OP-ED: ”DUKE-ING IT OUT IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION”

30 01 2007

By: Wendy Murphy

The Wilmington Journal

Originally posted 1/12/2007

http://www.wilmingtonjournal.com/News/article/article.asp?NewsID=75379&sID=12

For nine months, we’ve heard only from the defense in the so-called “Duke Rape Case” – but few people know that while the defense is talking up a storm about how the prosecutor has “nothing”, the defense has refused to release a thousand pages of the investigation.

Reasonable people want to know what they’re hiding.

The prosecutor can’t reveal evidence without risking sanctions (such as dismissal of charges) for tainting the jury pool. The defense is not subject to similar punishment, which is why they can and do speak more freely in all high profile cases. This double standard is why we should all be suspicious about whether we’re getting the whole truth whenever a defense attorney claims there’s “no” evidence.

The prosecutor, Mike Nifong, may have eyewitness statements from the defendants’ friends (after all, there were more than 30 other guys present) and pictures of the incident (we’ve all seen the before and after pictures, maybe there are “during” photos, too).

If so, Nifong should be rewarded for respecting the defendants’ rights by NOT leaking the type of evidence that could help him personally respond to criticism.

Other things to consider:

Many people on the prosecution side – not just Mike Nifong – participated in the decision to bring charges and not one of them – no police officer, no medical professional and none of the attorneys working with Mr. Nifong have backed down even one iota or raised any concerns about whether the case should proceed to trial.

The decision to prosecute was not “political”. Mr. Nifong didn’t win the black vote (in the May primary) and he lost much of the more influential rich white vote. Clearly, the best political option for him personally would have been NOT to bring charges. That he did anyway suggest he has a strong case because statistics consistently reveal that prosecutor disproportionately decline to prosecute even valid rape cases when they believe they can’t win a conviction. They certainly don’t want to waste their budget on frivolous cases, much less frivolous cases that will cost them a fortune because of the wealth of the defendants and will likely bring great political pressure to bear on the administration of justice. In short, powerful pressures would have militated against bringing charges in this case if there were truly “no evidence”.

The Wilmington Journal reported last June that the victim rejected over 2 million dollars from people “on behalf of Duke” to back out of the case.

The photo line-up was not unfair. Not all party attendees were players and Duke’s own president said that “many” players were not at the party. Thus, it is false to say there were “no wrong answers” when the victim was shown only photos of lacrosse players during the initial identification process.

Mr. Nifong’s reliance on responsible others to talk to the victim is proper. It protects him from being removed from the case as a “witness”.

DNA evidence supporting the defense was not “held back” by the prosecutor. The defense and the entire nation learned last spring that DNA in the rape kit did not match the defendants.

Information that was “held back” involved other men’s DNA and it is unclear to this date whether that DNA was from recent or very old sexual activity as reports indicate the samples were taken from a variety of places, including the victim’s underpants. Microscopic fragments of sperms cells can survive even laundering. This means the “other men’s” DNA could have been from weeks or months earlier. This constitutionally protected private information should never be disclosed unless a judge deems it relevant. The defense argued at a hearing in December that the fact the victim had sexual contact with other men provides an alternative explanation for the victim’s vaginal injuries. The judge agreed and the evidence was ordered released to the defense.

This was not a violation of the defendants’ rights, it’s called due process for the sexual privacy rights of the victim and the “other men”.

Days after the judge allowed the “other men’s” DNA to be released, the prosecutor withdrew the “rape” charge, which under North Carolina law consists ONLY of penile/vaginal penetration. Other penetration crimes are covered by the remaining equally serious “sexual offense” indictment. This may have been a brilliant move because with no rape charge, the victim’s sexual past and the “other men’s” DNA is irrelevant – and the cause of justice is spared a salacious and distracting sideshow.

Claims that Mr. Nifong should be investigated by federal officials for violating the defendants’ constitutional rights are curious given that the judge handling the case has said nothing critical of Mr. Nifong. If there were truly any constitutional violations, the defense would have brought them to the attention of the judge at the time of the alleged infraction. That the defense opted against asking the judge to take action and instead sought redress in the court of public opinion speaks volumes about whether they sincerely believe the defendants’ rights were violated.

