30 December 2011


I wonder if he knows me.

I mean I know he knows about me.
I know he knows what I’m about. 
I know he listens when I speak. 
And when I don’t.


I wonder if he knows what I don’t. 
I wonder if he hears what I won’t. 
I wonder if he sees when I cope 
silently and privately with the impossible.

I wonder if he knows what he wants when he says he wants me.
I wonder 
and then he smiles.
And I think, 
he can’t know; how could he?

If he knew, how could he smile so serenely? 
How could he touch so tenderly? 
How could he contain my carcass with such confidence?

Then I wonder how much power he has. 
I’ve seen him move mountains. 
And I’ve witnessed him feed field-fulls of fraught nonbelievers his truth until they were no longer famished and frail. 
But is he a healer? 
If I touch the hem of his garment,
Will I be cured, or fall further into torment?
Can a dead dame be brought back to life or aren’t such marvels frozen in the time capsules we call theologies?

or is he my savior?

I wonder.

I wonder, because I’m broken. 
And no matter how many magicians I make my master
a miracle has yet to be performed.
Instead, I leave each false prophet more broken than before.
But I wonder if he could be any different.
And I wonder how I would know if he was.

If only I could taste his victory. 
If only I could sense his pride.
If only I could be what he sees when he envisions me at his side.
But I can’t.
So I wonder.
About this wonder.

In awe.
24 december 2012.


written for the introduction to Yoash Victorious’s Season of the Come Up EP. 
the season of the come up is not just a record. it’s not just a movement.
it’s a declaration made by the millions of minds that feel it’s their time.
too many of us have been denied what is rightfully ours
because we’re too blinded by dreams deferred and hopes devoured. 
not that we don’t have the strength within to win, 
but somewhere along the way we became cowards.
but now, we’re sick and tired of keeping our power confined in our pain. 

it’s time to unchain the change ingrained in our veins and let it rain. 
quenching the thirst of the earth, birth worth, and make it plain.
cus alterations can’t be made if our ways stay the same. 
and we can’t defy defeat if we answer to her name
I’m just sayin..
instead of tryna fix the rules, it’s time to change the game, stop playin. 
if you want to rearrange the scheme of thangs you cain.
I mean you can.
I mean you’re able to kill anything that threatens your will to survive. 
so shift your mental gear; take it out of neutral and put it in drive.
come alive! we’re kneeling
I mean pleading
I mean kneading knowing into being. 
and we’re in needing of some soldiers whose hearts are also bleeding. 
no more weeping. without seeking. a solution. 
no more distractions. 
no more insufficient reactions.
no more chit chattin without action. 
and no more actin.
as a matter of fact, retract the tracks of a change to come from your musical rack until you recognize that it’s time to make it happen. 

it’s time to rise up 
against that which falsely defines us.
time to leave behind fractured frames of mind and all the wrong done us.
time to deny the decline with which life has inclined us put up.
time to quit copying and pasting passivity; it’s time to cut up or shut up.
in other words,
it’s time for the come up.

24 August 2011

Ill Lyterati Presents: Open Mic Night at Kilgore

Ill-Lyterati, a premier arts collective based in Atlanta, Ga, hosts a weekly Open Mic Night at Kilgore on Morehouse College's campus. From 8-11 every Thursday night, you can hear amazing art and sign-up to share your own- for free! Come check out the poetry, music, comedy sketches, freestyles and raps the AUC and greater Atlanta area have to provide.

The first Open Mic Night will be Thursday, 1 September 2011. Be there!

Read more about Ill Lyterati here.

The Presage

The Presage (an Online Undergraduate Journal) is scheduled to debut on 1 September 2011. The Presage is a quarterly journal that is meant to provide future scholars and leaders with a platform to present their already blooming work. The journal will showcase the theories, analyses, critiques and ongoing research of undergraduates from all over the nation.  Issues will also feature "non-academic" areas of excellence such as poetry and media arts. Not specific to any one discipline, the entries in this journal are united by the skill, foresight and diligence of their authors.

Stop by the website on 1 September to read the featured work of scholars from various institutions including Spelman College, Morehouse College, Emory University, Georgia State University and Claftin University.

For more on The Presage, check out the website.
Meet the co-founder and Co-Editor-In-Chief Whitney Skippings-Dupree.

Young Black Thinkers Society

The Young Black Thinkers Society (YBTS) is a registered student organization at Spelman College. Founded in Fall 2009, this AUC-wide club meets once a week to discuss pressing issues in often heated but ever enlightening discussion. Topics have ranged from the supposed decline in music over the years, to debate over whether ignorance is bliss. Once a month, the group discusses the central ideas of a Black thinker or theory. Other activities include (but are not limited to) movie viewings, debates (within the group and with other AUC registered student organizations) and meetings at the local café

YBTS meets on the 4th floor of the Camille Cosby Academic Center on Spelman's campus on Tuesdays at 6 o'clock pm, starting on 6 September.

Like YBTS on facebook!

Education and the Group: The Case for Individuality

Education and the Group: The Case for Individuality is the title of Chaina's ongoing research project that doubles as her honors senior thesis and her 2-yr research project as a UNCF|Mellon fellow. The research is a three-fold project aimed at exposing the inconsistencies of the American public education system through philosophy, raw data, and personal testament (interviews) of students and educators alike.

