literature


Father Time–white man, white hair

Uncle Sam- white man, white hair

Santa Claus- white man, white hair

Moses- white man, white hair

The Forefathers- White men, white hair

Baby New Year- White baby

Jesus- White

Mother Nature- White Woman

Helen of Troy – White Woman

Lady Godiva- White Woman, White Horse

Mother Nature

White knight, white noise, white lies, white diamonds, Snow White, White House, and the ever popular white rose.

White velvet cake, white tea, white rice, white truffles, white potatoes, white onions, and oh yes blonde roast coffee

White peaches, white pumpkins, white wine, and White Christmas.

White christmas

White is the ultimate authority, they set it up that way, so that ain’t nothing good until it’s white.

Look at chocolate, dark, sweet, cream, milk–but no that wasn’t enough they had to go and make

that white too, and white chocolate isn’t even chocolate!



You don’t see chocolate vanilla do you. I knew they wouldn’t stop at milk. They may as well say,

here drink this, white it does a body good.

Racism is everywhere and its not subtle.

Another poem from It Ain’t Just the Size

Why I Am Gay

My mother and father used to argue and fight a lot, so one day he left us.

My mother got so caught up chasing after

no good,

no account negroes

that she completely forgot about me.

I grew up really wanting her love,

wanting her to love me.

I never got it.

I remember it started long before freeze-tag. I always like to  put on

my mothers shoes.

You remember the Road Runner Show, the one with Wile. E. Coyote–

well that’s all I was thinking about.

I wasn’t even thinking about “hide-n-go-get-it”,

when these so-called men started touching on me.

The whole time they were doing these things to me they were telling

me that it was love,

that it was right.

“If you don’t do it, I’m ah tell your mother.”

I learned and was told shit that I shouldn’t have known or done until

I was grown.

I tried to tell some family members, but they didn’t want to talk about it.

It was like I deserved it,

like I asked for it.

So I grew up afraid.

I hit puberty and my feelings of love for my mother turned sexual.

And all of a sudden

I was attracted to her,

her,

and her,

but anger is what made me perpetuate it.

Somewhere along the line a part of me liked the feelings the sex brought.

For more Converpoems poems pick up It Ain’t Just the Size on Kindle for only .99!

Join MG Hardie‘s fan page

(After dinner Lance walks Princess to her car)

Lance– Sometimes my passion brings fire, but no warmth.  I have been thinking about, telling you that I feel like everything I do just isn’t enough and that maybe I’d be better off dead. And I know I get too deep for some, but I also know that what’s said needed to be said.

Princess– [Softly] Say it then.

Lance– You know how many nights I have spent alone.

How many days I have felt like giving up, getting gone.

Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my grip.

Tired of being the villain, and I got this chip… right here on my shoulder.

I laugh only to keep from crying, but you know what I don’t get.

Is how come you are the last piece of the puzzle, but I still don’t fit.

And I need a prescription cause I be on caps lock all day, ready to take off and just fly away…

Princess-Take me with you.

Lance– For now I live between death and success.

On the corner of fear and no regret.

I long for someone who revels in my strengths and accepts my faults.

I have found myself, but sometimes I still get lost

in your eyes, I drown.

You know my life story, my history, I love it when you around.

I feel so awkward when I hug you, because it seems like home to me.

I can feel your heart beat, like it is the same one within me.

My life, my soul and sometimes, sometimes, at night I want to cry,

but I can’t.

So even when the day is dark you are my only light.

MG Hardie

See more hidden poetry in It Ain’t Just the Size available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and everywhere books are sold.

MG Hardie’s  “It Ain’t Just the Size”, is thought-provoking book in which the female characters provide much spice. Hardie’s book is now featured on Afro-Editions.

“It Ain’t Just The Size” is the type of book that has people talking, not just about the love story, but because it doles out an amazing amount of life lessons. Hardie’s book is full of honest conversations, depth and passionate writing. “It Ain’t Just The Size”  is just as bold as it gets when confronting real world problems, as it is when giving solutions to many of America’s problems and at the same time the book has a solid love story. The books presentation of social and political issues does not detract from the love story between characters Lance and Princess.  “It Ain’t Just The Size” represents a new literary frontier with its style and diversity of characters from: men, lesbians, blacks, Hispanics and especially women all blended together with Hardie’s poetic dialogue. Hardie’s book is the featured book this month on Afro-Editions.com features. Afro-Editions.com represents timely information on all aspects of Black Literature.

