ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


Contact    Index         Mission -- Nathaniel Turner -- Marcus Bruce Christian -- Guest Poets --  Special Topics -- Rudy's Place -- The Old South  --  Worldcat

Film Review -- Books N Review -- Education & History -- Religion & Politics -- Literature & Arts -- Black Labor --Work, Labor & Business -- Music  Musicians  

Baltimore Index Page

Educating Our Children

The African World

Editor's Page     Letters

Inside the Caribbean

Digital Links

Home   ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)


Or Send contributions to: ChickenBones: A Journal / 2005 Arabian Road / Finksburg, MS 21048  Help Save ChickenBones


Mosquitoes Fly Out My Head

Poems & Other Jazz 

By Rudolph Lewis



Rudolph Lewis (born 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland) was raised by his grandparents William and Ella Lewis of Jarratt, Virginia — in the Village of Jerusalem. He was recruited 1967 by SNCC organizer Bob Moore while at Morgan State College (1965-1967) to establish a Baltimore SNCC branch. Along with Walter Lively, he helped to establish Black Liberation Press. He spent several years (since1969) as an organizer for Local 1199, the Health Care Workers Union; resigning from 1199 in 1974, and again in 1990, after another two years of service.

He graduated from UMCP with a B.A (1978) and M.A. (1981) degrees in English. After graduation, he taught writing and literature at University of the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland. In 1982, he spent ten weeks with the Peace Corps in Zaire. He taught writing at Northeast Louisiana University (NLU, 1983) and then the University of New Orleans (UNO, 1984-1986).

Yusef Komunyakaa and Lewis, along with Ahmose Zu-Bolton, created and built the cultural center Copacetic on Piety Street. Lewis wrote poems and essays that were published by The New Laurel Review edited by Lee Meitzen Grue. With poet Gillian Conoley, he also began his own rag, Crickets: Poems & Other Jazz, which lasted several issues. In 1987, he returned to Baltimore and worked again for Local 1199 as editor and organizer. From 1991-1997, Lewis taught in several adult education programs. During this period he spent a year in Morgan State’s doctoral program in education (1991-1992), and completed from 1994-1997 a masters program in library science.

From 1997-1999, he worked as a librarian for Enoch Pratt Free Library.  more bio

*   *   *   *   *


Table of Contents

Other Jazz


An American Goes Back to Africa (Review of White Man, Listen)

Bearing the Owners' Names & Other Burdens

Black Girl in Her Search for God (Shaw review)

I, Momolu or Liberia in the Bush (book review)

In Search of an African Identity

President Omar al-Beshir Do You Know This Man?

Telling the Truth about Africa  

Tending One’s Own Garden (book review of Shaw's "Black Girl")

Why Africa Ain't Israel in Today's African American Thinking

Why Africa Is Not Israel in Today's African-American Thinking (revised)

*   *   *   *   *

Biographical Sketches

Bio-Sketch of J. W. Livingston

Bio-Sketch of William Kircher

In Memory of Max Wilson (biographical essay)

Jessie Covington Dent (a biographical sketch)

A Political Portrait of Robert Moore (a biographical sketch)

Robert "Kaki" McQueen (a biographical sketch)

Walter Hall Lively (1942-1976) (a biographical sketch)

*   *   *   *   *


50 Years of Progress Since Brown

America With Its Pants Down

Belief, DisBelief & Back  

Black Teenager Trayvon Martin Murdered by Wannabe Cop (compilation)

Condoleezza Rice for President

The Dark Side of Obedience  Response by Wilson J. Moses

Dean Fades, Kerry Soars Clark Waits in the Wings

Dreams Buried in Freedom’s Coffin

George Lamming and New World Imagination (compilation)

Gospel for the Poor by Bill Cosby

Hunger for a Black President  (On Obama)

I'm Getting Tired of Death

In Defense of Aristide & the Viability of Haitian Democracy

Israeli State Terror & the Palestinian Liberation Struggle 

Jesse Jackson Scourged in The Baltimore Times 

The Lie That Unraveled the World (book review By The Light of My Father's Smile)

