A multiple choice question

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I’m sitting in my car in the parking lot in front of Trader Joe’s. I know that my original intent was to go in, grab my son’s favorite (overly sugary) apple cereal bars and get out. But just before leaving the house, my partner had asked me if I could grab him some…

Dammit! What was it? It was only about 15 minutes ago that he had made the request. I knew it was something I didn’t like, something we don’t normally buy. So for a moment, I convince myself that was the reason I couldn’t remember. …


I’m gambling that a second read will feel like the first read all over again, but better

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How often have you (intentionally) read a book more than once? I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I’ve mostly done so only when I have had to — for a course I’m teaching. I have rarely done so for fun, or dare I say, “just because.” There seems never to be enough time for that now. But since I started writing every day, I have felt this nagging feeling that I should be finding the time for books.

There are four subjects that I seem to be thinking and writing about a lot and then sharing on Medium: music, race…


The persistence of “OnlyOneness” in America

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I noticed it again. I wasn’t intending to; it’s almost an automatic action at this point. My son was standing in line in front of one set of doors to his elementary school. It was the first day of the first full week of in-person school for all grade levels. I couldn’t see but certainly sensed the glowing cheeks under the masks of the parents that dotted the lawn, some clustered in small groups, others keeping a safe six feet apart. The mood was festive. Each time a teacher or staff member emerged from…


Can you spare 3 minutes and 16 seconds?

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Most of us have been there before. You wake up in the morning or you’re washing dishes or you’re in your car, waiting at a red light and it pops into your head. That song, that jingle, that refrain, or even just those few bars. Maybe you weren’t even aware of when or where you first heard it. Or sometimes, stuck song syndrome (SSS), unlike the term implies, can be a pleasant experience we bring about ourselves by replaying that one wicked (in a good way) track that manages to spread your lips into a smile that bumps into your…


They are actually causing distress

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Okay. So I have to begin by stating that this is my seventh attempt to write this. The reason is not because I have been struggling with writer’s block or just can’t find the right words (Anyone who knows me knows I can talk and talk away at warp speed with my passionate streams of consciousness, barely coming up for air or allowing anyone an opportunity to respond). I am honestly not 100% sure why it was so hard to publish. Perhaps it’s because there are no words — only sounds — for some of what I have been feeling…


James Baldwin’s ‘Going to Meet the Man’ & White America’s Sidestepping of Lynching

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The title of James Baldwin’s collection of stories is also the title of the last narrative in the book, Going to Meet the Man. I only assigned that story once and have not done so again since. Every time I teach Baldwin, I decide not to go there. When I did assign it to a class of college students, some of them admitted that they did not read it, others stated that they were not able to get through it, and one student confessed that by the time she had finished it, she felt physically ill.

Her admission made fresh…


I breathe easier, even with my mask on.

Photo By Author

I’ll freely admit that my life was a bit overwhelming before the pandemic. But a few months into the lockdown, I felt such a lack of control, like I was being squeezed each day. My chest felt tight. I often forgot to breathe properly. Basic routines fell by the wayside. I over-washed my hands and my skin started splitting around my knuckles. Getting into bed at night didn’t even bring relief. Each day seemed so stretched out and tense. And everyone in my house was getting on each other’s nerves. Sound at least somewhat familiar?

Well, there are 6 shifts…


Succinctness. Polyrhythm. Poetic Voice. Creolization. Accessibility

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The Longest Memory by Fred D’Aguiar is one of my favorite books but not for the typical reasons one might expect. Reading it is not a “great” experience; it is not a “lovely” story. I do not “enjoy” (re)reading the novel each time I teach it. What I do feel each time I return to D’Aguiar’s debut novel is an overwhelming sense of gratitude, respect and — most of all — awe.

I honestly don’t remember how I came to know of The Longest Memory but I imagine that one of my graduate school professors must have introduced it to…


I think we all need to.

Photo Taken by Author, Card Written by Author’s Son

It started out harmlessly enough. I was listening to a record by Yusef Lateef called Eastern Sounds. I was smiling to myself over a discovery I had recently made after hearing (for the first time) the initial track on the B side: “Love Theme From Spartacus”. Within seconds, I recognized the melody as part of a sample from one of my all-time favorite French hip-hop tunes: “Manifeste” by Shurik’n. I will forever feel the nostalgia attached to blasting that track while speeding down the autobahn in a rented Mercedes C-Class W203 C200 Kompressor, my…


My neck is seriously hurting right now, and I couldn’t be happier.

Photo Taken By Author

Get ready to move.

I woke up to a thought that led to another thought that led me to type the following into the YouTube search bar after breakfast: Cookie Crew — “From the South.” I waited for my husband to emerge. He glanced at the screen: “Cookie Crew? Never heard of them.” I gave him one of my signature looks and he sat down. As I pressed “OK” on the remote, he took a second to adjust the receiver output accordingly. I tried to contain my excitement…

Ena Onami

Warrior fighting off persistent perfectionism. Believer in Star Trek as therapy. Puzzle-solver. Unashamed Advocate of CRT. Admirer of kind people.

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