Saturday, April 28, 2007

Today is my grandmother's birthday.

Blogging About My Grandmother

My grandmother was born in 1921, the fourth oldest of ten, and the third oldest of eight children that lived. She went to grade school amongst the Lutherans and spent her upper grades under the tutelage of Fess McDavid, the man who would be her brother in law. My grandmother had a knack for poetry and reciting, for writing, conducting, and giving plays, a trait which she has kept to this day. My grandmother is a natural poet, a pure talent. As a high school girl, the teachers at the school she attended all commissioned her to put on their annual plays. She drew up the cast, rehearsed the parts, and put on the plays. She also gave orations. She still has them written in her notebooks along with poems and plays that she’s written. Fess McDavid’s first wife, Mrs. Mary Foster McDavid, once told my grandmother, “ Why Thelma, if Mary MacLoed Bethune had been here to hear you give that speech, she would have taken you back with her this instant.”

After high school, my grandmother received a scholarship to Alabama A&M. She and her cousin Genice, who were the closest together, both received scholarships and went to A&M together, sharing room and board. While Cousin Genice was discovering a husband, my grandmother got sick, loosing her voice and developing an ailment in her throat that sent her back home. Papa told her, when she arrived back home, that if she could wait a couple of months, he would take her to Tuskegee for an operation from the doctors who had a clinic there. As it turns, she had a growth in her throat and my grandmother says, without anesthesia and with her wide awake, they cut the growth out, which fell directly into her lap. She recovered and the next semester enrolled at Alabama State where she took her degree in English Education. She began teaching in Autauga County, her home county, under the tutelage and principalship of her uncle, Fess(Macaulay) Goodson, my great-grandmother’s brother. She says that he told her that if she would teach his geography courses, he would teach math, because he hated geography.

At that time, teaching in Autauga County, were Fess Goodson, Fess McDavid, and Aunt Earnestine, all three of whom were principals, my Cousin Maderia( who was also a principal for a time), and Aunt Bertie. The white superintendents in the county never liked and always resented Fess McDavid, who was over the high school, because he always did things his way and did them better than they did. He had typewriters for his students when they couldn’t even think about them. He also brought professors and such from Tuskegee and Alabama State to teach and give lessons not only to his students, but to the community as well. There was also the incident where a white girl from a well-to-do family got pregnant with a black baby and was therefore taken out of school. Her family wanting her to continue her education, it was decided that they would send her to Fess, to finish high school at the Black school. Fess told them if she wasn’t good enough for their school she wasn’t good enough for his and she never did go anywhere. That was a major point of contention. All of this to pointed to the fact that they hated Fess McDavid, but never could touch him. So, when he died in 1963, they set about getting their revenge.

My grandmother says that a week after Fess’ funeral, the superintendent showed up at Aunt Bertie’s house( she and Fess had lived in the Principal’s home that was provided by Autaugaville High school, and told her that she could stay in the house, because the new principal would live elsewhere, but to “get her sister to stay with her.” Now, it was known throughout Autauga County that Hodges, the superintendent at that time, liked Black women, and slept with plenty of the Black teachers, many of them as a condition of hire. My grandmother said that Aunt Bertie started packing that night. A few weeks later, Hodges informed Aunt Bertie that her services were no longer needed in Autauga County. My grandmother was fired at the end of the year, and Aunt Earnestine was eventually taken down from her principalship and placed back in the classroom. Not long after that, Aunt Bertie made her way to Chicago. My grandmother went to Mobile, then New York (which she said she hated), and then followed to Chicago. She began teaching there in ’65 and taught there until she retired in 1981. She was one of the first teachers to integrate the Northside of Chicago.
I so study my great-great grandmother's face. It is hard to decipher.

Poem after Virginia Tech

Rodents running the country rodents running the country
rodents running the country
fucking up everything

rodents running the country rodents running the country
ants running the country sting
breeding intolerance sting
breeding intolerance
intolerance running the country intolerance running the country
intolerance running the country
foul smells overtaking everything I can't even breath no more
drowning to the sound of sirens security culture on my back
people can't live in steel people can't live in steel
my humanity can't be controlled either my humanity can't be controlled either

people need to be free run wild in the streets people need to be free
run wild in the streets
knock down these walls and disrupt this order knock down these walls and create
dis-order fuck up the problem thats been fucking you
create a new paradigm
because poetry never ends

Friday, April 27, 2007

This Years Kisses

Nina Simone

This years crop of kisses
Dont seem as sweet to me
This years crop just misses
What kisses used to be
This years new romance
Doesnt seem to have a chance
Even helped by mr. moon above
This years crop of kisses is not for me
For Im still wearin last years love.

Beautiful Things

Everything is beautiful. I have been having good vibes lately and there are all of these messages the universe keeps sending me. Like the cover of the new edition of O really spoke to me, then today in the coffeeshop I saw Corretta Scott King's face in a magazine someone else was reading and when I was watching the Oprah Show there was someone in the audience wearing a shirt that said Faith. Her show today also really spoke to me. I am in the universe.

