The Run Down

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Two pieces

I am working on two pieces. With the current climate of social injustice just sickening to me words have haunted me day and night. I have to lay them out in some pattern and order. The two pieces are "I throw block parties in Sundown Towns" and "Weapons of Mass Instruction". If you are ignorant on the Jena 6, Megan Williams, civilians dying in Iran/Afganisthan, poverty stricken youth, etc. than you need to get on up out of my blog and get informed. I'll be putting my drafts to my editor folks in the next couple of days and we'll see what I come up with.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Preacher and the Teacher

Got the oratory skills from my Old Dad and the written from my Old Earth.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Cinquain

The Cinquain as developed by Adelaine Crapsy (which was influenced by the Japanese poetic forms of Haiku and Tanka) is a form I like to utilize. It is a short unrhymed poem of 22 syllables. It has five of 2, 4, 6, 8, 2, syllables respectively.

It is a nice form with brevity which I find refreshing and challenging. It is also noted as being a form that is taught to children alot so there is a large body of children Cinquains.

There are several sites that are devoted to the preservation of the Cinquain. I use it along with the Haiku, Tanka, Hay (na) ku to express short verse.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


You know you want to be down. One of the freshest places for online poetry in terms of community on the net. Check it out.
The Underground Poet's Society

Monday, September 10, 2007


Ayah IV
School morning with Isaiah

We slurp hot tea
On a brisk September morning
Just shy of the sunrise
Sitting on red milk crates on the back porch
Counting paint chips on the banister
Marveling at jackdaws scribbling across the sky

©2007 C'BS ALife

Friday, September 7, 2007

Be the writer for...

...those who have a story to tell and those who don't have a voice. I am the griot of my family. My father is the HISTORIAN yet I am the griot. My father is 86. He hasn't written a book on the family history yet he has it all up in his brain, forget forgetting. My job is to take his recollections, those photos, that story and make it walk and talk. I must make it relevant to the masses.

What about all of the displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Who speaks for them. The poet is to be a voice for social change. Poetry is intensely personal yet it isn't private. Those who are on some narcissitic poetry porkcrap aren't poets in my observation. They just need a hug.

The poet alerts you to reality. The poet is actually the counterpoint to journalism in that they just don't report facts. The poet infuses his view with emotional weight that cries for one to address something.

Make sure that you are writing for something. This allows you longevity in this craft. It also allows you to have a relevant perspective and one that people in general will respect.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Surface is the Shield

The surface that we write on is just as important as the instrument that we write with. The pen is the sword yet the pad is the shield.

There are two primary surfaces that I write on. The first is a product of this age. It is the laptop computer. It is mobile so I can take it with me where I go. I can use it in the park. I can use it while riding in the bus. It serves as a mini ecological environment for me. It has pictures of my family, my favorite music, built in dictionaries. I can put all of my work in an insane OCD order that may not work for anyone else yet is necessary for me.

My second surfaces are a little more intimate. They are small pocket sized moleskin note pads. Always given to me by someone who I love or have loved. Everything goes into those pads from observations, to random list, to poetry fragments. Their weight in my pocket is comforting. I probably should be fearful of anyone looking at them due to all of the secrets inside yet the language is so sublime that very few would be able to extract the full meaning.

I have seen people have spiral notebooks, loose leaf papers thrown about, even a chalkboard. Whatever works. Just take a moment though and think why does it work for you. A little insight into that may enable you to tap into a portion of yourself that you were unaware of.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Top Heavy

Though I am invovled in alot of different types of writing from general essays to science fiction this blog will be poetry top heavy. I freelance write yet my great love is for poetry. Take it or leave it.

From Steven Barnes

This is a post from Steven Barnes. He is a black science fiction writer whom I highly respect as a WRITER and as a modern day Renaissance man. Listen to his words of wisdom. You can check out his daily postings at his blog atDar Kush

N is for "Never Give Up"
I heard a story once--not certain whether it's true or apocryphal. It's said that WinstonChurchill was asked to give the commencementaddress at a British school. He mounted thestage, looked out at the audience of fresh young faces and said: "Never. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never. Never give up."

And sat down.

It's never, ever, ever been said better. In life,you should choose an occupation, a career, a livelihood that you feel that strongly about. Me? I'd rather fail as a writer than succeed at anything else. I've typed my fingers bloody, cried myself to sleep, wrestled with my demons,read until my eyes were bleary, sought out any and all advice or help I could find, whereverI could find it.

All because what I wanted, more than anythingin the world, was to be a writer. Most peoplecan't handle rejection, not realizing that rejection, in any arena from getting published seduction to sales (and aren't they all really just the same thing?), is just a numbers game. You have to get rejected twenty times forevery "yes" you get. Or thirty. Or fifty. Whatever.

The person who wins is the one who gets up to the plate one more time after hisheart has been broken. Who gets back on the horse after all his friends are wincingand limping back to the bunkhouse. Whoasks yet another girl to dance after a dozen have said "no."

It's a numbers game. When you start collecting rejection slips, keep a scrap-book. Paper your walls with the little suckers. Consider every "no" a victory--you are oneof the few with the guts to keep going afterit gets tough.

And make no mistake, it's going to be tough.Even writers who seem to have utterly charmed careers have their personal struggles, I promise you. They just don't wear theirhearts on their sleeves. You see the finishedproduct, not the hell they went through to produce it.

You must believe that your efforts will be rewarded, if your goals are clear, you workto the edge of your ability, tell the truth, continually improve your circle of allies, and have faith.

Go back over everything I've taught youabout the Hero's Journey. It is the combinedwisdom of all the world's elders, condensedto comprehensible form. While nothing andno one can promise you success, I can absolutely guarantee you failure:

Just roll over and give up. That'll do it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back on the mic

I have been away from performing for a minute. I focused alot of the past years invested in raising of my son during his first few years of school. In the last couple of years my life has been transformed into a form that I would not have predicted many years ago.

I wrote and published my second book of poetry, something that I have been saying that I was going to do for several years. I am very pleased with it and the response from the public at large has been positive. Yet with all of the above and moving into actually realizing that I can generate some of my income from freelance writing I have been absent from the scene.

This all changed this past Friday. I hit an open mic and it felt as though I didn't miss a beat. I started off with my usual stream of short poems (that one of my friends calls the fortune cookie flow). It came from having alot of short poems that I wanted to perform yet not feeling that an open mic was the place for it. I have turned that into part of my normal performance. Felt good to have that mic in my hand and sharing again with the public. Needless to say the 10 copies of my book that I had on me sold like fire right after my performance.

Sigh. Looks like I gotta plan a tour soon.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Poets of renown

I added a section letting you see some of the people who in the poetry world inspire me. I will continue to add on to the list as it is incomplete as of now. The list has alot of different people on it. Some are dead poets, others are famous poets, some are some of the greatest poets I know yet you will only see them if you come down to poetry night in New Haven. Also, I had to add in there a few emcees who are some of the most incredible modern day poets that I know. I continue to learn from their works and writings. And amongst that number on that list there are a few I even call friend.

Something that I have learned from each poet is the importance of community and the duty of the poet to be the voice of the community. It is one of the highest of all callings. Sometimes I get discouraged because some poets whom I have come across want to use their platform to edify their own inflanted sense of self. At those times I can always come back to these solid rocks who continue to show me new ways to get the voice of the community out to the community.