Monthly Archives: May 2011

“Child of Innocence”: Poetry by Michael Jackson

I just got to see a copy of Michael Jackson’s book of poetry, “Dancing the Dream”. It goes for around $600. Just try and get a copy.

So, I discovered that MJ had a lot of talents that many of us didn’t know about. He was an awesome poet and artist (check out the drawing). His self-portraits were picture quality. His poems really told you who we was as a man, as a brother, as a son, as a child. I enjoyed all of his work, but I would like to share a short one. For you poetry heads, this one was written in a style called an “elegiac stanza”–a series of two couplets per stanza (aabb). Besides that, it has renewed my interest and my understanding of every kid’s “big brother”. At least my generation. Enjoy.

Child of innocence, I miss your sunny days

We joyously frolicked in extended plays

Ever since you’ve left the scene

The streets are lonely, dark, and mean

Child of innocence, return to me now

With your simple smile show them how

This world once again can respond to your glance

And heartbeats flutter to the rhythm of your dance

Child of innocence, your elegance, your beauty

Beckons me now beyond the call of duty

Come fly with me far and above

Over the mountains in the land of love

Child of innocence, messenger of joy

You’ve touched my heart without a ploy

My soul is ablaze with a flagrant fire

To change this world is my deepest desire

“Child of Innocence”, by Michael Jackson

1992

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The Fallacy of African “Dictators”

I am about to piss off my White friends. If you are open-minded and you love me, read on. If you are not open-minded and you love me, then hit the <back> button and read another post. If you are closed-minded and you don’t give a damn about me… then read on!

First, let me give you a little background about Robert Mugabe. He is the long-time President of Zimbabwe–formerly known as Rhodesia. For those who don’t know, there had been a long battle for Independence from White rule in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, as the colonial masters there were some of the most brutal of the White goverments in Africa. Zimbabwe–it’s new name–means “house of stone”. The Great Zimbabwe is a series of castles/pyramids built by Black Africans hundreds of years ago and then hidden from the rest of the world by racists governments in Rhodesia and South Africa. When the intellectual community inquired, the governments there released a history that Whites built the castles and abandoned them, and Black Africans moved in. The area where the Great Zimbabwe is located was illegal for visitors for decades, and most of its artifacts destroyed. And Mugabe, knowing this, fought this government and was imprisoned for 10 years; he eventually became its leader in 1980 and has been ever since. in 2000, Mugabe expelled Whites from Zimbabwe because of their involvement in politics and commerce–and their retention of most of Zimbabwe’s resources and wealth. He confiscated their land and money and returned it to the people, and sought to reverse the damage that colonialism created. The Western world imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and their people and are now punishing Zimbabweans for refusing to oust Mugabe. He has an unapologetic disapproval of homosexuality and outlawed homosexuality–even imprisoning a former President for violating this law. He has also been compared to Hitler (Mugabe wears a “Hitler”-style mustache…. I love this guy) and does not apologize for this either. I will explain later.

But in the meantime, read this long exerpt from Wiki:

Criticism and opposition

Example of foreign criticism: a demonstration against Mugabe’s regime next to the Zimbabwe embassy in London (Summer 2006).

Since 1998 Mugabe’s policies have increasingly elicited domestic and international denunciation. They have been denounced as racist against Zimbabwe’s white minority[95][96][97] Mugabe has described his critics as “born again colonialists”,[98][99] and both he and his supporters claim that Zimbabwe’s problems are the legacy of imperialism,[100] aggravated by Western economic meddling. According to The Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper owned by the government, the U.K. is pursuing a policy of regime change.[91]

Mugabe’s critics accuse him of conducting a “reign of terror”[55][101] and being an “extremely poor role model” for the continent, whose “transgressions are unpardonable”.[102] In solidarity with the April 2007 general strike called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), British Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber said of Mugabe’s regime: ‘Zimbabwe’s people are suffering from Mugabe’s appalling economic mismanagement, corruption, and brutal repression. They are standing up for their rights, and we must stand with them.” Lela Kogbara, Chair of ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) similarly has said: “As with every oppressive regime women and workers are left bearing the brunt. Please join us as we stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for peace, justice and freedom”.[103]

