ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Idle minds set on their asses and let the petty / and jealous get in the way. When discovered

idle minds say, “You’re making a mountain / out of mole hill.”



Idle Minds Have Idle Time

By Austin L. Sydnor Jr.


Idle minds have idle time


Idle minds talk something he/she can’t change

like Mother Nature and Father Time, and always

changing the subject and have no action

because they have a passive verb


Idle minds talks about the problem, but have no

“Goddamn” solution to solving it.


Idle minds set on their asses and let the petty

and jealous get in the way. When discovered

idle minds say, “You’re making a mountain

out of mole hill.”


Idle minds don’t organize

They let the psychological and stress

 run them. They always asking “How you doing?”

or “How you feel?” They have no time for answers.

They say: “Monkey see monkey do!”

But I say: “Monkey doesn’t do anything for you!”


Idle minds always “sleeping through a revolution”

They try to tell everyone what to do and say

“Once I been there, I can always go back there.”

I say,  “Where to a plantation?”  They say, “You

at least get some kind of pay in an institution.”

And I say, “I’m deinstitutionalized

from a plantation and from that institution

and from quacks like Chicken Slim-Belly

living off the hog—selling a cracker Jesus

to be liberated by a nigger Jesus.”


Idle minds live off the hype—from

electoral politics, selling a cracker Jesus,

and/or (whatever the case may be)

the SUCKER bowl. I say, “I support

the people, no matter who else wins.”


Idle minds say what have you done for me

lately.  Take your time but hurry up.

Always complaining and like that ole nigger

saying: “Damn if you do—damn if you don’t”


Idle minds don’t want you to have much fun.

They call you “queer,” though they hog the game


Idle minds don’t want you to be bitter, neither.

They call you depressed.

I say, “Oppression leads to depression.”


Idle minds spend time talking about

“dumb shit” you did “fifty-eleven” years ago.

And when you try to clarify—

you are “defensive” or “living in the past.”


Idle minds will get in your “ism”

and say “give up and give in”

or “What are you doing for yourself.”


Idle minds never in your “oughtness”

and never do a GODDAMN thing for you.

They go from one extreme to another.

And you say, “Is this really happening?!”


Idle minds build you up and smack you

to the ground. They call that a “reality check.”


Idle minds call you everything under the sun.

They call you a son-of-a-bitch or the son of God

and/or whatever the case may be or as the quack

would say “thinking people against you.”

I say, “Hail to the people” or “HELL with the people.”


Idle minds tell you are suspicious and you

don’t have proof. But I say, “The court is run

by crackers and the jails are filled with niggers.


Idle minds love to play on words, but

again don’t like a crazy nigger to play on words.


Idle minds say, “Do as I say and not as I do.”

I say, “It is just telling you what you want to hear.”

Whatever idle minds do, I say, “Don’t believe the HYPE!”


Idle minds say “Don’t worry be happy!”

I say “Yes’m boss i’s comin.”


Idle minds don’t like to be played with.

You can tell  they don’t like a thinking nigger.


Idle minds like to play on your mind—a game

Called leading the sheep to the slaughter house


—back to an institution. And of course,


And “Please don’t take me back to that crazy house

—Mr. Boss Man.”


Idle minds say, “Jesus will feed you

and the welfare will feed you.”


Idle minds love and I MEAN LOVE


But they don’t want thinking minds



Idle minds have idle time.

posted 19 April 2006

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A Bio Statement by Austin L. Sydnor Jr.

I was born the second child, first of twin, and first male, named after my father. I have one sister, and two brothers. I grew up on the west-side, near downtown, Baltimore. My father was an ordained minister and my mother was active in the church. Later, she became a deaconess and director the gospel chorus at the church.

My father and mother were older parents. But that did not bother me, because I realized that I did not have any choice and this was a blessing. This was the strength I needed to face whatever life or even death brought my way. I took piano lessons, but later on that was not my fortitude. It did help me later. I directed two choirs over at my mother’s church—the young people and later on her chorus.

I graduated from Baltimore City College in 1969. I had a social conscious belief in other as I met several people from high school. I participated in the S.O.U.L. School, Black Student Union, and Black United Front. I later went to Liberation House Press. I joined VISTA. This is where I learned typesetting. During 1970, there was a student rebellion, and when I was downtown, a person, Walter H. Lively, asked me to get involved in printing. I could never actually print per se, but I had an interest in pre-press, now called word processing, but back in the day it was called typesetting. I was fascinated by typesetting, because it helped me to be creative and it helped me later on to understand the art of computer through the word processing field.

I have been to several community colleges and also have courses in theology from a Baltimore seminary. I received “Employee of the Month” in 1993 at one of my employments and a certificate for computer skills at one of the local community college in the state.

Currently, I am assisting NathanielTurner.Com, ChickenBones: a Journal, with Brother Rudolph Lewis, who is the editor. I helped in word processing and scanning photographs for the journal. I have a son and two grandchildren whom I have supported.

I tried to be open-minded, persistent, and persevere. I always believe in helping the disenfranchised through many activities within the neighborhood, church affiliation, volunteer service and actively being involved with ChickenBones for the past few years. The first thing you learn is who you are, and I realize that through the good and bad situations, that I persevere through this knowledge of “who I am” and “where I need to go” to handle the condition and/or situation and not only of myself but also through the conditions of the poor and oppressed.

Some of the scriptures that interest me the most are: Psalm 84:10: For a day in the courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness; Proverbs 18:24: A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother; Mark 3:21: And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself; II Corinthians 5:17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new; and Hebrew 13:8: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

I pick these scriptures because I believe that theology, like in life, should be from the bottom up. The poor and oppressed people are slave in an endless cycle and they are on the bottom and do not have any way out except to reach up. Blackness is not exclusive as white Christian theology, but it includes everyone who has been rejected as Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was rejected twice in his home town of Nazareth. As feeling like Jesus, because he was rejected on my behalf, this helps me to be accepted through his suffering, dying, and rising that He did—not for selfish glory—but the liberation of the poor and oppressed.

This helps me to endure the suffering of others—so that we all can be free. Black theology gives self-confidence, self-control, self-discipline, self-esteem, and self-interest. This theology helps us to overcome as our forefathers and mothers tried to do for us. This is not “foolish” pride or a racist ideology/theology, but a love that was way back on Calvary, that sets us free. Black theology takes risks. White theology takes risks for “worldly pleasures.” The haves (white theology) against the have-nots (black theology). I assist in ChickenBones, so that we learn from our past, live in the present, and prepare for the future. This journal is important so we will learn the truth. The Bible says “the truth will set us free.” “Living for me, living for me, all my transgression and now I am free, all because of Jesus is living for me.”

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books

For July 1st through August 31st 2011  


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#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

*   *   *   *   *

The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

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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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updated 16 August 2008




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