The Run Down

Friday, November 30, 2007

A ghazal

Nikāḥu’l-Mut‘ah, Nikah el Mut'a (Arabic: نكاح المتعة, also Nikah Mut‘ah literally, marriage for pleasure)

honeymoon period brief shard before clouds and rain
preparing for eternity not for clouds and rain

air rising from shallow embers of fires whistle warm
sky breaking into one million blues pours clouds and rain

wrote this out of anger or despair burnished lead thoughts
heavy feet shuffle with pride mi amor clouds and rain

rich passionate love espresso i have to offer
must i settle for these few coins the poor clouds and rain

sun burnt copper her blood thus ran her henna soft wine
eshq bleeding gold pissing tears she foreswore clouds and rain

kiss your face with spring winds why renege this bridal veil
wilts into a burial shroud comes more clouds and rain

ground smoky pearls into dust to season dry miso
soup satisfies not absalom abhors clouds and rain

© 2007 C'BS ALife

Monday, November 26, 2007

Watt's Prophets

A lot of people know about the Last Poets yet their contemporaries are not as well known. I am speaking about the just as fresh Watt's Prophets.. If you don't know about them you need to up your game.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I know we have the internet now yet...

........try writing with a pen or pencil every once in a while. Practice your script writing. Learn calligraphy. Make sure you don't loose the notion to place a writing instrument to paper. I like those chubby Phd pens that are easy on the grip. Get back to the organic notion of writing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blue Black Poetry Collective

Blue Black Poetry Collective was a poetry crew I ran with in the early 90's. It was in my 'I don't know if I want to go back to college phase'. So I was around alot of people who were in college who were juggling the same idea. It was at first just a workshop group. We got together 1/week. We would share some poetry and offer concise comments for revisions. From that point it started to grow though into something else. We were hungry so we started to bring food. Visitors started wanting to come by to hear us. Individuals in the group started to specialize in certain areas. We had black feminism, proto-afrofuturistic poetry, black psychedelica, post-colonial commentary, etc. It was truly an interesting time.

In the end what we transformed into a poetry performance group and KILLED it around the New Haven county for a couple of summers. It was funny cause we definitely didn't plan it to be that way. We brought poetry and theatre together. We wanted to have an engaging way to perform poetry that kept the audience involved. So we had poems as conversations, poems coming from the back of the room, from the audience itself, etc. This was during the time that slam poetry was coming into its own yet we were doing something different that hearkened back to more like the Black Arts Movement.

We are each in a different spot nowadays. I would hazard to say that I am the only one who is still actively pursuing the craft even though I was away from it for a while. I will say this though. I am sure that moment in time transformed all of our lives in some way. Shout out to the BBPC.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Where I'm at

Crunch time.

It's the eve before the next issue of so I'm working like a worker ant to make sure that it is ill. It is also coming up on the debut of Eboni Joy Asiatic's From 85 to Civilized so I want to make sure that Asiatic Light Publishing get her the appropriat shine (in fact look for an interview with her in the latest issue coming out on November 15th). Also, btw, sales for Daybreaker have been good. It's a good 'mini-commercial' also in terms of setting up the environment for my next major piece coming in December, "A Year in the Making: 4 Seasons of Poetry". I've also been getting the camp together to work on my 'Afrofuturistic' body of poetry. The 'grand experiment' will commence in February and I'm looking to have out the project in March.

After that folks THEN I will get back into the spoken word circuit and think about doing a CD (maybe that will be part of the Afrofuturist project).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Buy me a cup of Shou Wu Chih

You may have noticed the little icon up top in my byline. It's Shou Wu Chih, a Chinese Herbal tonic. If you like my writing you can contribute to buying me some cups of Shou Wu Chih by donating a few bucks my way.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Poet of the Week-Muhammad Iqbal

He is Pakistan's national treasure. The great Poet Iqbal. He is to Pakistan as Shakespeare is to the English world. He was a poet, philosopher, and politician. To read more about his history you can check here.

