my own way

do you ever wake somedays feelin like you have your own way of seein things? i woke up this morning for a few minutes with my own understanding…some kind of vision. i can’t explain it.

total topic change: i love astrological signs, i believe all of them are true for everyone. whatever you read in it can guide you. all of it. this month mine it all says lay low. my rising says show off. my moon says fall in love.

everyone is having crazy dreams right now – dreams that they are being persecuted, anxiety through the night, that they are being chased, that they are running away, that everywhere is death. i am having dreams a world i don’t really have words to describe other than otherworldly, or post-nuclear – everything is grown, homes – buildings – vehicles…its like the next phase of evolution perhaps is that the world of plants and trees gets truly survivalist and starts growing itself into what we are tearing it down to create space for. and in my dreams i am one of many warrior-negotiators. everything is about to change. again.

i am so nervous to sing tonight!!! this is my dream…

my birthday always lasts at least a month. in its continuation, i had a great dinner last night at moutarde with adam, karynn, malia, and jenn rolled thru for a bit. i am going thru an onion soup period! mmm- bread and cheese and soup? what??

that’s it for today…think lucky thoughts for me tonight!!

monday, monday

i got goodies for y’all today:

had an interesting weekend. board meeting! the organization is in such a better place right now, and that feels good, i feel like a survivor and part of something quite special.

personal life…a few of my closest dearest friends are in spaces of emotional self-examination right now: hurting, distracted, trying to figure out which way to step towards the life they see in their minds. i am trying to be a good friend and listener, but maybe its age – i am feeling my own kind of tired right now. i want a little mindless escape, lots of curb your enthusiasm and listening to music. i saw the wedding crashers. i LOVED it. i sat in a hammock all day sunday and mostly didn’t talk. there’s not much more to say, for me, right now – about tragedy, race, desire or sanity. i don’t know. i feel that i am making good choices, but how can that help anyone else? life is your journey from your instinct to your integrity.

i realized halfway through the day that it was september 11, and that brought my energy down again…i feel like this period of our lives has bookends and grand turns, in addition to the daily building up of weight against time.

i am sad that john roberts hearings started today and i feel like we aren’t rising up like we need to to stop him from becoming chief justice. but i am happy that i am going to be helping start some movement choirs later this year! and…

tomorrow night i am performing at riverside church – also on deck are my two favorite poets from milwaukee, piper anderson, the rev. jesse jackson and others. here are the details, followed by a fabulous bill maher moment:

From the Persian
Gulf to the

Gulf Coast Demand

Peace,

Not Poverty!

 

Reverend
Jesse Jackson,

Nobel
Laureate Wangari Maathai,

Former President of Ireland and
U.N. High
Commissioner of Human Rights Mary Robinson

 

along
with
Phyllis
Bennis
,
Institute for Policy Studies

Celeste
Zapala
,
Gold Star Families for Peace

Hany
Khalil
,
United for Peace and Justice

Singer/Poet Adrienne Marie
Brown
,

Spoken
Word Artists
Muhib
and Kwabana

And Activist
Artist

Piper Anderson, Blackout Arts Collective

 

Moderated
by: Leslie Cagan
,
United for Peace and Justice Coordinator;
Emira
Woods
,
Foreign Policy in Focus, IPS and

Kumi
Naidoo
,
Global Call to Action Against Poverty

 

Tuesday,
September 13th

Riverside
Church  490 Riverside
Drive

(at
120th
Street)

 

Part of a full
day Civil Society dialogue

9:30
a.m. to 12 noon: CITIZENS’ REPORT ON GLOBAL
DEMOCRACY

1:00 to 4:00 p.m.: CIVIL-SOCIETY
FORUM

4:15 to 7:15 p.m.: DIALOG WITH
OFFICIALS FROM THE UN SUMMIT

8:00 to 11:00 p.m.: POLITICAL
AND CULTURAL EVENT

 

For detailed schedule or to
register visit www.openun.org

Bill Maher's closing--an open message to George Bush:
>>
>>"Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more.  There's no
>>more money to spend--you used up all of that.  You can't start another

>>war because you also used up the army.  And now, darn the luck, the
>>rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor
>>people.  Listen to your Mom.  The cupboard's bare, the credit cards
>>maxed out, and no one's speaking to you.  Mission accomplished.
>>
>>"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and
>>walk away.  Like you did with your military service and the oil
>>company, and the baseball team.  It's time.  Time to move on and try
>>the next fantasy job.  How about cowboy, or space man?  Now I know
>>what you're saying:  you're saying that there's so many other things
>>that you as President could involve yourself in.  Please don't.  I
know, I know.
>>There's a lot left to do.  There's a war with Venezuela.  And
>>eliminating the sales tax on yachts.  Turning the space program over
>>to the church.  And Social Security to Fannie Mae.  Giving embryos the

>>vote.
>>
>>"But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now.  Why?  Because you
>>govern like Billy Joel drives.  You've performed so poorly I'm
>>surprised that you haven't given *yourself* a medal.  You're a
>>catastrophe that walks like a man.  Herbert Hoover was a shitty
>>president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising
>>water and snakes.
>>
>>"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four

>>airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of
>>New Orleans.  Maybe you're just not lucky.  I'm not saying you don't
>>love this country.  I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if
>>you were on the other side.
>>
>>"So, yes, God does speak to you.  And what he's saying is: 'Take a
hint.' "

 

the truth – i mean…the message

just heard the director of FEMA was fired…small, little tiny step towards justice. sososo late.

in another form of justice, i got some hotness last night. i love when you get to the point with another human being where you can call and go to them and not say too much and get to lay some sweet on them, feed the beast a bit, conquer an urge and work your anger out through your body – passion is maybe the only thing as delirious as this world.

was on a messaging call today on how to frame reactions to the hurricane aftermath and here’s what they said {george lakoff, van jones and others}:

