"Free and critical minds can emerge only by a return to the source-the primary sources. A free and critical mind takes nothing for granted and is not intimidated by "authorities" who frequently may be more confused than the general public. Free and critical minds seek truth without chauvinism or shame." - Dr. Asa G. Hilliard III (1)



“One single bit of information, if missing, incomplete, out of order or just plain wrong, has the potential to significantly alter thought processes, conclusions, decisions and behaviors, even when that one single logic entry exists in a sea of accuracy.”


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kwanzaa, Kuumba & Creativity Poem

A tribute to Kwanzaa, Kuumba, creativity, culture, heritage and Black African pride. This is a powerful, positive poem honoring Mama Africa and her descendents. This spiritual poem is a reminder of our strength, endurance and the essence of who we are.

Baba Receives Permission To Speak

by Usiku


We are a creative people,
Putting mud to cloth to stay,
Rituals of proud display,
Beware of the civilized way,
And listen to what Mama say.

We are God's, and Africa's artistry,
A skillful blend of vibrant clay,
As we crouch beside the tiger the old way,
To capture the hope of a sacred life,
"Feel the butterfly," according to "Dre."

People! We are incredibly intelligent!
Stoop close to understand what was meant,
The truth, the wisdom, the origin,
The season and soil of expansiveness,
Yes! We dance,
To consecrate the continent.

We are magic and rhythm,
Each poetic is seen through vision,
As Mama embraces each song,
Cry not long,
Rains will prove to soothe the pains,
'Til all sounds sleep in her cradle.

We are grains of spirit,
Precious as one, powerful in sum,
Resolute and esteemed we come,
To restore elder knowledge in the prodigal young,
And to listen as we hear it.


Article: Kwanzaa, A Matter of Principles & Black African History

Related:
Paul Leroy Robeson, Sr.: Speaking Of Genius (Poem)
Spiritual Forgetfulness, Alkebu-lan (Afrikan) Amnesia
Day 8: Human History Is Revealing & Healing
Worldview Definition, Nicolaus Copernicus & Round versus Flat Earth Thinking Remains

Monday, December 29, 2008

7 Proverbs You Haven't Heard | Ujima Kwanzaa Celebration


At the Ujima Kwanzaa celebration today, participants shared proverbs. I heard this one deeply: He who upsets a thing should know how to rearrange it.

Now, to me, this proverb means don't mention a problem without providing a solution. It also means if I'm going to encourage something I must also provide things to help attain it. This comes on the heels of suggestions and experiences indicating the need on this blog. In keeping with the blessing of today, here are seven personal proverbs I like to keep in mind.

1. Who can tell happiness or sadness from a hyena's laugh or a cat's cry?

2. Might as well is the best worst reason to do anything.

3. He who only listens with his ears hears less than he who is deaf.

4. It takes two halves to make a whole but two wholes to make one relationship that has half a chance.

5. Encouragement is: More than words can say.

6. The more time spent hiding things or keeping a thing hidden, the less time available to find things.

7. The farmer who must know how much rain or sun his crops will get or what his harvest will be before planting will never set foot in the field. His seeds will lose their power while in his hands, in his pocket or in the safe place he stores them.


In addition to overall comments, consider these two questions:
1. What do the following proverbs mean to you.
2.Do you see any application for your life?

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Give Spiritually, Gift Compassion


Compassion is a gift everyone needs and anyone can give. Why? Because everyone needs spiritual uplift and expression.

Although compassion can be a component of a store bought gift, giving a gift of compassion is guaranteed when we give something we can't buy. Why? Because we have to really consider the other person's needs and how we can help using what we already have. When we give in this fashion, we are giving true concern for the wellbeing of another. We are not merely commemorating or acknowledging an occasion, we are celebrating a connection and relationship. We are giving what matters. We are giving caring, compassion, love.

It shouldn't be harder to give compassion just because someone does not need the obvious food, shelter and clothing. A writer doesn't always need things writing-related. This is only one aspect of who they are. This holds true for everyone.

If we really don't know what a person needs or wants, we should stop guessing and start asking. We shouldn't let our childish need for “making the gift a surprise” the most important thing. We don't wrap food when we give it/donate it. Do we think it's not appreciated? Don't we realize their spirit and ours are still uplifted by giving what is needed when it's needed?

If our relationships are normal, we'd be surprised by the answers we receive if we asked what is wanted or needed. I guarantee you the responses would fall into the realm of what money can't buy. Plus, receiving it on a special day for a specific occasion would not be important at all. I contend it is abnormal to continue to give gifts that are not accurate or in tune with the receiver just because the receiver says they appreciate them.

People who are in their right spirits don't want things when it's the predetermined time to give things. They want what they need when they need it from those who have the capacity to give it (1). They want compassion.

If we find this is not true, we should withhold all nonessential “things” and give twice as much compassion. This is the essence of favor and blessings. Let this be the surprise when they realize this is what they needed. Give compassion in the form of things to those who truly need those things and give compassion in the form of self to those who need you more than anything else.

All this makes me wonder. If money can't buy love, why buy something to express love? Shouldn't we be doing something instead? I thought we all knew what we do is what is true. Are we doing the best we can do when we give gifts? By doing for others and helping them, we ultimately save them money or help them earn money. This is kinda like buying them some thing or spending some money on them, but when compassion is out front, it is clearly and purely better. I challenge us to stop giving from commercialized store shelves and start giving from the personalized spiritual place of compassion.

When I was a child, I gave gifts as a child, but when I became an adult, I began to give as an adult.(2) Amina, Amen. Hotep.

