Saturday, July 30, 2005

I love my CHaka Khan CD. I have always had a special place for Chaka, and there has always been something about that song "Papillion" that I just adore. Alas, I bought this CD while I was with Charles. I now equate this CD to him as well.
It is the worst thing in the world to wake up with a sinus headache. I don't know what it is about this enviornment, but thre is definitely something with the enivronment and what we allow people to put in it. The amount of people that suffer daily with sinus and related things is steadily growing, which in turn keeps the pharmaceutical companies in business with all of the different drugs which they release on the market every year ( which is odd, because it is the chemicals and other harmful things that they are allowed to drop into the environment and into our food supply, which makes us sick in the first place). We have to morph to the differnt things that they place in our environment, which most times is not good for us. What is being done to humanity?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Dear, wonderfully progressive Trish OKane is leaving Auburn University and moving to New Orleans to teach at Loyola. I suppose she decided that she couldnt take the crap anyway. I often wondered about that. After spending ten years in Nicauragua and Guatemala officially working for the U.N. but also working with the Sandinistas, how in the hell can you go to Alabama? Befuddling.

I met Trish my sophomore year of college, I think I remember correctly, when there was supposed to be a protest rally and march taking place there in Montgomery to protest the police having run over a boy with an SUV and then not doing anything about it. The only three to show for this protest were Trish, myself, and a classmate from Huntingdon ( I think perhaps the city quelled it somehow). Anyway, so the three of us met and from there it took off. I started working with Trish, who had just then stopped working for Southern Poverty Law Center and had switched to working with the Center for Democratic Renewel tracking down hate crimes in the state of Alabama. I became her sidekick. Trish is a terribly progressive individual and someone whom I look at in awe and sometimes bemusement-- such as with her gimmicks such as the Kayak Queens-- basically she took her kayak and went out on the Alabama River- whirlpools, filth, and all.

Trish hails from California where she is first generation Irish-American, the daughter of strawberry pickers. She went to USC where she fought against Reagan back in the 80s to get(successfully) military recruiters off of the campus. She then became a journalist, went to Latin America, and became involved with the Sandinistas. What a life. She is also made of steel. I remember once, when we went into a very bad neighborhood over in Montgomery,( I think Smiley Court) to investigate the boy whose legs were broken by the police and the SUV and honey I was as uncomfortable as shit, looking over my shoulder every five seconds looking for the next drive by( I have had to overcome a lot of my bs factor) and Trish was just as cool as a cucumber, sitting on the curb outside of one of the project buildings. I suppose when you have been up against the Contras, Montgomery is nothing. Hmmm. Anyway, Trish is fabulous, and really my first introduction into serious activism and activist work. I wish her well.
Just recently Hermes in Paris refused to Let Oprah come in for some shopping. You can read the story
  • here
  • My thoughts are dont fuck with Oprah, she will have your ass one way or another. I love Oprah Winfrey. I used to sit on the fence about her, loving some of her stuff and then sometimes thinking she was phony, but Oprah is quite a progressive, and beautiful soul--- and she cuts right to the chase and to the core digging in with her own personal agenda with the greatest subtlety. The woman has two billion dollars, is the richest woman in the entertainment industry and is one of the most powerful in the world. Plus she's Black. Don't mess with Oprah.

    I picked up an issue of her magazine(my grandmother gets it) and read a wonderful interview that she did with Stevie Wonder-- it was great and I came from it with the deepest, sincerest respect for both of them. You can read that interview
  • here
  • Thursday, July 28, 2005

    My father just had hernia surgery and has to stay in the bed now. He is getting depressed. I need to find something for him to do. My mother will hopefully get the phone jack in their room repaired so he can talk on the phone as well. My father is such a strong man, beautiful too.
    My grandmother is 85 years old. A woman of many talents, she cannot do what she once did. My grandmother's M.O. has been, perhaps all of her adult life, to be "the housewife," cook, clean, take care of HER household and look after the well being of the people in it. Now that she is older and she can't do that so much anymore, it bothers her. Now, when my grandmother attempts to do laundry, everything gets thrown into the machine together- dish cloths, towels, clothes, the works. So therefore, when I am here, I try to take over the laundry-- but you have to beat her to it, for she wants to do it herself ( I myself like to do things myself-- If I can't do it then I dont want it done). So this morning she slipped into the laundry room ( I had accidentally left the detergent out) and put herself on a load of clothes, determined to get it done. Mind you, some of them were clean-- these days she just puts stuff in the washing machine).

