ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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love excites me & loveless sex turns me off / is that confusing? like a lake

at high tide i totally open / myself to someone i love & if i don't

i only want him to hurry up & be over / although i never kiss & never tell

them that—we all know / there is such a thing / as too much reality



Books by Kalamu ya Salaam


The Magic of JuJu: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement  /   360: A Revolution of Black Poets

Everywhere Is Someplace Else: A Literary Anthology  /  From A Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets

Our Music Is No Accident   /  What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self

My Story My Song (CD)


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Ornette Coleman Albums

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Lonely Woman

                   By Kalamu ya Salaam


to be thot by the world as nonattractive

is so cruel a twist of birth

to be told yr weight is too much or not

enuf, yr face shape "ah . . . well, unique"


not to look like tv & cable

not to walk like magazines

not to smell like designed aromas

is so much

the way life really is


despite tons of pretty people

crisscrossing this century

beauty remains a rare thing, as rare as

infant eyes in an adult head


somewhere after high

school (& a prom nite that shouldda been my first

abortion) u wonder: is there any


            in this whole wide

            kaleidoscope who can truly, truly . . .


            what i mean by "truly" is

            be sincere in feeling, &

understand how that mustard spot spilt

            on my blouse may be several days old

            but i'm not a filthy person, yes

            a bit uncaring abt neatness but you

            could eat off the floor in my kitchen...

                        (that's a joke . . .)

            i don't have any chairs in my kitchen

            & sometimes when i come in late at night

            i sit on the floor & eat chinese in the semi-dark

            ha-ha, . . .


love excites me & loveless sex turns me off

is that confusing? like a lake

at high tide i totally open

myself to someone i love & if i don't

i only want him to hurry up & be over

although i never kiss & never tell

them that—we all know

there is such a thing

as too much reality


but if i could find a man somewhat

like my cat, i could touch him & talk to him

tell all, focus on sanity

& share slices of apple & my dimpleless

smile, the strange odor of my hair when its

wet by the silver rain i've walked into

to forget the dryness of days


at work they train me in congeniality

show me how to smile at strangers

with money in their hands

my mother told me never to do that

if you saw my chronology

you would look at my finger

nails and shake your head

the bitten edges confirmation

that loneliness is

a compulsive eating disorder &

what i do with my hands

a blues connotation


did i mention i'm black?

well dark brown really (smile . . .)

& female once a menses,

i'm ramblin' aren't i?


on a job application

for a position i never got

i once put down "ornette coleman"

as kin to notify because of that song

he made: "lonely woman"


i'm sure he stole those sound-tears

from someone he had hurt, made cry—


            no man

            has ever

            really felt

            like that

Source: WordUp

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The Shape Of Jazz To Come: On this highly influential 1959 album, Ornette Coleman's unique writing style and idiosyncratic solo language forever changed the jazz landscape. On classics such as "Lonely Woman," "Congeniality," and "Focus on Sanity," Coleman used the tunes' moods and melodic contours, rather than their chords, as a basis for his improvisations. In so doing, he opened up jazz soloing immensely and ushered in new freedoms—both individually and collectively. Lest these innovations sound too dry or abstract, it must be noted that both Coleman and trumpeter Don Cherry play with a deep-felt emotion and joy that is as infectious today as it was then. This is truly an essential jazz recording, marking the end of one era, providing the blueprint for the next.—Wally Shoup

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What I’m saying about Ornette is that his emphasis on melody and rhythm, on preaching over a beat regardless of how he hooked the words up, that strongly appealed to me. And of all of Ornette’s large body of work, the composition that most strongly appealed to me was “Lonely Woman.” So what’s the connection between Ornette and rap? Well, rap took the popular song form, obliterated the harmony part, and emphasized preaching over a beat. And that was a revolutionary development, a development foreshadowed by what had already happened in the jazz world.