First, Chaina plans to use philosophy to prove the necessity of individualism, especially in comparison to over-dependency on group dynamics. Second, she will research the intricacies of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with the hopes of deciphering what role the Act plays, if any, in the ongoing disservice of the education system. And finally, Chaina will interview students and professors who have operated under NCLB to determine whether the system is, in fact, working, and to discern the role played by NCLB.

Stay tuned for updates about the research and related events.

15 August 2011

The Fair St. Mural

The Fair St. Mural is a project aimed at beautifying a neglected yet historical neighborhood right outside the AUC. The mural can be seen from the local elementary school art classroom, and showcases prolific historical leaders marching toward the school, led by 2 school children. This 5-month project is the brainchild of Shawn Deangelo, a childhood development major and Morehouse College senior with a heart for giving back to the community.

Read more about the man behind the mural and his wonderful project here. And stop by anytime to check out the progress or offer a helping hand as the completion of the mural draws nearer. The mural site is located at 1021 Fair Street Southwest.

08 August 2011

The Frederick Douglass Tutorial Institute

Chaina is a proud member of the Frederick Douglass Tutorial Institute and has been since her freshman year in college. The Frederick Douglass Tutorial Institute (FDTI) is a tutoring program held in Brawley Hall on the Morehouse College campus. It was founded in 1970 by the late Morehouse graduate Carthur Drake. FDTI The Institute welcomes students from all over Atlanta, who come to be tutored by AUC college student volunteers. The students come from grades K-12 seeking aid in a variety of subjects, so there's room for any AUC student seeking a fulfilling opportunity to serve their community. FDTI does count toward community service hours, but tutors are encouraged to make a more long-term commitment.

This urge is in place for several reasons. Many students are regular attendees of FDTI and therefore begin to make bonds with their tutors. FDTI is a student-run organization, so the need for regular tutors is a crucial one. The process proves beneficial to tutors as well, for they are granted a wonderful chance to become a mentor, and also are able to experience the joy of seeing the difference they make as children transition from states of confusion to those of understanding.

FDTI meets Saturday mornings from 9 30 - 11 30 during the academic year.

Shawn Deangelo

Shawn Deangelo Walton was born in Eastpoint and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. And ATL has been his home ever since. A real lover of his community, Shawn feels convicted to use his gifts and talents to aid his immediate neighborhood of the Ashview Heights/Fair Street community. Aside from his time spent volunteering in an art class at the local elementary school (M. Agnes Jones), Shawn has spent countless hours helping to bring a piece of original artwork to the neighborhood via a wall-sized mural that can be seen from the art class window. 

The Fair St. Mural, a 5-month project, is showcased on a 15x40' wall aside the facing corner store's wall. It features the likeness of 22 prolific proponents of civil rights (including President Barack Obama, Angela Davis, Marcus Garvey, President John F. Kennedy, Louis Armstrong and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) all led in march by two young children headed to school. The mural also highlights some of the area's historical hotspots, such as the Atlanta University Center, the Bronner Brothers building and the Georgia Dome. The artist has been ralying up volunteers to aid him in his endeavor for the past several months, and the painted mural is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Shawn hopes that the mural brings the community hope for the future of their neighborhood. He is encouraged, he says, by the daily words of encouragement and gratitude from members in the community, who feel their once treasured region has been neglected. He has a true passion for the enlightenment of his people and the uplifting of the children. He hopes this mural can inspire someone in the community to do what they may have thought impossible.

Thanks for your service, Shawn, and congratulations on a job well done.

Want to hear more from Shawn?
Shawn Deangelo Fan Page
Shawn Deangelo on Twitter
Shawn Deangelo Website

Morgan Leanne House and Daryl Patrice

Morgan House and Daryl Patrice are like sisters joined at the artistic hip. Neither is a stranger to the art scene and both have had nearly identical artistic journeys while in the AUC.

Painter by hobby Morgan is a theater technician at Spelman. She ran sound for the 2009 and 2010 productions of the Vagina Monologues. She also served as 2nd attendant to Miss Phi Mu Alpha for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Likewise, Daryl will be continuing her run with the Spelman Drama Department, where she hopes to send her artistic chops to the stage. Daryl also served as the 2nd attendant to Miss Phi Mu Alpha herself during the 2009-2010 school year. 

In May of 2011, Morgan was named president of Ill Lyterati, an arts collective based in Atlanta, Georgia. So was Daryl. For the first time in the organization's history, 2 presidents were chosen, and who better fit than these two artistic twins.
Be on the lookout for this potential Miss Senior candidate. We're rooting for you, Daryl!

Since its conception as a spoken word group, the organization has grown immensely and is now home to a family of artists that includes poets, DJs, B-boys, rappers, visual artists and musicians- many of whom do several of these. Ill Lyterati hosts writing workshops on Monday evenings from 5 - 7 and Open Mic Nights on Thursday nights from 8-11 in Kilgore.

Join the Ill Lyterati Group Page on facebook!

Whitney Skippings-Dupree

Whitney Skippings-Dupree is a senior International Studies and Philosophy double major at Spelman College (based in Atlanta, Georgia). Whitney has a long history of interest in international conflict resolution, and she plans to continue cultivating said passions as she ventures into the next leg of her professional career. Having spent a semester studying abroad in Uganda and Rwanda, her current independent research seeks to bridge her dual academic interests in its concern for peace philosophies. 

As an extension of her academic aspirations, Whitney has been a crucial member of several academic extracurricular organizations and a pioneer of 2 of her own. Whitney has been a member of Model UN since her freshman year, a member of student government, and, as of last year, a member of LEADS, a program for present and future leaders.

