Arty Stream – 17 Dec, 2017

Rose reminded me that all I need to do is remember to be grateful and feel blessed.

I have an environment that feeds me and offers sanctuary for my spirit. My family are all healthy & sound in body.  All the children have a chance, all believe in being positive and being in the moment.  The ancestors, which are part of my life and journey are all strong, soulful beings, who have given love, hope and security to my life: Mom & Dad, Nana, Grandma & PaPa Turner, Jessie & Virginia, Danny, Nona, Pat, Gail, Connie & Lois, Dickie, my heart, June, Pops, family and kin kind – like Pattie, Calvin, Fela, Amiri & Baba Jake.  The power, and energy I have known and witnessed from ancestors, has given me the ability to believe, to hear, to see, to understand the creator’s hand, when I see it. Just “Keep your head to the sky!”

I recognize it is our prime purpose in life to help people, and if you can’t be of help, then the least you can do is, don’t hurt them. Promote justice and let America be a county that practices equality without privilege or entitlement as a criterion.

What it Be… Surviving your experiences is the challenge of the journey, nowadays.  Go in Peace.

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Creative Writing Exercise …try it yourself

I was once given an assignment in my creative writing class to write 2 versions of my obituary, Eulogy & Epitaph. One version if I died too soon and one if I completed a long live. I recently ran across them and wanted to share them and the concept of doing this exercise for insight sake.

O B I T U A R Y – dying too soon…

Arlene Turner-Crawford passed out of this life into the realm of the ancestors. She was much too young to go but the creator has a purpose beyond human control.   She is survived by her husband, Richard Crawford, her three children, Jamal Kamau, Maisha Ife, and Jean Norine Akanni; her parents, Innis and Ruth Turner, her brother Richard, his wife Bernie and their son Adam; a host of close and distant relatives; and her extended family of friends who will miss her smile.

Arlene had maintained a hyphenated name so that people would recognized her artwork as coming from the same person, A. Turner to A. Turner-Crawford. For most of her adult life she worked as an educator and practiced her Art with a passion; having something to say but without the articulation skills she wished, she painted, drew and created visual statements about, her people, her nation and the principles she held important. To inform, identify and direct were her goals with her Art.

She was a Pan-African Nationalist most of her life which was, kind of , sort of like being a dinosaur who refused to listen to weather reports.

Her major works were, her children, all of whom she loved, her contributions to those institutions, which she felt deserved to survive, and a significant body of artwork completed but never sold.

She will be missed by a few good people and remembered by many.


Arlene was a slave to silver, myth logically associated to truth, honesty and speed. Even when she tried, she couldn’t convince a lie to herself. Born to that nature, unable to shake it she grew despite herself. A Gemini, who, at an early age, overcame most of her negative astrological aspects; she was imaginative, creative and quick. Her sensibilities were sharp, always having the knowledge to act quickly with reason. She honored the power of “Nommo”. Her abstract ideas were frequently being threatened by reality, it seemed foolish to persist when this planet was so into routine, with few challenges to the statue-quo, but Arty could persist, resist and insist.

Her holy turn-on was: those who dared to make movement for themselves, ideas, institutions or nations; she would find them like radar, they were on her frequency. Yet, for her, she had been born female – those nurtured towards the selfless instead of the self-full. Whenever she fought it, the tendencies would arrive to alter her consciousness and sacrifices were made. Her major problem was that she negated all doctrines and decided to believe in people. Had she chosen law, religion, philosophy or some such basic consistency she wouldn’t have been so constantly disillusioned by the human will or the lack of same.

Not being understood was like stomping on cotton, tons and tons of quiet cotton. She was always so close to self-actualization but never just there. Mutable and in constant transition, her life was BECOMING. The bottom line to her was that her conviction was to GROWTH, she sought, labored for it, and at times willed it. Never really seeking to be noticed she would be discovered in passing, just like her ART.


Arlene Turner-Crawford  1949 – 1991  AFFIRM LIFE!

O B I T U A R Y   – after a full life…

She understood the universe but hadn’t quite been around the world…with peace of mind and wholeness of character, Arlene Turner-Crawford moved on to the next plane in her hundredth and seventh year, passing gently out of body, alert and active to the end. Her life, long and productive, as parent, partner and friend leaves many affected and touched by her having been.

Surviving to remember her are her children and their children, relatives and loved ones; her son Jamal, his wife Kimaada, their twins, Kendall and Reese; her loving daughter, the writing architect, Maisha (MIC) and her husband Malcolm, their daughters, Kanika, Norine and Bessie; her daughter Akanni, her husband Richard and their children Fela, Bakari, Justice and Ayana and the Great grandchildren: Marvin, Curtys, Lee, Baby Rose, Niame Ruth and Yatestu; a host of nieces and nephews and great-grand relations.

