Friday, January 31, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 31 - Wind

We sat on aerie
Listened to orchestra play
Sounds heaven like home

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 30 - Uraeus. Night. Moon.

My kisses passim
On my son's head as he sleeps
Recalling him small

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For love and peace and ease
I am thankful for completing six days straight of walking seven miles
I am thankful for my health and strength
For forgiveness and compassion
I am thankful for grace
For good good friends
For touch and hugs and smile
I am thankful for words and art
For a painting sold and more art to create
I am thankful for my son
For his drive and plans
I am thankful for my family
For Kat and Saint
For Donny and Vanessa
For Shihan and Sarah
For Da Poetry Lounge tonight

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 29 - Seven miles

I am logy and
Stiff after my long walk through
And up neighborhood

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For waking up this morning
I am thankful for my son
For his health and strength
For love and compassion
I am thankful for the energy to walk seven miles a day
For the past five days in a row
I am thankful for the plan to do it today
After my visit from doctor
I am thankful for doctors and the ability to see one
I am thankful for art
For words and stories
For the creativity that I am blessed with
I am thankful for moments
For knowing that moments pass
I am thankful for joy

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 28 - Dawn

We sat quietly
Gazing at rutilant sky
Breathing the moments

Monday, January 27, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 27 - Believe

What if I told you
I dream about you way you
Sit quiet with me

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 26 - Shrug

I only have room
For comments from players in
Game. Others shut up.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 25 - Forever untitled

The dire visage
Of the black mother seated
As court gavel pounds

A haiku a day for 2014 - day 24 - Woo Saa

Breathe. Be still and know.
Raspberry tea and movie
Tonight. Just be still.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 24 - Beyond

The acephalous
Crowd of teenagers racing
Made us wonder why

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Imani Tolliver at Beyond Baroque


A haiku a day for 2014 - day 23 - Step

I have this nightmare
Of silly pratfall walking
Down from stage then laughs

Gratitude

I am thankful for waking up this morning
For going on a seven mile walk
I am thankful for my health and strength
For love and compassion
I am thankful for my son
For my family
I am thankful for friends
For food and shelter
I am thankful for creativity

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For waking up
For such a wonderful sleep last night
I am thankful for medication
Yes, even medication that aids in wonderful rest
I am thankful for peace and calm in my head
I am thankful for not allowing myself to get bothered by a situation that once would have
Bothered me greatly
I am grateful for growth
For love and forgiveness and empathy and understanding in my heart
I am thankful for my family
For attending my nephew's basketball game tonight with my mother, sister, brother, niece
Cousin and uncle
I am thankful for a winning game
For my son
For his every breath
I am thankful for the heartbeats of all of the souls in the circle of his life
For everyone he calls family and friend
I am thankful for my friends
My friends are an incredible blessing to me
I am thankful for a chance to see this day
I am thankful for words
For thoughts
For ideas
I am thankful for knowing that creativity is truly wealth

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 22 - Abundance

The blessing of friends
Reminds me how wealthy I
Truly am all ways

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 21 - See

I focus on good
In this situation though
Doubt could be easy

Monday, January 20, 2014

Letter from a Birmingham jail - Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