Robert Guest, the Africa editor for The Economist for seven years, argues that Mugabe is to blame for Zimbabwe’s economic freefall. “In 1980, the average annual income in Zimbabwe was US$950, and a Zimbabwean dollar was worth more than an American one. By 2003, the average income was less than US$400, and the Zimbabwean economy was in freefall.[104] “Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly three decades and has led it, in that time, from impressive success to the most dramatic peacetime collapse of any country since Weimar Germany“.[12]

In The Daily Telegraph, Mugabe was criticised for comparing himself to Hitler. Mugabe was quoted as saying “This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold”.[105]

In recent years, Western governments have condemned Mugabe’s government. On 9 March 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush approved measures for economic sanctions to be levelled against Mugabe and other high-ranking Zimbabwe politicians, freezing their assets and barring Americans from engaging in any transactions or dealings with them. Justifying the move, Bush’s spokesman stated that the President and Congress believe that “the situation in Zimbabwe endangers the southern African region and threatens to undermine efforts to foster good governance and respect for the rule of law throughout the continent.” The bill was known as the Zimbabwe Democracy Act.[106]

In reaction to human rights violations in Zimbabwe, students at universities from which Mugabe has honorary doctorates have sought to get the degrees revoked. So far, the University of Edinburgh and University of Massachusetts have stripped Mugabe of his honorary degree[107] after two years of campaigning from Edinburgh University Students’ Association. In addition, the student body at Michigan State University (ASMSU) unanimously passed a resolution calling for this. The issue is now being considered by the university.[108]

Mugabe’s office forbade the screening of the 2005 movie The Interpreter, claiming that it was propaganda by the CIA and fearing that it could incite hostility towards him.[109] In 2007, Parade magazine ranked Mugabe the 7th worst dictator in the world.[110] The same magazine ranked him worst dictator of the year 2009 two years later. [111]

An official from Chatham House suggested that Mugabe was unlikely to leave Zimbabwe, but that if he were to leave, he might go to Malaysia, where some believe that he has “stashed much of his wealth”.[112]

In response to Mugabe’s critics, former Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda was quoted blaming not Mugabe for Zimbabwe’s troubles, but successive British governments.[113] He wrote in June 2007 that “leaders in the West say Robert Mugabe is a demon, that he has destroyed Zimbabwe and he must be got rid of– but this demonising is made by people who may not understand what Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his fellow freedom fighters went through”.[3] Similarly, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, responded to his critics by saying that Zimbabwe’s problems are the legacy of colonialism.[114]

Mugabe’s supporters characterise him as a true Pan-Africanist and a dedicated anti-imperialist who stands strong against forces of imperialism in Africa. According to Mugabe’s supporters, the Western media are not objectively reporting on Zimbabwe, but are peddling falsehoods. Mugabe’s supporters accuse certain western governments of trying to eradicate pan-Africanism in order to deny real independence to African countries by imposing client regimes.[115]

The Times charged that on 12 June 2008, Mugabe’s Militia murdered Dadirai Chipiro, the wife of Mugabe’s political opponent, Patson Chipiro, by burning her alive with a petrol bomb after severing her hands and feet.[116]

Sanctions

After the start of the Fast Track land reform program in 2000, the US Senate put a credit freeze on the government of Zimbabwe, through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001. Signed into law on December 21st 2001, ZDERA froze the Zimbabwean government’s lines of credit at international financial institutions through Section 4C, titled Multilateral Financing Restriction. This credit freeze forced the Zimbabwean government to operate on a cash only basis, and caused high inflation in 2001 to turn into hyperinflation in 2002 and beyond. It caused the first export deficit, the first big drop in tobacco exports, and a greater fall of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US dollar than in the previous 6 years, in the year 2002.

SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY. (c) MULTILATERAL FINANCING RESTRICTION- … the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against– (1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or (2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution. [117]

ZDERA was sponsored by Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and co-sponsored by then senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Russ Feingold and Jesse Helms. In 2010, Russ Feingold introduced a new law that would continue the credit freeze on Zimbabwe, called the Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2010 (ZTDERA). Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2010, specifically to repeal ZDERA through Section 2 article 26.[118]

Robert Mugabe visiting Vatican City in 2008, while in Rome for a UN Food Conference-a permitted exception from his travel ban.

