Sunday, February 27, 2011

The AFRO American PSA Experiment

Over at my other blog I was yakking about creating a public service announcement for the AFRO American archive. I wanted to show that you don't need a big time advertising agency to make a promotional video about something that you think other folks should know about.

You might need more talent and design skills than I possess. Actually, you don't. We need to stop talking about doing stuff and just up and do it to the best of our abilities.

This is where I am this day.

I really want to let other people like librarians, genealogists, researchers, historians and those of us with an interest in history to know about this resource.
It doesn't happen much anymore but I had students asking for information for more information Sarah Goode like clock work during Black History Month.

Each one of us is a connection to another person's history and by extension to the national history. That history does not end with the election of a president.

I'm going to keep trying to get it right. Because I will not allow a bunch of low hanging fruit inside and outside of Congress to determine who I am and where I came from. I know parts of my history and I'm working on the rest of it.

It will not be erased without a fight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Poetry In Plain Sight - Radomir Vojtech Luza

I'm still looking for my poetry voice. It went into the poetry protection program. The next best thing is to hear someone read a poem that you would have liked to have been able to write.

Not the experience, the skill. I try to only pick one poem for each poet but Radomir made it too tough; his poems can be short but they have a powerful energy. In the two minutes you will spend watching the video he will take you a couple dozen places and move a brain cell or two.

This is a good thing. For more info on Radomir he has a Facebook page and Moonday Poetry has a feature page on him.

He also has .mp3 and books for sale at

Poetry In Plain Sight - Don Kingfisher Campbell

Don Campbell has a poem that seems to be channeling news from the natural world. This is his poem from the non-human population called The Latest Headlines.

The headlines of the past two weeks have been kinda interesting. Being a woman person I am particularly engaged in those headlines from various governmental bodies in the U.S. that want to control female bodies, health care, sexuality and rights of redress.

What the heck I am I talking about? Please read the BlogHer post by Gloria Feldt about the total cut in funding for Planned Parenthood and Suzanne Reisman's on Open Season on Abortion Providers.

If the past two weeks have been any indication other controls and humiliations on the female form will be hawked up as legislative proposals any second.

I am keeping a steady watch on the amendments to the Constitution. I'm vulnerable, if you catch my drift. We all are.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spill The Wine on the Finally Friday Freakout

When I was young all I needed was a thumping bass and percussion. And some guitar, and a lyric I could mangle.

I knew that Eric Burdon sang with a group called The Animals but I never saw the man. I certainly knew about the group War but never laid eyes on them either.

This is the group War and Eric Burdon on vocals riffing on Spill The Wine.

If it wasn't raining I go get some. It is raining outside and inside. I came home to 72 and counting e-mails. I know stuff has hit the fan when it crosses 40.

I'm working my way through them. I don't want to talk about the topics now. My views will be apparent soon enough. Just need the time to write. And calm down.

For this day I am thankful that I get to vent at myself instead of another person. I've been angry at hurtful men this week. Not all men, just the really nasty, toxic, Lawd Jeebus come take these fools off the planet type men.

I don't know how Gandhi did it. Meditation my ass; where is the licking stick!
And that is where I fail in my goal to transmute the anger into positive energy. It is a chasm that is still too wide.

Which is why I need to dance to the video and send anger on its way. I'm no good to anybody when I am this angry about the attacks on women, emotional, physical and sexual this week and every week. But especially this week.

It is so bad I might have to voluntarily clean something.

I might have mentioned that I buy healing and meditative recording from SoundsTrue.

For those like myself that need to be reminded that there are better people that are seeking ways to deal with internal pain and suffering.

There is a free podcast called Insights At The Edge.

You can listen at the computer, download mp3 audio to your media/mobile device or subscribe on iTunes.

After I finish singing a couple of times I'll head over their and see if I can get a glimmer of understanding about taking my anger and using it for a higher purpose than to want to whack somebody upside the head.

I have Kool Aid - the kind that needs sugar. I might have some fruit. Kool Aid Smoothies? I suppose it is possible. I guess that will have to do.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Poetry In Plain Sight - Sojourner Rolle

Never underestimate the importance of a pathfinder or a mentor. Mentors are not just for young people. Mentors can help to show us a different way or hip us to a higher perspective.

We all want to be inspired, transformed and brought to another level of being. Well most of us do. Ok, those of us living in California certainly do. William Stafford seemed to be that kind of mentor for Sojourner Rolle.

She was one of the featured readings at Don Campbell's Saturday Afternoon Poetry meet-up.

This is an excerpt from her presentation about William Stafford and Sojourner reads one of her poems as well. For more information about Mr. Stafford and his poetry you can visit his page or the tribute page created by the Friends of William Stafford.

The Road to Better Tech Is Not A Smooth One

You know how you buy a new camcorder that has all kinds of fancy do-dads that at first you think it is neat only to find out it is not so neat? Many new camcorders have face recognition software to help keep the face in focus.

The software is a dad gummed digital bird dog. If the person is stationary it is fine. I didn't notice it until now that it literally tracks the face. Let's just say I have some challenges in the weeks to come.