Similarly strange is the ethical complaint filed against Mr. Nifong and signed by current or former defense attorneys (one appears to be a Duke alum) alleging the prosecutor committed numerous violations of his professional duties by making certain public statements about the case. People who have watched this case unfold are shaking their heads wondering why there wouldn’t also be a complaint against the defense attorneys for their relentless, repetitive and profoundly unfair public statements they have made at every turn since day one including the most disturbing claim: “that there is no case”. All lawyers in North Carolina are ethically obligated under disciplinary rule 8.4(c) NOT to engage in dishonest conduct — yet on December 23, 2006, defense Attorney Wade Smith publicly called on Mr. Nifong, to “end this suffering … end this case . . . because there is no case to bring”.

Attorney Smith knows that if that if there really were no case, he would AND SHOULD demand an immediate trial to end his client’s “suffering”. But none of the defense attorneys mentioned wanting an immediate trial during any of their recent PR stunts.

And let’s get real – the most serious ethical violation for a prosecutor is the one that forbids them to bring a case where there is, as the defense claims, no evidence. Yet in the many pages of alleged ethical violations, there is no reference to the provision that forbids Mr. Nifong to proceed with charges based on the absence of sufficient evidence.

Reasonable people might conclude that the reason Mr. Nifong is not accused of violating that ethical provision is the same reason he’s being attacked on television RATHER than in front of the judge handling the case. It would give him free reign to reveal ALL the evidence in the case.

I don’t know all the prosecutor’s evidence but I’m certain the victim, like any human being, deserves her day in court and I’m certain the public has right to know the WHOLE truth before deciding whether justice has been served. Let the jury, not the pollsters, render judgment. Wendy Murphy, JD, former sex crimes prosecutor, law professor, New England School of Law, Boston – 617-422-7410





Thinking about transformation

25 01 2007

From Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

Via: Slant Truth

“But it is not enough to stand on the opposite river bank, shouting questions, challenging patriarchal, white conventions. A counterstance locks one into a duel of oppressor and oppressed; locked in mortal combat, like the cop and the criminal, both are reduced to a common denominator of violence. The counterstance refutes the dominant culture’s views and beliefs, and, for this, it is proudly defiant. All reaction is limited by, and dependent on, what it is reacting against. Because the counterstance stems from a problem with authority–outer as well as inner–it’s a step towards liberation from cultural domination. But it is not a way of life. At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed so that we are on both shores at once and, at once, see through serpent and eagle eyes. or perhaps we will decide to disengage from the dominant culture, write it off altogether as a lost cause, and cross the border into a wholly new and seperate territory. Or we might go another route. The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”





Information and perspective about the Duke University Lacrosse Team Rape Case from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:

22 01 2007

OVERVIEW

Pre-trial behavior, information and misinformation:

  • Defense attorneys can spin, distort, and omit facts while the prosecution must remain silent until trail.

Over the past nine months, the public has been exposed to the partial disclosure of facts along with speculation, misinformation, biased interpretation and strategic maneuvering by the defense. This has led to a distorted public perception of many of the facts in the case. Principally at work in this perception has been the defense attorneys’ strategy of revealing only selected portions of the evidence, excluding many important details and withholding other relevant and significant information. This kind of strategy becomes the basis for much of our public information and unfortunately for what we think is the truth in the case.

 

The current public impressions of the ‘facts’ in this case primarily result from procedural rules that effectively allow the defense to selectively discuss and sometimes distort, certain pieces of evidence, while the prosecutor may not discuss the case at all – not even to rebut false accusations. For example, the defense can disclose evidence that they believe is helpful to the defense but refuse to disclose evidence that proves their clients’ guilt.

 

The same is not true for the prosecution because if the prosecutor reveals the strength of his case, the defense can complain that this unfairly taints the jury pool or causes too much prejudicial pre-trial publicity. If the judge agrees, he can punish the prosecutor by suppressing evidence or dismissing the charges.

 

But when defense attorneys unfairly taint the jury pool against the interests of the victim, there are no similar sanctions against them because a judge cannot punish the accused for the bad behavior of his lawyer. For these reasons, the public’s awareness of evidence is almost always favorable to the accused and far from a full disclosure of the truth.

 

DECEMBER 2006 HEARING

 

In December 2006, the judge handling the case conducted a hearing to determine what if any DNA material found during a rape kit examination should be disclosed to the defense. The defense argued they should be allowed access to all information indicating the victim had prior sexual contact with men other than the defendants because they hoped to provide the jury with an alternative explanation for the victim’s vaginal injuries.

 

The judge agreed and ruled that the rape kit results be turned over to the defense.