To me, in the poetic realm he was influencial because he spoke of aligning the Self to the great will which he refered to as Allah. It definitely had elements of man as God because his writings reflected the notion that the universe bowed to the the will of Self. That is what is attractive to me. He illuminated my world view through the work of poetry and imbuded my 'atheism' with an element of sacredness.

His works are numerable Here is one of his poems

Selfhood can demolish the magic of this world; (from Baal-i-Jibreel)

Selfhood can demolish the magic of this world;
But our belief in The One is not comprehended by all.

Have a seer's eye, and light will dawn on thee;
As a river and its waves cannot remain apart.

The light of God and knowledge are not in rivalry,
But so the pulpit believes, afraid of Hallaj's rope.

Contentment is the shield for the pure and the noble
A shield in slavery, and a shield in power.

In the East the soul looks in vain for light;
In the West the light is a faded cloud of dust.

The fakirs who could shatter the power and pelf of kings
No longer tread this earth, in climes far or near.

The spirit of this age is brimful with negations,
And drained to the fast drop is the power of faith.

Muted is Europe's lament on its crumbling pageant,
Muted by the delirious beats, the clangour of its music.

A sleepy ripple awaits, to swell into a wave
A wave that will swallow up monsters of the sea.

What is slavery but a loss of the sense of beauty?
What the free call beautiful, is beautiful indeed.

The present belongs to him who explores, in their depths,
The fathomless seas of time, to find the future's pearl.

The alchemist of the West has turned stone into glass
But my alchemy has transmuted glass into flint

Pharaohs of today have stalked me in vain;
But I fear not; I am blessed with Moses' wand.

The flame that can set afire a dark, sunless wood,
Will not be throttled by a straw afloat in the wind.

Love is self-awareness; love is self-knowledge;
Love cares not for the palaces and the power of kings.

I will not wonder if I reach even the moon and the stars,
For I have hitched my wagon to the star. of all stars.

First among the wise, last of the Prophets,
Who gave a speck of dust the brightness of the Mount.

He is the first and last in the eyes of love;
He is the Word of God. He is the Word of God.

To view some more of his poetry check here

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Haiku and Low Coup

One of the great things about terse poetic forms is that they help you sharpen your ability to choose powerful and appropriate words. This is a necessary skill in writing poetry. Making it part of your daily routine is a great practice for any aspiring writer.

For me one of the most beautiful terse forms is the haiku which on the surface appears simple; three lines, 17 syllables. In reality in the pure form it has 17 'sounds' and also has key seasonal words that need to be incorporated. There are whole dictionaries of these seasonal words. They are included in the text so that you know what season it is in the poem. For instance, by including cherry blossoms in the text one would know that it was spring.

Haiku is a form that has been adapted by many Black American poets, amongst them Langston Hughes, Sonia Sanchez and Richard Wright. One of the great masters though of this form no doubt is Kalamu ya Salaam. He has written a great overview of the African-American appropriation of the Haiku. All writers should definitely take time and check it out.

The Haiku is not a form that I have any great skill with at this point yet the insight given by Kalamus ya Salaam is great.

Any interpretation of the Haiku through the lens of Black America is by Amiri Baraka with his Low Coup which is a short, terse verse imposed on top of Black Folk Art.He actually wrote a whole book exploring the form. Definitely check it out. Something I want to explore for self in the future.

Also check out what they are already saying about my Ebook mini book of poetry over at Asiatic Light Publishing

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My new mini-book of poetry: Daybreaker

DayBreaker: 7 poems written while meditating at dawn. A book of poetic brevity
by C'BS ALife

Daybreaker: 7 poems written while meditating at dawn. A book of poetic brevity is being offered at the cost of freewill donation. It is an E-book in PDF form.

What does that mean?
YOU choose how much you want to pay for it. I'll take anything from 1 cent to 100 dollars. You can pay via paypal right here

,send me a note after words via email that you sent me loot, I check, then I send you the file. You can also send me a money order via snail mail (send me a note at to the the address). When I get it I'll let you know and you tell me what email address to send the file to.

