A Note from Mel

Make the connection…

caviar and cognac May 27, 2009

Filed under: Art & Politics — anotefrommel @ 10:20 am

history repeating itself (or maybe it never changed)



caviar and cognac

after Kim Jong-Il, North Korea ‘06


there’s no fine grey powder in my bomb

nuclear fare

war is someone’s answer


there’s a massive black weapon

stored in my backyard

engorged with hunger, desperation

a heavy pink, pelvic balloon

rolling near pins sharp as starving eyes


there’s a bomb in my back

pocket imperialists




the split second

an eye                       blinked

opening to severed limbs lips



my plutonium grin mocks

a horror flick

on the screen

of my squared bifocals


your seat

perpetually reserved and

unoccupied at my table


– Melanie Henderson




By Marlene Hawthrone-Thomas


It was you who first split my tongue

Blew smells of el campo into my nostrils

Pupusa, arroz con frijoles,

pepino, calabacín, elote, zanahoria, nopalito

Sopa de pescado, el gran ojo mirandome

Swimming among alphabet pasta


Me he despertado unas mañanas

Las mejillas mojadas con lástimas

Pensando que me ha dejado


Tortillas resting oiled griddle form burn birthmarks

like liver spots adorning your hands

flattening that very maseca into perfection


Tamed abursho into escova, then trenzas

Delantal catching my tears as the

comb wove its way through my tangles

me wondering

why my hair could not flow

like your silver river


Me he despertado unas mañanas

Las mejillas mojadas con lástimas

Pensando que me ha dejado


Radio Ah-Eh-meh 640 crackling

Alabanzas warbling from your throat

Smelling of Lísterina, that’s how I thought

God smelled


You affixing a velo on my head,

Bobby pins resting on the shelf of your pursed lips

Entrusting me with a pandereta during worship hour


Translating in the grocery store, 5 and on tiptoe

holding fast to check writing stand

Making eye contact with the cashier

Mama Angelica, el cajero necesita veinte centavos


Isopropyl alcohol sweating your wrinkled belly

Worn from births, soft like velvet

Into it you sank insulin needles

I mirrored your wincing


The blood teardrop leaking onto the test paper


How I’ve inherited the shape of your fingers

And toes

and love for sweets

and heavy shuffle

Con o sin chancleta


Me he despertado unas mañanas

Las mejillas mojadas con lástimas

Pensando que me ha dejado


Mami says you have fallen

And your old bones cannot knit themselves well

You have refused food and drink

And I refuse to see you this way


Me he despertado unas mañanas

Las mejillas mojadas con lástimas

Pensando que me ha dejado


But I know it’s your mouth

forming besos instead.


I Blame Blogs: Article on PoetryFoundation.org May 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — anotefrommel @ 8:19 am
Tags: , ,

A long list of comments, but food for thought. Think of where you fall…or if you fall.

Read I Blame Blogs by Allison Glock at: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/article.html?id=236776

On May 19, 2009 at 1:02 pm michael wrote:

If this were my essay to write, I’d have said we should read more good poetry and read more good blogs, and I’d opine and report on how the two, as forms and processes, link up to each other and can reinforce what’s good and compensate for what’s not so strong in the other. But that’s because I’m a sensitive, reasonable person, not an overgeneralizing, elitist provocateur, and there wouldn’t be any comments on my thread


Larry Neal Writers’ Awards May 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — anotefrommel @ 10:28 am
Tags: , , ,


Larry Neal

Larry Neal



I was excited to learn I’m a Finalist for the Adult Poetry category of the Larry Neal Writers’ Awards. Maybe, I’ll see you there in the company of some talented D.C. youth, teenage and adult creative writers!
(P.S. Free Admission is always a plus!)

Larry Neal Writers’ Awards

Since 1981, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has recognized and celebrated the literary accomplishments of District of Columbia resident writers through the Larry Neal Writers’ Competition. Cash awards and prizes are given to adults aged 19 and up for artistic excellence in writing in three categories:  poetry, short story and dramatic writing, and to youth (ages 8-12) and teens (ages 13-18) in three categories: poetry, short story and essay. 


The Larry Neal Writers’ Awards Ceremony for 2009 occurs on Friday, May 8, 2009 at 6 pm:

The Washington District of Columbia Jewish Community Center – Theatre J
 1529 16th St Nw, Washington, DC 20036In 1965, Neal founded the Black Arts Repertory Theater and School with Amiri Baraka (also known as LeRoi Jones) in Harlem.


His powerful works of poetry include Hoodoo Hollerin’ BeBop Ghosts and Black Boogaloo. In 1969, Neal and Baraka coedited Black Fire, the definitive anthology of the 1960s black cultural experience.
In addition to his writings, Neal was a well-respected academic. He was a professor at Yale and Wesleyan universities, received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971, and held a chair in Humanities at Howard University. He also served as the Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities from 1976 to 1979.


At his untimely death in 1981, Neal had just finished an introduction to a three-volume series on Zora Neale Hurston’s works, was collaborating on a jazz series for WGBH-TV in Boston, and had nearly completed a book on the rise of black consciousness during the 1960s.


The Larry Neal Writers’ Award program commemorates his artistic legacy and vision of cultural understanding. The program’s activities are among the most anticipated of the events sponsored by the Commission.


Larry Neal Biography
Born in Georgia in 1937, Neal moved to Philadelphia as a child. He gained an appreciation for all aspects of black life, such as folk tales, slang, and street chants, and used them as sources of artistic expression. He enrolled in courses at Drexel University and continued graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1963, Neal moved to New York as arts editor of The Liberator.