MG Hardie will also be in attendance from 1-5pm at the 3rd Annual Authors Festival in Long Beach on April 2, 2011. The festival is free to the public and will feature over 20 authors

http://mghardie.com/

###

by Push Nevahda

Black ghetto life is so absurd, pointless, hopeless and meaningless that one has to laugh to keep from crying, or go to the dance club to vent the frustration, fear, anxiety and anger rather than let life’s tragicomic existence send us to the asylum or the grave. The tragicomic motif is best seen in black comedy and black music. Black comedy validates and affirms the black ghetto experience while black music cushions the pain of such an experience, sustains the faith, and redirects the heart and mind from things that would otherwise propel one towards suicide, homicide or fratricide.

As one who has spent much of his early life living in the inner-city, I am personally aware of the tragicomic mode of ghetto-life, and the inter-play between music and comedy in such a situation. The way in which the black comedians (especially the ones on BET) bear witness to what is funny yet comforting to black folk because we are glad that somebody understands the depth of our struggle. In other words, black comedians validate the ghetto experience therefore reaffirming our sanity (at which sometime or another one is certain they have lost).  Much of Black life contains those salient dimensions of the tragicomic experience where we are often left to cry and laugh – or laugh to keep from crying – of our dilemma.

The late comic genius Richard Pryor was not necessarily trying to be comical but rather tell what it was like to be black in America. The humor in Pryor’s stand-up was in how raw and rich his stories, analogies, anecdotes and characters seemed – particularly to whites, most of who were completely out of touch with the everyday strivings of black ghetto life. For black audiences, Pryor’s humorous testimonials revealed the essence of what it meant to be black in America. Black folks laughed because Pryor had the gall to be so bold with the truth. Too, blacks realized through Pryor that they’d actually survived and strived through tumultuous times (or, as Curtis Mayfield would say, they managed to “keep keepin’ on”.)

Music is the language of black folk. It is how we articulate ourselves. Black music sustains blacks in the ghetto. Especially inner-city blacks, for whom life can be so ridiculous, that one has to go to the dance club to unwind from the long and arduous week of working, hustling, stealing, conning, begging, pillaging, scheming, blaming, cussing, and doing whatever else it takes to keep ones head above sea-level. So, when the weekend finally arrives, it’s time to release the pent-up frustration and anger, and let it go. And what better way to let it all go than with the titillating elixir of Hennessey, and the Isley Brothers soothing, soulful, and syrupy love ballad, Voyage To Atlantis. And, for the true bona-fide, dedicated, unionized, card-carrying member of the ghetto elite there is nothing comparable to sitting in the club listening to R. Kelly sing about the complex events and dramatic moments of black ghetto love, sex, lies and romance. This is what R. Kelly means when he sings in “Happy People”: “Where do we go soon as the weekend gets here/The club/Why?/ To party and have some fun/What is it that, Can come and take away all your stress, tell me/Music/No further questions, you have passed my test…”

I’d personally note R. Kelly – along with the rappers – as one of few artists to have fully grasped the tragicomic experiences of black ghetto life. For Kelly, the dance club serves as an alternative to the dangerous and frightening imminence of soul-death and ghetto-murder. Shuckin’, jivin’, gossip, conversations, afro-rhythmic dancing (aka ball-roomin’, steppin’ and the hustle), stress-quenchin’ drinking, and soul-stirring music necessarily beset the place and space for blacks to come together and soothe, caress, stroke, and embrace one another’s pains, aches, and other daily sufferings. In other words, for Kelly, the club – like church – becomes a sanctuary of healing, praising, testimony, and conviviality. Both the church and the club serve as psycho-social retreats for black flight from vicious societal bombardment, rejection, discrimination, and inequality – which is why most saved-and-sanctified folk feel just as comfortable in the club as they do the church. (As a matter-of-fact, most sanctified folk I know often head straight to the club the moment church services end.)

So, when we think of how black folks in the inner city cope with the loss of factory jobs, the rise in unemployment, poverty, homelessness, missed-meal cramps, high murder rates, thugs, bad kids, babymommadrama (yes, that’s a word), lousy politicians and school systems, ineffective protestations against the machines-of-urban-disruption, inequality, no quality, meaninglessness, hopelessness, etc., understand the centrality of BET and television shows like, DEF Comedy Jam and ComicView; understand the cultural necessity neighborhood hotspots and dance-clubs like Yesterdays, Floods and  Mr. Mikes (Detroit), Rain (Las Vegas), Liv (Miami), The Savoy and Club Mayan (Los Angeles), Santos Party House (New York), or the Halo Lounge and the Velvet Room (Atlanta); and understand the genius comical commentary of artists like Richard Pryor, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Cedric the Entertainer, and R. Kelly in the lives of common ordinary black folk.

