ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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The surge is working / Two hours of electricity in the best neighborhoods

Even Saddam did better than this / Billions have gone to reconstruction

A sham even Condi can’t explain / Blackwater cowboys ride wild



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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Baghdad By the Bay: The Surge Is Working

 By Marvin X

The surge is working the general says

Why not with Baghdad under siege

30,000 Crusaders on post

The surge is working fine

4 million vacated their houses

The surge is working

The doctors, professors, scientists

All gone to Jordan , Syria , Iran

The surge is working

Uncle Abdullah is paid off in his desert tent

For now the insurgents have switched sides

the assassins costume change to pimp the Crusaders

After all, they must pay for every drop of blood

It is the Arab way.


The surge is working

Two hours of electricity in the best neighborhoods

Even Saddam did better than this

Billions have gone to reconstruction

A sham even Condi can’t explain

Blackwater cowboys ride wild

Killing through the streets

With immunity like they used to kill niggers

Great progress from niggers to sand niggers

The surge is working.


Now you want to surge your punk ass into Iran

Go head white boy, yr end is near

It is sad we are here in your midst

Don’t you see there is no more water

fire has come this time

For all yr iniquities there must be justice

This is not a pretty day

Even the night shall be ugly and mothers shall scorn

The hour of their birth and the birth of their children

For every hateful thing you have done throughout time

Stealing nigger mail in the dirty south

Stealing the life of black soldiers from the Civil War to WWI, WWII, Korea

Vietnam and Iraq

You must go to the cashier and cash in your chips.

The surge is working.

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Amiri Baraka and Marvin X Rock UC Berkeley Poetry Reading

1 November 2007

Amiri Baraka was his usual feisty and musical self at Wheeler Hall tonight on the campus of UC Berkeley. He added his own drum beats by pounding on the podium to a packed crowd of mostly white students as he delivered his revolutionary poems in his inimitable style. We were told the Wheeler audience is not used to such disquieting poetics, but they were in for an even greater shock when he handed the mike to his comrade in the Black Arts Movement, the Bay Area's Marvin X, one of the co-founders of BAM and a former UC lecturer in Black Studies. The UC Berkeley Bancroft Library recently acquired his archives.

Marvin stepped to the podium and recited in his well known booming voice that rocked the auditorium and sent shock waves through the students. In short, they came alive and attentive to his every word, enunciated clearly as his mother taught him, "Boy, you are not going far in life if you don't stop mumbling and speak up so people can understand what you saying."

He read three poems: This, What If and Baghdad by the Bay: The Surge is Working. Even though shocked, the audience clearly appreciated his delivery and message. Many were surprised to learn he is the West Coast founder of BAM, along with playwright Ed Bullins. Marvin, Ed Bullins and Eldridge Cleaver organized the political/cultural center known  as Black House which became the center of Black radical culture for a few months in 1967. It later became the headquarters of the San Francisco Black Panther Party. Through Black House came artists and politicos such as Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Amina Baraka, Chicago Art Ensemble, Avochja, Sarah Webster Fabio, Emory Douglas, Samuel Napier, George Murray, Little Bobby Hutton, and a host of others.

Master poet Amiri Baraka returned to the mike for the Q and A. He told them we are in a reactionary time but the duty of the poet is to tell the truth, to spread consciousness and help swing the pendulum to revolution. He gave the Sisyphus metaphor of rolling the rock up the hill only to have it fall down again--such has been the historical cycle of our people, and according to Baraka we are in the down cycle. We have a genre of post civil rights negroes who know no struggle, see no struggle and hear no struggle, deaf, dumb and blind, yet believe they are walking in the light. He told the room of poets and literary students to get their writings out by any means necessary. Take a que from Marvin X, publish them yourself, he said. Don't wait to be discovered.

Baraka reads again tomorrow, Thursday at 12 noon and 6:30pm. If Marvin doesn't appear with him, he will probably be downtown Oakland at his outdoor classroom, 14th and Broadway. On Friday he will conduct his Pan African Mental Health Peer Group at the Berkeley Black Repertory Group Theatre,  3201 Adeline, 7pm.

*   *   *   *   *'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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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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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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update  24 February 2012




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