ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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Though my moorings were / loosened, I praise the fearless

patience of the fisherman / in a gone time.

 

 

 

Naked in the Outer Darkness

 By Rudolph Lewis

 

The crow cawing in the distant

pine had stolen his last kernel

when diggers lowered his casket

four feet into the vault's miry clay.

 

The world of Jerusalem wasn’t wide

enough to hold his spirit. Decades

now this holy space still holds

the bones of my father; the skull

 

that grins at the devil’s

apple under a Virginia moon.

Brown leaves scurry in wind

above his tombstone. My moorings

 

were loosened. Yet do I praise

the fearless patience of the fisherman

of Sansi Swamp in a gone time. Storms

come & go. The aches remain.

 

The spirit blackened with years.

I went away in rebellion

my heart wrestled like Jacob

with duty & innocencefloor-walking nights. 

 

Belief bled with anguish & danced

as an eyewitness wiped away the tears.

posted 5 January 2006 

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Responses

I am deeply moved, Rudy.Jeannette

A very moving poem that is more meaningful to me because I know something about your father, your relationship with him, and the sacred ground of Jerusalem.  And yet contemporary critics say that it's only the text that matters, and not the con-text in which the work is created.  Bullshit!Miriam

Of course, the poem has much to do with the Etheridge in your Homespun Images, and his poems of life and death--the personal. So the context here is also texts (poems) and conversations with you (more text). So what we have here is not just one text but numerous texts combined in a creative way. I lifted language from a number of sources, including your words. I combined, recombined, revised, etc. until it seemed to make sense. Did I also have the personal in mind? Of course. As I am learning to write poems the creative process, I find, is a very complex one that is difficult to get one's arms around. Thanks for your kind wordsRudy

Yes, I picked up the intertextual resonances in "this holy space," "the bones of my father," and "eyewitness."  It's interesting to see how your creative process works--quite amazing.Miriam

Very good Rudy.

If you are not prepared yet to collect your poems in a hard-cover edition, you ought, at least to collect them all in one electronic site. I should like to see you arrange them chronologicallyWilson

Excellent imagery, though I disagree with some of your line breaks.Kam

Rudy, I find your work quite beautiful and profound. I love it. Last weekend I spent the day at a bookstore in Tenack, NJ hearing Yusef K. read. Had dinner with him after the reading and exchanged memories and talk about those heady days in New Orleans. I didn't get his phone # but there may be a way to contact him. The mention of your name brought smiles for both of us. Also, Arturo, former prof from Southern U. New Orleans is in Conn. Give me your phone # and I'll call you.Yictove

posted 5 January 2006 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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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.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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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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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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