– think in terms of a common gov’t for the common good
– gov’t owes its people basic protection. levees high enough that children don’t drown. public transportation in evacuation plans. 
– don’t use this as a chance to go all partisan, stay on the relationship between a gov’t and it’s people
– we say we all need to have each other’s back; they say those who can afford to will survive

what stood out to me more was folks saying:
– at minimum, 25,000 people are dead
– 70% of white people don’t feel race played a part in this tragedy. !!!!!!. !!!!!!. how can we politely communicate what a hundred photos of tortured black faces and drowned black bodies hasn’t yet gotten across?

i was at the canal room benefit last night hosted by kevin powell. some bougie black folk up in there, good hearts with corporate manners…always takes me a second to adjust. it was a chaos of compassion – here’s a picture of how much stuff was gathered
:
Dsc00105

it was deep to see how much stuff had been gathered – much more than one truck could hold. i was with this brilliant organizer from detroit who said something along the lines of – you know detroit is the poorest city in the country right now. what kind of crisis would we have to have for folks to realize this is constant? we have everything we need – how we gonna be better at taking care of ourselves?

to end this on a good note – i have gotten a lot of folks to take self portraits from above, and then a picture of my now 5 yr old favorite boy in the whole world, jalen kai alba de novais…here goes:

Dsc00013Dsc00081Dsc00016_1Dsc00087Jalen

roller coasters

Fragment

Shana just arrived from New Orleans via Houston. I can’t describe the look in her eyes – she has had to be a contact for folks this past week while her heart and brain began to process what has happened to her, to her and her husband’s home, to her city.

There’s another hurricane benefit tonight:

PLEASE READ EMAIL IN ITS ENTIRETY and PLEASE POST and or FORWARD

Join KEVIN POWELL and special guests

as they present a BENEFIT for New Orleans

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2005

at CANAL ROOM
285 West Broadway, at Canal Street
downtown Manhattan in New York City
7PM-11PM
21 and over with ID, and please RSVP to cher_harrison@yahoo.com

Admission is FREE but you MUST bring one or more of the following items for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. These items will be loaded onto a
big truck in front of CANAL ROOM and driven directly to Claiborne
County Health Center in Port Gibson, Mississippi, run by Dr. Demitri
Marshall. It is one of the closest rescue and help centers in the New
Orleans area and in a position to really get these items to people in
need. PLEASE make sure clothing and shoes and sneakers are new OR clean
and in good condition….

Clothing for children and adults, Adult shoes and sneakers, Adult socks, Children’s shoes and sneakers, Children socks, Bottles of water, Diapers, Baby wipes, Baby food, Baby aspirin, Aspirin, Vitamins, Toilet paper, Sanitary napkins, Portable radios with batteries, Plastic forks, knives, and spoons, Cotton balls, Cotton swabs, Hydrogen peroxide BUT NOT rubbing alcohol, because that is flammable, band aids, Shaving cream, Male AND female razors, Blankets, Air mattresses, Sheets, Pillows and pillow cases, Gift cards for gas, Walmart gift cards, Garbage bags, Cleaning supplies, Soap, Toothpaste and toothbrushes, Flashlights, Batteries, Candles, Books for children, including coloring books, Books for adults, Magazines

If you are placing donated items in a bag PLEASE LABEL.
For example, Children’s shoes or Adult shoes, or Children’s clothes or Adult clothes.

We will NOT be taking monetary donations. (go to www.sparkplugfoundation.org for a list of places to send $$)

CANAL ROOM ownership is generously donating the space but there will be a CASH BAR ALL NIGHT.

Guest deejays, musical performers, and corporate sponsors to be announced shortly

now back to me.

i got a digital camera for my birthday, and an ipod shuffle. so i have been taking lots of pictures. here is a before and after shot of me yesterday, watching the news.

Tip

Hurricane

i feel so strange.

i think i’m going a little crazy.

i think my heart is breaking over and over. i get it together to comfort this friend or that sister and then i go in the bathroom and cry. the weight of new orleans, the spirit of new orleans is haunting us all.

in moments of crisis, the spiritual, emotional, economic and environmental chaos we live in is briefly exposed to everyone. but maybe i’m crazy, cause i feel that way almost all the time, and have for some time. i see what people are doing to help now, and its amazing. but i can’t shake the feeling i always have that these same people are regularly trying to destroy us. we – we are a suicidal generation.

i feel helpless even as i am trying to make other people feel empowered to go and do something, to do ANYthing. cause i get so tired of self-righteous liberals and progressives and organizers who get on a high horse about what is and isn’t the right way to handle crisis and conflict  in this country. it’s irresponsible to act like we can ever do more than share information with each other. when you begin to dictate to others what is the right way for them to live in this world, you are not a hero or a revolutionary, you are merely a dictator. and you are a slave to your ego. and you cannot help anyone, cause you have no skill beyond pontification. i tell myself. 🙂

like i keep thinking of and hearing folks say race war, race war, and then look at their faces as they try to contend with how that could possibly work, since it isn’t possible for them personally, only ideologically. there is no unified white, no unified black to take part in that abstract war. its waging itself at this point.

and anyway, james baldwin in the fire next time told us our fates are tied to those of our white brothers. another friend told me yesterday that she thinks that’s the idea that drove him mad. i take the next step with it, i don’t see any way poor people or black people can separate their fate from the rich and white who employ and govern them, especially when we are trained from birth to aim for measurable prosperity and power.

plus i cannot let myself by dominated by hatred for whites or for the wealthy because that is debilitating to my spirit and doesn’t leave me the energy to do the work my people need from me. i just end up a reactionary. played out.

and we share a finite space, earth. after earth its heaven, hell, sleep, everything, nothing or right back to earth again. the whole damn thing is each of our homes – when one part drowns we all gasp for air.

but there are days when i need a break from that reality. it gets so exhausting. i don’t know sometimes if white folk can even understand how exhausting it gets. there is no doubt in my mind that no set of humans on this earth is elite when it comes to destiny.

but i also deeply believe that the majority of folks in this country – no matter what their background is – FEEL deep down that they will somehow be set aside for whatever their version of salvation is, and that makes us lazy in our compassion. like – "oh how sad but i ain’t gonna do anything REAL."

this is all over the place, i know…i just feel like all of my work, and the work of the people i know, is thrown in sharp relief against what is actually needed right now and we’re coming up short. at the least i am committing to learning basic CPR and emergency response skills this year and i invite y’all to join me, so when isht goes down we can make our way there and do what the gov’t won’t. and let’s get our octavia butler backpacks ready.

to close today, here are some words from my dear trina, who has spent the last week helping her family get up and out of her home in new orleans:

The destruction is unbelievable,
and certainly gives Kenner the look of a war zone. But what adds to that is all of the
military personnel everywhere. Literally there are snipers in helicopters flying above us, tanks rolling
through our neighborhood streets, and armed men patrolling every intersection.
Suburbia infused by militia is not
something I ever thought I would see in this lifetime – certainly not in the
US.

