The MilitantNegro SoapBox™: When caucasian Americans Decide To Label ME.


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Originally posted on The Militant Negro™:

Mr MilitantNegro™ Jueseppi B Mr MilitantNegro™
Jueseppi B


I left a comment on a fellow bloggers post today. Thats something I rarely do because my comments are rarely what people call nice or civil. This particular post was telling me how it’s time for the label “African American” to be done away with , because we’re all one people. We’re all the same. How wrong can a person’s thought process be in today’s AmeriKKKlan?

It’s soapbox time.


I have lived in AmeriKKKlan for 55 years and I started out being called colored. Then it was African American. Next came Black. I decided very recently to do the Kunta Kinte thing and renounce being labeled anything but Negro. There are 3 races in this world, all other mixtures of cultures come from these 3 races. Mongoloid, Caucasoid and Negroid are the ONLY races that exist. Now uneducated folks will argue till they…

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A – Z Challenge #6: Aesop had some hidden tales….


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When the Secret Keeper came up with a fable prompt for this week’s A to Z Challenge, I found it near impossible to say no. That said, enjoy.


Æsop had some hidden tales, as rare and long forgotten as a cache of Gnostic scrolls buried beneath a sea of sand. Better to bring them into the air, let them breathe again.

Come close now, and I will tell you the story of The Mouse Who Would Be King.

Down in the meadow, between hedge and stream, lived a thriving community of field mice.dwergmuis

Ears up, tails curled, they were, by and large, a most independent, anarchic lot. Freedom and fun were their watchwords, and kings and queens less needed than grain on a full stomach.happy_mouse_flowers1

Great green gooseberries,” fretted Trefoil Silverpaws, tying his whiskers in a twist. “Humming and jumming is all well and good when the sun shines, but what happens when snows fall, foxes pounce, and we have no one to guide us safely through the lean times? I mean, I love a good game of Capture the Marsh-mallow as much as the next mouse, but I have been looking at the situation, you know, and have legitimate concerns.”

Juniper, his cousin, balanced between two stalks of timothy. Kicking off into a double back-flip, she dropped to the ground in a perfect 3-footed dismount, saying, “You want a King to rule the meadow?”

Like a metalsmith lost in his work, Trefoil nodded absentmindedly as he laced baby’s breath together into a mouse-sized crown. “Maybe a King, maybe a Queen,” he said placing the floral wreath upon his cousin’s head.

No, no, no thanks – Queen is too tough a gig for me, Tre. Out in front of everyone, making speeches, leading flight from fox and stoat. Power’s not something I’m comfortable with; put that crown round your ears instead,” she quipped, vanishing down a paw-worn run without so much as a by-your-leave.

Quail and quake,” he chirrupped flippantly to her retreating tail, “for King Trefoil is not amused!”

Rats to riches, Silverpaws Rex did have a certain potent ring to it, he mused, setting the snowy crown upon his head and hoping Juniper was wrong about royal woes.

Yellow-necked Field Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) looking over mossy log, Europe

So began the reign of Trefoil the First, King of the Lower Marshlands, Emperor of Lupine and the Tall Grasses.

Taking all things into account – and mice being mice – his summer rule was so uneventful as to be virtually ignored by all save his youngest subjects, eager to play follow the leader. Unfortunately, even the most benevolent, untested monarch has sleepless nights when the seasons change and danger is on the wing.

Villains come in many shapes and sizes, and for the meadow residents, their greatest enemy was the great horned owl who silently picked off mousy morsels night after night.great-horned-owl1

With all eyes turned to their self-appointed ruler, pleading for regal action, the mice cried out in one voice, “You promised to keep us safe, King Trefoil, to face the beasts of beak and claw!”

Xerxes never knew such a burden, the young monarch thought as his crown wilted under the mortal weight of kingship.

Yearning against hope to take back his sovereign bluster, Trefoil Silverpaws locked eyes with Juniper, smiled sadly, then charged into the night to meet their impossible foe.

Zut alors, how he would miss them all.

And the moral of this story is: King is a tough gig, even in a flower crown.

A to Z Writing Challenge #6

Dragon loyalty claimed and freely given….


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A humble thank you to Ben Naga for nominating me for this delightful award. Dragons have my loyalty, always, as they have given it to me in return.

dragon_s-loyalty-awardThe rules are simple:

  1. Post the Dragon Loyalty Award image on your page.
  2. Thank the person who honored you.
  3. Nominate 5-10 bloggers to be reciients of the DLA.
  4. Tell five (5) things about yourself.
  5. Have fun!

One and two: √


Now for the hard part – #4.

  1. I have always believed in Dragons.
  2. Though I hail from the midwest, New England has always felt like home to me.
  3. I will agonize for hours over the perfect preposition or placement of a comma.
  4. I am allergic to pot. (Don’t ask how I discovered that!)
  5. I had a pet raccoon when I was a kid.