16 April 1963
My Dear Fellow Clergymen:
While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against "outsiders coming in." I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. Frequently we share staff, educational and financial resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here.
But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth century B.C. left their villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city's white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.
In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham. There can be no gainsaying the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community. Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation. These are the hard, brutal facts of the case. On the basis of these conditions, Negro leaders sought to negotiate with the city fathers. But the latter consistently refused to engage in good faith negotiation.
Then, last September, came the opportunity to talk with leaders of Birmingham's economic community. In the course of the negotiations, certain promises were made by the merchants--for example, to remove the stores' humiliating racial signs. On the basis of these promises, the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and the leaders of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights agreed to a moratorium on all demonstrations. As the weeks and months went by, we realized that we were the victims of a broken promise. A few signs, briefly removed, returned; the others remained. As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community. Mindful of the difficulties involved, we decided to undertake a process of self purification. We began a series of workshops on nonviolence, and we repeatedly asked ourselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" "Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?" We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season, realizing that except for Christmas, this is the main shopping period of the year. Knowing that a strong economic-withdrawal program would be the by product of direct action, we felt that this would be the best time to bring pressure to bear on the merchants for the needed change.
Then it occurred to us that Birmingham's mayoral election was coming up in March, and we speedily decided to postpone action until after election day. When we discovered that the Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor, had piled up enough votes to be in the run off, we decided again to postpone action until the day after the run off so that the demonstrations could not be used to cloud the issues. Like many others, we waited to see Mr. Connor defeated, and to this end we endured postponement after postponement. Having aided in this community need, we felt that our direct action program could be delayed no longer.
You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood. The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.
One of the basic points in your statement is that the action that I and my associates have taken in Birmingham is untimely. Some have asked: "Why didn't you give the new city administration time to act?" The only answer that I can give to this query is that the new Birmingham administration must be prodded about as much as the outgoing one, before it will act. We are sadly mistaken if we feel that the election of Albert Boutwell as mayor will bring the millennium to Birmingham. While Mr. Boutwell is a much more gentle person than Mr. Connor, they are both segregationists, dedicated to maintenance of the status quo. I have hope that Mr. Boutwell will be reasonable enough to see the futility of massive resistance to desegregation. But he will not see this without pressure from devotees of civil rights. My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This "Wait" has almost always meant "Never." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."
We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we still creep at horse and buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six year old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five year old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"--then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all."
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an "I it" relationship for an "I thou" relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.
Let us consider a more concrete example of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal. Let me give another explanation. A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law. Who can say that the legislature of Alabama which set up that state's segregation laws was democratically elected? Throughout Alabama all sorts of devious methods are used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters, and there are some counties in which, even though Negroes constitute a majority of the population, not a single Negro is registered. Can any law enacted under such circumstances be considered democratically structured?
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
I hope you are able to see the distinction I am trying to point out. In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience. In our own nation, the Boston Tea Party represented a massive act of civil disobedience.
We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal." It was "illegal" to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany. Even so, I am sure that, had I lived in Germany at the time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers. If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country's antireligious laws.
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God consciousness and never ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber. I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: "All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth." Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.
You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of "somebodiness" that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad's Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro's frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible "devil."
I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the "do nothingism" of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as "rabble rousers" and "outside agitators" those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies--a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.
Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro. Something within has reminded him of his birthright of freedom, and something without has reminded him that it can be gained. Consciously or unconsciously, he has been caught up by the Zeitgeist, and with his black brothers of Africa and his brown and yellow brothers of Asia, South America and the Caribbean, the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall; let him go on freedom rides -and try to understand why he must do so. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people: "Get rid of your discontent." Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist. But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime--the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.
I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need. Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much. I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action. I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers in the South have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too few in quantity, but they are big in quality. Some -such as Ralph McGill, Lillian Smith, Harry Golden, James McBride Dabbs, Ann Braden and Sarah Patton Boyle--have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms. Others have marched with us down nameless streets of the South. They have languished in filthy, roach infested jails, suffering the abuse and brutality of policemen who view them as "dirty nigger-lovers." Unlike so many of their moderate brothers and sisters, they have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful "action" antidotes to combat the disease of segregation. Let me take note of my other major disappointment. I have been so greatly disappointed with the white church and its leadership. Of course, there are some notable exceptions. I am not unmindful of the fact that each of you has taken some significant stands on this issue. I commend you, Reverend Stallings, for your Christian stand on this past Sunday, in welcoming Negroes to your worship service on a nonsegregated basis. I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.
But despite these notable exceptions, I must honestly reiterate that I have been disappointed with the church. I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the church. I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church; who was nurtured in its bosom; who has been sustained by its spiritual blessings and who will remain true to it as long as the cord of life shall lengthen.
When I was suddenly catapulted into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery, Alabama, a few years ago, I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained glass windows.
In spite of my shattered dreams, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause and, with deep moral concern, would serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed.
I have heard numerous southern religious leaders admonish their worshipers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers declare: "Follow this decree because integration is morally right and because the Negro is your brother." In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern." And I have watched many churches commit themselves to a completely other worldly religion which makes a strange, un-Biblical distinction between body and soul, between the sacred and the secular.
I have traveled the length and breadth of Alabama, Mississippi and all the other southern states. On sweltering summer days and crisp autumn mornings I have looked at the South's beautiful churches with their lofty spires pointing heavenward. I have beheld the impressive outlines of her massive religious education buildings. Over and over I have found myself asking: "What kind of people worship here? Who is their God? Where were their voices when the lips of Governor Barnett dripped with words of interposition and nullification? Where were they when Governor Wallace gave a clarion call for defiance and hatred? Where were their voices of support when bruised and weary Negro men and women decided to rise from the dark dungeons of complacency to the bright hills of creative protest?"
Yes, these questions are still in my mind. In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church. But be assured that my tears have been tears of love. There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love. Yes, I love the church. How could I do otherwise? I am in the rather unique position of being the son, the grandson and the great grandson of preachers. Yes, I see the church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
There was a time when the church was very powerful--in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being "disturbers of the peace" and "outside agitators."' But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were "a colony of heaven," called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be "astronomically intimidated." By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests. Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.
But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom. They have left their secure congregations and walked the streets of Albany, Georgia, with us. They have gone down the highways of the South on tortuous rides for freedom. Yes, they have gone to jail with us. Some have been dismissed from their churches, have lost the support of their bishops and fellow ministers. But they have acted in the faith that right defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. Their witness has been the spiritual salt that has preserved the true meaning of the gospel in these troubled times. They have carved a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment. I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands. Before closing I feel impelled to mention one other point in your statement that has troubled me profoundly. You warmly commended the Birmingham police force for keeping "order" and "preventing violence." I doubt that you would have so warmly commended the police force if you had seen its dogs sinking their teeth into unarmed, nonviolent Negroes. I doubt that you would so quickly commend the policemen if you were to observe their ugly and inhumane treatment of Negroes here in the city jail; if you were to watch them push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls; if you were to see them slap and kick old Negro men and young boys; if you were to observe them, as they did on two occasions, refuse to give us food because we wanted to sing our grace together. I cannot join you in your praise of the Birmingham police department.
It is true that the police have exercised a degree of discipline in handling the demonstrators. In this sense they have conducted themselves rather "nonviolently" in public. But for what purpose? To preserve the evil system of segregation. Over the past few years I have consistently preached that nonviolence demands that the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek. I have tried to make clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends. But now I must affirm that it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends. Perhaps Mr. Connor and his policemen have been rather nonviolent in public, as was Chief Pritchett in Albany, Georgia, but they have used the moral means of nonviolence to maintain the immoral end of racial injustice. As T. S. Eliot has said: "The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason."
I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: "My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest." They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience' sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
Never before have I written so long a letter. I'm afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?
If I have said anything in this letter that overstates the truth and indicates an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything that understates the truth and indicates my having a patience that allows me to settle for anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.
I hope this letter finds you strong in the faith. I also hope that circumstances will soon make it possible for me to meet each of you, not as an integrationist or a civil-rights leader but as a fellow clergyman and a Christian brother. Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Published in:
King, Martin Luther Jr. 

