Raising Funds for Funeral

18 Dec

I have documented my journey with the disease, a rare and terminal cancer, cholangiacarcinoma.  Please help.  I need funds for my funeral.  It is a matter of expedience.  My bile ducts are blocked and it is a matter of time before liver function ceases.  And we also need to put the monies back into Sarah’s Missouri 529 account.  We used her money in the first months of my illness.  No amount is too small.  But time is very key.  I need to have this done so that this unbearable process will be made easier (if that can be said) for all of my children.  I am using an email I wrote in response to many suggestions of what to do.  I find that the answer to a question raised, somewhere else, suffices as the text of this note.  The meanings are the same.  The goal is the same.  I thank you.

 

I cannot simply call it a scholarship fundraiser.  It isn’t.  I don’t have the money for a burial.  I need money for a burial.  I can’t help it if it doesn’t sound attractive.  I have to be honest because of the restriction of time.  One can file away a request for school fees for a 10th grader.  I have been shown, on all tests, that both pathways into my liver are blocked.  My eyes are yellow/orange.  I have no energy.  No surgery, except one which may give a one to five percent chance of hope.  No.  It’s time to admit that something has to be done, planned, and filed away for the moment.  

 

In this way, pay pal cannot be used.  They do not work out of the goodness of their heart.  I do not have a funeral home picked out yet so using a charging company (pay pal) which will then send funds to an as yet unpicked charging company (without a price set) puts us at risk of the funeral home deciding on the fee after the fact.  Therefore, even if there is 1 dollar left over they will keep it instead of simply paying what I have used and sending the rest of Sarah’s Missouri 529.  

 

There is no medicine yet formed on this earth which will go inside my body and relieve the blockage.  I make this statement with full knowledge that medical doctors can read this post and comment.  So, holistic and non-western medicine is not an option.  I thank you, as always, for your suggestions.  But, sad to say, the time for debate is through.  

 

I need, desperately, to pay the “ferryman” and to put back the funds which were spent from my daughter’s account.  Any amount will be greatly appreciated.  Please, please, please help.  It would be traumatic for my children to have to turn my body over to the state.  I am not donating my body to science.  I want to be rest on African soil.  I want to rest within the earth.  I need peace.  My children need closure.  Sarah needs to go to college.  That’s that.  They have estimated that it will take two to three weeks for my liver to lose all function.  I have opted to not go on any machines to prolong the inevitable.  I have a genetic disease.  There is no cure.  There is no way of extending life without causing additional problems for everyone.  Please help in any way you can.  Thank you,

 

La Vonda R. Staples

529 Queen Ann Drive

Hazelwood MO 63042

314-731-1176

lrstaples@gmail.comImage

Black Author wins Copyright Case for Matrix movie

14 Dec

I don’t know how I missed this ENTIRE story, but I did. is this yet another reason that self-publication has exploded? Is it better to get your work in the public eye, as yours, and forego submissions to established sources?

Jason Skywalker's Blog

Black Author wins The Matrix Copyright Infringement Case

This little known story has met a just conclusion, as Sophia Stewart, African American author of The Matrix will finally receive her just due from the copyright infringement of her original work!!!

A six-year dispute has ended involving Sophia Stewart, the Wachowski Brothers, Joel Silver and Warner Brothers. Stewart’s allegations, involving copyright infringement and racketeering, were received and acknowledged by the Central District of California, Judge Margaret Morrow presiding.

Stewart, a New Yorker who has resided in Salt Lake City for the past five years, will recover damages from the films, The Matrix I, II and III, as well as The Terminator and its sequels. She will soon receive one of the biggest payoffs in the history of Hollywood , as the gross receipts of both films and their sequels total over 2.5 billion dollars.

