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The Drug of Racism (poem)

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Note: Here’s a poem written a long, long time ago but still applies today. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and please let me know what you think!
-The Management

Here in America, we have a number of addictions
Throw in drugs, greed, and include racism
Prejudice is a drug dangerously sweeping the nation
Serious as a world threat or superpower invasion.

Blacks mistrusting whites, whites mistrusting blacks
Sources of communication is what both sides lack
Other cultures and races tossed in the hate game
Freebasing on hate, burning up in flames.

History records uncover this substance abuse
Morals were misguided and social codes unloose
Armies slaughtered races, creations of God
The dead paying a price for blood they trod.

Little children aren’t affected, they’re colorblind
For they are pure in heart, cleansed in the mind
Only when society bombards them in condition
They accept and absorb its racist traditions.

If this is America and her states are united
Then why are its citizens painfully divided?
To stop racist addictions, there must be a start
To ban this drug and treat many hearts.

Charles L. Chatmon
Author & Poet
President, Chatmon’s Books

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Posted by on April 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Have You Ever Considered? (poem)

Charles L. Chatmon

Charles L. Chatmon, Poet & Author

Note: this is an old poem I’ve kept out of the public for years. It’s a poem of consideration and reflection of the things life brings us. Please, enjoy!
-The Management

Have you ever considered the sun that always shines?
Beaming precious rays, which creep behind
On harsh cold days when you’re about to freeze
The beloved sun sets us at ease.

Ever consider the falling of the rain?
It comes once around and back again
Filling up the soil, feeding our plants
Rain is most valuable, so the heavens do grant.

Have you ever noticed the mountains and trees?
The coolness of a gentle gusty breeze
Calm air passing by cleaning out your soul
Purging out demons nestled deep below.

Do you ever think about your loved ones?
Who care so much of what you’ve done
The affection they show, you must take to strive
For the charity they give can make you feel alive.

Did you ever listen to your conscience inside?
It knows your ups and downs, nothing to hide
Encased within your soul, it holds your potential
To help make your life meaningful and essential.

I hope you will adhere what you’ve just read
Taking nothing for granted but enjoying it instead
Consideration in life still holds its due
The world can be better if you believe it’s true.

Charles L. Chatmon
President, Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Archive: A Blueprint for Deception

From 2014 on a different Thoughts pattern:

This week, due to our new partnership with the L.A. Southwest College English department, the L.A. Black Book Expo joined with the school and its associates, Morningside Park Chronicle and Puente Program for their annual Say The Word celebration of poetry and spoken word. Our segment, not necessarily of that genre was a panel discussion with two lovely ladies, Ms. Robbie Butler (Ms. Single Mom: Yes You Can!) and Cheryl Dorsey (The Creation of a Manifesto: Black & Blue). Our topic was based on Richard Wright’€™s ‘€œThe Blueprint of Negro Writing’€. The title for our version; The Blueprint for Success.

As moderator, I enjoyed the information between Cheryl and Robbie as they talked about their books, experiences and advice to the young people who stayed to hear them both. One point mentioned by one of the ladies stood out in my mind during the conversation in addressing a blueprint for the next generation: be honest. This is something I have to agree with wholeheartedly. When it comes to this art of crafting stories or disseminating information to a reading public, the only requirement as a writer that your audience requires is that you share the facts from your heart what you know to be true, no matter what the subject. In keeping with the tone of the conversation, the true blueprint for success as a writer is to express truth in your writing. It may make a few in power uncomfortable and even as we hear in church, ‘€˜step on toes’€™, but for this twenty-first century literary crowd, the only way a writer can achieve success with his or her fans, is just be honest.

Many people know about James Frey, the author of A Million Little Pieces which put him in the spotlight especially after winning an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey that caused his sales to go up. After it was found out most of what Frey wrote in his memoir wasn’€™t true, the following clip shows you what happens when you cross the path of a person as influential as Ms. Winfrey herself:

Now this would be the ‘death knell’ of a writer, any writer to be placed in a platform such as Oprah’€™s Book Club where she’€™s promoting the work because she believes it and wants it to be successful. Once it’s been revealed it is less than what she or even her fans expected – the trust factor between reader and author are severed, never to be sown again. However, it does take a bit of ‘clearing the air’€™ as Ms. Winfrey and Mr. Frey have done in this clip.