Page Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D.

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Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
This holiday
This day to celebrate the birth and legacy of Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
I am thankful for being with my son
For sitting with him now and sharing in food and conversation
I am thankful for Red Stories last night
For the team that helps me with the show
I am thankful for life and the opportunity to create and inspire
To repair and tear down
To build and fly
I am thankful for the safe travel of my family
I am thankful for my family

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 20 - Dear God

Thank You for waking
Me up this morning to give
Me another chance

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 18 - For my mother

Thank you for being
Quiet understanding I
Need the most just now

Friday, January 17, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 17 - Nspire

Shout out to good friends
Who pull me out of darkness
When I would just drown

Good night free write

I'm so glad I went to Vibrations tonight. I feel much better. Certainly much better than I would have had I stayed inside in the low mood I was in. Shout out to Nspire for hearing "something in (my) voice that wasn't right" and encouraging me to get up and get out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gratitude

I am committed to giving thanks every day
Some days are harder than others
This is one of those days
This has been one of those weeks
Just
The sinking
The familiar sinking I know too well
In this moment I give thanks that I am not drowning
I give thanks for the moment
For my son
For waking up this morning
For friends
And family

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 16 - Cage

The effort it takes
To do the simplest things
Today I am stuck

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day - 15 - But now. But God.

Gray temples remind
Me of a time when I thought
I would never age

Free write

Today I am in serious deliberation about taking myself off of the medication I'm on. Although the pills have helped me tremendously in stabilizing the extreme ups and downs in my head, they also cause the tremors in my hands that make me beyond uncomfortable. The shaking is not so severe that it affects my driving or lifting heavy items but it does interpose with how steadily I can hold a fork, a glass of water, a sheet of paper. I find myself impatient with the focus it takes me to push a button on my keyboard or do other tasks that would not have caused alarm before. Perhaps my use of impatient was improper. Not impatient. Afraid is more truthful. Afraid that the tremors will worsen. That they will be more noticeable and affect other muscles or nerves in my body, my legs for instance.

