SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT...

"Its strangeness seemed to trigger in me the same primordial feeling of throwness that every negro experiences when hurled into a society that simultaneously supports and, I am saying, annihilates him, because he can find reflections of himself nowhere in it - like a falcon exiled, say, to the Lifeworld of fish, always off balance, but finally embracing the alien in all its otherness, yet never sure if he's got it right.”

From The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Charles R. Johnson. The quote is from the short story "Popper's Disease" on page 134 of the Penguin softcover.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

No New Posting On Blog

I am having personal problems taking up much of my time and cannot continue the blog.  Thank you for coming by to read my posts.  The blog will not be deleted.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided By Rayela Art



I found this quote over at Kate is Rising.  Go and check out her blog.  She has some good ideas for craft making.


"Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it."   
                                                                                              Salvador Dali




Mehindi Body Art By Rayela Art


These designs are henna.





Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Flannery O'Connor Reading



Yes, reading "A Good Man Is Hard To Find."  There are some cool things on the internet.  Click here.

Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided By Filip Horvat.


"Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed." 
                                                                                                                        Khalil Gibran

Is photography art?  I think it is. These pictures tell an affective story.


Boy from Little Yugoslavia




Serbia





Children In Little Yugoslavia




Bosnia Years Later

Filip Horvat Photography


Quotes from Brainyquotes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yale Open Courses on Youtube.

If you're interested you can take the Civil War and Reconstruction class with David Blight on Youtube.  There are 27 video classes of about an hour each.  I'm just trying to get through the books.

Music To Read By : Steve Arrington

These lyrics are still true.  You better look out. You know it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

It's Memorial Day.

Until recently I knew very little about soldiers who died in wars.  I had a vague, superficial feeling of sadness for the dead and their families, but mostly didn't think about it.  Since I've been studying the Civil War, I have less cloudy mental vision of the dead and wounded.  I've learned they were average people, like me, you, your son, husband, father, and friend.

D-Day is also known as The Invasion of Normandy, or June 6, 1944,  or five or six decoy and real operational names.  France was invaded by Germany in 1940 and 1942. Allied troops sought to push Axis Germany out of France.  The Allied troops consisted of  infantry, armory, airborne, and amphibious fighting forces.  Participating countries included Britain, Canada, Poland, Australia, Norway, New Zealand, United States, and France.

Some of the estimated casualties for the Allied: 
U.S. 29,000 killed and 106,000 wounded or missing.
Britain 11,000 killed, 54,000 wounded or missing.
Canada 5,000 killed, 13,000 wounded or missing.
France 12,200 civilians dead and missing.

A few years ago I listened to a former medic on the radio who served on D-Day.  The medic said he only had time to tend soldiers with a chance of surviving. He quickly examined a young man and determined he could not be saved.  Before the medic could leave the young man grabbed his hand and said, "Please remember me."  I cannot forget those last words.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wednesday Words of Wisdom. Wisdom Provided by War.


Quotes From http://www.brainyquote.com/


In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.
Herodotus


Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.
Bertrand Russell


The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war.
William Tecumseh Sherman


There is nothing that war has ever achieved that we could not better achieve without it.
Havelock Ellis


When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die.
Jean-Paul Sartre



Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott

In an earlier post I wrote about the free Civil War and Reconstruction class I'm taking from Yale Open Courses.  The class is taught by Professor David Blight.  It is available on Itunes and here.

During the past few days I've tried to get through Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott.  Alcott wrote some books for adults.  Alcott told of her experiences as a volunteer nurse in 1862.  She served in Washington, D.C. and at the beginning of her term Union soldiers from the battle of Fredericksburg filled the hospital.

The battle of Frederickburg took place in Virginia from December 11-15, 1862.  There were many more Union casualties than Confederate.  

