b fran...

"and the Lord said unto cain, where is abel thy brother? and he said, i know not: am i my brother's keeper?" Genesis 4:9 and though our circumstances may not be as dire as that of cain and abel…at some point in our lives we will all be asked, by someone or ourselves, am i my brother’s keeper? and just like cain we have a choice to live an answer that says no or to live a life that says yes. for me my choice was obvious… cause i am my brother’s keeper…

My Photo
Location: Austin, Texas, United States

my life has been a daily reflection of the scriptures of manhood chiseled in my soul by my father’s hands and my mother’s love…poetic but true. see i’ve been blessed with example after example of selfless giving and responsibility to others (friend and stranger alike). and it is this legacy that has inspired this collection of poems that pays homage to the hoods- motherhood, womanhood, manhood, and brotherhood. and hopefully somewhere in my words you will discover what i have come to know- that the one thing that can change the world one person at a time- is respect- for women, for each other and for self. i believe this and i live this…cause i am my brother’s keeper…

Sunday, October 21, 2007

poetic caffeine- Java Monkey Speaks

Wow. I just got in from the Java Monkey Speak Open mic. It is hosted by a cool old cat by the name of Kodac Harrison. I hung out with Theresa and the crew from Art Amok. It was probably the most diverse venue I have been to- gender, sexual orientation, education, race, age and poetic style...but all connected by the love of poetry. I was inspired...about twenty poets read. The pieces ranged from incest, to Prince having the answer to the world's problems. I ran into some old friends and made some new ones- Cocktails, Stefen, Jewel, Rochelle, FUN, Icon, Koffee, Brain Patillo, the two young sisters from Clark...that said they loved my work (for some reason I was feeling 2 brothers- I was nervous as hell). I got about six ideas for poems that I will explore tomorrow. I am fading a little...I'm going to crash...but I will continue with this tomorrow...by the way- Neo Soul...there is no place like home...

a funny thing happen 2 me on my way to the ATL

as you would have guessed. I flew out of Austin...then to Houston...and on to Atlanta. Fate would have it that my seatmate from Austin to Houston wanted to talk... a lot. He was about 81 years old...hands worn...white...frail (but looks are deceiving)...but there was something about his eyes. He had a twinkle an unmistakeable...brightness that said I am alive... It turns out that he was an author...working on his 14th book. He graduated from A&M...in the 40's. The first thing he said was that it was back in the "bad" old days. Sidebar: I had a coworker years ago, Clayton Clabaugh, ultra conservative yuppie. He was on the cusp of accepting the real meaning of Christ (you know love your neighbor type stuff)but I digress. I remember one day Clayton and I were having one of our many philosophical discussions...and said " we have a lot of problems today with our families...I wish we could get back to the values of the 50's" and told Clayton...those wonderful values you are extolling (I probably didn't use the word extolling...but anyway)included the Klan, segrgation, lynching, under employment, etc... if those values were in place right now...you and I would not be having this conversation...he thought about it for a second and said "I still think it is better than what we have now"...I still haven't responded to that (its been nearly 17 years). I say this all to put in to context Brad's comment- the "bad" old days. He went on to tell me that he now spends his time lecturing on cruise ships. In fact he had just come off a 3 month cruise...Pacific rim...and he was on his way to catch another three week cruise. He smiled and said...they make me do three two hour lectures...a week...life is tough...but someone has to do it. Now here is the kicker...the book that he does the lecture on is what he refers to as a lark...a book he wrote in two weeks about poker. Moral to this story when you least expect it...finish your poems. He left me with this sage advice...so you are going to write this trip off...as you work on your book. Have fun in Atlanta...good luck. Gotta run...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

From the ATX to the ATL- Andre...the poet

I made it to the ATL. Got my pen, my journal, and my laptop...I'm ready to do some damage. I am staying at the Baymont Hotel...downtown Atlanta. I had a chance to walk around the city a little...and wouldn't you know it. I ran into a poet. A 40-45 year old homeless brother by the name of Andre (but he said I could call him dre'). We made eye contact...I acknowleded him...I sat down to hear what he had to say. So this is what he told me..."I was born in Atlanta...but raised in Ohio. Where you from" I'm from Texas, Austin..."really I was in Texas a little while...stationed in (you guessed it) Killeen. Is it still hot"...yea..."I don't miss the heat...but the ladies...they were nice. Me and my boy...what was his name...all I remember was he was from New Jersey. We started a side business...male dancing (the Army didn't like that)...at a club called New York New York" (I need my hoodie who's to confirm this fact). What you doing in Atlanta? I told him I was a poet in town looking for inspiration...so he setout to inspire me...kicked a piece off book that would have received no less than two rewinds...I smiled...knowing that I was meant to be here at this moment. He pointed me in the direction of the ATL's version of the Chronicle- Atlanta Creative Loafing...Got the listing for concerts and poetry events. So I am on the path...