The body of Work she created remains a testament to the practice of art in which conception and execution are governed by the imagination, style and the conviction to Afro-centric history and principles. With this legacy our ethnic Art History has been enriched through her images and intent.

Her spirit and energies are now truly ONE with ALL. To us who remain, her wishes to CARRY ON! Will be met.


Arty was like a smooth, complex jazz riff that worked; one that caught your attention, moved you into the groove and laid you dead up on the beat, then broke back through a bridge to the melody…and with finger snaps, toe taps and head nods you were moved. WE WILL MISS HER!

Throughout her life she kept to a principle of reciprocity with Zen enthusiasm. She enjoyed life, her family, friends and the community. A person of the universe and in your backyard, coming up a cadre had taught her how to scheme and dream. And she took that background, studied her roots and applied a science to her work – THE WORK!

If a person’s favorites give you insight to their nature, Arlene’s included; a good laugh, trees, McCoy’s piano, Marvin Gaye’s music, Ishmael Reed’s stories, Earth Wind and Fire’s concept, dance that got people involved with spirit, her man Richard and her children. She passed thru our time and space and gave us love. She held in her heart and mind a spiritual hope which affirmed and confirmed our connections with one another. She was a blessing and she could heal.

Her visual expressions, the paintings, drawings, murals, her body of works continue to address the viewers and bring substance to the form. The world of Art was added to by her accomplishments.

Arty served many institutions and groups through out her life, being example, innovator, Mover/Shaker, peacemaker, founder and Culture Mother.   She lived a long productive life consistent as and onion and solid as a redwood.


Arlene Turner-Crawford 1949 – 2056 QUENCH ESSENCE

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Mother’s Day Artist Date

Ari 1Intro number is a melodic groove whose title I didn’t catch, but it was dedicated to all the Mothers in the room. Ari, Kirk, Yosef, Sis-Boom-Ba Avreeayl Ra and Doc Cuz are onto the next, a Coltrane composition…it’s so tuff,  it’s positively sexy; shifting, moving, singing an old tradition; music ancient to the future, John Coltrane sings and so does Ari.

“Happy Mother’s Day,” Arty – it’s an artist date with yourself, so deserved and thankful for, I am. Tonight I’m seeing Ari Brown’s Quintet, in the house @ Room 43. Ari is not afraid to be Avant Garde; a “Sentimental Mood” is upon us, so nicely done with his Avant opening. Kirk is moving me on piano., so righteously profound in a groove, swinging soundscape with his perfect punctuation. Yosef’s stings us ntu the Bass of it ALL, counting the measures to the bridge….”in a sentimental mood”.  It’s all tenderly carrying the listener into their own head and their own sentimental mood.

“Wayne’s Train”, for Wayne Shorter; Cuz is up on this one, picking the rhythm up to the next level.  Ari moves in to thrill us with his shrill – sound vibrating us into a frenzy…COOL…Free Bop…Now!  Avreeayl piercing our senses with a steady counter to the CUZ – a melody evolves from their point counter point of rhythm, then RA rings his Bell, so fundamentally right on, Sis-Boom-Ba, Avreeayl Ra .

“What a Wonderful World”, is done with guest artist, Ken Copper on trumpet, he’s doing Louis Armstrong to deft. Then Ari is blasting on the last piece before the break – I could not be more delighted as he uses two horns, he’s singing, wailing, preaching the gospel of FUNK n JAZZ fusion in time to be on TIME!

In the second set, Ari’s 2nd offering is a composition to Dr. Black (Timuel, that is). History and art conjunct, it’s a fitting piece to honor the Doctor.  Ari is melodic and marvelously on the rhythm of serious bop, w trumpet teaching us the tone of mean magic in a perfect divergent journey to swing.  Kirk takes over to make us want more and more, his fingers making titillating tunes to our ears. I sigh in sweet surrender to this brother’s message, just when then, Yosef strings us and brings us to a climax of profound transition and Ari recollects the tune and we are so satisfied for this journey, this event, in the now of sound and rhythm and groove.

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“40 Years in the Moment”

Vocals by Igua. Steve Colson is in the “Moment” – a sweet surprise to my ears…touching on that vocal poetry, in varied cadences, blending with the rhythms of Free Bop Jazz, and all those measured movements that spring NTU sound Power.