After observers from the European Union were barred from examining Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections, the EU imposed sanctions on Mugabe and 94 members of his government, banning them from travelling to participating countries and freezing any assets held there. The United States instituted similar restrictions. The EU’s ban has a few loopholes, resulting in Mugabe taking a few trips into Europe despite the ban. Mugabe is permitted to travel to UN events within European and American borders.[119][120]

On 8 April 2005, Mugabe attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II, a move which could be seen as defiance of a European Union travel ban that does not, however, apply to Vatican City. He was granted a transit visa by the Italian authorities, as they are obliged to under the Concordat. However, the Catholic hierarchy in Zimbabwe have been very vocal against his rule and the senior Catholic cleric, Archbishop Pius Ncube is a major critic, even calling for Western governments to help in his overthrow.[121][122] Mugabe surprised Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, by shaking his hand during the service. Afterwards, the Prince’s office released a statement saying, “The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and not in a position to avoid shaking Mr. Mugabe’s hand. The Prince finds the current Zimbabwean regime abhorrent. He has supported the Zimbabwe Defence and Aid Fund which works with those being oppressed by the regime. The Prince also recently met Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, an outspoken critic of the government”.[123]

Robert Mugabe and senior members of the Harare government are not allowed to travel to the United States because it is the position of the US government that he has worked to undermine democracy in Zimbabwe and has restricted freedom of the press.[124] Despite strained political relations, the United States remains a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, providing roughly US$900 million in humanitarian assistance from 2002–2008, mostly food aid.[125]

Because United Nations events are exempt from the travel bans, Mugabe attended the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) summit in Rome. African leaders threatened to boycott the event if Mugabe were blacklisted; when he was not, the United Kingdom refused to send a representative. British and Australian officials denounced the presence of Mugabe.[126][127]

Succession

Because Mugabe is one of Africa’s longest-lasting leaders, speculation has built over the years related to his succession.

In June 2005, a report that Mugabe had entered a hospital for tests on his heart fuelled rumours that he had died of a heart attack.[128] These reports were later dismissed by a Mugabe spokesman.

Joyce Mujuru, recently elevated to vice-president of ZANU-PF during the December 2004 party congress and considerably younger than Joseph Msika, the other vice-president, has been touted as a likely successor to Mugabe. Mujuru’s candidacy for the presidency is strengthened by the backing of her husband, Solomon Mujuru, who is the former head of the Zimbabwean army.

In October 2006, a report prepared by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Economic Development acknowledged the lack of coordination among critical government departments in Zimbabwe and the overall lack of commitment to end the crisis. The report implied that the infighting in Zanu-PF over Mugabe’s successor was also hurting policy formulation and consistency in implementation.[129]

In late 2006, a plan was presented to postpone the next presidential election until 2010, at the same time as the next parliamentary election, thereby extending Mugabe’s term by two years. It was said that holding the two elections together would be a cost-saving measure,[130] but plan was not approved: there were reportedly objections from some in ZANU-PF to the idea.

In March 2007, Mugabe said that he thought that the feeling was in favour of holding the two elections together in 2008 instead of 2010. He also said that he would be willing to run for re-election again if the party wanted him to do so.[131] Other leaders in southern Africa were rumoured to be less warm on the idea of extending his term to 2010.

On 30 March 2007, it was announced that the ZANU-PF central committee had chosen Mugabe as the party’s candidate for another term in 2008, that presidential terms would be shortened to five years, and that the parliamentary election would also be held in 2008.[132] Mugabe was chosen by acclamation as the party’s presidential candidate for 2008 by ZANU-PF delegates at a party conference on 13 December 2007.[133]

At Zanu-PF’s tenth annual conference in Bindura in December 2008, Mugabe spoke of his determination not to follow US president George W. Bush to his “political death”[134] and urged the party to ready itself for new polls. He also took the opportunity once more to cite Britain as the source of Zimbabwe’s woes.

