Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Most Banned Book of the Year -- as read on Judy Blume's Blog

I met Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson in Chicago -- authors of the most banned book of this year-- And Tango Makes Three -- a picture book based on a true story about two male penguins, Roy and Silo, at
the Central Park Zoo.The fear of sharing this charming story about nurturing male penguins reminds me of a picture book by Charlotte Zolotow published in the '70's --
William's Doll-- and the brouhaha surrounding it. As if giving a boy a doll would turn him into a
homosexual.It makes me proud that on October 15 I will be giving the Charlotte Zolotow Lecture at University of Wisconsin. Maybe I'll start off by telling that story.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

For CJ - A McCain supporter that found themselves on my blog...

dear cj,

it is obvious, that YOU are voting for an unstable America.
Obama is a terrorist? so i feel its only fair to break it
down for you.

The first thing out your mouth: BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA... As if
the words "Hussein" should scare me. Let me tell you something "CJ"
my worst fears, have already materialized. The fact that Bill O'Reilly,
also a McCain supporter, can spew words like "Lynching" while speaking
of Michelle Obama, is a pretty clear sign of what is to come. Again.
This world of racism, that Americans like you love to conveniently ignore,
has been a scare tactic etched in the bones of children of color. Your President
has proven that for the past 8 years. But let's not look to the past. There
is nothing that can be done of that. Let's talk about now:

1 - When McCain decided to choose Palin as his running partner, THE WEAKER
CANDIDATE, became quite obvious. He did not respect the people of America
and moreso decided he could play on the need for a woman in office than answer
the call for a qualified candidate in office. Sarah Palin is NOT Hilary Clinton. And
her and her JOE SIX-PACK & Hockey Mom antics won't make her any more
closer to knowing the facts.

a. The fact that Palin is a woman, is not "Change" enough CJ. And there
are interviews and debates that very well question if she is actually a human. I
think she's a droid, on some Stepford Wives ish. I mean really. Any person that
would charge a rape victim for the rape kit -- is suspect. And maybe she didn't
put the law into action, but she sure as hell was more concerned about Caribou
than putting a stop to such a gross misconduct.

b. "I can see Russia from my house?" Really? That makes her a strong candidate
concerning foreign policy?

c. Wink... word.

2 - Terrorists association. Is that all your crew has? When you couldn't scare away the public from idea of a BLACK PRESIDENT, you decide to compare the acts of William Ayers to the deceased Timothy McVeigh. Be clear. Ayers and Obama once lived in the same area of Chicago, as they also worked in the field of school reform and education for the state of Illinois. And because Obama was hosted by Ayers for a congratulatory coffee gathering -- their friends? How silly does that sound.

3 - When I vote for Obama. And I will. I will not be voting for "another September 11 attack," I will be voting for a President that represents all people. Not just the affluent, not just the people of color -- but the fabric in which this nation was designed. And CJ, I know what happened that day. I watched it from my living room window -- I didn't wait for the news to tell me what to feel as the entire city shook in fear and despair and loss. The USA is in need of an overhaul. Out with the standards of keeping the rich, richer and the poor and disenfranchised, asleep. Our country is in need of a facelift. There are countries that look at us confused. I went on a trip to London and underwent an emergency root canal. Free of charge. This is after my own dentist wanted to charge me $1500, for something my insurance refused to cover. This is absurd. This country needs to take care of its citizens regardless of their income.

"I don't like either candidates but prefer McCain over a terrorist lover?" That sounds like some Mississippi-burning-Rosewood-lynching-tirade if I've ever heard one. The fact our country would rather us go spend money than have therapy for post traumatic disorders after the devastation of 9/11 is beyond me. But hey. These are the cards we were dealt. We can't change what happened in the past. What we can do is vote for a man with a spot on VP Candidate like Biden, a man that sticks up for the good of people, rather than the good of the old money's pockets. America teaches our youth "anyone can be President" and the whole "up from the bootstraps - no handout" mentality. But when it actually happens. There are people like you. Ready to chip away the very notion that something good can come out of all the murder and injustice that has slept in the belly of our good ole' United States. This country is ready for something else. Something that feels real. We deserve that. Our future deserves that. You are just too blinded by your own prejudice to see it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Star Jones Reynolds responds to Bill O'Reilly

Below is Star Jones' informed and provocative response to Bill O'Reilly's
comment about 'having a lynching party for Michelle Obama if he finds
out that she truly has no pride in her country.'

Bill O'Reilly said: 'I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama
unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels.
If that's how she really feels - that is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -
then that's legit. We'll track it down.'

