Monthly Archive for September, 2005

oaklandia

i am in oakland!! i sprained the F^<> out of my ankle today so now i am hobbling around the bay…

orgasmo!! http://img.tapuz.co.il/forums/20354349.htm

i love oakland and the mission, cause they are funky and fresh. i get well-hosted in the bay by my dear friend the honorable josie wulsin, who wins the chilled out hottie numero uno award for picking my up from l’airoporte d’oakland and showing me chez papa for dinner.  josie is smart and beautiful and funny and awesome, and in addition now works at bioneers, which is this cutting edge organization that highlights the work of folks creating the real tools for sustainable change. www.bioneers.org.

now i’m sitting in downtown oakland processing life. here are some of the things factoring into this processing:

- roberts was confirmed today. delay was indicted and quit his post. bill bennett (former reagan admin secretary of EDUCATION) was quoted saying if you aborted all black babies it would cut crime rates. ‘Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down."’ – Media Matters

overall, not a good day for the white race.
(good days include the day Bono was born)
(i also track bad days for others, too. equal opportunity historian at your service)

- several people closest to me have said in the past couple of days that i am working too hard and keeping them at a distance, that i am more intimate here that i am with any one person. and here is today’s horoscope from ny press:

Virgo Aug. 23-Sept. 22

As a writer, I always have to figure out how to edit my words, boil and distill
them to their most concise and potent substance. It’s not just a matter of fitting into a certain
space, although that’s a consideration (certainly with an astrology column). It’s also about
holding people’s interest, speaking with an authentic voice, and not wasting people’s time with
too much unnecessary information or bullshit. You’ve got a lot of fluff floating around right now.
You’re losing credibility by sharing every minute and mundane detail of your existence. That’s
not intimacy, that’s over-familiarity. Figure out what’s important and fascinating about your
life; share that, and mostly edit out the rest.

all of this makes me think i need to inspect the decks

- i saw mr. and mrs. smith and i loved it. like LOVED it. i watched it on a plane as a totally captive watche, which i don’t do very often. but i love angelina and brad, the scene where they kick ass and then do the dirty  was particularly stimulating.

- as a side note to this, i was watching the movie sitting next to a plane farter. my friend jenn loves to reference a story we witnessed once of a train farter, and i have to list this as a pet peeve. we’ve all seen the plane farter – they either list to one side or the other to let the fart slip out, or grind their hips down into the seat next to you, and in the next moment a funk emerges. and as the trip progresses there is no denying that the funk has a name, and it’s ‘neighbor-fart’. PET PEEVE!

- i love my mama!

woah

um – i don’t even know what to say – the response to yesterday’s post has been amazing…its up on daveyd.com and nyc.indymedia.org and being forwarded around and i am hearing from mad people…bananas! i am very moved by this response, and honored to have been in the right place at the right time with a camera and some words!

my mom’s in town and i must now go to her!

peace
dre

dispatch from dc

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I am finally at a web connection after a powerful night and powerful morning. As you may know, I am not a fan of marches in general, because they don’t turn out people of color in large numbers and often there is not a clear sense of accountability associated with the use of people’s time. My girl Malia Lazu has written up a brilliant missive on this, which I will try to get a hold of and share with you. But direct action that is purposeful and well-planned, I love. And Cornell at the front of the march is a nice sight – see the pic I took…

This morning I got to be a part of a direct action here in D.C. in which Cindy Sheehan and Cornell West got arrested, organized by Rev. Sekou, with the Code Pink ladies and the Military Families Speak Out group. We gathered at the church on 16th and P for inspiration and song, then marched over. I switched between talking media strategy with Davey D, and then following him around taking pictures as he interviewed folks, and then starting up songs in the crowd. The focal point for me was the Clergy and Laity Concerned About Iraq – religious leaders from all over, including Christian, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish leaders. Folks spoke and sang, laid on hands, raised blessings, and marched right up to the White House and sat down to be arrested. The police then came and started (and are still doing so as I write this) arrested mothers who have lost their babies in Iraq for asking to speak to the man who sent those babies into the desert from which they would not return. I stayed with them, taking pictures and singing, until the last minute. My mom’s in from Japan and wouldn’t fogive me for spending one of our two nights together in jail.