 

But even more heartbreaking was
the image of our law enforcement officials and military I saw on those
streets. They were all either 18 or
50 it seemed. And many, especially
the police force, were clearly out of uniforms. They were on the street with jeans and
shorts to match their tattered uniform shirts. I can only imagine with the hurricane
did to their homes and everything they owned. Perhaps that could explain the glazed
look on their faces…most just stood their on the street corner with a cigarette
and a soda, trying to beat the heat, probably not knowing anymore about the
future than I did.

 

My sense of smell was also jolted
during our visit. At least 30 miles
outside of the city I started to smell the toxic mix of sewage and stagnant
water. But nothing, absolutely
nothing could compare to the putrid, putrid smell of rotting food. In our home, we have a refrigerator and
a standing freezer filled to the brim with food (like any good Bengali
family). So when my father opened
our kitchen door, we were all greeted by the juices of defrosting and
decomposing meats oozing across our tile floor. (I am literally gagging as I try to
write this as the smell was so unbelievably awful….imagine 1.5 million homes
filled with rotting food…) The
local officials asked residents to dig a hole and bury the rotting food, as the
city obviously cannot provide sanitation services at this time. So we obliged and went thorough four
bottles of Lysol in the process. My mom just kept spraying the stuff, hoping the
smell would go away. But the truth
is that the smell of rot and disaster isn’t going away anytime soon. Instead, her act was more metaphorical –
an attempt to disinfect the memory of this experience…as if she just kept
spraying Lysol, maybe this would all go away…

 

It isn’t going away though, and
we’re the lucky ones. The
unbelievably lucky ones. Our home
is ok, but what will life be like when my parents return? I can’t even fathom what the future of
New Orleans will
be, even as it remains under a global spotlight.

 

In the meantime I sincerely hope
all of the political bullshit will stop impeding the rebuilding process. In fact, I can’t even begin to wrap my
head around all of my anger. I
can’t begin to understand why it has taken me days just to figure what forms I
need to fill out in order to wait in which lines just to be told that I’ll hear
something eventually about the assistance my parents and so many others
deserve.

 

But the red tape is only part of
the story. I am even more
infuriated that FEMA told my father that his civil engineering company could not
be given rebuilding contracts because he had done work for the city and parish
before. Apparently this poses some
“conflict of interest.” Apparently
his local expertise is a problem for the federal government. Apparently helping rebuild those who
have been affected by the disasters isn’t in our government’s
interest!

 

But I digress…because the stories
of inefficiency and bullshit could go on forever…

 

And as I sit here typing as
my father packs up his friend’s car with what’s left of their home, I am once
again reminded how fortunate we are. I am also reminded of clichés that tell me everything can be taken away
in an instance. But I also know
that the people of New
Orleans are resilient. Most of us will be back, because being
from New Orleans
is an inherent part of who we are. I just hope that we will come back to a least some semblance of the
beautiful, historical, magical city we had to leave behind.

happy birthday!

i am sitting with sam, joshua, santana, jen, khari and shane at the end of my amazing birthday. i slept until my parents awoke me with a singing call from japan. then i had breakfast with khari, planning for our coming florida trip. i got dressed up for the evening in the a.m. cause i knew i wouldn’t be home and it was the day of boobies! my outfit had an albuquerqu theme, cowboy boots and hair combs – golden with flowers – from the thrift town there, and the dress a gift from the home of my friend sarah’s grandma’s closet in alb.

then i went to the russian baths for a crazy massage and rooms of heat. so much heat and touch is needed to even begin to excise the deep impact of these past couple weeks.

i was in one room just before the massage and this bald santa looking man with a beard walks in singing: "down by the riverside, i ain’t gonna study war no more." i love that song, so i take up the harmony and we got to church there in that room of radiant heat with ice cold spigots running out of the wall for occasional douses. after the song we talk about hard times – i tell him what i do. we talk about how if you listen to an hour of gospel music each day life seems better. i tell about the benefit, how music helps everything. he says he wants to leave me his info so i give him my locker number to leave me his info. then i leave for massage, he says enjoy. i go have an amazing amazing massage by a russian giant masseuse. steam for a bit more, dip in the ice water, rinse and go to leave and at the checkout table i get the present.

"dennis pays for you."
"what?"
"for the fee, and the massage."
"who’s dennis?"
"big guy, beard? he comes everyday."
"he paid? for me?"
"yes. have a nice day."
"it’s my birthday."
"well, there you go then."

!!! how wonderful is that? i went from that wonderful place to see elizabeth mendez berry. i want to ask y’all, if you say prayers, to lift her up. elizabeth has put her heart on the front line, listening to survivors all week and opening her ability to be compassionate to them and now she needs you to all pray for her and send her your love and strength. close your eyes right now and concentrate on her name and just think and pray for her. pray for all of those who are taking up the survivors in their arms and carrying them.

she and other brilliant writers gathered to think about how to best help and that gives me hope. but i had to leave early cause it was my birthday and i needed to get to the dinner. there i found my sister autumn, and was joined by my dream team of beloveds. and presents! the creme de la creme – an ipod shuffle! santana and shane ROCKED it. and two journals for writing and a massage gift certificate, and other wonderful stuff.

walking home we passed tyler and his roof was on fire. that’s what i always think of him, but i mean this literally! he was all good, but how odd? now its time for bed, but i just wanted to say i had a great great day.

all the folks who sent love thank you! i appreciate ALL of it!