Steve’s piano is sublime; wandering down your memory, up into the Soul. Carrying melodic phrases to our senses. Their first piece presented was complex, yet accessible. Putting people in the audience on the ONE. Creative Classical Black Music is AACM’s reunion of that power Stronger than itself. “Love”

Then “Digression”

Followed by a composition that was about that struggle to live –
“Just trying to live my life, but you, keep getting in the WAY!
Keep your spirit Whole
“Living my life, my WAY.” (Can you dig the lyrics, which take you to a positive place?)

It’s creative music to absorb and digest.

“Here’s the problem as I see it”…
This message is right on the money. Those racist, neo-fascist mentalities that continue to terrorize our Black men, plaguing the families, under educating the children and attacking our rights to Live – to BE!

Musical discourse, that’s current, provocative, truthful and affirming.

Give it up for suggesting solutions and inspiring resolution.

Finally for the first set “Picante” : Spicy is our temperament, spicy is our action, spice is the mixture in this new moment.

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Amiri and me

Nelson called to tell me Amiri is on a respirator, I believe in a coma.  Here it goes again, my thoughts of losing dear ones, missing them, wanting to reach them in spirit and maintain the link.  Let my energies, thoughts and prayers, go out to Brother Baraka and let me send him healing power to support his physical challenges.  I hope to reach him through this craft of writing, his form, one of his many talents as Artist!  Amiri taught me to believe in its power to record, identify and affirm.  He showed me the music, the politics,  the esthetics, the sense visual keys from his poems, his essays, his plays, performances, lectures and discussions.  Amiri could really manipulate, prestidigitate and propagate the Real tip, the Hip-trip.  He be hollering and collaring the truth.  His words, rhythms and beats took us through our history, our mission, our destinies to come.  So it’s only fitting for me to  find a creative current to send him some love.

Let – Infinite creative and healing energies come to him easily and effortlessly;  let this or something better, manifest itself; in totally satisfying and harmoniously ways for the highest good of all involved.

I want this to be a chain letter effort for others to add to really,  let’s find some Amiri inspired memory to feed the creative healing power in this his physical struggle. I invite the community to offer up their messages in the community spirit.

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Here’s a journal entry after such a long time

Here’s a journal entry after such a long time.

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Here’s a journal entry after such a long time

December 17, 2013

Happily I came out tonight and it’s Tim Black’s 95th Birthday (this brings reminiscences of INNIS, my Dad), so sweet the coincidence that sparks my memories for this season. I’m reflecting on my contact with family, community, tradition, substance and good music. Tonight it’s guitar, strings vibration in time, the contra bass, piano and drums. The musicians are using some old school melodies, from my father’s era. “Make Someone Happy” is playing as I arrive, which is a thought I can appreciate. Eva Logan, a vocalist herself and her companion, Ernest are sharing the table with me, at Room 43.

The music is wonderful, filling up my senses with sound essences, “My One and Only Love”, is offered; I remember that, Nancy Wilson originally taught me this song and the guitarist, turned vocalist, is hitting some of her same phrasing. Henry Johnson can sing too! This is my record of an artist date with self…

Charles Heath is on Drums and the brother’s beats are punctuating the air with the power of his awesome rhythms; keeping us elevated in the groove of it all. Billy Foster’s piano is both sublime and Avant-garde, playing with such talent. Joshua Ramos, on the bass has pulled us ntu the timing of classical jazz sound signatures, meeting the mission, having our heartbeats twanging, thumping and rocking.

So glad I came out tonight, working my current goal to remember to honor Dickie, by not being depressed. At this point I want to stay in the moment, not numb, but alive, embracing the fact, that I can feel, care, understand, hope and claim power to believe – to grow in faith and trust. Trust tomorrow; trust the blessings in store for Jamal, Maisha, Jean, Richard and my new grandchild.

The Henry Johnson quartet’s music has kept me inspired, just as Brother Timuel Black has acknowledged that our music – the product of our cultural soul essence keeps us inspired, young, happy, able and connected. Music does have the power to put people together on the ONE. And tonight, as I think about my Dad, Dickie, family, friends, times pasted and the comfort found there; I’m glad to be writing again. I’m glad to be engaged in a spirit that just can BE – be in tune to the moment. I don’t have to be profound, only here, enjoying. Letting the music and the melodies conjure up warmth and groovy rhythms to get lost in.