Wounded Soldiers outside hospital

Hospital Sketches is really hard to read because the young men that Alcott took care of were full of holes, missing limbs, had parts of their heads and faces blown off, and emotionally traumatized.  Mercifully some of them died.  Yes, it was that bad.  600,000 men were killed in the war and that is not counting the injured.  Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott

Alcott looked for something self-sacrificing and important to do after she taught, worked as a seamstress, housemaid, and tried to advance her writing career.  She caught the train from Boston to D.C. and was impressed and amazed by the size of the District.  She was also surprised by the scope of her duties as a nurse.

She started out washing the soldiers' filthy, stinky, and feverish bodies.  She went around splashing lavender water that made the stench a bit more bearable.  Then Alcott volunteered to became the night nurse because she was a nocturnal and wanted to see the sleeping soldiers' mumblings and facial expressions.  

Before reading Hospital Sketches I never knew Alcott had worked as a nurse in the Civil War.  The story she tells is very sad and hard to think about. Hopefully she embellished some of it.  The book does give a person more knowledge about and insight into the war between the states.

I think it's sad and pitiful that the United States chose to destroy one another rather than abolish the establishment of holding of people as property from the beginning.

Monday, May 21, 2012

52 Short Stories And Poems: More Kay Ryan.

The other day I found a book of poetry at the library.  It is The Best American Poetry of 2005.

"Home to Roost" reminds me of a conversation Jake and I had this morning.  We were talking about the results of behavior.  A person cannot keep doing the wrong thing and not expect negative consequences.  We know because it has happened to us.  We know because we have observed it in the world around us.  It does not always go that way but plenty of times it does.

Kay Ryan knows.

"Home to Roost"
The chickens
are circling and
blotting out the 
day. The sun is 
bright, but the 
chickens are in 
the way. Yes,
the sky is dark
with chickens, 
dense with them.
They turn and 
then they turn 
again. These 
are the chickens
you let loose
one at a time
and small—
various breeds.
Now they have 
come home
to roost—all
the same kind
at the same speed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

52 Short Stories and Poems: John Barth

I learned from Wikipedia John Barth is a novelist, essayist, short story writer born in 1930.  He lives in Maryland.
Barth's short story "Toga Party" is the part of The Best American Short Stories of 2007 edited by Stephen King.  I found the book at a library sale and it is worth every penny.

"Toga Party" is about the Feltons, a comfortable, retired couple who live in an gated upper-class development on the eastern shore of Maryland.   Married over forty years, life for them has been full, rich and mostly happy, but as they watch friends get sick and die, both are concerned about the future.  The Feltons know it is only a matter of short time before they too succumb to the inevitable and they are not sure what to do about it.

Their friend Sam lost his wife to cancer in the past year.  Sam is doing his best to hold onto life and not display his grief and loneliness.  At eighty Sam still plays tennis with seventy-five year old Dick Felton.

Sam, Dick, and Susan (Felton)  are all invited to a toga party by their wealthy mysterious neighbors.  They all decide to go for different reasons.  Susan is going to prove she enjoys parties and people. Dick is going to prove to Susan that he is not too depressed.  Sam is going to make a statement.  You will have to read the story to find out what kind of statement.

The story doesn't seem to be online, but your local library is sure to have it.

This is not a review.  It is meant to let you share in my discovery of authors I have never read.  I will try not to spoil the story by giving out too much information.  I am just going to say that I like the names Dick, Sue, and Sam.  They remind me of Dick and Jane readers from the sixties.  They are perfect models of white Protestant America, but you and I know this life is imperfect, unfair, messy, and painful.  I hope Dick and Sue still have sex.




Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided by Frida Kahlo

"On any given day, any of us can have the blues. We don't control fate or destiny, and we can't always control the circumstances of our lives. We don't control when, where, and why tragedy befalls us."  Aretha Franklin
Quote is on  Pg. 180 of the book Aretha From These Roots.  The book was co-authored by David Ritz.


And yet life is so beautiful...