love
adrienne

cups runneth over

where to even begin with all the amazing and beautiful stories i’m hearing today? and still tell some funny stories…but at the bottom. i’ma try to communicate what i’ve heard as well as what i know of how it was organized so y’all can replicate these 4 WORKING RELIEF EFFORTS wherever you are:

1. last night we had our fundraiser at the habana outpost in ft. green brooklyn and raised $6,500 plus 4 carloads of towels, sheets, clothes, soap, kitchen items and toothpaste. we organized this in three days. here are the steps we took:

a. the manager of the location (lopeti the lovely who y’all may remember as one of my favorite and most charming characters from previous posts) had the idea and asked us to help him

b. we brainstormed all the local businesses that could give us stuff to raffle or actual cash donations. manager wanted to give to red cross and fema. we promised to look into best options for him (got most $ now going to the sparkplug foundation!)

c. we picked a day when a regular crowd would be out and built around their interests and what we thought would make them most willing to give (raffle, auction, movie, bingo and djs {we brainstormed our favorite folks who could move a crowd and would be down to come on short notice as a donation – thanks JP, Tyler, Chris and RABBI DARKSIDE}). we threw the details together and handed off to a graphic designer who comes in the spot a lot who made it look nice and printed out copies to post at local businesses.

d. we reached out to our local city councilmember letitia james and her staff abeni and kate for support in outreach, flyer copies, mc’ing, media, and getting permission to have an all-night dance party even though they aren’t usually licensed for that. she’s campaigning this hood so it worked for her, worked for us!

e. a team {jenn, shane j., sofia, and shane a.} worked on going from business to business explaining the relief effort and picking up donations {included wine classes, a massage, several dinners for 2 or 4, gift certificates to local stores, and clothing made by local vendors}, while the manager called everyone he knew to come out. one person coordinated djs, making sure equipment needs were met and music collections were diversified.

e+. made sure folks of all different levels of privilege and resource could give to the full out extent. those who could give $1, those who could give $1000, those who could give nothing but had canned food, unopened soap and toothpaste, etc. no inkling to give went unreceived! thanked people constantly and made them feel good about their give. 

f. those of us with any media contacts sent out press releases. we agreed on basic info to send but froke it however it made most sense to get folks to respond.

g. we TRUSTED each other to handle our business.

g+ we had t-shirts that listed all donating orgs and had a pic of a new orleans marching band on the front, the business fronted the cost and we sold them for $50 or as a potential prize for a $1 raffle.

h. we found out malcolm x grassroots movement/pmp are doing a clothing drive and had the party serve as a drop off point for supplies.

i. we did the damn thing, kept the energy up all night, had drink specials and giveaways throughout the night. we big up’d the uniqueness of the locale to folks – its solar powered, with corn plastic cups and sugarcane plates. we gave props to the owner sean and the manager lopeti and made them aware of what an amazing feat they’d pulled off. the community also educated them on the red cross and fema’s histories and now they are going to get the cash to the sparkplug foundation and mxgm and the network looking to lobby and advocate to keep the community strong, front and center in the rebuilding effort. 

the key thing to remember here is every one just did what they were already good at, and counted on others to do what they said they would. AND constantly thanked folks for coming and made attendees understand how every bit counts.

2. Get a Vehicle and GO:

a) i just heard from my mother that one of her brothers, my uncle andy, borrowed a SEMI truck from a friend in north augusta south carolina,

b) went door to door to his neighbors and asked them help him fill up the back of it.

c) to complete the filling, my mema Mary Jo and my aunt lynn went to winn-dixie and bought all the supplies and non-perishable food items they could.

d) andy and his wife then got in the convoy of folks taking supplies to the effected area.

these are my white southern christian relatives, some of whom home-schooled their children; some of whom disowned my mama for a while after she married my black father; some of whom voted for bush and still cringe when i rail against him. this is my family who has been teaching me about different ways to believe in the people and what it means to be working class. this tragedy is changing people’s entire framework for thinking about their role in this world. and something beautiful to add – there are folks along the convoy helping by providing food and water to drivers so they don’t have to go off the road and spend $ on that. our government is not in line with its people, and the people are rising up and we are seeing a resistance in the form of people’s aid, a revolution of people’s resource provision and help.

3. malcolm x grassroots movement/pmp in brooklyn are doing a clothing, food, supplies drive. everything i know is secondhand, but we worked with them last night to gather materials and here’s some of what i’ve heard that is working and you can do in your community:

a. have actual folks in a specific locations down south to get items to, and identified their core needs. they are sending to their groups in jackson, mississippi and selma, alabama where mxgm fam are located.

b. have a location easily accessible by bus, train and car as a drop off point. willing to be a central location for entire community to bring through materials.

c. have volunteers on call for sorting the donations to take that burden off of those who receive it

d. have multiple drop-off points and contact available for folks in different parts of the city. (see previous post)

e. able to quickly communicate out to folks helping gather supplies about most crucial needs.

f. make sure to gather some $ with clothing/food donations for gas or shipping costs!

Dasaw and Kate said they are collecting there all week. They have lots of clothes and need more of other things like towels, non-perishable food options, bathroom items, kitchen items. They are at 388 Atlantic Avenue, white buzzer.

4. Last night the Hip-Hop UN had a call of all sorts of hip-hop organizations around the country. Celeste says like 100 people were on the call and folks shared what all work is going on. They are going to help make sure folks stay aware of what kind of work is happening, and what the pressure points are within the family (i.e. 20,000 people in Atlanta) where we can focus aid. This is the kind of unified thinking that leads to strong and smart responses rather than emotional reactionary chaos.

Now in the midst of all this I have to say that my friend Janine is safely back from Cape Verde and I can’t describe all the ways in which it was a blessing, and has been a blessing, to get to see all my loved ones this week. Shouts Andre, Chelsea, Yahonnes + Regine, Ejike, Ben, Rashad, Khari and everyone else who came out!

I also have to tell y’all two funny tales from last night.