That's the thing though, with medication. While it seemingly makes one area better, something else is worse. I have not forgotten my days of uncontrollable ups and downs. I never want that roller coaster again. Ever! Not that I don't have my days now. The difference now is that I can see light beyond the episodes. I know that I will come down from whatever high I am on. I will come up from whatever low is pulling me under. An unmedicated, and by unmedicated I don't strictly mean western medication, person living with bipolar one during an episode does not often know that an episode will end. THE EPISODE FEELS LIKE THE ENDING!! If that makes any sense. To make matters worse it is not a physical illness that can be measured with a thermometer. It is not about being too sad or too happy. Often it is about feeling alone and misunderstood by the people you love the most. The people who really want to help you but are exhausted by you because you will just not "snap out of it" as if you wouldn't if you could. And as much as you want to scream that you are not on this roller coaster because you do not have Jesus in your life any more than they have a headache or a broken leg because they don't have Jesus in theirs, you keep quiet and let them proselytize because they have already made up their closed minds about you. And so you (I) just smile and pray it is over soon.

Still, with everything I know about the ups and downs, I can't take the shaking. I have changed my diet recently. I took out all meat and dairy. Added more water and am working on more exercise. More sun, more park, more walks, more beach. There has to be a different way. A way sans the meds. A way that has me have better control of my memory and hand muscle movement. I don't know what I'm going to do for sure. But I'll let you know. Maybe.

Gratitude

I give thanks and praise today for waking up
For my friends and family
I give special praise for the birth anniversary of Valerie Bridgeman
Whom I know as friend and family
I am thankful even for the headache I woke up with
That is slowly dissipating
I am thankful for my son
For the sun that shines so brightly through my window
I am thankful for love

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 14 - Solo

I have to withdraw
From the world sometimes to be
A part of it whole

Gratitude

My gratitude posts are always redundant for the most part
Being thankful for waking up
My family and friends
My mother and son
All of that
Sometimes it is with no effort
Sometimes it takes self motivation I have to pull from within
Or somewhere
Like today
Like yesterday
Like yesterday when doing hardly anything took motivation
Like my room right now
Being a pile of mess that will stay this way
That I give permission to stay this way and be ok with it
Until I can muster the energy to do something about it
Still I am thankful
For even the thoughts that race
That zip through my head
I am thankful for this day
For witnessing the sun
I am thankful that even though I am feeling this sinking
That I have felt before
Many times before
I see light
I know and am thankful that I will not always feel this way

Monday, January 13, 2014

My product for sale

1. An audiobook, THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER $10

2. A cd (with music), Simple like a daisy $10

Please place orders via paypal and send funds to jahasart@yahoo.com.

Special thanks to those who have ordered so far, you are greatly appreciated!

Gratitude

I give thanks for the people in my life
Friends who call to give love
Friends who visit and share laughter
I am ever grateful for my family
For my son
My mother
Aunts and uncles
I am thankful for peace and quiet
I am even grateful for fleeting moments that come
That have come tonight of feeling low
I am thankful that low does not last
That low is temporary
I am thankful for my health and strength
For understanding and forgiveness
I am thankful for protection and guidance
I am thankful for recognizing that my son has his own walk with God
As do I
As do we all
I am thankful for knowing what I can control and what I cannot
I am thankful for love

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 13 - Connect

I waited quiet
As a bat in the belfry
For you to see me

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In honor to Mr. Franklin McCain

"If I were lucky I would go to jail for a long time. If I were not quite so lucky I would come back to campus in a pine box." Franklin McCain

Two days ago Mr. Franklin McCain passed away. Did you know his name? Could you point out his picture? Do you know his story, his bravery? He was one of the four men known as the Greensboro four who sat at a whites only Woolworth's counter in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1960. They waited and waited. They were not served that day and came back again. The events became known nationally as sit-ins. I will remind you here, that they were teenagers. That this was North Carolina. That these were the sixties. Somebody say southern trees.

