Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dorothy Dandridge

Writer extraordinaire, Langston Hughes said, "just being the first Negro to do something does not necessarily make a person great or even famous but there are still so many 'first things' that colored people have not been permitted to do in the United States that just achieving of any one of them has about it some extraordinary merit requiring more than ordinary grit, ability or stick-to-it-iveness." 

One of those firsts is, Dorothy Dandridge, the first African American actress to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the 1954 film, "Carmen Jones." 

Great actress and singer worthy of acknowledgement. Gotta love black history because it's also American and world history. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Letter to You from Me

Dear You,

Going outside into the snow made me regret not having a snow blower. Winter white everywhere caused me grief and such despair. I started dreaming about you in June when flip flops rock and dandelions bloom. But instead, I’m buried under layers of wool and with a glass that’s empty and not at all full.

When sunlight heats me up to relinquish my sweaters and the perennial greens of spring keep us from drought from winter’s meltered and the lawn sprinklers stand before me instead of the shovel and I push it to mow the weeds of doubt that the cold winter let climb into my soil. Then I will smile and remember me, you. That’s when I’ll understand what nature was meant to do. And that’s when I’ll say I know that snow helps spring to size. And I’ll celebrate by taking my kite strings for a ride.

So until then, don’t despair the cold because we need it. You’ll already know then what I’m just learning though it makes me pout. Baby it’s cold outside but only for a minute with me until I’m there as you. Hold on because soon to come will be, the stork with this mamakat writing prompt message of what I learned this month about the importance of snow from me to you.

Love me!  


It is one thing to read about or to see antiquated images of machines used in the jazz olden days but it is something else to look at it before your eyes and to actually see in person, that actual thing jazz greats spoke about.

What I'm speaking of? One of the many phonographs by the Victor Talking Machine Co known as a Victrola. 

Beautiful is the large external horn and the wood-based, standing cabinet that makes this gramophone perfect to sit as a centerpiece on a table in a living room. The Victrola was the most popular of phonographs. What a machine and what a great collection of music it must have played in its day. Can you imagine, first cuts by Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie? Wow! 

Seeing a Victrola made me envision black and white frames with jazz swing dancers all around doing the jitterbug, from wall to wall, to a jazz orchestra all in tuxedos and a jazz diva with a fancy hat, white fur lined gloves and a long, fancy gown, singing with all the emotion and sassiness she had. 

What a history! What a culture! What music! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Seeds of Virginia Woolf's Truth: A Tribute

Writer, Virginia Woolf was born on this date in 1882. If still alive, today she would have been 134 years old. Happy birthday to you Woolf. This blogpost is dedicated to your legacy!

                     As a writer, she was definitely a truly influential person to me. 
                     Her writing candies over and it's remnants tangle around my heart. 
                    She was good at going against the current beyond reasonable doubt. 
                        Seeds of truth drifted through the pages of her essays
                              And the words continue to ring until today. 

Today, a person can still submerge themselves into her shriveled up, bold writing in the present moment and fashion them as today's apparel which is why I'd like to share with you quotes by Woolf that still pop for me and apply my own definition to them that might resonate in you. 

1. Be Yourself!

"Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent" (Virginia Woolf).

2. Know Yourself!

"The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness" (Virginia Woolf).

3. Trust Yourself!

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged, life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end" (Virginia Woolf).

4. Believe in Yourself!

"The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages" (Virginia Woolf).

5. No Matter What, Love Yourself!

"Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame" (Virginia Woolf). 

For your works, I write with immeasurable joy. For your pen, I have respect. For your thought, it comes alive in me, new songs. My writing has grown from Woolf's intellect. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

With the Stroke of a Pen: A Poem

"If you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. . . If you make a man feel inferior you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself" (Carter G Woodson). 

With the Stroke of a Pen: A Poem

Demagogues spitting lies.
With odious speeches and rote cries.
History's song and dance recycled.
Polemics against black potential.
Won't be tolerated as an equal.
And the storyline continues as sequels.

Lynching of characters and joy.
Proselytizes to less than worth like toys.
Purloin our strength until it hurts.
Soil the reputation of our life's work.

Life jogs on like a New York City marathoner.
Respect never regarded as a common denominator.
While on popularity highs standing on intellectual rostrums
The anathema of the world must be someone.

Better if coffled together in barracoons.
Controlled without political uprisings, voices or clues.
Striving for chains to noose so-called suicides.
Having us fixed on silence til the evenings of our lives.

Go ahead and slam your brakes on change.
We crash in the back door and socially claim.
Uplifted courage to cross the line.
Beyond the roles of just aspirants, we climb. 

You are bound to attract with interesting talk.
So hungry we eat the weighted bull with pitchforks.
You should know, consanguineous ties have us as brethren.
Lucy's bones say that we all are her children.
No odious speech or rote cry then should be recycled to offend! 
Demagogues, let's start a new family story with the stroke of a pen.