First is one from the landlord chronicles: I ran over to the benefit last night after two days in a league strategy session {one sign of the strength of the organization right now I think is exemplified by our response to this tragedy in a way that reflects our capacity and strategy but doesn’t jack all our planned programs} and was a little dazed.

i loved my outfit tho, and if i get pics will post one here. oh but here’s a totally random pic:

Mama_i_can_train

so i left co-worker celeste in my spot to do the hip-hop call from a quiet place. a couple hours later she calls and says, "Um, Adrienne? Your landlady is here and she says she wants to fix your floor?"

Time check: 9:32 pm on a Sunday night on a holiday weekend with no prior notice that she was coming.

Why would my landlady suddenly be in such an odd rush to fix my floor?

Well she gave me a lease the other day with a rent increase of twice what we had negotiated in our strange courting, dodging, weaving tango. I signed the lease after correcting the rent amount to what we agreed on. mind you we agreed on that smaller increase IF she fixed the floor, the bathroom and gave me an oven. then she said no she didn’t think i could have an oven. she caulked the bathtub which now doesn’t drain. and there was, until late last night, a hole in the middle of my floor. i foresee her trying to negotiate an extra $15/mth now that the floorboard is in place but i will pushback by hopping in the shower for three minutes till the water reaches my knees.

sidenote: you know how when the bathtub won’t drain for a few days you get tired of wiping it out and it gets all slick on the bottom and you forget that and you step in to take a perhaps slightly tipsy shower and suddenly you are on the slip’n’slide of life and death? i HATE that.

And second story!

After all the fun and dancing finally ended at like 4am, lopeti and i were hungry and talked shane and sofia’s cousin paola into coming with us to eat. Lopeti was too fabulous for any Brooklyn diners, and insisted on taking us for a jaunt to the city. Along the way we decided to eat at Wo-Hop, a late night tasty fast Chinese spot on Mott. My magical woman time decided to arise from the womb in the cab ride over and the pain was deep and wide and confounding as i was steadily moving away from my home painkiller cabinet. We went in the restaurant and I was on the edge of my senses, and Lopeti disappeared. Then the waiter arrived and immediately started yelling at us that the kitchen closed in 15 minutes what did we want??

Then Sofia called like where y’all at so we told her to come to the restaurant. We worried, wringing our wrists and twiddling our thumbs about what Lopeti and Sofia might want to eat, and where was Lopeti? What if something bad had happened to him? We worried while ordering an insane amount of food. Then realized we had but one questionable bank card among us, and worried more.

We worried while the food arrived in T-minus 15 seconds – an amazing spread of kung pao, general tso’s and garlic and brocolli chicken, vegetable dumplings, fried wontons, egg rolls and more. We worried as we began stuffing our faces Scarlett O’hara style.

Finally with 1 minute to spare at the door, Lopeti comes sweeping in followed by Sofia. We start to rail them – where WERE you? Why didn’t you tell us what to order??

And then Lopeti pulls out a handful of Motrin, Advil and Bayer packets and tosses them to me like its nothing.

"I had to walk all the way to Canal Street to find these! Took a cab back, so crazy, and there was Sofia coming in!"

Lopeti is an angel. He’s totally my hero of the weekend, one of those nearly impossible and completely fabulous type people with no email, no cell phone, super humble and bossy (crazy as that sounds) and a clear sense of his own way of doing things. And a delight.

So they sit sown and Lopeti tries to add an order of Sizzling…Oyster? Lobster? something…the answer is Hell No Kitchen Closed! We filled them up with what we ordered which ended up being the perfect amount of food for everyone. But now we had 5 people to get home, so there we are stumbling up Bowery dead tired with the ITIS trying to bribe a cabby into taking us across the bridge.

Finally, Lopeti flags one down and pushes us in and tells the driver: "I’ll double your fare." The fare across the bridge, mind you, is $6. Still, how long have you wanted to roll with someone who tosses these words out in a blink when you’re all too exhausted to beg?

6am I finally laid my head down on a couch at Sofia and Shane’s and passed into oblivion for a couple of hours. This morning woke up at 10 to get in the war room with Dani McClain generating a response from the next generation of journalists on the debaucle of coverage on this tragedy. And here I am. Last day of being 26, y’all, and I gots to go over and check out the West Indian Day Parade. or possibly just blaze and wander.

interesting note: i heard from nathan berger who i mentioned missing just two short days ago!

Holla!

On FIRE – N’awleans, Kanye,

GEORGE BUSH DOES NOT CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE. – Kanye West

http://vax.area.com/zsoul/kanye.mov

i try to rarely post more than once in a day but I am just fired up right now. we had to stop our meeting and listen to the mayor of new orleans break it down, then watch kanye nervous and angry as hell on the hurricane relief live telethon last night, keepin it so real they didn’t broadcast it in the west. you can see both right now at www.indyvoter.org.

there is no order in this situation at any level and the goal is to get stuff down there ASAP. we are finding out places to send stuff daily. today i have:

http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html www.neworleansnetwork.org

i am trying to influence the sponsors of tomorrow’s party at habana to skip FEMA and Red Cross and give to community orgs we know of there, cause n.o. league needs resources, n.o. blackout is looking for dough, mxgm is lookin for dough and clothing donations (see below). 

my concern for funding is the rebuilding effort, and my girl shana is makin schemes from houston where she’s evacuated to. she’s pulling together a network of progressive new orleans based orgs to advocate for righteous resource provision to survivors. your money will help these activists reclaim their city.  check: www.neworleansnetwork.org, and donate.

i could write y’all about other things but really, if you a person of color in this country, or a young person, or a person with a heart and a brain, what else is there to write about? my boy marc just wrote me that new orleans is the first battleground of the new american revolution. kanye said it too – they sent folks down there to shoot us. folks are hungry and asking us to lift them up, to LIFT them UP and save their lives and do not leave them under water, leave them to die, leave them to fight like animals over the quickly diminishing resources or a spot on a bus to who the hell knows where! and the response is to leave them with only two options: Steal or Die, OR Steal AND Die. Only a Zero Heart could conceive of Zero Tolerance in these circumstances. But, that’s the real meaning of ballot or the bullet, y’all, if you don’t get people who care for you into power, these mofos will shoot you for trying to survive!   