So while reader and author can reconcile on some level, the trust factor, the one quality needed to gain and build a fan base in this competitive market, is hard to get back. To be fair to Mr. Frey, he has rebounded in a way, writing at least two books since that incident. Also to be fair, he’s not the only one as this link reveals and also the following author mentioned below.

Margaret B. Jones ( Margaret Seltzer, real name) is another author who built a trust factor with readers when her book, Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival came out in 2008. When it was released, her account growing up as a half white, half Native American child who became associated with one street gang based out of L.A. I recall when this book was touted on local media in Los Angeles, how this now proved to be unbelievable story captivated the literary world. Ms. Seltzer under her alias was invited to hold book signing in bookstores, interviews on the radio, etc.

In this deservedly scathing article by L.A. Times writer Sandy Banks (penned the same year), she blasts Seltzer’€™s work as truly as it was meant to be – fiction. Part of the blame goes as Ms. Banks mentions, to her publisher who didn’€™t take the time to fact check Margaret B. Jones’€™s background. Unlike James Frey, once she was exposed as €œfully white, grew up with her biological parents in the upscale San Fernando Valley community of Sherman Oaks and attended Campbell Hall, an affluent Episcopalian day school in the North Hollywood area of Los Angeles.€ Even Motoko Rich of the New York Times offered her own critical opinion of Ms. Seltzer’€™s work. This proves you don’€™t have to be Oprah to smell a fictitious book under the category of non-fiction to smell a fake, but once you do and you’€™re a part of media (although they have their own trust issues of their own. Look up Jayson Blair), authors who take the fraud route have no chance of redemption, ever. Trust factor blown, never to recover.

By the way, this is the only video of her on the internet where in her guise as Margaret B. Jones, she describes life in the hood. Six years later (she was even outed that year), we know none of this to be true. Unlike Frey, she has not recovered as an author and perhaps never will.

As I stood hearing Cheryl and Robbie yesterday at L.A. Southwest about honesty in your writing, I wondered in our increasingly growing literary community of writers and authors, how much of our written works is factual and how much is sensationalistic? It’€™s hard to tell and even for publishers, unless they have fact checkers on staff, they can get caught up in the fabrication as well. With this in mind, readers should remind themselves whenever they purchase a book it should come with the mindset of ‘buyer beware’€™. Either the author wrote a book with engaging subject matter they can believe in, or if it’s found the contents of the book are a hoax, their time and money may be lost. It’s all a matter of trust.

Charles L. Chatmon
Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Nice Guy, Your Time is Up

Low-key portrait - half face - sad and angry looking man

Harvey Weinstein
Les Moonves
Bill Cosby
And just last week, R Kelly.

Nice Guy, with all of the #MeToo and #TimesUP accusations flying against powerful men these days, you think you finally have a chance to meet the princess of your dreams, the woman you’ve always longed for but eventually never will have. With scandal after scandal of an entertainer, executive, producer, even dog catcher popping up weekly, you would think women will suddenly notice you, appreciate your gentlemanly ways, turn their desires towards you. Nice guy, I hate to be the one to break this to you, there is no chance….ever…your dream woman will enter your life. Ever.

You have a better chance of surviving a snap from Thanos than to meet your imagined queen, your virtuous woman, your could-be-but-never-meant-to-be sweetheart. While this may be a shock to you nice guy, let me remind you as I have in the past many, many times, the truth is women don’t want you, don’t like you and in 2019 don’t need you. This is a cold, hard reality that you must understand. Their role models may be seen with a ‘nice’ guy but if they haven’t married them or have a relationship, what makes you think you had a shot? Nice Guy, don’t turn into a ‘snowflake’, take this L like a man. Know you did your best by treating women with respect, opened doors for them, paid for dinners, offered your seat or your jacket when the opportunity arose. All of this was in vain as women decided to exercise their new superpowers to turn you down time after time after time. Nice Guy you lost, admit it.