At independence celebrations in Ghana in March 2007, South African President Thabo Mbeki was rumoured to have met with Mugabe in private and told him that “he was determined that South Africa’s hosting of the Football World Cup in 2010 should not be disrupted by controversial presidential elections in Zimbabwe”.[135]

As of 10 September 2010 there was considerable speculation that Mugabe was dying of cancer.[136][137][138] It is rumoured that his choice of successor would be Simba Makoni [4]

SADC-facilitated government power-sharing agreement

On 11 September 2008, at the end of the fourth day of negotiations, South African President and mediator to Zimbabwe, Thabo Mbeki, announced in Harare that Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF, Professor Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai (both of MDC) finally signed the power-sharing agreement – “memorandum of understanding.”[139] Mbeki stated: “An agreement has been reached on all items on the agenda … all of them [ Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Mutambara] endorsed the document tonight, and signed it. The formal signing will be done on Monday 10am. The document will be released then. The ceremony will be attended by SADC and other African regional and continental leaders. The leaders will spend the next few days constituting the inclusive government to be announced on Monday. The leaders will work very hard to mobilise support for the people to recover. We hope the world will assist so that this political agreement succeeds.” In the signed historic power deal, Mugabe, on 11 September 2008 agreed to surrender day-to-day control of the government and the deal is also expected to result in a de facto amnesty for the military and Zanu-PF party leaders. Opposition sources said “Tsvangirai will become prime minister at the head of a council of ministers, the principal organ of government, drawn from his Movement for Democratic Change and the president’s Zanu-PF party; and Mugabe will remain president and continue to chair a cabinet that will be a largely consultative body, and the real power will lie with Tsvangirai.[140][141][142]

South Africa’s Business Day reported, however, that Mugabe was refusing to sign a deal which would curtail his presidential powers.[143] New York Times said Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, announced: “This is an inclusive government. The executive power would be shared by the president, the prime minister and the cabinet. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara have still not decided how to divide the ministries. But Jendayi E. Frazer, the American assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said: “We don’t know what’s on the table, and it’s hard to rally for an agreement when no one knows the details or even the broad outlines”[144]

On 15 September 2008, the leaders of the 14-member SADC witnessed the signing of the power-sharing agreement, brokered by South African leader Thabo Mbeki. With symbolic handshake and warm smiles at the Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare, Mugabe, Mutambara and Tsvangirai signed the deal to end violent political crisis provides. As provided, Robert Mugabe will be recognised as president, Morgan Tsvangirai will become prime minister,[145] the MDC will control the police, Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) will command the Army, and Arthur Mutambara becomes deputy prime minister.[146][147]

Violence, however, did not entirely subside with the power-sharing agreement. As the New Your Times reports, Mugabe’s top lieutenants started “trying to force the political opposition into granting them amnesty for their past crimes by abducting, detaining and torturing opposition officials and activists.” Dozens of members of the opposition and human rights activists have been abducted and tortured in the months since October 2008, including Roy Bennett, the opposition’s third-highest ranking official and Tsvangirai’s nominee for deputy agriculture minister (arrested just two days after Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister in 11 February 2009) and Chris Dhlamini, the opposition’s director of security.[148]

Honours and revocations

In 1994, Mugabe was appointed an honorary Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II.[149] This entitled him to use the postnominal letters GCB, but not to use the title “Sir.” In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee called for the removal of this honour in 2003, and on 25 June 2008, Queen Elizabeth II cancelled and annulled the honorary knighthood after advice from the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom. “This action has been taken as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided”.[150]

Mugabe holds several honorary degrees and doctorates from international universities, awarded to him in the 1980s; at least three of these have since been revoked. In June 2007, he became the first international figure ever to be stripped of an honorary degree by a British university, when the University of Edinburgh withdrew the degree awarded to him in 1984.[151] On 12 June 2008, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees voted to revoke the law degree awarded to Mugabe in 1986; this is the first time one of its honorary degrees has been revoked.[152] Similarly, on 12 September 2008, Michigan State University revoked an honorary law degree that it awarded Mugabe in 1990.

 

In part II of this article, I will give you my thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog.

 

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Top 8 Things Holding Back the Black Man

I’m no know-it-all. Some of you may think I am acting like a guy who knows all the answers; I don’t.