Oil Painting Coconuts By Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo in 1951.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided By Faith Ringgold.


"Happiness depends more on how life strikes you than on what happens." 
Andy Rooney

52 Short Stories and Poems: Stanley Plumly and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Copper Beech Tree

I was in the library the other day and checked out Now That My Father Lies Beside Me: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2000 by Stanley Plumly.  The hardcover was published by in 2000 by Ecco Press, an imprint of Harper Collins.  I am always looking for poets and poetry, but I'd never heard of him.  I live in Maryland.  Stanley Plumly is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Maryland and the Poet Laureate of Maryland.  Plumly was at a library a few miles from where I live two months ago.  These are the websites I read to find out about him.  Stanley  Plumly  Anyhow, now I temporarily possess one of his books and have found a few pieces I like and understand.

There's a poem titled "Conan Doyle's Copper Beaches" on page 35 of the softcover that was published in 2001.  I read a lot of Sherlock Holmes mysteries and am familiar with "The Adventure of The Copper Beaches" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  The poem compares Holmes' and Watson's ways of being and perceiving.

"Conan Doyle's Copper Beaches"


In the story they’re in a clump at the front
hall door, as huge as an extinction,
yet Holmes, the literalist, ignores them,
focused on the options of the case.


It’s Watson, his Boswell and naturalist,
who makes them beautiful, if only for
a moment, “shining like burnished metal
in the light of the setting sun”—Watson,


soldier, biographer of adventure.
The woman, Miss Hunter, is alone and
will be saved by deduction, then action,
and always the same conclusion—the lives


that were interrupted will go on, lives
that were broken will heal or go under,
like all the other stories an elegy
of the century, the country, the seasons.


The beeches, though hardly mentioned, suggest
the melancholy of the piece, the weather,
mood, the sense of failure in the house—
they’re like a background for the color of


the clues: bright blue dress, copper coil of hair,
the bone-white starving of the dog. They
link the past, medieval to the modern,
the leaves still dark in summer, bronze and


butter through hundreds of falls and winters.
They’re what’s left of a larger thing. Watson
knows this, accepts his friend’s insulting him
as one for whom the art is for his sake,


who loves embellishment, the odd detail,
Miss Hunter’s face flecked “like a plover’s egg,”
who’s disappointed such a beauty will
be dropped back into private life as just


another aspect of the landscape,
one on whom nothing once was lost—Watson
the memorist Watson the lover,
writing from the heart, aware that his friend


is isolated, suicidal, bored,
perfectionist, misogynist, genius
of the obvious, a man made of glass.
The beeches turning in the wind are glass.


As for the evil parents now children
of their servants, as for the prisoner daughter
now free to marry, gone to Mauritius,
as for Miss Violet Hunter, gentle, gone—


Watson understands the resolution,
how the gray cathedral ruminating
trees display their power within a human
emptiness, letting a few leaves fall.

Watson is supposed to be the flawed imperfect one, but actually Watson is Holmes' connection to self-sacrifice, trust, imagination, friendship. and love.  Holmes concentrates on solving the case.  Watson needs Holmes' brain for methodical critical thinking and abstraction.  Together they make one very intelligent, insightful, creative person.  Wow. So cool.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided By An Unknown 14th Century Nigerian Sculptor


"A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions."  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.




Brass head with crown, Wunmonije Compound in Ife

I found this on Jonathan Johnson's On Art Blog on The Guardian.  This piece is a brass head with crown.

Walter Mosley


1990's Devil In A Blue introduces the character Easy Rawlins.  In 1948 Easy or Ezekiel is an African American war veteran, factory worker from Texas who moved to Los Angeles to escape his friend Mouse. Read the book and you'll find out why.  After losing his job and needing money to pay his mortgage, Easy is solicited by a obviously malignant individual to find a white woman name of Daphney Monet.  Of course the initial search opens the door to a full blown mystery of unanswered questions, beat downs, and murder.  The 1995 movie starred Denzel Washington as Easy, Don Cheadle as Mouse, and Jennifer Beals as Daphney.  Unfortunately there were no movies made after the first one.

