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Clarisse: Hi there! Just walking around the neighborhood and checking out my neighbors' blogs! I'm liking it here. You are welcome to mine...swing by for a cup of coffee ...a link-up and a little chat...anytime

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December 15th, 2014

10:21 PM

Lose Our Minds Up in Here, Up in Twitter

Dedicated to Twitter users everywhere........

I have this vision Mr. Roarke from Fantasy Island will show up on someone’s computer screen saying, “Your fantasy is over, my friend’ and logs off your private CPU or laptop. I keep waiting for that moment when someone tweets it, but so far, that moment isn’t here yet.

If Y2K  meant next year instead of the year 2000, trust me, users who make a name on Twitter would be shaking in their keyboards right now. It’s about the only thing that will shut down the madness of an social media service which has served all who use it since 2006. Now that we’re living in an interconnected world and social media plays a big part in that, it’s not the only part. When I was in charge of a book event, I used several online services to spread the word about the event, but it wasn’t the only way to communicate, much to my error. We live in an era where a celebrity can request followers to ask them a question and the most hilarious responses appear.

In a piece that took issue of the comments on websites by so-called anonymous folks online, much of the same argument can be made about folks who hold a Twitter account. There’s nothing we like better than taking someone down a ‘peg’ because we feel they deserve it, no matter who they are. This is turning us all into angry organic drones who type on a keyboard who would rather go after a head of state with vile than to actually communicate with that same head of state with something valuable to say. We, the observers watching all this madness when users attack celebrities, activists, etc., aren’t any better than schoolchildren running to a fight screaming ‘fight! Fight!” and posting the brutal one hundred and forty character verbiage on a feed.

Here are the ways Twitter can make you lose your mind ‘up in here, up in here”

Posting a nonsensical comment (non-stop)

Posting a racial comment (trust me, users won’t last long if they type their ignorance online and peeps know who you are)

Having ‘beefs’ with folks you want to ‘troll’ (what the kids say)

‘Capping’ on a user you followed (capping - old 1970’s term for bagging, we old folks know)

If you happen to own a Twitter account, you’ll notice there are plenty of ‘Jive Turkeys’ who have plenty of space to express what idiocy they feel the need to say. Personally, I sit back, watch and observe the madness going on.

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December 15th, 2014

12:16 AM

The Tucumcari Experience, 1992

I submit this to you, the reader: back in 1992 I bought a book entitled the Poet’s Market with the intention of sending my poetry to one of the small press magazines. I sent a bunch to the Tucumcari Literary Review. The photo you see above is a notification from the magazine’s editor that they accepted some of the poems, but not all. The ‘hope you survived the L.A. Riots’ line occurred during the time of the Unrest which I was also told, my poems arrived a day before all madness broke loose.  Here is one of the poems that I may have posted on the blog before, “The Drug of Racism” which didn’t make the cut for Tucumcari. I still thank the editor for choosing what I did send to them and I will let you know these poems can be found in the Voices of South Central.

The Drug of Racism

Here in America, we have a number of addictions
throw in drugs, greed and include racism
prejudice is a drug dangerously sweeping the nation
serious as a world threat or superpower invasion.

Blacks mistrusting whites, whites mistrusting blacks
Sources of communication is what both races lack
other cultures and races tossed in the hate game
freebasing on it, burning up in flames.

History records this substance abuse
morals were tight, but codes were unloosed
armies slaughtered humans, creations of God
the dead paying a price for blood they trod.

Little children aren't affected, they're color blind
for they're pure in heart, cleansed in the mind
only when society bombards them in condition
they accept and absorb its racist traditions.

If this is America and her states are united
then why are its citizens painfully divided?
to stop racist additions, there must be a start
to ban this drug and treat many hearts.

Charles L. Chatmon

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December 13th, 2014

5:23 PM

Poem: Red, Black & Green

This piece was not written by yours truly, but Chandra, my lovely, talented wife. Enjoy.

From sea to shining sea
Black lives held hostage
Black lives matter
Cross that out
All lives matter
As long as
We produce and protect green
Stumbled upon the sight of
Two brown eyes staring back at me
From photographs that had not acquired the pain
Of living under occupation.
Unaware of the hostage crisis
Underneath our noses
Already paid the ransom quadruple
But for the wrong grievance.
Our souls are being occupied
The thrones of our spirit are being toppled
All that remains are red rubies
Spilled as the wind drags the evidence
And bleaches the bones
Rinse and repeat
Rinse and repeat

Chandra Chatmon
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December 8th, 2014

7:22 PM

Archive: The Two Souls at War

Note: an old post, with a couple of changes.