We downplay the struggle of those who came before us. As if their service was as bare as sitting. For hours. For no service. As if they were sitting for the ambrosial melt of a white woman's cobbler. As if their sitting had nothing to do with us, five decades later. And here we are now, with our educated selves and sky pointed noses criticizing the weighty offers of our primogenitures. As if we know something about a dog our back. Water spewed like fire from hoses combusting our skin. What do we know about wiping spit from our faces? We know what we benefit. We know the easy of valet. We know press on nails at any boutique. We know schools and bookstores and malls and water fountains we had no privilege of before. We know bus rides and voting rights and theaters.  You think they had nothing to do with this?

Justly we hold up black raised fists at Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant rallies screaming revision of an American dream that has never included us without bloodshed. Without gnashing teeth and bodies swinging from trees or shot down in streets. Our foremothers and fathers put their lives on the lines. They did not fight this revolution in pajamas battling between Twitter posts and Facebook statuses. They were ordinary women and men who used what they had and literally put their lives on the line to make a difference that would make a difference for us. You think "The ballot or the bullet" was a clever bumper sticker Brother Malcolm came up with? Have you read Brother Martin's "Letter from a Birmingham jail?"

Mr. McCain was the last of the four who sat on that counter February 1. Our elders are leaving the planet so fast. It is up to us now. To fight a fight bigger than our own survival. How are we making a difference for our children? How are we remembering and honoring those who came before? How will future generations look back and remember us? There is fighting to do. Not lunch counters. Not water fountains. Shout out to the ancestors. What you know about privatized prisons? What you know about white judges sitting on benches with only their agendas in mind? What's up with all these babies missing and murdered? Unfair sentences to black and brown defendants. All this work there is to do around social justice and civil rights. It is our turn now. Our turn for more than hipster tees and colored sneaks. It is high time we remember that if it wasn't for the sacrifice of those before us we wouldn't be walking into Jimmy Choo for fancy kicks. For what are we giving our lives? Our art and hearts? What keeps us up at night? How will we messy our fists to the bone for a better tomorrow? And what are we teaching our children about work there is to do?

Gratitude

I give thanks for this day
For an incredible evening last night
For the amazing artists I know
I am thankful for my son
For the sun
For my friends and family
I am thankful for the day ahead

A haiku a day for 2014 - day 12 - Jilt

Will leave her broken
For someone to love again
But now she is shell

So good good feeling

The show tonight at Beyond Baroque was beyond ridiculous and I am so honored to have been a part of such greatness. It featured the women of The World Stage and the whole night was a like a reunion. I got to perform with sistas I haven't seen in years, let alone show out with. And show out we did. Imani Tolliver, Rhonda, Sequoia, DJ Watson, V Kali, Pam Ward, to name some of the women. The show was to raise money to keep The World Stage open. The Stage is my poetry home and home to many in the Los Angeles area. Beyond Baroque has always been a cousin to The Stage and so it was good to see family there.

Shout out to all who purchased my audiobook and cd tonight. You are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 11 - Awake

I was suckered by
His toady blinded by what
I wanted for us

Gratitude

I give great thanks for waking up this morning
For my son
For the sun
My family and friends
I give thanks for patience
For time at its own pace
For the sound of children playing in the garden outside
I give thanks for space and energy
For my health and strength
For art and words and stories
I give thanks for God's hand of love and protection over my son and the children in my life
For the sister circle I attended last night
I give thanks for everything I am
For everything I am not
For my journey
The voice in my head that pushes me to go further
To learn more
To create more beautifully
To stand in the face of agreement or not
To forgive
To remember
I give thanks for my ever grateful heart
For tea and food that nourishes my body
For water clean and fresh
For paint and activities for my hands
I give thanks for new
For prayer
For the books on my shelves
The clothes in my closet
The gas in my vehicle
I give thanks for my mother
My sister
Uncles and aunts
For space
For dreams
For the way my mind wanders
For gifts given and received
For poetry
For everything I know and everything I don't
For the retirement of my Aunt Barbara
For my phone
The bed on which I sleep
I give thanks for the long list of things and people I have to be thankful for

Friday, January 10, 2014

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
I celebrate each sun as new
I am thankful for my son
For his love and the loving arms and spirits all around him
I am thankful for all of the children in my life
For my family
My friends
I am thankful for my community
For art that surrounds me
For love and peace and ease today

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 10 - Donny

I steady myself
For words that fall from your mouth
Eager every time

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rise in power and strength Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones)

The ancestors are leaving the planet so fast.

