Voices of Variegation Pt1


“I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: That I am nobody but myself.” 
―Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

“I could not retreat, as did so many, into church and its mysteries. My parents rejected all dogmas. We spurned the holidays marketed by the people who wanted to be white. We would not stand for their anthems. We would not kneel before their God. And so I had no sense that any just God was on my side. ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’ meant nothing to me. The meek were battered in West Baltimore, stomped out at Walbrook Junction, bashed up on Park Heights, and raped in the showers of the city jail. My understanding of the universe was physical, and its moral arc bent toward chaos then concluded in a box.”
~Ta-Nehesi Coates, Between the World and Me

“No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.”
—Muhammad Ali

“The supreme adventure is being born. When we step into the family, we step into a fairy tale.” 
– G.K. Chesterton

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
–Robert Louis Stevenson

“I found that I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say in any other way, things that I had no words for.” 
~ Georgia O’Keeffe

“The stream may prevent you from crossing, but it cannot prevent you from retracing your steps.” 
– Hausa Proverb

“Americans believe in the reality of ‘race’ as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world. Racism—the need to ascribe bone-deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them—inevitably follows from this inalterable condition. In this way, racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.

But race is the child of racism, not the father.”
~Ta-Nehesi Coates, Between the World and Me

“And you know now, if you did not before, that the police departments of your country have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body. It does not matter if the destruction is the result of an unfortunate overreaction. It does not matter if it originates in a misunderstanding. It does not matter if the destruction springs from a foolish policy. Sell cigarettes without the proper authority and your body can be destroyed. Resent the people trying to entrap your body and it can be destroyed. Turn into a dark stairwell and your body can be destroyed. The destroyers will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions. And destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include friskings, detainings, beatings, and humiliations. All of this is common to black people. And all of this is old for black people. No one is held responsible.”
~Ta-Nehesi Coates, Between the World and Me

“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.” 
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.” 
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War 

“Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.” 
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.” 
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“The real risk is not changing. I have to feel that I’m after something. If I make money, fine. But I’d rather be striving. It’s the striving, man, it’s that I want.”
-John Coltrane

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
—Melody Beattie

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”
—Jean-Baptiste Massieu

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
— Pablo Neruda

“The stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me. What I’ve done up till now, what I’m going to do – they know it all.”
~ Haruki Murakami


2021, Compiled by MDSHall, in collaboration with the Writes of Passage, “forged on the wordwrights’ anvil,” and the Poet Tree of Discoursing Drums beating By Any Dreams Necessary.

Excerpts. 17

Excerpts. 14

“We know what it’s like to be told there isn’t a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. … We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day, … We knew that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something to give.”
–Chadwick Boseman

“The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
~Chadwick Boseman

“Back during slavery, when Black people like me talked to the slaves, they didn’t kill ’em, they sent some old house Negro along behind him to undo what he said. You have to read the history of slavery to understand this. There were two kinds of Negroes. There was that old house Negro and the field Negro”
– Malcolm X, The House Negro and The Field Negro

“What you cannot see during the day, you will not see at night.”
~ Motherland Proverb

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.”
― D.H. Lawrence

“The purpose of poetry is to remind us how difficult it is to remain just one person, for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.”
~ Czesław Miłosz

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”
-Maya Angelou

“It is a great thing to know the season for speech and the season for silence.”
—Seneca

“We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect. The judgment of the intellect is only part of the truth.”
-Carl Jung

“White America must see that no other ethnic group has been a slave on American soil. That is one thing that other immigrant groups haven’t had to face. The other thing is that the color became a stigma. American society made the negroes color a stigma.

America freed the slaves in 1863 through the Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln but gave the slaves no land or nothing in reality (and that’s a matter of fact) …to get started on. At the same time, America was giving away millions of acres of land in the west and the Midwest. Which meant there was a willingness to give the white peasants from Europe an economic base.

And yet it refused to give its black peasants from Africa who came involuntarily, in chains, and had worked free for 244 years any kind of economic base. And so emancipation for the negro was really freedom to hunger. It was freedom to the winds and rains of heaven. It was freedom without food to eat or land to cultivate and therefore it was freedom and famine at the same time.

And when white Americans tell the negro to lift himself by his own bootstraps, they don’t look over the legacy of slavery and segregation. Now I believe we ought to do all we can and seek to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps, but it is a cruel jest to say to the bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.

And many negroes, by the thousands and millions have been left bootless as a result of all of these years of oppression and as a result of a society that deliberately made his color a stigma and something worthless and degrading.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

Compiled by MDSHall, in collaboration with the Poet Tree of Discoursing Drums beating By Any Dreams Necessary.

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