Mosley wrote ten more books featuring Easy Rawlins as he evolves into a full time detective.  2007's Blond Faith was to be the last book in the Rawlins series, but I hear that's not what's going to happen.

I met Walter Mosley briefly when he was at the Baltimore Book Festival in September of 2007 or 2008?  Memory fails me, but I do remember standing in line for about thirty minutes for a few seconds with Mosley so he could sign a book for my son.   

Gushing and giggling I said, "My son started reading your books when I introduced him to the Easy Rawlins mysteries."

He said something like, "He needs to read more than that."

I moved on thinking, "Asshole."

He should have been grateful that my son loved his books and its characters.
He should have been proud he had a positive influence on a non-reader.

I found out later that Mosley was being pressured by readers to bring Easy Rawlins back although he had created newer novel with interesting characters. Mosley was irritated but did agree to write two more Easy books.  The first is to come out in 2013.  Doubleday must have met his price, you know how it is.  I just hope it's not like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's continuation of The Sherlock Holmes Mysteries after he had killed off Sherlock Holmes.  The Adventure of the Empty House is weak, lame and disappointing. Readers can almost hear Doyle struggle to come with a convincing reason why Holmes did not die.

Personally I'm expecting a book as interesting and well written as the other ten books.  Walter Mosley don't let your fans down.

This month I'm reading two non-Rawlins books. They're The Last Day of Ptolemy Grey and The Right Mistake.  I feel your pain Mosley, (yeah right.) but mostly I just like and respect your writing.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Totally Off Course In April

I'm supposed to be reading the classics.  I agreed to complete several challenges, but I let myself be pulled into The Hunger Games.  The first book was scary and I didn't finish it, but then I saw the film.  So after reading Catching Fire and Mockingjay, I am anxiously awaiting the next movie.  For me it's just as bad as my obsession with Harry Potter.

Then I ran across David Blight's course Hist 119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877 free on Itunes.  Find course here or on Itunes.  I became interested in with what happened during The Civil War that so I decided to listen to all the lectures and read some of the books. I am fascinated by how many men died on both sides, the nonsensical reasons the South gave for continuing slavery, and the devastating pain Sherman's march to the sea caused the civilian population.  How could countrymen  do such terrible things to one another?

The books to be read during the course are:


Why the Civil War Came
Garbor Boritt, David Blight

Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of the Civil War
Bruce Levine

Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War
Charles R. Dew

Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War
Mack Walker, Drew G. Faust

The March
E. L. Doctorow

A Short History of Reconstruction, 1863-1877
Eric Foner


Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
Frederick Douglass


The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat
Gary Gallagher


Battle Cry of Freedom
James M. McPherson


Hospital Sketches
Louisa May Alcott


Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War
Michael P. Johnson


Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War
Nicholas Lemann


Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection
William Gienapp


Students also have to watch Ken Burns' Civil War documentary.

Currently I am reading The March and next will be Hospital Sketches, then I'll move along to The Narrative of Frederick Douglass.  Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War and Battle Cry of Freedom look interesting too.



Luckily, I won't have to take a test for the class 'cause I don't have the time or motivation to read all those books.  It's lovely stress-free learning.


I'll return to pursuing challenges in June.





Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided by Zarah Hussain.

A few years ago I went to visit Morocco for a week and a half.  The Hassan II  Mosque in Casablanca has beautiful handmade designs inside and out.  This art reminds me of that lovely peaceful place.


Niger Folk Saying:  He who boasts much can do little.