still still still – there’s beautiful humanity arising through the gov’t sponsored ashes – my girl kate sent me this notice that on craig’s list folks are offering up rooms in their homes and offering to help people get to them. my girl karyn dropped everything to put together a website for progressive orgs in new orleans to get resources directly (www.neworleansnetwork.org). my girl emily took off in her car yesterday for louisiana to do anything she can to help the relief effort – she may just end up picking up people trying to leave the city and driving them somewhere. my girl elizabeth is helping folks get the media and messaging right so that our brothers and sisters aren’t cast as criminals.

so i ask you – what is your skill? what is your capacity? go through your closet for all that shit you haven’t worn and doesn’t fit and you just didn’t need in the first place – here’s why you bought it. it IS A GIFT you didn’t know you were holding. see the bottom of this post for where to send stuff…

these thoughts keep going through my head like i am glad bush won right now so that the full out extent of the nature of this country can be exposed with the right characters in place. i think about folks in attics in water up to their necks losing energy. i think about children gaining an understanding of their place in the world because no one will come to help them. then i cry and i think of the people i love and the spaces we hold sacred and call home and i think of the folks all over the world who are falling victim to the extreme natural disasters invited by our ignant anti-environmental policies and then left to die by our racist government and i just want to fall down, run, scream, punch something, cry, take up arms.

i am going between power and prayer. if you have any doubts about why people on the margins of power in this country have to reposition themselves in the MIDDLE of the struggle and take over the DECISION MAKING positions in this country, THIS IS WHY! America is not ready to deal with the repercussions of its neglect. Our people are dying right now because we let people who don’t love us, who don’t care about us, we let them run our lives. Fuck that.

but anyways, i wasn’t trying to go off, like i said i am just heated right now. you want to DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW?

– go to www.neworleansnetwork.org or http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html and donate

– if you have a spare room or an extra couch, go on craig’s list new orleans and offer it up, at least as a temporary spot

– go through your closet, your bathroom, and your kitchen and gather your non-perishables and towels and unopened soap and extra clothes and shoes etc. if you’re in ny look below for where to take it. if you not in ny check http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html –

got clothes, sheets, towels, etc?:

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is sponsoring a FOOD & CLOTHING DRIVE!

Our people in the South need our help. We cannot wait for or assume Red Cross will take care of our people. There are thousands of refugees from New Orleans in HOUSTON, TX.  Several Black large Black Churches have opened their doors to displaced people.

Here is a list of things NEEDED TODAY:

¸ TOWELS
¸ SHEETS AND LINENS
¸ DIAPERS
¸ WATER
¸ TOOTH BRUSHES
¸ TOOTH PASTE
¸ SOAP
¸ AIR MATTRESSES

-WE ALSO NEED MONETARY DONATIONS TO SHIP OUT THESE GOODS

BRING ALL DONATED GOODS TO:

THE MALCOLM X GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT
388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, 4TH FL.  BETWEEN HOYT AND BOND
ST. (718) 254-8800

(Bring to Habana Outpost Sunday Night and I will get to MXGM)

FOR FOLKS IN THE BRONX AND UPTOWN PLS CONTACT NYOKA AT
917-609-4323. I WILL BE COLLECTING DONATIONS UP HERE.

On FIRE – N’awleans, Kanye,

GEORGE BUSH DOES NOT CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE. – Kanye West

http://vax.area.com/zsoul/kanye.mov

i try to rarely post more than once in a day but I am just fired up right now. we had to stop our meeting and listen to the mayor of new orleans break it down, then watch kanye nervous and angry as hell on the hurricane relief live telethon last night, keepin it so real they didn’t broadcast it in the west. you can see both right now at www.indyvoter.org.

there is no order in this situation at any level and the goal is to get stuff down there ASAP. we are finding out places to send stuff daily. today i have:

http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html www.neworleansnetwork.org

i am trying to influence the sponsors of tomorrow’s party at habana to skip FEMA and Red Cross and give to community orgs we know of there, cause n.o. league needs resources, n.o. blackout is looking for dough, mxgm is lookin for dough and clothing donations (see below). 

my concern for funding is the rebuilding effort, and my girl shana is makin schemes from houston where she’s evacuated to. she’s pulling together a network of progressive new orleans based orgs to advocate for righteous resource provision to survivors. your money will help these activists reclaim their city.  check: www.neworleansnetwork.org, and donate.

i could write y’all about other things but really, if you a person of color in this country, or a young person, or a person with a heart and a brain, what else is there to write about? my boy marc just wrote me that new orleans is the first battleground of the new american revolution. kanye said it too – they sent folks down there to shoot us. folks are hungry and asking us to lift them up, to LIFT them UP and save their lives and do not leave them under water, leave them to die, leave them to fight like animals over the quickly diminishing resources or a spot on a bus to who the hell knows where! and the response is to leave them with only two options: Steal or Die, OR Steal AND Die. Only a Zero Heart could conceive of Zero Tolerance in these circumstances. But, that’s the real meaning of ballot or the bullet, y’all, if you don’t get people who care for you into power, these mofos will shoot you for trying to survive!   

still still still – there’s beautiful humanity arising through the gov’t sponsored ashes – my girl kate sent me this notice that on craig’s list folks are offering up rooms in their homes and offering to help people get to them. my girl karyn dropped everything to put together a website for progressive orgs in new orleans to get resources directly (www.neworleansnetwork.org). my girl emily took off in her car yesterday for louisiana to do anything she can to help the relief effort – she may just end up picking up people trying to leave the city and driving them somewhere. my girl elizabeth is helping folks get the media and messaging right so that our brothers and sisters aren’t cast as criminals.

so i ask you – what is your skill? what is your capacity? go through your closet for all that shit you haven’t worn and doesn’t fit and you just didn’t need in the first place – here’s why you bought it. it IS A GIFT you didn’t know you were holding. see the bottom of this post for where to send stuff…

these thoughts keep going through my head like i am glad bush won right now so that the full out extent of the nature of this country can be exposed with the right characters in place. i think about folks in attics in water up to their necks losing energy. i think about children gaining an understanding of their place in the world because no one will come to help them. then i cry and i think of the people i love and the spaces we hold sacred and call home and i think of the folks all over the world who are falling victim to the extreme natural disasters invited by our ignant anti-environmental policies and then left to die by our racist government and i just want to fall down, run, scream, punch something, cry, take up arms.

i am going between power and prayer. if you have any doubts about why people on the margins of power in this country have to reposition themselves in the MIDDLE of the struggle and take over the DECISION MAKING positions in this country, THIS IS WHY! America is not ready to deal with the repercussions of its neglect. Our people are dying right now because we let people who don’t love us, who don’t care about us, we let them run our lives. Fuck that.

but anyways, i wasn’t trying to go off, like i said i am just heated right now. you want to DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW?