Star said: 'I'm sick to death of people like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, and his stupid
and ignorant thinking that he can use a racial slur against a black woman who
could be the next First Lady of the United States, and then give a half-assed
apology and not be taken to task and called on his crap. What the hell is if it's
'legit,' you're going to 'track it down?'

And then what do you plan to do? How dare this white man with a
microphone and the trust of the public think that in 2008, he can still
put the words 'lynch and party' together in the same sentence with a
reference to a black woman; in this case, Michelle Obama? I don't care
how you 'spin it' in the 'no spin zone,' that statement in and of itself
is racist, unacceptable and inappropriate on every level.

O'Reilly claims his comments were taken out of context. Please
don't insult my intelligence while you're insulting me. I've read the
comments and heard them delivered in O'Reilly's own voice; and there
is no right context that exists. So, his insincere apology and 'out-of-context'
excuse is not going to cut it with me.

And just so we're clear, this has nothing to do with the 2008
presidential election, me being a Democrat, him claiming to be an
Independent while talking like a Republican, the liberal media or a
conservative point of view. To the contrary, this is about crossing a
line in the sand that needs to be drawn based on history, dignity, taste
and truth.

Bill, I'm not sure of where you come from, but let me tell you what
the phrase 'lynching party' conjures up to me, a black woman born in
North Carolina ..

Those words depict the image of a group of white men who are angry
with the state of their own lives getting together, drinking more than they
need to drink, lamenting how some black person has moved forward
(usually ahead of them in stature or dignity), and had the audacity to
think that they are equal.

These same men for years, instead of looking at what changes they should
and could make in their own lives that might remove that bitterness born
of perceived privilege, these white men take all of that resentment and
anger and decide to get together and drag the closest black person near
them to their death by hanging them from a tree - usually after violent
beating, torturing and violating their human dignity. Check your history
books, because you don't need a masters or a law degree from Harvard
to know that is what constitutes a 'lynching party.'

Imagine, Michelle and Barack Obama having the audacity to think that
they have the right to the American dream, hopes, and ideals. O'Reilly
must think to himself: 'How dare they have the arrogance to think they
can stand in front of this nation, challenge the status quo and express
the frustration of millions?

When this happens, the first thing that comes to mind for O'Reilly and
people like him is: 'it's time for a party.'

Not so fast...don't order the rope just yet.

Would O'Reilly ever in a million years use this phrase with reference
to Elizabeth Edwards, Cindy McCain or Judi Nathan? I mean, in all of the
statements and criticisms that were made about Judi Nathan, the one-time
mistress turned missus, of former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani,
I never heard any talk of forming a lynch party because of something she
said or did.

So why is it that when you're referring to someone who' s
African-American you must dig to a historical place of pain, agony and
death to symbolize your feelings? Lynching is not a joke to off-handedly
throw around and it is not a metaphor that has a place in political
commentary; provocative or otherwise.

I admit that I come from a place of personal outrage here having buried
my 90 year-old grandfather last year. This proud, amazing African-
American man raised his family and lived through the time when
he had to use separate water fountains, ride in the back of a bus, take
his wife on a date to the 'colored section' of a movie theater, and
avert his eyes when a white woman walked down the street for fear of
what a white man and his cronies might do if they felt the urge to
'party'; don't tell me that the phrase you chose, Mr. O'Reilly, was
taken out of context.

To add insult to injury, O'Reilly tried to 'clarify' his statements, by
using the excuse that his comments were reminiscent of Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas' use of the term 'high-tech lynching' during his
confirmation hearing. I reject that analogy. You see Justice Thomas did
mean to bring up the image of lynching in its racist context. He was
saying that politics and the media were using a new technology to do to
him what had been done to black men for many years -- hang him.

Regardless of if you agreed with Justice Thomas' premise or not, if in
fact ---Bill O'Reilly was referencing it the context becomes even clearer.

What annoys me more than anything is that I get the feeling that one of
the reasons Bill O'Reilly made this statement, thinking he could get
away with it in the first place, and then followed it up with a lame
apology in a half-hearted attempt to smooth any ruffled feathers, is
because he doesn't think that black women will come out and go after
him when he goes after us. Well, he's dead wrong. Be clear Bill O'Reilly:
there will be no lynch party for that black woman.

And this black woman assures you that if you come for her, you come for
all of us.'

Star Jones Reynolds

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where I've Been/Where I'll Be...