Stewart filed her case in 1999, after…

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Essay: I Go Now To Speak On My Brothers’ Behalf (1997; Creative Non-Fiction)

11 Dec

In a land that is today, most definitely was yesterday, and prayerfully will not be tomorrow, there exists a great family plagued by what can be most accurately assessed as irritation.  Irritation which they had endured so long that they had concluded (for they were not averse to communication on the subject) that there were no solutions which were attractive enough to deploy.  You might think their reluctance may have come from laziness or fear but oddly enough, neither of those mitigating factors would be the correct rationalization as to why they had not sought relief.  No.  There was one reason and it was rooted in their familial hierarchy.  Alleviating their additional appendage, that irritation with daily life, may cause a shift in who was more irritated than the others.  Even in their world which was clearly flawed within and without, happiness was longed for, but rarely sought.  Maybe, from time to time, one or a few of them would experience transitory bliss but even this release from their ordinary condition could not be enjoyed with a complete heart.  The others would see to it, make it their business, to exact payment for each smile that graced a foolish face.  Skipping down the street?  You wouldn’t get any help with your ailing mother.  Singing a song on a Tuesday during the rains?  The entire family would be uninvited from Sunday dinner (and they really loved to eat so this was a punishment worse than a beating).  The less irritated made sure that those who were more irritated stayed in their place, firmly embedded in the dirt, so that they could look up and see who was really the best.  Who was really in charge.  Who surely held all power.

 

A precious few rays of sunshine occasionally armed their skin in unison and in these moments, fleeting moments, they would look around and marvel that they were a family – still.  And in these moments which were in honesty sometimes more aptly called days, they sang, danced, laughed and loved in a manner that would rival all of God’s angels in Heaven.  But when tragedy struck, their happiness vanished, replaced with a dull agony, and so intense was their faith (probably their greatest and solitary good quality) that during these times all they would do is pray.  So great was their oppression, so strong was their suppression all they could do was feel and transmit these emotions to their God.  However, they were not imprisoned, had no limbs amputated, didn’t suffer from any deficiency of mind, and therefore you cannot say they were in pain.  They were, well, they were irritated.  

 

Every few years one of their men would arise with a strange sun and announce to all of his family within the great family, “I go now to speak for my brothers.”  Yes!  It was past time to become unbound.  And their women would cook and sew and sing and pray until their brother was adorned like a king.  “I cannot go without shoes,” the first said.  The finest shoes, just like that, were made and placed upon his feet.  he would begin his walk to speak for his brothers.  Upon reaching his destination and delivering his oration he was admired for the manner in which he spoke, his fine clothes, his posture, and of course his magnificent shoes. He was immediately told that his proposals would be considered by the least irritated elders and from now on their would be more Sunday dinners where everyone was invited and would he please take some small gifts as a sign of good faith.  Thanking them he left with suits, shoes, and the finest of oils for his hair – and the promise of precious freedom from present and further irritation.  He would walk homeward with all of his gifts and he would feel less irritated than when he started out early in the morning.  The irritation returned, more than he noticed before, because the promises weren’t kept.

 

Another morning, another brother arose and announced, “I will go now and speak for my brothers.  I cannot go walking for I think that’s why my brother failed.  Who can respect a man who arrays himself in his finest and then destroys his clothes and shoes by walking so very far?  I will show them that I’m just as good as they are (for all of the less irritated had at least two carriages) be imitating every little thing that they do.  I must have the finest suit, shoes, hair oil and a carriage!  I will take with me my most brilliant son so that I will have someone to record my words (for this is a great day for me).  And I will go and speak on behalf of my brothers.”  He made these statements and his brothers, his sisters, his wife and his children all watched him in awe.  He was indeed magnificent to see!  This time, there was no chance of failure.  How could anyone doubt him when his presentation was a comfort to the eyes?  Without a thought they gave him all he asked and he rode up the hill and away from his family resembling Mercury with his speed. 

