Observations of life by author and poet Charles L. Chatmon
Today is a sad day in America, one of many depending which side of the fence you reside. Because of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, may I offer this poem found in The Depths of My Soul to you, free of charge? Submitted for your (dis) approval, I feel this is relevant according to the times we live in now. - C.L.C.
An eye for an eye
a tooth for a tooth
it may be in the Bible
but no longer is it truth
instead love your enemy
give him a place to rest
expect nothing in return
and you will be surely blessed.
How easy it is
to trick a generation
manipulating fresh young minds
into the policy of a nation
our political leaders
offer advice of suggestion
the only way to insure peace
is by force of aggression
Might Makes Right
Kill a Commie for Mommie
Better Dead than Red
in the 1950's
American mindset said
not an advocation of love
what manners deceivers be
encouraging souless violence
in the name of God and country.
It is seriously sad
not the least bit funny
we call ourselves a Christian nation
but our god is money
we claim to hold fast the good book
forsaking the will of our Creator
how blind can we humans be
calling ourselves far much greater?
There are many mental doctrines
that serve the commandment of man
fooling unsuspecting multitude
with boastful arrogant plans
speaking effective words
all for powerful political gain
unaware to grasp at life's end
selfish ambitions were done in vain.
Perhaps we should research
page after page
and not always take to heart
what political wings wage
for it is these same officials
who say everything's all right
not knowing their day of paradise
slips into troublesome night.
Hear me o' generation
do not be deceived
for it is in your own hearts
you firmly must believe
the whole truth for yourselves
if found, it will stand
untouched and untainted
not serving the commandments of man.
In closing: the poem is found on page 104 of The Depths. Thanks for your time. May The Lord forgive us all. - C.L.C.
Just so we know
This is Charles L. Chatmon, author of The Depths of My Soul and The Voices of South Central. Years ago, under my AOL screen name of CChat66, I participated in a tribute to black women with three other gentlemen. We used my poem “A Message to Black Women” at the time in the chat room we frequented. The poem proved to be so successful, one of the men worked a deal with Net Noir when it was on AOL to reserve chat rooms called “Celebrity Spotlight” for the typing of the poem. Below are the reactions and powerful responses of A Message to Black Women, now found in The Depths of My Soul. At the conclusion of the comments below, I’ll have some news for you regarding the poem and where you can get a copy of the book. Who knew that one little poem could set off such a firestorm of goodwill and love? (smile)
Charles L. Chatmon
August 9, 1997
Netnoir Online presents….
A Celebration of Black Women
You are cordially invited to receive the greatest gift a Black man can give a Black woman.
Email reactions from those who read the poem in its entirety - not to mention the three straight hours of IM’s I received) The screen names of those individuals who sent emails to me WILL NOT be posted for the sake of privacy. This is just to show you what one poem can do to help each one of us realize we need each other. Nuff said.
Let me thank you for your lovely poem and the sincerity that it holds. It’s so nice to know that there are some sensitive, loving, open and giving black men out there with such an attitude toward black women.
I think your poem is a wonderful tribute to women of color everywhere!!! Wish every Black woman had a Black man with your sensitivity and understanding.
Thank you for sharing with me. I love it.
It is not very often that I am speechless. I just don’t know what to say. Your poem had such lovely sentiment.
That is what is needed in today’s society, support. We CAN make it….TOGETHER.
It was truly wonderful, and it makes a sister’s heart joyful to know that there are still some brothers out there that really and truly love BLACK WOMEN!
It’s been a while since I read a poem which I LIKED immediately. Your poem A Message to Black Women was amazing. I don’t do poetry well…..but yours hit home and made me want to shout AMEN! How clear, touching, and yes, loving it was. I hope I find my Black king and when I do we will stand shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand. Thank you for a most wonderful gift.
Thank you for making it easy to get to your poetry. I am enjoying reading and can see it is truly from your soul. Keep up the good work and continue to allow words of love to flow from your heart.
I so regret that I was not able to make it to the room for the real presentation of the poem. I had it forwarded to me. Not good to read at work and get all teary eyed. The poem reflected my reasoning why I will never give up on my black men.
That was a dynamic, truly beautiful poem! Would love to read more of your poems. Truly excellent!