In addition to overall comments, consider these questions:
1. Is giving compassion being cheap or is not giving compassion costly?
2. Must gifts of things always be new things? Why is it okay to give people we don't know, things we already own and not those we know. If anything, this should be the other way around shouldn't it?
(1) Mark 12: 41-44 and (2) I Corinthians 13:11

Give Compassion Globally:
Crime Defense 101: Inherent Rights – Doing The Right Thing
Separation of Church & State: No Escape
Socialism Is Really Being Social
Extremists For Love – President Obama's Second Inaugural Address, Dr. MLK, Jr., Sister Souljah & Jesus
Day 9: Harmony Is Energy Conservation
Day 4: Organized Religion & Nutrition
Expanded Definitions: What Capitalism Is – A Vampire In Transfusionists Clothing
Starting With Seeds Of Resources And Becoming A Positive Force That Directs Change
Overall History Context & Human Rights Violations And So Continues The Meaning Of Life & Existence (Part 4)

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Personal Growth: Read Poetry, Meditate, Change


While I believe the “belief of change” was awakened in many Americans, it will not stay awake if we allow the outcome of the election to be the crowning achievement of change. Our measures must be the progress of the common man and the natural world. No other notions or statistics will do. We must think about how to consistently advance against re-entrenching resistance and do so for the duration.

Instead of waiting on public changes to be created, read and meditate on poetry for change that is always achievable. Poetry, with its truths, insights and comparisons can help us retrace our steps back to that pure spot of living where dreams are just a matter of days away and possibilities are piled high, ours for the taking. This requires looking into the core of ourselves. It's scary, but necessary. The road to freedom always starts and ends within. Poetry can help us reclaim the self that has succumbed to mentalapsody.

The only change we can count on requires being open to a commitment to make a major change personally in order to get somewhere much better collectively. Written poetry and the poetry of life and nature can help in that regard. Poetry can help us connect with and explore our emotions, senses and beliefs while placing these things into the context of our present reality and the reality our purposes are intended to help create. Poetry evolves with us, teaching and nurturing as we grow. Sometimes it is calming. Sometimes it is invigorating. Often it is both.

Poetry leads us inward so we can see outward. Reading poetry and meditating on the concepts and comparisons found in its metaphors, similes and other instructions is a natural way to lubricate the moving parts of change - - us.

In addition to your overall comments, consider these two questions:
1. What makes you think this makes sense or nonsense?
2. What are the implications if voter turnout from this point forward is not the same or greater than Barack Obama's November?

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Personal Growth: It's Your Job!


I need a job. I have to go to my second job. I have two or three jobs. My job is... None of these statements are talking about working on personal growth.

Time used working on personal growth is often relegated to “if I have” time. That's like taking care of personal health or personal hygiene at random or when it's convenient or when prompted by talk shows or only around New Year's Resolution time.

You won't fall into this spare time crime if you love yourself. When you love yourself you will not only take care of your health, nutrition and cleanliness, you will also take care of your growth. This means there is only one resolution you'll ever need - a commitment to personal growth. This means all that stuff you think about doing or know you should not be doing or that you ain't happy about will each get more consistent attention simply because you're devoting more time to personal growth.

It's no secret working on your inner self will give you the most opportunities and best chances to fulfill whatever you seek in life including dealing with all the unfairness. But you ask, “What about all those fudged up people doing and having what I want?” I say, If you are willing to trade that for spiritual satisfaction, go for it. Then you say, “I'll fix that once I get all the fame and fortune they have. I'll be able to afford it.” I say, They don't, you won't and you can't. Finally you say, “Eat, Drink and be Merry for tomorrow we die!” I say, We reap how we think so be wary for what kills is sorrow and lies.

In reality, personal growth should be simultaneous with breathing. Personal growth is one of the essential functions. Although personal growth is not required to be alive, it is critical to feeling alive; therefore, make personal growth your job.

Most people say, “I do my job.” Really?

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beyond Thanksgiving Towards Personal Growth


Now that we've allowed the thanksgiving Holy Day to become the slingshot into the christmas shopping season, complete with the maniacal black friday opening act, I wonder if thankful is how we're really living?

I am thankful for my portion of the Spirit.
My appreciation lies with my children.
I have much gratitude for those I've never seen but extend their self in order to extend a helping hand. Jeisea is one of those people whose kindness, courage and strength epitomize personal growth and perseverance.
I appreciate those who get up or help others get up.
I am thankful for opportunity more than attainment.
I am thankful for not wasting natural resources.

As I considered what to write for today, I received a call from my sister. I am thankful for conversations. She just turned 50, started her renaissance in her early forties, maintaining rhythm and progressing.

I appreciate having the daily choice to celebrate thankfulness and in my own way. Especially in much smaller, simpler, less overindulgent ways. Can we really be thankful if we're not reaching for our better selves? Any day towards personal growth is a Happy Holy Day yet days we fail to celebrate are just as sacred. Anybody for an everyday celebration or a Personal Growth Party where we eat enrichment, not entertainment, and drink wisdoms and enjoy the desserts of diversity and dreams?

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

1 Giant Leap for Creativity

This music review showcases the perfect example of what connecting the disconnected is all about.


Title: "What About Me?"
Artists: Various Artists
Producers: 1 Giant Leap (Jamie Catto & Duncan Bridgeman)
Format: Double CD
Genre: World Music, Pop & Dance

I'm fortunate to have experienced the imaginative and intuitive music of "What About Me?" It is a stimulating journey of discovery and renewal while urging the redemption of our better selves for the betterment of our world. In a sense, it goes a long way towards mapping our global connection through the spiritual DNA of creativity.

Listening to sounds of unfamiliar instruments rise, merge and beckon, is like slipping into a virtual jam session full of artisans being intimate with life. The first track, "Come To The Edge," wastes no time moving us forward with its opening lines:

“Come to the edge,” we said.
And they said “No, it's too high.”
“Come to the edge,” we said.
And they said “No, we will fall.”
“Come to the edge,” we said.
And they very reluctantly came.
And we pushed.
And they flew.

From this contemplative start, the diversity and depth of this collection allow it to be both energizing and soothing. Reflection, finger-snapping and body movements just happen.

There are a few words of profanity in the song, “What I Need Is Something Different.” It doesn't bother me but it might offend some listeners.

