ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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your life is my life / is our lives / our children / our mothers our fathers

our people / many still hear the drums / but have forgotten the dance




A sudden thought, for you

                            (to Louis Reyes Rivera)

By Paul McIntosh

here we are


and alive

on the precipice of time

two color full men

who walk in the way of the world

pariahs because of who we are

the progeny of Africa

dark men exhaling magic

to make music

out of our sorrow


your poems are a shibboleth

for those of us who can still hear

the sound of that memory sea

breaking against the rocks

of Goree

on the shores of slaveship castles

where tourists now visit

holding back tears

as we walk through gates

of no return


your life is my life

is our lives

our children

our mothers our fathers

our people

many still hear the drums

but have forgotten the dance


when you


we become

one people

our people

the rainbow

shall we then rejoice?


can we rejoice

in the sunlight of Ponce?

Puerto Plata? Port Au Prince?

Columbia? Peru?

what of the streets

of Bushwick, Bed Sty or Harlem?


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Crazy Horse

By Paul McIntosh

when they stabbed you

plunging the bayonet

into your heart

for being Lakota

i knew you would die


i no longer walk in

the sacred Black Hills

or taste the dust kicked up

by ghost dancers

in Powder River country


in the fateful morning

before dew dries on my feet

i'll sneak off into the horizon

in search of sitting bull . . .


"I fight until I die forever!"


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Maya’s Eyes

       (for Maya Angelou)

By Paul McIntosh

In your eyes

I see me

Every one of us.

African progeny to American


Spine curved in cotton fields

& minds lost to American ideals.

Black eyes caused me mixed emotion;

Black eyes entice amorous devotion.

Brown tells Black eyes

Obscure things

Like Blacklove is Black


Black/Brown eyeing each


Black Eyes mirror to a Black Soul.

Black eyes, Black me cajole

Black eyes, Blacker than Black

                                   Is Black

                                   Black eyes-

Look at me


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A note to Ms. Scott 

By Paul McIntosh

in the village of spirit

where our ancestors

still live;

in the cosmos of memory

we embrace each other

without artifice or pretense


and though much of what we know

we have forgotten

the middle passage to Mississippi

and stolen "new world" lands

of Arawak and Taino and Lakota

could not kill us


we are the river

we are rain

we are the sky

we are earth

we are time shining out of the eyes

of our children

and old folks asleep

snoring in chairs on a screen porch

in the heat of summer


come, let us

let us... let us

light the way back

home... home... hoooome...


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#2 for Louis R

By Paul McIntosh

today, there is the tease of sunshine

making pyramid shadows on streets

where the voices of little boys

playing can be heard

the sweep of a janitor's broom

outside the library door

and the rumble of a plastic garbage can

mounted on squeaky wheels

announce annoyances

intruding on intermittent silences

that are a prelude to promises

of our resurrection


i found you in the same place where i found Garvey

and Fannie Lou and Malcolm

and my sharecropping grandfather (whose face i never saw)

fighting, fighting

in the verses that is the literature of my life

before i could read

i could feel

my father's pain as he reluctantly bartered his manhood away

so that i could live

to meet you in the pages of a book

an anthology of warriors

whose words kill for love of self


unfortunately, i have cried and laughed

and cried more tears than laughed

about us

my brothers dying for lack of self

everyone of us

dying a thousand deaths

before we die

from blue uniform bullets issued

on the eve of a wedding day

from reaching for a wallet in the vestibule

of a building

born with a target on our backs

we live


knowing the terror of these days

i seek scripture in shared moments

in the kingdom of our hearts

snaggletooth soothsayers

shoeless on fetid corners

begging for loose change,

an old woman

smoking a cigar

inside the botanica

where she waited to buy candles

for an altar to Shango,

girls giggling at clowns

tripping over themselves

at a birthday party


but we move in the wind

knowing its secrets

hearing its voice in the trees

watching it skate upon the surface of this river


be still

be still

you tell me each time we meet that

our time will come...


*   *   *   *   *

a preface to thoughts about my father

By Paul McIntosh

when they took his name

dragging him

tens of millions in shackles

across the terror of that green sea

of darkness

and a trail of ocean bones

his people never saw him again

and his mother was sold

on an auction block

in Charleston Harbor

inspected by dirty hands

which pried open her mouth

fondling her breasts


he was ashamed


without his name

he could not find an escape

with which to kill those who made

her mistress in their house

built on stolen Cherokee land


still, he searched for her (and his name)

among our tales and woes

the oral legends

of generations born

and coming....


Paul McIntosh, was born and raised in Augusta, Georgia to Willie and Almiddie McIntosh. One of twelve children, he grew up acutely aware of racism and hatred in the Deep South. The first and only member of his family to attend and graduate from college, he was founder of The Black Students Union on the campus of the undergraduate school from which he graduated. He has kept much of what he has written (prose and poetry) to himself. It was at the suggestion of Louis Reyes Rivera that he has begun to submit some of his work. Mr. McIntosh lives in Harlem, New York, where he continues to hear the voices of his ancestors and attempts to write down, as best he can, the stories which lay on his heart. 

*   *   *   *   *'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

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

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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'."

*   *   *   *   *

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        


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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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