ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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The quietness of death is a predictable conversation.

I can't believe you are my father, that the tubes removed

from your arms were as life giving as your blood

 

 

 

Books by E. Ethelbert Miller

 

How We Sleep on the Nights We Donít Make Love  /  Fathering Words  / In Search of Color Everywhere

 

First Light: New and Selected Poems Where are the Love Poems for Dictators?  /  Whispers, Secrets and Promises

 

Beyond The Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century  / Season of Hunger/Cry of Rain

 

Synergy: An Anthology of Washington D.C. Black Poetry

 

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New York: St. Vincent's Hospital

By E. Ethelbert Miller

 

At the foot of the bed

I watch Marie and Enid hold your hands,

touching you for the last time.

You are the first person I will see die in a hospital.

Your body warm, your skin smooth and wonderful.

You were always concerned about how you looked,

especially your face. Even now you are handsome.

How funny to see you at peace. You were always in bed

sleeping or watching television. Whenever I came to visit

you were in the bedroom listening to your own heart beat.

Occasionally you would rise and talk with a visitor, but

this was only occasionally. My memories of you are like

tonight. The quietness of death is a predictable conversation.

I can't believe you are my father, that the tubes removed

from your arms were as life giving as your blood. I feel like

a stranger before you. A man left with two women, a

mother and sister. I cannot comfort them. What could one

say that would caress? What words could open your eyes?

 

Source: E. Ethelbert Miller. How We Sleep on the Nights We Don't Make Love. Curbstone Press, 2004.

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The 5th Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller

The 5th Inning is poet and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller's second memoir. Coming after Fathering Words: The Making of An African American Writer (published in 2000), this book finds Miller returning to baseball, the game of his youth, in order to find the metaphor that will provide the measurement of his life. Almost 60, he ponders whether his life can now be entered into the official record books as a success or failure.

The 5th Inning is one man's examination of personal relationships, depression, love and loss. This is a story of the individual alone on the pitching mound or in the batters box. It's a box score filled with remembrance. It's a combination of baseball and the blues.

To see a clip of Ethelbert reading The 5th Inning click here: http://www.eethelbertmiller.com/etube

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


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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

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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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update 2 August 2008

 

 

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