In the midst of the creativity, there is a celebration of culture and the renewed belief that all it takes is one giant leap to travel among continents. This is what is possible when cultures collaborate instead of compete. I highly recommend this two-cd set for anyone open to a multicultural artistic experience.

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spirituality: Child of a Greater God


The gods are a funny lot. Even though they know I love to write and have been practicing and patient, they have chosen to bestow their creative abundance on a ten-year-old.

These are the same gods who ignore my pleading by day though I offer pieces of my soul in exchange. They wait, slip into my dreams and fingerpaint images on my eyelids. I awake to laughter and forgetfulness. That's how they treat me. Sometimes I am able to eavesdrop and snatch a few ideas as they relive their mischief.

The other day my son told me a story he's working on will be 68 pages long.
“How do you know?” I asked in jest.
“Because the notebook was 70 pages but I tore two of them out,” he said. His matter of fact confidence is justified by the umpteen hundred stories he's already written.

When Omari writes, he does so with the relentless passion of the Rocking Horse Winner. It's as if he can see the entire story and is plagiarizing the spirit. Other than the gods, perhaps its simply the ancestors who have adopted him and are taking turns whispering words only spoken in heavenly places.

His stories are funny, historic, insightful, factual and daring with details exhibiting awareness and incorporating the senses. He is a spelling champion, writer, music maker, announcer, illustrator, funny guy and many more things creative and otherwise.

If he chooses, he will contribute to art, literature and thought in ways that will dispel things needing no current explanation. The artistic and academic gifts he possesses defy my genes. I've been skipped over before but this is ridiculous. I need an affirmative angel. Until then, I'll be begging for blessings and learning to cope and live with the child of a greater god.

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Personal Growth Requires Humor & Laughter


The ability to look on the funny side of things is just as important as looking on the bright side. If you're truly serious about personal growth you'll laugh a lot along the way. It's good for the spirit. In addition to the satire on this blog, here's some humor that has helped me during crazier-than-usual times.

It's fabulous so many are becoming involved in the political process. This interest has also spilled into the national economic crisis. With so many debates and discussions surrounding these issues, it's easy for many newcomers to get some information a little mixed up. My sister is one of them. She thinks Jimmy Buffet is who Barack Obama said could help with economic policy. It's Warren Buffet. She didn't question me at all when I said, the name of Warren and Jimmy's grandfather is Old Country. I'm glad she's at least voting for change.

I'm amazed at how many people, when given the choice: You can be a fool if you want to, will choose that option.

Things are getting so bad in the economy, I went to rob a bank and they took my money.

Laughter is the best medicine because it's a free legal stimulant. Give me a hit of humor and I'm good to go. At least until I'm feenin' for my next funny fix.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mad At Myself: Personal Growth On Pause?


To heck with personal growth. I am so mad I am beside myself. I've been mad since the Bradley sisters went missing. I'm mad about the events between the discovery of Darnell Donerson and Jason Hudson to the discovery of Julian King's body. These events should have led to a quicker discovery of that SUV. I am mad at myself for not doing anything in 2001 and not doing anything most recently.

I'm mad at the Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff, State Police and the FBI. I'm mad at the Illinois Department of Corrections for not revoking that idiot's parole. I'm mad at cracks where important things seem to fall. I'm mad at that woman who saw the suspect vehicle two days before calling police. I mad at everyone else in that neighborhood who thought nothing of a vehicle fitting the description right down to the license plate. I'm mad at the media who made it easy for people to focus on Jennifer Hudson more than finding Julian King. I'm mad at the media for not stressing to people, while they were being mesmerized and hypnotized by the late-breaking and updating news reports, to stop right now and go out into your neighborhoods. The media has this reach and this power. They need to use it for our children's sake. I'm mad for needing to be told what to do.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems reasonable that a search would be performed in the area where the suspect was apprehended. So why wasn't it and why were the police only concentrating on the east side? I'm mad at law enforcement for lying about why they didn't search the area near Balfour's girlfriend's residence. That woman's dog was the only one who seemed to show any sense of awareness.

What could I have done? I could have taken personal responsibility. The difference between ourselves and anyone else's disaster is less than an arm length and less that a moment's worth of time. We cannot sit around and wait for the police to find our children. I could have looked outside my window, stood on my sidewalk, walked my block and drove around my neighborhood. I could have asked others to help. It doesn't always take going out with a stick into the bushes, woods and rivers.

We are a pitiful bunch of detached, television-trained spectators waiting for real-life drama to unfold. We watch it, read about it , talk about it, Google it, gawk at it and in between, we go on as though everything is normal. We're somehow able to sleep, get up, go to work, go to church and repeat the cold cycle. The things we express as sentiments put our actions to shame.

The Red Cross comes for fire and natural disasters. Who comes when the disaster of a missing child strikes our neighborhood? Why can't we have the national guard come in and help perform searches?

In memory of Julian King and all murdered children. In hope of Diamond Bradley, Tionda Bradley and children still missing. It is your pain that matters, not ours. What we do in your defense and to bring you home is who we really are.

References: Chicago Tribune, Fox News and Chicago Sun-Times.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Book Review & Recommendation


Title: Eloquence: Rhythm & Renaissance

Author: Usiku

Genre: Poetry, prose poetry, short stories

Pages: 103


Usiku's work is magnificently written. He has an amazing mastery of the English language and his nature imagery is especially breathtaking. The poems and stories cover wide-ranging human universal themes such as love, religion, nature and family, and are each boldly presented in a genuine, powerful African-American voice.


His book is divided into eight sections, each with its own broad theme. The short works range in length from poems of just a few lines to stories a few pages long. Some works are humorous while others will bring tears to your eyes. Even where his perspective and my own differ, I always found his words to be both passionate and thought-provoking.


These poems linger in your mind long after you put the book down. His are the sort of images that drift back into your mind days, even weeks later, when you least expect it, forming new connections in your spirit.


Some of my personal favorites are: "To: Natural, My Love," (a poem on the beauty of natural African curls), "Darkness Wings," "Buffalo Creek Crossing," "Why We Need Peach Trees & Kids," "Basic Needs & the 'N' Word," and the humorously, yet truthfully shocking "Some Dreams Seem So Real..."