I have some people practically leaping as they read their poems. Sigh. You live and you learn.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Charles Stepney on the Finally Friday Freakout

I loved Earth, Wind and Fire, no doubt about it. But I was also an album reader. I would see the name Charles Stepney and not understand how important his contributions was to the music of the late 1970s and 80s.

This is a short video biography about Mr. Stepney so we all can get an idea of the richness of the much and the people that made it so.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Poetry In Plain Sight - Steven R. Kutcher

250 trees were bulldozed in Arcadia on January 13, 2011 in order to provide a place for dirt. That is the short version. We humans deal only in the short version of the total story.

Some folks say the state of California made the county destroy the trees. Others say it was the determined intent of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Still others really don't care because if it is a choice between their home and a tree they vote to cut down the trees.

This poem by Stephen R. Kutcher speak for the trees that provided oxygen, shade and beauty that was deemed not important enough to preserve.

There are other voices such as the Los Angeles County Regional Settlement Management Plan.

News stories about the destruction of 250 trees in Arcadia:

Arcadia Weekly - 11 Acres of Trees Bulldozed by County

L.A. Weekly - By The Numbers

San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Video of bulldozing of the trees

Poetry isn't just about feelings. A poem can be a witness of things that should not have happened. A poem can represent a learning opportunity that should not be ignored. You can listen to this poem and then pass it along down the line so that other people will know and be ready for the next time.

We need more trees, not less. Why do human beings have such a problem understanding this one essential fact?

For the record and in the interest of full disclosure; I am a tree hugger and lover.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Louis Jordan on the Finally Friday Freakout

It is the month of remembering. It is Black History Month where we are supposed to reflect and learn about those people that made us possible to dream a little higher.

This cat is one of those guys who was rocking and rolling long before anybody knew what rock and roll really was. This is Louis Jordan and the Tympany 5 blowing steady on Jack, You're Dead.

I remember when Black History Month was just a week. You'd spend six months learning about Anglo history and there wasn't anybody other than white men involved. Sure they'd mention Dolly Madison but other than Dolly and Besty it was a bunch of guys in powered wigs or coonskin caps.

Then come February and we'd be loaded up with George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams and Benjamin Banneker. Then the week would be over and back to the dead white guys for the rest of the year.

It was so confusing. I'd have brothers from the Nation of Islam selling Bean Pies and trying to educate me on the true history. Most of the time they would give me The Call newspaper for free.

I'd read it. I wasn't down with the white devil part of the newspaper but they would have actual history that was missing from school text.

There weren't much at the local library about black history that was accessible to a kid. I know this for a fact; I was very through in search those shelves. It was the beginning of children focused history book but not enough at the time. Certainly none at my school until later around 1970 or so.

We heard about Malcolm X but did not truly understand. There was Dudley in a Three Stooges short, the one with the plumbing. There was Julia, the nurse on TV. There was OJ jumping at the airport. Folks read The Tribune for real black folks new.

It was a separate and unequaled world. Even at the movies.

They Call Me Mister Tibbs! was the first movie I was allowed to go to by myself at the Saturday afternoon matinee. It was double featured with Dracula, Prince of Darkness.

Christopher Lee scared me so bad I will not voluntarily watch another vampire movie again in my life. Hate blood suckers in all forms. A big honking Technicolor movie. Drac was gushing it and I was sitting front row center. My cheeks filled with popcorn not wanting to believe what I was seeing. That dude was wicked bad.

Mister Tibbs? Well, being 9 or 10 I thought it was a good movie. I didn't know black folks wore suits in Philly. I'd never seen any around my way except for the Nation of Islam men but they really didn't wear suits but jackets, ties and pants that did or did not match.

Sidney Poitier looked might fine in his shiny slicked up duds. I kept my eyes on the sheriff cuz I was sure he was gonna shoot somebody in the back before the movie was over and my vote was him whacking Sidney.

Yes, I know. Drac made a bigger impression on me than Sidney Poitier. I made up for it in later years by watching most all of Sidney's movies.

My history falls in and out of context with the official American narrative. The context of Black and African American history was and maybe is still presented as surviving. Yes, African Americans do insist on surviving.

But we also create. Innovate. Illuminate. Even in constrictive times that is so.

Constrictive time indeed. These are good days. There will be better ones. A good day, by the way, is one you get to start and finish without major pain or mental injury.

Yep. A good day.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Poetry In Plain Sight - Frank Mundo

I have to struggle to write. I can come up with ideas a plenty. I can write but I have to draw up from the depths. To write and tell the story solid takes a willingness to bust secrets and make them irrefutable.

In Frank Mundo's The Brubury Tales there is a path to the people and places we know and file away. Frank doesn't allow the memories to get filed. In this piece called Holiday Inn there are memories and feelings from security guards that are trying to win vacation time.

To keep up with activities of the San Gabriel Valley poetry community visit

Psst: I got a new camcorder that records in high definition. If you are choking on bandwidth issues click the HD to have it downshift to standard definition.