As for her original projects, Whitney teamed up with friend and colleague Chaina Dobbins to birth two separate but special projects. The first, created in 2009 when they were sophomores, is the AUC philosophy club, pointedly named the Young Black Thinkers Society. The organization meets once a week to discuss challenging and pressing issues of varying subject matter and dedicates at least one meeting per month to a Black thinker or theory. The second of the ladies' projects originated in the early winter of 2011 and is set to debut 1 September of the same year. This time, the ladies are working on an online undergraduate journal entitled The Presage. The journal will showcase the current work and ongoing research of undergraduates in various fields of study.

As if her academic pursuits aren't enough, Whitney is a talented artist and avid activist as well. Her graphic design portfolio is stellar and her response to civil responsibility is unceasing. 
Keep it up, Whitney!

YBTS meets Tuesday evenings from 6-7 in Cosby. For more of Whitney see any of her pages:

Young Black Thinkers Society
The Presage

06 August 2011

new things a-brewin'

howdy folks!

So, as my senior year approaches at the most rapid of paces, I am met with an unsettling yet exciting truth: my life is beginning. My real, independent, ADULT life. It's crazy, but I'm so excited. I think I'm more excited than nervous because of all the promise that is ahead. Wanted to share some of my upcoming projects and endeavors to outline what I think is a very good start to an awesome life.

On the academic tip

-I'm a SENIOR!! 'Nough said.
-I am co-founder and acting overseer of the Young Black Thinker's Society in the AUC.
-I am co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of The Presage (An Undergraduate Journal) which debuts 1 September 2011.
-As graduate school desires become actualities, I'll be doing my most to go to Emory for graduate school.

On the extra-curricular tip

-I am the new co-host of Open Mic Nights at Morehouse College's Kilgore Cafe in the AUC
-I am an active member of Ill-Lyterati (Arts Collective based in Atlanta, Georgia)
-I am a lead in Sista Speak Up (Sister's Chapel Spoken Word Ministry at Spelman College)
-I've been requisitioned to help on several artistic projects both here in Atlanta and elsewhere in the U.S.

-I have tons of writing projects in the works, which is what I REALLY wish to share::


I'm excited about some upcoming writing projects. I'm working with a new genre of writing (one that probably exists already, but I am unfamiliar with as such). This genre fuses the short story with poetry. Extended poems (I'm talking pages long) that tell one story. So far, I've got two separate, specific works I wish to produce in the coming months. The first will be entitled 'Introductions' which will showcase my poem The Memo and then have one 'chapter' for each section of the piece that details how that aspect of me was formed. The second, tentatively titled 'Storytelling' will be a compilation of several poetic short stories of varying lengths and themes. A third concept is a more long-term goal which is the completion of a work entitled Genesis and Devotion. An epic poem, co-written with my friend Zach. The first part turned out wonderfully, and I think and extended, several-part tale would be great!

So, ambitious Chaina has arrived. Look out for great things, and as always, and support or critique is well-welcomed and appreciated.


Weep for Me

this poem was inspired by Sam Cooke's rendition of 'Willow Weep for Me'. Its secondary inspiration is Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree.
There once was a man named Mr. Row
Who grew up neglected, shy and alone.
Who liked peanut butter sandwiches and found exploring to be joyous,
And who’s very best friend was the wayward forest.
Life wasn’t easy for Mr. Row
Whom trouble seemed to follow everywhere he’d go.
But he never was taught how to deal with his pain
So when he felt his first sadness, he turned to the rain:

Rain cloud weep for me.
Release your waters upon the trees.
They’ll catch my sadness
In the hollows of their leaves,
Then send them away
To get caught in the breeze.
I’m not one to beg 
And I’m not one to plead.
But I’m imprisoned by heartbreak
nd I need to be freed.
Now the forest was not due for rain for a while.
But the rain cloud knew Row from his days as a child.
And it never had seen the poor boy so distraught.
And against better judgement did what it thought it ought not.
The cloud full of air had no water to spare.
But it squeezed out some rain for the little one there.
The young one said “Thank you” and returned to his play.The rain cloud now wrought by its own troubling pain.

It wasn’t too long before the now grown boy fell again.
But this time the wound was much much deeper in.
His sadness returned, and to nature did he.
Only this time he turned to the willow tree:

Willow, weep for me.
Your branches reach the river naturally.
While you’re down there, release my pain
Just this once; I won’t ask again.
I tried to ignore my broken heartbeat,
But each tear I cry takes more of my peace.
And you’re already bending so low to the earth,
Just grant me this favor and save my self-worth.
The willow listened to his logic and found it to be sound,
So it bent even lower, touched its branches to the ground.
Cracking it’s trunk as it stretched further than it should,
The willow did what no one else would.It lifted the man from his now trembling knees
Then returned to the river, ever bound for the sea.
The willow whispered gently to the waters below
A message of sorrow for his friend Mr. Row.

The river received the message and the gentleman was glad;
It seemed as if by magic he was no longer sad.
So he briefly thanked the willow and went on about his day
Leaving behind a now worn willow tree who gave a broken man his way. 

Oh, but the man had forgotten
That sadness strikes more than twice,
But he would be reminded
A little later on in life.

It didn’t seem long to the man, now old, before he experienced grief once more.
Only this was a hurt much greater than he had ever known before.
While crying he remembered the willow and the message it had delivered,
So he gathered up his heartache a
nd sauntered to the river:

River, weep for me.
My tears and your waters will blend fluidly.
You’re already sending troubled waters away.
So adding mine to yours can’t be too much to pay.
I know I’ve hurt before, but it’s too much this time.
I need you to come ease the strain in my life.
I’ll nevermore ask you to pay for my sins.
Just this once and I can prepare for the next offense.