Thank you so much for sharing. I love it. Your are a very good poet. It shows that you write from your soul.
That is truly a very beautiful poem…..your delivery was great and your timing too.
The poem, “A Message to Black Women” was powerful and very informative. It gave me a sense of sweet understanding as a woman. It was like finally someone is saying the truth. I loved it. So thanks for your positive vibes.
Your poem was very inspiring as well as beautiful.
I found it to be very inspirational and passed it on to others, both male and female…….those who did not attend or attended late missed a treat.
This is just a quick message to let you know I enjoyed your gift of self expression. It inspired me to place pen to paper again. Thank you.
Thanks for such a nice poem. Nice to know we do have some true black men out there.
I was at the reading of your poem on Saturday evening and I must say I was extremely impressed. Very few Black men today have genuine respect and love for their Black women. It is refreshing to see that there are at least a few true black men still out there who feel the Black woman deserves some type of a tribute. Thank you again for your message of strength, pride, devotion, love, and respect for the Black woman.
Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I received a copy of your poem and it was very deep. I really enjoyed reading it.
Thank you for a positive message. I, and many of my friends, really needed that. What a welcome change from what we hear most from the ‘men’ we meet.
I am sure everyone was glad to see what you had to say. There was a great deal of interest, even after you signed off. It is a sad commentary that we are still going after each other’s throats. There are some very unhappy people and it seems to perpetuate itself. Thank you for the love you expressed in your poetry and for your words of encouragement and gratitude. It warms my spirit.
From one of the moderators on Net Noir:
NetNoir would like to thank you! Your tribute was beautiful.
I notice that there were 2 other rooms (one with 48 and one with 10) of people trying to get in to ‘hear’ your words. (big smile)
One man responded:
I want to do something special for that special Black lady in my life. I was not able to attend to get the poem live because we were enjoying the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry. Would you please send me the poem so that I may present it to her? (to the moderator of NetNoir - forwarded to me)
So now that you’ve read the many positive and encouraging messages to me, you must be wondering where can I find this “A Message to Black Women”?
The Depths of My Soul - found only on www.charleslchatmon.com or Amazon.com (Depths) (Voices) and other online bookstores. (2017: as of this reposting, only a few copies left, but I can make copies of the poem for you by request)
Thanks for the ongoing support. I hope to hear from you soon. Take care.
Charles L. Chatmon
The Depths of My Soul
The Voices of South Central
Trust me, I was THAT CChat66@aol.com.....
In my younger days, I wanted to be ‘like’ Shakespeare, but make my own name as a writer. Publishing books was the farthest thing from my mind although I had a poem accepted in my college’s English department anthology the following year. I would say for any young writer out there who needs a plan to achieve their goals, it’s best to learn from the ‘greats’ and absorb each and every writer you can.
It’s one thing to merely say “F- Shakespeare” as the author of this piece says (actually there’s more than his empathic denouncement), but if as a young writer, if you truly want to aspire to ‘greatness’, then it’s important to learn from the treasured scribes of the past.
In recent years, my literary tastes have turned to other great writers like Hughes, Wright, I’ve read Hemingway in the past, and others in my English classes through college. The plan was to simply read their stories, find the appeal these men (and women) have over time with their literary works. There’s a reason anything Shakespeare is celebrated through media while works such as Hughes’s Jess B. Simple are not, although it should find someone willing to make a series out of his tales. Contemporary authors insist you should read before you write. The only thing I can tell you is to read the literature of these classic writers first, then find your own voice while you experiment using their styles. It is important to develop your own unique style as you begin to write.
Young writers today are dealing with an opportunistic but highly competitive market than when I published my first book sixteen years ago. There were a slew of first time authors who did not go further in their literary pursuits, only publishing their one and only book. I wish I could give a reason why I’m so driven to write and force myself to write at a high level. I would say it’s the drive within me, determined to be the best I can be. Perhaps it is. Without putting pressure on any young writers reading this, you have to ask yourself this one basic question: do I want to be ‘the best’ or should I settle for being ‘ok’? No pressure at all if your goal is to only write one book and not proceed further than that. I can say before my first book saw print, I’ve written poems, articles for newspapers and magazines, and short stories ever since my junior high (middle school) days. I decided when I entered college I wanted writing to be a long term goal and to make something out of it. At this point I can say that although I’m not considered to be ‘a name’ in the literary world, I’m happy where I am in that readers have given me positive feedback on my poems and articles. It means a lot.