Usiku's words reclaim, embrace and proclaim the beauty, power and dignity of the Black experience, and in so doing, reveal a deep and moving power to love and heal.


D. Ash, Editor of Expanded Horizons


Originally posted on Bookshare on Livejournal



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Sunday, October 19, 2008

21 Scares: Poetry like Halloween


Perhaps it's just this poetry that's scary. It might be the scariest ever!


1. Poetry is for smart people, witches and warlocks.
2. The cover is beautiful but haunts me.
3. It melts in your spirit not in your mind.
4. Scares the bejeebies out of convention.
5. It contains batty ideas and romantic apparitions.
6. It creeps into secret discontentment.
7. It will suck the life right into ya.
8. Only includes mental pictures.
9. Discussing poetry is spooky.
10. No OPP stamp of approval.
11. Cursed by High Priestess, Nikki Giovanni.
12. Not hyped by a hypnotist with a cauldron.
13. The Great Pumpkin remains silent on poetry.
14. It encourages facing fear and the unknown.
15. Sensory overload may rattle your bones.
16. Sometimes it rhymes sometimes it doesn't.
17. There's no music just eclectic rhythm.
18. It's full of mirrors and bright lights.
19. It causes thinking, becoming, connecting.
20. Personal growth is too much work.
21. What's an Usiku?


Trick or Treat! and Happy Horrid Halloween!

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Poem



October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


I & WE ARE STRONG by Usiku

I have breast cancer
she said to the world
courageously sharing private pain
voice breaking at the meaning and sound
another step further on uncertain ground
another gift of service to tell us
you can feel fine and still have cancer
early detection is the answer.


I feel strong
I feel strong
as tears pool and spill gracefully
sometimes emotions build suddenly
then she shaved her head
fists raised making triumph her own
singing this beautiful affirming song
I am not my hair
but what works for you
is your choice alone.


I realize I could die
from this cancer in my breast
but I also recognize
everyone's journey includes some test
making it through months of treatment
with music, laughter and silence
and especially faith, family and friends
allowing her inner beauty to ascend.


I am in control
healthier now
and much more life aware
hoping to help someone somewhere
continuing onward in this new beginning
honoring lives taken and touched by cancer
remembering the important things
because life is good
and I am strong
because we are strong.

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Related:
Health Information Simplification, Nutrition, Sunlight, Iron Deficiency & Comprehensive Approach Context And So Continues The Meaning Of Life & Existence (Part 7b)
Our Fatal Flaw – The Absence of Harmony. The Root Cause Of Many Problems
Sweet Corn, Neonicotinoids, Allergies, Informed Consent, Occupy Movement & Patriotism
Crime Defense 101: Inherent Rights - Doing The Right Thing

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Evil Eye Education


Back to school time is over. All students, teachers and administrators should be settled in. Even so, there's still one more thing to address after the initial paperwork push: an Evil Eye Education.

Since educators swear by the importance of parental involvement, before any schoolchild has a chance to not do the right thing, a note should be included in the first school communication.
Parents and educational partners, please make sure your child receives their required Evil Eye Education each week. This is just as important as ensuring your child eats breakfast, gets sleep, has school supplies and does homework. We can reinforce your evil eye but cannot establish it. An Evil Eye Education begins at home. Please purchase a bumper sticker to show solidarity. They can be personalized.

What is an Evil Eye Education? A parental look that teaches a child to stop or not engage in inappropriate behavior without the parent saying a word. It is based on the ancient art of craziness. Your child must think, believe and know you will do anything at any moment no matter where you are and with whatever resources are available.

It is supported with follow-through and consequences that should be developed in stages. This is why it's important to start young enough, at the onset of the terrible twos, so they won't remember exactly what makes you crazy, but will remember that something ain't right with you when they act out.

Once the evil eye is properly established, it allows you to continue doing what you were doing and at the same time, communicate with your child, secretly. When you're not around a well-established evil eye becomes a hologram that haunts helps your child make good decisions. They no longer ask what would Jesus do? They ask, what won't daddy and mommy do?

An Evil Eye Education is a weapon of wisdom and love. It is a global parental language. Properly placed, it protects children by extending the look's power to neighbors, teachers and adults everywhere. Big Brother watching is a joke compared to the evil eye.

To ensure students get the most from their formal education, each parent should be required to present certification they are an Evil Eye Expert before enrolling their child in school. Why not? We need licenses for everything, except parenting.

Evil eyes, a back hand or two and an old funky floppy house shoe laid the foundation for learning and helped develop my peripheral vision. All great football running backs and anyone under the constant threat of getting hit upside the head know what I'm talking about. If the Evil Eye doesn't work for some children, there's always the Fear of God. I am all the better or messed up because I had both.

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Reminder: The Evil Eye is a silent weapon based on telepathy and the fact it leaves no evidence of intent or threat. Just focus your thoughts, stare and your child will look at you. Then slowly shake your head or motion them to come here. If you mouth words, they will mouth back, “What?” likely causing you to go remedial - a place where education is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Learning & Knowing: The Difference


Knowing seeks to acquire information.
Learning seeks understanding from information.

Knowing is an accumulating-type existence.
Learning is about growing and expanding.

Knowledge informs.
Learning transforms.

Knowing and knowledge signify.
Learning and lessons edify.

Knowledge stops with itself, is its own end.
Learning continues by itself until the end.

Knowledge is not power
because power is constantly being redefined by learning.

It's not who you know or who knows you,
but what you learn about yourself.

Many of the things we know about ourselves, holds us there with them.
When we learn things about ourselves, nothing can hold us. We have the choice to let them go and move on.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thinking, Becoming, Connecting


I am not a performer of poetry. Heck! I'm not even a writer or a poet. Many times, saying so, seems self-indulgent. I am someone who uses writing, poetry and short stories hoping to encourage thinking, becoming, connecting.