"One ever feels his twoness,--an American, a Negro; two warring souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder." - "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" in W.E.B. DuBois's
The Souls of Black Folk (1903) 

I hear them quite often these days, the questions: 

Are you Black or are you an American? I'd would say both but this society seems to choose the answer for me. In my close to forty years of existence, I've seen examples on the streets and in the news about what America considers those of my skin color as. I don't even have to go into historical facts to support my argument, but given the fact there is the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, a Civil Rights Act, to support my claim if I choose to, chances are these questions would be moot. 

It's not enough I can choose one political party over another, the fact I can live in a higher income bracket or be a world class athlete and have the ability to move product, I'm still going to be looked at (and treated) a certain way because of the color of my flesh. I can even serve in a war overseas, but given not the same treatment as a soldier of another color would be given, unless I share the same political ideology as they and even then, that's not enough, sorry to say. Inside, each time I stare into another person's eyes even if we're friends, I can feel the difference. Our interpersonal relationship may be solid, but I wonder if they really know me? Do they wish to? 

I slightly reference that question in regards to the horror of September 11, 2001 in a poem I wrote. I say that a day before I was considered Black, on that fateful day, I was considered an American. Funny how a national tragedy can bring 'us' together to help us understand we share the same humanity, but blinded by the many stereotypes and prejudices we hide mentally to reveal that fact? Five years since that day was supposed to pull us closer, we find ourselves pushing each other apart. 

If you were to ask me if I'm Black or American, I would tell you I feel the duality as Mr. DuBois so eloquently stated in the quote above. Many of my kind have proven time and time again their love for the country through intellectual thought, advances in technology, and in art, yet are still thought of to be 'less than' as members of the dominant society. It is my hope as we as individuals work towards a better understanding of each other, we'll wipe away those myths held inside our psyche as easily as we wipe a tear from our eyes because let's face it, not only this duality 'make me wanna holler' as the late great Marvin Gaye once sang, but it drains the soul of the one who deals with the twoness as well as the person trying to relate to it.

Am I Black? Yes. Am I an American? Yes. It's just that you see one and fail to acknowledge the other. The answer to that riddle, is up to you.



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December 7th, 2014

8:57 PM

Archive: Stopped By The Cops

Note: this timely topic was posted on this date.

Stopped by the cops.

It happens you know, even to the best of us. I have been stopped three times in the past for riding in three different cars; my father’s Caprice Classic with a red cloth over the back stop light, my first car with the factory sticker in the rear instead of in the right front side of the car and my second car that I just bought pulled over to the side and forced to reveal my registration. Ironically, these incidents happened at times when I ventured over to the L.A. County side. Two out of the three times I felt a tinge of hostility from the sheriffs as I calmly pulled out my drivers registration and complied. One of those times, I was cussed out by one of the sheriffs, the other, feeling as if the officer looking at my registration was ‘messing around’ with me.

Remember the gang sweeps in the late 1980’s in South (Central) Los Angeles? I wasn’t out during the time of night they occurred but I remembered watching on one independent channel (I miss the days of Very Independent television) the reporter asked an LAPD officer in charge of the sweeps about whether or  not they know if they have ‘good’ people or ‘bad’ people. The officer mentioned his crew and others participating would determine who was a gangbanger and who was a normal citizen. I wonder what a ‘good’ person would say after kneeling down for countless minutes on a dirty sidewalk near his home.

Stopped by the cops.

Yes, it happens and to  be perfectly honest, I doubt any rational thinking human being would tolerate the indifferent treatment received at times from law enforcement. Sure they have to do their job and it’s what they do, but at least they should show willingness to apologize when you’re not the ‘one’ they’re looking for or when you do comply of everything asked of you and they still act in an unprofessional manner. Maybe you’ve never experienced these things, but others have witnessed these stops with their own eyes and have been through the same episodes.

Just as we’re told to ‘move on and get over it’ when individuals have addressed the same issues in the past, I urge those who utter those words to follow their own advice over the ‘outrage’ of what the President said last night. Sure, he said what he said but I think if it were my friend,  I would have reacted the same way too. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough if his emotion was justified but it was a human moment from a man the media thinks is anything but.

Oh well, I’ll let that rest for now.

course, you know this means the race issue isn’t dead yet. There’s lots to talk about, lots to discuss and if we’re calm about it, we can find a  common ground about solutions rather than the finger pointing and name calling. Leave that behavior for the highly paid talk show hosts on the cable networks. For now, there should be an honest frank discussion about how people of a racial or socioeconomic class are treated as compared with their more affluent or privileged counterparts. I bet it will come soon and when it does, sadly it will be disguised as a way to avoid the topic and will deteriorate into the actions described above.

All I know is, it’s late at night as I type this, someone else is stopped by the cops.
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