May 29, 2009

I Love You More Than Coffee

I may have said it, but even then it was a lie. You want to know why? Because you don’t crawl out of bed in the morning jumping like a Mexican bean to wake me up and make me happy. No, only an Arabica bean can do that.

This doesn’t mean that I love you any less. This means that I really really really really really really really really really really resent that my coffee maker isn’t working. It is long gone. Dead and gone. And there were some tears when I walked up to the machine and flipped the button. The red button glowed letting me know that my bliss would soon be here. I made the mistake of walking away and when I came back? Nothing had happen! Had I forgotten the water again? Nope. Glowing red light? Check. Coffee grounds? Check. I shake the machine a little. Nothing happens. I tap it. Nothing. I ever so gently bang it against the counter like the caffeine crazed woman I am. Still no coffee.

This was days ago. Days and days ago.

And now….
I can only think of one thing.

So, What do I want to do about this? REEEEEEEEEEEAD!!!!!!!!


(No beans, Mexican or coffee were injured during the making of this blog post. Please contact me to donate to my cause!!)


May 26, 2009

Long Live Langston

"We spent a month reading poetry from the Harlem Renaissance in our English class. Then Mr. Ward--that's our teacher--asked us to write an essay about it. Make sense to you? Me neither. I mean, what's the point of studying poetry and then writing essays? So I wrote a whole bunch of poems instead. They weren't too shabby, considering I'd only done a few rap pieces before. My favorite was about Langston Hughes." Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes, Page 2.
When Wesley "Bad Boy" Boone turns in poetry instead of an essay the teacher asks him to read one of his poems out loud. More and more students want to share the poems they have written until Mr. Ward decides to institute and "Open Mic Friday" for some of the class sessions.

The Harlem Renaissance was about embracing the artistic and intellectual changes in the African American culture in the 1920s and 1930s focusing on blending the historical experiences of black America with the rising urban experience. This rise was fueled by the establishment of the

Cover of

African American middle class. Many notable writers, artists, musicians, and intellectuals were part of the Renaissance. Throughout the book Bronx Masquerade, many of them are even mentioned by name. These modern day students begin finding themselves in the writing of novelists and poets who lived generations before them.

Westly Boone stood before his English class and read the following poem. The stories and poems through the remainder of the book are just as compelling.

Long Live Langston
by Wesley Boone

Trumpeter of Lenox and 7th
through Jesse B. Semple,
you simply celebrated
Blues and Be-bop
and being Black before
it was considered hip.
You dipped into
the muddy waters
of the Harlem River
and shouted "taste and see"
that we Black folk be good
at fanning hope
and stoking the fires
of dreams deferred.
You made sure
the world heard
about the beauty of
maple sugar children, and the
artfully tattooed back of Black
sailors venturing out
to foreign places.
Your Sweet Flypaper of Life
led us past the Apollo and on
through 125th and all the other
Harlem streets you knew like
the black of your hand.
You were a pied-piper, brother man
with poetry as your flute.
It's my honor and pleasure to salute
You, a true Renaissance man
of Harlem.


I, Too. by Langston Hughes

I, Too.

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

May 25, 2009

Diego Rivera and the Bronx Masquerade

I just finished Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. It was a completely amazing book. It uses a mixture of poetry and prose to tell the story of 18 different students in a multi ethnic classroom.

One student loves to paint and refers to himself as “the future Diego Rivera.” His name is Raul Ramirez and like Diego he focuses on doing self portraits. Here is a a few of Rivera’s portraits with a picture of him.

On page 21 of Bronx Masquerade Raul shares some insight into his art.

I want to show the beauty of our people, that we are not all banditos like they show on TV, munching cuchfritos and sipping beer through chipped teeth. I will paint los ninos scooping up laughter n the sunshine and splashing in the temporary pool of a fire hydrant I will paint my cousins, turning the sidewalk into a dance floor when salsa or la bamba spills from the third-floor window. I will paint Mami, standing at the ironing board late in the evening, after a day of piecework in the factory, sweat pouring off her, steam rising from a pot in the background, me tugging at her skirt while she irons. I will paint the way she used to smile down at me, the love in her eyes saying “I only do this for you.” Mami’s beauty is better than a movie star’s. It survives a kind of life where pamper is a noun, not a verb. I will capture that beauty on canvas, someday, when I am good enough.

May 24, 2009

Need by Carrie Jones


fear of phobias

Everybody has fears, right?
I'm into that.
I collect fears like other people collect stamps, which makes me sound like more of a freak than I actually am. But I'm into it. The fears thing. Phobias.

There are all the typical, common phobias. Lots of people are afraid of heights and elevators and spiders. Those are boing. I'm a fan of the good phobias. Stuff like nelophobia, the fear of glass. Or arachibutyrophobia, the fear that you will have peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.

I do not have the fear of peanut butter, of course, but how cool is it that it's named?

It's a lot easier to understand things once you name them. It's the unknown that freaks me out.

I don't know the name of that fear, but I know I got it, the fear of the unknown.

Page one of Need by Carrie Jones.
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