But since this is MY blog, I’m going to give you the answers…

I have long said that the main weapon being used to hold back the Black Community is the Black Community itself. I may seem like I am overgeneralizing by making “the Black Man” synonymous with the Black “community”–and that’s because I consider the Black Man to be the keeper of the key to our success. Without summarizing this whole series (yes, this is going to be a series) with one statement–the Black community will prosper when the Black Man becomes a MAN and makes us prosperous–I want to give the details explaining why the Black Community (and thus the Black Man) is being held back.

If we as a people can embrace this philosophical solution, I believe that this community as a whole will be elevated to the status we rightfully deserve to hold.

I welcome skeptics, critics, comments and questions.

  1. We have too many “Momma’s Boys”.  This is perhaps the biggest problem we face. The man is the head of the household, the nurturer, the leader, the provider, the teacher, the guide, the protector, and the sacrificial lamb of the community. If any of these roles is not filled, the whole process of having a community/family/people are out of balance and miscombobulated. I consider any man who does not fill each and every role enthusiastically to be less than a man, and therefore a “Momma’s Boy”. And boy do I know this one well. I live in California–the Mecca of the Momma’s Boy.
  2. Not enough spiritual foundation in our families. To find a family that is centered around worship and faith is often a rarity. We use to be a people who walked by faith, and the churches were the center of our communities. Today–in the Black community–the center of the community is the shopping center/mall, the club, or Facebook. We like to look good, we like to be consumers, have the nicest cars, the best-dressed parents, get the degrees, the big houses, the six figure jobs–and church is for hard times and celebrations. Hell, if it weren’t for cheap weddings, high funeral home costs, and HOLIDAYS, most of us would never set foot in a church. It’s so bad, that when you find a spiritually grounded teenager you think it’s an amazing thing! As if it is only a small percentage of our community who are truly faithful to the religion they claim. Wait, it is….
  3. We aspire to be second-class peasants.  We are an entertainment generation, and we will subject our children to be raised by music and media in the effort to pursue more “stuff”. Yes, our juvenile courts are full of the best-dressed, most affluent, wannabe gangstas ever. These courts are not full of kids selling drugs to feed their kids. They are full of kids who want to act like gangsters. They are suburbanite children who wish they were from the “hood”. Why is it that our parents want to act rich, but the kids want to act poor? It’s so bad, that we look at educated, articulate, well-mannered men as “square”, and then we say that our less educated, rough-mannered men have an “edge” and therefore more attactive. And what happened to the gangsta rap generation of the 90s? Well, some finished college and got jobs and are now raising middle-class thugs and hoes. Others are the single moms and dads who are raising lower-class thugs and hoes. Someone once said that I am hiding my children from the streets by keeping them in the mosque. You’re damned right.  Some people just don’t get it; we have everything we need to elevate ourselves, but most of us would just rather stay in the ghetto.
  4. We floss too damned much.  That’s right. While some of us want to be from the “streets”, the rest of us only care about acquiring more and more “stuff”. When the Jena-6 were about to go to prison, the Black community could have shut that thing down. But where were you? What did you do? Wait… what the hell do you mean “who are the Jena-6”? Exactly my point. We don’t fight for causes, but we sure as hell fight to keep our houses. And our $700 car notes. And our jobs. No outrage for black kids losing their scholarships mid-college career in Massachussetts, but I bet you’re hella pist about gas prices! Do you know why the police pull shit with the Black driver that he won’t pull with the White driver? Why don’t Black cops whip White ass during traffic stops? Because (1) they know the white community won’t stand for that crap, and (2) they know the Black community will. But try to close the mall. Or shut down Black Culture Day at the State Fair. Or blow a freaking basketball game. Oh, we know where to place our priorities, don’t we?
