ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
In Obama, Hope and Optimism are afloat and yearning hearts
soar into flights of freedom And joyous fellowship, for people have
become kinder, more patient and more embracing.And thus again
I ask, is this the magical Moment of that dreamed mountaintop?
Books by Rose Ure Mezu
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Ancestral forebears are you now content, I ask?
By Dr. Rose Ure Mezu
Are you now content, ancestral forebears?
You of the liquid poetry, are you truly content?
Brave sable verbal and physical warriors,
Tell me, are your hearts now at rest?
Has the Rubicon been effectively crossed?
Are the collective dreams for which you fought now fulfilled?
Have we all become one? And are you now truly content?
Tell me, Toussaint LOuverture, Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey –
You diehard warrior-nationalists with names whistling in the wind,
Who gave your lives to make Black people as free as whites
Is this the dream you saw? And are you at last content with Obama?
Tell me, Booker T. Washington, has gradualism paid off?
Is the economic base secure enough to face equality through the vote?
It has taken 113 years from Atlanta Compromise to this golden Moment
Are you now content, I ask? Is Obama the answer to your lifes labor?
Marcus Garvey, and pre-Mecca Malcolm X, Rev. Jeremiah Wright
You all and such as you drew the line on the sand
No accommodation, no mixing of the races, no dilution of Black purity
Are you content with Barack Hussein Obama, he of the mixed race?
Consistent in his message of sacrifice, Oneness, Optimism and Hope
Whipping up a post civil rights rainbow generation into a ball of palpable enthusiasm;
Are you now content, I ask? Is Obama the answer to your toil and lifes sacrifice?
Fred Douglass, Alexander Crummell, W.E.B.DuBois, Claude McKay of the
African Blood Brotherhood word-warriors and fiery ideologues,
Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Nelson Mandela
Brave nationalists, I ask you, have all our separate dreams now meshed into one?
Our dreams of equity, justice and accommodation, have they now made of
Our America a more perfect union? Are we all now one people, one world?
Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, James L. Farmer, Rosa Parks
Though dead who yet live on, is Martins fierce urgency of now realized?
Because little black boys and little black girls have now joined hands
With little white boys and little white girls, you must be content, Martin!
For surely, todays table of brotherhood is measured by the content of character
And colors of skin seem meshed since the Jew, Caucasian, the African and Asian
Now sit together and can all eat at the same table; Martin, is this the dreamed Moment!
Wyatt Tee Walker, Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Al Sharpton – civil rights activists,
Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker – wielders of imagination and word magic,
Chinua Achebe, Soyinka, Ngugi wa ThiongO, Okechukwu Mezu PanAfricanists, and
Rudy Lewis, Wilson J.Moses, Ishmael Reed, Rose Mezu, Amin Sharif living word warriors
And all you others still living, have we arrived at that magical mountain top moment,
Passing through the pathway of work and love to an unending treasury of opportunities for all?
All ye nationalists – radical, moderate, conservative have you coalesced and morphed
Into this lanky Achiever, and dreamer of dreams, son of intellectual, adventuring griots,
Into this youthful Seer and doer of deeds of measured thinking and soaring rhetoric
Who inspires people on a basic human level, who has put power back into we the peoples hands
Such that old people seem dazed that their improbable dreams have indeed come true
And the Young can clearly see actual visions of energy, unity and concrete freedom.
In Obama, Hope and Optimism are afloat and yearning hearts soar into flights of freedom
And joyous fellowship, for people have become kinder, more patient and more embracing.
And thus again I ask, is this the magical Moment of that dreamed mountaintop?
Is Barack Obama the Joshua to Martin Luther King, Jr.s Moses?
Is this the fulfillment of the dreams of generations long gone and living?
Is the change we want Obama? Have we at last set foot on the Promised Land?
Are you now content, you ancient and recently dead, and living African forebears
That out of the tall savannahs of Africa, a child of your loins is the first global Gentleman?
His wife Michelle and Malia and Sasha now occupy the White House constructed for others
With the calloused hands and sweat and blood of enslaved black and brown forebears?
As America, with a digitalized world, renews itself, Hope transforms a jangling discord
Of hate into a beautiful symphony played by a man of multicolored race-tapestry
Who as prophesied by McKay stands erect like a king in state within Americas walls,
With not a shred of terror, malice, not a word of jeer but with Love for All
Poised to pilot America to a new era of true knowing and justice to all unclenched fists.
This son of a father issuing out of a far-off hamlet steers all toward a reaching-out to
Peoples of other climes and tongues with vision pointed outwards to include in
DuBoiss immortal words, Africa, China, and Indias strand / where Kenya and Himalaya
stand and the Nile and Yang-tze roll;
With vision pointed toward the Rising Sun who rule the night and where Black is bright
Barack Obama is a town-crier awakening a sleeping world to honor the sun of Justice and Truth.
Surely, ancient, free and enslaved African forebears, at last, your hearts must be content!