I've writing tons. And with the recent car tow -- I've had nothing but time
to observe the Brooklyn surrounding me. In that time, I've pledged allegiance
to another 30/30 project. This one has over 50 poets involved. It under the
wings of Nicole Terez Dutton, a cave canem sis. She's awesome. We both have
gaps. Which means the awesomeness is relative. And this one is the best yet!
We're putting together a book of the work, as well as, performances.
*Check dates below*

I finally started back to school last week. I didn't realize how hard it was
to go back, once I stayed away for the entire summer! Pray for me. Also
preparing for the festival. That's been a lot of work! Seriously. And we only
have three weeks before we're in the midst of 40 poets and over 400 poetry
lovers! www.soundbitesnyc.com
If you want to see me anywhere, come check me out there! I will look as if
my head is cut off --but I'm efficient in my panic. Come give me a hug and
tell me how amazing the show is...Jive Poetic worked so hard on the festival
website -- I wish I had a new website that looked like that! *hint hint*

I'm still blogging. but after the plagurist incident. I'm keeping it a bit closer
to my heart. This skin is too thin for things like that. Hit me on the backend
and I'll send you to the private one. I just got back from the Northbeast
Regionals in Boston. The Nuyo Team (2008) rep'd so hard and we had a ball
even if the car's transmission died on us, about 65 miles outside of Boston.
They are the warmth all humans need to feel whole. We drove 45 miles an
hour for the remainder, just to make it to the slam, to qualify for nationals.
And they did the damn thing. They threw down the hammer with each poem
and was ready for a treat @ a diner soon after. The damage on the car? $1800
So we're having a team show to get that money for the car. I love those guys.
Adam, Akua, Jamaal & Rico. Eboni came along for the ride. And Anaiss opened
her home to all our poetry conversations. We talked about everythin from old
school music, to the top reasons of why not to date a poet. Also checked out
a couple of readings and one man shows. Bamuthi's "breaks" in the New York
Hip Hop Theatre Festival was slightly short of AMAZING. He is a prime
example of honest art.

Then Court and I checked out the reading/discussion hosted by my girl, Nicole
Sealey. Tayari Jones was the guest and after reading her first book Leaving
Atlanta - I had to see the woman behind the wonderful words. The car was
towed that morning. So I walked all the way from the Brooklyn Museum, to
the tip of Brooklyn,where MoCada sits across from the 24 hour Pathmark. I
was sweating and near faint, but I made it. Slightly late. She gave me the evil
teacher eye. I don'tknow if she knows that. Or maybe I was just overly sensitive
to being the storm that disrupted the intimate reading. It was great to hear
though. I'll post the notes I took from her and Bamuthi. But right now, I need
a bowl of cereal. Bad. And some coffee. Word. Check the dates below until then.

Oct 15 2008
Adelphi University
Garden City, New York

Oct 16 2008
LaGuardia College - Open Mic
Queens, New York

Oct 16 2008
SBites @ Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York

Oct 17 2008
SBPoetry @ NYU
New York, New York

Oct 23 2008
SBPoetry @ Columbia College fundraiser for domestic violence
New York, New York

Oct 25 2008
$500 Poetry Slam @ SoundBites Poetry Festival
NYC, New York

Oct 26 2008
$250 Poetry Slam @ SoundBites Poetry Festival

Oct 26 2008
Return of the Jam Showcase @ SoundBites Poetry Festival
New York, New York

Nov 7 2008
Alfred University
alfred, New York

Nov 12 2008

Nov 16 2008
30/30 Allstars @ Lizard Lounge
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Nov 22 2008
30/30 Allstars in Brooklyn @ Calabar Imports
Brooklyn, New York

Nov 23 2008
Baltimore Slam - Feature
Baltimore, Maryland

Dec 4 2008
Rider College
Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Dec 6 2008
Utica College

Dec 19 2008
SWAP Year End Review

Dec 20 2008
SWAP Year In Review
Manhattan, New York

Dec 21 2008
SWAP Year In Review
NY, New York

Feb 4 2009
Seattle Poetry Slam

Feb 7 2009
Binghamton University
Binghamton, New York

Apr 2 2009
Laguardia College
Queens, New York

Thursday, October 02, 2008

new attitude

i made myself stop being afraid of rejection.
so i applied to over a dozen journals in the past
48 hours.
its like slam, on the page, without the luxury
of winning a crowd over with your smile and outfit.
no funny segways and intros -- just the page. and
the words.
we'll see what happens.
we'll see...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


It’s against the voting law to go to the polls wearing items with a candidate’s name on it. The polling officials have the authority to not let you vote.

This means we can’t wear our Obama shirts, our Obama sweats, our Obama pins, hats, etc when we go to vote because it would be considered campaigning.