  5. We don’t understand the power of the Black Dollar.  This should actually count as two thing holding us back. I could write a book on how the Black Dollar could change the world. First, we don’t give a damn where we spend it. Tommy Hilnigger says he doesn’t like the fact that Black people wear his clothes. According to him, you all cheapen it’s value. But I guarantee that half the niggas wearing his stuff know this already. We just don’t give a damn. If we wielded the power of the Black Dollar the way we should–we would run this motha. Secondly, we don’t allow the Black Dollar to do somersaults in our community. Bottom line, as soon as we make a dollar, it leaves our community. Try this experiment:  Take a full week and don’t spend not one dollar with anyone not Black. If you can’t find a Black-owned gas station, then find one with a Black cashier. You’ll have to do homework though. But I guarantee one thing:  99.9999% of the Black people reading this blog won’t do it. Not for a week. You see, there is a reason why ole Willie Bobo got something right with segregation… the Black Business prospered under Jim Crow. But now that we are supposedly “free”, the Black owned business doesn’t stand a chance. You don’t understand the power of the Black Dollar.
  6. Our kids are the dumbest kids around.  Real quick! Where did smothered chicken come from? If you answered “slavery”, I should slap you. Slavery didn’t invent soul food. This food came here from West Africa. If you must know, smothered chicken is known as “Brown Chicken Stew”. And the sauce? Brown sauce, aka “gravy”. How about collard greens, fried okra, and the ever-famous Soul Dish #1:  Fried Chicken. Yes, all from West Africa. My point is this. We have very little interest as a people about educating ourselves. We do not teach our kids who their great grandparents are. We don’t tell them that Africa has modern cities that rival NYC, that Christianity was darn near born in Africa. We have a history and a culture that predates anything in Europe and it damn sure predates slavery. If the only thing our kids know about themselves is slavery and Jim Crow, how can he be proud of himself? We don’t educate our kids because many of us did not educate ourselves. And I’m not talking about your business major in college. I’m referring to your knowledge of yourself, your knowledge of the world, your knowledge of the journey you came from and the one your kids will take. It’s so much more than what the establishment will teach you in school. Hint: if YOU educated your children, your relationship to them would be a lot better than it is now, and you will be preparing them for how they will educate their kids.
  7. We don’t marry.  The “baby’s momma” and “baby’s daddy” is all too commonplace in our community. When was the last time you saw a Black married couple under age 25? Wait, I hope you didn’t just say, “that’s too young!” because it’s not. See, we discourage marriage in our community:  You’re not old enough. No rush. Wait until you make more money, buy a home, blah blah blah. All the while we aren’t telling our kids to abstain from sex. So what happens? We end up with young adults screwing each other’s brains out while feeling no sense of responsiblity or obligation to each other or their children. We accept the guy impregnating our daughters and failing to marry them. We accept our daughters giving birth to a bastard. (Did that offend you? Good. Do something about it) Our kids are not valuing family–because YOU don’t value family. You seem to think “family” refers only to kin and baby daddy/baby mama is something on the side. Yet that “on the side” happens to be very important to your children… unless you make them unimportant. And there, we end up with the first part of this point: We don’t marry.
  8. We are still waiting on Jesus.  Calm down, folks. I’m not referring to the Son of Mary–the one who will return on the Day of Judgment. I am talking about the White man on the picture in your kitchens. Yes, you all worship white men. You pray to him. You blame him when stuff goes wrong. You ask him to make things right. You call him “God”. I mean, how else can I explain it? You are grown men, blaming your misfortune on another man! Where I come from, only God makes those decisions, and only God can free you. Only God can save you. And only God can make it alright. But when things aren’t going well, who are you tasking with the duty to level the playing field? Hint:  You aren’t going on your hands and knees and asking God to pull you out of this slump… You go to the “man” at the welfare office to have him feed your children. And he will feed them, but only if their father is not around (read #7). You go to the picket lines and ask him to give you 40 acres and a mule. (How are you going to ask a man who has messed you over, time and time again, to “make it right”? Do you really think he will?) You aren’t ready to solve your own problems, so you try to get the system to fix it. You aren’t taking these things into your own hands, you’re looking for Mr. Ofay, Willie Bobo, aka “the man” to solve your problems. And look no further than your scriptures:  God frees. Put your faith in God, and then tie your own camel (see #2 again). Don’t expect your enemy to do it.