The river pondered long on the old man’s request.
It was moved my the tale, but wanted to do what was best.
After thinking a while, the river came to halt.
The old man was misled, but it wasn’t his fault.
So it offered him a compromise.It inhaled deeply, then released a sigh.
He looked at the man, down on his luck.
“First,” said the river, “you have to get up”.

Find yourself a boat, and if there isn’t one, build it;
If you want to protect your heart, then first you must shield it.
Enter the boat, and slide onto me.
Then grab your oar and take your own lead.
It’s important you lean to steer life on your own-
You’re name, after all, is Mr. Row.
Now, there will be times when you feel neglected
And things don’t go as you may have expected.
But the next time you’re hurting, don’t beg trees and the weather
Just come to me, and we can cry together

The old man listened intently to the instructions of the river,
And smiled in his heart at what he had been given.
He built his boat and took it to the stream,
But once he returned he no longer had need
For the tears of the river, for he had none of his own-
Only contentment in having what he had been shown.
The man slid on the waters nonetheless,
To weep with the river, released from distress,
Tears of joy for having found a friend
Who had helped him to find the peace within. 

27 May 2011


I used to be emotional.
But I gave him all of mine.
Now I'm just a-motional.

I used to find worth in being held by him,
no matter who with.
Now I'm just with

I used to be a giver,
blessing him with an abundance of my service.
Now I'm just reserved.

I used to be outspoken,
overpowering naysaying voices to silence.
Now I'm just silent.

Having been
tossed in the shed
with all the tears I hid from him.
Now I seek no longer.

My reluctance confuses you.
Now, boxed with labels of "fragile" and "do not open" and
cornered by angles whose degrees are too acute to allow room for expansion anyway,
you read my labels and write me off as unwanted merchandise- without knowing the delicacy of my contents.
And your avoidance means I am quickly "returned to sender".


I used to be a-motional.
But I gave him all of mine.
Now I'm just emotional.

24 May 2011

sampled love.

a song about (lost) love. dedicated to (real) music.

You used to be my song.
Now all I've got left is a capella memories.
Where did we go wrong?
The melody has gone and took with it my harmony.

And if it's over I'll be alright.
Our love I will cover, repeat in my mind.
Until I get the real thing back.

You were why I wrote.
My meistro and my base (bass), conducting my heart to play.
Then you changed the notes;
now you're prone to violence (violins), fiddling heartstrings away.

Free Verse
I used to love you.
Back when you were original and pure. Back when the best of you couldn't be recorded, adorned, packaged and stored. You know, back when you were sure.
In those days I could dial you up to hear your voice. But then you changed your tune.
Now I have to search archives of albums with an accompaniment just to find you.
Orchestrated sonata now the echo of a symphony.
Thunderous tenor now a feeble mezzo forte falsetto.
What happened to you?
You were a well structured sonnet and I fell in love with your lyrical design.
But you couldn't keep time. Or keep up with the times, that is. Or were too busy trying, I guess. 
Cus as the people around you became callous and crude so did you.
When they told you chivalry was dead you listened, and shifted your stanzas to suit their taste.
You hastily diminished our duet with your decrescendo into delirium.
And you did it all so quickly there may be no turning back.
But while you and what once moved you may have come to a rest, no coda could conclude my repetition of your rhythm. 
So rather than recite your requiem, I'll repeat your rhapsodies until their romantic notes are no longer in my register.

13 May 2011

preview/snippit: the huntress

a couple days ago I began writing a piece that I then decided to expand into a longer allegory. the whole story, entitled "the huntress", is yet incomplete, but here is the initial segment that both informs the larger work and serves as an interesting tale on its own. it's actually my favorite part (so far). enjoy.

the lion king (or these eyes)
I packed my bags today.
All I left him was a tear-stained pillow, soaked in the painful confusion released from the eyes whose glow once belonged to him.

These eyes used to be my glory: a huntress's greatest weapon when hunting for the most prime and challenging game. When they caught his they trapped him like a netted lion tricked into bondage while searching for water in the south Saharan desert he calls home.

Bright whites barely seen beneath wide irises enticed and flagged him down. Irises so deep and tempting he nearly drowned in the brown. Pupils so sharp they cut him loose from his natural trappings while originating one anew. And lids whose closings were the scariest thing he knew because he quickly became accustomed to these eyes.

Look again.

I had done my research: lions have such sharp claws, thick fangs and hungry will-power that taming them is a fantasy and simply holding them is a temporary illusion in itself. And he was the most typical of lions: confidently regal and not easily maintained. Yet somehow the way he slyly sauntered into what I thought was my possession persuaded me that I had done the impossible. The way he knowingly partook of the nutrients I provided him, daily mouthing them from the palms of my hands, convinced me that he would never seek to feed himself again. And his purr. Alone it comforted my belief that I had finally found my final prize. I could now retire; my days as a huntress were over. But when paired with the ferocity of his roaring aggression it confused me into thinking there was even more to him than meets

These eyes.

I now see these eyes were in fact my curse: what I thought was a secret weapon for containing wild royalty was in fact a signal that tagged me as an easy target. He grasped my glance in his and like opposing magnet ends we mended by no force of our own. But we were so alike: both fearless, both hungry, both unashamedly vicious in our rectifications of disorder in our kingdoms. We were too alike. In fact, we were nearly identical. No wonder we ended up repulsing in the end.

