Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Picking The Scab

sad.........weary...........groping for
connection with bloody fingernails.

grooviness.............crying
a lot today...........it is confusing

for the boy........a sun blessing
sprinkles our home

in interesting shadows
still i weep sporadically

good news.............memories
a giraffe galloping

across
the
hard
wood
floor...............here

everybody is racist
I begin

with my self...........acknowledge
my shortcomings

finger the pages
another book

maybe this one
will heal

that wounded
part of me

which takes up space
in our collective

spirit
grooviness

Monday, July 25, 2005

Oh! Africa, my Lionheart

I'm in your oil fields, fading fast in your arms.
The soldiers soften, the war is looming.
Europe's shelters are blooming clover.
Angry Americans fill the lanes--
in rain again.

Oh! Africa, my Lionheart!
H.I.V. steals the kids in Marakele Park.
Read me Soyinka on churning Niger--
That old river poet that never, ever ends.
Our thumping hearts hold the lions in,
Keep Goree castle from tumbling.


The most benign, helpful,
enlightened racism eviscerates.
painful - this spreading open
of ribs and soft private pouches -
revealing the tumbled brown
churned, gnashed bits of history,

legacy within. irreverent
sing-songs trilling
unity. they always teach
animals first. this is Africa
tourism, euros,
the weight

of pounds and
dollars pressing
human blood
out of textbooks.
But we always start with animals
asia, australia, americas


and europe too I presume?
the sad sorry story of romans
bringing their own brand of imperialism
to the mangy, unwashed, breast-thumping
tattooed celts? must be saved
for later. when they are ready.

when is this? the first time
they find themselves
in a non-white environment
chirping songs of peace and human
loving to their pharmaceutical company
denied cheap drugs for AIDS diagnosed

dying African peers; or advocating
nonsense about pussy and joy
to girlfriends with mutilated genitals
who just want a cook-stove,
three cows and clean water
to survive? we have to answer

this survival question first.
who are we really protecting?
it begins with a honest head nod
to this peculiar cellular combination

we have named human.

Oh! England, my Lionheart,
I'm in your garden, fading fast in your arms.
The soldiers soften, the war is over.
The air raid shelters are blooming clover.
Flapping umbrellas fill the lanes--
My London Bridge in rain again.

Oh! England, my Lionheart!
Peter Pan steals the kids in Kensington Park.
You read me Shakespeare on the rolling Thames--
That old river poet that never, ever ends.
Our thumping hearts hold the ravens in,
And keep the tower from tumbling.
(1)

1 - Kate Bush, Lionheart.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

What is immodest about a baby?

an insensitive rambling observation

covered in black
from forehead to nose.

at the grocery store,
a woman rolls her trolley to the till.

waits for her husband to pay the bill.
flapping little dark bird squawks for crisps.

she is maybe seven or six.
an infant's eyes peer out

from behind her veil
perched in her baby seat

silent and still.
Kate Bush's voice

in my head so shrill
singing the pedophile's longing.

what is this infant kiss
that sends my body tingling?


a morbid, shaking thrill.
2 boys hung in Iran.

I am told this boy-man love
is abundant in Arabic countries

until age brings
udders, vulvas sewn

just right tight.
Just for You

a children's book
I read daily to my baby

becomes ominous as the sweet
Turkish men fondling my boy's

hair in the
off - license.

Terror.
all babies safe

in hijab.  


 
NOTE: As an American, unfamiliar with the the diverse nuances of living in THE WORLD. I have been flipped out from jump, by the small girls I witness everyday in full hijab. Infant girl's peering out from black slits covering their noses. How are they breathing? I ask myself, well, somehow, or their would be some sort of charity campaign to keep infants out of hijab...right? I answer myself.

These baby women already covered and concealed - as if their infant kiss is so potent to drive men wild. But, we read about it in the papers all the time.  Don't we?  It is never the man's fault.  It is the babies who need to cover their lascivious selves.  

So - I wrote earlier in a post titled Islington Sunday that I saw a girl - covered from head to toe
swimming in the sand pit - as if she would take the whole world in
through her fingertips - the only exposed part of her.  