Alya

Painting

Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cms, 2006 



Inominate III
Painting
Hand-ground watercolour on khadi paper, 15 x 15 cm, 2004



 
Green Composition
Painting
Oil on gesso panel, 110 x 110 cm, 2010

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Music To Read By. Hiroshima

We've been cleaning out our shed and Jake found a tub of old cassettes.  Hiroshima's Los Angeles was one of the tapes.  I was introduced to Hiroshima in the early 80's with the album Dada.  Here from 1994 is "Only Love" brought to you by Canal de leandorassiz and Youtube.  It's very relaxing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Accident: I Posted Drafts by Mistake.



I pushed the publish button accidentally on a bunch of drafts.  If you click on them they will not come up.  Sorry. 

Music To Read By Dionne Bromfield and Zalon

Classic song written by Ashford and Simpson. I don't like the way Zalon is grabbing on Dionne.  What do you think?  Am I being sensitive?

Monday, April 16, 2012

April is National Poetry Month. More poems from Kay Ryan.




These two poems remind me there are a myriad of perspectives different from my own. There are many ways to see a thing.  It has nothing to do with right or wrong.

"Spiderweb"
From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider’s, always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It’s
heavy work
everyplace,
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn’t ever
delicate
to live. Kay Ryan from New Poems


"Turtle"
Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
She can ill afford the chances she must take
In rowing toward the grasses that she eats.
Her track is graceless, like dragging
A packing-case places, and almost any slope
Defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical,
She’s often stuck up to the axle on her way
To something edible. With everything optimal,
She skirts the ditch which would convert
Her shell into a serving dish. She lives
Below luck-level, never imagining some lottery
Will change her load of pottery to wings.
Her only levity is patience,
The sport of truly chastened things 
Kay Ryan from Flamingo Watching

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Once again: Not doing what I am supposed to.

I'm supposed to be reading the classics but...

Last week I saw The Hunger Games and loved it.  When I tried reading the book a few months ago, I cringed and put the book down when the kids starting killing one another.  Everyone kept saying how good the movie was, so I went to see it.  You know what? The movie was excellent and not as violent as the book.  Now I have to read the two other books in the series.  I'm reading Catching Fire instead of The Canterbury Tales.  Then I found Tracey Morgan's autobiography I'm The New Black on the discounted shelf at Barnes and Noble.  While volunteering at the library I found The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 by Deborah Kops.  Instead of reading Hurston's The Complete Stories, I'm reading Snow White Blood Red Edited by Datlow and Windling.  Sometimes I like doing what I'm not supposed to do.







Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided By Myrtille Henrion Picco

The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and convenience of man.  Rachel Carson




Intuition Heureuse by Myrtille Henrion Picco, Oil on Canvas.

Monday, April 9, 2012

52 Poems and Stories. Langston Hughes

Paraphrases come from The Big Sea softcover published by Thunder Head Press in New York.


"The Mills" was written by Langston Hughes when he was fourteen years old.  In his autobiography The Big Sea Hughes tells about how he began writing poetry when he became Class Poet of his graduating class in grammar school.  He was picked because he classmates believed that a negro would have rhythm
( 24).

At a young age Hughes was an observer of other people.  For someone his age Hughes had a deep insight into the affect of steel mills on its workers.

"The Mills"
That grind and grind,
That grind out steel
And grind away lives
Of men--
In the sunset their stacks
Are great black silhouettes
Against the sky.
In the dawn
They belch red fire.
Grinding new steel,
Old men.
Poem by Langston Hughes



I like how he comprehended that the men's spirits and bodies were being slowly wore down.  I imagine a life of toiling at endless hard sweaty work.   I can see the stacks he described so clearly in my mind. It was a new dawn spoiled by the smell and smoke of a factory.   One of Hughes' stepfather's various jobs was in a steel mill (27-28).  The fourteen year olds I know don't pay attention to anyone but themselves and their friends.

Friday, April 6, 2012

April is National Poetry Month. Kay Ryan

I just found this book at used book store in like new condition.  Couldn't believe it!  Hee hee.  The Best Of It won the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 2010.  



