Saturday, December 27, 2008

end of the year

Okay. I'll make a deal. I'll never use the word "finally" again... (see prev. post) Poems and changing my mind are excluded, btw.

Well this has been one heck of a 5 months. Life is *just starting* to calm down a little bit since the frenetic summer and that's just because school is over.

I don't know about you, but it seems that things, a.k.a. my semester, didn't really get back to normal until after the election was over. It just took all the energy "out of the room" as they say. Meanwhile, it has been getting better and I am settling into the new school and my old homestead. I missed Brooklyn!

Backtracking and Recapping is boring but bear with me, I feel a little guilt!

I spent the most awesome Fourth of July at Naropa this year sitting on a blanket with Anne Waldman watching the fireworks of UC Boulder in the distance with Buddhists. This was right after an anti-war reading at NU. It was almost a precursor celebration as the Dem convention was in Colorado as y'all know. I wrote this whole thing about it, forgot to post it with my crazy traveling and now it's kinda dated. Wonderful experience though!

London was amazing and I even got over my weather issues. (I just stopped expecting to see the sun at all this summer and it worked!) Met some lovely folks and finished my article for boundary 2 that should be coming out eventually. Also got a chance to meet the great Stuart Hall at a gathering in his honor. I hung out with my buddy Carole and ran into one of my old-scromies, Kodwo Eshun and that was looong overdue. I miss my people, including Roger Robinson, in London that I haven't seen in about 10 years. Time is a'flying...

Australia was great. Since it is on the other side of earth from me, it was winter there and I still got no sun summer but I was ready because of England. I have been around the world's block a few times but I gotta say, that Australia jetlag is no joke! It wasn't too bad -- the 21 hour flight: yes that's each way -- but I was really trying to make sure that I was conscious at the proper time. I'm a good catnapper but that trip did test me. Besides that minor whining, it was an amazing visit: Met great folks -- and the Polynesian performers roll deep! as they (used to) say: gorgeous, groovy folks -- and the locals are really nice too. Very down-to-earth people with great senses of humor. Melbourne is a super hip city and the shopping is to die for. The festival itself was gigantic so I just did my thing and saw some stuff here and there. Way too much to take in. The wildlife of the country, even at the zoo, is just revelatory: unique and beautiful, the work of a very much *not* mad scientist, and just pretty. Kangaroos are cool but wombats rock the house. I hope to see more of that part of the world. Nothing like a visit to Oz to make a Brooklyn girl feel like a hick.

After I got back from lovely England and wonderful Australia, it was full-drive back into the surrealist world of academe. Art school is very different from other schools and has its own rhythm. The students are great, like all students, and I'm always awestruck by how strong a personality each class, as a collective has. It's really interesting to get a sense of a grop mind at work. (Sorry, new-agey phrasing is the best way I can put it.) It's really like seeing a gem glistening in light. Not that each student doesn't have their own personality but there's also a group thing going on. I love it. Only rarely have I thought: "more individuality please, less gangness" but that just makes me appreciate these performative dynamics more.

Did my little best to help out with the national electoral goings-on, in and out, in my own way. And am happy things worked out as they did, to be honest. I'm sure the folks who know me are shocked -- shocked -- by that little revelation!

Also did some more gigging with my band this fall in New York and Philadelphia. It was great. We're still working on the concept but I was happy to see folks there and I got some amazing support from the attendees...Be forewarned, this'll just encourage me!

I'm getting more into the meditation mode nowadays, (I'd say I was propelled into it, at this point in my lil old life) started minding the food intake some more, etc. Those of you who read this know I'm already a bit mindful but improvement is always available. Working on it.

Settling in also allows me/people to catch up with old friends and I've come across quite a few via Facebook. I must add though that it is a bit overwhelming. Seems like folks practically *live* on the networking sites and I don't know how they find the time! I can barely deal with the emails, yo.