Unlikely companions turned into the best of friends. And then remiss. Eyes once glossy with glow too quickly turned arid with emptiness.

I found him in the desert. Thirsty. Searching for water. I suppose he found what he was looking for; these eyes held more water than I could ever have imagined possible. But now I give him his last and dearest desire, pouring out my waters upon his bedsheets until I have nothing left. But what I came with:

These eyes.

09 May 2011

me at the botanical gardens in atlanta.

What Should You Believe

I wrote this as a final writing assignment for my Philosophy of Religion course at Morehouse College. I'm currently editing it and my Theory of Truth for submission into The Presage (An Undergraduate Journal) this fall. Here's a taste of the final product.

I believe that God exists. By that I mean I believe there is an ever-present power that far exceeds my own here on earth. I believe this power moves and informs my daily life without completely controlling that life. Something like Plato’s unmoved mover, I believe in an actuality that is the force behind all existence, but that this God-being has limited conscious contribution (whether intentionally or by nature) to our current world. This force is one with which I hope to be (re)connected upon my death from this world. This means that I believe in the eternality of the spirit or soul- that there is some part of me that is separate from my body or earthly mind. My beliefs are general and complete (for me), and while they coincide with my overarching perceptions of morality, they consider not such particulars as which actions in themselves are (im)moral- not, at least, until my conception of how to determine moral goodness is established, a formula that I have yet to officially discern.

The “evidentialist standard” asserts that “you should believe something if, and only if, you have good reasons, good evidence… in favor for [that] belief” (Nobis, emphasis mine). This means that all beliefs must be justified by sufficient reasoning or arguments.

Generally speaking, the evidentialist standard is one that should be universally applied to maxims of belief because without such our beliefs would be arbitrary, and therefore unnecessary (and dangerous). While one may argue that following rules you do not believe in may prove beneficial (whether in the extreme case of heaven and hell or the simple desire not to be put in “time out”) I argue that a failure to provide reasons for one’s beliefs equate to a failure to apply oneself to one’s personhood appropriately. That is to say that a failure to provide evidence for belief is little less acceptable than failure to provide evidence for what one claims to be (definite- even if temporary) truth. What purpose is there for evidence if not to base our understanding of life thereon [1]? For me, there is no question as to whether one must have a reason to believe what they do, but the worth of those reasons are what must be explicated.

For example, “because mommy said so” may be a child’s sole reason for not eating from the cookie jar before dinner. The child may wholeheartedly feel that this restriction is ungrounded, unfair and may vow to never make her child endure such hardship. Yet the child will refrain from eating the cookie because she recognizes the authority of her parent, or perhaps because she wishes to avoid the wrath that will inevitably ensue. Here, we have an example that includes several kinds of reasons for not eating the cookie. Is respect for authority enough reason to do what that authority tells her? Does it depend on the particulars of what that authority has demanded, and how so? Are there different levels of authority that determine the scope of that authority’s command? Is not wanting to be punished sufficient reason for doing this act she would otherwise not have done? Or does the amount of punishment determine how justified her decision was? What about her own, natural convictions that tell her there is no logical reason why she should not eat the cookie- that it is in fact her natural right to be able to do so? Here we see the necessity of clarifying what is meant by evidence and what constitutes “good” evidence, for every reason has many countering ones that put the former into question.

Evidence, according to Dr. Nathan Nobis, comes in 3 forms: 1) empirical proof, 2) experience (which at times may be personal and unrepeatable) and 3) pure thought (a priori- as in 2 + 2 = 4) (Nobis).  I agree with this assessment. To further this general make-up, I question whether certain of these forms of evidence are greater than the others and in what ways. I answer that no one form of evidence can be held in higher esteem than any other when it comes to belief. If someone were to say they “had a strong feeling” that the green leaves on a tree were blue, or even that their eyes told them so, that would not be reason enough to justify the/my understanding of trees as having blue leaves. It would, however, serve as justifiable reasoning for that individual’s belief that the leaves were blue, because their personal experience tells them so, and all understanding, as aforementioned, must be based on some sort of evidence[2]. The reason why these forms of evidence are sufficient for justifying belief yet not truth(read: facts as ascertained and maintained by society) is because they are personal and only have to be checked by the individual. The truth, then, must be checked by a vast grater number of individuals before being considered valid or true.

Allow me to insert a very brief explication my theory of truth here, for a familiarity of it will best help round out and inform one’s understanding of my assertions concerning evidence and belief. Absolute Truth exists. It consists of those actualities that cannot be proven here on earth. God (however defined) either exists or does not exist or exists in many forms (polytheism) but no two of these can be true and at least one of them must be. Whichever of these statements is an actuality is an absolute Truth that cannot be a fact (“little t” truth, if you will) yet nonetheless is real. On earth, there are certain things that can be and are proven or at least maintained. That trees (typically) bare green leaves is a universal fact that has been generally accepted by humankind. To say that this is not so would be to lie- to offer a version of the facts that goes against what has been established as (“little t” true). Belief, then, would rest in between the absolute realm and earth. One must use the facts ascertained here to best determine what may be in the other realm (if such a realm exists). It would not be untrue or a lie, then, to assert that God exists- even if in all actuality God did not, because such matters are weighed on a scale of empiricism that is limited to earthly matters. Such a belief, if unTrue, would rather be a misjudgment of the facts/evidence (that is three-fold) that have been provided us here on earth.