Kay Ryan, born in California in 1945, was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2009-2010.  She published her first book when she was thirty-eight years old.  Ryan has also won a Guggenheim fellowship, and her poetry has been featured in three Pushcart anthologies and in many magazines.  To read a complete biography of Kay Ryan click here.

I cannot remember when I first read Kay Ryan's poetry.  It had to be recent because I have only been reading poetry since April, 2011 in response to the murder of Phylicia Barnes.  What I have learned from Ryan is that trying to understand a poem can put the mind in a state the same as in prayer.


What I love about her poetry is her insight into our shared human condition.  She is contemplative.  One can feel how she struggles and ruminates over her poetry.  Ryan wants to get the poem just right.  As far as I'm concerned she is awesome.  That is why she is my poet of the month for April and National Poetry Month.   I will be featuring her work all month on this blog.  Here is some of her poetry from Elephant Rocks and Say Uncle.

Intention 

Intention doesn’t sweeten.
It should be picked young
and eaten. Sometimes only hours
separate the cotyledon 
from the wooden plant.
Then if you want to eat it,
you can’t. From Elephant Rocks
Cotyledon-the primary leaf of the embryo of seed plants.



                                                                

Why We Must Struggle

If we have not struggled
as hard as we can
at our strongest
how will we sense
the shape of our losses
or know what sustains
us longer or name
what change costs us,
saying how strange
it is that one sector
of the self can step in
for another in trouble,
how loss activates
a latent double, how
we can feed
as upon nectar
upon need?
From Elephant Rocks.  This is a mistake.  This poem is from Say Uncle.  I will be more careful in the future.



Why Birds Sing
One is not taxed;
one need not practice;
one simply tips
the throat back
over the spine axis
and asserts the chest.
The wings and the rest
compress a musical
squeeze which floats
a series of notes
upon the breeze.
From Elephant Rocks




Kay Ryan's Bibliography (There may be more but you will have to look it up.)

Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends, Taylor Street Press (Fairfax, CA), 1983.
Strangely Marked Metal: Poems, Copper Beech Press (Providence, RI), 1985.
Flamingo Watching: Poems, Copper Beech Press (Providence, RI), 1994.
Elephant Rocks, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1996.
  • Say Uncle: Poems, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2000.
  • The Niagra River, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2005.
  • Jam Jar Lifeboat and Other Novelities Exposed, illustrated by Carl Dern, Red Berry Editions (Fairfax, California), 2008.
  • The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2010.


Take good care of yourself or I'm gonna talk about you.  I'm serious.  Judaye

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday Word of Wisdom. Art Provided by Carol Byard

"One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple / By the relief office I saw my people - As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if /This land was made for me and you."   Woody Guthrie



Illustrator of Working Cotton, Carol Byard. Writer of Working Cotton, Sherley Anne Williams.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

52 Poems and Short Stories: Liam O' Flaherty


Liam O'Flaherty (1896-1984) wrote perceptive novels and short stories about the Irish peoples' struggles with life.

In addition to 52 Poems and Short Stories this post is also for Irish Short Stories hosted by The Reading Life.  The story can be found in Classic Irish Short Stories Edited by Frank O'Conner.

"Going to Exile" is set in the late 19th or early 20th century on the Irish island of Inverara.  Micheal and Mary Feeny are forced by poverty to leave their island home and emigrate to Boston, Massachusetts where they plan to work to improve their financial situation.

The day before the Feeney siblings leave home friends and neighbors gather together for an all night party.  Their parents are heartbroken because they don't know if they will ever see their grandchildren or their children again.  Michael and Mary are young,  afraid, and excited to be leaving their family, friends, and the only home they have ever known. 


I can't help but wonder what happened to Michael and Mary after going through Ellis Island.  Did they ever see  any of their family again?  Did they keep in contact?  Did they ever go home again?  Did Boston turn out to be what they expected?  


