How one fares in life

When one’s skin is deemed unfair

Depends on self-love.

© 2016 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved


Verdigris Vents


Is Liberty just

A statue in a harbor

While ANARCHY looms?






© 2015 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

No surprise here:

Many children of hetero* parents in the United States of America are reared without their biological fathers in their lives, or with them partially in their lives; and a combination of factors — father’s fault, mother’s fault, government’s fault — figures in the perpetual breakdown of the American family. However, never are the children to blame.

Now for the heavy:

Many Black Americans and other Black people born elsewhere in the Americas can count among their not-so-distant great-grandfathers white men who were slaveowners — scores of whom sold their own infants into slavery.

Examine your surname and those of your recent ancestors, and, except for those surnames passed down through voluntary interracial unions (read:  non-slave-and-master sexual violence [read:  rape]), why not mull over how fucked-up colonial American and antebellum family values really were?  Then think about what’s really in a name and how rooted your dignity really is.  And hug, HUg, HUG, and love, listen to, respect and PROTECT your children a lot more deeply from these words forward.

*Footnote: Many gay and lesbian parents desire children but continue to struggle for equal rights, such as to marry and to receive domestic-partner benefits. As the years go by, their parenting has proven to be stable. What must be remembered: Without Black people in the U.S.A. launching the fight for civil rights — and yes, that struggle became integrated as the civil-rights movement gained momentum — there would be no gay-rights movement and no women’s-rights movement.

© 2014 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

May They Rest In Peace Once They Get Justice:

Eric Garner and Michael Brown — Slain in the Streets

 +   +   +

Rest In Peace:

James Garner, Lauren Bacall and Richard Attenborough — Passed Away

AND NOW, she rises.



ess than two weeks ago, I smilingly related to my sibling this afternoon, I had reread Poet Laureate Maya Angelou‘s lyrical and profound 1969 novel, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. So many times, Ms. Angelou’s words inspired me to confront the painfulness of my past lives. Now she, the majestic writer whose first loves outside of the familial were reading and dancing, has made her Transition and is pirouetting with angels in the firmament. I’m sure she’ll give her latest wings a rest now and then — but always will she keep those angels rapt with attention as she recites poetry with that jazzy voice of hers.


  Rest In Peace, Marguerite Ann Johnson

Girl Holding a Flower  MAYA ANGELOU     Boy with a Flower

April 4, 1968 – May 28, 2014





Text:  © 2014 Chantale Rêve  All Rights Reserved







Chained, sin on my lips,
Bruised within my seeded womb,
I long to jump ship.





© 2014 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved



Photo Source:

Photographer:  George Hodan


Cotton from Mary Frances

Cotton from Mary Frances (Photo credit: Midpath)

Talk about irony.  First Blacks — well, We was coloreds back then — were forced to pick the cotton.  Now We can’t even take photos of the cotton.  WTF? you ask. Yeah, well, it’s a cryin’ shame.  Seems actor couple Cherie Johnson and Dennis White stopped their car on a South Carolina road, en route to a respite in Myrtle Beach, to snap pix of cotton in a vast field of the white fluffy stuff.  Next up pulled a sheriff, who grilled them in the hot Southern sun about drugs that were not in their possession, rifled through belongings in their car, handcuffed them, accused Ms. Johnson of petty larceny (a charge later dropped) and then issued a citation for “Other.”  Again, you ask:  WTF?

Soft in the head, sure.   The South Carolina Sheriffs Department also has got to be out of its cotton-pickin’ mind.   (The film Deliverance comes to mind; just substitute a car for a canoe — and a camera for a bow and arrow.)  We’ve heard of the vehicular version of racial profiling:  DWB (“Driving While Black,” for those readers who aren’t Black, or have never been a passenger in a car driven by a Black person).  Now the media has introduced to the massas, I mean, masses, the botanic version of racial profiling:  PCWB (“Picking Cotton While Black”).

Scratching my head, which is as soft as cotton.  So let me get this straight as hair smeared with Dark & Lovely lye:  It was cool for coloreds to stoop to pick the cotton as slaves — when we did it for free — and, later, as tenant farmers, but now we can’t take photos of it?  The absurdity of those facts and the ugliness of the physical violation and psychological torture of actors Cherie Johnson and Dennis White are causing my fingertips to bleed like those of my Black forefathers and Black foremothers who toiled in those cotton fields and were considered chattel — possessions no more important than farm animals — in the agro-rich South.

But what to do?  Boycott the ubiquitous natural fiber the very enunciation of which triggers downy comforts?  I’m not exactly ready to toss out my Q-tips and T-shirts, my billowy sheets and snuggly fleece.  While I wouldn’t mind opting for nylon undies over cotton ones, I can think of a few products for which there currently are no substitutes.  Let’s face it:  It’s hard to avoid such a versatile material from the plant world.