As I sat on my couch, I had a long conversation with the Spirit. I said, “I've been waiting all week on you to tell me what you want me to say. I've already said it with this book, website, blog, journal, articles, conversations and examples.

And the Spirit was like, You finished? Say it again. Would you go to your fields in Spring and say bring forth yams and corn because you have planted and harvested before and past seasons live in your memory? Say it again. This time I will open the way just as I have caused words to sprout and provided fields for planting.

If that feels familiar, we are in the right place.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Poetry in the News


Poetry and fiction writers must choose words wisely when attempting to convey meaning and support truth within context. News writers should but often don't. This has created societies where it's easier for readers to see the truth in fiction than it is for readers to see faulty dangerous logic in news reports.

She's married, has two kids and never been in trouble before, therefore many are shocked she's been accused of a crime. When marital, parental and criminal background status along with gender, race and other casual facts cause us to believe someone is more or less likely to do something, here we go again with our tendency to accept information without applying reason and logic to determine if a true cause and effect relationship exists.

“They've never been in trouble before, have no record and no prior background," are poor word choices when there is so much more to "trouble," "records" and "backgrounds" beyond the published criminal background.

The reason truth is stranger than fiction is that truth is lesser known than fiction. This occurs when we lose touch or hide the truth long enough that when forced to face the truth we've forgotten what it looks like; therefore, it seems like a stranger. Wouldn't we be better off if writers of poetry and fiction reported the news? At least we'd be more likely to gain insight and be on the alert to think about how much is truth.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Experience Cutting The Bungee Cord


Personal experience is one of our teachers. We should learn from the experience but not allow ourselves to be mastered by it. The greatest benefit of experience is not the event, occurrence or circumstance but what we understand about ourselves, others and life. Experience allows us to connect thought and feeling to something tangible and then use this understanding to make ourselves and the world better.

Some will say, I'll try anything once, well almost anything. Why? Why bungee jump? For the sake of saying you did it or for the trendiness or for the thrill or for facing fear?

Doing something solely because you've never done it lays the foundation for a lot of unfulfilling, empty, bad and dangerous experiences. Doing something simply for trendiness or thrill carries the same potential outcomes.

Facing fear seems like a valid reason to bungee jump but not really unless your fear is a fear of falling off a bridge or falling while on the ledge of a tall building or while hopping across construction cranes. Do those who bungee jump, jump out of planes next or vice versa? Is bungee jumping a transferable skill that allows you to face the fear of public speaking? Are bungee jumpers able to face the fear of people they fear?

There are lots of things that should never be tried, not even once. Why? Because we must also learn from the experiences of others. There is much to be said about experience but when it comes to experience for experience sake it's time to cut the bungee cord.

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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Barack Obama & Spirits of Change


Barack Obama channeled the spirits of change: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney Young, Jr., Farrakhan, Nelson Mandela, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglas, James Farmer, Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, A. Phillip Randolph, Stokely Carmichael, Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, Roy Wilkins, Rosa Parks, John Lewis, Medgar Evers, W. E. B. DuBois and many others who have fought for change with voices and life so others may benefit.

Barack Obama's acceptance speech as the Democratic Nominee for the presidency was another powerful speech. The only thing missing was outright passion. Restrained for the sake of seeming presidential. Something we demand yet when presidents don't show emotion during times of our choosing we berate them. We want politicians to be like us but not like us.

Anyway, Barack Obama channeled the spirits of change and now it's up to you and me, individuals acting as individuals on behalf of others. We cannot be the change we want to see in the world without the spirit of change as our heartbeat and thoughtbeat.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Serenity Serene


I love nature-soft sounds. I'm adrift. Deep breaths lift me into the space above dancing grasses and waving trees. The evening wind tickles the garden and brushes me playfully. Insects announce the changing of guarding lights and that rain is almost ready. The moisture-laced aroma wakens memories like the smell of baking bread. Sprinkles drizzle through colander clouds streaking the soft pale blue. I love the exchange of emptying and filling, hunger slowly fed, sinking into rest, and dusk driven flowers awakening to accent the dimming light and to feed creatures of the night.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shakespeare: Nothing Compares to You


Don't compare yourself to Shakespeare. That's what I was told but why not? Who should I compare myself to? Perhaps someone who doesn't embrace their gifts. Would that satisfy those who find it incredulous that one less esteemed, or so it seems, would consider any similarity with one of great esteem?

Relax. I don't want to be William Shakespeare and I don't want to write or create like him. What I want is breathing room to let creativity take shape unencumbered and to let creativity unencumber shapes already taken. We all have a measure of talent and attributes that help or hinder. What makes the difference? Why don't opportunities, their type or their absence always lead to obvious outcomes? For these and other reasons I compare myself to everyone well-known, lesser known, on point, near the point and off point.

I can't be Shakespeare, although we have more in common than in contrast. Thankfully there's a third component: divine differences that make it possible for nothing to compare to you, me or Shakespeare.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Eco-Conscious Feet


All this talk about the ecology is wonderful. We are beginning to accept responsibility for our planet whose declining health has come at our hands . Hopefully talk will give rise to sustainable practices that increase understanding and appreciation. I'm half-afraid we are simply “Eco” prefixing: attaching quick (pre) fixes to programs as appeasements to the fad of the moment.

We'll know we're serious about eco-mindfulness when individuals, businesses, schools, not-for profits and governments are doing more each year. It will be confirmed when the human race is a race to see who can do the least to harm the earth. We'll know we've achieved Eco-Consciousness when our efforts are internalized and coordinated. Eco-points will then be a part of every mission statement, not just appended programs.

By the way, many of us were ecologically-minded when Eco wasn't cool. There was no word for it we were just trying to use and not misuse what was so abundantly and freely given. We had the whole world in our hands. This is the kind of power we still have. If we use this power to do something by doing less, the ecology will cure itself.