According to law, campaiging can’t be done within 150 feet of a polling place.
This election is too important to have our vote taken away on a “hum-bug.”
They think if they can turn people away, the people will go home and not come back to vote.
(I say if you forget, just take the pin, hat or whatever off. Put a jacket over your shirt and zip it up. They can only turn you away if they “see” your candidate’s name. Do whatever but VOTE!)

Remember: No Obama gear when you go cast your vote.
They are banking on us being excited and not being aware of this long standing law that no one even tripped off of until a Black man got on the ballot.

old school pic

Monday, September 15, 2008

About Sarah Palin from a Wasilla Resident

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months. She is "pro-life". She recently gave birth to a Down's syndrome baby. There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym. She is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She's smart. Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000 (at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about 670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 3%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later--to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once. These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal--loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated” her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska's top cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure and she had every legal right to fire him, but it's pretty clear that an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party) engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects--which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance--but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah. They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah's mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a heartbeat away from being President. There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more knowledgeable and experienced than she. However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are regretting it.

•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships (said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska. No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny + Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I've always operated in the belief that "Bad things happen when good people stay silent". Few people know as much as I do because few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don't have a job she can bump me out of. I don't belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100 or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah's attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor) from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of Wasilla, and I can't recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible for a private person to get any info out of City Hall--they are swamped. So I can't verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the population of Wasilla, ranging from my "about 5,000", up to 9,000. The day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was 5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to 2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny
August 31, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Last year the New York City festival, SoundBites, made history hosting the likes of Rives, Jaha Zainabu,Taylor Mali, Nii Parkes, Roger Bonair Agard and Dasha Kelly. Poets traveled from Texas, North Carolina and California for a weekend of creative writing, performance and workshopping with the closing event at the broadway theatre, New World Stages This year will be slightly different with the Festival separted into two installments. The first installment on October 25th & 26th, 2008 will consist of The SHHH...250 BUK SECRET YOUTH SLAM (open to poets age14 -19) and The SHHH 500 BUK SECRET ADULT SLAM (open to ages 20 and up) Slots are limited! The closing event Return of the Jam Showcase will feature Big Poppa E (HBO Def Poet), Eboni (Team Nuyorican 2007 & Urbana Grand Slam Champion), Jamaal St. John (SoundBites 2007 Slam Champ & Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion) & several surprise performances! *******************************

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rest In Peace: Shannon Leigh

an amazing poet. i met her first when she was 14 years old. she made me uncomfortable with how brilliant she was. when i featured her 6 years later
at the nuyorican -- just a couple of months ago -- i saw her a woman. full
circle. her honest slogan "fuck me human" leaves me suffering goosebumps...even now

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Declaration of Obama

After reading his book, Dreams from My Father. I realize, Obama is what every man should be. Beautiful with language, honest in his flaws, unwavering with his loyalty and passionate about life. It is after swimming in his memoir that I feel I can really stand behind this man. Really donate money that I don't have to a hope for our future, I can volunteer for a cause that will benefit more bodies than my own and bask in the glow of his brilliant leadership. Because like Michelle, Obama's wife, I too have found myself torn as an American adult.

The moment I learned of the Tuskeegee experiment; the hours I relive the Sean Bell verdict; the minutes I replay after learning I no longer had insurance coverage for a surgery that would fix my limp and allow me a life again; I felt misunderstood and expendable. I cringe at the idea of vaccines for my daughter, I am fearful of her becoming another sterility case, like the women of Puerto Rico. And when I begged the opinions of three different doctors only to feel the backhand of the "no malpractice please" club, I never felt so alone.

The idea of Barack Obama, leaves me to wonder what beauty can come for my family. For my friends. For my coworkers. I believe again, in our government. Since the scandal of Bush's "re-election", I haven't had the heart to look Lady Liberty in the eye. I considered her a traitor to us all. And by no means do I believe, Obama is the saviour. He is still human and capable of failing. But it is the humanity in him, that I see a possibility of something different. You know it when you see it, when you hear him speak, when you watch him laugh - like he doesn't care about the people planning for his demise. Like his figure alone isn't a threat to continuation of the all American racism that's been planted under our skin, all along.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

if this surgery goes wrong...

i leave you my tongue
the weapon i wielded most
it will protect you from the
night, the shadows and like

i leave you my forearm
the branch that protected
our friends. our family perched
underneath, they will always
smell like this. rub cocoa butter
on the stretchmarks. they tend
to itch when anxious. don't blame
them for their ugly. it isn't their

i leave you my eyes. so much
has been viewed with them. keep
them close to your heart. they'll
never lie, even when they should.

i leave you my right hand. she's a
beautiful creature. she's my greatest
gift, next to you. joy released from
her fingertips like yellow tulips. she is
spring time, like your smile. she will
never fail you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Mahogany needs money for foot surgery on May 30th!!
That's less than 2 weeks.

