ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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His esteemed wife is dressed as a / white angel in Woman Thou Art

Loosed Cookbook by Bishop T.D. / Jakes. Under cover they all have

the spiritual gift of tongues

 

 

Strutting in a Cold Sweat

By Rudolph Lewis

 

On the lower end Druid Hill where Sugar Hill was

in the 40s and 50s is lined with trees that flower

like Chinese gardens. They not oaks like they once

 

were. No lemon colored sweet men with dark pencil

mustaches swanker these desperate streets. They died

like old habits, slowly. Full-lipped blacks with knots

 

dense as African jungles now speak ringingly clear

as gunshots in damp morning air. In dim hallways

young women with golden smiles like used to be

 

chandeliers are pulled down and bought for scrap.

Survival is hard and grim. For young black men

Bethlehem Steel long closed its gates to building

 

black families. Bologna slices & salty fatback can

be purchased to season lima beans. Out of work we

sleep whiskey dreams.  Choirs are pre-recorded gospels

 

at Bethel AME. Folks have forgotten how to swing

with Sweet Jesus on the cross. They packed up &

moved west and north from Pennsylvania Avenue.

 

At New Psalmist Baptist on Old Frederick Road, a sweet

smelling man of God baptized himself bishop of miracles

and chief administrator of the Word.  His esteemed wife

 

is dressed as a white angel in Woman Thou Art  Loosed

Cookbook by Bishop T.D. Jakes, a local icon of success.

Under covers they all have the spiritual gift of tongues.

 

I’ve read Milton’s Paradise Lost. I know the Devil ain’t

a god of poverty. The Army of the Lord receives wages

& executive bonuses.  Their blazing canons go Bang! Bang!

 

Bang! when they get laid as law-abiding citizens. Shades

have been drawn. The globe lights up with Shock & Awe!

Pain ain’t blues when the world grows midnight dark.

 5 February 2006 / revised 3 December 2011

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Responses

I like the Druids, translated them in Latin in HS. They wore hoods, took many vacations and were pacifists, so we revived the sect, using Stokely Carmichael as our leader, because of that famous photo of him in a hood. we all wore the button, until the principal brought us into his office and told us to stop.Kam

I can really see and taste and feel Baltimore in your poetry.  Your poems have such a strong sense of place but the landscape ain't pretty.Miriam

Rudy, you are so ingenious. No, the force of this poem does not dawle or limp along! I love the energy! This poem makes me laugh. My favorite lines are "I've read Milton's Paradise Lost. I know the Devil ain't interested in a life of poverty."Jeannette

Mr. Lewis,  I'd like to recite this on the air, February 2, 2006, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. PDT, KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles, "Some Of Us Are Brave".  Show should be about the upcoming "The National Black People's Unity Convention". Regards, Grayce Gadson  www.griotsessions.com

I didn't know you produce such meaningful poems, so often.Floyd

posted 5 February 2006

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

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#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

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#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

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#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

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#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
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#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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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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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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update 24 February 2012

 

 

 

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