Meanwhile, over the years, Ornette’s revolution was absorbed by the jazz world. By the mid-Sixties, even Trane adopted and adapted Ornette’s approach—late period Trane is generally appraised as an acquired taste of the rarest sort, and again, that’s another story. Trane is another story. But a converging story in that Ornette’s approach became Trane’s approach.Kalamu ya Salaam

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Ornette Coleman, after an unsuccessful spell with R&B in his Texas homeland,  moved to the freer atmosphere of the West Coast. There he hooked up with other sympathetic artists including Don Cherry and Charlie Haden who he would later collaborate with on a number of ventures.

Innovation has been the hallmark of Coleman’s career and though he has at times been regarded as being ahead of his audiences, he has released a number of highly regarded albums, widely praised as moving free jazz forward. Among his releases, the albums Change of the Century (1959), Science Fiction (1971) and Sound Grammar (2006) are considered to be among his strongest. The Sound Grammar album, released almost 50 years after his first, earned him a Pulitzer Prize.

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Ornette Coleman (born 9 March 1930 in Fort Worth, Texas) continues to push himself into unusual playing situations, often with much younger musicians or musicians from radically different musical cultures, and still performs regularly. An increasing number of his compositions, while not ubiquitous, have become minor jazz standards, including "Lonely Woman," "Peace," "Turnaround," "When Will the Blues Leave?" "The Blessing," "Law Years," "What Reason Could I Give" and "I've Waited All My Life", among others. He has influenced virtually every saxophonist of a modern disposition, and nearly every such jazz musician, of the generation that followed him. His songs have proven endlessly malleable: pianists such as Paul Bley and Paul Plimley have managed to turn them to their purposes; John Zorn recorded Spy vs Spy (1989), an album of extremely loud, fast, and abrupt versions of Coleman songs. Finnish jazz singer Carola covered Coleman's "Lonely Woman" and there have even been country-music versions of Coleman tunes (by Richard Greene).

Coleman's playing has profoundly influenced, directly or otherwise, countless musicians, trying as he has for five decades to understand and discover the shape of not just jazz, but all music to come. On February 11, 2007, Ornette Coleman was honored with a Grammy award for lifetime achievement, in recognition of this legacy. On May 1, 2010, Ornette was awarded a honorary doctorate.Wikipedia

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music website >
writing website >
daily blog >
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Men We Love, Men We Hate
SAC writings from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain high schools in New Orleans.

An anthology on the topic of men and relationships with men

Ways of Laughing
An Anthology of Young Black Voices
Photographed & Edited by
Kalamu ya Salaam

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Guarding the Flame of Life / Strange Fruit Lyncing Report

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John Coltrane, "Alabama"  /  Kalamu ya Salaam, "Alabama"  / A Love Supreme

A Blues for the Birmingham Four  /  Eulogy for the Young Victims   / Six Dead After Church Bombing 

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

*   *   *   *   *'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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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. Lisa Adkins, University of London

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My First Coup d'Etat

And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa

By John Dramani Mahama

Though the colonies of sub-Saharan Africa began to claim independence in the late 1950s and ’60s, autocratic and capricious leadership soon caused initial hope to fade, and Africa descended into its “lost decades,” a period of stagnation and despondency from which much of the continent has yet to recover. Mahama, vice president of the Republic of Ghana, grew up alongside his nascent country and experienced this roller-coaster of fortunes. In this memoir, Mahama, the son of a member of parliament, recounts how affairs of state became real in his young mind on the day in 1966 when no one came to collect him from boarding school—the government had been overthrown, his father arrested, and his house confiscated. In fluid, unpretentious style, Mahama unspools Ghana’s recent history via entertaining and enlightening personal anecdotes: spying on his uncle impersonating a deity in order to cajole offerings of soup from the villagers hints at the power of religion; discussions with his schoolmates about confronting a bully form the nucleus of his political awakening.

As he writes: “The key to Africa’s survival has always been . . . in the story of its people, the paradoxical simplicity and complexity of our lives.” The book draws to a close as the author’s professional life begins. Publishers 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

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

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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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ChickenBones Store (Books, DVDs, Music, and more) 






posted 21 August 2010




Home  Kalamu Table

Related files: Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come   Lonely Woman   Govern Yrself Accordingly