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May 26th, 2015

12:04 AM

Happy Birthday

It just happened; as of a few minutes ago, I just turned another year older. One more year to go before the Big Fifty, and I'm looking forward to the adventures ahead.

Thanks to all the 'fans' and lurkers for your encouragement and support. Hopefully there will be better news later in the year, but we shall see.

Going to enjoy this big day the right way!

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May 19th, 2015

10:54 PM

Archive: A Message From Black Men

I’ve heard so many comments from Black women telling black men what they want and need, I believe it’s time to switch it around and reveal the other side.

Ladies, we appreciate all you’ve done and will continue to do for us. For the men who truly understand, we appreciate and admire you carry life for nine months and as part of your nature, continue to care for that child until he or she is full-grown. We cannot share the pain you experience at birth nor will we discover the true bond between you and the new human being that emerged from your motherly womb.

But what we can do is ease your burden by being there for that child. Sadly, a great majority of us haven’t accepted that responsibility and we should. We should realize the same baby you held in your arms squealing for all to see is our creation too. Because of our arrogance and ignorance, we need to remember that fact.

However, we notice the men who have wronged you in the past, taking advantage of you breaking down your defenses by making you believe you finally discovered Prince Charming, was in fact an impostor and ruined the chances of good men everywhere to eventually get to know you and be closer with you. Because of these impostors, these good men were cheated out of their dream of sharing a life that could have been the greatest you two ever shared, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Ladies, we black men know what it means for you to work at a job many hours during the day with the responsibilities at home. Therefore, we find it offensive that although we may not possess the salary you do, to deny us the opportunity of knowing you based on our lack of height, educational degree, or social status. Although we did not create the standards on which you judge us by, it is nevertheless disappointing when the words of ‘there are no good men out there’ are said over and over again and we vainly defend ourselves into assuring you there are. Still, the good man who may not be six feet tall nor obtained an M.A., much less a B.A., but tends to his children, attends church, seeking to grow closer to the Lord who will never reject him, while you reject a good man based on a standard…is why we go to our own private rooms and weep.

The truth is, good men cannot approach you because we’re afraid you may reject us. Yes, in spite of all our attitude and braggadocios, we’re still frightened that you will spurn our advances, leaving us no choice but to continue the prideful roles we’re accustomed to playing. We hear how much you love the ‘bad boys’, so we act that way. We believe it’s what you want. We read many attributes you look for men whether it be physical, mental or spiritual and we work towards that end within our own personalities to be that man whom you seek, but we do not own the dual nature you ladies are adapt at due to your inner core. We become different individuals trying to reach the same romantic level with you and yes, while there are many wolves who also use the same strategies in getting what they want, we men only hope you see the attempt, and take it further.

We Black men have a long and proud history. We shake our heads when we’re compared to a pile of feces, an animal or any word that describes your past with a man who accurately fits those categories. For the rest of us, we hurt because we know we’re greater than that. We don’t have to sag our pants or speak slang as part of our vocabulary to get your attention. Once upon a time, we used to be gentlemen and can be again if you understand we also have our limits with silly women who are the reverse of the less than flattering names you use for men who’ve let you down.

In a manner of speaking, it goes both ways.

We men are not perfect, never will be. Our Lord walked the earth and was challenged by every turn by those who didn’t believe, constantly doubting. We know because we are not as perfect as He, we will have our faults. We will cause you to be upset, disappoint you, but judge us by our actions over time. Judge us by how much we love you and need you in our lives. Of course, there are men who seek mates of other races and creeds, but for the rest who yearn the touch of a black woman, do not deny us that right. Don’t turn us away.

We love you Black women. All we’ve ever asked is for you to love us in return.

That’s all we ever needed to begin with.

Note: written on May 22, 2009

 
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May 19th, 2015

10:48 PM

Archive: Reactions: A Message to Black Women in 1997

 

Just so we know

Hello,

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)

Take care.

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.

Dear CChat66,
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.

CC,
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.

Hello CChat66,
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.

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”?

Two places.

The Depths of My Soul - found only on www.charleslchatmon.com or Amazon.com (Depths) (Voices) and other online bookstores.

Or you could order my upcoming CD, “From A Man’s Heart” with selected poems from both the Depths and Voices with verses that will stimulate your heart, mind and soul. Please send an email to chatwrites2@yahoo.com to request a copy of either the book, CD or package deal.

Don’t forget the third entry in our new From A Man’s Heart series will be Poems From A Man’s Heart coming soon.

Thanks for the ongoing support. I hope to hear from you soon. Take care.

Charles L. Chatmon
Author
The Depths of My Soul
The Voices of South Central
www.charleslchatmon.com

Trust me, I am THAT CChat66@aol.com.....
 