I would like to take this time, then, to generally assert the following: The validity of belief can only be determined on a personal, particular scale. My reasons for believing what I do (or even that you should believe the same) do not have to be approved by any other person. Furthermore, they cannot be discredited by any other person[3], for in believing what I do I am saying that I have ascertained the facts, judged accordingly, and come to a specific, resultant if not universal or provable conclusion.

For this reason, my beliefs meet the evidentialist criteria. Simply put, I have my own reasons for believing what I do and therefore am justified in believing them. I furthermore have reasons for believing my reasons are good enough from which to base my belief (based on the 3 forms of acceptable evidence). Specifically, for example, I believe in an eternality of the spirit or soul because of the utilization and pure existence of thought itself. I furthermore, feel as though the existence of a being as cognizant, critical, affective, and feeling as I could not exist, and would serve little purpose to exist, for such a limited amount of time. There must be, in my estimation, some grand scheme that gives worth to my temporary state (there must be some reason for goodness and growth that exceeds the “good life” of humans who arbitrarily ended up on a planet such as ours). While I justify my reasons (a proof, experience or thought) with deeper reasons (that such experiences are justifiable reasons for believing and why), the fact alone that a reason exists for someone is enough for me to appreciate and respect that belief (though I may, even vehemently, oppose such beliefs, based again on my own experiences). [4]

Having outlined my theory of Truth, it is safe to say that my religious beliefs both should never change and may continue to do so- and this is no contradiction. That is, my beliefs are (currently) supported and confirmed yet will be so in a new way in the future. For, as my obtaining and interpretation of facts grow, so will the appropriate understanding of God (among other things) therefrom. Likewise, so long as any individual’s belief system is informed by any of many reasons that are by their own estimation reasonable, that individual is justified in their belief.

[1] Here I am reminded of arguments concerning the foolishness of lying (as a general (moral) axiom): poor communication, absence of any real (or relative) knowledge. The same ideas apply here with reference to belief.
[2] Conviction (often confused with or written off as a “mere feeling”), where a priori thought meets (personal) experience, is an oft-belittled yet pertinent reason from which to form a decision or belief.
[3] This is not to say that one cannot or should not take the arguments and claimed experiences of others into account when drawing their own conclusions.
[4] This is not to say, I must add, that certain actions that are informed by beliefs should not be hindered, for actions, like earthly truths, can affect a much greater number of persons than those who hold the particular belief. Determining which actions should and should not be monitored is another conundrum of its own.

21 April 2011

Letter to the Editors

To whom it may concern:

Any nation that defaces great races and then erases articulation of racist victimization using propagation that makes hatred seem brave and reiterates this implementation in dozens of cases is a disgrace.

And furthermore, when he who perpetuates such grave mistakes can not only escape but embrace his fate because the raping and disseminating of native states whose inhabitants are innately blank is a reason to celebrate I become irate.

Can you relate?

Seems like history has yet to lost its stake. What will it take to make our fated future of freedom happen now? Tell me how when paralyzing hypnotizing always wins. And multiplicitous categorizing using the same lens is defended by academics who spend their time writing their findings using the same
ship me out of here. This time I want to go. To the land of the free where the buffalo roam. Where cowboys and Indians are the best of friends and as long as you're willing to work for it we can all have a Benz. That place where equality seeps through their pores- wrought on from countless years of war fighting for peace. That place where I don't have to have a say because my government speaks for me. That land of liberty where I liberally can toss my cares to the wind and still win.

(Who am I kidding?) It remains that the evidence is stacked up and it all backs up the fact that the U.S. is jacked up. But that's not all I have to say.

I believe in change. And I see it in you. Self-hatred ingrained in what's not taught in schools. Champions made lame because they assumed they would lose before the game even got started. World changers in chains our ancestors have already helped to break leaves me broken-hearted. But undefeated and encouraged when I look out at you. And envision the work finished on account of you.

Young ground breakers who break limited skies as well. Proud claim-stakers to the wish and the well and the dream come true. Not just exceptions to the rule, but leaders of a new regime. Here's to you.

Young man who does more than curse the system with a mic in his hand, but gets down and becomes one with the land so when he reaps what he sows he can plan on his demands being met.
To you I say thanks.

Young lady who sees the shady and brings the sunshine in. Yes you who find the time to climb from behind your podium and outshine the pandemonium.
You are truly appreciated.

Remedy providers,
Untruth deniers,
Clear path finders,
Era definers,
Solution designers,
Integrity admirers,
Epiphany inspirers,
Reality re-writers.

I tip my hat to you in endless and heartfelt gratitude.


Chaina N. Dobbins

13 March 2011

can't let you go, reprise.

So I wrote this poem over the summer. It's funny, cus I'm talking about how I can see the heartbreak up ahead with this cat and all. Fast forward 7 or 8 months and here I am, with this guy I wrote about wanting to not want. Goes perfectly with this ongoing conversation I've been having with myself and others for a while now. The question is: In relationships, how much is too much and when? 

Consider a marriage: it's gonna take a lot (it should take a lot, I mean) before a marriage is dissolved.
Consider a newly budding friendship: if someone who is basically a stranger to you does something significantly shady, that may be reason enough to take the hint and keep moving.

But what about everything in between? Especially relationships that are fluid, and unbound by "titles". I mean, how do you determine that a particular action is not worth forgiving? Or that a particular habit is not worth trying to break? How much is too much, and when?

'Tis better to have loved and lost...

then never to have loved at all. 