I was at Riverside Church when I first got hear Celeste Zappala speak. Her son was the first Pennsylvania National Guardsman to die in combat since World War  II. I was so moved I nearly wept, but poured the tears into my song instead. Last night, at the Washington Monument, I got the honor of singing to open the program. Celeste was next to me, and when I sat down I just had to put my arm around her. She said, "It seems like these tears will never stop."

Today I found her in the crowd again, alone and crying. She is trying to speak up through her grieving and she moves me, perhaps because she looks like my own mother, like anyone’s mom. She and Cindy Sheehan, who I also got to meet and build with this weekend, are such normal, every day type people. And the bravest people I know. I think of Celeste, calling through her grief, calling a warning, trying to stop other families from experiencing the grief and pain, the story that she is carrying. Again today I held her in my arms, and I can’t express in words what it feels like to hold someone who is carrying around that combination of emotion, to whom the front lines have come, unbidden.

Last night, before the Interfaith Service, I was at the Green Festival for the panel of women writers for ‘Stop the Next War Now’. I mistakenly thought it was a book signing, and when I got there it was actually a series of speeches, so I wrote one quickly – there is so much in my heart right now, as I and those closest to me go through changes and the swift maturation of tragedy and grief close to home.

In my speech I said we are living with the New Gulf War, the Gulf Coast War here on American soil. It’s a civil war exposed, a race war, a class war, a war of history against the present. Every casualty is a civilian, and now so many are American. Those who go to document the stories come back shocked and speechless, breaking down. Now is the time to listen to the silence, see what’s in the absence, ACT for those who are paralyzed by their circumstances.

This is a personal war for me, not just because my father has been in the ARMY my whole life, and I have seen the silencing of military culture, how hard it is to speak against the norms of your community…not just because my roots are Deep Southern and I am deeply aware of the segregation bred into the hearts of good people there, the honesty and pace of change there…but because everywhere I turn now I see the constancy of this period of history writ on people’s faces, either as terror, hopelessness or denial. We have time for none of that, we have time only for waking up.

In my speech I also said I had good news. And I do…good news about the resistance of giving, that in the wake of the tragedy it was clear we had everything we needed to sustain our own communities. When the government refused to go to the heart of the tragedy, average people rode past them with rescue, with water, food, clothing, offers of homes and transportation and money. And that giving was from poor, rich, white, black, children to elders, all giving as they were able.

Now, we have to get out of the habit of only mobilizing to protect and sustain our communities when it’s too late and the bodies are floating, are bombed, are buried. The oppression we fight is organized to operate daily. Our resistance must be daily. That’s what I said.

I got to meet Ysaye Barnwell from Sweet Honey in the Rock and recruited her as my mentor for the movement singing stuff. At the gathering last night the Noble Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan spoke of the work they did in Belfast…I am so moved by these people, all these everyday people who have responded to the violence of the modern world with courage and creativity, reconciliation and resistance and love.

Speaking of love…I saw the heartbreaker. It was amazing the way normal interactions after a chaos can be. We fell into some comfort, but I held my heart like a deck of cards, schizophrenic directions but all close in my hand. I can see a future in which we’re cool with each other for real. Not right this second, cause I cannot lie and say its butterflies dipped in rose honey to see him, he’s having hard times and my instinct to swoop and save is deep. But he’s a man, and I have faith he’ll get it together. He’s surviving. We all are.

Overall I just feel inspired. The faith community is coming together, the youth community is coming together, the heartbreakers are coming together, and tomorrow I attend a meeting in which the voter organizing training community is coming together. This is no time to mope and feel sorry for yourself. Do better than that. The world is turning and people are getting up and moving forward, this is the time, we are the people.

For inspiration watch the middle passage of Chris Rock’s Never Scared. It’s not too late to figure out whatever the hell you could contribute to this moment and make it happen. Don’t fall into the well of self that gives nothing to the world. Live!! It’s on and poppin!

and here’s what i had written up before all the work began:

Required Listening to be my friend right now: Joni Mitchell ‘Both Sides Now'; Missy Elliott ‘Can’t Stop’, ‘Teary-Eyed’ and ‘We Run This’

Jiggle drama: I’m sitting in the union station in

d.c.

listening to kanye and being tired and hung-over and a bit out of sorts. I went out last night to BirthDAG and accidentally ended up sippin’ on some sizurp and involving myself in a conversational grindfest. Y’all know what I’m talking about, when u haven’t seen someone in a while so you have to have a really loud catching up conversation over the music while simultaneously grinding as inappropriately on each other as possible until a good friend pulls you out the door by the seat of your drunk ass pants? You know what I mean? You live in my lap style.

