ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Yes! Window is a perfect metaphor for this work—a window into hopelessness—what's left, etc.

I don't think there's much more hopeless than losing your home—I think often of losing

our original connection to our ancestral home and the impact it continues to have

 

 

Books by Mary E. Weems

Public Education and the Imagination-Intellect: I Speak from the Wound in My Mouth  / Tampon Class

An Unmistakable Shade of Red & The Obama Chronicles

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Rudy, Just finished a new series of poems based upon the photography of Donald Black, Jr., young Cleveland brother. He went in and out of foreclosed homes in the area and took images of what's left. For me, those objects started speaking . . . . Would love feedback if you have time—Mary Weems

Poems from

4 Closure

By Mary E. Weems

in Response to Donald Black, Jr.'s

For Closure series of photographs

 

The Closet                                                      #16

            House-shit deep

            no money

separate like strangers

            Two women not-touching

            Each hides in me alone

other not knowing

 

Later Loretta enters

hugs their wedding picture

            spends her time sitting

on floor to rock

smoke

 

            Head open

she talks to me

 

Her mind left, we

lost our house and love

I feel like a closet

afraid to come out.

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Skylight                                                          #18

I still work everyday

pull light from sky

let it down easy

 

Used to land on pillow,

bedspread, two faces turned

body shapes

 

Now I warm air

still as one person

in a room

 

Shape light

into hands

caress myself


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 Absence of Light                                            #27

 

Weeks before they lost

their house, I was evicted

like a roomer, window shades,

drapes, doors closed for good.

 

I’ve been waiting outside

for a crack, waving

my rays over house like arms

 

Finally, one dark room gives in:

Nothing can stop me,

so good do I feel inside

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The entire foreclosure process is bereft of humanity and driven by greed, and as usual the group hit the hardest is poor and Black. So if this is coming through in the poems—I think the work is doing what it's meant to. Not my conscious choice either, I "thought" I was going to create living people in each piece to tell their stories "but" since the images focused on "one" particular object—that's where the Creator took me.
 
Hope left with the families who still had some when they were forced out of these homes. Also, I think you're missing the subjectivity in this work—as someone who was raised in slumlord housing and who knows how it feels to be evicted, and not know where you're going to lay your head next—I think the lens I create this work through is informed by something deep, personal and unforgettable. Bits and pieces of my life are all in this work—unrecognizable by the reader who doesn't know me—but all of our writings are informed by what we've lived and these poems are no exception. So when I write about after hour joints, abused children in basements, boys whose fathers have left the home, women who are victims of long term domestic violence etc.— I'm all over this work like a fingerprint :).
 
I think many objects have stories to tell depending upon our human connection/memory of them. The pair of Mammy/pappy salt and pepper shakers from my granny's house speak to me...these objects spoke to me loud, clear, and in rapid succession or these poems would not exist.
 
I appreciate your feedback brother, and agree that either folk will get into this work or turn away from it—in either case I don't think they'll forget it once read.
 
Also, I've revised three of the poems "The Closet" "Skylight" and "Absence of Light" (which ends on hope). Peace, Mary

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Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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Mary E. Weems, Ph.D. is an accomplished poet, playwright, author, editor, performer, motivational speaker, and imagination-intellect theorist. Weems has been widely published in journals, anthologies, and several books including Public Education and the Imagination-Intellect: I Speak from the Wound in My Mouth (Lang, 2003), developed from her dissertation which argues for imagination-intellectual development as the primary goal of public education. She won the Wick Chapbook Award for her collection in 1996, and in 1997 her play Another Way to Dance won the Chilcote award for The Most Innovative Play by an Ohio Playwright. Her most recent chapbook Tampon Class (Pavement Saw Press, 2005) is in its second printing. Mary Weems currently teaches in the English and Education departments at John Carroll University, and works as a language-artist-scholar in k-12 classrooms, university settings and other venues through her business Bringing Words to Life. Contact Professor Weems, mweems45@sbcglobal.net, for readings and more information.

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011
 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 17 December 2008

 

 

 

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