My Archival Experience (compilation)

The Noise of Class Ideology  in Gates’ Tour of the Rich & Famous

A Note To Yvonne:  Malcolm's Letter to Elijah

Pass the Mic! Tour of Tavis Smiley Responses

Reconsidering Our History & Our Aims The Dilemma of Pete Rawlings

Renaissance of Imagination (book review)

Skip Gates & the Talented Fifth: The Doublespeak of Academic Equivocation

Straying from official orthodoxy (On Obama)

Telling the Truth about Africa  

Quality Education for Black & Brown

Why Africa Ain't Israel in Today's African American Thinking

Why Africa Is Not Israel in Today's African-American Thinking (revised)

*   *   *   *   *


Editorials 2011


Can We Say No to a Pig in a Poke?

Experience, Wisdom, and a National Mystic

Obama, Political Cynicism, and the Tea Party

Obama's Mojo Ain't Working Like It Used To

Oedipus and Ordinariness: A Meditation on Barack Obama

*   *   *   *   *

Essays & Other Prose

An Archival Search for Sterling Brown

Christian's Bio-Bibliographical Record  (literary essay on Christian)

Climbing Malcolm's Ladder (Brown, Baraka, Forman)

Douglass' 1845 Narrative (literary criticism)

Driving the Blues Away

Exploring Sexuality from a Black Perspective

Feminism, Black Erotica, & Revolutionary Love (on Kalamu's short stories)

Home to Jerusalem:  Journal Notes

In Memory of Max Wilson (biographical essay)

In Search of an African Identity (biographical essay)

Introduction to I AM NEW ORLEANS (literary essay on Christian)

Introduction to Letters of an Abiding Faith (a biographical essay)

Isaac in Heaven: An Interview (creative essay)

Leading the Negro into Modernity (literary essay)

Long Live the Kings of Black Entertainment (On JB, Rashaan, Sun Ra)

Magpies, Goddesses, & Black Male Identity  (literary essay on Christian)

Manana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective (book review)

Mona Lisa Throws A Party (photo exhibit of party at 818 Piety)

Nathaniel of Southampton or Balaam’s Ass  (creative essay)

Nathaniel Turner, the Bible & Sword (conference paper)

The Need for a 21st Century American Philosophy

Nonwhite Manhood in America

Poetic Journey with New Orleans Writers (a biographical essay)

Remembering My Adult Education Students

A Theology of Obligation & Liberation (theology essay)

A Theory of a Black Aesthetic  (literary essay on Christian)

Trouble in Mind (photo exhibit of Evelyn Duncan)

The Uncertain Identity of Nathaniel Turner (conference paper)

Understanding "Last Man Standing"   

U.S. War Against Libya

Can We Say No to a Pig in a Poke?

Experience, Wisdom, and a National Mystic

Obama, Political Cynicism, and the Tea Party

Obama's Mojo Ain't Working Like It Used To

Oedipus and Ordinariness: A Meditation on Barack Obama


*   *   *   *   *

Family Stories

Black Mama, White Son

                A Response to "Black Mama, White Son" by Lewis Lawson

The Confessions of Walter Cotton

Conjuring & Doctoring  

Driving the Blues Away: Or Dying by Degrees  Responses to “Driving the Blues Away”

Dwarf's Lament

Father Son and Mary

The Herbert Lewis Family (photo exhibit)

Letters of An Abiding Faith ( Table of Contents)

Me & the Devil at CrossHairs  

Tale for Sam Williams

TeeJay’s Song: Shadows at Midnight  

*   *   *   *   *


Baltimore, Back-Sliding, & Budgets (interview with Fred Mason)

Carlyle Van Thompson Interviewn (author of The Tragic Black Buck)

Digital Technology & Telling Our Story (interview with Kalamu ya Salaam)

Interview with Keith Gilyard on Liberation Memories 

Interview I with Award Winning Neo-Griot (Kalamu ya Salaam)

Interview II with Award Winning Neo-Griot (Kalamu ya Salaam)

Interview with Herbert Rogers, Enoch Pratt Librarian

Interview with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet (Yusef Komunyakaa)

Louis Reyes Rivera (interview)

Rudy Interviews Askia Muhammad Touré

*   *   *   *   *


I AM NEW ORLEANS & OTHER POEMS by Marcus B. Christian

Letters of an Abiding Faith: Legacy of a Slave's GrandDaughter to her Son

Nathaniel Turner: Christian Martyrdom in Southampton 


*   *   *   *   *




Black Erotica


     Baby, I'll Do Right By You

     Bass String of Smoke & Bells

     Big Girls Can Handle Absence 

     Broom. Cats. & Dreams.

