ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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The lovers are helpless. They are blind. They refuse to see flaws, sometimes

tragic flaws, in the beloved. In the eyes of the lover, the beloved is perfect.

Mother and father can tell the lover nothing against the beloved. It is a

condition approaching insanity, if not insanity itself.



Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America / Woman: Man's Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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Love and Spirituality

By Marvin X


God is love. The love of God is the path through which we come to love humanity. If we cannot love humanity we cannot love God. You say you love God, but you hate niggers. What if God turned out to be a nigger? What if your daughter married a nigger?

I cannot hate Christians because my children are in the church, my people are in the church. I just say, "Get right church." Come into the new millennium. Discard that slavery time theology, servants be obedient to your master. You are too close to Pharaoh to be close to Jesus. Jesus was not with Pharaoh or Caesar. Liberation theology is what Jesus was about. If you love Jesus, you love liberation, you love revolution. If you hate revolution you hate Jesus. Jesus liberated the human spirit and it was a radical liberation of love.

A radical understanding of Jesus will allow one to reach spiritual maturity for we shall understand all things possess love and reflect love. This is true for humans, animals and nature. Look into the creek and see love flowing in the water. Look at the rose and see love. Look at the woman, the man, the child, for they are manifestations of love. If they are evil it is not God's fault but society. What is more loving than a baby until that baby is abused, deprived and abandoned. That loving child becomes a murderer, a rapist, a sociopath. That child becomes a mental patient. That child has no knowledge of love.

Prisoners will tell you they never received a hug in their life. Now we sometimes hear that a child was just born evil. Maybe we should check the DNA—it could be from a family of murderers, rapists, bank robbers, pimps. Even then the child can be redeemed with love power. I know a sister who adopted five crack babies. Some were unable to speak, had been abandoned, came from criminal families, but she showered them with love and attention, and under the circumstances, they are doing fine.

All children have problems, even the Kennedy children and the Bush children. Of course it could be something in the DNA, especially with the Bush children. Or it could be socialization. They're just doing what they saw their parents doing, like smoking crack.

The soul longs for love just as the thirsty longs for water. Love can be seen on the face of one who possesses it, in the eyes, in the skin. We can see love as we see the sun. Love can be heard in the voice of the lover and the beloved. It is the voice of total submission. There is absolutely nothing the lover won't do for the beloved. It is a selfless condition. The lover is no longer capable of selfishness, but is at the whim of the beloved. It is often a condition of helplessness. The lover will say, "I just can't help myself." That's why they say fools fall in love.

The lovers are helpless. They are blind. They refuse to see flaws, sometimes tragic flaws, in the beloved. In the eyes of the lover, the beloved is perfect. Mother and father can tell the lover nothing against the beloved. It is a condition approaching insanity, if not insanity itself.

I remember traveling from New York City to Montreal, Canada in the dead of winter to see my beloved. I have never experienced such cold weather since then, but the lips of my beloved took away any feeling of cold. Yes, she warmed my soul, even though when I went out into the street my face was frozen in seconds.

The heart is a precious thing, brittle as glass. All kinds of acts, from the heroic to savage, are committed in the name of love. The jails and prisons are full of men and women who committed crimes in the name of love. The mental wards are full of people who were in love but suffered a broken heart and never recovered.

The hospitals are full of people who were beaten bloody in the name of love, and the morgue is full of those who died in the name of love. Look at the dead soldiers coming back to America because of their love of country.

It is very difficult not to lose oneself in the name of love. By the nature of love, we lose oneself in the self of another. In my play One Day in the Life, the woman says to her man, "I put you before my son, but no more, you blew it buddy, I hate you."

Oh, when love turns to hate. That is when the sparks fly. That is when we discover love was quite superficial, whimsical, purely emotional, sexual, but not spiritual, emanating from the deep structure of the Divine mind, where love is tempered with reason and discipline, not based on pure emotion that can be shattered at the ring of a cell phone, "Who's that calling you, let me see, better not be that bitch, your baby's mama." Oh, love, a many splendid thing.

Spiritual consciousness allows us to withstand the pain of love, to appreciate the joy of love, to understand that love can be ephemeral, quite short-lived, if not based on Divine love that lasts forever. While lovers come and go, the river will always flow, the birds will fly, the bees will buzz, so flow with the flow. Let lovers love God and they shall find loving each other a pleasure.

A love supreme. A love supreme. A love supreme. A love Supreme.

Source: Toward Radical Spirituality, Black Bird Press, 2007  (c) 2006 by Marvin X (El Muhajir)

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Marvin X has given permission to Harvard University to publish his poem "For El Haji Rasul Taifa" from Love and War: Poems by Marvin X (1995). The poem will appear in The Encyclopedia of Islam in America Volume II, Greenwood Press, edited by Dr. Jocelyne Cesari of Harvard's Islam in the West Program. Mr. X is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Muslim American Literature, University of Arkansas Press, edited by Dr. Mojah Khaf. He is also in the forthcoming Muslim American Drama, Temple University.

posted 22 June 2006

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans.

The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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Allah, Liberty, and Love

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom

By Irshad Manji

In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times. What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation?

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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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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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