Once upon a time your main competitions were the thugs, teardrop felons, the bad boys who had your intended’s attention and affection. That was before stories about sexual harassment and abuse emerged more and more in mainstream media. By the time the #MeToo and #TimesUP movement is through, you Nice Guys may be the last ones standing but you will never be victorious. Isn’t that a harsh reality to you? You are faced with diminishing alternatives, you know women are starting to grow suspicious even if you offer a compliment so under this climate of distrust, what can you do? At this point Nice Guy, you’d wish you had disappeared when Thanos snapped his fingers. Now that women worldwide no longer want to have to do anything with you, all you can do is live your life and either tragically remain nice or realize it’s hopeless at this point.

Sorry Nice Guy, your best wasn’t good enough.It didn’t matter.

Charles L. Chatmon
Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

The Conscious Objective

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By nature, I’€™m what you consider to be a conscious€™ writer. Of course, that word has been overused over the years by prominent artists, I can see why folks are confused by speakers who utter a lot of words, but nothing connects on an intellectual level. Don’€™t get me wrong; in no way do I compare myself with ‘˜the greats’€™ and if somehow I reach that level with the poems and articles I’ve written so far then the reading public will be the judge as it should be.

What I do finally puzzling is a lack of these artists to use their talents to elevate the masses,using them in order to push forward a political agenda which a true conscious artist should never do.

Aesop created his fables persuading us to reflect on the human condition through the use of animals as the main characters, Shakespeare wrote plays dealing with complex characters faced with choices that either creates success or ruin, Bradbury and those who followed him scripted tales causing us to consider the pleasures we enjoy now could mean our downfall later. (A Fahrenheit 451 reference for you). English was my major so I spent my youth devouring every morsel of thought from a variety of writers who encouraged me to follow their footsteps. Their written words persuaded a young Black man from South (Central) Los Angeles to be a ‘conscious’ writer. The payoff I will say has paid off very well.

So what is this ‘€˜conscious’€™ writing you speak of Chatmon? You reader may ask. At the age of 17, I had my first whiff of the influence of conscious writing at a YMCA campfire in the San Bernardino mountains pouring out through verse my thoughts of romance, the world around us including my neighborhood. One counselor told me she enjoyed my poems because it made her think.

Made her think.

In a poetry reading on a college campus nine years later, a young woman approached me urging me to read my poetry to a group because in her words, ‘€œyou have something to say.’€ Five years after that, a group of Black women on an internet site praised ‘€œA Message to Black Women’€ because of its uplifting, positive message. You see, a conscious writer doesn’€™t always have to ring the warning bell in the cases of social injustice; he or she can use their talent to inspire the best within us, all of us. They make us think.

Today’€™s conscious literary and musical artists are fixated on how many likes they will get, how many followers they can obtain by expressing the most outlandish, baffling stance or comment. They know you will click on that website just to hear what they have to say. Do they ever make sense? It depends on whether the listener or reader agrees. I would wager most of us don’t take the time to research the issue they speak of or even challenge them on their point. They choose to hear or read it from a second hand source.

A conscious writer shouldn’t be swayed by public opinion. They should always resist the allure of the multitude who tells them to ‘€˜change that storyline’€™, ‘€˜delete that poem’€™, ‘€˜don’€™t use that gender pronoun’,€™ etc. How can one be conscious if he or she allows the people dictate to them what, how and when to write? A conscious writer is always, always, always going to offend someone. Their objective is not to make them happy for the sake of social convenience but to present a clear and honest picture for all to see.

Ever since my high school days, I consider myself a conscious writer. My words are meant to inspire, encourage, uplift. I cannot nor will not write to promote a political cause for this generation only. The goal is to encourage each and every generation after mine to read my words and think. If you don’t have those goals in mind and consider yourself a conscious writer, that is for the readers to judge, not I.