She is a full time artist and doesn't have health insurance.
So if you would like to donate to the cause and can afford as little
as $5 click here! please

barely here

give me 10 days.
i promise, i'll tell no lies

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

cooke said

sang of a change coming. and you never really feel the current of this change
until something big and bloody happens.

so much has happened. i wrote 30 poems in 30 days. i had a birthday celebration in miami.
i am preparing for my daughter to graduate primary school. i am preparing for my sister
to marry. sean bell's killers were acquitted. my foot is back in a soft cast. there are no surprises like these left in the world for me. until the cyclone of burma. then the finishing of the men's anthology "barbershop chronicles." and now. this. i was accepted into the cave canem summer retreat. it is a week-long workshop for african-american poets and has been led by the likes of patricia smith, rita dove, kwame dawes, lucille clifton, nztoke shange and sooooooo many more greats.

it feels that current is moving a different direction. one that allows me to walk about with
more hope into my step. a smile on my face at times. when i trick myself into thinking of life
without all the pain and disappointment attached. breath me in. tell me if you can feel it too.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


anthology to finish editing
culminating event to finish planning
clothes to be washed
and i can't get into geared.
i think i want to eat.
i know i shouldnt.
damn this boredom.
maybe i'll make coffee and really suffer
through those two classes in Queens?

i cant wait for miami my birthday weekend.
i need a change of pace.

limping lefty,

Monday, March 24, 2008

a moment...

there are dreams women share
without speaking, a simple hug
a glance behind shoulders
an email filled with kind words -a knife
still hidden in her rib cage

they teach girls to keep quiet
hide the truth in their panty drawer,
don't bleed an honesty if it will cramp
your lifestyle - girl.

you were always running for a finish line that wasn't there.

your arms must be tired
all the fighting for what is right
wrestling with shadows as if the sun will
ever shine away your worry

lay with the whispers that
sing you aren't good enough.
scream back that you are truly better
than it all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

i ain't

writing cause im working...

go check it out


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


There are only so many cups of coffee you can consume. I say this with the same sentiment I feel towards men and the art of consuming them. Before my present relationship, I had attempted to find myself in the arms and beds of other men. In the wake of these suicide missions, I believe I am the lucky one: the one who walked away with third degree burns and a fear of fire; the prey turned predator turned benevolent assassin.

click here to read the rest!!! comment there and let me know your thoughts: http://spindlezine.com/index.php/coffee-and-brooklyn/oakland.html

Saturday, February 23, 2008

so sad insomnia

i cant sleep
dont know how explain this feeling of hopelessness

its funny when you see the monsters behind the shadows come to life.
not "ha ha" funny. but funny like, aww damn. not you too silhoutte of a protective shield. i thought you were different.

and then you remember the old school saying: BIRDS OF A FEATHER...

right. so i guess we keep it moving. pretend like nothing happened.

and syllable crazy has moved dates. thursday is the new date. but i can't lie
like i ain't disappointed in cats. all that community shyt we pop -- then how
many of us show up to a free event...? exactly.

so it's back to the capitalist in all of us. support your bank account. stop pretending this art is fed on human contact alone. biters. go away. my back is missing pieces of flesh.

but the amazing thing is: i'm preparing for my 1 year anniversary at the nuyorican next friday.
its a beautiful and scary thing, ya know??

most of my favorite poets will be in the house spitting something insane to remind me that there is something to doing this poetry thing. hope to see your smile there (feb 29, 2008 @ 10pm). the line is unfortunate. so don't be stuck outside listening to how much fun we're having inside...

on a real painful note. i gotta say this.
ma: my heart breaks for so many people these days.
just splits in half heaving in puddles
you are worth everything that matters.
i dont think i can say that enough.

Monday, February 18, 2008

adventures in brooklyn

this is the net. these pieces of string hold my fate

this is howe or hal...? either way. he was the shyt. word he was our instructor and i actually watched him freefall into the net -- on purpose!

this is jason and i. our first interaction of many. which all included me not listening to him. atleast, not at first.

this is the harness/belt thingie. basically a white girdle. im just saying! it was TIGHT on my abs, kid.

and the journey begins. it was a long climb up and in the middle - i considered coming back down, taking my child and the camera and crossing the bklyn bridge back home.

all im thinking is "HOLY HELL! MY HANDS ARE ON FIRE!!"

all that fun and you knew my camera girl had to join in!

overall: would we do it again??

most definitely!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

brink of

i forgot what day it was.
i actually jumped up and thought
v-day was already over!