 

In response to this development, two things happened:

 

Defense attorneys for the accused stated that the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, had been unethical to withhold such ‘exculpatory’ evidence. They called for him to drop all charges in the case and spoke publicly against his conduct as DA. Within days, a letter was sent to the US Department of Justice suggesting that a federal investigation be initiated against Nifong for violating the civil rights of the defendants.

 

In fact in the spring of 2006, the defense had been made aware that no DNA matching the three defendants was found in the rape kit evidence.

 

Not everyone thinks that Nifong acted improperly or unethically – as the defense suggests.

 

One can argue that Nifong’s withholding of this information was proper because the victim’s sexual history, like the sexual history of the defendants, is constitutionally protected private information. It is improper for any prosecutor to disclose this information without a hearing at which a judge must make a ruling to decide whether sexual history is relevant to an issue in dispute.

 

The reason for the DNA hearing was for the judge to make determination regarding the release of information on the DNA material. Legal procedure and laws protecting sexual privacy require that a judge make such determinations, not the prosecutor. Nifong did not violate anyone’s constitutional rights by not revealing such information until the judge made a decision on the DNA evidence.

 

  • Why didn’t the defense file an appeal to the North Carolina Appellate Court or the NC Supreme Court if they really thought the DA had violated the defendants’ rights?

 

In fact, if there were any truth to the defense’s claim that Nifong’s handling of the issue violated the constitution, they would have sought sanctions from the judge that handled the motion and if they were correct, the judge would have at least criticized the DA, or sanctioned him in some manner, but he did no such thing. And if the defense truly believed Nifong violated some procedure or law, and the judge declined to issue sanctions, they would have appealed to a higher state court in North Carolina, or even to the Attorney General in North Carolina. They did not do so.

 

Defense attorneys are well aware of their right to ask the judge who handled the DNA issue to punish Nifong for suppressing evidence by dismissing charges; the fact that they did not complain to the judge strongly suggests an obvious understanding on their part that Nifong did nothing wrong. Instead a letter was written to federal authorities, accompanied by indignant protestations, by the defense team and those sympathetic to the defense. This situation suggests an overall defense strategy aimed at putting the prosecution on the defensive and manipulating the court of public opinion.

 

After the judge ruled the defense could obtain the other men’s DNA, DA Nifong dropped one of three charges against the defendants – the charge of rape, which in North Carolina refers to penile/vaginal penetration ONLY. All other forms of penetration – including vaginal penetration by something other than a penis, is covered by the equally serious felony called “sexual offense”.

 

By dropping this one charge, Nifong loses nothing because the remaining sexual crime, called “sexual offense” in North Carolina, carries the same punishment as rape. But he may benefit strategically because with no vaginal rape charge, the defense cannot use the other men’s DNA at trial as they no longer have a need to “explain” the victim’s vaginal injuries.

 

To the defense’s charge that Mike Nifong withheld ‘exculpatory’ evidence, two points should be made.

  1. Every DA in the country knows that information about a victim’s past sexual activity should never be revealed unless and until a judge decides that disclosure is necessary. To do otherwise would be to violate a victim’s constitutionally protected sexual privacy without due process.
  2. Defense attorneys argue that the DNA was exculpatory evidence that excluded or exonerated their clients. But the fact is that most rape cases involve no DNA evidence. Furthermore, the other men’s DNA in this case doesn’t necessarily reveal anything about the night in question. The DNA may consist of partial strands, old sperms cells, degraded biological material or other substances that clearly predate the incident by weeks or months. It is common for sperm cells to survive even multiple launderings and it is unclear whether the DNA from other men was found inside the victim or on her underpants.

 

 

  • Critics of Nifong argue that he should drop all the charges because he doesn’t have a strong enough case

 

We must remind ourselves that it is possible that there is additional evidence that has not yet been revealed – although the defense and defense-friendly pundits frequently assert on television that Nifong has nothing. The actual discovery documents turned over to the defense number in the many thousands of pages, yet approximately a thousand pages have been withheld by the defense. That is, the defense has shared some, but not all of the evidence provided to them by the prosecutor. It is also possible that Nifong has eyewitness testimony from some of the defendants’ friends given that more than 30 other men were present at the time of the incident. There may even be photographs of the incident itself given that we’ve seen “before” and “after” photos. Since all the information is not available pre-trial, we know that more facts will be revealed when the prosecutor is legally permitted to elicit testimony and introduce evidence.