To all the conscious writers who clearly have their task at hand in this generation and the next, much success to you. Never give up, never give in. Always make people think even if they feel offended.

 

Charles L. Chatmon
Author, Poet
Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

From This One Hobby

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When I began to write way back when, I had no idea where this hobby would take me. I wrote as a way to keep me busy when no one wanted to talk with me or even participate in a game with me. Then again, I was a teenager growing up in the late 1970’s years away from social media and the advanced technology we have now. There were a few legends in literature who made appearances on talk shows discussing their latest novel or biography. The authors I watched on the small screen appeared down to earth, easygoing gentlemen and ladies in love with their craft.

Jump forward some thirty-forty years and the thrill of producing a story or play is gone. As everyone has discovered, even comic book legends who produce legendary tales taken from literature is mocked, blamed for present day social ills we as a populace were warned about not only from Stan Lee, but Rod Serling and even Ray Bradbury. Our present day generation can mock these individuals all they want, but they only prove the point of these authors who warn us of our errors in this society; we either rise or fall by using our intellect and critical thinking of the issues surrounding this planet.

Writers of the past wrote tales that served as inspiration or escape for their readers. There was no fantasy shaming by anyone in media because the populace understood what role books played in our society. Before the internet, they were a window to a world hidden from us – a world where we wished we participate in. In this 21st Century, there’s too much reality, too much political messaging in a work that simply doesn’t allow a story to be told that could help us think about what’s going on in the world around us, and in places we rarely visit. This author’s intention of writing a poetry book centered in a community mentioned by the media in a negative light was to show different perspectives of what life is like in this area not dictated by the news media and even now, social media hawks who continue to stereotype the community merely because they choose not to learn or read or speak with residents who endure the struggles daily.

Readers today find it digestible to read about wizards rather than a family in South Los Angeles struggling to make ends meet in the midst of gentrification. Readers anxiously pour through an unfinished series of thrones rather than explore the games politicians play in real life in an urban community. The word ‘diversity’ in literature is a lie. For what does this so-called diversity benefit? The annual Book Expo America has a chosen few Black authors, but their tales minutely touch on the challenges of inner city life here in America. Perhaps the movies of the 1990’s traumatized the readership, present and future with no clear cut happy endings. Maybe ‘Boyz N The Hood’ and ‘Menace 2 Society’ were too grim for the suburban crowd to accept. Could it be that the raw Urban Lit novels and books which were abundant in the early to mid 2000’s were too much for folks to handle? Is that the reason why today’s ‘urban’ tales focus squarely on the dominant society’s focus on Black and Brown America? Police brutality, gender issues, yet devoid of stories of the struggles living in a community frowned upon such as South Los Angeles? Maybe the readership and dominant society grew tired of our message.

My focus has been and always will be on South (Central) Los Angeles and the people who live here. There are many tales that have to be written, many poems created to ‘set the record’ straight. Yet, with each passing day there is a fight against the ‘Trojan Horses’ in our community in the form of organizations who preach social justice but fail to address economic justice. They will rewind the tragedy of a Black Wall Street, but won’t fight against a politician’s agenda for Main Street which doesn’t include the financial advantage those in affluent areas enjoy, and prosper. As a writer, these are the intellectual battles that must be fought, and won. As a Black author, I’m merely heeding the call Hughes once made to someone like me to proudly proclaim my Blackness through my art, letting the world know what I write and stand for.

Charles Chatmon
Owner, Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Video: Bay View Hunters Point – San Francisco’s Last Black Neighborhood? ?

A young man by the name of Dante Higgins (andantehiggins@yahoo.com) wrote, reported and produced this excellent piece back in 2015 on Bay View Hunter’s Point in San Francisco. This presentation covers the history, challenges and changes in the community. Something to look at moving forward here in California (spoiler alert: it’s happening now)

Submitted for your (dis)approval, enjoy……….

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 
 
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