Went to Open Mic Night at La Pintoresca Library. Fantastic. Wonderful poet who does performance art knocked my socks off. Tamara Blue. Just Google her name, and you’ll see her perform.
This is what I read:
Children of the Stolen OnesFor Gloria Haithman December 2, 2004
“Greens” makes me think of
Ola Mae’s Greens, down in my
belly, in Olean, New York, as
crowds of us burst into Ola Mae’s
Restaurant on a regular basis
to shoot the breeze; eat her
famous Greens and just to feel
all’s well with the world.
Here in Pasadena, California,
the subject of greens and chitlins
came up. I thought of Ola Mae, the camaraderie,
her corn bread too, and just feeling part of the woodwork
welcomed by her open heart and Best
Wednesday night Gloria talked
about the same thing but went a step further.
She spoke of soul food on another level,
the spiritual teachings of love, hope, faith
She spoke to our insides
where there are no colors
Gloria said, “We were not colored
when we were born; we came in
that way,” and I thought
no one crayoned some in, or
bleached others out.
What if, instead of thinking about
The dark ones, the Negroes, the People
of Color, names given by the Takers,
think Black or African-Americans?
Then a phrase measured out, came quietly
into the room, in the midst of a story of
the sisters; the African-American Bahá’í
women who went on a tour of South Africa,
and met some African women who didn’t know them.
These African women, they looked at Gloria,
and Joy and Iris, and Aurore and Beverly and others.
The “Who are they,” question came into their eyes
till one of them said,
“They are Children of the Stolen Ones.”
Back in Pasadena, sitting on the orange
velvet couch, those small noble words,
“The Stolen Ones” bombarded my heart,
as I felt my soul sink into a place of
utter knowingness, of reverence
and majesty revealed.
Yes, the rightful appellation.
Measure it out on the tongue, slowly
“The Stolen Ones,”
“Children of the Stolen Ones.”
Feel your heart melt as if
a great and timeless grief has
finally been acknowledged.
My heart bowed a humble bow to
to the true nature of an incredible people,
their majestic endurance,
I’m no artist and don’t know my colors.
I live in a world that thinks it knows
its colors, and colors inside the lines
not outside; the “lines” being
the operative word.
Well, I’d say in this year of 2004
Maybe we should hear the Sister’s,
our sisters’, call from South Africa
and use lines to wrap around:
Name every quality our sisters
and brothers, of African Heritage
carry with fortitude,
and you come up with,
in my book,
“The Chosen Ones”
And what if God and his Messengers
and Prophets saw that
these Chosen Ones
endured trials similar
to the Minor Prophets?
And what if the Ancient Beauty
knew His love for
His Chosen Ones,
knew they suffered,
in the Path of God?
And what if this planet
really was a testing ground to see
who could show
courage under fire,
love of God, love of people
despite that the Stolen Ones
and their kin were also robbed?
But wait, here’s another view:
I think the Children of the Stolen Ones
are the Morning Glories of our age!
Their children; their children’s children
It’s the story Morning Glory
Let’s proclaim, let’s shout,
and let us bow
in reverence to our ancestors,
ransomed so we might reframe our hearts
and join each other in history’s future
where lines are a thing of the past
and colors are
loved-filled stripes of every hue.
Language After the 100 Year War
The Nouns were in control in the neighborhood of Verbiage. Adjectives were forced to end their 100 Year War. This war was known as the Great War of Planet Earth in the Days of Rhetoric Only. Verbiage, like a fireplace bellows of yesteryear, had simply exhausted its wheeze and could no longer control the Nation.
Politicians would no longer be described adjectively. Thus, our President could be described by the Press as, “A man whose eyes narrowed when a syllabic word entered the toy store of his mind. A man whose Rubber Ducky drowned when his bath water became higher than what is necessary for the average leader. A man who could bob eternally on the Ocean of Platitude.”
This leader called up his country’s Reserve Marines again. These Marines were sent to a land which resembled a cannon to which they would become fodder. They would obey their mission, climb into these cannons, and be shot out over the land of buildings which no longer resembled buildings. Naught would be seen but structures of rubble which resembled cookies crumbled in the hand of a monster as tall as the sky.
The Congress would not be allowed to use descriptives in the form of the much abused adjective. This caused some consternation, for our Congressmen knew of the paucity of adverbs when running for election. The Congressmen would no longer be able to crawl into that vat of adjectives filled with words guaranteed to portray an individual Congressman righteously and puffily. These adjectives, I might add, are thrown carelessly into this vat, like screen plays in Los Angeles, like potato chips in a Lays truck which had escaped from their Bag Containers.
The Nouns issued an edict: “Stick to the Facts Jack. Straight Facts for a Straight Land,” a land which had lived adjectivally and splendiferously for too long, thereby wreaking a knowledge gap which had caused the five years of last of destruction upon the planet.
Politicians had appeared on the News Hour program with Jim Lehrer, and on what used to be Peter Jennings’s Newshour, and on Tim Russert and explained Sunday after Sunday, or was it Monday after Monday, of their importance, the importance of their minds, the nuances of their minds. These very same politicians verbally gamboled along to thinly expand titles such as “Theatre of Operation, War Games,’ and last but not least, the most abused noun in the world, Democracy – Democracy became a gutted, slutted word, misused, stretched, liked hardened taffy in a candy machine after the summer crowd had gone home.
A rape of the Nouns had occurred. What choice did the Nouns have but to take over the Nation? They cried out, “Aack, aack, aack! No more.” And so as this tale is difficultly told, but blessed for its attempts, all the while failing in adverbial splendor, time will tell how language controlled its environment so that facts and integrity might emerge again before the children of the world forget that “Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.”
one last one
Before the Golden Age
Elizabeth Vargas bids goodbye
from the news –Wait,
how is Peter Jennings?
Now I know
of his kind heart, his last days,
his frailty-but what of his regrets
about those last cigarettes?
Nine eleven – my fingers
probe memory’s silt,
Braille the reality of those days,
find Terror’s Dullard Cousin Disbelief
Our earth stood still on nine eleven.
Together in cylindrical need
we lurched towards one another
a oneness prayer,
no words or syllables or sounds
United, until the politicians
like Crows from New Jersey,
fat cigars hanging from their mouths,
carped, scavenged and hawked
their way up ladders of
avarice and greed.
“The necks of men are stretched out in malice.”*
Crows cavorted long back halls
of politically elite and
Power’s salacious divide.
Language used for
dark reptilian thoughts
separate, the enemy, the other
The Crows, did I say crows?
I meant Boys, Boys at play,
like Gargoyles in a game
Crocodiles shopping for dental twine.