No one commented on it. I was hoping someone would tell me why we have to keep these babies covered up. Is it because they'll grow up like those boys in Iran? They'll like it...what they are getting from older persons...and then develop some bizarre highly normal sense of adolescent autonomy?

It hasn't passed my system yet. I want to accept these choices. I don't know how.

When To Run. When To Wait.

Winston has befriended a young 2 year
old woman, Amazon. She is
the boy's favorite type. Blonde. Bossy.
Self-assured. Verbal. Her Mommy drives
and has the good taste to be named

Lucy. We go to the zoo a lot
It's even better than the t.v. show
64 Zoo Lane which CBeebies had
the bad taste to cancel.

We evacuated London
for Whipsnade Animal Park -
600 acres. 2,500 animals.

Roaming free about the park are Mara, Wallaby's,
some sort of very small deer and peacocks.
He has extremely distinct animal preferences
which I have been unable to define.

He did not care at all for the Sea Lions
who waved hello, clapped their flippers,
barked and bobbed their heads "hello."
Maybe they were too unnatural.

So we left Amazon and went to sit
with a Mara family. Hello Mara! He says
quietly, I'm Winston. How are you?
he sat talking to the Mara for 15 minutes.
This would become a theme for the day.
Many long, quiet conversations
with mara and Wallaby.

Amazon finished with the sea lions
and joined us. It is funny how toddlers
know how to take and give space. Satisfied
with their individuality. We managed

to come together again for the train
ride through the area housing Asian animals.
The two baby elephants pleased him greatly.
But - the yaks and abundant baby deer
became a whole new set of friends to woo.

We lunched with the peahens and peacocks.  
One cheeky peacock jumped up at someone's table
and was eating their mashed potatoes. 
This endeared the peacocks to him -
he was having trouble whether or not
to classify them as rude, big birds to be wary of
or exciting bird with whom to make friends.
Chickens and turkeys definitely belong in the
ugly mean scary bird category.

At this point we realized we didn't have to
walk the whole 600 acres. There was a bus.
So on we hopped just in time to get
to the penguins who were being fed -
definitely birds with whom Winston would like
to be on more intimate terms.

We walked a long wooded patch
where five Wallabies were having an outing
enjoying the panoramic view of the countryside.
Amazon wanted to see something else - so she
and Lucy wandered off to give Winston time
to befriend the Wallaby pack. Which he did
for almost 45 minutes, creeping slowly closer
until they ran. Introducing himself again
and creeping closer. Over and over.
becoming more controlled each time.
Slower each time. Quieter each time.
Until they could really have a good talk.

We rejoined Amazon. It was as if she had
never been that far. flowing through each other's
distance and re-connection. He was very excited
about the baby giraffe. Amazon needed the toilet.
We happened upon another Mara family.
He sat with baby Mara while they nursed.

The baby Rhino was more interesting
to me and Lucy. By the time
the Baby Rhino was close enough
to look in the eye - he and Amazon
were running up and down a hill.
The only danger we witnessed today
was when the zookeeper was weeding
the Rhino territory and the mother
and some of her friends thought
it would be interesting to charge them.  
She and her friends changed their minds
because the zookeeper was in a ditch.

Too much trouble for so little gain.
I guess it was better the children were running
up and down a hill. It takes patience
to be with animals. Relaxing into the interesting
moments. Appreciating the endless grass guzzling,
pooping, meandering about the field. Waiting
for the terror of a Rhino willing
to charge. A small breathing space

he is beginning to learn.
When to run and when to wait.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Incidently

Ho hum. We had a "serious incident."
Not an emergency or anything
big. Found myself thinking of new ways
to sing songs today. Seems so British -

The wheels on the bus go
round and round, round and round.
The bomber on the bus says,
Jihad Now! Jihad Now!

The bomb on the bus goes,
boom, boom, boom! boom, boom, boom!
The people on the bus go,
shit, not again. shit, not again.