As for photographing plants by the side of the road — yes, we Americans of all colors have the right to seize the moment and the day!  I say:  Shoot the cotton like a paparazzo!  Shut off the A/C on the approach to whatever-the-fuck road We meander onto in some small town way below the Mason-Dixon Line.  Whip out that zoom lens to capture that priceless image of cotton.  Cotton that pricked the sides of African slaves running on blistered soles on the way to freedom. Cotton running free.  Cotton, cotton everywhere.

Hell, white landowners and their henchmen used to whip Us if We refused to pick the cotton.  When We complied and picked the cotton, We got flogged anyway.  You know, to hell with boycotting cotton.  Out, out with all my belts and riding crops.  Regarding the latter:  Yeah,  like I’ll ever ride a real horse after the first time, when my steed peed for an eternity and then decided to speed through the friggin’ forest.  And they called it a “company outing” intended for “team building.” A lot of hooey.  Hell, it was nearly company-sanctioned murder.  When my incontinent Mister Ed realized his buddies a mile ahead, he made up for lost time. He must’ve mistaken the Poconos for Sleepy Hollow and me for the Headless Horseman because he was giddying up and I was screaming like a whore in a horror flick.  No, in case you’re wondering, I didn’t know that yelling my head off would spook the horse.  Some bonding experience.  My co-workers were guffawing, their laughter bordering on bawling and echoing through the woods.  Of course, they too had signed away their lives with nervous smiles before donning those brain buckets.

Hmmm … Methinks I’ll boycott dude ranches but only after anything I associate with riding crops, including:  S&M clubs; Spanx in any color; DVDs of Indiana Jones, Batman Returns and Catwoman; and any Madonna videos made prior to 2000.



©2013 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

Using a cotton picker machine

Using a cotton picker machine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Memoriam


Mourning the very recent passings of:




My personal tributes:

As a child of the seventies, my first memory of revolutionary urban griot-poet Gil Scott-Heron was skipping rope to the beat of “The Bottle” as Gil’s voice raspily singing “Nah-nah, nah-nah, nah-nah, nah-nah, nah-nah, nah-nah …” crackled out of our overblown speakers at a family BBQ that continued into the night.  At that young age, though, the meaning of Gil’s lyrics to that R&B-jazz suite went as high above my head as the airplanes that seemed ready to land in our backyard as they approached JFK Airport.

My fave adult memory of Gil was his performance as part of a socially conscious concert at New York City’s Beacon Theatre in the early nineties.  By that time, I had formed a worldview, protested domestic and international injustices from police brutality and apartheid to imperialism.  Hmmm …  Perhaps Gil’s lyrics on that summer day back in the early seventies weren’t beyond the grasp of my subconscious mind.

As a young teen in the late seventies, my first memory of Jeff Conaway was of him skidding across the silver screen as “Keneckie” in the blockbuster Grease.  His tidal wave of blond hair slicked back on the sides, he gyrated sensually opposite John Travolta in the “Greased Lightning” number until I blushed and clapped simultaneously.  And thus was born my love of car racing — OK, viewing on television only, where I can’t get mowed down in the stands, but where my face still can flush from the high-octane rush.

My favorite memories of Jeff are too many to mention because he was the only reason I watched “Taxi,” on which he (as “Bobby”) often out-heartthrobbed Tony Danza with his megawatt smile.  (I also tuned into the sitcom because I dug jazz musician Bob James’ ” Theme from ‘Taxi.’ “)  If you had to grill me for my fave “Taxi” episode, though, it would have to be the one in which the very talented ensemble cast performed an ode to Broadway.  In that tribute, oh, how Jeff shined.


May their artistic contributions live on like every sunrise and sunset.

May their souls rest in peace.

Intrusive thoughts on infertility,

Palpable in the stifling stillness of the examining room,

Penetrate the lumpy surface of my hijacked womb.



Like a cadaver,


I’m denied a peek at the sonogram’s monitor,

Only a poker face offering no clues to the sci-fi picture.


Taking a gamble –

Charm having failed as a device –

I beg the technician for a full view of the aliens. (No dice)


From her boombox,

Light jazz intended for heavy petting

Turns me moody,

Though not in the “saxy” way James’ bebopping horn blows

In the serenade beginning:

“There I go, there I go, there I go, ther-r-r-re I-I go-o-o-o …”


Belly-buckling sobs drown out indifferent witness,

Blur my vision of a future filled with ornery offspring,

Underscoring that technology can’t eradicate emotional sting.


I hasten to hoist underpants over hamhocks and hips,

Shuddering from the silence lingering in air

Frostier than a January breeze lashing unkissed lips.


But, alas, a final violation –

Raven-haired receptionist dispenses humiliation,

A well-rehearsed line to collect my fine,

Her gatekeeping eyes flashing a No Exit sign.


At this existential impasse,

I long for the lesser of two evils:  a Sartrean hell.

Then, repetition of my name breaks the philosophical spell.


“Do I pay now?”

“Oh, you’ll pay later.”

My fate is sealed as I watch serpents

Strike amid the tresses of the HMO-paid instigator.


Copyright © 2000/2011 By Chantale Reve