    So, when I went behind her and pulled the clothes out of the machine(wet) to start them over and separate the clothes from other stuff, and by color, she sooo got mad. Well, there wasn't much she could do so she went and sat down. So I did that and went and started doing something else. My grandmother is definitely something else--- and will get what she wants the way she wants it, for when I went back to put the laundry in the dryer, I saw where she had slipped a few white clothes back into the machine with the dark clothes that I had washing. Well then. I think the word to use is spunk.
    Coming out Colored has an interesting post on memes and racism.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Why are they killing Americans along the Mexican border? Wow. I find that absolutely interesting and it paints sort of a picture for me that is something that is only concocted in the movies. I wonder what is going on there, especially as Tony Garza, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico has o.k'd a
  • travel warning
  • issued by the State Department. Building on my previous blog, this creates a very interesting picture in my head of what is going on.

    As the U.S. moves further and further into a conservative, right-wing base-- as I said beginning to show its true colors in regards to it's "liberalism" and "tolerance,"(why am I smiling) towards the non-white- non-anglo saxon- non-protestant- threatening to the white male power structure population ( for whatever reason, whether it be because of their paranoia or simply because they have pissed them off so much that now they want to kick their ass),we have these occurring--American culture is just going to hell,access to safe, legal abortion and reproductive healthcare information is being widdled away, gays might as well zip it up and give up the ghost because its over for them, and other minorities will simply be re-sent to the back of the bus( or god forbid-- in light of Margaret Atwood's visions--to some toxic waste dump. As this is happening internally the U.S. (in all its glory) is faced with whomever it might be(cause I for one do not take the word of the great white father as gold) that is blowing up the twin towers and causing turmoil and wreaking havoc in the American Empire and on American interests around the globe. Oh my, it is something to witness. What is truly going on?
    Rich Lowry, the cute but stupidly evil columnist and political scientist, speask today of the cadre of "desperately flailing, flummoxed, anti-Bushies" who are going after John Roberts in an order to arrest Bush's attempt to move the Supreme Court to the right ( and that is what it is). He is of course, quite right. These people have lost that battle and this country is going to head down the golden brick road to hell. Liberals are as weak as water these days, but it is all a part of this country beginning to show its true colors.
    I was always the kid in the classroom who never stood for the pledge. If I did, I would pledge allegiance to a different country every time and make it up myself. A: I didn't like being told to do something like that, B: I thought it was stupid, especially that everybody did it, and then C. I had an imagination and I liked to use it, and practices like that do not encourage the use of imagination.
    This summer, before I left Lafayette, I read bell hook's Where We Stand: Class Matters and Bone Black, then I read Paul Robeson's Here I Stand (my gift from LAPC), and then Jane Fonda's Autobiography.
    I absolutely love Debarge and have always loved Debarge since the 80s. I dont know, but I do.
    I can't believe I moved this close to Chicago and can't hear the Tom Joyner Morning show ( I have bitched about this before to some people). I listened to Tom Joyner every morning before I moved to Lafayette and have been listening to Tom since not only did he have hair, but had an afro. I want my TJMS!
    I am remembering when we used to live in Harvey and my sister and I would wake up in the mornings (after my mother had left for work) and get ready for school listening to the Tom Joyner Morning show. Then we would walk down to Mrs. Cobbins' house and Nikki and Tony ( a girl) would walk to school after Tony finished blowdrying her hair and then Mrs. Cobbins would take Patricia and I to school Patricia was a cow, but it was a nice time.
    I am tired of hearing about Natalie Holloway. If she were of color or not a white girl, we would never have heard of her. We don't need to hear of her either.
    I wonder how it is that I find myself liking some of the things that Dr. James Dobson has to say? Alas, I wonder why I am not hearing these things come from the left?
    Eh, I will be returning to Lafayette in a few days. It should be interesting. I talked to Shannon. She is in Nebraska right now. It is interesting where life takes people.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    I have been meaning to blog about this for a while. As much as I can't stand Condoleeza Rice, we do LOVE her cousin Connie Rice with the Advancement Project. She is a most progressive and interesting spirit. I would love to work with her or be involved with her work in some way. She is absolutely great!
    I had forgotten my mother has stepsisters. Never really thought about it. I have only met them once. Its just interesting and I never thought about it. My grandmother and all but one of her sisters are divorcees. The two brothers never divorced. My grandmother divorced once and was widowed once, my aunt Earnestine divorced, was widowed, and then divorced again ( and has step children), Aunt Johnnie divorced and has step children ( who are Freda's half siblings),Aunt Bertie was widowed (by Fess), Aunt Sadie divorced, and Aunt Betty divorced. Interesting trends.....