Now, #5: I’m off to have fun.

Temeraire novel illustration - sandra.deviantart



A to Z Challenge #3: After the end…


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I preface my offering for this week’s A – Z Challenge by saying that I am a rare and often indifferent poet. Why I thought to try verse is a puzzlement even to myself. Caveats done. No apologies, no excuses. (And no titles.)

Memory opener...

Memory opener…

After the end of sorrow comes remembering
Before the first joy comes forgetting.
Caught between lightning and fireflies
Dancing across the skin
Every moment trembles.

Flashes of sweet damask rose
Greet then abandon like campaign
Handshakes at the country fair,
Insouciant visitors from a past when
Jacks clattered across the floor.
Kaddish sung in childhood games.

Language is lost, then found,
Manifestations of days and
Nights tumbling
One into another.

Pick up a
Quill dripping with Lethe’s ink,
Reclaiming before each papered stroke
Senses: tickled smell and taste,
Touch, sight, and sound;
Ubiquitous memories all, before they
Vanish and the
World is stripped clean to the bone.

Xebecs set their sails across forgotten
Yellow-dusted seas.

Zechariah’s temple does not grow.Lethe

A to Z Challenge #3

In Memoriam: Sanji Gupta – 1999 – 2015


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One late-summer, fin de siècle night, Marge woke me, holding a tiny ball of black fluff in her hands. “Can we keep him?” she asked.

He was dressed in cockleburs and fear and needed to eat for a week without stopping. How could I say no? This was how Sanji came into our lives.Sanji-4

Distracted by tins of flaked tuna and super supper, I set about combing the burrs from his tail, then, when he’d eaten his fill, I tucked him under my covers and held him close until morning. Over the years, that remained his favorite place to sleep, head beside mine on the pillow, curled up like a little teddy bear. He didn’t stay little for long.

He told us his name was Sanji, Sanji Gupta. He was a prince among cats, proud and funny, with a regal air that spoke to an ancient lineage. His paws were immense but always velvet, his silky black fur and plume of tail – never again to run afoul of cockles – made him look like a great bearcat.

Over the years, he became the benevolent leader of the brood, not only accepting of newcomers but taking an active role in their raising. When Gatsby had her kittens Parker, Carter, and Poe, Sanji was the only other cat in the house she’d allow near them. He became their surrogate papa, keeping them safe, teaching them well. 

Sanj & Cart

Sanji and Baby Carter

Thunder was the only thing he was ever afraid of. And ever since the tornado of ’03, he was the best barometer around, scurrying under my bed at the first hint of a thunderstorm, coming out again as soon as it was safe. sanji

So for almost sixteen years he was friend, companion, and inspiration. Then he suddenly got sick, aggressively so. And today I kept my promise to always take care of him, and now Sanji sits at Bast’s right paw.Sanji-3

Now he plays tag with lightning bolts and dreams he is the Panther Maharajah, ruling the forests of Chandrapur. 

Every so often, if we’re lucky. we are blessed by truly exceptional companions. And every so often, with holes in our hearts, we have to let them go. And miss them.


Sanji is missed. Terribly. 

A to Z Writing Challenge #1: A Dark & Stormy Night….


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Here is my rather Gothic take on the A-Z Challenge #1:

A dark and stormy night hung over the moor like an Elsinor arras. Boughs bent near breaking, the trees whipped and dipped in a wind-tossed tarantella. Crazy for man or beast to be out in a night like this!

Driving down a hedge-lined road, ‘crazy’ Zandra searched for refuge from the torrential downpour. Each cottage she passed was locked tight and empty, as if the inhabitants had long since fled to higher ground. Far across a field, lights flickered through unshuttered windows, beckoning.stormy night

“Granville Grange” read the carved plaque to the right of the oaken door. Her hand grasped the massive brass knocker and gave it a solid thunk. Ignoring the rain running under the collar of her jacket, she shifted back and forth, waiting – hoping – for rescue.

Just as she was about to resign herself to weathering the tempest in her car, a pale, wisp of a man opened the door.

“Killer weather we’re having,” he said, ushering her into the front hall. “Leave your coat and shoes and come dry off by the fire.” Madeira and sandwiches were set out in the parlour as if she’d been expected.

“Nights like this have a way of bringing visitors,” her host said cryptically. “Once upon a time the Grange was the only shelter to be found for miles. Pardon my manners: I’m Damien Granville.”

‘Quirky’ did not do the man justice. Rubbing his hands together, he served his guest a glass of wine then, adjusting his waistcoat, struck a Byronic pose by the mantelpiece.