Even if you hate Selento’ Watch Me (Whip/Nae/Nae) song, you must realize it is the Electric Slide,it is the Cupid Shuffle for this generation. Go to any outing and watch how that song brings children together, it unifies them, it is how they cope. For us, music, song, dance, and comedy will always be the vehicles through which we most freely express, articulate, and understand our plights and dilemmas. And on that note, that is “The Reason Why the Colored American Spends So Much Time in the Hood, Laughing and Dancing at the Club, While Drinking His 40 Ounce and Listening to R Kelly”  

Push Nevahda is an author, critical book reviewer, feared intellectual and freelance writer. Get to know him well…

The concert begins

on wood, dirt, blacktop, concrete

even packed snow.

Participants come in all shapes,

sizes and colors.

From all walks of life they come,

They come to show their affection,

Their love.

Do You have the love?

Center stage is 96′ by 50′

The performers are chosen

and take their places.

All eyes follow the orange sphere.

Running, spinning, leaping

Grunting, sweating, passing

Execution, chants, shouts

Breakaway! Explosive.

Timeout…

Do you have the Love?

Offense is Learned,

Defense is pure hard work

Can you feel the ebb?

The flow?

The Momentum of game one

with 81 more to go.

Old, New, Schooled

Post up, cross over

Black Mamba take over

Pull up jumper,

Power, Finesse.

The score is tied, 16 seconds left,

can’t rest.

Slam, Bank, Luck, Skill

Inside, Outside

Block, Steal

Cheers rain down from the sky

Cameras flash from nowhere,

Posterize.

Do You have the Love?

Penetrate, fake, jab step

hang time, pass dish

don’t foul, rebound,

fast break, barely miss.

Half court trap, or full court press?

Triangle, Isolation… Wrong guess.

Step back Three silence

…swish.

Beautiful.

I Love This Game.

MG Hardie © 2010

Every day countless authors make the error of thinking that covers don’t matter, well at least it appears that they think that it doesn’t matter. But that is precisely the point, how much time and thought you put behind your book cover can directly translate into sales. It can not be understated that your book’s cover is the most effective sales tool you have. Making an appropriate cover can be very tricky but it must be done.

But what is a good book cover? If you go to your local book store you will see hundreds of approaches to this question. Some try a minimalist approach, while others try to connect to the buyer through images. It is a new day and age in America, times are tough for everyone, so your book cover must say to the consumer “I am worth your disposable cash”.  It is also a new day in publishing, but what still seems to be true is that sex sells. The overdone shirtless model and uncovered sensual body parts still move books from the shelves, but this is not always the case.

Early on in the publishing process you’ll need to decide between photos, illustrations, sketches, computer generated images, 2 color, 4 color, or subliminal messages. You will have to decide on color schemes, what colors looks great against this background and whatnot. The type of cover you decide on usually depends on what kind of book you are publishing is it for children or is it very adult. It can also depend on what everyone else in the marketplace is doing. However, by going against the grain is where the unique cover can really stand out.

Available Now

If you don’t have a background in graphics and design it may cost you a little, but you can find many reasonable designers that will give you an original work for as little as $80 or as much as $1500. When I designed my book cover, for EveryDay Life, my mindset was that I wanted to create a book that people could have out on their coffee-table and not feel embarrassed or ashamed about having it out. So for me it started with the question of “Book cover to sell Vs. book cover as Art” I chose Art. Some authors want the cover images to convey what was inside the book and for me, the cover was the longest segment of the publishing process, aside from the actual writing of the book of course. You must decide on the best approach for your work.

Remember that your book will be judged by its cover. If the brick and mortal stores see any hint of an unprofessional cover, a cluttered front, if the cover screams I chose the wrong font because have no idea what I am doing, or my little sister created this cover, your book will be on Special Order so fast your nose will bleed. Error are unavoidable, but I can’t say this enough proofread everything and I mean everything.

Also do not neglect the book spine. Spend as much time creating the book spine as the front cover. You want to be able to read the title on the spine, but keep the same color schemes and fonts. Once the front cover gets someone to pick it up then it is the back cover that hooks them. What goes on the back cover? The synopsis, reviews of previous books, an author photo, bio and any blurb from noted professionals in the business. Usually white type on darker backgrounds is very readable. Make no mistake the back cover is where you will win over the audience.