...after I finish this post...I am getting on the keyboard to write the intro to each of the sections in my new collection of poetry; Scriptures of Manhood.

...Tomorrow...I am doing a little football...Vikes vs the cow girls. Going to hit the park or starbucks...to write some ....get dress and head out to Java Monkey Speaks in Decatur- try to hook up with Jon Goode and company

...and then Monday ...I have to flip a coin...I'll tell you what the choices are tomorrow... holla

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another New Piece- I Sing U

remember when i was your music…that steady beat…in perfect synch with your heart
your friday night hip hop, your saturday evening old school and your sunday morning praise…see i worshipped you…cause we were always on each others lips

remember when every love song was our song…when dj’s would spin glimpses of you, i and forever….we were like harmony…for each other…i brought the base…and you were my lead… cause i would follow you anywhere…even here

remember the first song we ever wrote…that late night collaboration…unrehearsed…uninhibited…just pure inspiration…reincarnating the birth of jazz…baby

i do…. remember the sound of your touch singing hope into my life…
i remember you headlining sold out concerts for one and encores going late into the night…
i remember our music…humming it like memories…and now…i sing you…at stop lights, and in showers…and
i swear i hear you in bend of sandbloom’s wrist, in wedding songs, and gangsta rap samplings of luther, stevie…
And i wonder
do you remember…when my heartstrings were custom fit to your touch…when i was the only song in your rotation…how i wish you would press rewind…so i could hear us once again…please…i’m listening…for us

New Piece- OJ vs Osama Bin Laden

In a recent poll published by Newsweek Magazine
The question was posed
Who do you believe deserves to be in jail the most, Osama Bin Laden or Oj Simpson?

And guess who received the most votes by nearly three to one….
That rights America’s new favorite piss boy …the Juice
Now the truth is there was no such poll taken
I made it up…
to prove the point that it is not too farfetched of a notion for you and I to believe that an African American man found innocent in a criminal court of law for killing two white people…is more hated and reviled in America than a Saudian Arabian man who leads an international terrorist group that has admitted on tape, over and over again to masterminding the killing more than 2,618 americans more than 75% white.

When oj shows up on the news golfing, eating or stealing his shit back…it usually followed with immediate cries for his head…OJ need to go somewhere…people are genuinely pissed off at the mere sight of OJ.
As compared to when bin laden sends out another tape saying he hates Americans and will be coming to kill us soon…no immediate out cry… no anger…but genuine curiosity…is the tape authentic….is his beard longer….do think they will raise the threat level to orange…

and no matter how you feel about OJ…about what he did or what he got away with…there is something very wrong with this picture…
it has gotten to the point that OJ has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with our society, our justice system….
You would think that before oj there was no such thing as a miscarriage of justice…that no ever got away with…or was falsely accused of murder like the Scottsboro nine, the four little girls, Kenneth Foster, and Willie Bennet and my list could on but hey if it makes you sleep better at night knowing that no matter what the crime is we always know that oj did it…its like oj is the new white boogey man, the cutty black sow, the colored chuchacbra…that maternal threat that is whispered to little children right before they drift off to sleep if you are not good oj’s going get you …sleep tight

I won’t be surprised if in this upcoming campaign cycle that the republican and democratic parties adopt the “OJ did it” platform….I can just hear it now in the 2008 presidential debate so Senator Obama…former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan…stated the following If the pernicious drift toward fiscal instability in the United States and elsewhere is not arrested and is compounded by a protectionist reversal of globalization, the adjustment process could be quite painful for the world economy. " what do you think Greenspan was trying to tell us… well its obvious given the context of his statement …just a cursory review of the key leading indicators ….tells you that quite clear that OJ did it, next question
Mayor Guilianni, you are the only candidate in the race that has direct experience in responding to terrosist…you where at ground level zero for the worst crime ever perpetrated on American soil…Tell us what are the key strategies needed to deal with this rise in international terrorism which threatens the very existence of the American way… if I learned anything from that tragedy…I learned that you have to meet threat head-on…so the first and most important thing is to neutralize OJ; to the extent that we can minimize the OJ threat the rest is a cake walk. “

I am not saying that oj is innocent
What I’m saying is that he is innocent of being the answer to every problem we…
Mired in Iraq- Oj did it
Black kids don’t graduate- OJ did it
Rise in domestic abuse – OJ did it
Illegal immigration,
Rising cost of gas
Can’t sell your poetry
Got laid off
Got knocked up
Got knocked out
Neighbor kicked your dog
OJ did it
Well vick kicked the dog
But that is a different poem

What trying to say is that it is easy to get caught up in this culture of focusing all of our energy, resources, time on celebrity solutions to real problems…Lindsey lohan, Britney spears, micheal vick, paris Hilton, and george bush….that’s right george bush…are not the answers to our problems…we are
But hey if it helps you sleep better at night knowing that oj did it…
Sleep tight don’t let the bed bugs bite….