What is the suggested donation?
I am trying to tell y'all that there IS NO suggested donation. For 'reference' you know some of those places like I-tunes and SNOCAP are charging like 99 cent/song. Yet again I stress there is NO SUGGESTED DONATION.

Why are you doing this? Don't you want to get paid?
I am not always turning out grand epic length books of poetry yet I have poetry that needs to be heard. This is one way to thank my readers while at the same time prepare them for my upcoming books of longer length. Plus with the precident recently set by Radiohead and Saul Williams with their albums I think it's a great idea. I just want y'all to check out my work.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Fib and Cadae (short poetry forms)

It appears that new forms pop up all of the time now. In response to the great power of the Haiku many American writers have generated new modern terse forms. This has led to the Cinquain and the Pinoy inspired haiku form the hay (na) ku.

Seeing the relationship between proportion and beauty there are two form that have been inspired by mathematical equations, the Fib and Cadae.

The following is from wikipedia.

Fib is an experimental Western poetry form bearing similarities to haiku[1], but based on the Fibonacci sequence. The classic fib is a six line, 20 syllable poem, with as many syllables per line as the line's corresponding place in the Fibonacci sequence.[2] The only restriction on a Fib is that the syllable count follow the Fibonacci sequence. An example of a classic fib:

“ One
Spiraling mixture:
Math plus poetry yields the Fib.

— Pincus, Gregory K. , GottaBook: The Fib. Retrieved on 28 July 2006

Cadae is an experimental Western poetry form similar to the Fib. While the Fib is based on the Fibonacci sequence, the cadae is based on the number Pi. The word "cadae" is the alphabetical equivalent of the first five digits of Pi, 3.1415.[1]

The form of a cadae is based on Pi on two levels. There are five stanzas, with 3, 1, 4, 1, and 5 lines each, respectively. Each line of the poem also contains an appropriate number of syllables. The first line has three syllables, the second has one, the third has four, etc

Both form lend their self to alot of experimentation and play.

Monday, November 5, 2007

My Writing Peeps

One of my writing peeps finally got herself in gear and got her a blog. Check it out at Listening Winds Overhear my Privacies. While you're over there bug her to put out her CD of poetry which has been done for a minute. Tell her to stop holding it hostage.


Getting it Together

Just to let people know Poets and Writers has updated their contests for the next two months. This is one for the comprehensive sites online (check my byline for their address). They also have updates for residencies.

I am still learning to balance the poetry writing, poetry submission,
journalistic writing, freelance writing, and promoting my friends book
and my book at Asiatic Light Publishing.

This week stay tuned for the release of my mini book of poetry. I am also going to go over some short poetry forms that one can add into their daily routine to
loosen the writing sphincter (similar to the hay (na) ku and cinquain which i already covered)

I'm going to also add on weekly with a poet of the week or body of writing of the week so keep your eyes peeled.


Thursday, November 1, 2007


Jeff Noon has this to say about language.

"By reaching towards an imaginary literature, the post-future novel offers itself as a way forward. First of all, we have to accept that English writing has been far too slow in its adoption of avant-garde techniques, in comparison with popular music, art and films. The narrative fabric of the latest cult movie is woven through with jump cuts, freeze-frames, montage, slow motion shots, tracking shots, hand-held camera techniques, and the like. House, hip-hop and garage recordings contain elements of remixing, scratching and sampling.

We can also look at the branching narratives of computer games, at the strange connections that hypertext links reveal on the internet, at the games played with image and text in a graphic novel.

All of these are fluid mediums, for a fluid society. Set against such material, no wonder the contemporary novel seems moribund. As writers, we need to open ourselves up to this fluidity. What are the prose equivalents of the tracking shot, the hyperlink, the remix, the freeze-frame? As readers, we need to bring the expertise we use when enjoying a film or a piece of visual art into our appreciation of the novel." (originally published at,6000,420328,00.html)

Interestingly enough he actually comes up with a set of techniques to experiment with language differently. He calls it the Cobralingus Engine.

You can see an example of it at these various sites. Experient with this process. I am still experimenting with it myself.

Filter Gates
Animated Cobralingus site

Coming in 7 Days