart…people are people and wars continue to scar everyone in their path…

Been reading translations of Rumi a lot again, as well as translations of Naguib Mahfouz, starting with a special a translation done by my father for Aramco World

Also reading an English translation of 'Cities of Salt' by Abdelrahman Munif, a part of a trilogy that revolves around the change in part of the country—the nomadic society following the discovery of oil in the 1930s, the book has long been banned in Saudi Arabia..

Both Mahfouz and Munif have passed way, strange how one revisits the works of favorites on their deaths or thereafter, a kind of farewell?

Worked on a few new poems and replying to emails on a women's anthology I am working on with a team, in between breaks from the women's feature story. Also checked in with the webmaster of my website to update some data on the women's anthology submission form.

Read a bit on the work of some of the poets Ethelbert had mentioned in his list of new book reviews for 'Poet Lore' such as Kimiko Hahn, Peter Meinke and Julie Sheehan and revisited the familiar such as Major Jackson..

Our week end-- Thursday and Friday-- passed in a blur with friends and family.

Saturday the start of another week, received a request from Saudi reporter Suzan Zawawi from Riyadh, for information on involvement with the Young Global Leaders project, will send her material and photos then await her questions. It has been great to keep in touch with Suzan her American-Saudi heritage and her enthusiasm for women's issues in Kingdom as well as her own character has led to interesting feedback via phone calls and emails.

Preparing packages of thank you notes to journalists including an Indian publication that did two stories in Urdu.

From New Orleans:

Leaving home a week ago, I packed some summer clothes, bug spray, sunblock, and a list of books by strong women, spirits to sustain me during my month in New Orleans.
Suheir Hammad's Zaatar Diva,Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's Consensual Genocide,Ishle Yi Park's The Temperature of This Water,Ruth Forman's Renaissance,Joy Harjo's The Woman Who Fell From the Sky,Aurora Levins Morales' Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenas,Kimiko Hahn's Volatile and a copy of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color& Making Waves: An Anthology of Writings By and About Asian American Women.

A year ago, an e-mail from Suheir Hammad, who had arrived in the city weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and earlier in the summer encouraged me not to give up my writing. Her words as witness to the material of people's personal lives and stories and disasters. Later, hearing her read that piece as testimony would make me break apart, in a way that none of the video footage and photographs could.

On arrival, someone told me everyone's a survivor here, the whole city a survivor. In a city where so much needs to be done, so much left, so much change, so much pain, so much survival. I wondered what this would bring up for me, healing and surviving too, in my own way. I was scared to come down and immerse myself in community work again, but it's been inspiring and, surprising to me, healing.

I have been watching Hotel Rwanda and Whale Rider and seeing how it connects to my daily work here in New Orleans, writing my freewrites every morning, reading one poem every day to bless my day with beauty and intention, and bearing witness to those I meet, writing down stories at night. Yesterday, beautiful words at a memorial for a woman who had been struck down by a car on the side of the road one day after Hurricane Katrina.

I brought out my pen, which brought me to the doorstep of a survivor. I spent an afternoon out of the sun, remembering and writing and laughing and crying. This is why I write.

(Chen has been blogging about her time in New Orleans at


On September 11, we'll send another issue of Poet Lore--the journal Ethelbert and I have been editing together since early 2002--to the printer. For the past few days I've been correcting page proofs, arranging poems, checking the position of the cover photo (Houdini in a locked box), and wondering what poetry has to offer in this baffling new century. When Poet Lore first appeared in 1889, America had its share of challenges, but who could have foreseen the commonplace calamities of 2006? In retrospect, 9/11 itself seems to exist in a simpler past: a time when we hadn't yet shamed ourselves by adding to the horror.

What does poetry have to tell us about any of this? I look through the pages on my desk and find Jean Nordhaus's essay on the deaths of poets. She quotes the late Stanley Kunitz: "If we want to know what it felt like to be alive at any given moment in the long odyssey of the race, it is to poetry we must turn." And so I do. I turn to the poems on war in this new issue: Julie Agoos's "The View," D. Nurkse's "The Train to Ko," Sarah Browning's "The Last Talk," Basil Cleveland's "Men Bound Together and Shot Dead." I read what poets are writing about what it feels like to be alive in our time.