Walking up Dalston Lane, one mile
from the bomb bus and our favorite farm,
pond and park. Another beautiful
sunny day. One of many recently.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Money Tree

curled its verdigris fingers
in towards spindly arms.

withered
in my full-bodied
embrace. brittle

unredeemable. paper
thin shoots press
into unseasonable snow.

an icy rain freezes.
hope, this pale
bastard child sent to burn

in the tropical sun,
returns brown and lovely.

NOTE: The eldest - sent to France and then Belgium with a 600 dollar budget - emails home about poverty...her own. There are days when I remind her that The Money Tree died a long time ago. These are also the days when I find myself juggling razor blades to sustain happiness.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Racing Through King's Cross

passed through Kings Cross today on Victoria
Line. no stops. a feint odor of smoke.

eerie empty horror
movie twilight. empty platforms.

twelve people looked up, eyes
shifting, lips

pursed. most
stayed in their music

or newspaper world -
distant - far

from the bodies
and bits of flesh.
I wanted to scream -

let’s all have a moment of silence here!
but - everyone was already quiet

contained. Bombings
happen all the time.

Remember the IRA?
They were more horrified

by my breast in Winston's’ mouth - lulling
hiss groans of rocking train and working jaws

helping his eyelashes kiss cheeks.
limbs going dead in my arms.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Explosions - In Case I Missed Anyone

we're fine. Have all our limbs. And each other.

The mood here in London is quiet.
Norman was sent home from work early.
No cabs in central London.
They figured he'd have to walk -
which he did for an hour.

Even though, they said stay home,
we went out. Much like everyone else.
I think we all just want to see
how normal everything around us.
And after all, it was sunny this afternoon -
you just can't waste such blessings.
They are rare. We just walked
around our neighborhood a little bit.
We felt safe. This is where the entire 3% of
the non-white people in England live.

At the store, some young Black muslim kids
were happy - as if today was a great day for Islam.
An Arabic elder gave them a little calm, stern learning.
They weren't strutting very much when he was done.
It was nice to see in a country where most days people
are exceptionally careful to mind their own business.

The news was exceptional and weird. On one hand,
they stayed live on air until they sniffed
out all of the breaking news. Then they stopped
broadcasting news. On the other hand,

they were interviewing bleeding people
who needed medical treatment.
When a statement was completed by an official person -

s/he turned around and walked away from the camera.
The end. Done talking now. No I will not stand here
wasting my time saying "No comment. No comment.
No comment." It is strange when rudeness
is somehow comforting. But, then again, these days
someone's failure to be rude is always a great
shock and surprise. I guess
I'm getting used to the way things are here.

So - the DLR will be running again soon.
On routes towards Central London, buses
cruise emptily through the streets. Limited
tube service will be available tomorrow.

I'm grateful Number 1 slept late.
I'm grateful Number 2 was naked diaper boy
who delayed his father from getting to work

on time. So - all back to normal soon.
How weird!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Expat Independence Day

So he has become a code jockey
riding algorithms on the high tech plantation
so our basic human needs
get met. At the door, a weary

woman with words like Bearded Angler
glowing in her caliginous depths, a boy
luminescent as jellyfish welcome him
with hugs, song and much spastic jumping.

We are all tired and foreign.
And these walls - blasted
white upon white upon white -
let us know we are not home

no matter
what kind of check
we write every month.
Our hairs mingle on the pillow cases;

we kick each other
in our sleep;
and never say sorry.
Sunrise brings kisses, smiles

and hope. Still,
the mellow days
wear me out more.
How tired is nothing?


* * *

I am learning

to define nothing.

Have given up

an identity constructed

of comic book iconography

and slamming wet clay

Goddesses into each other

until they become monsters.

I am damp, dirty and exhausted

trying to climb inside

fiction.


* * *


He works all day.

I work all day
at doing nothing.

And this child

of struggle and sacrifice
still thinks he is free.

Monday, July 04, 2005

This Quiet Profit - Unschooling A Cute Kid

He does not care
to be frowned upon;
has developed a routine
for getting through public appearances.