 

He arrived at his destination without a drop of sweat staining his garments.  No dust on his shoes.  Not one curl out of place in the perfection commonly known as his hair.  For once, with all eyes on him, he was no longer irritated!  From his brow to the smallest toe nail he, at last, felt free.  He delivered his plea with more fire and fervor than his predecessor and begged to be heard.  He pleaded for sympathy in the most lyrical of tones.  And when he was done he was treated to a banquet which was a breath away from being too marvelous for a king.  He was ensconced in the bosom of relations who laughed at all of his jokes, coaxed him into singing one more song, and pulled him up out of his chair and on his feet for one more dance.  How could he remember that they were, only that morning, his oppressors?  Who would want to remember such a thing anyway when they glowed for him, showered gifts on him, and told him how much they loved to be with him.  No wonder the others had sent him for he was surely the best they had to offer.  He was given proclamations commemorating the day of his triumph which let all readers know that he was special, different, and unique.  “Surely they would right all irritations,” he said to himself as the carriage carried him back to his home.  He felt so pleased with himself that sleep didn’t come for many hours.  He couldn’t deprive those who waited to see what he had received and hear what he had done. 

 

Just like the time before the women laughed and sang and the children felt there was hope.  Time passed.  The children who had, at one time, felt there was hope now were grown with grandchildren of their own when yet another one of their brothers arose and announced, “I go now to speak for my brothers and I must try a new strategy.”  This one did not get himself all done up in finery.  He went like a warrior.  He grabbed all of his weapons.  He even borrowed the weapons of his brothers.  He prayed to his God but he didn’t wake the women.  “I will not accept gifts or proclamations, but I will take from them what is rightfully due.”  The people (those who were awake and even more irritated that he had awakened them) did not ask how he planned to accomplish these things.  They were, after they woke up, so very proud that one of them had the courage to go and make demands for them.  They didn’t go with him.  Just like usual they left it up to him.  No one followed behind or went ahead to ensure his safety or survival.  He left his family running as if he was being pursued by a demon with an unspeakable name.  He arrived and delivered his message and the oppressors didn’t take him to a banquet and didn’t offer him gifts.  Instead they seated him at the head of a serious table and greeted each statement he made with profound grunts of agreement.  And when his rage had subsided they shook his hand and told him that he was the kind of man they needed to keep with them.  Surely that must be why he was chosen.  Why the other family put so much faith in him.  He was a born leader.  After all, they were glad that they were all family and they would be sure to call on him if they ever had any problems.  What was family for if they couldn’t call on each other for protection?  The air never left his chest until after he reached his mother’s house, opened her door, cast his eyes around the room, and felt the heat of his brothers’ spilled blood rising from the floor. 

 

They had reached the points of agony and misery.  After the passage of time their spirits were lifted back into unending irritation.  

 

But there was one particular afternoon when one brother finished his daily work.  Walking home, for no apparent reason, his eyes opened and he saw.  Maybe he lacked the strength to keep them shut.  Maybe it was God.  Maybe both.  But his eyes did open wide and what he saw overtook him and consumed him.  He was in the center of it all, a speck in an army that had forgotten how to fight (if they ever knew at all).  He was inundated and his senses pushed back against him as he tried to close the door.  There were the cries of those too young to fight.  Present was the odors of poverty.  He was suffocating and the only way to breathe was free air.  He had taken a woman to his side.  With her, children were dragged into their world.  He felt the cheapness of his clothes and the hot tar on two or three spots of his sole where the shoe leather had ceased to exist.  He started to scream but stopped the sound.  Wouldn’t it become just one more wasted breath?  He walked out of the compound realizing that it was never home, it was always a prison.  He started to climb the hill, right hand, right foot, left hand, left foot.  Never stopping, no rest.  Hadn’t he been sleeping until only a few moments ago?  He heard feet behind him.  Without looking he knew his brothers (and maybe some uncles) were following him.  They followed him because they feared for him and they decided to go along if only to carry his body back home.  

 

Their destination reached.  He opened his mouth, “we are here.”  One voice spoke but a multitude was heard.  “We are here to take what is owed.  There is no way to return.”  