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    It truly is something else to be a DeRamus. To be a Deramus meant, for me, that people knew who you were and old women beckoned you to come and sit on their laps and there was a name and an acknowledgement that proceeded you. If nothing else, I knew, have always known and been aware of the fact that my great grandfather's name was John Archie DeRamus.Indeed, for my grandmother and her sisters, it was something else to be "One of the DeRamus girls." To be one meant that you were educated, you had status, people showed respect and admiration.

    Indeed, there has always been this sort of interesting air surrounding "being a DeRamus," it provides a sense of kinship and the closest thing that I have ever come to identifying as loyalty, and it also beckons one to carry out that legacy with the bearings of dignity and grace. It borders on being something patriarchal, but it isn't.I believe it is something beautiful, interesting, and very fine. To add to that, it is also something else to be one of Morgan Goodson's descendants. if you go to Autuaga County and talk to the older people, those who have been there for a while, they know that name and they respect it. Morgan Goodson was a bold, fierce, and industrious man who provided a legacy for his children and who commanded and demanded respect from the community. They said that Morgan Goodson knew more about the law than any other man in the county. If you needed advice go to him. They also said that he was a soothsayer and could tell the future. People feared him a bit because he had red eyes.

    On the other hand, my great-grandfather John Archie was a meek and mild man,who again was respected and truly admired throughout the community. He was a farmer who had a comfortable living, he had the first of a lot of things in the community, and he sent his children to school. John Archie was meek and mild perhaps after he was married. When he married my great-grandmother, it is said that he was quite stuck into some very bad habits and ways and held to some notions that she shed from him quickly. One incident I have heard recounted is that one time my great grandfather told my great grandmother to do something around the house. He came back a bit later and she hadn't done it, so he hit her. They say my great-grandmother picked up a log and proceeded to knock him unconscious. After a while, his sister and others came running up the road to check on him. His sister said to her, " Sissy, you hit your John? I would never hit my John ( she was also married to a John)." My great-grandmother is to have said, " I will not only hit my John, I will kill my John." That was the end of that.
    How dare the British police use "an investigation of terrorism" as an excuse to let their racism show through. They should be castrated and the family of that Brazilian should be the one's to do it. Alas, I think the entire situtation, with both Britian and the U.S. is highly intriguing. In the words of Nikki Giovanni, " You are no longer the big bad sherrif on your faggoty white horse, you are the Indian you so disdain."

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    I want to blog about something that is pressing against my mind. Everytime I talk to a man does not mean that I am looking for a relationship. Sometimes I just want to fuck. This country and the people in this country are becoming ever more conservative (populations truly do move as a monolith).

    I don't know why people have the mindset that everyone needs to WANT a boyfriend, or needs to be looking for one, or needs to be in that mindset to express interest in someone. I believe in being free, and I believe in being liberated to live as you please. And that means when I want to have sex, I am looking for sex, and when I am interested in more than that then I am. Alas, even if I am interested in more than just making use of your body, that doesn't mean that I am looking for any kind of commitment. What ever happened to people like Germaine Greer or Alice Walker who moved freely and in directios in which they were led by their wants and desires and not by any set conventions?

    I believe in blending, connecting,appreciating and allowing for that to grow and nurture or to fade away like two ships that just meet briefly out at sea. I have never been in love with anyone (although some people may think that I have been in love with them). More often than not when I meet men (and somewhat, people, for that matter), I am bored with you after about the first five minutes of conversation and am really no longer paying attention, probably looking for a way to depart. I don't say that as a way to be mean or anything, but most of the men I have encountered simply do not captivate me. Of the men I have been involved with,Kelly was very sweet,very reserved and conservative-- I enjoyed him.

    Anatoli was strictly sex, I enjoyed his dick ( and still desire to sometimes)and though he completely satisfied me sexually and we do get along as friends, he does not intrigue me. Alas, (I love Anatoli) most times he would tell me that I was too much of a radical and ask me why I was so much into Angela Davis and her communism. So much for spiritual and intellectual connection. That is what truly makes the difference between someone to love and someone with which you enjoy something else ( be that friendship or sex or whatever). Charles was really sweet and I totally relish the experience that I had of being involved with him. He was a friend and we blended totally-- with music, with dancing, with talking, and with beautiful sex. He was a breath of fresh air that I definitely needed. A beautiful dance that I enjoyed while the music lasted.