Written on August 23, 2008
 
Note: I should have said, "I was THAT CCchat66@aol.com, but not anymore. Don't try to email that address. You have been warned......
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May 19th, 2015

10:35 PM

Archive: So You Wanna Be A Leader - The Prose Version

To start this off, I’d like to share the first four lines of the closing stanza of the poem “So You Wanna Be A Leader" published in  my book, The Depths of My Soul:

So it happens
To us of dark hue
Many folks preachin’
Not enough pews

I wrote this back in the 1990’s as a response to all of the talking heads on television insisting what we need to do for our communities, especially in light what happened during the Unrest. Add to that the countless hours I spent by my radio listening to activists, pundits, celebrities, anyone who was ‘credible’. So it tickles me to hear and read folks complain about the President. Maybe in our minds he hasn’t lived up to our standards, but I remember the days after the Unrest when I heard people say we need to do this and that to “Rebuild L.A.” and no major change happened as mentioned on the blog in the past. Same old story.

Now this isn’t to knock the activists already at work to create a change in our society. No one knows the commitment needed for a cause as much as I do, having known several individuals who are on the front lines of justice and change. On the other hand, in the 1990’s it was a camera and a microphone that folks loved to rush to whenever a major issue affected the community. In 2012, it’s a tweet or post on a social media site and suddenly we have all the answers. Really? Must be nice to be a Laptop Leader. It’s the actual ‘leading’ that I’d like to know more of outside of the internet.

Unless these Laptop Leaders have a mugshot, or their phone’s been tapped or stabbed like King was, it’s hard for anyone to take these types of people seriously. As much as we adore Malcolm and Dr. King, they were criticized and challenged not only from the establishment but from the same individuals whom they represented.For example, I read a story from the L.A. Times microfilms in college about a 1965 visit by Dr. King to Watts after their unrest. Instead of being cheered by the crowd, he was heckled by them. Funny isn’t it? We always romanticize our leaders when they’re gone and wonder ‘what would they do?’ when they were here on earth, we couldn’t stop talking about them enough, and not in a good way.

In fact, we romanticize the speeches, the quotes, “By any means necessary” or “I have a dream”, but we oftentimes forget how much in the lifespan of these great leaders of the struggle within the hearts and of the outer world. We don’t fall in love with the anguish, the quiet reflective moments of these men to muster up the courage to push ahead with their missions in mind. Missions that even our parents and grandparents questioned. No, we’d rather see another ‘like’ or retweet of some advice we type on screen in order to feel as if we’re making a difference or changing the world, which will probably vanish in the blink of an eye.

Would anyone likes to know the real price of being a leader? The cruel absolute joke of all? It’s when your followers no longer want to follow you. Or when your friends who you thought were your friends desert you, betray you, taking on the causes you fought and advocated for as their own. Beyond Malcolm and King, before and after, I would say that leaders will be confronted with this. They’ll have to acknowledge it at some point. This is what the Laptop Leaders fail to understand. Oh there are “haters’ everywhere, but dedicated individuals don’t depend on how many people follow their cause or fall over trying to please everyone, they see the cause for what it is, just.

The last few lines of the final stanza of the poem reads:

Wondering in the corners
Of my mind
If a true leader
We will ever find,
If unity will ever be a way
For our youth to follow
Because we failed them today
Let’s not err again tomorrow.
 
Note: this was written back on October 15, 2012
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May 19th, 2015

12:54 AM

The Risk Writers and Poets Take

In The Depths of My Soul: Poems From The Heart of a Man, I have two poems that would be securitized, dissected and rejected by our society today: I Am A Man and A Message to Black Women. Deep within the archives section, you see the reactions of women in multiple chat rooms who when A Message to Black Women was presented, gave their notes of appreciation and thanks that finally a man, a Black man was finally able to articulate the challenges of both our sexes. I had no problem writing the poem, and gladly stand by my words. However, in both poems there are passages within them that speak to issues that affected our community. Ten years ago in 2005, they wouldn’t be a problem but in 2015, an issue and perhaps a demand for them to be removed.

I think I speak for writers who have written conscious, critical work and had to face backlash from individuals in society who may not agree with certain lines relating to panty hose or a king announcing he prefers another gender over a queen. I have members in my own family who would take me to task over those lines written over a decade ago or would promptly disown me without a thought. However, in previous posts, I shared my thoughts on what a writer should do and now I want to share more of them with you.

If as a writer I am ‘handcuffed’ and not allowed to speak my mind on certain issues of the day affecting our Black community, then where is the freedom we often talk about? Critics have the privilege to disagree with any poem, line or development of the pieces I create. Of course, as that poet I have the right to agree or disagree with that criticism and either move ahead with the poems I plan to write anyway or take that advice and reconsider what I wrote. I hate that in this 21st Century where the word ‘freedom’ is thrown about, I find I have to be forced to tiptoe around feet instead of stepping on toes to make people think and provoke real change. I was told over thirty years ago when I started writing poetry, or warned, that people don’t like to think. Without realizing it at the time, I have seen examples in media and in my personal life where people are not thinking critically like they should or if they are, it’s over unsubstantiated topics.

There is a real desire for good stories, for conscious meat in our community, but the larger dominant society won’t allow poets, writers or even men and women with intelligence (without a doctorate) to speak their minds without backlash or outright expulsion from society. A writer, poet and critical thinker must always take that chance, always seek to challenge each other. Our society is too passive, too lax in not permitting even another point of view to be examined. This has to stop and allow ourselves to see that other side.

As writers and poets, we have to be willing to accept whatever consequences come our way. Writing for the sake of ‘getting along’ or hiding the truth will always set us back - no matter what the age.

 

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