I watched a movie once where one guy says this to another guy. And the second guy responds: try it. After having watched it (years ago) I thought about what both men had said and tried to decide which side sounds more true. Oh ok I remember, the movie was Men in Black, but that's irrelevant. Anyhoo, I was convinced that the age old proverb was true. It IS better to have loved and lost. But every rule has it's exception, and I've found the one to this particular presumed fact of life.

I've been in love twice. The first one ended very badly. For both of us. I loved him but he was no good to or for me. And although it was I who saw the need to part ways, it still took me two years to fully, honestly get over him. But at no point in that journey did I feel as though all the crap I went through (for love?) was not worth it. At no point did I wish I hadn't met him, or hadn't loved him. I was always grateful to know that love is real. And to have been able to experience it. Young as I was, and am, I often wondered if I could ever feel like that again WITHOUT the craziness of letting it blind me.

Fast forward a few years. After a few nice but significantly less potent relationships, I fall again. It's the most amazing feeling to me because I know that it's pure, unadulterated love. No strings attached. No forced storybook romance. No fantasy fiction mold we tried to fit ourselves into. In fact, we tried to keep ourselves apart. He the ice cold player, I the young collegiate newly emancipated from her serial monogamy, we stressed taking it slow. And we did. But our union was inevitable. Which is what gave me such faith in us. It was so natural! There is nothing that he did or said that consciously comforted me enough to let my guards down again. It just, happened. Not only did my willingness to be my complete self around him let me know I could love again, it was he who became the subject OF that love- probably for the same reason.

But at some point something happened. Or at least it must have, because we're no longer whatever we once were. I have absolutely no explanation. If he does, he hasn't bothered to share it with me. And I haven't bothered to ask. Before it was because I couldn't bare to hear how, once again, the man I love doesn't think I'm sufficient. (The men I couldn't fully fall in love with seemed to find me 'just right'. And I was always confident that I was great to and for them. Only the men I loved managed to make me feel as though I was actually not good enough.) Now it's because I'm convinced that it's a personal decision that has nothing to do with me. The way things snapped leads me to believe there are no words I could offer that would take us back, no matter how badly I want to return.

So now I've technically lost love again (although the feelings I've had can't possibly go away any time soon. I just pray to God it doesn't take me another two years). Reflecting this morning, I realized that I do, in fact, wish I'd never fallen in love with him. I say this because I have gained nothing. One may say this relationship was worth it because it let me know it's possible to fall in love again after losing it. But I was convinced of that (through him) even before I fell in love with him. Another may say all the great times we shared speak to the beauty of love and life. That the fulfilling spirit of what we had was a blessing from God. That it was. But I have close friends whose presence in my life both fulfills and blesses me daily. Maybe it taught me to guard my heart better. But, considering the tortoise-like pace it took us to get from friends to what we were makes me doubt that very seriously. We were completely in love and yet still weren't anywhere near the traditional ideas of commitment. Any more guards on my heart and nobody would be able to get in! I don't want to be one of those bitter women I'm so sick of hearing about. I love love! I'm a complete sap. But I also respect and appreciate it enough to take it very seriously. So why did I have to endure this? How could I have prevented it? Where do I go from here?

In sum, what I'm trying to say is that it is better to have loved and lost once than never to have loved at all. But once loving and losing becomes a pattern, you start to wonder what the point is. No part of our relationship was worth what I'm feeling right now. Don't misunderstand: I still love and am in love with him, and every moment we shared was and is intensely important and dear to me. Irreplaceable, even. But all the joy, creativity, and love in the world is not made more valid simply by its being ripped away.

For Future Refernece


Dear You, 

Going through the motions will leave your emotion quotient totally broken
Reckless devotion- the effect of listening to a heart that has misspoken.
Someone said if you're not on the same page don't even leave the book open,
Go on and close it.
Advice token- go on and let it soak in.
Love lost is a potent potion for initiatng the rage of beasts newly awoken.
Creating trains of thought entertaining strange mechanisms of coping.
Zen proverb quoting and eloping mentally
by smoking dope and floating g-gent-ally.
Jack and Coke to the throat til ya choke,
thinking the sting will cover your crushed hopes and dreams.
"Meant to be" now sounds something like a myth to me.
Yet again Cupid lifts his arrow, shifts his gaze and misses me.
The game's a maze for which there is no bird's eye view.
You can't weigh all the options and then determine what to do.
Nothing's laid out for you.
Life doesn't come equipped with a solvent,
just other folks' attempts to apply their inexperience to your problems.
But there is no right or wrong, all there is is just "evolving".
Do the best you can, pay attention to the now,
because pre-celebrating the future is how Giants fall down.
How can you reach your destiny without leaving?
How can you combat the night if you're constantly daydreaming?
What good can come from game playing and scheming?
You may win the match but looks can be deceiving.
All you've really done is trick yourself, and that's misleading.
Temple kneading, dry heaving and emotional bleeding
that seeps into the soul and makes you wonder why you're breathing
can leave you feening for revenge or at least some reconciliation.
Blame-gaming, naming faults employed with confrontation-
A remedy that seems pleasing but is just an imitation-
dramatic results of avoidable humiliation.
I'm not suggesting apathy but deference to your reverence.
Just breathe and know that road is not your preference.
Let the fact that life goes on serve as your severance.
And if you're reading this in a state of bliss, know that I don't mean to wreck it.
Just consider this message a tough love note for future reference.