Thank you, dear brother and elder, Amiri Baraka for all you gave us. For every lesson you taught. For your craft and every way you fought and loved. You will be greatly missed. And your memory cherished.

Gratitude

I give thanks today for love
For peace and understanding
For waking up this morning and rest last night
I am thankful for my health and safety
For the health and safety of my son
The children in my life
My family and friends
I am thankful for a walk in the park with Nspire
For meeting Sherry on our journey
I am thankful for strangers who were never strangers
But reflections of ourselves waiting to be seen
I am thankful for seeing
For listening
I give thanks for art and poetry
For photography and dreams
I am thankful for dedication to craft and creation
I am thankful for being thankful

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 9 - Salute

Elder Amiri
Baraka we honor you
Rest in peace and love

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Gratitude

This morning I give thanks for waking up
I am thankful for my son
For the sun
For my family and friends
I am thankful for my health and safety
For the protection of my son and the children in my life
I am thankful for guidance
For peace
For being still
For movement
For a listening ear
I am thankful for art
For poetry and words
For product to sell
I am thankful for this moment of quiet

My products available for purchase

1. Audiobook - THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER - $10

2. Cd (with music) - Simple like a daisy - $10

Orders may be placed through www.paypal.com. Please send funds to jahasart@yahoo.com.

Thank you to all who have ordered this far. You are greatly appreciated!

Good night free write

Home from Da Poetry Lounge. Thankful for my life. Tonight a man read his poem. He stood in front of the mic stand with his beautiful booming voice while another man held his paper for him because he, the poet, had no arms. And read a poem about being put up for adoption. And then being put up for adoption again. And also about not being comfortable with his reflection. And as much as I love poetry and words already, I fell deeper in love with this craft. This art. This thing we do called storytelling. Where we get to empty our deepest pain and insecurity to a crowd of people we may never know again, and be known like we never were before.

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 8 - Meditation

Poetry is like
I breathe and God puts Her song
Breeze back into me

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gratitude

I am thankful for this day
For the sounds of birds chirping
For love and security
Health and safety
I am thankful for my son
For his protection and wonder
I am thankful for my family
For friends and laughter
For old friends and new
For friends I rarely speak with who will forever be in my heart
As reminder of how blessed I am

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 7 - For Rob McMillan (artist)

I collect old things
And make art to show how much
Wonder there is still

Monday, January 6, 2014

Good night free write

10:20pm. Home. This is my first night home in about three weeks. I've been at my mother's house in Long Beach with my family and the teens and friends and the dog and...and...and... And it was a wonderful time but home is great too. I'm at peace. There is much to do. Things to figure out and work and bills to get caught up on. I'm breathing. I'm breathing. I am enjoying this moment right now. All this quiet.

I had a great time in conversation with some girlfriends. In person conversations and laughter, that is the best! Don't you think so? I do. We ate and shared and encouraged each other. Now it is breathing time. Meditation time. It is time to know that I am just not in control. It is time to know that it, whatever it is, is all in God's mighty hands.

As always, I give thanks for this day. Thanks for my son, my mother, my friends and family. I give thanks for my health and strength. For love and forgiveness. I give thanks for this life. This life perfect for me.

A haiku a day for January 2014 - At peace

Thankful for this day
Morning come so easily
Sun rays wake me up

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - poem 5 - Ahhh

Listen how clean this
Air blow in and out my lungs
To ready for now

Ago

You confused my adulation of you with love
But I was only trying to stay alive
Until I became your pretty puppy
Waiting for a crumb to fall
You were the slickest evil
In your godly robe
Time though
Sure does
Remember

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 4 - poems 2 through 6

2. Uraeus

Time goes so quickly
I watch you grow up so big
Letting go is life

3. Laura

I listen to you
Way your words land cross my skin
Has me see day new

4. Prayer

Dear God, remember
When I asked to see the truth
And you showed me, me

5. Poetry

Words are therapy
Creating a world with thought
No place I can't go

6. Sit

Be still in quiet
Let go of thought and worry
Free space to see sky




Gratitude

Today I am thankful for this day
I am proud and thankful for my son
For the children in my life
I am thankful for my family
I am thankful for my mother
I am thankful for my health and strength
For love and abundance
I am thankful for the opening of the art exhibit at Dysonna
For being back in the house with my family
I am thankful for many good conversations this evening
For peace and art
I am thankful for artists
For poets and dancers
For writers and musicians
For easy in my head