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For Fela

Yesterday, I had a dinner party for friends of Fela Kuumba.  Last month we all found out that he had died back in 2011.  Most of us had met Fela through the Institute of Positive Education, which housed Haki Madhubuti’s Third World Press, the book store and NCDC school.  Fela had moved back to Baltimore Md some years ago and we had all lost touch with him.  In our search to find and reconnect with, we got word he had had a heart attack and passed.  It was so odd to us all that Fela was gone, so we decided to get together and celebrate his life, share stories and remember.  The following is a piece I had written for him many years ago.  I’m sharing it now in recognition and remembrance of a Cool, Fine, Nationalist who was committed to his community.  

For Fela


       Put a mind yank on me, brother…

       called me over to his set.

       Had that mental lock a working,

       broke concentration of my net.


       Put a mind yank on me.

       Turned me round, to touch a vibe.

       Sang it sweet for the nation,

       Made it strong to survive.


       Put a mind yank on me, brother

       Love call in the dark.

       Connects our visions for the future

       Raise me wise to the lark.


       Put a mind yank on me.

       In the spirit, all is whole

       Feel the pull of sensation,

       in the nature of the soul.


       Have our pasts to intermingle

       While our presents stand to be.


       Our intentions clearly noted

       For a time we can be free. 

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Some thoughts on gaining control

What if the time you spent in meditation and focused in a positive stream of spirit made good things happen in your life?  So that, dedicating twenty minutes two times a day, just being still and breathing calmly would magnetize your energy to attract positive stuff to your life.  Hence: “This or something better will now manifest itself, in totally satisfying and harmonious ways for the highest good of all involved” or “infinite creative energy is coming to me easily and effortlessly.”

This is my daydream. As a kid, I loved my imagination and I once thought up this idea I’d try to get into a habit or rather create a second nature, to be more positive. I figured that the creator, God, Yahweh would be holding up the positive end of things, on this planet, so there you Go! Get all the help you can get, through prayer or quiet time.

Now all this is leading up to my sharing this. One of the women in my Yoga class, Linda, is an advanced clinical Heart-Centered Hypnotherapist and a nurse practitioner.  She conducted a workshop, during our last class in March, on Hypnotherapy.  The workshop stimulated a great discussion and a lot of testimony on the nature of humans, spiritual healing, conscious and unconscious problems and how to cope with life. I learned that Hypnotic trance is simply shifting back and forth between the conscious and unconscious mind; it’s a natural process that occurs, in most people, 80% of the time every day.  I learned that we act out of our Conscious mind 10% of the time.  The conscious mind: 1) analyses 2) thinks and plans and 3) holds the short term memory; where as, the unconscious mind works about 90% of the time. Its functions include 1) the long term memory 2) emotions and feelings 3) habit, patterns, relationship patterns and addictions 4) involuntary bodily functions 5) creativity 6) developmental stages 7) spiritual connections and 8) intuition.  Any amount of sharpening the sub-conscious functioning can only help, I think. Doesn’t that sound about RIGHT!  I think this is what my imagination thought of at age 13:  to train my sub-conscious to choose the positive.  I see a lesson in personal power here.  Why not psych yourself out or into (NTU) a positive state of mind consciously and subconsciously?

Linda’s organization offers Personal Transformative Intensives, a retreat to work with Hypnotherapy and your personal issues. It does cost a bit of change, but it’s 3 days of working with specialists, nurses, psychologists & yourself.  There is a 90 minute session, individuals or small groups can do, similar to what she work-shopped in our yoga class. I certainly see some benefits to doing personal transformative work, to help one get some control, in your life or to heal a personal issue you may have.   Even if it would only be time spent finding out that you are not alone in needing to know how to cope with stuff and then getting some methods to help you feel better in life.

The session made me think of Jill Scott’s lyrics: “Here I am again, asking questions, waiting to be moved …I am so unsure of my perceptions….where is the turn, so I can get back to the old me.  …Love has burned me raw, I need your healing, please.  Please, please…I am but a child to your vision…  So, God please hear my call, I am afraid for me…”

Sistergirlfriend  is singing about that point where you want, need, have to have intervention; calling on God’s control in your life, in order to get through and out of those negative relationship patterns and addictions.    Hypnotherapy, meditation, prayer, kind of all the same thing, if you think about it, isn’t it?

…journal entry March 17, 1998

I’m feeling lonely, disillusioned, unappreciated on the job.  Well that’s life, stop whining about it, kiddo.  So the Creator’s plan was not realized by you.  You managed to produce some decent off-springs, perhaps they have learned from me to make, visualize and create what it is you want of your life.  Believe in your power, Arty; don’t just make it a cliché.  Affirm life, affirm your power and affirm what is righteous about what you believe.