The grindin is in no way the drama, grindin with someone who can keep up and work it out, is one of my favorite things in life, plus I earned some cab money home! so bup bup J-Mar on the boogy…

However! I have a signature jiggle I do – introduced it three years ago at the first ever Virgo Bash – which I think just might have popped a whole vertebrae out of wack. I have been massaging myself – on the train, bus, plane, train and walk I’ve already taken on this remarkable Sunday. It isn’t helping, I just want to cry, it hurts.

But!!! I heard from that woman in

Ohio

. She’s been in her head, her process, but we got to have a moment. A couple – she holla’d and I holla’d and I made her laugh and that made me happy…She is such a brilliant fabulous woman, on the real. she’s the type of woman who asks you for things, and you are like yes, yes, yes and can I give you more? Then you realize after the fact how much it means, how much she needs. Wish me luck readers!

And next week I get to see my

Cali

make-out buddy. I could almost call this dispatches from the cut, where i’m laid up. Almost! :)

10 questions…

1. do the fugees have a new song?

http://s40.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0GPAYM9N039CO30I5XSBG2AQMW

2. did shane get drunk and pass out in the hallway of (and by hallway i mean door between hallway and living room) — cumberland the other night?

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3. did my grandmother send me a little housecoat just like hers for my birthday present which i am now rockin non-stop and LOVING??

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4. Did my sister April send me both fun and practical presents??

My_necklace  Dsc00611

5. and did my sister autumn give me a gorgeous plant which i’ve named robespierre:

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6. what is my dad’s favorite way to spend time?

Mydadgolfs

7. am i soooooo proud to work at the league these days??

The_billboard"The billboard created by Working Assets and the League of Independent Voters — and inspired and funded by the DailyKos community
— landed on Grover Norquist’s doorstep at 1920 L St. this morning just
in time for his infamous weekly "Wednesday meeting" of the conservative
elite."

8. how hot is missy elliott’s latest album?

i know i’m a bit late but i always gots to wait for my girl celeste to get albums before i can have albums knaw mean? key tracks: teary-eyed, lose control, and this song called can’t stop…some hotty sexy songs…mmmmmmmissy!!

9. should you join me in d.c. this weekend?

first of if you ain’t know there’s a BIG march this weekend against the war, so if you’re in DC tomorrow das what’s up…

and then on sunday from 4-5:30pm i’ll be at the washington convention center for the DC green festival (an explosion of green friendly business and lifestyle concepts and displays and products) doing a book signing for ‘stop the next war now’, a book i contributed to put out by code pink. see http://greenfestivals.com/

and then i’ll run over to the washington monument for the special service put together by my boy the reverend sekou which starts at 6:30pm. i’m first on the program so if you comin come on time! here’s the program:

Music, Adrienne
Maree Brown;
Processional;
Invocation, Rabbi
Arthur Waskow, Director, The Shalom Center;
Music, Freda
Payne;
Prayer of Remembrance, Cindy
Sheehan and Celeste Zappala, Co-Founders Gold
Star Families for Peace;
Prayer of Resistance, Rev.
Dr. Rita Brock, Co-Director, Faith Voices for the
Common Good;
Occasion, Rev.
Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, National Coordinator Clergy and Laity
Concerned about Iraq; 
Poem of Peace, Drew
Dellinger, Poet,

Poets for Global Justice;
 Traditions of Peace:
- Rev.
Michael Banks, Bishop, Mennonite Council of New
  York
- Rev.
Dr. Joan Brown-Campbell, Director of Religious Life, Chautauqua Community
- El Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid,
Imam,

Mosque of Islamic
Brotherhood
- Mairead
Maguire, 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate
- Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine 
- Ve.
Suhita Dharma, Chua
Dieu Phap Temple
in San Gabriel, California 
Future of Peace
- Rev.
Claudia De la Cruz, Community Organizer, Dominican Women’s Development
Center
- Rev. Lennox Yearwood, President, Hip Hop Caucus
- Rev. Emilee Whitehurst,
Executive Director, Austin Area
Inter-religious Association
- Rev. Grayland
Hagler, President, Ministers
 for Racial and
Economic Justice
Sermon on Remembrance and Resistance
- Dr. Cornel West, Honorary
Co-Chair, Clergy and Laity
Concerned about Iraq
Prayer of Blessings
-  Shamsi Ali, Deputy
Imam, Islamic Cultural Center of New York
Buddhist Peace Fellowship
Benediction

10. is this blog a bit all over?

naw tricks, its just over :)

 

cable…hee hee

Stardate 9-22-05 

First of all, a toast to Shane, who made it home last night!