Saturday, November 04, 2006

There's no place like home...

After a brisk 14 hour drive shelle and I made it back home...around midnight. The "mini" tour was a whopping success on all levels. I found new inspiration...I am still working on me and my emotions surrounding Tweety's death. I have a note book full of ideas. I have a mind full of incredible memories. Poets (neo souldiers and poetic friends alike) I have a lot of information and insight to the dos and dont's for how to travel (not all the answers after one trip..but a lot more than I did before). The contacts...no the friends and fans that we made along the way will be lasting...both Denver and albq have incredible poetry scenes...I highly recomend a trip to either. I will be chilling today at home and watching football with my brother... holla...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

neo soul meets native soul

this morning was one of the single most inspirational moments of my life. shelle and i put on two writing workshops at the native american community academy, a one year old charter school, for a class of 6th and 7th graders. we were supposed to expose them to the power of poetry and walked away feeling the power. we were met immediately with open arms by their teacher, our new friend, emily or as we all called her ms. emily. she's the type of english teacher that we all prayed for...young, energetic, open, caring, smart, loving, poetic, inspirational, accepting,... shelle and i opened up doing a piece (slightly censored)for the kids...they loved it. then we talked about how poetry can heal, how poetry is an avenue to express, that poetry is all around us... we did a couple of writing excercises and that is when the magic began...they opened their precious little souls, they shared with us thoughts and feelings they have never shared before...we cried...we all cried...we laughed. shelle and i gave each of the kids our tour poster...and they wanted it...we signed them with words of excellence and success. they are incredible writers...team albq is going to be great for a long time...each face will stay with me...some of the names of these awesome kids, starla, alecia, sarah, robert, bryan, lil brian, jeremiah, keegan, maxi, reina, pamela, meaghan, isaih,...we played some games, we shared some hugs, we became poetry...this was the day that the new (neo) soul met the native (original) soul...and it was meant to be...thanks NACA, thanks emily, thanks kids...

we will definitely take this experience into our feature tonight (we have 30 minutes of stage time)...we have about 3 1/2 hours before showtime...holla...

From the # 1 team in 2006 to the # 1 team in 2005

yesterday we left, with much sadness, Denver on our way to Albq. it was approximately 6 hours of the most amazing scenery i have ever seen in my life. the mountains of denver were still snowcapped and the endless platueas of new mexico were breathtaking. and if that were not enough...some 75 miles or so outside of albq...sunset came and God filled the sky with the most beautiful and unique colors and patterns. i marvelled at every blessed stroke of his hand. and it was with this image that we rolled into albq, on halloween, our host for the night don mciver and mindy were great. they opened up there home and the home their friends to us. they treated us like fam...thank you thank you... we also got to spend some time with danny solis and of course the man who arranged all of this for us...mr. eric bodwell. we chilled a little sippin on heineken and chomping popcorn. they handed out candy to some 500 kids, yea...they take halloween serious around here...i called it a night...to get ready for our big day...(workshop in the morning and a feature at night)...

Monday, October 30, 2006

the merc...its white hot

slamming at the merc...
the Merc is the home of the denver slam team (the #1 team in the nation). i want to give love to the slam team members present- soweto, ken, katie, last night shelle and I got to do our thing on their stage. simply amazing. they kick off their night with an hour or so of the house band...yea...the house band that has been doing it for eight years. this band plays behind any poet who wants to do a piece. it is an experience both good and not so good...but an experience nonetheless. then at precisley 7:30 the two list are set out-the open mic and the slam list. first of all you can only be on one of the list, secondly the slam list only has eight slots (yeah just eight slots first come first serve). ken arkind the host took care of us, kinda gave us the nod when he put the list out (he made sure we got on it). and we were thrilled....until we (i found out) that andrea gibson was going to be in the slam. if you don't know andrea gibson check with know 13...it was already a hot slam list with the denver coach and longtime slam team member paulie lipman...the boy is cool as a fan and hot at the same time.., ian was a crowd favorite and for good reason he had words, passion, and that special thing that the good ones have...and then there was the kid...denver's 16 year old phenom...the boy was scary...it was like he was channeling old souls... i interrupt this program to bring you a slammaster confession- i am going to steal ( i mean incorporate a number of things that i saw in their show into neo soul's slam show; 1. at 2:50 seconds the timekeeper raises their hand then the audience raises their hand to help the poets, 2. the host gets name, occupation, and silly question answer from the judges (personal and cool), 3. the audience encourage the poets that are stumbling on words...by snapping their fingers... 4. for each successive round it is low to high with one exception the high score gets to choose where they want to go (needless to say Andrea chose last each time)and the fourth one i gotta give some thought to.