Push

We learned to push love away through mimesis
We saw early
Our fathers and brothers second us to their cars and gods
Our tenacious rhythm of articulating our womanist sensibilities
Through double Dutch chants and house play with candy cigarettes
"That muthafucka betta have his ass home tonight"
Puff puff pass
Why did we have to choose a struggle
Be black or be woman
Like color and pussy don't connect
Be gay or be Christian
Like love and religion ain't the same
Fuck nasty or be wife
Like legs wrapped so squeeze 'round my man's dick say I ain't his Queen
Hair nappy or bone straight
Like how steady my comb stick say whether I can fight a dog off my back
What you know about where our lives intersect
Like we can't have faith and be afraid
Like we can't forgive and remember how dirty you played
Like we can't be devil afraid of our reflections
And look into our eyes at the same time
And know how magnificent we are



Random good night gratitude post

This time with my family has been phenomenal. I am aware more and more how blessed I am to come from such stock.

A haiku a day for January 2013 - day 4 - Family. Road. Trip.

Mother, sister, me
Son, nephew, brother, niece, friend
Journey this ride one

Some more random haikus for January 2014

When

Remember way we
Sat still under kissing tree
Could we again now

2. Family

Blood and skin belong
Together we forever
Blue sky, sea floor us

3. Presence

Sometimes I think I
Need something I don't really
Have to posses now

4. She

Wrinkled olive skin
Her hair tied in gray up bun
Cigarette stained teeth

5. Moon

Guide me o gentle
Light above my head this eve
Dance me now again

6. Valerie

How woman you are
How mighty your voice and love
Strong and wise you are

7. Gratitude

I am thankful for
Balance, peace, harmony and
Joy beyond measure

8. Friday

California sun
Easy drive with family
Memories like this

9. Self portrait

Of a woman this
Raw open sewn up crazy
Unconsciously free

10. Starting over

Stare out onto sea
Let go heartbreak from before
Head and hands to sky

11. V Kali

Skin so ocean you
Feel like rent paid softly up
My back so comfort

12. Uraeus

I worry sometimes
Afraid of boogiemen I
Have to kill myself

13. Remember

I sat crossed legged on
Your bed waiting for you to
Give your heart to me

14. Cafe

You sat across from
Me and told me to my face
That you would never

15. Jaha

O the places I
Have stretched my forgiveness for
Me to love you so

16. Writers block

Words always begging
Air to breath outside my head
Who am I to deny them

Friday, January 3, 2014

Gratitude

I give thanks for this day
For my eyes opening wide
My feet
My back
My health and strength
I give thanks for my son
For my family and friends

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 3 - Touch

How disappear I
Must become to see myself
As I really am

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My product for sale

1. Simple like a daisy - cd - $10

2. THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY TOGETHER - audiobook - $10

All orders may be made through www.paypal.com. Send funds to jahasart@yahoo.com

Thank you to those of you who have ordered so far! I greatly appreciate you!

A haiku a day for January 2014 - poem 3 - When love

Delicious this sin
Sacrosanct and fluid. Free
Water me easy

A haiku a day for January 2014 - poem 2 - Simple

These chirping birds now
Remind me how easy life
Is when I let go

Conversation with my twelve year old niece, Deja

Deja: You know him. He is the round guy.

Me: Why do you have to body shame him by calling him round?

Deja: But I didn't body shame. I just called him round. Round is a beautiful shape.

Me:

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 2 - Majesty

Up early morning
On grass under sky, tree, blue
This is how God, gods

Gratitude

I am thankful this morning for waking up with family and friends
I am thankful for this vacation time with so many of us spending this much time together
I am thankful for music and laughter
For harmony
I am thankful for late night conversations with good friends
I am ever grateful for my circle of artists

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dear friend

I keep waiting your response
My patting feet and nervous heart
Endemic of the valley we know


Gratitude

Tonight I give thanks for this day
I give thanks for the children in my life
For my family
My son
I give thanks for my life
For love
For peace
I give thanks for praise
For my community of artists
I give thanks for good food and good conversations tonight
I give thanks for laughter and forgiveness
I give thanks for the journey

A haiku a day for January 2014 - day 1 - Free

I am so mountain
Been through valley deep before
This level so clear