The Alchemy of Water & Wine

The Alchemy of Water & Wine


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



We scorn comfort for the poet’s song. This age / of tears have left me dry, the clanging discord

of crows flapping, must we drug our memories / put to proof rain is on the roof, dogs hunt us




Alchemy of Water & Wine

By Rudolph Lewis


i  mastery & security


Whose gold is this? challenge the poets

of the South, in that golden key that opens


the golden door to Paradise that fruitful

land closed to fairy tales of Science


& Time, its hollow ridges, roaring cataracts.

No matter. Centuries, millennia are


behind us, a sloping mellow shade, a swarm

of fireflies. An alien, I’m moved to tears


Her cheek was thin & pale her eyes hung

mute. I fell upon my knees & kissed moments


of golden sands, the bugle horn sounded, glowing

hands smote chords of might, the spirit dawned


in dark hazel eyes. She Goddess of Water

flushed rosy red like the northern night, her


bosom shook with a storm of sighs by my

obeisance. She’s life, crimson as a robin


tender as fingers on a mother’s breast.


ii  courage & forgetfulness


Stirring fanciful visions, the chord of

self trembles out of sight, touching gateways


of a barren shore. Come to me: kiss me: take

my hand, let’s roll in silent embrace. No


that is not it at all—only mad men sleep

with goddesses, these fancy fathoms of


tangled braids nourish grow coarse as clay

.We are better than Dog, dearer than Horse


wiser than Clown who drags down with novel

force, eyes glazed heavy with wine. Gold gilds.


Fool’s head whose heart is at the root of bitter

fruit, I pluck Traitor from my bosom. I die.


iii purification & fertility


My Beloved, better no trader boat ever

floated a European flag, yanked from


honest Nature’s rule. Would there be now

shallow hearts, puppets, servile tongues


preaching down a daughter’s heart, jingling

guineas of hurt snarling at heels. Thickets


whisper wants & lies that warp living truth

We scorn comfort for the poet’s song. This age


of tears have left me dry, the clanging discord

of crows flapping. Must we drug our memories


put to proof rain is on the roof? Dogs hunt us

in dreams. Staring at the wall, the lamp flickers


shadows rise & fall, tender voices cry. Hang of

the heavy-fruited tree, the spirit leaps within 


iv  slapstick & frolic


There’s no shame in love, whether the Beloved

is goddess or savage of burning mellow moons.


I will not hide from life; I will cling to lips

that drain trouble dr. I fear not my weakness


though a market of suitors overflow her

court. They fall & roll upon the ground



I get sick & tired the way the world talks to

a supple jointed  people about the magic


sails of common sense, the awe of nods 

& winks, a world bounded more and more by  


war drums. But that is no matter. Shouting

knots of stillness & rest, sunlight will yet leap

rainbows & brooks, shower a hungry people.

posted 18 July 2005

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011  


#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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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.

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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 20 October 2011 




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Related files: We Get Out of All Your Boxes   Uncertain Sweet Lips & Nightingales   Love in Action: Sermon in Verse  Baby, I’ll Do Right By You  In the Mirror I Am My Beloved

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