Speaking of being in touch, I do miss some things about Michigan besides "the kids" (as I horribly call my students): the big unobstructed sky, old-school family values thing (I'm not a conservative but I am old-fashioned) and the prices of stuff. The Trader Joe's in Brooklyn is good for that last part but it's not the same as the rent there! And don't let anyone lie to you: the food quality is *much* better in Michigan. Fresher ingredients make up for NYC all-night delivery anyday.

I am back to being home but I can't say I don't like the Piston state! -- even learned a sports reference!

Blah, blah, blah. Here's a poem below. Will post again next year. (See how I'm setting realistic sights for myself?) I don't like the cold but I do have to give it props. Winter is a humbling thing.

Happy Happy,

As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [Blow, blow, thou winter wind]
by William Shakespeare

Lord Amiens, a musician, sings before Duke Senior's company:

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing . . .

Thursday, August 07, 2008

updates coming...finally!

Well Boys and Girls (or boy and girl depending on how many people read this thing):

Lots and lots of updates since (almost) March. As we say to our grandparents way too often "I've been meaning to be in touch.."

It's been almost overwhelming how much has been going on since the spring. Good news, great news and an amazing summer so far. Jet setting (not private), learning, moving forward and eventually settling in. Updates are forthcoming -- no, really -- but at the moment I'm between countries (doesn't that sound too diva-ish?) and am in a bit of a rush.

Short story shorter, things are looking up for the chippee with lots of work moving from the back burner to the front and finally back where I belong in the best borough on earth, soon. But you know the lady does love to fly about! The completely sedentary life isn't for me!

BTW, my email address is good but for a more collective experience, I also have a bit of representation on Facebook. No, I don't write on that much either, but I will be posting updates on my goings (including gigs!) on there, too -- in case my infrequent posts here have jaded you!

When I land for a minute I'll holla,

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year

Hey Febreros:

Well, I just made it into this month! Since, from what I hear, Leap Year is a time when things are done in reverse, I'm actually letting you perusers know about a gig I'm doing *before* it happens, for a change...

It's at the Stone in NYC and it'll be old work and new. Here's the details:

3/7 Friday (DB)
8 pm
Tracie Morris
avenue C and 2nd street

So if you're around, stop by! My band will be Val Jeanty and Marvin Sewell.

Meanwhile, I had a wonderful time introducing one of my mentors, Fred Moten, poet, philosopher and provocateur as part of my University of Pennsylvania CPCW fellowship. Here's a lovely poem of his from his new book: "i ran from it but was still in it" that he read from last night. They're a series of 11-line poems:

I burn communities in shadow underground up on the
plateau then slide with the horny horns. duke remains
enfolded in the overtone series which is a belled cat
stretched out inside his instrument, an underprivilege of
sheets of exposure curled up around an outlaw corner.
curling round corners puts me in mind of Jean Toomer.
think about what it is to be a gene tumor. I want to be
a stream tuner. unfurled in tongues that don't belong

to somebody else either, to make a new sign about God
and theft and the bent starry stars of all love inside. you
can't sit still and fly? can't curl? you go find your thing.

Nice, huh? Well, speaking of "communities in shadow", of people finding "their thing", guess who came by this sweet soiree? The inimitable Mr. Samuel R. Delany, professor and legendary fiction writer. Here's my bad snapshot of two friends. Black future month.


Friday, January 11, 2008

er, um, should we file these under "trying to be down"?

Not to put too fine a point on Kerry's endorsement of Obama but King actually said: "The time is always *ripe* to do right". It's not *right* to do *right*. I mean, it was MLK. He could turn a phrase. Now unless he also gave the version Kerry is saying, he misused the most important part of the quote!

Fact check, dude. I mean, I worry what he would've said had he opened his mouth after bro got 'tazed! (Instead of just standing there...)

You don't mess up *King*! He's one of the most quoted Americans *ever*. I'll mea culpa if anyone corrects me but I've read a bit of the Rev's speeches so I have feelings about this. He needs a poet on permanent staff: every word counts, Senator!

