ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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The taloned owl, Monarch of the night / For all the terror of his princely flight

And ruin of his planetary fall / He drops on rodents. 

 

 

Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925 (1988)  / The Wings of Ethiopia  (1990)

 Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (1992)  / Destiny & Race: Selected Writings, 1840-1898  (1992) 

 Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1993)

Liberian Dreams: Back-to-Africa Narratives from the 1850s  / Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (2002)

Creative Conflict in African American Thought (2004)

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Andromeda 19

            for Irene

 

By Wilson J. Moses

 

All tales of her are unreliable

Andromeda, a distant nebula

Beyond all grasp. The knowing classicist

Caresses a breast of cold marble.

 

Blind Galilei cannot glimpse such spans.

Euclid alone with caliber supreme

Can gaze upon the naked Galaxy

Where knowing transcends sight.

 

True scientists, those carrion quisling crows,

Flee screeching, at the splendor of a shadow.

I smile with satisfaction for I know

They cannot touch her.

 

The fustian parrot in his motley jean

Vaunting aloud within the tangled green

But inward wracked with pain to show his plume

Hides from the perilous sky.

 

The taloned owl, Monarch of the night

For all the terror of his princely flight

And ruin of his planetary fall

He drops on rodents. 

 

The Condor soars to sickening heights

But does not seek to know the swirling stars.

How sad the plummet of his bald career! 

His circling gaze is earthward. 

 

And if some flippant Perseus mounts the air

On Achillean tendons wrenched to wings

Flapping aloft with prurient assurance

He holds Gorgon, not Andromeda within his grasp

 

And the Lord Eagle, rising in his might! 

Proud in the rhythm of his thrusting wing

My comfort!  My revenge!  Ah, my delight!

He comes no closer than I do to Andromeda. 

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Andromeda 11

                      for Irene

 

By Wilson J. Moses

 

“Lat swiche folies out of youre heart slyde.

What deyntee sholde a man han in his lyf

For to love another man’s wyf,

That hath hir body whan so that hym liketh?”

                                                                 Chaucer

All tales of her are unreliable.

A faint nebula I can barely see

Euclid alone, supremely confident

In a remote language

Has broached the distances to Andromeda,

And peeped the naked Galaxy.

 

The flippant classicist

Touches a breast of cold marble

And if some loutish Perseus

Wrenches upward on Achillean tendons

Strikes the air with a prurient assurance

He holds Gorgon, not Andromeda within his grasp

 

True scientists, those carrion crows,

When she appears, their councils disintegrate

In flapping, screeching consternation

I smile derision as they noisily explode

 

The boastful parrot dare not show his feather

Hooting and squawking down the leafy corridors

Consorting with monkeys in the darkened green

Hiding himself beneath a perilous blue

 

The taloned owl, prince of darkness

For all the terror of his descent

And majesty of his planetary speed

He falls on rodents. 

 

The Condor soars to sickening heights

But does not seek to reach the swirling stars.

His gaze is earthward. 

How sad the plummet of his bald career! 

 

And the great eagle, ascending in his might!  

Glorious in the thrust of his majestic wing!

Ah, my comfort!  My revenge!

He comes no closer

Than I do to Andromeda. 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

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#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

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#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

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#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *

Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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Hopes and Prospects

By Noam Chomsky

In this urgent new book, Noam Chomsky surveys the dangers and prospects of our early twenty-first century. Exploring challenges such as the growing gap between North and South, American exceptionalism (including under President Barack Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S.-Israeli assault on Gaza, and the recent financial bailouts, he also sees hope for the future and a way to move forward—in the democratic wave in Latin America and in the global solidarity movements that suggest "real progress toward freedom and justice." Hopes and Prospects is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the primary challenges still facing the human race. "This is a classic Chomsky work: a bonfire of myths and lies, sophistries and delusions. Noam Chomsky is an enduring inspiration all over the world—to millions, I suspect—for the simple reason that he is a truth-teller on an epic scale. I salute him." —John Pilger

In dissecting the rhetoric and logic of American empire and class domination, at home and abroad, Chomsky continues a longstanding and crucial work of elucidation and activism . . .the writing remains unswervingly rational and principled throughout, and lends bracing impetus to the real alternatives before us.—
Publisher's Weekly

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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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Negro Digest / Black World

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Enjoy!

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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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posted 25 October 2006 / update 2 January 2012

 

 

 

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