ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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

Google
 

But what do we know about such things? /the stark & stink of public schools & crooked books

as the texts we had to read / & the tests we had to take

are written in a lord white thought / projectin' & insistin' on Black subordination

 

 

Books by Louis Reyes Rivera

Who Pays The Cost (1978) / This One For You (1983) / Scattered Scripture

 Bum Rush the Page (co-editor) / The Bandana Republic (co-editor)

Sancocho: A Book of Nuyorican Poetry by Shaggy Flores (edited by Louis Reyes Rivera)

*   *   *   *   *

Mickey

       (1945-2007)

             Louis Reyes Rivera

 

Mickey.

What do we know

about the shapes of things?

 

Comin' into life, wanting...

nurtured on our mamas' milk

lookin' to be hugged & loved.

 

Born onto a hostile Brooklyn street

upon the soil of a segregated north

among the first families of Marcy Chaplain turf,

there we were...

from the womb of Ruth & the loins of Amelia

pushing thru vaginal warmth

fightin' hard to stay alive

to bear that weight in search of more

clingin' to the semblance of a blatant truth

despite that muddled stalk confronting us

cemented trees & green mowed grass

locked within fenced gray pens

relegated to the projects

 

But what do we know about such things?

the stark & stink of public schools & crooked books

as the texts we had to read

& the tests we had to take

are written in a lord white thought

projectin' & insistin' on Black subordination

teachers & principles

cops & postment like subway engineers

or firemen & pfizer trucks

a cascade laundry

a greek-owned diner

an irish gangster's local bar

completely owned & stacked without us

like the store that's staffed with strangers

in boardrooms, on PTAs & neighborhoods abandoned

or the factories in Bedford-Sty

clearly seen & glaring loud

the fact that we are not included

 

They used to call you wild

Crazy Mickey, some would say

just 'cause even when you smiled you laughed

rough & loud

like when you couldn't land

that left hook right

you'd just charge, wrestle 'em to the ground

rollin' on the dirt & glass of concrete

hard & mad

like the anger swelling in your heart

from the truth you felt beneath the lie

about flesh & kin defending

 

But what do we know?

Targets for a bullet's badge

a cellblock gate

a judge's loom

a factory gig to lay in

like heroin's addiction

grabbing another bottle by the throat

to swing or swig away

the ace of contradiction

 

There are things we seldom ever really know

how math gets cloaked in scientific fact

to shape the lies we are given to accept

or die before our hearts are born

 

Remember(?)

Baby & Pancake & Ooh-Poo-Pee-Doo

Bobby Johnson, Robbie Walker

Thurmon Philip Butch

Shotgun Ditty Tan

Charlie Papo Ray

Yonkie Plunkie Bay

Leroy & Cliffy

Lawrence & Leonard

June & Moogans

Cimarron & Spanish Al...

none of them to bid a last farewell

 

Yes, sir, Mickey, of course, we grow

ripe & rife with longing

the stubborn we engage

to claim a space that is our own

partaking of that promise

made to us by life itself

to take & hold this bitter claim

to live & work & birth our own

& tend to what we need to tend

& lift ourselves as best we can

to rise above the dearth of someone else's

psycho-racial stew

 

We're here.

We count. We matter

even while Ole Finite Life

will come to take our flesh & bone

will cart our kin away

& leave it to our sisters and our men

to carry the coffin

ride that hearse

& read from the letters of our will to do

the fact that we were here.

12 February 2007

posted 15 February 2007

*   *   *   *   *

Bill Moyers and James Cone (Interview)  / A Conversation with James Cone

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#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 Eroticanoir.com 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

Non-fiction

#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

*   *   *   *   *

1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.”

We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

*   *   *   *   *

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

By David Graeber

Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems—to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There’s not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods—that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.  Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like “guilt,” “sin,” and “redemption”) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong.

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        

Enjoy!

*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *

*   *   *   *   *

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

 

 

 

 

 

update 9 May 2012

 

 

 

Home   Louis Reyes Rivera Table

Related files: Scattered Scripture   Inside the river of poetry  (compulsion strikes the witness)   jorge's journey     Lest We Forget Killens   Mickey (poem) Louis Reyes Rivera Interview   

Filiberto Ojeda Rios Puerto Rican Sovereignty  Writers' Workshop  On the Passing of Rich Bartee   TESTAMENT  In Confidence  For Rich Bartee  Tribute to Bartee  A Light in the Tunnel