Boston was probably a mixed experience.  As likely as not, Michael and Mary worked long hours and lived in crowded conditions. The Irish and Blacks were disparaged and competed with one another for the lowest paying jobs.  Somehow they stayed strong and over time prevailed.  Their descendants now live a higher quality of life.


"Going Into Exile" makes me think my ancestor who survived the horror of the middle passage with their ability to procreate intact.  How did he or she do it?   Sometimes there are some amazing happenings in the world.


Here some other O'Flaherty stories: "The Sniper," "Three Lambs." 


Be good to yourself or I'm gonna talk about you.
Judaye

Thursday, March 29, 2012

52 Poems and Stories. I Didn't Know I Had These Poems.

I didn't know I had this poems.  These poems are from two books on my shelves: Flat Footed Truths: Telling Black Woman's Lives by Patricia Bell-Scott and Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry Edited by Charlotte Watson Sherman.

"IF YOU LOSE YOUR PEN"  Ruth Forman

and all you find is a broken pencil on the floor
and the pencil has no sharpener
and the sharpener is in the store
and your pocket has no money

and if you look
again
 and all you find is a black Bic
and the Bic you need is green

and if it appears beneath the mattress of your couch
but the couch is dirty and suddenly you want to clean
beneath the pillows
but you have no vacuum and the vacuum is in the store
and your pocket has no money

it is not your pen you are looking for
it is your tongue and those who speak with it
your grandmothers and doves and ebony spiders
hovering in the corners of your throat

it is your tongue
and if you cannot find your tongue
do not go looking for the cat
you know you will not find her
she is in the neighbor’s kitchen eating Friskies
she is in the neighbor’s yard making love


if you cannot find your tongue do not look for it
for you are so busy looking it cannot find you
the doves are getting dizzy and your grandmothers annoyed
be still and let them find you
they will come when they are ready

and when they are
it will not matter if your pockets are empty
if you write with a green Bic or a black Bic
or the blood of your finger
you will write
you will write
********************************************
 I am waiting to be found. I want to be found.  Judaye
********************************************


"night vision"   Lucille Clifton


The girl fits her body in
to the space between the bed
and the wall. she is a stalk,
exhausted. she will do some
thing with this. she will
surround these bones with flesh.
she will cultivate night vision.
she will train her tongue
to lie still in her mouth and listen.
the girl slips into sleep.
her dream is red and raging.
she will remember 
to build something human with it.

*******************************************
Those of us who have been hurt deeply still love, inspire, and nurture those around us and ourselves.  How do we?  How can we?  We knew we would make something out of darkness and evil someday no matter how hard it was.  We are amazing.  Judaye
*******************************************


Book Boyfriends: John Gabriel Utterson

 

Alexis at Reflections of a Bookaholic posed an excellent question a few weeks ago.  She asked her readers if they had a favorite book boyfriend.  Actually I do.  Just one.  It"s the attorney Gabriel John Utterson from Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Utterson is Jekyll's friend and attorney.  He knows there is something going on with Jekyll, but he thinks Jekyll is being blackmailed by Hyde.  Utterson continually helps people who are in trouble.  He seems to genuinely like being helpful and he gets a somewhat salacious thrill hearing about the naughty predicaments people get themselves into. I think Utterson may have been in some kind of sinful trouble in the past. Utterson changed his ways, but he misses his old life.   He does have strong sense of duty.  Every Sunday he takes a walk with his relative Enfield not because he likes it, but because it is the right thing to do.  His relative Enfield stays out late at night himself. I wonder what kind of life Enfield leads.  Maybe Utterson has another reason for walking with him.  One night Enfield ran into Mr. Hyde.  Then he told Utterson about it.  Hmmm.

Why do I like Utterson?  He seems real to me.  The man is trying to live his life in what he thinks is the right way, but it's difficult sometimes.  I can relate.  In some ways we're alike.

What about you?  Do you have a crush on a fictionl character?