So there you have it folks. And you have just been told what we will discuss in the next 8 articles. Read it, ponder over it, and we’ll rap about it next time. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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American Obama-nation: An Inaugural Poem

So, I’m in my room sorting socks. I have this really nice sock I bought at Nordstrom’s but I can’t find the mate. I look around and then I find this box of papers. Being the guy with Adult ADD that I am, I look into the box, and discover a stack of sales leads I was looking for for months. At the bottom of the box I find a folded stack of notebook paper:  It was this poem, that I wrote the day Brotha President was declared winner. I never finished it, had actually forgotten about it–and after reading it I love the piece as is.

And here it is, without the ending I never wrote. But I think it’s fine without the missing piece. Hope you enjoy it!


In my youth I tasted tears

Drank saliva

Bit my tongue

Digested gorged meals of humility

At the buffet of persecution

Eyes punish my soul

By ramming reality down its throat

They torment me

Replaying the burning Holocaust

Even as I sleep

*

History left ridges of welts on my back

Painted ripples of death-by-number

1776

1865

1968

1972

My reflection reads like a horror flick

Ghosts in every corner and dark staircase

Pushing through my veins

Each floor

Each chapter

Each generation

Every branch dangling from my tree

Drips the bloodied nectar

Drenched in the fruitful knowledge

That we can do it

*

That we did it

Finally.

Don’t get no ideas, America

Times have changed

My soldiers, with their hardened hearts

Thirst for blood

Irritated fingers

Post up like oak trees in these jungles

Every foxhole unseen to the naked eye

With whispered mantras chanted

They are positioned in your dreams

We are no longer sheep in a pasture

The wolf bade us welcome

As we exited Hell

These fists have long cried the songs

Lamenting lost leaders and butchered children

Found among church ruins

We have pounded Wailing Walls

Until our voices calloused

We’ve tasted your wrath

And found it satisfying

*

No longer will we burn our homes

We are not the same

The turning Sun has brought you a new enemy

We’ve learned your lessons well

My pain strums the chords of my soul

Its fingers have wrapped themselves

Around your children’s throats

Their eardrums and their hearts

I am injecting myself into your mainstream

We stand between you and your salvation:

Leave him alone, America

Don’t get no ideas

He is our Prince

He is a blessing

Also known as The Handsome One

He is your redemption

The catalyst for change

The chance for you to say:

We are no longer enemies

Or are we still?

Will you repeat the cycle of our sanguine past

And history’s ills?

Shall you forever dwell in paranoia

Created by your father’s deeds?

Bring Palestine chickens home to roost

And doom your seeds?

Will you plant the sprouts

Of homegrown terror on this plantation?

*

The end is near

I can still smell the smoking gun

That fired the bullet that killed

Abe Lincoln

JFK

RFK

MLK

Malcolm

(almost got Ronald Reagan)


America

Don’t you get no ideas

There is a homicide bomb planted on every bus

And shopping mall

In this

Obama-nation

To set it off

Would be senseless…

*

In my youth

I tasted tears

Swallowed lies

Laid down under the burden of the truth

But this time

The rules and the ruled

Have changed….

.

.

“America Obama-nation:  An Inaugural Poem”

2008

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Broken Hearts

Written on the day a certain big brother of mine died. I’m sure he was your big brother as well. Or Dream guy. Or hero….

.

they are the broken boys and girls

scattered pieces of arrowheads

paths detoured and pot-holed

fractured homes and barren souls

mishandled by life’s hand

they litter our lives

because we misunderstand

castaways

discarded during raging storms

colorless, but beautiful

empty, but fruitful

seen, though invisible

*

we fill voids that pulse their malfunctioning hearts

and bring sunny days to moonless nights

awaken the lives of these romantic zombies

their illness cries out insatiable hunger

a pain that never subsides

it begs to be bandaged

blackness that could never be bleached

severed in spite of your face

run off despite your race

-this is the pain that kills-

pills fail to quell the ills

it sleeps with all who will hear its cries

where it resides until it dies

and we throw them to the waysides

*

they are the refused souls

trapped on the sidelines

misjudged, masked in joy

made jokes till they close their eyes

*

they are the broken little boys and girls

we left behind

Peter Pan punished

pretending to be immortal

cause he never grew up

our Prince of Pop prescribed

a life of longing for love

beyond death dare we part

like the armies of broken childhoods before him

it magnifies

blemishes

on our ability

to love.