19-20 January 2009
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The New Dawn of a Thousand Splendid Suns
By Dr. Rose Ure Mezu
With just one vote cast in America, everywhere a new world is born
Morning yesterday, and late into the next day, it was still morning
Morning here and there and, everywhere cold and misery stopped
On faces smiles, laughter boomed forth, fists pumped into the air
Horns hooted the night owl away to make room for the cheery hare
It is the dawn of a New Day, from happy hearts new plans are afoot
For now it is okay to smile, it is fashionable to dream dreams again
Not just to plot and scheme looking for a gun and a gain
Not just to shoot in the foot and hurl all the bad names in the book
Now, its the in-thing to be young again, young as this new dawn
Indeed, the Age of Aquarius is with us anew, a golden age of youth
The Age of a thousand splendid suns, of baking heat; somethings cooking
Something, something good to eat and share and also more to give away
Not hoarding according to creed or tongue or color or race; an Age of the
New moon when the old sit around and watch the young at moonlit play
From coast to coast, from all peoples black and white and brown and yellow
Jubilant shouts fill the air, caps and scarves like confetti thrown up in the sky
A thrilling new moment that captures the end of an old order of rancorous dislike
The passing of an age of strife and of wars that turned the world into a wasteland
And pitted hearts against hearts, nations against nations, people against people
Making their mock against the divine dictum of Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself
Upon us once again is the Age of Romance and idealism that stirs and thrills the soul
When a tall, lanky, young Black, self-assured, with the DNA and voice of a Kenyan griot
Stands tall and proclaims that we are one nation no black or brown or white or yellow
That all nations are all one people, one God-ordained rainbow world, and we all can be,
If only we can believe in the Change We Need, and that Oh, yes, We Can, indeed!
Articulate and young, with flourishing oratorical skills, he dares all to dream again
If Barack Obama is a man of destiny, no human being can change it.
Four years ago, there was no Obama on the national scene, but today there is
Barack is a creature come to fill a vast and deep void that is crying to be filled.
The hungry heart to stay alive will always grab at the food and drink it is offered
And since the old track road is dusty, foot-worn and strewn with pricking thorns
Peoples tread this New Path in answer to the call of this throbbing freshly-strung Drum
Seeking to Spread the Wealth of the New Deals warmth both at home and abroad
Barack Hussein Obama as unlikely a name as Guess Who comes to Dinner
But in a world in which old and young dare to laugh again, hope and dream
Nothing, nothing it seems is impossible and anything, and everything can happen!
He has other names too Inspirational, Kennedyesque, New Camelot Reborn
Transformational, Transgenerational, Transcendent, PostCivil Rights, PostRacial
But I call him TransAfrica a New World Hybrid of free White and Black Love
That comes to lay to quiet rest the ghosts of slavery, greed and ignorance
That comes to cleanse and heal and soothe the gaping wound on Africas soul
That comes to wipe clean the stain on the soul of America, this New World of wonder
That is an experiment on multicultural living with colors as bright as the Rainbow
That heralds the New Age of a thousand brilliant suns, and is it any wonder,
That in Africa, we always believed that it is Yet Morning on Gods Creation Day.
November 5, 2008
Dr. Rose Ure Mezu was born in Nigeria and studied in Port-Harcourt, (Nigeria), Abidjan, (Côte dIvoire ), Buffalo (New York) and Paris (France) where she graduated with a Diplôme dÉtudes from the Sorbonne. She obtained a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in 1993, specializing in Francophone and Anglo-phone Feminist Literature.
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Hi Rudy, WOW! What a day that was! . . . We were enthralled with yesterday’s inauguration and . . . have a wonderful feeling inside.
Yes, the inauguration was wonderful! WOW! I was so proud, too!! A blessed day!
The girls are so adorable and Michelle is lovely and smart and down to earth. They will be the best family in the White House this country has ever seen.
Obama relates to the young kids, they love him! He knows what’s in, he likes hip hop and relates!! as well as to Aretha Franklin and Little Stevie, too. He loves music! When have you ever seen kids so excited about the President? When has their ever been a Ball on Inauguration night for kids that the President and his wife were welcome to?
We’ve never had a president that could keep the beat, clap on time to the rhythm of a song and CAN dance, too. So, he’s hip to not only politics. He reaches the kids and they want to emulate him.
Some don’t even have Dad’s. He puts on no airs, he’s genuine! WHAT? An honest President in the USA? Can it be true? Let those that hate and fear this new administration slip into their guilt and greedy world and wither away. We aren’t the future any more. Our kids and grandkids will have their faith and ideals restored in this country.Love, Nita
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#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
#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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A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens.
Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake.
She conveys something fundamental about Eschs fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, whats salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.
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Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America.
Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.Publishers Weekly
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By Kiini Ibura Salaam
Ancient, Ancient collects the short fiction by Kiini Ibura Salaam, of which acclaimed author and critic Nalo Hopkinson writes, ”Salaam treats words like the seductive weapons they are. She wields them to weave fierce, gorgeous stories that stroke your sensibilities, challenge your preconceptions, and leave you breathless with their beauty.” Indeed, Ms. Salaam’s stories are so permeated with sensuality that in her introduction to
, Nisi Shawl, author of the award-winning Filter House, writes, ”Sexuality-cum-sensuality is the experiential link between mind and matter, the vivid and eternal refutation of the alleged dichotomy between them. This understanding is the foundation of my 2004 pronouncement on the burgeoning sexuality implicit in sf’s Afro-diasporization. It is the core of many African-based philosophies. And it is the throbbing, glistening heart of Kiini’s body of work. This book is alive. Be not afraid.”
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By Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
Somebody has to tell the truth sometime, whatever that truth may be. In this, her début full collection, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie offers up a body of work that bears its scars proudly, firm in the knowledge that each is evidence of a wound survived. These are songs of life in all its violent difficulty and beauty; songs of fury, songs of love. ‘Karma’s Footsteps’ brims with things that must be said and turns the volume up, loud, giving silence its last rites. “Ekere Tallie’s new work ‘Karma’s Footsteps’ is as fierce with fight songs as it is with love songs. Searing with truths from the modern day world she is unafraid of the twelve foot waves that such honesties always manifest. A poet who “refuses to tiptoe” she enters and exits the page sometimes with short concise imagery, sometimes in the arms of delicate memoir. Her words pull the forgotten among us back into the lightning of our eyes.Nikky Finney / Ekere Tallie Table
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 21 January 2009