im doing too much.

tell me how to slow down.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


in parking tickets.
that is 3 tickets, that i lost
in the hustle and bustle of life. they
were once $45 and became 100 each... plus
i've been fighting parking tickets all morning

oh yea, and i got another ticket.

gab don't fail me now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

yea, you.

it is the silence of your tongue
that keep them heaving,
half-heartedly they'll extend a hand
to throw you off the scent. they may
offer morsels for your obiedence, stay
hungry. it will keep you focused.
shield your heart, ribcage behind the bend
of your fist and let the vultures feed on
your words, alone.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


i want to finish writing like i know how. deadlines always remind you that you are dope - but you are still a vessel. i love how i don't make sense to many, only sometimes him. and he still thinks im funny. so thats enough. i have friends too. the ones that would cut for me from tx or pop trunks for me in brooklyn. they write poems like they mama gave them a pen in the womb - so i feel safe. i have a maniac. shes turned ten and is growing into this body of a young lady. i dont like that part much. actually, i'm quite scared. but she's pretty damn brilliant when i'm not around - so i think we'll be ok.

i still have a deadline. looking forward to my freedom of sorts in 10 weeks. i worry about my kin. i worry about myself. how will i ever fix this broken heart if i'm always on myspace. ok, that was a metaphor gone awry, but it sounded so good in my head. i miss the bass. still fight for her when she isn't looking. still wave to those with judging eyes and scuffed up shoes. they might drown with their noses that high in the air, i think.

i still have a deadline. amari is singing loudly and on beat. she has always been better than this drama that is the poetry world. where poets life and fuk and wait for a chance to be the popular kids, so they can in turn be mean to the other kids and make up for being unpopular in the first place. i get it. you rock. now how do i find your soul strings? right - you sold them for a threesome in the bathroom while your baby at home waited for you to return with diapers. ok. so that was totally drastic - but that's only how people listen.

no one cares about the everyday people. the woman crying at the airport when i was leaving for kansas city. the man checking the newspaper for want ads two months in a row. the college kid that fell in love who only feared he would turn out to be like his father. the other college kid that got his heart broke after giving his heart to a girl that said please, before she crushed it with fingernails and a grin. the mother who aborted her baby because she didn't know she could do it alone. the baby born thrown against a wall by its 14-year-old mother. the poets that pander to the audience in hopes of feeling better about themselves. and all of us that watch the fire burn. extinguisher within arms reach.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

a job description

it is my job
to write about the hurt
the raw bruises still beet burgundy
concrete cascades and tumbles from their lips
this is how i pick up the pieces. this is how
i clean the highway of the rubble, this. is. the.
first. line. of. defense.

my daughter was called a bitch today. and everything
in me screamed murder. not another brown
girl will learn or adapt or accept that name.

in vain, i'll call God a mecernary. if it'll save this
babygirl. this child of breath, eyelashes and every
phrase that told me to rid of her before she formed fingers.
the echoes of a village still dillusional fills my skull
and tickles the memory with a feeling of despair.

light bulb blown, shoeshine, rockstar
too cool to see the sun gave out years ago,
you've been living off a woman's pulse since then,
but this is not about you anymore.

i met three young men and their eyes checked me with
an honesty that says they don't know how to stow their
baggage, so i will write them this poem. prove them i
believe their gender is not the cause of all evil and
anger can't stop the beauty that dissipates from their fingertips.
they are of the moon, these men, with young boy features
stubble still not setting in on jagged eyes of confusion.

they bob their head to the beat, because the rhythm is fat
and the daddy's aren't always wack - sometimes its just easier
to fish without nettings when claws grow inevitably, who will
tell them the truth. that they are love personified and
everyone deserves a love poem atleast once in their life. i
cannot beat them into submission, because it will take their knowing
to fix all the shyt the blowout kids have broken.

i'll ask them "help me place this little girl into
the crook of the truth. show me how to rig the alarm" because
not everyone is like the man that watched us walk away with a
future tied into her bloodstream. as if the phone number to heaven
were hidden on her tongue, it has always been here on earth. in the arms
of a newborn, in the smile of a toddler. in the hug of a 6 year old. in
the palm of a 10 year old. it will always be about the babies. no one
is above the questioning eyes of the young.

so i offer those young men my heart. let this be their love poem.
because sunsets are necessary, and in them i see the sunrise.