Poem: What It Be Like (1984-1985; 10th or 11th grade)

10 Dec

It’s like having a pocket full of change

In the possession of a small child

Nose and palms pressed next to the window

Of the most biggest candy store

And the storekeeper cries, again,

“I told you last time

don’t come roun’ here no more.”

Do you really want to know

What it be like?  How it feels?

It’s like being the hero

Arriving victorious from your countries’ battles

Where men like you have lost life, blood and limbs

Upon touching the streets of your homeland’s shores

And those for whom you have bled, cried and almost died for

Greet the hero with the hangman’s strangling rope

And screams from lynching mobs

And turn him from the doors

Just a-screamin’

“Are you still here?

I told you people NOT TO COME BACK.”

Yeah, sometimes it do be like that

It do

Do you really wanna know how it feels?

Entranced by visions of the American dream

You do forty hours of good hard time

Committing no crimes

Walking their always jumping version of the

Straight line

You go to purchase your first domicile

(picket fence included)

With your wife and 2.3 children

(shaggy puppy included)

The welcome wagon calling card burns brightly in the night sky

You pick their handwritten hello

Out of the glass

On the floor

Releasing it from it’s carrier

A brick.

It reads, “We don’t want your kind.”

You don’t even want to know how it feels.

How does it feel to be Black like me?

How do my blues truly tell?

There is anger and ire scalding my soul deeply inside

When I realize the dream

Has been a cruel scheme

I could not and cannot

Drink it away

Drug it away

Smile it away

Dance it away

Sing it away

Or even cry it away,,,

But sometimes when I pray – it subsides

Poem: The Author and Me (1992; I was 26 and had decided to become a writer.)

10 Dec

We are the same person

 

Two distinct entities united

 

Warring within the same skin

 

A writer has to be like

 

A child tracing an image on the

 

Surface of paper

 

Adding his own touches

 

Here and there

 

Creation of all that he has seen

 

Everywhere

 

But yet, strongly adhering to the patterns

 

He sees before her

 

To write is to feel what many feel

 

Transferring the translation to many

 

In just so few precious words

 

From a soul

 

Who needs to share

Story: The Kingdom (1999; Sarah’s first birthday)

10 Dec

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom.  Made up mostly of one kind of people and a lot of other kinds of people, too.  But, they were all one people.  The rulers of all the people kept them fighting among themselves.  Using all means necessary to destroy the peace.  They used lies, schemes, conspiracy, murder, and intrigue – even the truth when it suited the rulers’ purposes.  Anything with which to perpetrate the opaque fog that nearly obliterated the unadulterated truths.  The truth that the kingdom was the people.

The rulers could not be without the millions they kept confused.

And the trouble escalated more and more with the dawning of every passing day and each successive year.  When the smarter people (all of the people were smart – but some were smarter than the others) figured the problems with the kingdom was the rulers – the rulers who had become lazy, deceptive, intolerant and parasitic.  The rulers who had become the cancer, which summoned the death throes of the kingdom, the smarter people began to talk to those around them and the spies of the rulers took note.  Running like omni-carnivorous rodents, scampering with diseased feet and barren hearts back to the rulers.  And the rulers ingested every word, every syllable the spies offered to their ears.  Fro the rulers depended heavily (too heavily as the spies were whores and a whore is only as trustworthy as his last paycheck) upon the spies to keep their lynching hold upon the peoples’ throats, to keep the blinds closed on their sight and the gags in the mouths of those who could whimper tastes of freedom to their people.

The rulers demanded a scapegoat to turn the peoples’ angry intentions away from them.  This was easier than correcting wrongs, sorrowfully, they had long forgotten the tasks with which they had been charged.  The spies had carried back the groanings – the infancy of freedom, which was gestating in the souls of the people.  The people were praying constantly to several gods for a release from their oppression.  The leaders walked in fear of the day when the fog would be lifted, when their make up would be erased and the people would see the prostituted profligate hag their rulers had become (and maybe had always been).  The rulers were lost and in fear of being turned out.

