World Poetry Day 2017

I have a number of unfinished poems in my notebooks that I wish were in shareable condition. But they aren’t, so I can’t share them (yet). But there is a poem that is I want to share by Langston Hughes…two poems actually. I found these two poems in  school library books many years ago. I made sure to add the anthologies I found them in to my bookshelf.

The first poem is from a collection called, “I Am The Darker Brother.” (The book is still in print. I highly recommend adding this to your collection!)

Me and the Mule

My old mule,
He’s got a grin on his face.
He’s been a mule so long,
He’s forgot about his race.

I’m like that old mule –
Black-and don’t give a damn!
You got to take me
Like I am.

This is a short, sweet, and to the point poem, but it has so much attitude it makes me smile every time I read or even think of it. If the mule is free to be his authentic self, why shouldn’t a black man enjoy the same liberty?

The second poem is more poignant. This poem can be found in a collection called, “American Negro Poetry.” I also recommend this collection for your bookshelf.

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor-
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now-
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

This is a message that every parent has for their child: Do your best; Don’t give up; If I can do it, you can do it and do it better. You find in this piece that the mother may not have a great education – indicated by her broken english – but she pressed on in the hopes that her son would witness her efforts and follow her lead.

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri on February 1, 1902. His full name was James Mercer Langston Hughes.  He was one of several key figures of group of black writers called The Harlem Renaissance. Hughes died on May 22, 1967. Click the links to read more about Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance.

Photo credit: Portrait of Langston Hughes. Photo by Gordon Parks / Library of Congress.

The Flaws that Frame a Smile

This is not going to be a deep, post…well, ok, maybe a little bit….in a figurative sense, anyway.  I was relaxing this evening, surfing the interwebs and letting the television watch me.  Extra was on, and Mario Lopez was smiling and talking.  I looked up and smiled, and imagined myself doing a swan dive right into one of his dimples!  As I allowed myself to enjoy the mental image, Eddie Cibrian popped up on the screen. More dimples!!! (Yes, I mentally did a half somersault with three and a half twists into his dimples!)

According to The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, a dimple is:

A small natural indentation in the chin, cheek or sacral region,
probably due to some developmental fault in the subcutaneous
connective tissue or in underlying bone.

In layman’s terms, it is a well placed flaw.

I continued to watch Eddie, and Mario, and I started to consider other male celebrities with these “well placed flaws.”  I came up with a list of 9.  Here there are, in no particular order:

Of course, I have already mentioned the first two:

Eddie Cibrian, actor

And then this guy…

Mario Lopez, Extra TV Host

Now, our next guy’s dimples aren’t round or deep like Eddie’s or Mario’s, but they still frame his smile nicely.  What do you think?

Rick Fox, actor

Now, you have to pay attention to the next man, because his dimples sneak up on you.  He has a charming way about him on the big screen and in interviews, and he smiles like he has a huge secret and he’s only giving you the smallest hint, and waiting to see if you catch on…THAT’S when his dimples appear!

Matthew McConaughey, actor (Did you see his last movie, Mud?)

And how could you not like the “one-sided dimple?!

LL Cool J, rapper and actor

It’s possible to get “Lost” in this guy’s dimples. (Did you see what I did there?) By the way, Darynda Jones, if you are casting Reyes Farrow, this guy (or Jason Momoa) should be high on your list!

Josh Holloway, Actor

In addition to great dimples, this man has a degrees in Information Technology, Business and  Education and Curricuculum Development.  He is also part owner and creator of a skincare line called Forplai. (Darynda Jones, this man could be Swopes! Just sayin’.)

Lamman Rucker, actor, entrepreneur

I love watching this guy’s daytime show, and I’m REALLY disappointed it has been cancelled.  I think he and Yvette Nichole Brown should take the show online.  They are great together!  But, I digress…his dimples…take a look at those dimples!

Jeff Probst, reality gameshow host, producer, ordained minister and author

And finally, this gentleman. He played one of my favorite poets, Langston Hughes, in a movie called, “Brother to Brother.” (I’m going to have to find that movie!)

Daniel Sunjata, actor