– go to www.neworleansnetwork.org or http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html and donate

– if you have a spare room or an extra couch, go on craig’s list new orleans and offer it up, at least as a temporary spot

– go through your closet, your bathroom, and your kitchen and gather your non-perishables and towels and unopened soap and extra clothes and shoes etc. if you’re in ny look below for where to take it. if you not in ny check http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html –

got clothes, sheets, towels, etc?:

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is sponsoring a FOOD & CLOTHING DRIVE!

Our people in the South need our help. We cannot wait for or assume Red Cross will take care of our people. There are thousands of refugees from New Orleans in HOUSTON, TX.  Several Black large Black Churches have opened their doors to displaced people.

Here is a list of things NEEDED TODAY:

¸ TOWELS
¸ SHEETS AND LINENS
¸ DIAPERS
¸ WATER
¸ TOOTH BRUSHES
¸ TOOTH PASTE
¸ SOAP
¸ AIR MATTRESSES

-WE ALSO NEED MONETARY DONATIONS TO SHIP OUT THESE GOODS

BRING ALL DONATED GOODS TO:

THE MALCOLM X GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT
388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, 4TH FL.  BETWEEN HOYT AND BOND
ST. (718) 254-8800

(Bring to Habana Outpost Sunday Night and I will get to MXGM)

FOR FOLKS IN THE BRONX AND UPTOWN PLS CONTACT NYOKA AT
917-609-4323. I WILL BE COLLECTING DONATIONS UP HERE.

On FIRE – N’awleans, Kanye,

GEORGE BUSH DOES NOT CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE. – Kanye West

http://vax.area.com/zsoul/kanye.mov

i try to rarely post more than once in a day but I am just fired up right now. we had to stop our meeting and listen to the mayor of new orleans break it down, then watch kanye nervous and angry as hell on the hurricane relief live telethon last night, keepin it so real they didn’t broadcast it in the west. you can see both right now at www.indyvoter.org.

there is no order in this situation at any level and the goal is to get stuff down there ASAP. we are finding out places to send stuff daily. today i have:

http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html www.neworleansnetwork.org

i am trying to influence the sponsors of tomorrow’s party at habana to skip FEMA and Red Cross and give to community orgs we know of there, cause n.o. league needs resources, n.o. blackout is looking for dough, mxgm is lookin for dough and clothing donations (see below). 

my concern for funding is the rebuilding effort, and my girl shana is makin schemes from houston where she’s evacuated to. she’s pulling together a network of progressive new orleans based orgs to advocate for righteous resource provision to survivors. your money will help these activists reclaim their city.  check: www.neworleansnetwork.org, and donate.

i could write y’all about other things but really, if you a person of color in this country, or a young person, or a person with a heart and a brain, what else is there to write about? my boy marc just wrote me that new orleans is the first battleground of the new american revolution. kanye said it too – they sent folks down there to shoot us. folks are hungry and asking us to lift them up, to LIFT them UP and save their lives and do not leave them under water, leave them to die, leave them to fight like animals over the quickly diminishing resources or a spot on a bus to who the hell knows where! and the response is to leave them with only two options: Steal or Die, OR Steal AND Die. Only a Zero Heart could conceive of Zero Tolerance in these circumstances. But, that’s the real meaning of ballot or the bullet, y’all, if you don’t get people who care for you into power, these mofos will shoot you for trying to survive!   

still still still – there’s beautiful humanity arising through the gov’t sponsored ashes – my girl kate sent me this notice that on craig’s list folks are offering up rooms in their homes and offering to help people get to them. my girl karyn dropped everything to put together a website for progressive orgs in new orleans to get resources directly (www.neworleansnetwork.org). my girl emily took off in her car yesterday for louisiana to do anything she can to help the relief effort – she may just end up picking up people trying to leave the city and driving them somewhere. my girl elizabeth is helping folks get the media and messaging right so that our brothers and sisters aren’t cast as criminals.

so i ask you – what is your skill? what is your capacity? go through your closet for all that shit you haven’t worn and doesn’t fit and you just didn’t need in the first place – here’s why you bought it. it IS A GIFT you didn’t know you were holding. see the bottom of this post for where to send stuff…

these thoughts keep going through my head like i am glad bush won right now so that the full out extent of the nature of this country can be exposed with the right characters in place. i think about folks in attics in water up to their necks losing energy. i think about children gaining an understanding of their place in the world because no one will come to help them. then i cry and i think of the people i love and the spaces we hold sacred and call home and i think of the folks all over the world who are falling victim to the extreme natural disasters invited by our ignant anti-environmental policies and then left to die by our racist government and i just want to fall down, run, scream, punch something, cry, take up arms.

i am going between power and prayer. if you have any doubts about why people on the margins of power in this country have to reposition themselves in the MIDDLE of the struggle and take over the DECISION MAKING positions in this country, THIS IS WHY! America is not ready to deal with the repercussions of its neglect. Our people are dying right now because we let people who don’t love us, who don’t care about us, we let them run our lives. Fuck that.

but anyways, i wasn’t trying to go off, like i said i am just heated right now. you want to DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW?

– go to www.neworleansnetwork.org or http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html and donate

– if you have a spare room or an extra couch, go on craig’s list new orleans and offer it up, at least as a temporary spot

– go through your closet, your bathroom, and your kitchen and gather your non-perishables and towels and unopened soap and extra clothes and shoes etc. if you’re in ny look below for where to take it. if you not in ny check http://www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html –

got clothes, sheets, towels, etc?:

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is sponsoring a FOOD & CLOTHING DRIVE!