A group of people had always been mistreated by the rulers and misunderstood by the majority of the people.  The rulers decided that this unfortunate minority would be the permanent martyrs for all of the rulers’ sins and the people were informed that these unprotected souls were to blame for every evil occurrence in the land.

The majority cried that these people, these few, should be walled in.  “Let them have their own kingdom to desecrate – so the rest of us can live in peace” the mobs cried.  And these few – these very few were indeed walled in, put into a place infertile.  They were very resourceful and began to make the most of it.  But something curious happened, when one of the few managed to get out, to rise above the wall, not only did the outside push him down; the inside endeavoured to pull him down too.  The courageous of the few learned to live on the border of the kingdom, on top of the very wall!  And they also learned to live with the disdain of the outside and ignore the pains on the inside.  They celebrated the pejorative expletives they were called and claimed them for their own terms of endearment.  They took their clothing, which was the source of so much ostracism, and allowed the colors to make their ladies appear as if they were a moving field of flowers.  Yes.  Those who lived on that minimal space maximized every moment they were alive. 

The majority, after many years of false prosperity began to lull themselves into a state of walking daydreaming – consciously ignoring that even without te presence of the castigated few, there was still poverty, lawlessness, and they were still supporting the ruling whores who had become lazier still.  The problems they had blamed on those who were walled in became more rife and more rampant throughout the entire kingdom.  They now knew who was to blame – themselves.

They rose up on the most beautiful morning one god had ever made and they had ever seen.  As they simultaneously tore down the wall and begged forgiveness of the segregated few they realized that for this moment in time, there was no minority or majority – just people.  And the people demanded their kingdom be relinquished into the hands of all of the people.

But on the day of celebration, when the evil rulers were no more, one person noticed that another had a scintilae more than him.  And then she noticed that another person had an iota more than her.  Another person noticed that a fellow citizen had a minutiae more than his family was given, had earned.  In the birth of the kingdom, the re-birth of the kingdom, the first seconds of its’ death also silently crept in.  The seeds of the kingdom’s decline were impenetrably intertwined with its genesis.  They had forgotten that there was an older foe, one more enemy, to conquer.  

And so the kingdom continued to rise and fall, just as is so with life.  We have a day of birth, which, is also, as it passes, one day closer to death.  The happenstances in between are what we have come to know as history.

Poem: Are We All Hypnotized (Summer 1997; Written with Brian L. Staples)

10 Dec

Walk with me

Talk with me

Inside my essence

Won’t you just for an instant reside?

Help me with my latest query

Are we all so unfeeling

Or are we all

Simply hypnotized?

 

The face of true evil

Is so often

Completely disguised

I am wondering if any being truly

Hears my cries.

Our true visage is masked 

So deftly it is yet another

Disguise.

Are we all simply hypnotized?

 

Your child is my child

Who can choose whether he lives or dies.

The burden on my shoulders

Pierces my soul.

Bewildered and belavoured

Dear Lord, please let my fly.

 

Never enough breath to love

But an abundance of tongues to criticize.

Hungry and all at once in deathly fear

Of the earth from which I will arise

Creating my temple on the inside where my spirit resides.

 

Touching too much and not enough is the trademark

Of our time.

Eyes so very well practiced in the procedure of lies.

Tarry no longer between the warlocks’ thighs.

Stare no more at his swinging hollow trinket

And be not hypnotized.

 

The truth within us all has been too long ostracized,  Do you fantacize about patricide over the infanticide that infects those parasites who walk by our side, matching us stride for stride, contemplating suicide,

Making life do or die?

 

Your blood is my blood,

Why ever would you want to see us die?

Do not give the false prophets

Your ear

And be not hypnotized.

 

Walk with me talk with me

Reveal the meditations of thine heart.

Place it in my hands for all time

Never to depart.

I have a query which will not subside.

Do we hide our true selves in fear, courage, ignorance…

Or are we all hypnotized?