Meme Fail Alert

Their fairytale fits an acceptable narrative we are inclined to admire. I cannot imagine the biracial Obama married to a white woman or highlighting--in any definitive way--his primary raising by his white grandparents and his very privileged raising from private schools on through his Harvard days. These choices, too, are parts of the narrative we are fed and need to nourish us, I suppose, considering the moment at which he and his family emerged on the scene. But then there are moments in which I have to wipe clear the glass in this boxed story.

Boots on the Ground

Some of y'all--well my twin and my mom mostly--have known the dark side of my last two professional years. When the profession gets out of the way of the work you get your magic.  But with the recent consumer-driven model of higher education that magic can fail as it gets flat and stale. Right now [...]

The Good Ones

This morning I did a cycle ride with "Rick." I was a Cycling/Spin enthusiast before Running stole my heart and time.  I recently got reacquainted with it for cross training purposes.  But today was my first class with "Rick" as he'd been out sick with this flu thing that's ravaging 41 of the 50 states. [...]

Writers Anonymous

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl - Age 23 political (p-lt-kl) - of or relating to your views about social relationships involving authority or power Naming The act of naming is political; that is, how we choose to call things, ideas, and people is a reflection of how we perceive ourselves in relation [...]

Mrs. Kopay

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl - Age 13 She was stylish, had cool handwriting, and she loved Snickers bars.  Since they were her favorite, she kept a stash that also served as prizes for good behavior and/or good work. When I was sent to her class in seventh grade I wasn't sure [...]

Mommy, What Does Nigger Mean?

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl - Age 8 I borrow my title from Gloria Naylor's essay of the same name. In it she examines the first time she remembers hearing the word--really hearing it--in the third grade. The experience she describes, in some ways, parallels my own.  Certainly, I grew up hearing [...]

Albert Einstein: Physicist. Genius. Race Man?

It is no secret that J. Edgar Hoover’s F.B.I. kept surreptitious files on individuals and groups considered to be threats to the country’s security—that is, the status quo of have and have-nots.  That “security” would be maintained at all costs—lies and murders were not above the measures taken. Among those in the files were African [...]

I wanna be like Mrs. Krikorian. I spent the last two weeks writing, rewriting, coughing up chewed nail polish, and finally sending out a newly revised c.v. to some schools that might be gracious enough to let me re-enter the classroom in the fall and make some magic that might make some poems like this one. Maybe. We'll see. I'll [...]

Metaphors: Mask or Vessel?

Essex Hemphill is a homosexual black man who died of AIDS related complications.  That is the quick version of what mattered about his poem (not the one that follows actually) when I assigned it in a course for 18-19 years olds, lots of alpha males in one of the sections and all largely traditional and [...]

Staring Into the Sun

It’s been a different kind of season.  Summer hasn’t quite decided to be summer.  The Earth seems to be recalling its own at a disarming rate.  Among them, I learned this weekend, was one of my former students. Here I go back to Harris Hall surrounded by students wanting to know stuff.  Mario has crumpled [...]