 

  • Critics complain that this case is ruining the lives of the defendants and it should be ended

A good point to make on this topic relates to the issue generally known as
”speedy trial” rights. All accused enjoy a constitutional right to a speedy trial under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. States differ on the mechanics of how defendants file for the enforcement of speedy trial rights, but the simple point is – the defense COULD demand an immediate trial, right now – but they’re not. Delaying a trial is a well-known defense strategy because memories can fade, witnesses might move away, evidence might get lost, and the opportunity for media manipulation is prolonged. In short – if this were truly a weak case with no evidence, the defense would be pushing for a speedy trial.

  • Public perception is that the victim has no credibility.

 

Here again it is important to remember that it is in the best interest of the defense to discredit the victim as a money-seeking opportunist, and to do so publicly in the pre-trial period. This strategy can work to undermine, humiliate, and discourage the victim from proceeding with the prosecution, and impact the jury pool.

  • The defense would have the public believe that this was a false report made to get money, but remember that according to a well-sourced news report by the Wilmington Journal in June 2006, the victim rejected a payment of over 2 million dollars last spring to back out of the case.

  • It is not unusual for there to be minor inconsistencies in victims recalling traumatic events. We know that trauma and confusion are frequently the consequences of rape, and that in the case of a gang rape, the trauma and confusion would be great. Additionally, there is some indication that the victim may have been drugged; there were reports of her going from sober to totally unaware and then back to not-intoxicated by the time she reached the hospital.

The main point to remember is that undermining the credibility of the victim in the pre-trial period continues to be a consistent strategy for a defense victory.

  • Criticism has surfaced concerning the fact that Nifong did not interview and talk to the victim.

    • We do not know the history of his interaction, or his offices’ interaction with the victim, but in fact, in general it is sound policy for a prosecutor to limit or refrain from such personal interviews at the risk of becoming a witness – which would disqualify him from serving as the prosecutor. In general we should skeptically consider any criticism of the DA by the defense, that would obviously benefit from his disqualification.

DECEMBER 13, 2006: MOTION BY THE DEFENSE FOR CHANGE OF VENUE

On December 13th defense attorneys filed a motion for change of venue arguing that defendants cannot get a fair trial in Durham County. They argue that the town is polarized. Critics argue that this 30-page motion including a list of ‘64 Facts Supporting the Motion’ has many distortions. A closer review of the motion by The Carolinian/Wilmington Journal “shows clear evidence, not only of factual distortions, but critical misrepresentations and outright omissions of several well-known mitigating facts calling into question the veracity of the defense’s calculated attack on the creditability of Durham’s African-American community.”*

If this case is as weak as the defense attorneys would have us believe, and if there is so little upon which to build a case, then it is indeed interesting that they were concerned enough to have filed this motion for change of venue. This suggests that in fact the defense is taking the case seriously and doing all it can to do battle on behalf of their clients.

 

* Wilmington Journal, “Duke Case-Rape Charges Dropped, as Defense Distorts Facts” by Cash Michaels. Originally posted 12/23/2006

 





How media makes misogyny: a case in point

21 01 2007

CNN’s “journalism” is a fool’s paradise

by Gail Dines

Friday, 19 January 2007

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/736/81/

 

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me a couple of dozen times, and shame on me — but also shame on what passes for journalism on television.

 

This truism comes to mind after my appearance on “Paula Zahn Now” on CNN this week to discuss the Duke rape case. I’m not naïve about these kinds of shows — which I know are not really about journalism but about ratings, most easily obtained through sensationalism and playing to the prejudices of the audience — but over the past 20 years I’ve gone on a number of them to discuss my work as a sociologist on issues of racism and sexism in media. Like many progressives, I do that with eyes wide open, knowing the limits but realizing it’s one of the few shots we have at a mass audience.

 

But this time I foolishly had high hopes after a producer from Zahn’s show actually conducted a thoughtful screening interview, unlike any I had spoken with in the past. Most producers typically are uninterested in my views and tend to ask banal questions in these pre-interviews over the phone. They usually don’t care about my arguments, but simply want to check that I have a big mouth (which, I admit, I do) and will not freeze in fear when the cameras roll. When they recognize that I am not someone who is likely to cower in the face of adversarial arguments, that’s enough for them.

 

But this CNN producer kept grilling me with questions that suggested that they were interested in doing a show that looked at the historical and contemporary issues of violence against black women in this society. Four phone calls later, I agreed to fly to Durham to do the show.