Okay, should anything even be *said* about A****** Cuomo? I know, I know, "he didn't mean Barak Obama". Seriously though, has anyone ever heard the term 'shuck and jive' not be referred to Black people?

I usually try to be a bit more aesthetic on this page but dag: this is like abuse of language by democrats week! I mean we *expect* this from republicans so no need to even go there...Democrats are supposed to have actually earned the right to go to college, the bar is higher.

Anywho, this is gonna be an interesting year to see how things shake electorally. I just had to blow off a bit of literary steam on this one. Here's some meditative King text for you before the observation day comes up. Prescient writer, to be sure. King wrote work constructed to endure. Folks need to get correct! (Okay, I can let it go now...) In honor of King's memory I'll work on being *peaceful*.

(from) Rediscovering Lost Values
by Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Reverend Simmons, platform associates, members and friends of Second Baptist Church, I need not pause to say how happy I am to be here this morning, and to be a part of this worship service. It is certainly with a deal of humility that I stand in this pulpit so rich in tradition and history. Second Baptist Church, as you know, has the reputation of being one of the great churches of our nation, and it is certainly a challenge that, for me to stand here this morning, to be in the pulpit of Reverend Banks and of a people who are so great and rich in tradition.

I'm not exactly a stranger in the city of Detroit, for I have been here several times before. And I remember back in about 1944 or 1945, somewhere back in there, that I came to Second Baptist Church for the first time—I think that was the year that the National Baptist Convention met here. And of course I have a lot of relatives in this city, so that Detroit is really something of a second home for me, and I don't feel too much a stranger here this morning. So it is indeed a pleasure and a privilege for me to be in this city this morning, and to be here to worship with you in the absence of your very fine and noble pastor, Dr. Banks.

I want you to think with me this morning from the subject: "Rediscovering Lost Values." "Rediscovering Lost Values." There is something wrong with our world, something fundamentally and basically wrong. I don't think we have to look too far to see that. I'm sure that most of you would agree with me in making that assertion. And when we stop to analyze the cause of our world's ills, many things come to mind.

We begin to wonder if it is due to the fact that we don't know enough. But it can't be that. Because in terms of accumulated knowledge we know more today than men have known in any period of human history. We have the facts at our disposal. We know more about mathematics, about science, about social science, and philosophy than we've ever known in any period of the world's history. So it can't be because we don't know enough.

And then we wonder if it is due to the fact that our scientific genius lags behind. That is, if we have not made enough progress scientifically. Well then, it can't be that. For our scientific progress over the past years has been amazing. Man through his scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains, so that today it's possible to eat breakfast in New York City and supper in London, England. Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you
can go from here to China in less time than that. It can't be because man is stagnant in his scientific progress. Man's scientific genius has been amazing.

I think we have to look much deeper than that if we are to find the real cause of man's problems and the real cause of the world's ills today. If we are to really find it I think we will have to look in the hearts and souls of men."

Source: Photo source:

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I am too excited about 2008! Drama, intrigue, an election and the Brooklyn skyline. I just missed the Michigan snowstorm and am seriously into hibernation. The city that never sleeps isn't trying to hear it though and so, snowless, chilly winds will be beating me down today.

The annual gig at St. Mark's Poetry Project was a blast! It was fun seeing old hang out buddies like Akila Oliver, Lee Ann Brown w/ Family, Edwin Torres and Maggie Estep as well as legendaries like John Giorno. Brendan Lorber is going to be a Pops he told me and folks seemed more upbeat than last year.

Val Jeanty and I took the stage and made some trouble. I got a very, very sweet gift of baubles from a cutie pie kid right after the reading. I was more touched by that than the applause! -- I'm grateful for that, too though. Never can take that for granted certainly.

Easing into the '08. I *just* caught the ball on TV, speaking of baubles. It's a fun year ahead* (with horrors in wait I'm sure) and I look forward to sharing it with my friends. Cross fingers for a better '08 and a healing '09.


* for the solar Gregorian folks. Lunar New Year's coming up! All Hail the Rat year... --:-) T