Jeremiah Mickens

Jeremiah Mickens


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



A heart of love refused to hate.

Picture past and present too. I’ll never forget you. I’ll always remember the fires

that burned. And the lumps in my stomach began to turn.



Picture Past

By Jeremiah Mickens

The tree stood like oak. In blood it’s roots they soaked Branches bent from

weight. Onlookers looked and laughed with hate. The smell of death they didn’t fear

And for each that hung I shed a tear. Necks of rose and sheets of holes. Once simple men

now free souls. A healthy fellow without a mask to cover his grin. Looked and was

pleased with his sin. It was a party and the four guests of honor hung around.


I stirred with awe there was no sound. This might have been a picture of the past. What

if of the present I dare not ask. Vision swam deeper and examined this more and I knew

what was in store. Tales were told of rougher days of men called boys and runaway slaves.

Of graves that danced on air of people who didn’t care. A thing that was common. Nowhere

near rare. Tears leaked through blood red eyes. I only wished the picture tell lies.


But so bold was the word fact written on a picture so, so black. Dark and grim was

this sight. Yet the ghost knew they were right. My heart crumbled with agony. So

many pale ones with sight yet they cannot see. Dogs, Damn you all!! Revenge! I felt

so small. All these enemies gave my brothers fate. A heart of love refused to hate.

Picture past and present too. I’ll never forget you. I’ll always remember the fires

that burned. And the lumps in my stomach began to turn. The thousand ifs that raced

through my head. The conversations wanted with the dead. Death swung through the night.


Hyenas with fire bright. My brother look within because you might have been one

of these boys that were called men. A murder a tree was forced to commit. Lungs

four ropes had to split. And I’d like to see these heartless men. Too perfect a picture

in reality. It began to get the best of me. I climbed repeatedly to the top of sorrow.

Hoping I’d forget tomorrow. These corpse and laughter of blood. Which dripped

into puddles of mud. I tore it up and was rid of it fast.

Praying my child would never ask me about picture past.

*   *   *   *   *

Jeremiah Mickens’ autobiographical statement:

I was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I attended Rognel Heights, Harlem Park, and Liberty elementary schools. My family traveled to California when I was in the fourth or fifth grade.

As we traveled my mother taught us in the motor home that lived in. It was my stepfather, mother, and three sisters. On the way to California we stopped briefly and lived in a house in Phoenix, Arizona. When we finally arrived in Los Angeles it was almost six months later. We stayed in our motor home and lived partly in a house and partly in the motor home of a family friend. We stayed there a year. I attended Charles drew Elementary. My mother taught me at home for a long time because when I went back to school I was in the eighth grade.

I graduated from Charles drew, Jr. High. Somehow we ended up in Malibu, California. the lifestyle was completely different from Compton and East LA. Here we again stayed partly in a house and partly in a trailer. The part of Malibu we lived in was known as Point Dume. There I would ride the horse down to the beach daily. When Angel [the horse] would feel the sand under her feet she would take-off running.

I also began to lift weights and jog from Point Dume to Trancas. I attended Samo High in Santa Monica, California. I stayed there for two years partying and having a good time. It was my second year at Samo that I began to enjoy acting in my second play Nicholas Nickleby. I played three characters — Pluck, Curdle, and Belling. It was acting that began to give me the focus I needed on education.

The focus was just in time because we moved again. this time we moved to Venice, California. I attended Venice High School. In Venice I became a member of the Venice High School Thespians. I acted in independent films, school plays, and tributes by Beverly Hills West Chapter LINKS.

My grades were not up to par so I was not allowed to act in any plays. My focus for school became even sharper. After school I would play football and basketball, avoiding hanging out with the many gangs that wanted to jump me in. I was focus mentally. I knew what I wanted to do. I was determined to do, be the best.

My mother changed that focus when she explained that we were moving back to Baltimore. I did not want to go. We came to California with a whole family of six. Now it was only a family of three. Soon it would be a family of none. We flew back to Baltimore.

In Baltimore I saw friends get shot. Many guns were pointed at me by robbers and police. I held the hands of the bleeding and dying. I cried on the shoulders of mothers and fathers. So many people I knew made it to the front page of the Baltimore Sun.

I ended up at Walbrook High School. I went through all of the graduation ceremonies but would not graduate from Walbrook. I graduated from Harbor City. I then went straight to Baltimore City Community College. After taking a break from college and cooking for five years in a Mexican restaurant in 1995 I married my high school sweetheart. We now have five children.

In 1996, I began to substitute in Baltimore City Public Schools. I started working in Companions extended Daycare in 1998. While there I attended college and graduated from Sojourner Douglass in 2000. I am now studying reading at Johns Hopkins University.

I have seen and been through a lot. But I never let go of my dream to be an actor, writer, teacher. One must have a dream. Hold onto it. Don’t squeeze it too tight because it may slip away. Find the median and once you do you’ll have the perfect grip. That’s the time to hold on and don’t let go, when it’s good times or bad times. Just remember don’t let go.

*   *   *   *   *’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

*   *   *   *   *


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

*   *   *   *   *


The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

*   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

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

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *





update 12 December 2011




Home  Yvonne Terry   Hip Hop

Related files:  Hold onto the Wind   Crack House   Teach Them  Picture Past

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.