I was told I would be in at least two segments, possibly three. That promise was crucial; there’s no sense flying halfway across the country to say a couple of sentences between the ads. So I dug in to prepare, reading and consulting colleagues (all of them busy activists and academics, including Mark Anthony Neal, Imani Perry, Robert Jensen and Jackson Katz) about the way the media has framed the story. What an utter waste of time and energy.

 

The first inkling that something wasn’t going according to plan was on my ride from the airport to the makeshift outdoor studio at the Durham courthouse. A different producer called to tell me that although I study both race and gender, they don’t want this show to be about gender. I answered that this woman was brought in as a stripper and is charging that the lacrosse team sexually abused her — how could this not also be about gender? Yes, yes, yes, she answered, but the show is focusing on race. I know enough by now not to argue with a senior producer an hour before taping, and so I simply agreed.

 

The second clue was one of the people on the panel with me — the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, an African American man who has made his name by slandering blacks for their racism against whites and their continuing “unwillingness” to climb out of poverty. For Peterson, black men have been emasculated by black women, and his project is about making black men “real men” again. The one saving grace was that the other guest on my panel was Kristal Brent Zook, an insightful journalist with Essence magazine.

 

In the green room, Peterson went into a tirade against the black leaders for destroying the black community with their leftist views, and then thanked God for Fox News. When I started to argue with him, CNN producers in the room explained to us all that news media in America are doing their job — Fox’s right-wing views are balanced by CNN’s left-wing shows. About this time, I know I am in big trouble.

 

As the green room starts to fill with guests, I am getting the distinctly uneasy feeling that there are too many people here for a one-hour show that has promised me two to three segments. Guests come and go, and my segment cohort is still sitting in the room at 8:20, 20 minutes after the start of the show. There’s no way to watch the show in the green room, and so I have no idea as to what the other guests are saying and am clueless as to what I am walking into.

 

As it turns out I was on camera for less than five minutes, and most of that time was taken up by Peterson railing against the “alleged” victim for setting these poor white guys up. Kristal got to make a few points but also was cut short. Zahn was clearly more intrigued by Peterson than either of us; her body language and eye contact focused on him. As I tried to interrupt his tirade, she cut me off and returned to him. He got the last word of the segment, saying that the “stripper” has no humanity, no morality (she had children out of “wedlock”) and should be jailed for what she has done to these athletes. As I got up to leave the studio I ask Zahn how she could do a show that once again leaves this woman stripped of her dignity and rendered invisible as a human being. Zahn smiled and offered her hand as a way to tell me they are done with me.

 

When I got back to the hotel 30 minutes later, I already had a few emails from enraged men informing me that I am a “bitch dyke,” “dumb feminist” and “nigger lover” who is an embarrassment to the academic profession. By the next day at noon, it was a flood of emails, each one more hateful than the next. After most television appearances I get some hate mail and some support, but never such a consistently negative barrage in such a short time. It is only when I sit down to watch a tape of the show that I understood why everyone was so upset.

 

Rather than being about racism and sexism in the media, the show had been billed as an examination of the “rush to judgment” on the part of the media and society. The possibility that these men were guilty had been “proved” wrong, as the victim is clearly lying and motivated by money. The case is framed as a “race” issue, which for producers meant that blacks are out for revenge for past misdeeds by whites. Jumping on this bandwagon, so the story goes, was the District Attorney Mike Nifong, who was trying to curry favor with the black community in a re-election year. The consensus on the show was that if anyone is guilty here, it is the lying, immoral black stripper and the amoral, politically motivated DA. The victims here are the upstanding white men who have now had their reputations tarnished first by a stripper and then by gullible fools who believed her. And of course, within the framing of the show, I appeared as not just a gullible fool, but even worse, a gullible fool with a feminist agenda.

 

My anger at the way the media humanized these men as victims and dehumanized the woman as the perpetrator of a lie clearly stood out from the rest of the show. And this was, I am now convinced, the producer’s goal. I was set up in the show to be an example of the problem — white liberal elites who have taken political correctness too far. I was not brought on as a researcher or activist but as an example of how feminists “rush to judgment” in order to further their man-hating propaganda.

 

Virtually every email I have received blasts me as a conniving feminist who didn’t even bother to know the facts of the case. These men — yes, they all were from men — explained to me that the facts show without question that nothing happened that night, which I would have known if I were not so busy trying to further my feminist agenda.

