James Weldon Johnson- Black Mammy

Beautiful poem on why care-takers deserve to become permanent residents in Canada (Filipina, Caribbean). Fill in the arguments. By James Weldon Johnson, African-American poet.


O whitened head entwined in turban gay,
O kind black face, O crude, but tender hand,
O foster-mother in whose arms there lay
The race whose sons are masters of the land!
It was thine arms that sheltered in their fold,
It was thine eyes that followed through the length
Of infant days these sons. In times of old
It was thy breast that nourished them to strength.

So often hast thou to thy bosom pressed
The golden head, the face and brow of snow;
So often has it ‘gainst thy broad, dark breast
Lain, set off like a quickened cameo.
Thou simple soul, as cuddling down that babe
With thy sweet croon, so plaintive and so wild,
Came ne’er the thought to thee, swift like a stab,
That it some day might crush thine own black child?

from Fifty Years & Other Poems (1917)


MY CITY- J.W. Johnson

When I come down to sleep death’s endless night,
The threshold of the unknown dark to cross,
What to me then will be the keenest loss,
When this bright world blurs on my fading sight?
Will it be that no more I shall see the trees
Or smell the flowers or hear the singing birds
Or watch the flashing streams or patient herds?
No, I am sure it will be none of these.

But, ah! Manhattan’s sights and sounds, her smells,
Her crowds, her throbbing force, the thrill that comes
From being of her a part, her subtle spells,
Her shining towers, her avenues, her slums–
O God! the stark, unutterable pity,
To be dead, and never again behold my city!

Nina Simone sings Black is the colour of my true love’s hair. By Emile Latimer.

Nina Simone  NinaSimoneNB1

Photos by Jack Robinson. Robinsonarchive.com

“Mississippi Goddam”. Beautiful. Painful. Nina Simone’s blazing anger is something to behold.

“Don’t tell me, I tell YOU. Me and my people just about due…”
“Just give me my equality…”

Time for reparations for black people brought to the Americas as slaves. Redlined. Jim Crowed. Separated -but “equal”. Discriminatory public housing policy. School to jail pipe line. Hands up and shot.

“Mississippi Goddam”

The name of this tune is Mississippi Goddam
And I mean every word of it
Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi GoddamAlabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi GoddamCan’t you see it
Can’t you feel it
It’s all in the air
I can’t stand the pressure much longer
Somebody say a prayer

Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

This is a show tune
But the show hasn’t been written for it, yet

Hound dogs on my trail
School children sitting in jail
Black cat cross my path
I think every day’s gonna be my last

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong there
I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Don’t tell me
I tell you
Me and my people just about due
I’ve been there so I know
They keep on saying “Go slow!”

But that’s just the trouble
“do it slow”
Washing the windows
“do it slow”
Picking the cotton
“do it slow”
You’re just plain rotten
“do it slow”
You’re too damn lazy
“do it slow”
The thinking’s crazy
“do it slow”
Where am I going
What am I doing
I don’t know
I don’t know

Just try to do your very best
Stand up be counted with all the rest
For everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

you thought I was kiddin’

Picket lines
School boy cots
They try to say it’s a communist plot
All I want is equality
for my sister my brother my people and meYes you lied to me all these years
You told me to wash and clean my ears
And talk real fine just like a lady
And you’d stop calling me Sister SadieOh but this whole country is full of lies
You’re all gonna die and die like flies
I don’t trust you any more
You keep on saying “Go slow!”
“Go slow!”But that’s just the trouble
“do it slow”
“do it slow”
Mass participation
“do it slow”
“do it slow”
Do things gradually
“do it slow”
But bring more tragedy
“do it slow”
Why don’t you see it
Why don’t you feel it
I don’t know
I don’t know

You don’t have to live next to me
Just give me my equality
Everybody knows about Mississippi
Everybody knows about Alabama
Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam

That’s it!

This recording was made in 1965 in the Netherlands. Mississippi Goddam!

Read MORE: http://jennymcphee.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/all-the-women-are-white-all-the-blacks-are-men-but-some-of-us-are-brave-on-the-legacy-of-black-women-entertainers-my-latest-column-at-bookslut/

And so gorgeous (written by Emile Latime)r: “Black is The Color of My True Love’s Hair”

Track #5 on the album To Be Free. Written by Latimer, Emile.