my daughter will learn to fight with her name stitched on
the soles of her feet. her fist will toss thunder and she will
always walk like a lady. we are blessed beings. protected by a
man that gives freely like God and you can see the swagger when he speaks,
it is mesmirizing. i will always thank his mother for teaching her son
how to hold a family to his chest, without having to be asked.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

the she's that inspire me (eb)

they will always blame the mother
point finger, encourage the devil
truth so heavy it coats a tongue with blisters
as you kiss her like i never lived there,

beneath your shoulder blade.
my place in bed between your arms
you laid with me counting stars
chose the name of our children as they
slept in heaven

fallen angel, you called me.
before the pregnancy test. and the dream
became too expensive for your fairytale life - i
know. this is how it always happens before
shit gets complicated and you whimper
several states away blaming my womb for
a manhood that never existed.

find me a river to drown our chance. i
rather keep my eye on this kin of circumstance,
with your name, your eyes and your smile.
and when they are old enough to carry your shame,
with the same blistered apprehension of your tongue

i will hug them daily -- so they never
forget, God don't make mistakes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

when the sigh breaks

missing you is a
lymph node closing
gripping fear and oxygen
fist frenzy for your love
i am
in harm's way
will allow you to
run my veins for anything
they got to give
you hold me hostage
heartstrings near scissors

promise it'll happen quickly
in my sleep
or between a blink, these
damn stars
swimming endless in your eyes
paralyze my religious tongue
it will surrender

it will falter any truths with pain
in tow
lose faith in me and then worry
if i'll make it
let there be light
before the death taunters on stilts
blocking the sun and the moon
outstretched smile, gathering my whole
for this chance

to say
i love you, more than i've ever loved myself.
damn you.
damn me.
it is this type of honesty
green and red lights dancing
across the face of a razor blade

faithless lover, you can find me in the
porcelin tub
eyelids blinking from the brightness
of this ready skin

Monday, January 28, 2008


ive been trying to lose weight for my sis' wedding.
this is not hard. it just takes willpower...which i
have none. but, i've been on a walking work out and
weight watcher's kick for the past 3 weeks.

i have lost 5 pounds. this is not the hard part. i
can lose 5 here but gaining the 5 back has always
been in the near future. but not now. and that feels

to walk by a mirror and pray that its a dillusion!
holy hell, who let her out? and the taut stomachs
that have bombarded the airwaves all of a sudden,
when i'm hanging out with my beau, well - that's just
unfair. i wonder if he knows im watching him watch
the tv. i mean, sure he replies to my to my baited
question, "YOU LIKE HER? IS SHE HOT?" but does he really
know that i watch his breathing before and after the
commercial, all the while sucking my stomach in, until
i pass out from exhaustion.

hence, the reason this new eating trend (counting
points, alot of water, no soda AT ALL) is not as difficult
as i initially thought.

i will talk to you again. but right now, my stomach is beginning
to feast on itself. and the grumblings will wake him if
im not careful.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


it is always

a great idea

to get it off

your chest

before the



hair loss,

& loneliness

surpass the


that lie in

your wake.

you are

all things


and flyy

and your

smile sings

with the



is sexy.

because you

are sexy.


when you

fall. so sexy

after you get


dust off.

and look to

the sucka

that tripped

you. the


that hated

on you

so much

your teeth

hurt from

sucking wind.

this is for

those cowards

that wait for

your shadows

to hate on

your DIVAness!

don't be...

afraid to say

"fuk you"!

now. don't

you feel


Friday, January 18, 2008

more funny

your life should be more funny than mine
the broken floor in my bedroom -- totally hilarious

the bugs that my cat will snack on if we leave the
windows open overnight, even more funny, yo

the building's security door -- the one that was suppossed
to be secure, before they monkey wrenched that joint open -
split my friggin insides at the seams

the landlord that refuses to fix the bathtub leak, broken floor
or supply the supper with a clean mop, is satan's lovechild.

he prefers our entryway to smell like musty pubes
and the front steps to overflow with garbage. an offense that has
cost him several violations *unpaid* for lowering the quality of life.

brooklyn, why do you make it so hard for me to love you?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

ramblings 120am

i should be sleeping

but how do you sleep when you are fixated with rape

i am reading alice sebold's lucky

it makes me feel as reflective as the title


i could have so many more bad experiences than remembered

but i have a growing daughter

love for writing

and the ability to make a GREAT living at doing what i love

i work with kids, actually taking all those poems on stage into

the fire.

fuk the choir

i misspell curse words because my kids will google me soon

and i want to be as responsible as possible when saying, yes,

i cursed. but i am grown. what's your excuse?

and they will ignore me. but will still find other words

to use when writing their poems.

and i won't feel as bad when my daughter rushes home to tell

me she showed her teacher my website today, again...

i am on a diet. more watching the weight than dieting.