“Sure must get lonely out here,” Zandra remarked, the amber potable muffling her mind like an angora tea cozy.

“Terribly,” Damien replied, “but then the winds always turn. Ubi sunt the days of quiet summer, eh? Voila! Wild and wicked,” he grinned. “Xmas in July.

“You will have this room,” he said, escorting her to a chamber more Wuthering Heights than St. Mary Mead.

Zander crumpled onto the canopied bed, eyes heavy with unbidden sleep, as he closed the door and turned the key.

The ‘A’ through ‘Z’ Writing Prompt Challenge #1 – ‘A dark and stormy night…’W


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Shawn MacKENZIE:

And another take on A-Z.

Originally posted on the secret keeper:

The ‘A’ through ‘Z’ Writing Prompt Challenge #1
22nd June 2015

a dark and stormy night

A dark and stormy night…
By Jennifer Kiley

A dark and stormy night brought out the fear in me as I was driving alone on the quiet highway, knowing all the sane people were tucked away in the warmth of their comfortable houses. But not the homeless, they are always out there somewhere searching for some place to stay. Covering their heads is always something they nervously think of and what they want the most. Darkness is always a troubling time. Everything makes them nervous. Fearing harm might come to them in the night.

Getting out of the elements is important. Health needs to be taken care of to keep them strong enough to survive. It is difficult to know how to survive when once you had a home and it was taken from you. Jobs were also taken…

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The writer’s ABC exercise, with Pamela Wight


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Shawn MacKENZIE:

Great way to tap the creative juices!

Originally posted on Karen R. Sanderson's Blog:

Pam WightPamela Wight, of Rough Wighting, introduced this writing-off-the-cuff exercise at the recent Word Sharks’ Conference in Newark, DE.

And what a great exercise it is! Start with a prompt – Pamela gave us the opening, “A little while ago…” – and just keep writing. Each new sentence must start with the next letter of the alphabet.

From Pamela’s notes handed out at the conference: keep your hand moving, lose control, don’t think, don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar, and be free to write the worst junk in America.

If you have about ten minutes, I encourage you to try it.

Here are my results from this exercise (I have edited a teensy bit, just to aid in the ease of reading).

*   *   *

A little while ago, I realized that I wanted to sponsor my own writing conference. Because I need attention, or because I wanted to…

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Independent Bookstore Day!


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I love bookstores. I love the smell, the sound, the welcoming pace of bookstores.

Since I was a little kid, I’ve found joy and solace roaming among the stacks, pulling up a piece of floor or cushy chair, and exploring the magic of East Egg or The Land, deciding whether or not to make friends with Thomas Convenant or the Sandman and bring them home with me.

Back in the day, of course, every little town had a bookstore – or two. Independent and distinct, they offered classics and bestsellers, dictionaries and guides to local flora and fauna. They also reflected the personal tastes of their proprietors: some might be heavy on kids’ books, some on politics or contemporary fiction. And if you wanted that obscure new book your cousin Lily mentioned at Sunday dinner, out came Books in Print and an order would be graciously placed.

As a reader, this was heaven. As a writer, my appreciation has only grown.Boulder-Bookstore_Sam-Hall

The bookstore landscape has changed over the years. First, behemoths like Barnes & Noble and their late rival, Borders, moved in. They had space and inventory and remainder bins. You didn’t have to wait a week for that special order, a marketing edge in a culture that thrives on immediate gratification. Then came e-books and the leviathan of all leviathans, Amazon.

Loud and long, the literary pundits sounded the death knell of the independent bookstore. Fortunately, over the past couple of years communities of book lovers around the country are proving pundits wrong. There is a positive resurgence of independent bookstores. That, in itself, is cause for dancing in the street!

This Saturday, May 2, 2015, is Independent Bookstore Day. Bookstores and their patrons around the country are celebrating.

Linda and Phil in front of the Bennington Bookshop

Linda and Phil in front of the Bennington Bookshop

In my own backyard, the new owners of the Bennington Bookshop, Linda Foulsham and Phil Lewis, are presenting a full day of bibliocentric fun. There will be tales for the kids, evening wine and book chat for the grown-ups. My friend and fellow author, John Goodrich, will be talking about getting published, and I have the honor of giving a reading from my books and stories – about Dragons, of course.

If you are in the area, do stop by. If far away, check out your own local bookstore. Celebrate their uniqueness. Perhaps pick up a few literary friends and bring them home.

May 2 logoSchedule of Events on May 2:

10.30am: Story time for children with Chris Gingo
11.30am: Local author – Shawn MacKenzie
2.00pm: Local historian – Joe Hall
3.00pm: Local poet – Steve Haggerty
4.00pm: Local author – John Goodrich
5.00pm – 7.00pm: Cheese and wine and book conversations



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