 

This is truly an example of how mass media construct reality. The so-called “facts” of the case have mainly been planted by the defense as a way to spin the case. The prosecution can’t reveal all their evidence by law, but we do know, as law professor Wendy Murphy has pointed out, enough evidence was presented that “police, forensic experts, prosecutors, and a grand jury comprised of citizens, all agreed that charges should be brought.” The truth is that we actually have access to very little evidence about that night, yet every man who has emailed me is convinced that all the facts are out there and only a feminist fool would believe otherwise. This is because the “facts,” or lack of, speak for themselves and tell their own story in a society where racist and sexist ideology is internalized by a good percentage of the population and subsequently writ large onto a black woman’s body. Let’s not forget that this woman was bought and sold in the white male marketplace of sexual entertainment.

 

This obsessive focus on the woman is not particular to this case; routinely the media focus on the women victims, with a certain prurient interest. Instead, we should put some of the focus back on the men in this case, as we know much about their behavior that night that is not under dispute. They saw the hiring of two black women to strip as a legitimate form of male entertainment. They didn’t see the commodifying and sexualizing of black women’s bodies as problematic in a country that has a long and ugly history of racism.

 

One of the team buddies, Ryan McFadyen, sent out an email on the night of the event where he wrote “ive decided to have some strippers over and all are welcome …. I plan on killing the bitches as they walk in and proceed to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke spandex.” Later that night, 911 got a call from a black college student out walking with her friends who was called “nigger” as she walked past the team’s house. And to top it all, not one lacrosse player has come forward to express any regret at that night’s events or offered any apology for being part of a drunken strip party that humiliated and degraded two black women.

 

It would seem to me that all of this undisputed information would make for a compelling CNN program. On such a show, I would be happy to share these emails calling me a bitch, whore, and cunt. That wouldn’t be a rush to judgment, but instead an acknowledgement of what women know — any one of us could be the next victim turned celebrity whore.

 

Gail Dines, professor of American Studies at Wheelock College in Boston, is one of the organizers of the upcoming conference “Pornography and Pop Culture: Reframing Theory, Re-thinking Activism.” http://www.wheelock.edu/ppc/. She can be reached at gdines@wheelock.edu.





A Note of Thanks

19 01 2007

Thank you all for participating in this incredible three day release of healing energy. The outpouring of love and support is evidence of the extrordinary beauty WE possess. I (Mama Nan a.ka. Nia) am hoping that you will continue releasing this powerful energy every morning with a moment of Asha, to the universal call for love and and healing and with intentional smiles, greetings and real listening… to yourselves and one another. It is our time, if we grasp it!!! As a continued promotion of this healing spirit, I am choosing to fruit, vegetable and herbal tea detox every Tuesdays (the least valued day in the capitalistic world), knowing that to win this battle we must become whole. Knowing that WE are neither silence nor sacrifice. WE are celebration. Asha
Please Join Me.





Thursday’s Poem to fast by…

18 01 2007

thursday’s poem
mythology of the wide-open-pussy
by: the furious flower aka ebony noelle golden

they say birds reincarnated her remains
clawed at sea’s edge
into a pistol packing water woman
got magma and prayer beads tucked
under her left breast
hoists music in sugar uterus crinkles

some say she came back as mama
harriet and that’s why she knew the swamps
and marshes so well she gathered
steal-aways in her tides and ripples
rushed them to safety

those birds costumed her regal plumage
some say spit ruby
dust in her lungs and she came back
as a mississippi delta blues empress
just a sanging

drink me plenty but don’t suck me dry
i say
drink me plenty but don’t suck me dry
i got lots of juice to give
but needs a little bit to quench the fire

she walked on water
part woman
part fish
all god
and she spit out the oceans
like a declaration
caught in mid air
congealed
then let go

some name her whore
cause she be sexin loud
and juicy in the day light
and her babies ain’t got no last names

the trees call her wide open pussy
jesus calls her indigenous womb
she walked seven days
spewing amniotic goodness seven
days birthing seven babies
seven days on seven continents seven days
and them babies be yo grandma

drink me plenty but don’t suck me dry
drink me plenty but don’t suck me dry
i got lots of juice to give
but needs a little bit to quench the fire





Wednesday’s poem to fast by…

17 01 2007

wednesday’s poem
blessed
(for jayne cortez)
by: the furious flower aka ebony noelle golden

commune mama with an earth undone back
stitch the corners rivers pulse her light
you are the glowing prayer palm oil
and pumpkin seed osun gathers our phoenix
savior slice open hollow seas salve down
the tomb wounds your epics are spit
glued mystic wings conjure us all home