17 February 2011


The world is full of haters:
facilitators of debates that have no stake in reality
whose sole purpose in life is to initiate calamity
(or so they think). Or so it seems
cus every time they open their mouths vehemence seeps out and overclouds the mounds and mountain peaks from which true wisdom speaks in an attempt to repeat the history that brought us down.
And somehow they've convinced thousands to believe these self-defeating untruths;
they're ruthless.
And all without proof they do this.
And bystanding aloof we accrue this
false information and form therefrom false identities.
No way to rewind we simply must find in ourselves the entity that makes us human and multiply it by infinity;
superhumanify the I, that is you.
Next time they try to remind you that the possible is improbable
call an audible
ya gotta know
that it's simply a lot a bull
perpetuated by the minds that guide those that blindly abide by unrevised rules
used to keep potential energy resentful of the powers that be,
not knowing if it would just move it'd prove that even the statistically unaccounted for is valuable.
Mandate it for yourself officially unallowable
the fallible ways they try to display what they say is your inability:
intrinsic militancy misplaced into anger and violence willingly.
Believe you me: appeasing the masses isn't easy,
but it also isn't always the best choice.
Have your own voice
and use it boldly.
Let who you are be enough and carry it proudly like a trophy-
a gift from God
Who saw fit for someone like you to exist
not just to sit around moping
or mope around barely coping and losing focus of your purpose when you could be running it.
Legitimate heir to the throne,
take your seat and claim your own.
You could run the show if you so desire.
Determine for yourself what the worth of your empire will be
and make it happen.
Ruler of your own destiny,
pick up your shoes and walk toward the you you were meant to be.
Figure out the role you were made to play the way only you can.
Cus at the end of the day you will be held accountable for yourself.
And if you get lost along the way, there's nothing wrong with asking for help.
So no more excuses.
Unloose yourself from the trying whining of these mindless clowns and become the real you,
self-edifying and abounding in glorious worth. Then
take a look around and admire the results of your work.
Newly unwound from the misplaced distaste and the hurt,
territory claimed and maintained with efficiency and mirth,
you realize that without someone or something trying to keep you down
you would never know the joy that comes from being finally

04 February 2011

The Memo

I fit in with me.
I'm a wonderwoman who can fly and type and rhyme all while dancing
to a beat created by none other than.. ME.
what's NOT to love??
My last Me's misery reflected in the current One's glee;
what could make you THINK for a SECOND that I somehow fail to see your idea of Me is madly incomplete?
Or that I care?
(let ME know
so I can AMEND that *ish*)
hi-writing the skyline with My pen.
insatiable hungers for that that can't be
come close when I open My head and let My mind do its thing
and it makes Me feel much better
laughter so bold it runs races with thunder and wins
live My life preaching wisdom but never forgettin My sins
the only One on whom My life depends
I lead the way for Me
in touch with Me and I like what I see
who I be was meant for Me
and I will never
I am important to me. Of no doing of my own, my pride rests in those that came before me. Nests in tales of revolution. Nestled near the rigid warmth of great granddaddy's voice. Simply put: needs, is, breathes, gives me history. My history. H-I is siiiiilent-ly spoken when I face my ancestors in all their glory. Retold stories of unloved lovers. Bold imploring now hidden undercover(s) of books unread because our schools have a tradition. But luckily so do I, and it proudly boasts it's mission: the not so simple task of making what should, be. I love you,
me. knock-knock. who's there? me. me who? me.I.she.fly C-H-A-I. N-A. chaichai, ol' girly w
the eyes? nah, the one with the hair. yeah, same chick. 5'6". not so thick, but she's got nice lips. thinks quick. nice wit. and she spits! wants to teach. smart, sweet ,and confident. old school spirit with a new school edge. gonna change the system if it leaves her dead. fellas tryna holla but she's practically wed. never turn her back on ya cus she meant what she said. and she never makes promises she can't keep. her.
she's somebody.
..'s somebody. Reflected in the love of another is the greatness of she, the beloved. Cherished and adored, her goal is to ensure that he knows his love is reciprocated. Never belated, they waited until the time was right. And now that's it's arrived it'll never leave their sight. Strength and might combine to unite a queen to her king revealing a love to revel the ages. Uncaged rage has nothin on this love. Raving mad sadness can keep on truckin cus this love ain't havin it. Too real is their connection. Too energized for restin, it obliterates each test and pop quiz thrown in its direction. Love muscles flexin continuously. With a presence so potent it's perplexin (but only to those who aren't as blessed). Their love's more familiar than textin, more revered than an s-marked chest. The rest may not understand it, but his love is all she needs..to know that what he sees when he admires she is incredibly unique.
I love creativity.
In it I see me.
'Cause it was HIS that reached into the heavens and pulled out ME!
My spirit's atmosphere-
One that rains on Its subordinate graciously.
And often.
One that covers His love patiently.
And softens
Hardened heads and harder hearts
That have been jumbled, crumbled and ripped apart,
Never believing a new start is possible
Until He appears and darts the target's goal
He gives us Art.
Beautiful creation that re-makes Itself seen.
Three in one, some abstract trinity,
It is a never-ending reminder of He
That makes me
Take care of me.
This thing can go on forever: woman proud.. woman comfortable with her for her because of her...story. Faced with the facts, no longer ignoring her herness and knowing that she is enough. Empowered and uplifted because she realizes her worth. She is the epitome of greatness, unearthed. History uplifted, actualities untwisted, misery re-gifted and mended into gold. If you weren't aware that such brilliance existed, you must have missed it, but you can consider this the memo.

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