simply streaming day 1

July 16, 2010

yesterday, i blogged under a new theme: simply streaming: writing whatever comes to mind and posting. i’ve decided to set myself the challenge of simply streaming for 30 days starting today. of course  being a writer, such posts will be edited – minimally.  as someone commented on a previous blog, i rarely use capitalization when i’m blogging. in fact, as a poet, i find the whole capital – lowercase thing problematic. i never like how my poems look when i use standard grammatical rules. poems are not novels. novels are supposed to have structure…even if it’s a deconstructed structure. so to free myself of constraints in this undertaking , you will rarely see capital letters in simply streaming. let the words flow like water…undammed.

shitty dreams. shitty dreamers. that’s just want floated through my mind at this moment in time. it’s a kinda harsh juxtaposition: shit and dreams. maybe that’s why i don’t like either kind. who knows. i do know that a decision i made about five years ago was the right one. i also begin to understand that why i entered this year thinking it’s gonna be my year. i thought whatever it was about this year that made it “mine”, was going to involve writing but now i realize it’s all about independence and declaring it. i am free now. the die is cast and it spells out amandla tichaona.

freedom, of course, is scary. scary and humbling. but every person in the world, i repeat, every person in the world deserves freedom simply by being born and as i so aptly wrote in my younger years: i wasn’t born to die.

simply streaming

June 26, 2010

i don’t know why but in the midst of watching planet b-boy, this poem by langston hughes crossed my mind:

Militant

Let all who will
Eat quietly the bread of shame.
I cannot,
Without complaining loud and long,
Tasting its bitterness in my throat,
And feeling to my very soul
It’s wrong.
For honest work
You proffer me poor pay,
For honest dreams
Your spit is in my face,
And so my fist is clenched
Today –
To strike your face. *

i don’t know why I thought about that poem. or why my secondary thought was that it was written in 1967 [one last poetical blast at the system known as “the” man] and was influenced by the Panthers. Wrong. It was one of many poems written between 1921 – 1930.

knowing that, it makes me want to reread a book assigned during a past history class: The Hungry Years. The opening sentence to the preface reads: “a generation of witnesses is passing”. That’s a phrase that’s becoming part of my general lexicon. The generation that witnessed the Depression is passing. The generation that witnessed the holocaust is passing. The generation that witnessed the civil rights movement will soon be passing; that is, if the death of constance baker and coretta scott king doesn’t signify that the generation has already passed.

the older i get the more i question the significance of the melancholy in that phrase. i mean, witnesses witness…and in order for their witnessing to be of relevance, there has to be a record of it. as evidenced by the remembered book , there are plenty of eyewitness recollections of the depression in print to satisfy future generations as well as historians.

i prefer the history that is unknown and/or under-valued: the history referenced in the phrase “tales of the hunt will always be weak until the lion learns to speak“.

since i’m simply streaming, i’ll end with one of my pieces that i think is fitting:

180 of 360 and still spinning

Wrapping my hair in the colors of liberation
I expose my neck while balancing on my history.
My trifecta of eyes can now absorb and reflect whatever
Needs to be repudiated or reciprocated.
I can bleed on the page as well as cauterize my own wounds.
I am an Afrikan woman.
I can ride the spectrum of my emotions
without feeling lesser or more than.
I just am

always evolving and revolving like revolutions.**

* The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes

** Contraband Marriage

napowrimo 2010

May 1, 2010

i didn’t make it. thirty poems in thirty days seems to be beyond me. last year i lasted about a week. this year, i did about a total of two weeks worth but it was haphazard. some days, i wouldn’t write/post anything. two days later, i’d write/post two or three poems.  the week my son was on april vacation, i didn’t write/post anything. oh well. so it goes…or so i thought until i did a mental run through.

i already knew poems have gestational periods but i learned i can hold the amniotic sac of a poem in my mind until i can tend to it. I learned i can craft the lil pieces of life released from the sac into something worthy of sharing…as well as being the seed of something greeter. i’ve also learned not to neglect what’s left behind in the sac.  basically, i learned to be a tiny bit more disciplined with the craft i call my calling.

30 days will come
and 30 days will go
with the assignment incomplete
but still
i be smithing
words
into new iron
configurations

when I was in high school, an english teacher told me if i have nothing to write, write about nothing. so because i really have nothing to say right about now, here goes my exploration into nothingness….and into your sufferation for reading! ha!

randomness is hard. i always thought so since i first understand the term stream of consciousness. i mean, when robin williams was on his coke-fueled comic stream of consciousness was he really saying whatever came to mind? was faulkner, with his run-0n sentences, really writing [and keeping] whatever came to his pen?

who knows. who cares? randomness is hard.

because now my mind is traveling to what j thought was an attempt to have a conversation about race but which turned out to be a soliloquy.  [imagine that] where is the logic in saying that mainstream media needs to go more in depth into international cross-racial adoption, that the media needs to address race in a more meaningful way and then turning around and ignoring someone who does go more in depth about international cross-racial adoption? even the act of ignoring says volumes about motivations behind such international cross-racial adoptions.

but anyway. randomness is hard. why is that every time i say that rick james saying "cocaine is a helluva drug” flashes in my mind? clear as day. maybe it’s because religion is the opiate of the masses. not many things make me fearful but seeing folks in the grip of a religious fervor qualifies. it has to do with the god those worship, i think  [always male, always harsh and judging].

i’m sorry but i just don’t understand the concept of a male god and only a male god. why would such a god create a world where nothing procreates [continues itself throughout time] without the male-female dynamic. i mean, you may find a fish way down deep in the darkest part of the atlantic ocean that can procreate by itself or some such weirdness but that fish is an anomaly, rare.

randomness is hard. i’m off to free associate titles on book shelf titles.