And to my dear

Sofia,
who is so brave these days in more ways than I can expound upon!

And to Lopeti, who shamelessly stood in front of Sofia’s house shouting
her name till we let him in.

And to Jen, who makes the best lentils this side of…the Mississippi?

And to Janine, for noticing that we should toast Citizen
Cope, who has a song from his last album recorded at least a year ago with the
prescient words “I’m building this levee, on the Mississippi, before I die in an unmarked
grave.”  Shiver!

And now a story:

I have cable!

Well. I have basic cable. Like the channels I got with bunny
ears but clearer. Not even like BCAT and MNN.

Cono. 

Yesterday I walked over to have a late lunch with Sofia and
watch the cosby show for a second, and when I walked back up to my house my new
floormate was standing in front of the house like ‘Thank God You’re Here!’
Suspicion…

I say floormate very intentionally. I live on the 3rd
floor of a brownstone where I have half the floor, and share the bathroom
{which is only accessible from the hall) with the person across the hall. I am
trying to make this clear to the floormate, who seems to have more the sense
that we are roommates who each have our own kitchen.

When she first moved in she came over to tell me she’d
bought some toilet paper. I told her that was smart! She paused like I was
supposed to offer her some $ but I looked at it was the cheap rough toilet
paper. I smiled and backed away.

Then when I found the gorgeous goldsheet topped coffee table
I now have in my room, she suggested we take it to a furniture store and get it
made into two, since she’d been looking for just such a table. I laughed at her
and said, OH ____, you goof! Holding the smile, I backed away.

So now she was getting cable and did I mind if they had to
come through my room?

No, I don’t mind. (inside: me cable es tu cable?)

I get up to my room and the cutie cable guy follows me. Psst,
psst – the floormate gestures desperately from outside in the hallway for what can
only be called hustle huddle numero uno.

Yo, so ask the dude if we can get a splitter on there if we
give him a big ass tip. Then we can just each pay like $25 for like 200
stations!

{Pet peeve, white people who say yo to me, but don’t say yo
to anyone else I hear them speak to. All yo or no yo, dammit!} 

Methinks for a minute….You getting HBO? 

No, but –

Floormate continues talking but I am not hearing it. I am
not paying for 200 non-HBO stations. I’m not even gonna ask for the splitter.
Shee-it – I have bunny ears that work just fine and

Sofia has real, HBO, on-demand cable. I smile
politely and back away, sympathetically.

I am talking with, and probably flirting with, the cable
guy. Not for the splitter but because he is nice and cute and has ties to Detroit, a city about
which I maintain a deep curiosity. When he gets near my TV he installs a
splitter Of His Own Accord with a wink and a smile.

The roommate’s boyfriend, who apparently lives there too for
now, not that I mind but like who’s you?, pokes his head in, gestures me into
the hallway for hustle huddle number 2.

So he put in a splitter eh? That’s cool, I think we should
all split that cheap right down the middle! 

Now here’s my line of reasoning…A. Is there a we that
involves you? B. I didn’t get cable installed. I’m doin a favor letting them
drill through my house. C. The dude just put on a splitter OHOA but at best, there’s
no HBO. I don’t want to pay half for some busted ass regular tv.

Drama starts creeping up near my ankle…I aim Sofia and she says
quickly – “This will lead to bad blood.”

Then I remember! If there’s no box then I can only have the
most basic of cable!

So I tell dude, ‘No, I’ll only get the basic like 10 stations,
not your package. Cause there’s no box, see, so there’s no cable, see.’

Whew, all clear, back to not caring at all! 

I back into my room, smiling, and wink wink at the cable guy,
who I’ve learned hails from Crown Heights originally and
agrees that cable without HBO is just foolishness.