  

 

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I am Daddy, overworked and under appreciated.
The one who let's you sleep late on Saturday and got your
 hair braided.
I am the homework harasser, face washer, with a little twist of bath.
I am the one you told new jokes too, just to see if I would laugh.
I am the one who helped you with History and introduced you to
  relatives you never knew.
And I am the one who spanked you when you filled your aunties
  eye with glue.
I am Daddy, I leave ideas out there for you, to linger.
I am the one who takes care of you when you are sick
  and bandage fingers.
I am the one with little to no income,
 but of every crumb I have, you've had some.
I am the one who lost arguments just to save face.
I am the one who told you not to play so much
  and how to say Grace.
I am the one always pushing, challenging you to do your best.
I taught you how to read, ride a bike, and how to play chess.
I am Daddy, killer of spiders and builder of tents.
I am the one who taught you the difference between
  two nickels and ten cents.
I am the one who showed you how to go to bed without
  any light.
Without me your shoes would slip off because they wouldn't
  be tied tight.
I am Daddy discipliner extraordinaire, the one you told about your
  fears and dreams.
The who who told you that you're not as slick as you think
  and that things aren't as bad as they seem.
I am Daddy... And I love you. 

Today one of the biggest publishing markets is Urban Literature. However, Street Lit has come under fire from many angles. With urban novels being turned into Oscar nominated movies such as Precious, this is as good of a time as any to ask what is the state of Black Literature? There are those that say that Street Literature has no real value to Black Literature as a whole, and that it is equivalent to gangster rap’s relation to the larger genre of Hip-Hop. Then there are people who swear by Urban Literature, as they claim that is type of literary fair is the only kind they will consume. Surprising the people who swear by Ghetto Literature the most are middle class black women.  Many Black authors are  relegated to an existence of selling books out their car trunks at every stop, while their white counterparts enjoy the heights of respected best seller lists.  Thousands of black authors have to ‘grind’, and or’ hustle’, while their counterparts have no concept of those two words. Is it the literature that is the problem, or is it those who are writing the literature?

Before I became an author I knew that urban literature had a credibility issue, I just didn’t know how deep that issue really was. I won’t go into how many authors have four or five books, but still don’t know how to use a simile, yet and still street literature dominates the market. With so many titles selling like hot cakes and its proponents saying ‘I’ve sold X amount of books” , “people are buying it’. So why would anyone think that there is a problem with black literature? I have heard statements similar to these being uttered by crack dealers of the 80s, as  justification as to why they sold drugs.  At a book event I overheard an author say “I am an Essence bestseller”, followed by the publisher snickering, is that respect?  This is not to say that there are not some wonderfully well written positive African American books out there. There are many stories of black success and black triumph, but are black people reading those books? “Any story celebrating the beauty and strength of black family life, the power of education, and the desire to succeed in the workplace and in business is now out of fashion.” wrote Juan William in his article titled “Precious’ Little of Value in Ghetto Literature”.

Since “Urban Lit” began as an often overlooked subdivision of the Blaxploitation era, over 40 years ago. The Film genre was considered exploitative because they took place in the ghetto, played up stereotypes and were mostly written by whites. Today Urban Literature contains many element that were present in its now defunct film counterparts the only difference, no is that blacks are at the helm of these projects. The main argument for this type of literature is that it attracts new readers. It has also been said that Ghetto Lit provides escapism, but for many blacks this type of escapism can be had by not opening a book, but a door. After reading a novel filled with busty women and thugs, overflowing with misogyny, depicting female characters as “dime pieces” or “trophies”, novels that proudly display real gritty scenes of  infidelity, criminal activities and murder that go unpunished or they are glorified, one would have to wonder if Marva Allen owner of Hue-Man bookstore in Harlem was right when she said, “It’s not literature it’s fiction… they offer no literary advantages.” Or is there something more to this “Box” that these Black ‘Harlequins’ have put black literature in? Maybe it has something to do with where you find these books in the bookstore. I have never seen the White Literature section, though I have seen American Literature sections devoid of black authors, except for one dimensional books like Steve Harvey’s “Straight Talk, No Chaser” and sport stories of course. Is a book made urban by the skin color of its characters, the skin color of the author, or its content?