i skipped over the open mic...sorry it was nice; mental note (actually written note), if you go to the merc you can probably do two pieces during the open mic. but i would recommend the slam... gotta run and get some grub...i will do a recap of last nights slam...holla, miss ya'll

slammin at the merc

so first thing we notice is that the order of the slam is set by the host and his crazy as# sidekick (he was on the stage the whole time...jo and angie be ready we may add that to our show too. so i would say that shelle chose the one spot but she was more or less made the one. sista took it in stride...after a few moments of i can't believe its (i thought she as gonna hit me because on our way over there i was screaming give me the one...i want the one...isis you got the one i'll trade ya...but luckily she forgot..until now)...i was # five and andrea gibson was #4 lucky me...paulie and ian were 7 & 8, respectively. ken was a great host...energy, sense of humor, and charismatic. shelle got up...took the high altitude stage...with her super sexy...sista was flawless...held them on every word. i saw one girl reel back when she hit the grammy and oscar line. ripped it stepped down like she was at home...the judges were not kind but the crowd was hers...the phenom got up third...did a real complexed piece about a beaver skin hat...the judges blasted him with (time penalty included) 18pt something...they weren't playing. then came andrea i did that thing that i tell poets not to do (don't become a fan get your mind ready for competition)...my mouth dropped...she held me in her every word. she did the high score 28 pt something...i take the stage (and though i've lost some weight i was out of breath before i got to the mic)...hit the 98% white audience (that was great) with dr king. i brought it pretty strong...i was reminded earlier in the day that i haven't slammed in a while can you say pre nats. i gotta good response from the crowd more importantly...we gotta a look of yea...neo soul ya hot from our fellow poets- now is a good time to show them love- soweto, paulie, katie, ken, jaime (and lovely fiancee), phenom, robc, jen, andrea (wow), olutnjue, and micheal "don't call me mike" jones. they opened their hearts. i gotta 25 high good for second place at the time. paulie and ian bumped me to fourth. but i was blessed enough to go to the second round. i went first caught them off guard with oleta...got a really good reaction throughout ( i rushed it a little...i was breathy but not in a sexy way...because i haven't slammed in a while...worried about the time penalty). hit a 26.8 was good enough for third overall...missed second by .5 (ian 27.3). it was a cool experience...i have grown from it...i generated about thirty poetic ideas...finished a piece at the merc about the musical open mic (13 you will love it...) kicked back and watched a hot final round...by the way their flow is 8 in the first round, 4 to the second round, and 2 to the third round...the winner gets the option of doing a final piece for the night. another thing that is curious about their spot...each winner is automatically qualified to compete in the slamoff. by all accounts people said it was a hot slam...we contributed to that... got to sell a little product...my first sell ever (thanks shelle) was from a young guy who went through all of his change and handed me a plastic bag with 10 dollars worth of change and i gave him my cd...i will never forget that moment...i pray that he will feel it...i think he will. tonight we will be performing at the youth slam another opportunity to make connects...ohhhh by the way did i mentioned that ken wants to bring us back in a couple of months to do a denver run on poetry...with an angle towards performance at the kasbah in aurora (300 plus black)...holla

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cafe Nuba...Its Hot and Its Black

That was the repeated over and over (at least 200 times). The host Day would say Cafe Nuba...speaking to the crowd as if we were one...and in unison we would respond back its hot and its black. Very powerful...I want to import something similar to the Neo Soul scene. Now the irony of "its hot and its black" is that the audience was predominantly non black. It was a beautiful eclectic crowd. The Cafe Nuba experience is intellectually and artistically stimulating. You had an open mic that was interspersed throughout the night (it was a short list maybe 7-8 poets), you had a book signing, a series of the NPS filmed podcast, two poetic features (I was moved by Jaime Killsteinhe performed approx.8 pieces), a short film (Harlme 16), and a hot A@@ dj. Shelle and I did our thing and managed to get on the open mic. Suffice to say they got their first taste of Texas. Everyone was blown away that we had travelled so far. Much love was shown...Cafe Nuba.... We made some amazing connects. Landed two more opportunities to do our thing in Denver...Youth Slam on Monday and a Benefit (we have to be in costume to read) on Tuesday. We got to spend some real good time with three of the members of the Denver Team. We are going to hookup with them again Sunday at the Slam. OHHHHHHH I almost forgot my cds arrived this morning...thank you baby. Cafe Nuba... And I'm watching football so this blog is cut short for now...holla atcha...