ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes

   

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I am a tornado child. / I tremble at the elements. / When thunder rolls

my mother-womb trembles, / remembering the tweak of contractions

 

 

Books by Kwame Dawes

She's Gone / Wisteria, Twilight Songs / I Saw Your Face / Bob Marley Impossible Flying /  Midland  / Natural Mysticism

Twenty: South Carolina Poetry Fellows / A Far Cry from Plymouth Rock / A Place to Hide Wheel and Come Again

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Tornado Child

         for Rosalie Richardson

By Kwame Dawes

I am a tornado child

I come like a swirl of black

and darken up your day:

I whip it all into my womb,

lift you and your things,

carry you to where you've never been

and maybe, if I feel good,

I might bring you back,

all warm and scared,

heart humming wild like a bird

after early sudden flight.

I am a tornado child.

I tremble at the elements.

When thunder rolls

my mother-womb trembles,

remembering the tweak of contractions

that tightened to a wail

when my mother pushed me out

into the black of tornado night.

I am a tornado child,

you can tell us from far,

by the crazy of our hair;

couldn't tame it if I tried.

Even now I tie a bandanna

to silence the din of anarchy

in these coir-thick plaits

I am a tornado child,

born in the whirl of clouds;

the centre crumbled,

then I came. my lovers

know the blast

of my chaotic giving;

they tremble at the whip

of my supple thighs;

tornado child, you cross me

at your peril, I cling to light

when the warm of anger

lashes me into a spin,

the pine trees bend to me

swept in my gyrations.

I am a tornado child.

When the spirit takes my head,

I hurtle into the vacuum

of white sheets billowing

and paint a swirl of colour,

streaked with my many songs.

from Wisteria, Twilight Songs from the Swamp Country

posted 14 September 2006

Kwame Dawes is the author of 13 books of poetry and many books of fiction, nonfiction, and drama, most recently Hope's Hospice (2009) and She's Gone (2007). He is Distinguished Poet in Residence at the University of South Carolina, where he directs the South Carolina Poetry Initiative and the University of South Carolina Arts Institute. He is the programming director of Jamaica's Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

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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

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Home Is Where

An Anthology of African American Poetry from the Carolinas

By Kwame Dawes

In Home is Where, Kwame Dawes compiles the work of more than two dozen African American poets from the Carolinas, showcasing a vast array of original voices writing on subjects ranging from Jim Crow to jazz, haunted landscapes to romantic love-all in an attempt to define the South as home. Dawes-a nationally celebrated poet, dramatist, scholar, novelist, essayist, and founder of the South Carolina Poetry Initiative at the University of South Carolina-edits this new and unparalleled anthology from Hub City Press.

The poets range in notoriety from National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, PEN American Open Book Award winner Nikky Finney, and Ansfield-Wolf Book Award winner A. Van Jordan to poets less recognizable by name whose work readers will immediately recognize as powerful, musical, and accomplished. In his introduction to the anthology, Dawes proclaims the necessity of this collection, not only for getting extraordinary poetry into the hands of readers but also for the political importance of the voices represented.

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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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. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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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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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 5 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files:   Wisteria, Twilight Songs   Vengeance   Black Funk  Tornado Child