     Cecelia's Weekend at Jerusalem

     Down on All Four in Baltimore

     Dropping Shucks on Baudin

     Feasts & Thithes of Joy

     High Wind Blues

     A Hymn to Kola Boof  

     I Can't Get Over You

     Illusions in the Skull's Logfire

     In the Mirror I Am My Beloved

     Love Dust Around Our Feet

     Mosquitoes Fly Out My Head

     My Room Without You

     Potomac Dreams of André Breton

     Sisyphus at Rest

     That Aint Gonna Work, At All     

     Turned On About Two Dreaming You

     Uncertain Sweet Lips & Nightingales 

     Voices Whispering in My Ear

     When Love Blooms a Life Is Lost

     When Love Slips Away


Black Liberation


     Ain’t Nothing Changed  

     Alchemy of Water & Wine

     Always in Love the First Time 

     Bottoms Up, One More Round 

     Changes I Cannot Fathom

     Crossing Days on the Calendar 

     Devil's Got a Lien on My Soul  

     Feeding the Five Thousand

       Fishing Strong on the Moon    

     For Lucy Barrow, Revolutionary

       He Aint Giving Up No Secrets

       Heartbreak Hotel

     High Wind Blues

    I Aint No Alarmist 

       I Choose Us: The African

     Improvisations on Sacred Space

     In a Time of Chaos

     Interpretation in Small Containers

     It Must  Be Rain Drops

     For Stan Tookie Williams  

     For Walter Cotton, Outlaw

     Killing Fiends & Monsters   

     Last Man Standing

     Love in Action: Sermon in Verse

     Master Jack Turns Them Black     

     Metaphysical Blues

     A Menu of Choice

     Murmuring in the Smoke of Veils  

     Nat Turner Sermon 

     Ode to Bowling Balls  

     Othello Was a Plumber 

     Poem for Evelyn

     Postcard from Hell

     Praying for a Miracle 

     The Propaganda of History

     Retaking America, Again 

     Seek the Elegant Universe

     Sisyphus Walks Downhill  

     ShadowBoxing Truth on Druid Hill   

       Smokescreen for a Holy Presence  

      That Which Hurts

       The street I live on is dying     

     They Cant Stop Our Crazy Feeling

       Time Hijacked Blues 

     until my daddy comes

     We Get Out of All Your Boxes

     We'll Never Be Back the Same Again

     Which Way Freedom

     Will the people ever wake up?

      What It Means to Be Alone


Fourth World Poems


Coretta, Coretta  

Fourth World Poems

I Too

Keeping It Trim & Burning

Me & First Woman 

News Hour Scrapbook

Pigmeat & Catfish

Somebody Been Stealing

Starlight by Starlight

Strutting in a Cold Sweat

Take It Daddy, It’s All Yours

This Poem Ain't Easy

We Still Chasing Trim  

You Gonna Say Something


New Orleans Poems


     Battle for New Orleans 

     Can You Quilt a Life, Now Dead? 

     Crazy Horse at Mardi Gras, 1987

     Didn't He Ramble  (Buddy Bolden)

     Down by the Riverside       

     Heartbreak Hotel  

     Home Aint No Cakewalk

      I Aint No Alarmist

     I Gave My Heart to That Woman  

     In a Time of Chaos

     A New Day Is Coming

     No Mardi Gras Without Soul

     No Woman to Be Rollin 

     Ode to a Magic City

     Raining in This Terrible Land   

     A Sideshow in Your Mind

     There's No Way Out This Sadness?   