The ABCD song is a guaranteed hit.
Identifying letters on the bus rakes in
two looks of approval, one grin
and a cheek grab. (Not ideal -

but better than the scary
upside down cascade of
smearing shades of red
on old women’s wrinkled faces.)

Counting loudly. Two head pats.
Singing our happy universe
Wheels On the Bus song
filled with chipper busy people?

Occasional chuckles,
He’s a clever one!
The random pense. On our bus,
The driver says

Have A Nice Day,
The baby and Daddies laugh
while the Mommy is sings...
La La La! La La La!

People want to believe we are possible.
It’s all about communicating
expected behaviors and trusting
Independence Man to agree. Right?

But, they are always giving him
money - especially the drunks. Everywhere
we go, 20 pence, 10 p, 1 copper
because I’m learning him up good..

My daughter shrieks,
He’s too young to be this gay!
Head pats, smiles, chuckles, 50 p -
wear purple sunglasses with a red outfit

in Angel. I’ll let the well-wishers
teach him gender codes.
In Stoke Newington - a half hearted
smile is the reward for demanding silver boots.

But, in Ridley Market, you get one pound
British Sterling from the kind West indian woman
and a 10% discount from the Indian male vendor
who wants to know What you turning him into?!?

And all he has to do
is put on ugly
brown sandals after insisting
on rhinestone slippers.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Writhing ----- Dance Monkeys Dance

UPDATE

So, I emailed Ernie with my concerns about the animation.
He replied that:
1. the flash was done by a young USC student
who he doesn’t know;
2. he had nothing to do with the creation;
3. he never felt it was an accurate
or particularly well done interpretation of the poem;
4. he could see how a link can be interpreted
as an endorsement;
5. so he’s taken it down.

Huzzah for Ernie Cline!

Communication ...what a wonderful thing it is...

* * *
ORIGINAL POST

Help me out here folks.
From the slam scene,
I know this brilliant comedic poet -
Ernie Cline

We’ve even come neck to neck
at Nationals with utmost respect.

My husband adores his work.
I adore his work. Comedic timing? Hard! Very Hard!
Getting any recognition as a performer and poet?
Even harder. Add geek to the equation and well then...
let us all have a moment of silence.

Before I dropped my arts organizing to save
my - then unborn - baby’s life, I was writing grants
to try to pay this dude to come be part of my poetry series.

Needless to say - anyone I’m trying to pay with grants
is obviously worth 20 of my own poems/paintings/
collages/ press packets/solicitations
for advancing my own damn stuff.

Yes - we all got to give to get - I believe that.
I traded my own time for other people’s well-being
and I don’t regret it.

But then - I check in with Ernie the other day.
Some dude has put up a flash animation
of what used to be a very funny poem to me.

See it at:

Screen Head under "Dance, Monkey’s Dance"
For some reason, links might not be working so:
copy and past the below url into your navigation bar.
http://www.screenhead.com/funny/flash-animation/dance-monkeys-dance-036431.php

And suddenly, I’m outraged. Feeling betrayed.
Let down. If someone had done that to my work....
I’d be litigating all over the place...but NOOOOO!!!!!
he’s promoting it on his web blog.

And I know - well I know his wife is all on
the feminist, groovy, feelin’ ya Black sister
righteous, soul train...but...our marriages never reflect ourselves
do they? or maybe they broke up and I didnt know.
or maybe they're nesting and she needs him
to have lots of exposure to buy
Fisher Price Kick 'N Bounce chairs.

So - take a peek
- no hitting the site won’t validate anything
in any real sense - ya’ll voting wit yo’ click folks
help me here okay? Condemn? Discuss?

Am I just over sensitive? Was I made into a
paranoid Afro-techno-literati by Antioch College?
Should I write him of my disappointment?
Am I over-reacting? Maybe I should

just order Damali Ayo’s greeting cards
from Cafe aPress - under the link Affrimative Accents?
and send him one. On second thought,
we should all keep a stockpile
of her work in a cupboard for the work
we will always be surprised about doing.

So - my blog friends?
Delete Ernie or keep and dialog?
You be the judge.....