I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings…

mayaMaya Angelou Dead at 86

Award-winning poet, essayist and author of ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ passes away in North Carolina home

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/maya-angelou-dead-at-86-20140528

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings…

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill 
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 

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A Couple of Great Quotes from Great Folks…

Let-every-woman-who-has-once-begun-to-think-examine-herself.-Margaret-Fuller-The-Transcendentalists.1Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages… In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried ” 

— Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States.

“The surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity.”  – Joseph Brodsky

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Joseph Brodsky (born May 24, 1940), was persecuted in his native Russia and was forcibly exiled in 1972. With the support of poet W.H. Auden he eventually settled in the U.S. and later won a Nobel Prize.

Updated: My Favorite Quote From “Gladiator”

gladiator-quotes-3Marcus Aurelius: There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home.
Maximus: What would you have me do Caesar?
Marcus Aurelius: I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you to one end alone, to give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it.
[Maximus looks amazed and sad]
Marcus Aurelius: Do you accept this great honor that I have offered you?
Maximus: With all my heart, no.
Marcus Aurelius: Maximus, that is why it must be you.

Maximus wanted nothing to do with government and governing, only to restore the integrity of Rome and go home to his family.

I think he believed that, ultimately, the true power of a democracy lies with it’s people and not, what Nietzsche has since termed, an “Ubermensch” or superman. The greater good can only be served by a united will to implement the common good.

A place to start would be with the removal of:

1. All higher offices in government ie. President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, etc.

2. All political entitlements i.e. lifetime salaries, slush funds, corporate contributions, nepotism, etc. (How many of these guys would actually be there if it weren’t for these things? Sadly, very few). On 60 Minutes recently there was one politician who sponsored a bill to remove slush funds and none of his colleagues signed on.

3. Make the House and the Senate into Round Table discussions with no party distinctions (If you’re all there for the good of everyone in the country these distinctions really shouldn’t matter anyway).

4. Evolve, move forward, step out of the shadow of Medieval Fiefdoms, embrace the Enlightenment Period and The Renaissance and just stop thinking with your crotch.

Beyond Illiteracy: Cultural Illiteracy

The-New-Dictionary-of-Cultural-Literacy-9780618226474Sure the average American can read a newspaper. But do they have the curiosity or the open mindedness to read about foreign cultures? Of course the word foreign here is used loosely as, given the diversity of cultures represented in the American population, foreign should not really be foreign to any American anymore.

What I’m saying is: If you’re not learning about “foreign” cultures then you don’t have any idea what many of your neighbors believe in or care about. How can America truly be a “melting pot” if the average American refuses to melt into it?

To say what is truly American has to now mean what do we know about the ever-widening cross-section of diverse cultures in our midst. There is no longer the excuse that we haven’t traveled abroad, therefore we don’t know or understand the outside world. The outside world has come to our doorstep. Will we choose to open the door and let them in or will we draw the blinds and pretend we’re not home like so many recluses who refuse to hand out candy on Halloween?

With the advent of the internet and doing simple google searches, we no longer have the excuse of simple and convenient ignorance. It’s all right there at your fingertips and the excuse of being ill-traveled is no excuse at all.

American ambassadors may have opened doors to the outside world, but has the average American opened their minds to it? If Americans were half as interested in cultural literacy as they are childishly titillated by homosexuality, we’d be getting somewhere.

The Coolest Story I know about James Dean is…

551The coolest story I know about James Dean is:

When he was filming the movie GIANT with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson he got really nervous cuz these two were huge stars.
All of a sudden he walked to the fence where the paparazzi and fans were watching the filming, zipped down his pants and took a piss in front of everyone.
When asked why he did that he said something like, “I figured if I could take a piss in front of a crowd of people I could act with anyone, no matter how famous.”

Deetah The Masterpiece – Pursuing their Dreams and Working Together

286073_10151115697012083_769479916_oNote: A few years ago I wrote a blog post about hip-hop that was poorly worded and used the wrong tone. The gist of it was that I believed, or hoped that African- American music would follow the trajectory of the great RnB Artists of the 50s, 60s, and 70s and avoid negativity toward women and discord about small things. I lost half of my blog followers cuz I think I was misunderstood. Of course it was easy to misunderstand, given my poor execution and tone. And I own that. Let’s all work toward the big picture and the greater good. My apologies to anyone who found it offensive.

That said, here’s Tah Ismael Dembele.

Tah Ismael Dembele, also known as Deetah The Masterpiece is from Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast’s political capital. He has the same physique as Bob Marley and similar eyes to the late great Notorious BIG. While others appear to be trend followers, the difference lies within Deetah’s passion for hip-hop. A distinct characteristic Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaata developed in New York within a culture that would affect a younger Ismael in the continent of Africa.

D for Dembele and Tah for his first name. Later he changed his stage name to Deetah the masterpiece to make it memorable. A hip Hop Artist, producer, and owner of his own recording studio, Deetah is no stranger to hard work and dedication to the Hip Hop Culture, and it shows in his productions.

Deetah started out in a group called  » Da Mercure » in 2005. With the support of Didi F. and Icepeak he recorded his first solo project in an appartment next to the beach in Antibes. A year later they would be performing in front of thousands of hip hop heads in the south of france.

In 2007 with the help of Wechdi Trabelsi, head of Berbere Prod, he released a single to perform live alongside the legendary french rap group 113 in Tunisia. « One Two » was an instant succes and played in night clubs in Bizerte, Hammamet and Tunis.

In 2012, « Before The Masterpiece » is released independently on Itunes. Deetah did it all by himself: The beats, the recording, the mixing and even the graphic design. It was so important for him to keep putting out music that he didnt care for a label. Most surprisingly, « Before The Masterpiece » became popular and gave him the chance to get more fans and following. Tracks like « BabiCity » talked to the diapora while « Im a lover » appealed to a wider audience.

Deetah now lives in Montreal, Canada where he continues his work. Joined by other artists, he’s part of a movement initiated on the Ivory Coast to bring Hip Hop back on the map in western Africa. Black Label is a conglomerate of African artists around the world pursuing their dreams and working together. That gave him the opportunity to launch Deetahmusic.com’s Freestyle sessions where he invites different artists to record over his own productions.

Deetah believes in a world of infinite possibilities, where an African child will not feel disadvantaged but equal to another anywhere else on planet earth.

https://twitter.com/deetahmusic

https://www.facebook.com/deetahthemaster

The River (A Dirge for Kurt Cobain) by The Julian Day

kurt-kurt-cobain-1285543-1024-768

We can get down sometimes, can’t we? You just have to hope someone’s really there for you when you do.

 

The River: Words by Philip Scott Wikel, Music by The Julian Day (Video Below)

I am the river
dry as the sun
like Kurt Cobain
without the guts

I am the river
dry as the sun
and for the hundredth time
I’ve gone nuts

I remember the river
when it used to flow
I remember the river
and I thought you should know
that I’ve become the river
and I wish I could row

But my arms are the river
dry as a bone
my arms are the river
and my heart is a stone
you see,
my heart is the river
and it used to flow
but my heart is the river
and it’s as dry as a bone

I even wish I could shiver
because that would show
that I was once like the river
when it used to flow
how I wish I could shiver
because that would at least show
that I was as cold as the river
in the white winter’s snow

I am the river
dry as the sun
and I think of Sylvia
cuz she’d gone nuts

I think she was a river
and like many the same
they’d gone crazy
and they had the guts.