Amazingly, there is a hustle huddle number 3, which occurs
when the floormate comes out her face and walks into the room, picks up my
remote and starts clicking through to see which channels I get.

!!!

Now she has tried to keep up a nice façade to this point,
but I have tried even harder, by not shoving her forcefully out of my room.

I mean if you have the basic cable spread, then we can split
it like –

(Passive aggressive tension DRIPPING from each word) _____ –
I’m not going to split anything with you? I am going to tip him for putting a
splitter on, but I am just getting the stations I had a little clearer. I think
that’s a fair exchange for letting you drill and cable through my house. Now I
must work…please, please go.

The floormate then had an internal moment of reckoning which
I could clearly see – am I cheap enough to continue to push this, or is she
bout to beat mah azz? She smiled super sweetly and backed out of the room.

Leaving me to wonder…if I got a cable box…

never ending story

oh i could come from so many directions today…

i could talk about the fact that i am singing at the washington monument on sunday at 6:30!! someone who heard me at riverside asked me to come do the same thing for this anti-war service there. someone else asked for a demo to slip to a house producer :) mama i want to sing.

i could talk about the battle with the small-but-gaining-in-size roaches i found upon returning home today. i went to heat up some odd chicken franks in my toaster {note: don’t buy cheap chicken franks. when i went to open the bag it had filled up nearly to bursting with air and then didn’t cook well at all} and several roaches of unusual size came running out from under it. appalled, i sprayed roach spray all over the toaster, which i suppose means i now have to throw it away or else risk poisoning myself. cono. roach spray is so not helpful. it kills the roaches but only after you’ve sprayed it on all your precious things. the roach factor has me slapping my own body like a post-pcp chris tucker in the pot classic ‘friday’.

i could talk about seeing adriana today, with her album of wedding photos that took me back to the joyous occasion of her wedding last month. she is on her way to bangalore, the world is a row of open doors before her and each holds a blessing.

one of her wedding pictures showed me to be shrekian next to her, which made me recommit to eating salads only for 20 months. starting…tomorrow. yeah.

i could talk about today’s work – my first draft of a piece called the league theory of change which includes our 6 point model. its not done yet, but its fairly comprehensive and i feel pretty excited about it. i think its the first…theory? i’ve ever written. and my coworker celeste is on super point, which is always fun to work with.

i could write about my me-so-ignant moment today. i put in house of flying daggers and realized after two minutes that i just didn’t want to watch subtitles. so i put it on english dub and was totally satisfied with the experience. then i put on the motorcycle diaries and as it had no dubbed english version i lost the storyline several times. gael looked fine but…after the chile part i have only snapshots of his journey. this may have something to do with the fact that to get internet in my house i have to work with my back to the t.v. and turn around to see it – so it’s like movies on radio…

i could talk about my two favorite songs right now. it’s been a while since i gave u lyrics of the week so here goes…one is percy sledge – his voice sounds unbelievably tender on the recording and the song is so sweet:

(Come softly, darling)
(Come to me, sta-ay)
(You’re my ob-session)
(For ever and a da-ay)

I want, want you to kno-o-ow
I love, I love you so
Please hold, hold me so tight
All through, all through the night..

(Speak softly, darling)
(Hear what I sa-ay)
(I love you always)
(Always, always)

I’ve waited, waited so long
For your kisses and your love
Please come, come to me
>From up, from up above

(Come softly, darling)
(Come softly, darling)
I need, need you so much
Wanna feel your wa-arm touch

and it may seem i’m stalling but i also want to share with you the lyrics of the other song which, in a totally RANDOM name coincidence, is by sister sledge, and its called thinkin of you:

Everybody let me tell you ‘bout my love
Brought to you by an angel from above
Full equipped with a lifetime guarantee
Once you try it, I am sure that you’ll see
         

[Without love] There’s no reason to live
            [Without you] And what would I do with the love I give
            [All my lovin’] To you I’ll be giving
            And I promise, yes I’ll do, as long as I’m living

         

I’m thinking of you and the things you do to me
            That makes me love you, now I’m living in ecstasy
            Hey, it’s you and the things you do to me
            That makes me love you, now I’m living in ecstasy

         

All the time he makes me glad that I’m alive
            Together we will survive
            What do you think brought the sun out today
            It’s my baby, oh, help me sing

         

