Party People in the House: Click on This!


Hey y’all, I am finally back on the prairie and recovering from my long drive from Tennessee. Ordinarily, it would have been only nine hours, but it turned out to be thirteen. The problem is, I hit some wrong button on my GPS, and it sent me all the way through the backwoods of Arkansas. I was scared. (Or as they say in St. Louis, I was scuured.) I won’t lie.

Worst Moment Number One? When I drove through “Fargo, Arkansas” and started having a panic attack remembering the movie Fargo. I was like, “Please God, don’t let nobody pull out a chainsaw on me!”

Worst Moment Number Two? I really, really, really had to use the bathroom and drove up to what seemed to be a little construction company house. When I stopped the car and put my hand on the door handle, a pit bull calmly and cheerfully walked up to car.

No, I did not pee-pee there.

I have some news/links for you. Let’s start with the sublime and move on to the ridiculous.

And drumroll, please……Ms Lucille Clifton, my FAVORITE POET EVER, has won the 2010 Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America! “Miss Lucille” (as I call her) is just a super-bad sister extraordinaire and has been holding it down for black women, American poetry, and humanity in general for over thirty years. And, she’s literally responsible for my poetry career: she was the judge for my first book of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue; I won from over 1000 entries. But let me tell you, Miss Lucille has helped countless other poets around this country, too. Her generosity of spirit and her no-nonsense approach to being a good person in this world and encouraging others to do the same is why I have loved her unabashedly for eleven years.

I gotta stop now, before I get in a groupie space, which is so easy to do when talking about Miss Lucille. But, you know, I got my pride. Sort of.

This has been a good week for black poetry: Myronn Hardy just won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry for his book The Headless Saints (New Issues, 2008). A nicer brother you cannot find, and just deep all around. I love being able to talk about him and Lucille Clifton in the same breath, because I’m pretty sure Myronn will be talked about in the same good ways thirty years from now.

Houston, Texas elects its very first openly gay mayor, Annise Parker. This proves that not everybody in Texas has lost their [insert expletive adjective] minds. This also proves that, despite the dis-ease of homophobia, some people refuse to let hatred lead them in the voting booth, and instead, decide on their assessment of quality. Ms. Parker might prove to be a good mayor or she might prove to be a bad mayor, but at least, she has been given the chance.

And in crazy publishing news, Publishers Weekly has a featured cover story on African American writing. However, the picture they have chosen for said cover is just wrong in so many ways. All that is missing is a picture of Goldie the Pimp in the background, brandishing his big ole gun.

Then you go inside the magazine, and the cover story mentions Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s new book, Wench, which they describe as follows: “In the pre-Civil War south, four white female friends visit a free-territory resort in Ohio that also attracts slaveholding men and their enslaved mistresses.”

Ahem. Dolen’s book is about slavery. And the female friends are of African descent. Lord, Jesus, come on by here.

On Twitter, a guy tweeted about none of the books in the Afro-pick issue would be remembered because of the cover. Let’s prove him wrong: Here’s a link to Dolen’s book, Wench. Buy it and spread the word.

And finally, what’s the deal with Tiger and all the ladies? I mean, this sounds like a skanky “Twelve Days of Christmas” remix.

Now, can we all talk about the pink elephant in the room? I know this is just a hot buttered mess with cheddar cheese and sour cream on it, and I am not trying to defend Tiger’s nasty ways.  But let’s keep it real: if Tiger were married to a non-white-yet-equally-fine-as-his-white-wife woman and allegedly engaging in extra-marital consensual sex with mildly attractive black women, do you think this would be all over the news all over the world? In other words, do you think anybody would even care about all them women he was rolling around in the bed with if they weren’t white and his wife wasn’t white, too?

Before you say, “Yes,” let’s talk about when Michael Jordan was cheating on Juanita, just a few years back. Do you even remember what I’m referring to?

Unh-huh.

But that aside: Tiger, it’s called a condom, Baby. Since I’m grown, I am not ashamed to say that I got plenty—and they have not expired, either. I’d be happy to loan you some before your next big night out.

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