“I will maintain, my belief, in the truth, creative beauty and positive thought and action!  I will be NO FOOL.  I will be an intelligent, concerned, positive individual who doesn’t care what anyone thinks, Good to all those who have their individual thoughts and power – Just don’t rain on my life!”

Having to have HAND! Do you Need Hand? Can you keep hand and hold the hand?   We are speaking of the Upper Hand, of course. It’s getting a hand on it or having a hand in it; it’s not entirely being hands on, or holding hands.  It ain’t about Hands UP or Hands Down.  It’s HAND; having it, keeping it , maintaining the HAND.  When you have HAND, you have the control, you own the way and you call the shots.

Hands will applaud, he who has HAND, they have no choice, it’s HAND!

Needing to have the hand, like a bird in the hand understands it’s better than that which is in the bush.  Hand in hand we proceed down the road.

One has got to have HAND.  Control freaks must dictate what it BE, check their outcomes, look to the Will behind their Hand.  Keeping Hand has been the obsession of those who provide little heart and less truth in their HAND, so beware.  Healing hands help the hurt caused from too much of other’s HAND and their little heart in one’s life. Be deliberate, determined and definite that you are right and you can define the dogma. Damn the flow, if it don’t go your way.  Keep your HAND; hold the upper HAND in your life and your Will to power, you Rule the roost.


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Words Words Words

I don’t know what it is about me and these words.

I try to stay away from them, really I do.

But I just keep coming back to them.

Or they keep coming back to me.

I’ve tried to be still, to be quiet, to stop the words from forming from dancing from stringing together. But I can’t. I have no control. Still in my mind I grab at them, feeling them slide between my fingers, losing the right words, the precise words, to my stream of consciousness every single time.

I keep thinking that I command the words, that I give them meaning and give them power. But nay, always nay. I don’t catch the right words, or maybe my pitiful power is hardly enough to charge the ones I find. They don’t move anyone. That’s how you know your words have power. Look at what they can make people do.

My words move only me. They force me to remember. They bring me tears. They make me worry. They give me hope. They promptly take it away. Force, bring, make, give, take.

Words Words Words.

I’m so sick of words.

I hear words all day through.

First from him, now from you.

Is that all you blighters can do?

But I’m not.

I never tire of words. I think when others use them they can be so magical, so moving, and so I marvel. Why can’t I do that? Why don’t my words make people believe? Why don’t they seep inside the cracks and grab hold of what’s good in a person? Why don’t my words coat their souls in warm dream syrup, soothing, lulling, and easing their mind? Why don’t my words ignite those scraps of old paper hidden down deep and cause the stirring of their spirit to action? Why don’t my words make you fall in love? Why don’t they make you believe in love? Or goodness? Or to resurrect your innocence? Why don’t my words make you think?

The right words slip through my fingers.

The precise words swarm like butterflies, and I’m hopelessly waving a net, catching only the slowest, dullest, and most forgettable. My soliloquies are free of Fiery Jewels, missing Monarchs, empty of Emperors, and lacking Longwings. I catch moths, insects, bugs. Boo to that. Hiss on my poor aim. I think…I keep thinking…If I keep playing with words that I’ll find the right ones one day. The words that will change…change me…change the world…change something. I think the words will free me from a cocoon, and then I’ll get to really see who I’ve become.

But I haven’t.

They haven’t.

Words have their way with me. Words know how to get to me, get through me, and get me. I got got. I fell in love with someone who knew how to use words, to use me. And luckily, I didn’t get used up, but I came dangerously close to being left empty.

And I guess I try to fill myself up with words. Use words to fill in the empty spaces. Use words to keep me warm. Use words to keep me company when I feel alone. Use words to build me up, make me stronger, to unveil the newer model. But words can’t do that. Words have no power. It’s the receiver of the word that gives it power.

Someone can say “I love you,” but it doesn’t mean shit unless you believe it’s true, then you feel something. Someone can say “I’m sorry,” until they’re blue in the face, but it can’t start to right a wrong unless you believe they do regret what they did. Someone can say “I promise,” “I will,” “I won’t,” “I’ll never,” “Not ever,” and not hold true to any of that. And that disappointment only hurts, because you (the dumb ass) believed them. You fell for it. Words stuck their foot out as you were passing by, and you got got.

So why?

Why would anyone ever give words power? All that can come from it is you catching feelings, getting all in your chest, and being hurt. Hurt so bad that there are no words anyone could ever say to make you even begin to feel better. So why would anyone ever give words power?

Fuck, if I know.

I don’t know what it is about me and these words.

I try to stay away from them, really I do.

But I just keep coming back to them. 

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