[Without love] Without love there’s no reason to live
            [Without you] Oh, what would I do with the love I give
            [All my lovin’] To you I’ll be giving
            And I promise, yes I’ll do, as long as I’m living

         

I’m thinking of you and the things you do to me
            That makes me love you, now I’m living in ecstasy
            Hey, it’s you and the things you do to me
            That makes me love you, now I’m living in ecstasy

         

I’m in love again
            And it feels so, so good

         

Hey, it’s you and the things you do to me
            That makes me love you, now I’m living in ecstasy
            Yeah, it’s you [You and the things you do to me] and I
            [That makes me love you] That makes me love you [Now I’m living
            in ecstasy], oh
            It’s you, you, you [And the things you do to me], yeah
            [That makes me love you] That makes me love you [Now I’m living
            in ecstasy], ey…hey…

and it goes on in that vein – dj cosi put it on a mix sofia let me burn off her. it and the song ‘baby i’m scared of you’ by womack & womack {houdini was a great magician, he could crack a lock from any position, but my heart is nothing like those locks…i don’t believe in magic, i believe in love everlasting} are ALWAYS good.

so…maybe cause i was listening to all that non-stop, or maybe cause i was feelin all bad ass for all the balance i have in multiple low-key relationships right now that made me forget to keep my little wall up inside…er, um, sigh…ok readers, i have a confession!

let’s call this confession the return of the heartbreaker. not in his original role mind you, but i think we may finally attempt a true friendship. what can i say? i just had a visceral experience of loss and missing him this weekend on my way home from florida, a vision of all the wrong turns we’d both taken and a dream to start again somehow, to save the pieces of our friendship that weren’t rotten. i felt this need for him in my life physically surge through me, it moved me to tears.

{yes, i am that dramatic to cry lookin out a plane window}
{and then dramatically scrawl my thoughts in a journal i hold awkwardly so other passengers can’t see these passionate mumblings}
{and then decide that though my heart is only partially mended, coffee and a hug are not an unreasonable next step}.

i have never been one to write off those i have loved, it is illogical to me that you can be so close to someone and then have them absent from your life while they are still on this earth. even if the contact is rare, even if it is bittersweet, that person is a mirror to your most humbled soul and it seems wrong to break completely. so…i suppose i conjured him – today he appeared online and we both spilled it out, the desire to reconnect, the silly small pieces of life that were piling up in us that no one else wanted or needed to hear.

love may never have been the right idea, it may have always been best friends. but isn’t that line the cloudiest of all?

in other news, i see my mama this weekend and she’ll be here all next week for the final piece of my birthday month celebration!!

in more other news, check out www.colorofchange.org – a black web action initiative.

PEACE

days in the swampland

i stayed an extra day down here and thank goodness. we were at this amazing space called amen ra’s for the second day of figuring out next steps for tallahassee. the space includes a wide open room for dance and yoga, an afrikan book store, a stage for performances and more. freshly painted and decorated, we were surrounded by reminders of divinity, prayer, ancestors and power.

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i picked cards out of the bookstore with my numerology (i’m a 6-day person), african astrology (i’m the traveler), egyptian astrology (i’m the nile), plus got some chewsticks. 

then, tucked safe away from the oppressive inappropriate heat, i got to watch lots of amazing smart energy go into thinking about building the movement in tallahassee. then, since tally is all about education and outreach, we spent time learning the basics of being a good trainer. we had young folks, older folks, folks who say they aren’t political, folks who kept one fist in the air and rocked t-shirts of lynched black men at original ‘freak-niks’.

we did this one story-telling exercise where folks were supposed to trace their history and politicization, and the first person who got up to tell their story shared that he had almost lost one of his balls, and went on to explain what exactly had happened in – dare i say – fairly graphic detail. its times like this i pull god aside and thank her once again for letting me do this for a living. 

it has been so inspirational to be in a strong young black community. especially with all that’s been going on lately, its a beautiful thing to be here in florida in the swamp with black folks who are entering the black power space of their organizer selves. the smiles and hope, indignance, pride, naivete, patience and self-awareness is all so inspirational. its good to see smiles and warmth on the faces of your people sometimes, instead of grief, hunger, abandonment.

even in leandra’s apartment complex where folks are not so much on a political tip, but more on a crack-laced blunts in short shorts tip… everyone speaks and clowns and looks out for each other.