I Finally Figured it Out

Indiana took all of the backwardness, bigotry, and bullshit of the south, but none of the gentility. That is the difference.

The Public Should Not Forget

The public should not forget the case of the first-elected Black mayor that was murdered in Louisiana. I think there are still things to be found about that case.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Remembering David Halbertsam


Prison Uprising in Newcastle, Indiana

I am very curious about the prison uprising at the prison in Newcastle. What were the conditions that broguth these prisoners to riot? There is a lot to be investigated here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My reasoning for mentioning Nikki Giovanni is because I ran across this blog that blamed her for what he did. The "Angry Black Woman." The question: do these people have something to be angry about?

Nikki Giovanni's Speech at Virginia Tech Vigil

We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

Always Connections and Something to Think About

Nikki Giovanni just had to be teaching at Virginia Tech, and just had to be one of thos young man's teachers? Oh how the universe works. I definitely feel sorry for that young man.
Happy Birthday to Albie on yesterday! Happy Birthday to Barbra today!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Iraq is such a Quagmire

And the U.S. military is learning that it must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi government, i.e halting building that horrid wall.

Boris Yeltsin Dead

Perhaps not the most progressive person in the world, but what a passing.
For one whole summer while I was at my Uncle's house, I stayed up in the room with the inlaid wood and watched K.D. Lang's "Constant Craving," and Madonna's "This Used tto Be My PlayGround," on MTV. Interesting what things come to me.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I am not sure if I have blogged about this before, but I so remember my mother making me polish my shoes so we could attend Harold Washington's funeral. I remember standing in line at the funeral for the viewing of the body. I have so many memories.

French Elections

We want no right wing government in France!
Come On Segolene Royal! The French should definitely choose her!

The Way We Were

I used to be so pissed at Hubbel. I still don't like him so much, but I am not as virulently against Hubbel as I used to be. He was just a wasp boy who partied all the time and never cared about anything and Katie was a Jewish girl with a conscience. Id have kicked his ass and I certainly wouldnt have begged him to come back to me.

Poem No. XXXVI: A Beautiful Boy

with braids that hung like the hanging vines of Babylon
skin a soft almond with
noble eyes
that tell what he knows and lips that betray his heritage.
Beauty in its purest form.
He wears blue beads in his hair like the ancient Egyptians with scented henna.
A beauty, a charm
Something to be experienced.
To be allowed to praise his flesh is to be allowed to have witness of the divine.
Something to love,
Something to cherish,
Something to be kept as sacred.


My cousin Brooke was always "Ms. Go"
While I was always too busy being content.

Fred Hampton

They Shot him while he was in his bed
And yea I'm mad
and you say it was thirty years ago
My wounds are still fresh and every time I think about it I want to pick your brain
with the finest toothed axe available.
You shoot through him and you shoot through me
Yet I remain and must maintain in the effort of kicking your ass.
There is no room for weeping
Because tears cannot express the agony I feel and it
does not need your validation
Therefore I say
This needless tete-a-tete
must cease and desist.

Mos Def

Mos I run my hands up and down to feel you
Bearing the need to find the moss to lead myself to freedom.
I need to round myself around your chocolate earthy face
stick my tongue in your mouth and claim your lips for an elusive moment
Take a drink of your sustaining water
def definitely slide myself up and down
using you as my whimsical maypole.
Let me use you as my licking stick,
use you as my rocking horse
While I feel your heartbeat within you
You, electric rod, god of matter, run your current through my body giving me life
And a wish for shallow breathing.

Sharing My Poetry

Poem For Nina II

Nina sits at the piano in her bright colors
Bejeweled fingers against the keys, the elegant amber of her soprano
lets out into the air soaking up the beauty of the world.
When she hums bees are making honey
When she sighs, the world is set freely floating
Her groans possess the bitter irony of the world and the magic of the notes she plays
distinctively conjure up the secrets of the earth, the answer to the very existence of life.
This poem is for Nina, the sorceress, the goddess
who can change the seasons from winter to spring,
who brings the darkness into the night.
Nina is Mother Earth who makes the world's blood curdle in the soil. The priestess who testifies, the prophet who decries the army of sins racked up against humanity.
She is the medicine woman connected to every spirit and who in turn touches every soul. The Rasta with long braids and lips that personify truth.
Nina Simone is that cosmic rock that sets the world to spinning,
always in constant motion.
She brings to the world the ire that is the only force with the
power to make the volcano erupt.

When I Was Little I Used to Think this Song Was About Dr. King

He's got the whole world in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got the sun and the rain in His hands,
He's got the moon and the stars in His hands,
He's got the wind and the clouds in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got the rivers and the mountains in His hands,
He's got the oceans and the seas in His hands,
He's got you and he's got me in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.

He's got everybody here in His hands,
He's got everybody there in His hands,
He's got everybody everywhere in His hands,
He's got the whole world in His hands.