In other words, the ecology doesn't need our pseudo-superior intelligence to fix a GD thing. It will breathe better if we simply keep our big funky footprints to ourselves.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Success is a process


Life Sentences #4

Success creates belief in everyone except the dreamer. The dreamer's belief creates success.

A slow process is better than no process.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gardener's Gratitude


So far this year, vegetable gardening has provided liberal returns both tangible and intangible. My son and I have eaten several helpings of spinach and salad greens. Cherry tomatoes have been ripening slowly so I just eat them on the spot. I've picked a green onion or two because I couldn't wait. Cabbage, squash, green beans, and peppers have been devoured. One cabbage seems the most at ease in the soil so I'll wait until it's ready to come inside. I wonder what it will do with its twelve inch diameter head start if any of the late bloomers also get comfortable. If any can, it will be the pumpkin and not the cantaloupe or watermelon.

I've learned to share with the birds and insects. Who wouldn't want to taste delicacies that you can't get just anywhere? I choose to plant a little more than I need rather than use pesticides. I'd much rather diversify the landscape to encourage natural predators than import them.

The squirrels are presenting a different experience. They seem to dig for fun, take one bite out of young veggies and leave them where I can find them. The squirrel and I may never reach an understanding; however, one day I hope to understand why some plants have small yields while others are prolific and some are fast growers while others take their time to mature. Do their timing and production coincide with forgotten needs of ours or some other species of nature?

I am thankful to have answers to seek. I am also grateful for the tiniest of the microorganisms in the soil to the treasured genetics of every seed to the nutrient-laden rain to the spectrum of sunlight and to all processes that make life possible for all species.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

I Love You BUT



Every time the BUT sign appears, I already know to expect a left turn off the current path. When I read or hear, “I love you BUT,” I am programmed to cringe. When the complete thought turns out to be “I love you but we can't be together,” I am right once again.

When the complete thought is : “I love you but what else is new?” or “I love you but my actions have foreshadowed my devotion.” or “I love you but love is my spirit's gift. I come owning nothing, not even stolen moments in your presence, yet owing everything to favor,” I am wrong again and again and again.

When common usage becomes the rule rather than a reference, there is not only a potential to misunderstand a conjunction, but also every single word. Hearing it out or reading it out are the only ways to know what sense of the word is intended.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Going Nowhere


I'm in a hurry to go nowhere. A lot of great, amazing and incredible things come out of nowhere. In nowhere, can't and fear are useful double dares in the presence of youthful undeveloped concern with trouble and cares. Impossibilities hang out there waiting on us to take the bait so they can come out of nowhere. This should make nowhere one hot destination of choice. Especially since the most vibrant, peaceful and renewing places are in the middle of nowhere. Clearly, going nowhere is better than staying where you don't want to be.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Art of Epiphany


As thoughts, feelings and experiences turn into words turn into poetry, epiphanies are unfolding. What I create my entire lifetime has existed in the incubator of all imagination, the ageless Spirit, for less than a minute.

An epiphany is the art of the Spirit; therefore, the art humans create contains the richness of this Old Soul. Each person, each day, each epiphany and each piece of art all have the same power. I get the feeling there are many epiphanies hanging out on the periphery, waiting on me.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Global Warming Ain't The Problem


June 26, 2008. My son and I are playing ball in the park. A guy walks over and introduces himself.
“You're a credit to your race,” he informs me. He continues to grin as though he had said something about Publisher's Clearinghouse.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“I see you out here all the time with your son.”
“I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do.”
“Well many of your race don't.”
“Many of your race don't either.”
“Would you like something to drink?” he continues and extends two Pepsi's.
“No thanks. I'm about to go home and cook dinner.”
“Well I just wanted to say you're a credit to your race.”
“Thanks,” I say just to get him to leave.
Upon seeing the guy walk away with the sodas, my son decides to chime in.
I interrupt and with clenched lips state we DO NOT accept sodas from people like that.

Sadly, stuff like this happens several times a year. I wonder what this guy would say upon learning I've written a book of positive poetry.

(a) Quit playing.
(b) Yeah, boy!
(c) Hey JD, get a load of this!
(d) Dr. King would be really proud of you too.
(e) If there were just more like you...
(f) You're not like them and you're not like us.
(g) Well I'll be dang! (Add knee slap, delayed dumbfoundedness and head scratch)

Somehow after being thrice patronized for parenting and informed of my creditworthiness, I give myself credit for not unleashing the anger of the men of my race for enduring yet another mental midget mindset further stunted by a montage of media mutations and misinformations. Clearly there are threats to our existence, other than global warming, that are longer standing, more damaging and much harder to stem, reverse or eradicate.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Perseverance Pays


There are plenty of perseverance stories. Just so happens I heard pieces of J. K. Rowling's twice last week. The short version is it took several years, depression, welfare and a ton of rejections before her perseverance paid off. It is said she is now richer than the Queen of England.

Perseverance is better than real estate. It holds its value even in the bleakest of times. Perseverance pays. J. K. Rowling was richer when she felt poorer.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

As It Should Be


There is a young man. He has physical limitations. Teens, young adults and older folks sit with him, have conversation, spend time. Their interactions look relaxed, comfortable, commonplace, matter of fact, normal, as it should be, family. I see him dancing. They dance with him, around him, for him and for the spirit of the dance. Should he stumble, lose his balance, start to falter or fall, one person stands behind him with tender hands.

Every person has at least one limitation. It may be physical, intellectual, beliefs, emotional, a weakness in scarceness or a weakness in excess. Individuals overcome, cope, move on and live despite these limitations especially with someone near, by their side, at their back. When a limitation overcomes an individual, there are not enough individuals, not as it should be.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vacant Land & Vacant Dreams


There was a piece of land, unoccupied by man. Signs went up. Little orange and red flags appeared. Men with trucks stood pointing and staring. Somebody had spray painted the ground. Trees disappeared overnight. Many moons later and nothing. So it seemed. Then trucks returned. Bigger trucks unloading stuff. Equipment took turns playing in the dirt. Concrete flowed. Lots. No turning back now. The investment grew but what was at stake did not. Nails were hit, some were not. Machine power gave way to shovels and rakes and then pen and paper.