tonight we had a sushi dinner. it was leandra, who i turned on to the league; zahra, who leandra turned on to the league, and shamilia, who zahra + leandra turned on to the league and who is the next point person for tallahassee and a natural born leader. four generations of network!

and then this is the beautiful brilliant boy named maleek who took mercy on me and called stalemate after taking me to task in checkers. i started off all gassed up till we kinged everything and then he cornered me – i slipped out when he said, ‘that was fun, but can we play chess?':

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leandra has helped me deepen my latest song creation – ‘what’s yo gov’t name?’ and we want to cut the track with lots of folks on there who use stage names spitting lyrics about their names of birth. the hook basically goes: ‘what yo gov’t name, what yo gov’t name, from your b.c. to your d.l. i know that isht done changed, fess it up {say ma what’s up}, what yo gov’t name?’ i’ve been told i don’t have the face to pull this off…i want to add this creation to the world, but i watched lots of young jeezy type videos last night and hated most of it, so am hesitant to perpetuate a repetitive boring strand of hip-hop. sigh.

i heard rumors today…one, that beyonce knowles and kelly rowland are actually sisters and kelly is one of matthew’s extramarital babies. can anyone verify this??

and i read today that hugo chavez is planning to go around the u.s. government to get affordable gas to poor communities in the u.s., starting in chicago. ‘His plan is to set aside 10% of the 800,000 barrels of oil produced by
      the Citgo refineries and ship that oil directly to schools, religious
      organizations and nonprofits in poor communities for distribution.’ while the american gov’t will undoubtedly find this a cause for erasing venezuela from the history books, i have to say the news made me throw two snaps up.

as kanye says:

we cain’t afford no gas!
broke phi broke!

we ain’t got it!

from tallahassee!

fam fam –

i’m down here in humid hot tallahassee, running from one air conditioned environment to another. this whole place is so sticky and laidback, reminds me of the swamps of south georgia where i did time as an innocent middle schooler who got taught everything i wasn’t. i remember this gorgeous slow-faced black boy with big green eyes named snake who kept me on the phone, even though my boyfriend was this hottie named carlos who i was mostly too scared to look at. ah, tender twelve.

multi-dating – some things never change. my boy khari is here and we’re getting to have deep convos about how hard it is to find folks to love, and date, and take care of and let take care of you…it’s hard out there for a pimp, or for a perceived pimp who really just wants a movie partner with on point politics and sweet lips.

but anyway, now i am hear with the tallahassee league, who are seriously like the tallahassee new black panther party. they hope to bring some unity to the black community down here and they are all off the chains funny. we had one really productive day already with planning the league activities here, a newsletter and an outreach team. and i got some pics! here’s my co-facilitator, k-mos:

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and here’s leandra, zahra, shamalia, will campbell (of the marvelous milwaukee boyz, now in nashville at fisk u.) and the rest of the crew:

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i love these folks man. we went to a two year old’s picnic after our meeting today and it was just this family of beautiful southern black folk, all with long locks from the oldest to the youngest. my camera was out of batteries. but it just brought me joy.

i’m staying at leandra’s in a king size bed with 5 other folks and a snake in the house, and we’ve been laughing non-stop the whole time. 

i want to call y’alls attention to my boy mike’s blog – he’s writing some brilliant pieces right now and bryant brought him to my attention: http://www.talkindrum.blogspot.com/

everyone lift a prayer for my mom’s close friend: her husband seems to have that quick quiet killer pancreatic cancer.

i spent the night before i left to tallahassee talking till 4am with my dear friend karynn while her dearest love adam paced about us smiling. i sometimes forget how good a conversation is when both folks come speeding into it and wanting to go deeper into each other’s heads. gifts, gifts.

i got this little thing in my inbox which i thought i’d share, since i got a text ad the other day and was much troubled by it:

JUST A REMINDER…   31 days from today, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls. To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888/382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. Or you can register on line at: www.donotcall.gov

ok i think that’s it. i miss folks, will try and update again before i get home monday but wireless is hard to come by and it’s all good with me :)

best believe i sweat out weaves

i worked parenthetically yesterday. woke up early and worked, then worked late at night. spent the whole middle of the day in the russian baths with my sis, karynn and malia. its a whole nother world there. steamed and salted and sweated and rubbed down and dipped and swedish showered and got things cracked and lost toxins and got peppermint exfoliated. i can’t think of anyone who doesn’t need this. you sweat lodge, you feel the toxins all leaving your body. mmmm. natural high for hours.