    Alas, I don't need anyone to hold my hand, and I do believe indeed that there is a serious problem in this country and with the people in it. You cannot and really don't need to be involved with ANYONE until you can walk on your own two feet and be One with yourself. I don't need anyone to hang on to. However, I must admit that I have followed a bit too much along the lines of my Aunt Betty's sage advice that "You don't need a man- you can make one, you just can't blow any breath in him." I don't think it is necessary to dehumanize.

    Alas, companionship is nice, and it is something that is sweet and very good to have. However, if that was all I wanted out of this world( or out of a person), I would by a dog. Appreciation is something totally different.
    To write some more about me. I have always, at least for along time, existed in a duality( in essence, my double consciousness). One of the core dualities that define me is being an artist and being intellectual and and engaging in intellectual endeavours. I believe the two are profoundly connected at the root and together, they define me. I am an artist and I am intellectual. First and foremost in my self-definitions, I am a writer. Therefore, I believe that comes first. I am a writer. I am a writer and I make use of words to express my thoughts and in pursuit of my explorations of the world and the ideas that behoove me. I thrive on creativity. I have the feeling that something is in store for me and I must wait for what that might be to be revealed. I want to be known, I want to be published, and I want my words to reach people and carry through into their lives and into the greater human existence. I remain and give my total dedication to my craft. I want to bring out the wizadry in my words.
    I am not an American. I am Afro-American.
    It is an interesting, terribly wicked experience that Black women had in the south and the situations that arose out of them. My cousin Cottie's experiences sit on my mind at the moment. Her mother was my great-grandfather's sister, who's name does not come to me at the moment. As a young woman, she worked as an assistant to a white doctor, basically as a maid. She turned up pregnant, with my cousin Cottie. It was a dangerous thing for women of color to work in white homes and work for-be in the presence of white men, because rape was prevalent and they were at the complete and total mercy of these men. The numbers of Black women working as maids who took home mulatto children afterwards is quite considerable; it did not stop with the plantations.

    Alas, my great-grandfather, as most were not able to back then, vowed that "his daughter's would never work in any white man's kitchen." Also, it is said that he never let any white men into his house (perhaps the only white person allowed in his house was his mother-in-law, my great-great-great grandmother Caroline Roper).

    To compound these blighted tales, you also have the conundrum that is the most awful legacy of these events. To these white men, these women were all at their mercy, and that included all, even the one's that they produced themselves.

    Another slightly different story is that of my Cousin Lillian and her siblings. Now I am totally wicked and going to hell, but I will get to that later. Anyway, Cousin Lillian was a dear old woman, she died at 99 years old a few years ago, and was still here in all of her glory, mind and all. Her grandfather was the founder of the town that my maternal family hail's from,Daniel Pratt. She did not want to hear that one,Her blue eyes would get red hot when that subject came up. Anyway, Daniel Pratt fathered Cousin Lillian's father ( and appropriately, allowed him and all of his descenedants to be buried in the Pratt family cemetary. Oh how wonderful are white folks.)and a few years later, his white son(Lillian's uncle), fathered Lillian's sister by her mother. That too, is an interesting situation. Not quite the same, but indeed interesting.

    Anyway, I am totally going to hell. Every summer they would cart Cousin Lillian out at the founder's day celebration and have her talk about the early history of the town and all that jazz. Anyway, Daniel Pratt's other descendants in the town, the white ones, were quite active and around. Among these was my ninth grade math teacher, Mrs. Bugay. Mrs. Bugay was fabulous, love her to death. She is absolutely a classy act. But still, I had to. So one day, I was in the hall, going somewhere and Mrs. Bugay was on her way somewhere too. We stopped to talk and I decided that I was going to be a bit mischevious. So at one point, I chimed in, "Oh, and Mrs. Bugay, I know one of your cousins." " Oh you do?" She chimed in in response. I said, " Why yes, Lillian Gholson." Her response, " Oh why yes, I know Ms. Lillian. She's a sweet old lady." She handled that one with much class. I love Mrs. Bugay. Anyway, oh the tangled webs.