Monday, January 15, 2018
My guilt is "slavery's chains," too long
the clang of iron falls down the years.
This brother's sold, this sister's gone,
is bitter wax, lining my ears.
My guilt made music with the tears.
My crime is "heroes, dead and gone,"
dead Vesey, Turner, Gabriel,
dead Malcolm, Marcus, Martin King.
They fought too hard, they loved too well.
My crime is I'm alive to tell.
My sin is "hanging from a tree,"
I do not scream, it makes me proud.
I take to dying like a man.
I do it to impress the crowd.
My sin lies in not screaming loud.
-- Maya Angelou, "My Guilt," from Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971)
These days, when we seem to be reeling over and over from the racist rhetoric of our Tyrant and his sycophantic supporters, it seems more important than ever to remember someone like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as everyone of any race, color, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, and creed, who has died in the fight for equality in this nation built on democracy, equal opportunity, and freedom.
(Here is a link to my tribute to Maya Angelou when she died in 2014.)
Friday, January 5, 2018
Happy New Year!! Well, yes, we are a bit late for the official, annual HNY message on bklynbiblio (here, here, and here, for instance), but this year we were doing something quite different and extraordinary, and we were traveling on January 1st as a result, so no chance to blog. We went to Ciudad de Mexico! The picture above is AA, his cousin GD, and me...after a few tequilas...ringing in the new year at the balcony bar of our hotel overlooking the Zócalo plaza and the main cathedral. We had a wonderful night, met some new people, ate a delicious multi-course dinner, and danced a bit too.
Salma Hayek has come to dominate our impression of what Kahlo looks like and how she acted. It was refreshing to remove that veneer and actually see the "real Kahlo," albeit through her father's photographic eye.
We went for a stroll afterward in Coyoacán, where on a random street I found this beautiful sanctuary for Our Lady of Guadalupe. Other highlights of the weekend included a fantastic dinner at the San Angel Inn (NOT the one at Epcot Center at Disney World!), and a visit to the university art museum at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), where we saw an interest, compact exhibition about Yves Klein (and some brain-numbing exhibitions by conceptual contemporary artists...the same thing also when we visited Museo Jumex...). GD also took us to the fascinating Museo de El Carmen, a former Carmelite convent where you can see some of their cells, view colonial Catholic paintings and polychrome sculptures of saints, and visit the sepulcher where unknown individuals from the nineteenth century had been buried, but whose mummified bodies are now viewable in class-covered caskets. That particular bit of the weekend may seem an odd way to ring in the new year, but perhaps it was a personal, poetic experience we needed that reminded us about the cycle of life and the ongoing march of time. Or perhaps it was just creepy-fascinating. I'm still trying to decide.