as my niece says so endearingly it makes me want to faint, “hi.”

sorry i have been m.i.a. the past few days. after the allied media conference (download the official mixtape here if you haven’t yet), i went to ny to facilitate a gathering of the rockwood “leading from the inside out” (LIO) network, which was inspiring. seeing a field of leaders who are putting deeper purpose and vision work at the priority of their organizing is exciting.

i have been learning to ride the little motorboat my partner inherited from a detroit mentor for her birthday. this has involved a lot of cursing, running in fear from massive barges, trying to write on the waves, watching gorgeous sunsets, and shouting at imani uzuri, jessica care moore, steff christian, erykah badu, eryka marie, joi, piper and other friends from the water behind chene park during their show. we’ve had a few little celebrations as some totally impossible mysterious boating skill becomes easy. no license here, you just have to learn. i’m also getting to know the incredible black boating community in the d, truly a whole other side of the city.

i’ve been listening to beyonce’s latest album, 4, inspiring me to strut around my house being a loud southern diva. it’s summertime, so this is completely appropriate behavior which i highly recommend.

these are the things i am doing when i am not writing. mostly, however, i am writing. or at least making a valiant effort to write. i said yes to writing a variety of things, incredibly timely things which i very much want to write. somehow the deadlines and expectations are making it much harder to churn out that writing than this blog, so i decided to take a break and come visit with you.

admitting that, i must also admit i have taken as long as i can on this break, and clearly words are flowing. back to the grind.

motto for the summer: work, but do it in the sun.

read this poem by nazim hikmet, brought to my attention by my brother samuel, to remember how to live:

On Living

Living is no laughing matter :
you must live with great seriousness
like a squirrel, for example –
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter:
you must take it seriously,
so much so and to such a degree
that, for example, your hands tied behind your back,
your back to the wall,
or else in a laboratory,
in your white coat and safety glasses,
you can die for people –
even for people whose faces you have never seen,
even though you know living
is the most real, the most beautiful thing.
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy, for example, you’ll plant olive trees –
and not for your children, either
but because although you fear death you don’t believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier.


Let’s say we are seriously ill, need surgery –
which is to say we might not get up
from the white table.
Even though it’s impossible not to feel sad
about going a little too soon,
we’ll still laugh at the jokes being told,
we’ll look out the window to see if it’s raining,
or still wait anxiously
for the latest newscast…

Let’s say we are at the front –
for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
We might fall on our face, dead.
We’ll know this with a curious anger,
but we’ll still worry ourselves to death
about the outcome of the war, which could last years.

Let’s say we’re in prison
and close to fifty,
and we have eighteen more years, say,
before the iron doors will open.
We’ll still live with the outside,
with its people and animals, struggle and wind –
I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
we must live as if we will never die…


This earth will grow cold, a star among stars
and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet –
I mean this, our great earth.
This earth will grow cold one day.
not like a block of ice
or a dead cloud even
but like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space.
You must grieve for this right now
– you have to feel this sorrow now –
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say “I lived”…

February 1948

and look at these babies:

or watch the babies: