Friday, June 9, 2017

dark times

In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.

-Bertolt Brecht

Saturday, June 3, 2017

ethiopian artists i love

i had the pleasure recently of sitting in the parlor of my aunt's fabulous ladera heights home in los angeles one evening, listening to my dad and aunts and uncle talk about contemporary ethiopian art. i learned some pretty interesting history, along with learning about some new artists. here's a selection of some of my favorites, both new and old, working across mediums:

aida muluneh

"a strong light"

"spirit of sisterhood"

"divine comedy"

wosene worke kosrof

"speaking of time"

"we the people"

"coltrane's notebook"

"house of sheba"

elias sime

michael tsegaye

"ethiopia seen outside the box: ankober 2007"

"rainy season in addis"


gedewon makonnen

alexander "skunder" boghossian

Friday, June 2, 2017

kahlil gibran :: pity the nation

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, 
and that deem the glittering conqueror bountiful.

Pity the nation that despises a passion in its dream,
yet submits in its awakening.

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
save when it walks in a funeral,
boasts not except among its ruins,
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid
between the sword and the block.

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox,
whose philosopher is a juggler,
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking.

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting,
and farewells him with hooting,
only to welcome another with trumpeting again.

Friday, May 12, 2017

nancy wood :: hold on to what is good

hold on to what is good
even if it is a handful of earth.

hold on to what you believe
even if it is a tree which stands by itself.

hold on to what you must do
even if it is a long way from here.

hold on to life
even when it is easier letting go.

hold on to my hand
even when I have gone away from you.

words of wisdom regarding writing from annie lamott

"Plot grows out of character... Any plot you impose on your characters will be onomatopoetic: PLOT."

"The writer is creating a dream into which she invites the reader, and the dream must be vivid and continuous." (quoting John Gardner)

"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people."

"Writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water."

"You are just the typist. A good typist listens."

-Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Graeber on "Bullshit Jobs"

Finance Capital x Neoliberalism x Labor = Bullshit Jobs:

"[I]n our society, there seems a general rule that, the more obviously one's work benefits other people, the less one is likely to be paid for it. Again, an objective measure is hard to find, but one easy way to get a sense is to ask: what would happen were this entire class of people to simply disapper? Say what you like about nurses, garbage collectors, or mechanics, it's obvious that were they to vanish in a puff of smoke, the results would be immediate and catastrophic. A world without teachers or dock-workers would soon be in trouble, and even one without science fiction writers or ska musicians would clearly be a lesser place. It's not entirely clear how humanity would suffer were all private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants to similarly vanish. (Many suspect it might markedly improve.) Yet apart from a handful of well-touted exceptions (doctors), the rule holds surprisingly well."


feminist frontiers

"the real material unfreedom women experience today is a product of the subordination of everything to the market, not to traditionalism."

-Angle Nagle on Trump and The Handmaid's Tale in Jacobin, "The Market Theocracy"


robin coste lewis :: on "postmodernity"

"the post-modern (read: post-colonial--when you hear 'post-modern', read 'post-coloial'...)"

Robin Coste Lewis talking on "erasure" at Oregon Public Broadcasting


taiye selasi :: bye-bye babar

"...the baby-Afropolitan can get what I call 'lost in transnation'"

"If nothing else, the Afropolitan knows that nothing is neatly black or white; that to 'be' anything is a matter of being sure of who you are uniquely."

"There are those among us who wonder to the point of weeping: where next, Africa? When will the scattered tribes return? When will the talent repatriate? What lifestyles await young professionals at home? How to invest in Africa's future?"

from "Bye-Bye Babar" (

Sunday, January 8, 2017

:::DECOLONIALITY::: in tears... brown, and broken, and brought to tears... bbking said, singing the blues is like being black twice... this virtual space was initiated with a personal manifesto - a declaration of independence, of revolt, of obstinacy, of... a need for freedom.

it has been years. my best-kept memories are here. my growth is here, in song and image and word.

I have finally found what I've been looking for. it started with édouard glissant, widened with mignolo, and is firm now with maldonado-torres. Decoloniality:

"The transition from the solitude of damnation to the possibility of communication passes through the formulation of critical questions. Decolonial critique finds its anchor in the open body. When the damné communicates the critical questions that are grounded on the lived experience of the open body we have the emergence of an-other speech and an-other way of thinking. This is why writing for many intellectuals of color is no less than a major event. Writing is a form of reconstituting oneself and a way of countering the effects of ontological separation and metaphysical catastrophe. That is why Fanon wrote Black Skin even though “nobody asked [him] to” (Fanon 2008, 11), why the Chicana Gloria Anzaldúa considered writing “a way of life” (Anzaldúa 2000, 236), and part of the reason why it was so revolutionary for Biko’s writings to circulate with the title I Write what I Like (2002 [1978])."

This. This is why I have always written for myself, myself alone.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mary Oliver

My Work is Loving the World, Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird - 
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the mouth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.