Everyone has a piece of land. Private property. A buildable lot in life. We can keep hope alive but never step outside comfort, convention or 3-dimension. We can hold on to the raw materials that create reality from dreams. Never invest resources into our field of dreams. Watch. Wait. Or we can participate, improve our lot, don't stop.

Unlike vacant land, Vacant Dreams cannot be sold or passed on once we're old. They dissipate, the way heat escapes on our way to growing cold.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shame on you


I met a young man who, among the good and bad, is someone reforming from breaking a law or two. He is working long days and earning $500 a day taking what others throw away whereas before he made $5,000 a day taking junk to those throwing their lives away. Now he is helping others find honest ways to get paid. He is seeking a connection to a higher power.

After almost dying on a couple of occasions and now turning his life around during the past 16 months, this is what he had to say about family and friends. They wish you well and hope you fail. He said instead of supporting him, in many ways they encourage him to return to his former ways. What is that about? Wishing ill and negativity on people whose only crime is that they're trying to break out of their personal prison?

What is that about? One thing it certainly is about is being unable to see him differently, someone they thought they knew, changing. That's sad. It's about them being unable to see the way to change for themselves, someone they know. That's sad. Sadness is what turns this big blue marble into a ball of confusion.

This young Black man said family and friends still try to shame him into doing the wrong thing again. That's a doggone crying shame. I told him what we were taught long ago. Honest work is good work and there is never shame in the honest pursuit of anything. If you let anyone convince you otherwise, then shame on you.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dancer Jessie Peralez | Spirit Motion


Jessie Peralez got his wish. He danced on Soul Train.

This wish exemplified the purity of this young man. He didn't want to go to an amusement park or meet a celebrity. Why? His spirit needed to dance. And for several minutes he did. Watching Jessie dance you knew he loved Soul Train, music, dancing, life and himself. You forgot he had a terminal illness.

As “I Want To Break Free” by Queen continued playing, Jessie's beauty and passion reminded me that the greatest freedom is in the simplest pleasures. Though there are many wishes, some wishes are what wishes were made for.


Update 1-24-12
According to the Soul Train episode that aired June 16, 1984*, Jessie (correct spelling) was 9 years old. This makes his possible birthdate range January 1-June 15, 1975 or June 17-December 31, 1974.
According to a comment on the internet, Jessie returned home/transcended on June 5, 1985.
An online search, excluding paid or trial sites, revealed one match that fits his birth parameters. The US Social Security Death Index lists a Jessie Peralez born January 5, 1975, death June 1985.

Therefore, Jessie Peralez, born January 5, 1975, Death June 5, 1985. He was 10 years and 5 months old. He is still dancing but no longer for himself but for us, to get up and out there on life's dance floor that is so full of soooooul!


Update 11-01-14
Jessie Peralez's appearance on Soul Train continues to receive a high degree of attention on the internet. This is as it should be. The Spirit is in motion. This article is the most read on this blog. Soultrain.com published an article in August 2014 without any obvious attribution as to the source of the facts in the article.

The video of Jessie dancing, I previously linked to on YouTube, has been removed from the internet. This is likely linked to cable networks now showing Soul Train episodes. If anyone finds an online link to watch the video please provide it in the comments.

*Assumes show as a live broadcast. Season 13, Episode 27.

Related Links:
Soul Train Interview
LT's Jazzy Radio Loft and Lounge
The Internet Movie Database
Make-A-Wish Foundation
Study Perspectives: Esperanza Spalding, Spirit Motion & Intended Greatness Context And So Continues The Meaning Of Life & Existence (Part 6)

Whatever change you seek or hope for, it doesn't matter what that change is. It matters what you put into motion.

Life is about making associations, adjusting, staying in motion and becoming eternal expansion - infinite possibilities.


Pictures of Jessie Dancing and Article from Soul Train Website.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Poetry Discussion & Analysis #2


"Beyond"*

Across the room
Across the street
Across the water where the two big blues meet
Across the widest space 'til you reach infinity
My love will still be

Beyond the sorrow
Beyond regret
Beyond the tremors of a quake you can't forget
Beyond the hardest times man you ain't seen nothing yet
My love will still be
My love will still be

In your present and future
Over and under
Inside and outside
Close and asunder
From the moment you awake
Til' the moonlight adorns your face
When your memory begins to fade
Never will my love

Above the sunset
Above the trees
Above the highs and lows that make up reality
Above the resting place of the body that I leave
My love will still be



Form is achieved by using one word to tie each verse. Each verse contains an inner progression. By repeating “My love will still be” and using an intermittent and irregular rhyme pattern, form, continuity and consistency are enhanced. These elements also create pacing, i.e., rhythm.

Lines 3 and 4 of the first, second and fourth verses along with lines 4-7 of the third verse, i.e., the bridge, represent the fusion of emotion, language and creativity. The description takes familiar things and elevates them with individual style which balances the straightforwardness in the remaining sentences.

This is a partial analysis but illustrates how poetry and prose form the basis of many songs. It seems the title should be “My love will still be,” yet, “Beyond” was chosen. This caused me to consider the overall message: the lasting truth that true love transcends all things great and small.

*Amel Larrieux (Bravebird, 2004, Bliss Life)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Poem - Motherly



Motherly by Usiku

I’ve imagined you holding me,
tenderly, gratefully,
then birthing me,
apprehensively, lovingly.

I’ve pictured you,
pouring your essence into my upbringing,
clothing me in mist-like freshness,
masterfully, continually.

I feel the resilient strength of our bond,
though we are changing, maturing;
Thus, your embrace loosens,
affectionately, prayerfully.

Thank you,
for refining, encouraging.
I value and respect you.
Understanding you reveals the beauty,
of living faithfully, unselfishly.

From Eloquence: Rhythm & Renaissance. Positive poetry for the person and for the planet.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Intuition


Life Sentences #3


Intuition is what occurs before intelligence interferes.