In the New York Times article “Their Eyes Were Reading Smut”, Nick Chiles said ,“On shelf after shelf, in bookcase after bookcase, all that I could see was lurid book jackets displaying all forms of brown flesh, usually half-naked and in some erotic pose, often accompanied by guns and other symbols of criminal life. I felt as if I was walking into a pornography shop, except in this case the smut is being produced by and for my people, and it is called literature.” Is Nick Chiles right? Maybe the problem is in the definition, What is literature? If you solely define it as it as publication of printed material then there is no issue, but historically literature has meant much more than that. Rebecca West once said, “Literature must be an analysis of experience and a synthesis of the findings into a unity.” Apparently many disagree, noting that literature can mean many things to many people Nick Chiles mused, “That leaves me wondering where we – writers, publishers, readers and the black community – go from here. Is street fiction some passing fad, or does it represent our future? It’s depressing that this noble profession, one that I aspired to as a child from the moment I first cracked open James Baldwin and Gabriel García Márquez about 30 years ago, has been reduced by the greed of the publishing industry and the ways of the American marketplace to a tasteless collection of pornography.” I do not believe that these articles, bloggers, or reviewers are trying to ‘hate’ on anyone, or ‘knock’ someone’s hustle and neither am I for that matter, but these are legitimate questions, what is black literature? Where do we go from here? Is Black Literature viewed as nothing more than a collection coming of age Pre and Post Prison tales? “A lot of people complain that most of the Urban Lit books are the same three or four stories with different titles, character names and locations . And that many of the authors have the same felonious background story in their bios. I have been to high profile author meetings where terms like “This is Crip Shit” and “Am a Blood” were tossed around with hand signs. It was comical and something I will most likely write about later, but I digress. “Urban List is just like Hip-Hop nowadays” Was Joey Pinkey correct in his widely viewed article, ‘Urban Lit is Dead? ‘

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire It's going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire
It’s going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

As an author I feel all of these sentiment, but I also believe that urban literature, like hip hop, is not dead and that the problem, with both forms of entertainment, lies in where you get it from. Many people have asked the question I have posed in the title, but there have been no definitive answers. Perhaps this literary dust-up is equivalent to the one going in among our “Black Leaders”, see Al Sharpton and Tavis Smiley.  Perhaps this was summed up in an  article titled ‘The Shaky State of Urban Literature (a book reviewer’s lament)’, “this new millennium of emerging writers and novelists are still struggling to find a place in contemporary literary circles.” For the sake of argument let’s say that the critics in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the blogs are all wrong, or at least mistaken. Let’s say books like mine and The Other Wes Moore are not “really Urban Lit. Let’s say that when you tell a publisher that you are an Essence Best Seller that they do not snicker, not even privately. Let’s say that the media gives black authors the same amount of press and credibility they do their white contemporaries. Let’s say that urban literature isn’t as watered down as hip hop. And let’s say that big publishing houses market African American works as they would the works of others. Does an author not want the respect of their peers? As a people we have always been told to wait for things, that everything takes time, this is what was said decade ago about urban literature. When street literature was young, we heard “it is just starting out, give it some time.” It is now 2011, so the question is has anything changed? Hopefully the documentary “Behind Those Books” answers some much needed questions, regarding the genre future.

Maybe, but now the question  is one of Credibility, but a question for who? Is it a question for The Relentless Aaron’s, Larry Wilson Jr’s, Vickie Stringer’s, and Zane’s of the literary world? Or is our new direction for the Aisha Ford’s, Eric Jerome Dickey’s, and Terry A. O’Neal’s to forge? Or do we follow the examples of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Phyllis Wheatley, and others? Chances are that those in Ghetto/Street/Urban/African American Literature wont stand up, but the hope is that they will coalesce around something more important than shelf space, money, the thrill of the hustle or fame. Maybe Black literature reader see more of themselves in Rachetville and Grimy than they see of themselves in the future, which is why they haven’t fully embraced black sci-fiction because of how omitted we see ourselves in the future. Unfortunately, like many forms of entertainment, it is all we got.

Perhaps the discussion can best be summed up by what Mo’Nique said when accepting The Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Precious, “Sometimes you have to forgo doing what is popular, in order to do what’s right.”

The Shaky State of Urban Literature (a book reviewer’s lament) http://blogginginblack.com/?p=1076 Urban Lit is DEAD http://www.theurbanbooksource.com/articles/editorials/urbanlitisdead.php “Their eyes were looking at smut” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/04/opinion/04chiles.html “A critical look at Street Lit” http://www.theurbanbooksource.com/interviews/nick-chiles.php “Precious’ Little of Value in Ghetto Literature” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703740004574514260044271666.html

I am the thunder, the sky

I am the stroll along the shore

when the tide is high.

I am direct dark and collective,

not now, but I am funny

and I remain reflective.

I am struggle from start to last

A complicated forest

Simple as a blade of grass.

I am peace. I am love.

Consumed with post-conventional thought

send down from up above.

I am a son and a brother.

I have long admired my father

and always will cherish my mother.

I am hope. I am change.

I am continually conflicted.

I am contrary. I am strange.

I am aware. I am alone.

I am the opalescent one

through who light is shown.

I am an enigmatic vibrant seed

I am an incarcerated soul

now freed.

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire It's going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire
It’s going to take guts to walk around with this novel.

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