Our people in the South need our help. We cannot wait for or assume Red Cross will take care of our people. There are thousands of refugees from New Orleans in HOUSTON, TX.  Several Black large Black Churches have opened their doors to displaced people.

Here is a list of things NEEDED TODAY:

¸ TOWELS
¸ SHEETS AND LINENS
¸ DIAPERS
¸ WATER
¸ TOOTH BRUSHES
¸ TOOTH PASTE
¸ SOAP
¸ AIR MATTRESSES

-WE ALSO NEED MONETARY DONATIONS TO SHIP OUT THESE GOODS

BRING ALL DONATED GOODS TO:

THE MALCOLM X GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT
388 ATLANTIC AVENUE, 4TH FL.  BETWEEN HOYT AND BOND
ST. (718) 254-8800

(Bring to Habana Outpost Sunday Night and I will get to MXGM)

FOR FOLKS IN THE BRONX AND UPTOWN PLS CONTACT NYOKA AT
917-609-4323. I WILL BE COLLECTING DONATIONS UP HERE.

Hurricane Relief Parties this WEEKEND

(see blog entry AFTER party announcements)

So I know we are all devastated and appalled at the human tragedy in N’awleans, because despite the natural disaster impetus, the tragedy is all human. Bad planning, bad funding, bad response, and then a quick fast unveiling to the racism that is stacked like gold at the top of our government. I have never loved Bush, but I see the devil clear in his face as he refuses to acknowledge that in the absence of resource provision folks will take what they need to take to feed their babies and their elders and themselves. Yes, folks are going crazy down there, but not one of us is more than four hungry days from madness, don’t forget.

There’s two things popping off Sunday for Hurricane Relief that will be fun. One is early evening, one is late evening, and both will send all resources and benefits to our folks down there.

The first thing is y’all know how i’m always talking about Habana Outpost as my favorite spot ever, which was reconfirmed yesterday as I watched the owner hustle to pull together local businesses to have a benefit on Sunday and send the $ to FEMA and Red Cross for New Orleans.

Habana Outpost Brooklyn {and the Virgo Bash Crew} presents:
Relief 4 New Orleans and the Gulf Coast
755 Fulton St (at S. Portland)
Games pop off at 5pm
Movie starts at 8pm
Party starts at 11pm with DJ and Letitia James gave us special permission to DANCE.
$10 suggested donation
(want to help immediately and/or can’t make it? Call 1-800-HELPNOW
I just talked to Rashid n dem from MXGM and they are doing a clothing drive, and said this can be a pick up point, so bring whatever you can and it will get down there.

A lot of folks been askin about the Virgo Bash this year – I would be honored if folks would come out on Sunday night and make this Virgo Bash a benefit for those who have been left behind and need our help; and those who have been displaced indefinitely.

also, my girl Keisha and the Blackout Arts Collective are gathering materials for their N’awleans Blackout Fam. See Details below – no reason you can’t do both. Every little bit is needed.

Subject: Reminder: Brooklyn Family Reunion & Hurricane Relief
From:    "Keisha Green" <info@evite.com>
Date:    Thu, September 1, 2005 10:44 am
To:      adrienne@indyvoter.org
————————————————————————–

Greetings Beautiful People:

We are so happy to know that many of you have decided to bring your Labor Day in
with us on at the Roof Top Pavilion!

We are excited to celebrate the last big summer weekend with all of you!

Remember: bring a friend, alcoholic beverages to share, and a picnic blanket for
your bum while you watch movies.

Also, folks, we want to support the relief efforts to those who have been affected
by the hurricane.  We plan to collect donations at the party to go towards Red Cross
and/or to the Blackout Arts Collective (BAC) chapter in New Orleans. 

Check the Blog Page on www.blackoutartscollective.com for more information about the
families who have been devastated by the storm (postings later today).

There are several Blackout members in New Orleans who are currently homeless without
clothes, shoes, and other basic necessities--this includes one entire family who was
fortunately evacuated after spending two days on their rooftop (they are currently
in a shelter in Baton Rouge).

Please support us by making donations at the party.  Or you may visit the New York
Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) to make a donation earmarked for Blackout Arts
Collective. It's easy to do ... and will make a huge difference!

You may also bring supplies to the Blackout Office (ask Keisha Green for details).
We are sending packages to folks who have been displaced in the coming weeks.

Go to NYFA.org - support NYFA - make an Online donation that is tax deductible -
select Give to Sponsored Projects & Organizations under Program Contributions - then
enter an amount - select in Honor of - NYFA as the first name, Blackout Arts
Collective as the last name, and in personal comments write: New Orleans Relief
Fund.

Again, we look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday, Sept. 4th at 6pm!

Love, Keisha, Dottie, Jodie, Marcella, Claudine, and
Yolanda-----------------------------------------------
For reference, your link to this Invite is:
http://www.evite.com/pages/invite/viewInvite.jsp?inviteId=VSGEGXMGETDBGSUDWTJW

ok a couple quick things:

1. i sent an email for a gas strike today and mad folks were like thanks and some were like – gas strikes are hopeless. my feeling is: gas strikes aren’t going to solve the whole problem but folks takin a day off gas ain’t gonna hurt no one either. its not an either or. just so folks know where i’m comin from on that.
2. someone’s been smoking crack on my stoop! i found the pipes and lighters and a big pee stain out there this morning. nothing like the detritus of crack in the morning.
3. there’s a crazy house in brooklyn by the salvation army near gates avenue and i want to get inside – any leads?
4. coming soon is a list of reasons why i think it is important to be completely turned out on or near your birthday! woo-hoo… 🙂
5. my computers at home say they can’t renew my ip address so the lovely people at pmp let me use their computer today to get this announcement out. i love y’all and will write more soon, lots and lots going on!
6. i have been having very deep conversations on love and happiness with several friends and one yesterday basically said you have to make a choice, that women of color have to make a choice. so my choice is, i want a stay at home partner. does anyone know some creative political beautiful person who’d be down to hold babies and travel with me? HOLLA

love and love and more love
dre