I would say it’s easy to look at the author with the profitable series and spend your days wishing you were like her, or him. It’s easy to think you’re not good or talented enough, and to compare your feeble success to the non-stop publicity this famous author receives. It’s so easy to fall into that trap but remember, if you want to be great, you have to believe you are. Be proud of that author. Give them a hand if need be. Never forget the only one who can determine how great or mediocre you are, is you. Everything is up to you and with hard work, who knows? Maybe in a few years time, YOU will be the one we’re all mentioning on our social media feeds.
The moral of this story is; there’s no harm in wanting to be ‘like’ Shakespeare, Faulkner, Twain, Hughes, Baldwin or Wright as long as you make the conscious decision that YOU choose to be the famous or not-so-famous author by the work you put in. Don’t worry if you feel no one is paying attention to you in the beginning as long as you make sure they pay all of the attention towards you at the end.
Best wishes to young writers everywhere.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In light of too many distractions taking place in the media, may I offer something from you that's different than the noise you've been hearing?
The first time I heard this song, I nearly cried back in 1994. I'm still glad it exists on my old cassette tapes, and in the following YouTube video below.
For all those who question what manhood is, it's more than the outer shell of our bodies and what parts belong with them. It's the heart, the soul of relishing the responsibility we black men have towards our women, our children and ourselves.
Submitted for your (dis) approval.
I don’t know about you, but Proctor and Gamble enflamed the passions of a dominant segment of society with this new ad:
Conservatives, black and white were unified in the condemnation of this ad which features “The Talk” black people have held with each other since forever. Although there has to be an account of ‘personal responsibility’, that hasn’t stopped law enforcement and ‘pretend’ law enforcement to encroach upon someone who looks like me, assuming that we’re up to no good, we’re thugs, all of the negative connotations reserved from the males of my race.
Years ago on this blog, I wrote about a misfortunate incident in which a professor in a college class asked me whether or not I am a ‘gang kid’. After explaining the reason I am not, I immediately understood that my place of residence, South Central Los Angeles left an impression on this professor that because of where I live and my skin color, that I belong in a gang, know someone in a gang, or therefore, hang out with them. The OG’s who lived in my old neighborhood will burst out in extreme laughter if they ever hear this story knowing that (in less than pleasing terms) I didn’t engage in either of those activities. Yet, as the reaction to this video provokes the same destructive messages of black people as unthinking, sexual savages who either kill police, sell drugs, or sex white women is all we do. (Spoiler alert: we don’t, but nobody cares about that.)
It is becoming more and more evident America is never going to change as it relates to racial matters. Never. It may change in regards to gender and sexual issues, but never when it comes to solving the challenges between all races and nationalities. We’ve had over sixty years (plus more) that necessary changes in civil rights were made to ensure everyone has a ‘fair shot’ in this country, this land of liberty, but it has and continues to be at a dead snail’s pace.
I want to address the ‘outrage’ to this video. Where do you see the black parents address their children in ‘militant’ language to do harm to white people in this ad? It’s simply parents addressing a reality that unfortunately persists today. I could remember when I had to step out the door of my parents’ house the words of “Be careful” were said not as a warning for me to avoid the gangs but police officers looking for an excuse to overstep their bounds. This society has utterly and profoundly convinced the public that because I am a black man, I must be punished. I must go to jail. I must….die. I say that message is a lie, an outright fallacy and must be challenged at every turn.
There are quite a number of outraged folks who insist they will never buy anything from Proctor & Gamble again, suggesting a boycott. I’m sure the staff at P&G are sleepless tonight fearful of these online threats which may or may not harm their bottom line. As a member of the free market, Proctor and Gamble has the right to show an ad to attract a new market – even presenting a painful reminder of America’s greatest sin. The outraged consumers on the other hand, have the same right to show propaganda videos favoring their side and not purchasing another product from the P&G brand. It’s their right, and they’re entitled to it.
The only thing they're not entitled to is to silence "The Talk" as long as it's needed for every young man and woman to hear. That is truth.