For Women and the Nation: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti of Nigeria:

I’ve started reading this already but have been interrupted by other reading interludes: A Thousand Splendid Suns; Something Torn and New; I, Alex Cross; The Epic of Askia Mohammed; Our Sister Killjoy.  I’ll be discussing some of them in later posts as they do fit the meme.

After reading the above paragraph, I realized someone reading this might think that my detours on the reading path are the result of a disinterest in Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (FRK). Nothing further could be the truth.

The other day after a reading bout with Something Torn and New  by Ngugi wa Thiong’o, I had the thought that he just might transplant Malcolm X as my ideological father. However, I quickly realized it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. As a writer, Ngugi helps me to be centered and connected to what is ultimately most righteous about writing. As an African, Malcolm helped me to be proud. Both help me to be a better human being. But there’s no denying they are both men. As historian Edna Gay said in her introduction to Wives of the Leopard (another book on my list),

“Dahomey seemed a place where women prior to the colonial period had enjoyed extraordinary liberties and powers – an ideal subject for a young woman, like so many others at the time, looking for patterns of female autonomy different from the experience of the West”.

I didn’t realize how hungry I was for “patterns of female automony different from…the West” until I started reading about FRK.  All the contradictions black women, in general and conscious black women, in particular, face were experienced by Funmilayo. She responded to these pressures and contradictions by drawing closer to Africa (and African culture) rather than divorcing herself.

I believe that part of her ability to do so was fostered by her parents’ belief in educating girl children. In fact they believed in it so much, they sent her to England to continue her education…even though she was deeply in love with her future husband. While in England, she chose to drop her Christian first name of Frances and be known only by the African Funmilayo. This, at age 19 in 1919. Also at some point in her activist life, she also chose to forgo wearing european clothing.  All this while still remaining a Christian. How was she able to manage what seems to be incompatible identities? What was it about her husband that made him supportive of her goals? Basically what lessons can we glean from her life and doings that would enable us to be healthier and whole instead of fractured and ill.

As I stated at the beginning I haven’t finished the book yet. Therefore I don’t feel qualified to post this like it’s an actual review. These are simply my first impressions. When I finish it, you know I’ll have more Mad Reader thoughts.

Even though I am not a gourmand à la Julia Child or Julie of Julie and Julia fame, I do lay claim to being proficient enough in the kitchen to be able to tempt my child to eat. but for what seemed endless days in a row, he has refused to eat my roasted chicken, my potatoes roasted in butter and dill, my spaghetti and meatballs. Basically anything, as I tell him imploringly, designed to have him grow into a strong man. Of course, he will eat my apple crumb pie w/vanilla ice cream as well as devouring my chocolate lava cakes, also with vanilla ice cream. He has even expressed his delight by telling me how to eat the apple crumb pie in order to get the most delight out of it. But still, I wasn’t playing around in the title of this blog. I was preparing myself…and him…for an impending strike. I was going to refuse to cook for him…or order any food. I knew there was enough leftover food in the fridge for him to eat if he got  hungry enough.

EUSFT202L

The whole exercise in tyranny of the minor was made moot when the grand idea of star shaped food to tempt him hit me. But what could I use for the star? The only molds we had in the house were of airplanes and trains. Then my desperate mind thought of his play dough star mold. We both went in search  of it; although he didn’t know why. Pay dirt behind the closet door! I snatched it up, cleaned it, dried it and then pushed it down in the small mound of seasoned raw ground turkey. Then I washed it, dried it and did the same with thawed pie crust; which then went in the oven while the burgers went into the frying pan.

15 minutes later the food was assembled and delivered to the ultimate food critic (and picky eater) who after devouring two of them (they were so tiny, I gave him four) graciously offered to sacrifice his play dough star for the sake of such culinary delight.

“Africans, in the diaspora and on the continent, were soon to be recipients of this linguistic logic of conquest, with two results: linguicide in the case of the diaspora and linguistic famine, or linguifam, on the continent. Linguicide is the linguistic equivalent of genocide. Genocide involves conscious acts of physical massacre; linguicide, conscious acts of language liquidation. Linguicide, writes Skutnabb-Kanga, ‘implies that there are agents involved in causing the death of languages.’ ”

Dismembering Practices: Planting European Memory in Africa

Something Torn and New

Ngũgĩ  wa Thiong’o

Referencing Chapter V: Could Egyptian Civilization Be of Asian Origin?

I just finished reading Chapter V: Could Egyptian Civilization Be of Asian Origin. In this blog, I’m going to focus on the Tower of Babel in ancient Babylon. The reason for this is because it provides a clear case of the depth of the lies of western civilization.

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1563)

 This is what the Bible (King James Version) states about the Tower of Babel:

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children built. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.  So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.  Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

 

 

I read this and immediately have a ton of questions/thoughts. The fact that an astronomical observatory is considered an affront to god suggests to me that the people who wrote the above subjects of that god had no need of knowledge of the stars and couldn’t understand the need for such knowledge as anything other than people interesting only in “making a name”. Evidently they didn’t need the stars to guide goats and sheep from one watering hole to another.

Now, regarding this matter of “one language” and “one speech”, that certainly does sound idyllic on the surface. It sure would be nice if I spoke the same language as someone from China. We could communicate as if we were from the same place and thereby liquidate any spice-of-life cultural differences.   Sounds like something that the English only advocates would praise. Doesn’t their god work on their behalf in slaughtering the different just the Hebrew’s god?

 

Blog 1 to be cont’d…