Intuition is a resource that doesn't increase or decrease. Intuition is always at full strength no matter how much we apply it or ignore it. Intuition tells us one of two things: Something ain't right or It's alright.

Intuition
is the better part of judgment.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Recommended Poetry Links


These pages contain incredible poetry covering a range of styles and subjects.

The Dancer by Stafford L. Battle

Poetic Justice by Jill

Juanita Betts. Published in the book. Desire My Dream Poetry.

Veola Carter. Find more information at Creatively Poetic & Written Expressions.

My Momma's Bald Head by Sherryle jackson

I Dream of Freedom by Charles Chatmon

Eric L. Smith aka Lisse

Alicia Fleming

All poems appeared on Black Author Showcase. Agents of Literary Change. A network of exchange and encouragement for writers, readers, illustrators, editors, publishers, book clubs, media, etc. Thanks Diane for providing this information and April's poetry showcase to increase the awareness and appreciation of poetry.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jazz Poetry


Deep breath takers discover
Seasoned truths
Dancing in the elements
Influencing images and sounds

Souls romancing souls
Writing and composing senses
Continuing the lineage
Of poetry and jazz

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring & Things Unseen


It's Spring and Earth has begun revealing its many gifts from plants to animals to insects. The rain is providing moisture and nutrients in anticipation. Evidence of nature's great abundance will be visible soon. What we don't see is the combination of consistency, ingredients, effort and struggle it takes. We don't recognize wind blessings and rain blessings. We assume we can have it all without the urgency, the understanding, the preparation, the planting, the tending, the adjusting, the patience and the faith.

The Earth and its bountifulness are personal gifts to us. Our individual gifts are for the World. We are constantly being prepared to release one gift and then another, initially and in more abundance. The rain and its nurturing effects are advantages along with sunshine and warmer times. Spring seasons souls to release talents and join the living landscape. Others will be inspired and fulfilled by the sustaining fruit and beauty of the gifts we unwrap. With a combination of consistent conditions we can all enjoy new seasons of renewed life by recognizing the raw materials within us and around us.

See Also: Natural World Observations: Going Wild Like A Flower In Spring Breaking Free

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Poetry Discussion & Analysis


Most of my poetry does not originate from one moment. After repeated exposure to life's bits and pieces, something triggers an overall idea. The poem whispers its will and I listen. That's the simplified version.

All of the poems in Eloquence: Rhythm & Renaissance have a primary meaning knowable with just one reading. Many have some nuances. Some contain secondary meaning either completely or partially.

For example: The poem, “Cool People” is about good people. It explores the richness of relationships that are right.

Cool People are like a breath of fresh air and a cold drink of water ("like mountain breezes and well water"). They are pure and natural. Cool People make time for you when they need someone to take time for them (“listen when they need to be heard”). Instead of judging you, they judge themselves by the highest standards. Cool people are the fountain of youth.

There are several more areas to analyze and discuss - some I know, many I don't. When I hear unique perspectives, it confirms what the Spirit has promised. This is not just for you but for anyone open to art as a life advantage.

Although the artist has some intent, they can't control individual interaction with their work. In that respect, poems are no different than songs or visual art. We can enjoy these creative expressions without an explanation or complete understanding of the origin or it's objectives. I'm still gaining insight into songs I first enjoyed over twenty years ago.

Contrary to this post, I prefer to not comment on a poem until the reader has spent personal time with the poem and offered their own impressions. Perhaps, however, this will provide encouragement.

Enjoying poetry has nothing to do with understanding everything. There is no right or wrong to the way the poem speaks to us. Poetry is accessible if we allow it to be.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Short Stories & Long Stories



It's not nice to put short stories in a box while allowing long stories to roam unchecked.

Short stories written with a focus on prefabricated rules is like force feeding creativity when creativity, by nature, is freedom. Write to convey a message and leave the fretting and vetting to the vacuumers. The ones who decide what's what and protect people from low page counts.

If there must be any hierarchy of honor at all, short stories are closer to the apex than long stories. Short stories require conciseness and preciseness in every paragraph, sentence and word. Short stories create maximum with minimum. Short stories train master storytellers.

It takes more than a few words to make a long story short.


Why We Need Peach Trees & Kids

Buffalo Creek Crossing

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Barack Obama's Speech on Race in America


And then the wind came after a long, doubtful period. It started in constellations moved through the poles and across the hemispheres. Rain followed. Slow, unrelenting, promising rain. Unlike before it soaked into the fiber of folks. Perhaps it was their souls that drank deeply with a thick thirst for solutions.

Barack Obama's Speech on Race in America is one of the greatest speeches ever written. It blends history, intelligence, spirit, intuition, passion and leadership. It is brilliant and powerful. It saturates the senses and all we know in part and all we pray for. This is not the character of someone wanting the presidency for his own sake but to guide a desperately needed, democratic difference. Yet, this speech is about much more than race. It is about right and wrong. Things civilized and great societies master.

And the winds were the spirits of JFK, MLK, Mandela, Lincoln, Ghandi, Wells and those we never celebrate. They fight and defend freedom, equality and justice in any form just because of who they are and just because of us.

And the rains were truths sustaining life one drop and one difference at a time. Individual choices and single truths, though seemingly small, nurturing us all. Those who drank moved towards the horizon of hope and closer to each other.


Barack Obama has already been a blessing for this country. His character has defined him as a champion. Champions overcome personal challenges. Barack Obama has the qualities and capabilities to lead America back to the future the forefathers put forth in the Constitution and further back to the foundation of humanity.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Believing in Belief


Life Sentences #2

America is like an airplane in trouble. Barack Obama is directing us to the emergency exit. Millions of passengers, believing their intelligence is worth more than the value of their lives are asking, “Do you have enough aviation experience and, by the way, what color is my parachute?”

The only thing they had more than me was belief.
[A reference to those who were already living their dreams from someone in search of satisfaction. She traded security and success and bought back the rest of her life.]

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