But war isn't the only subject I turn to. I reread Sandra Gilbert's "Anti-Valentine" and a long mock narrative by Michael Minassian in which one of Leonardo's notebooks trades places with Minassian's cell phone, defying the laws of time and space. I reread Marilyn Ringer's "The Truth About Mascara" (I never knew!) and a found poem by Jeff Worley that begins: "Manager Garren opened the meeting by unlocking / the suggestion box and found there were no suggestions." I'm laughing, still looking--unsure what it is I need to find--and then I recognize it in the last lines of "Fist of Strand" by Davide Trame:

Picture this now, the strand:
the gold shot of a lit vast fist,
our breasts flattened by gusts,
our silhouettes by the dunes of foam-crests,
slow steps, feet sinking in the sand,
slow progress in bright wilderness,
our outlines, the pattern
of our belief,

of our enduring hush and wish to last.

A fun evening. I went down to the fundraiser for Street Scenes. Checkout:
The event was at the G Fine Art, 1515 14th Street.
I got a ride with Welmoed Laanstra, David Corn and his mom. Welmoed has worked hard putting together Art not Ads mobile billboards. The truck will be out next weekend. Don't miss it. It was fun talking with David too. The guy is riding high with a new big book - HUBRIS: The Inside Story of Spin,Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War. His co-author is Michael Isikoff.
The book is # 1 on Amazon. com.
Ichiro Watch: Whew - Ichiro finally had 3 hits in a game.
No batting title this year.
I hope he can reach 200 hits again.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Quote of the day:

To win election dem trick me
Den dem don't do nothing at all
Come on let's face it
A ghetto education's basic

- Damian Marley - "Welcome to Jamrock"
Some good news for a change:
Journalist Paul Salopek being released in Sudan. Israel ending its sea blockade of Lebanon.

So one must continue to have faith in man. God has faith in us - it's why he sometimes refuses to answer all our prayers. Be kind to others - love the stranger in yourself. It will prepare you to love the strangeness you see in others.

Friday, September 08, 2006

OK vocabulary building test. Ready?
Define - New Islamic fascism.
Define - Old Islamic fascism

Where did Islamic fascism come from? Who coins this stuff? What creative writing program in the US is responsible?

Words are introduced into our language and we have problems wondering why we have problems. Go figure.

I'm going to create some new words right now:

With the weekend coming up I expect F-man to be everywhere. As Superman once confided to a close friend - "it was never just about Lois." So fix your F-yard sign and get it ready for last minute inspection. The election is next week. Think upset. Make history. Think win for Marie Johns. If you have problems deciding between Cropp or Fenty- simply vote for Johns. You know in your heart it's the right thing to do. If you have voting experience then vote for experience. Don't be a (f)ool or (f)ooled.
Should we give Forest Whitaker an Oscar now? I saw the trailer to THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND a few weeks ago and was blown away. Whitaker plays Idi Amin in this new movie.
Joe Morgenstern in today's Wall Street Journal says the following about Whitaker:

"More simply put, it's one of the great performances of modern movie history."
Newt. Did you read Newt Gingrich's essay in the Wall Street Journal yesterday? Oh, boy. This guy is already talking about World War III. How many people in high places might be thinking like Newt? The otherside of the coin is - what's going on in a place like Iran? Newt is perhaps right to think about a suicide bomber with a bigger bomb. Nuclear or just Newt? One thing about Newt is that the guy at times can be a radical thinker. This is what you can't ignore. I don't dismiss the guy.

I do recall an incident a few years ago while I was sitting in National Airport. I was reading my book prior to boarding a flight. A guy on a cell phone was talking (loud). I "had" to listen to his conversation. He was talking politics. I disagreed with almost everything he said - almost to the point of not wanting to get on the plane with him. When I looked over my shoulder I saw it was Newt. Yes, beloved Newt. I actually spoke to him when we got off our plane in Atlanta. He even gave me a business card. A very nice guy. Of course we were on an escalator going - down. Which brings me back to yesterday's essay. Should we follow Newt or just read what he writes?