because of the good reaction to my riverside moment, i might sing at a service on the ellipse in dc for the anti-war march. i have to admit i am not big on marches personally. gatherings yes, protest yes. i always feel empty after walking around the way-too-white house. but if we could get a hundred thousand people all singing in unison we might just burst all the windows of that upper scale crack house anyway…

moyarwatch: its down to ferrer here in nyc for those who are watching.

everyone raise a fist and a prayer for folks going down south to help. if u have any media skills and can go down and gather materials as a witness holla! i know a few opportunities!

i was talking to someone dear this morning and they were feeling down about the state of the world with its skirt blown up by a hurricane. and the negative feelings were starting to build up. but i said and say, don’t hate a people. love your own, understand who you and your people are and love them. if you act from love for your people, you cannot be broken. hate robs from you the rational ability to survive, makes you brittle and reactionary.

i’m re-reading ‘prison writings’ by leonard peltier and living/learning the idea that you humble yourself to love and serve the people which makes all things possible.  recommended reading for alla y’all.

also read this thing in vanity fair about a woman who died from cancer, what her life was like and what her thoughts on death were like: how valuable time becomes, how little you want to waste any of it. on that note – PEACE

the riverside of martin and arundhati

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before the evening event kofi annan, president chirac, amy goodman and others had a day of u.n. summit activities.

in the evening, my girl piper did a few of her song-poems as the opening for the night, then the former president of ireland mary robinson spoke, then wangari maathai…then this woman celeste who had lost her son the previous year in baghdad (age 30) spoke right before me. she opened the crowd UP with her raw, honest, heartfelt and intelligent critique and momentous urging for action.

i opened by quoting martin luther king jr from his anti-war speech during the vietnam war – the greatest purveyor of violence in the world is my own government. and i laid the songs as an offering.

then i sang:

the songs i sang were –

1. michael

they called him hopeful
when they had no hope left
he was not hopeful, just free of doubt
they called him a son of god
searching so hard for god
and he flew far on rainy days for he figured them out

chorus:
and they called him michael
he was her only blameless son
and you would have loved him
but he died so quickly
like a nameless child

they called him a soldier
and they plucked him from some ghetto
and shipped him off shamelessly
he was seventeen
took an innocent child
made a criminal mind
a soldier against his people
cause he was born hungry

chorus

they called him brilliant
called him a bad boy
soon he thought his earthly duty was to please them
they called him beautiful
and he was so beautiful
but he ran from those calling mouths
so scared he could free them
so scared he could be them

chorus

-

then i sang verse one of amazing grace:

amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
i once was lost, but now am found
was blind but now i see

and i say

my lord what a morning x3
when the stars begin to fall

you’ll hear the trumpets sound
to wake the nations underground
looking to my god’s right hand
when the stars begin to fall

you’ll hear the babies cry
to wake the nations underground
looking to my god’s right hand
when the stars begin to fall

you’ll hear freedom ring
to wake the nations underground
looking to my god’s right hand
when the stars begin to fall

and the prison bars
and the rain, and the hurricane
and the babies, and the levees
and the people who won’t set us free
as they finally realize we must be free
we gonna be free
when the stars begin to fall

then a few more speeches and piper and i got up and did a song-prayer i came up with recently:

its not too late for us we know

which you just repeat and build and clap.

then more speeches and i was asked to come up and close after kwabena and muhibb from milwaukee…then i did if i had a hammer. (i’d hammer in the morning, in the evening, all over this land. i’d hammer out danger, i’d hammer out a warning, i’d hammer out love between my bros and sistas, all over this land. if i had a bell i’d ring it, but i have a song, so i’ll sing it. i’ll sing out justice, i’l lsing out freedom. and so on…)

i have to say it was a dream venue come true and many of my most beloveds were there to share in it. truly and amazing night, so amazing to sing again, to have a chance to attempt to fill a space like riverside up with sound. here are some lovely pics from the dinner after the performances:

the gorgeous jenn and the beautiful shane !

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muhibb, super-poet from milwaukee, and malia, the organizer of the event’s talent (that’s dear dear adam in the background!):

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