Nina Simone didn’t write the song, but gave it voice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWmCbEbMmeU

Black is the color of my true love’s hair
His face so soft and wondrous fair
The purest eyes and the strongest hands
I love the ground on where he stands
Black is the color of my true love’s hair
Of my true love’s hair

Oh, I love my lover and well he knows
Yes, I love the ground on where he goes
And still I hope that the time will come
When he and I will be as one
Black is the color of my true love’s hair



Pamela Sneed- Survivor 2014 “the frayed ends of my own un-lived dreams”


Photo by Robert Giard in book “Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers” Abebooks.com


Pamela Sneed

Survivor 2014 

Contrary to what’s popular I never liked Diana Nyad

in my mind overrated white woman

ex-olympic swimmer most recently swam from Cuba to Florida


thrill seeker


doing voluntarily what so many people of color

are forced to do while attempting to gain freedom

drowning in boats, falling overboard, terrible accidents,

falling into the jaws of sharks, those waters a meat fest

for predators, slavers

Sometimes I think about slavery and think if only those waters

could tell the tale

I’ve always wanted to say to those people who go on the reality-show Survivor for kicks

try being an artist and make it your career choice

or how about a single mother or father trying to raise a family

on minimum wage living in an impoverished area

try being someone who comes to America and

doesn’t speak the language whose entire survival rests upon

learning english

arriving in a strange land, on strange soil, estranged from everything

you have ever known

like hitting your head against a glass door, or mirrors

like optical illusions that used to be in the old fun houses

or how about being uninsured and being sick for a number

of years

weathering that storm

or insured but burdened with a costly illness

health plans don’t cover

or like so many of my students who are bullied to the point

they have nowhere to turn and no longer have knowledge

of their own name

No I never liked Diana Nyad

until one day I caught a clip of her on Ellen

I caught the part where she talked about her friendship

with Superman Christopher Reeve who in real life suffered

paralysis from the neck down.

He looked at her in later years after she’d retired from swimming

said he feared she wasn’t living her own dreams, that

she was an Olympian

And something about her conversations with him motivated her

to try again, to listen.

Maybe through her I saw the frayed ends of my own un-lived dreams,

my own fear that caused paralysis

And so by the end of that conversation with Ellen

where Diana talked about returning to her Olympic Self

by swimming from Cuba to Florida at age 60 challenging

every notion of what it means to be an athlete, a woman,

and the stereotypes of aging I was crying

by the time she looked into the camera and said

Never give up

Don’t ever give up on your dreams


Click to access nepantla.ajournal.pdf

Established in 1970, Glad Day Bookshop is the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore and Toronto’s oldest surviving bookstore. In 2012, a group of 23 community members pooled their funds and bought Glad Day Bookshop to save it from closing.

“Our best strategy for survival is adding new revenues streams like food and drink – which means a larger space.
We’ve picked out a great spot on Church Street that would allow us to be a bookstore & coffee shop during the day and a bar at night.
It is wheelchair accessible, with an accessible washroom.

It has a cute patio, a small space for performances and walls for art.

We will be a space where everyone feels welcome, sexy and celebrated.

We will be a queer-owned, indie place on Church Street. We will amplify the love, creativity, sexuality, diversity & liberation that Glad Day Bookshop is known for.”

Isabel Allende- poetic words. “Each person is a master of his silence.”

“Barrabas came to us by the sea.”
― Isabel AllendeThe House of the Spirits

“They were dressed in black, silent, and dry-eyed, as befits the norms of sadness in a country accustomed to the dignity of grief”
― Isabel AllendeThe House of the Spirits

“My name is Eva, which means ‘life,’ according to a book of names my mother consulted. I was born in the back room of a shadowy house, and grew up amidst ancient furniture, books in Latin, and human mummies, but none of those things made me melancholy, because I came into the world with a breath of the jungle in my memory.”
― Isabel AllendeEva Luna

“There is no death, daughter. People die only when we forget them,’ my mother explained shortly before she left me. ‘If you can remember me, I will be with you always.”
― Isabel AllendeEva Luna

“The library is inhabited by spirits that come out of the pages at night.”
― Isabel Allende

“Silence before being born, silence after death: life is nothing but noise between two unfathomable silences.”
― Isabel AllendePaula

“I learned very quickly that when you emigrate, you lose the crutches that have been your support; you must begin from zero, because the past is erased with a single stroke and no one cares where you’re from or what you did before.”
― Isabel AllendePaula

“My death..I mean..will it be quick,and with dignity? How will i know when the end is coming?”
“When you vomit blood,sir,” Tao Chi’en said sadly.
That happened three weeks later,in the middle of Pacific, in the privacy of the captain’s cabin. As soon as he could stand , the old seaman cleaned up the traces of his vomit, rinsed out his mouth , changed his bloody shirt, lighted his pipe, and went to the bow of his ship , where he stood and looked for the last time at the stars winking in a sky of black velvet. Several sailors saw him and waited at a distance, caps in hands. When he had smoked the last of his tobacco, Captain John Sommers put his legs over the rail and noiselessly dropped into the sea.
― Isabel Allende, Portrait in Sepia

“People do not belong to others, either. How can the huincas buy and sell people if they do not own them. Sometimes the boy went two or three days without speaking a word, surly, and not eating, and when asked what was the matter, the answer was always the same: “There are content days and there are sad days. Each person is a master of his silence.”
― Isabel AllendeInés of My Soul