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.

Faith’s Atmoshere

For the Beautiful One Not Yet Born

                For JaBron

As night weaves webs
        Of ambiguity
With silken spontaneity
        I await
The day you will be born
(just as I did for your older brother
            Fifteen years ago),
Anticipating your first impressions
Of your family (who, weird as we seem,
Always got your back).

I wonder if you will come out
            Facing up
Urinating on the doctor
            As I did
Or if you will jump
            Feet first
Into the ocean of existence like your mama.
I wonder what your first word
            Will be
Mama or daddy or maybe shit
            Right after
You hear your grandma say it.
            I can only
Wonder & imagine what could
Come true, but the answers lie in you.

3/07

Trackless Tracts Revisited

I.
No train of thought on the track
Of chain reaction

To the café
Called abstraction

Where age is
A broken record skipping

Just for the hell of it

As jazzmen sometimes scream
Buoyant riffs that tiptoe

Through tulips atop the roof gardens
Like birds at play

Until the future is

A retrospection
On apocalypse

In antiquity’s
Private collection.

II. 
No train of thought
Or inherited

Inhibitions
Just rumbled rambles

Of revelation
Riding an escalating

Squall shaping
Into a streaming storm
Of consciousness coming

& going like zephyrs
Zooming in a zealous flurry

At the zero hour
Of Earth waking
To the flight of a newborn

Sunshower
Chasing the clouds away.

III.
No train of thought
Or sanctimonious

Superstitions
Merely moments

On the montage
Of mynd, remembering

The corridors

To everywhere from the edge
Of nowhere. No train

Of thought, just ordinary
Moods, & hearts

With standing room

Only, between moments
Of night & day

Sundry as the soular
Paths ahead of me.

©2003

Bird’s Flight: Ode to the Pyrotechnics of Charlie Parker

“You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.”
                                    -Miles Davis

What Charlie Parker brought
From Kansas City

To 52nd Street
Was the pyrotechnics

He used to school the world
In ornithology

& the blues.
He was the sole songbird

Of his kind, whirring

With his wings wrapped tight
‘Round the neck of his alto sax

Through choruses
& holes in the wall of night

Like the hum of the wind

Rustling through leaves, playing 
Pretty notes

That seem so perfectly placed, reprising

Himself in a pastiche
Of optimistic

Pandemonium, when every note was
An experiment

In experience

Anthologized
In anthems

Of his alter echo taking flight.
               

©2006