i walk in mornings if i can sleep enough during the night

and my intake of sweets and snacks have lessened by 90%

i am proud of my luck

it affords me the write to talk to you like this...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Father Figure

falling in love with you was
as painful as the first hit from
my father

open palmed instructions
"don't talk while grown folks is speaking"

today, i speed through syllables
thrashing his remains away from my center:
the stolen earrings he gave me for Christmas,
the first time i met his only wife,
the lone letter that my step-sister still carries
like lead poisoning beneath her skin
sit like arsenic lined chocolates on my pillow

i know
this is what makes it hard for you to love me
how my fist carry the weight of yesterday
the jealous streak that plays dodge ball with common sense

you lean in,
close my mouth with your hand;
a friendly pressure with salt felt fingertips
whispering an offering for my tongue to flicker against,
as i wither and fold myself into an orgasm

no one told me it would hurt like hell
this daughter of a man whose blood burns
for women outside of steel cages
my knuckle heavy grin grows for a man with
your sorrow
when infidelity smells like home
like peaches and other women’s panties
like abduction and shot gun shells
like broken baseball bats and a woman harboring a broken heart
and a stolen child for a man that will never love her back

don’t be surprised when I ask you to repeat yourself
I prefer to wander the perimeters with cheeks shielded by tears

I no longer talk to my father
Avoid any man with his dimensions

Even though,
I can’t help the indignant pause
That rip through my teeth when someone speaks
out of turn.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Young, Gifted & Black

i am reading an informal autobiography of loraaine hansberry.

she is really and truly amazing and makes me want to start smoking cigarettes, hosting speakeasies @ my brooklyn flat, arguing about the plight of our culture and society as a people and sit on fire escapes until the sun comes up...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

walk like love

like my life was constructed
between two feet pacing forward
breath, heavy

stretch the walls
of my heart everytime
i bend knee,
extend right arm
ground heel then toe into soil,


this earth

is giving me back something
filling up my lungs, candy painted air
colored in the scarf of smog
and so heavy

i practice pull ups with my thighs
reach high with my eyes
ask heaven or helicopters for the strength
encourage my lungs for one more breathe
exhaust my arms in doubledutch motion
twist my torso for effect

i love like this, too
trudging ahead
looking for higher ground
a place to plant my love
away from hearts unready to lie in the
furrowed soil

far from the reach of sullied
minds that deface footprints
in the concrete for fun

Monday, January 07, 2008

coffee & brooklyn: Amsterdam

Don't let anyone ever tell you Amsterdam's greatest assets are the Red Light District and the weed cafes. Sure, potheads and sex-a-holics are thrilled at the idea of this police-lite disneyland, but as a womanist, mother and advocate of empowerment, I am unsure if I embody the sexual maturity necessary for such an appreciation. Also living as a grown woman in a monogamous relationship, this might not have been the best summary for me to have when touring the land of frites and fresh cappuccinos. Still, you only live once. And after booking a gig at the Paradiso (the largest concert hall in Holland, hosting the likes of Fiddy & Rolling Stones), I planned on walking the brick laid roads as if my life depended on it.

The first morning I arrived by boat. This is funny if you believe that slavery can be viewed as black humor. Click the link to read the rest!

Coffee & Brooklyn: Amsterdam
Spindle Magazine - Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2008 already

jill scott and chris rock. bittersweet beauty

honey larochelle project. something big in the near future. with pics and sounds and an awesome experience attached.

workshop renewal. great ideas go along way and then, you get paid for it.

business dealings dissolved. great things come out of the ashes. like a phoenix. or a mobrowne. both are fire.

suheir hammad @ brooklyn museum. needed when i least expected it. seriously.

on broadway. every sunday. why not?
New World Stages (Time Out NY Lounge)
340 West 50th Street (& 9th Ave)
any train to 42nd Street
C train to 50th street
N,R train to 49th street

check my dates. check me out. 08 is all about us. let's go :)

1.06.08 Syllable Crazy! Haiku Slam & Open Mic -1st of 2008!!
1.12.08 African American Museum
1.13.08 Syllable Crazy! Open Mic & Special Feature
1.19.08 Last Poet Standing
1.20.08 Syllable Crazy! Open Mic & Special Feature
1.23.08 SUNY - Oneanto
1.27.08 Syllable Crazy! Open Mic & Special Feature
2.17.08 Jazz Poetry Live - VA
2.29.08 1 Year & 1 Mo Anniversary @ The Nuyorican Poets Cafe (feature performance!)
3.04.08 Wordplay Live @ Ladera Cafe
3.05.08 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo - Women Showcase
3.06.08 Int’l Women’s Month Presentation -- Santiago Canyon College