*

“Broken Hearts: IM, Michael Jackson”

2009

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Superman Looking Out the Window

I’m going to do something very rare. There’s this poem that’s floating around in my head, and I have to get it out. I rarely have time to write these days, so I’m just going to get it out.

This is my first draft–hence, the “very rare” thing. I never let anyone see anything but the final copy, but I’m going to let you read the draft, and then later when the piece is done, you will see what the poem becomes. I do this all the time and my final copy rarely looks anything like the first copy, and this is one of them. The background…. Only a few people close to me know this, but I have been sick for a while, and a week ago I was diagnosed with Bell Palsy. In the three days following, I fell apart mentally very quickly, and now I am experiencing a disfiguring partial paralysis and I am seeing a side of life from an angle I’ve never even dreamed about. So it got me to thinking of others who are much “worse” off than I am, and I ended up seeing a man in a store being wheeled around by his kids… he is in a place I imagined I could be myself, if I don’t take care of my health. Basically, nothing on the man worked, but his brain and his eyes. After reflecting on his situation (actually I felt sorry for myself until I saw him), I began to imagine what life was like for him. I thought about people who longed for euthanasia and why they wanted it. How the most basic instinct we have is to fight to live, and where some people would swear they’d rather die “if”, while others live with that “if” every day and have fulfilling lives despite of it. And how some people who would have chosen death fought for their lives until they finally wanted death, but are now incapable of making it happen. And this piece is the beginning of what I was thinking about.

Remember, it is a first draft.

 

he peeks out of windows

dreaming of the superman he once was

feeling the strength of steel in those hands

when  he ruled the Earth

bulletproof.

.

tall, like orders to create life

from nothingness

equipped with little more

than his will

and the notion that

it can be done.

.

there was a time

when windows were doorways

and these legs worked

and these hands could grasp

hold of the belief

that I could do

anything

.

when I was still him

and my kids thought I was

Him

when brainwaves could travel like rumors

further than light

when this mind could leap tall buildings

in a single bound

before the sounds of failure

could utter its first syllable

.

eyes that once saw

ears that once listened

a tongue that could

tie

twist

and latch

onto dreams

towing fantasies out to the land of

things coming true

.

I felt like I could do

anything

but somewhere trapped inside me

lives the man i really am

the superman i used to be

instead of the Daddy they see

now sentenced to looking out of windows

at the world I once ruled

where this dead prison

holds my world within its walls

.

i am longing to be set free

and fly.

.

.

“Superman Looking Out the Window”

2011

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Delivered by the Wind

Don’t ask me why….

I don’t normally do love poetry, but something just hit me today and I decided to write. Hope you enjoy it.

Wait. Matter of fact–some of you don’t know this about me, but I am also a poet (more on that later)–I think I will create a “Poetry” section of this blog and post some of my work:

if i could harness the wind
i’d use its power to make your life
drama-free
obstacle-free
part the sea like Moses
so you’d never drown in oceans of sorrow
borrow the stars to glitter your goals
and magnify all you do
so the whole world could see your
strength
magnificence
beauty
just how worthy you are of the pedastal
you perch in my dreams
higher than the moon
where i’d hover overhead
to brighten your darkest nights
illuminating the pathways as you glide
eyes wide open
so you’re never lost
and can always see
give you the strength of the elements
leave no dream unturned
raise the ceiling in the sky
put the favor of God
in the palm of your hand
there–where i eat, live and die
turn myself inward
find you everywhere i look
take your hand and read your fortune like a book
journey to the land where my memories were made
teach you who i use to be
then we’d lift your wings
fly you to the heavens
write your name on the sky
ride a cloud till you fall
asleep and dream
a new life together
where we’d never awaken
instead, climb to the highest elevations
realize all that you wish to be
wishing it’s to be
with me
you
the star of my dreams
can have anything you want
in mine
where the wind whispers secrets
and desires
blowing
drifting
turning the earth
if i could harness the wind
i’d travel across time
and deliver who you are
to me.

2011

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