     Waiting for the Great Tragedy

     We'll Never Be Back the Same Again   

     What Does It Mean to Survive N'awlins   

     What Shall It Be, Stick or Broom? 

     When They Flooded New Orleans

     Wintertime in America



On Family


     Back in Swamp Briars

     Balance Due, Always  

     Hearing the Coffin Close

     It Must  Be Rain Drops  

     The Last Fair Deal Blues

     Love & Time Resurrected

      My Father Still Comes to Me

     Naked in the Outer Darkness

     Xmas Fifty Years Ago 


On Music & Musicians


     Breathing Low & Steady (John Coltrane)

     Didn't He Ramble  (Buddy Bolden)

     Music That Heals (Sidney Bechet)

     Ode to a Magic City

     Rahsaan Roland Kirk

     What It Means to Be Alone (Jimi Hendrix)

     Your Love Ain't Loving My Blues (Satchmo & horn)


On War


     The Altar of Blood Sacrifice Lives

    Celebrating the Spirit of Man

    Crossing Days on the Calendar  

    Falluja a Whipping Post      

    Falling Trees & Raining Bombs   

    Keeper of the Bones  

    A Menu of Choice    

    Metaphysical Blues  

    Retaking America, Again 

    Seek the Elegant Universe   

*   *   *   *   *

Related Files

African Renaissance 

African Renaissance (Journal)

The African World

Baltimore Index Page

Climbing Malcolm's Ladder

Communism as Russian Imperialism 

Control, Conflict, and Change

Editor's Page

Escaping the Black-Bible Belt

Fifty Influential Figures  

For Kwame Nkrumah

From Parks to Marxism: A Political Evolution

God Save His Majesty

Interview with Yambo Ouologuem

Kalamu ya Salaam Table

Kwame Nkrumah, Kenyatta, and the Old Order

The Legend of the Saifs

Literary New Orleans Poems and Prose

Marcus Bruce Christian  

Nathaniel Turner

Night of the Giants

Nonwhite Manhood in America 

The Political Thought of James Forman  

Responsibility of a Pan-African Socialist

"W.P.A. Guidebook Arouses Fuss"  

Yambo  Bio & Review    


An American Goes Back to Africa (Review of White Man, Listen)

Beyond Religion, Toward Spirituality (Review of book by Marvin X)

Black Girl in Her Search for God (Shaw review)

Child Support & Post-Modern Fugitive Slaves  (Book Review)

Du Bois & Civil Religion (Review of Du Bois on Reform)

Exploring Sexuality from a Black Perspective (film review)

A Review of Mya B’s Silence: In Search of Black Female Sexuality in America 

I, Momolu or Liberia in the Bush (book review)

Land of My Daughters by Marvin X (book review)

The Lie That Unraveled the World (Review of By The Light of My Father's Smile)

A Life Won with Blood & Tears ( Mona Lisa Saloy's Red Beans and Ricely Yours (2005)  

Manana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective (book review)

Pass the Mic! Tour of Tavis Smiley  (Review of Event at Lyric Theatre)

Prayer Tradition of Black People -- Harold A. Carter (Book Review)

Southern Journey (Review of Tom Dent's book)

Tending One’s Own Garden (Shaw's "Black Girl")

Wish I Could Tell You the Truth by Marvin X


Related files

The Best of ChickenBones

Brother Rudy

Charlie "Nature Boy" Lewis

      Black Man Where Do You Stand   On the Wing of a Prayer   A Shared Moment   Back in Swamp Briars

Idle Minds Have Idle Time  

Mau Mau Aesthetics

Rudolph Lewis Bio

Rudy's Page

*   *   *   *   *


African American Writers Meet Rudolph Lewis
  The man behind ChickenBones

  By Jane Musoke-Nteyafas
 First published: April 18, 2006

The Death of a Prophet, of Creative Militancy  / The Heart & Soul of America Are at Stake -- Which Way Now?  / Remember Cheikh Anta Diop

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#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 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


#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

*   *   *   *   *

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.”

*   *   *   *   *


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.Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

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


*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more)







update 21 November 2011