The Girl With the Colorful Mind

The Girl with the Colorful Mind

(c) 2004 Anglea K. Mack

Photo by Angie Mack Reilly

Joy was playing in the corner. She loved the fresh smell of wood in the woodworking station in Mrs. Garphy’s kindergarten room. She especially enjoyed that particular spot because it was quiet. Other than the music corner, it was the only place in the room that made any sense to her. The corner enabled her to think, to feel, and to be her own person. The other children usually preferred the train station, the housekeeping station, and the painting station which left the woodworking station to be a place of solitude. It was a place where she could explore with her hands and her mind as she whistled like her father.

“Joy, it’s time to clean up and come over to the art table. We are going to work on our Christmas crafts”, said plump Mrs. Garphy in her soft “teacher” voice. “I hate the art table,” thought Joy as she smelled each piece of smooth wood before dropping it into the yellow bin. She heard a lot of noise in the room. As she looked behind her, the other children were cleaning their stations as well. Marcie was cleaning up the housekeeping station. No, she was actually bossing the other children to clean up for her. “Look at Marcie,” murmured Joy. “She thinks she is so great because she has long shiny blond hair. She always has to be the mom.”

Joy hated the housekeeping station. She hated being bossed by Marcie. Joy played in there once, but never again after being told by Marcie that she had to be the “baby brother” while the other children laughed. Joy was the only girl in the room who didn’t have long hair. Her hair was different. It was black, short, and kinky. Her skin was also dark brown. She was the only brown-skinned girl in kindergarten.

When Joy and the other children finished cleaning up their stations, they walked over to the art table. Joy found a spot on the end away from anybody else. Immediately, she saw a Styrofoam plate with little pieces of red, black, and white felt. Next to that, was a plate full of glue with a Popsicle stick. Joy raised her hand. “Mrs. Garphy, what are we making?” Tying a smock around Bobby, Mrs. Garphy answered, “We are making our special Christmas gifts to bring home.”

Joy was really excited. She wondered if they were going to make Christmas stockings. Then Joy glanced over at Marcie who was whispering into Becky’s ear, looking at Joy, and laughing. Joy quickly looked back down at her art supplies. “Why is she so mean? Doesn’t she know that I could whoop her butt anyway?” Joy asked herself.

As Joy looked up to find Mrs. Garphy, she saw the funniest thing ever. Mrs. Garphy was carrying empty roles of toilet paper in her arms and under her double chin which made her look like she had a triple chin. Joy burst out laughing hysterically. “Mrs. Garphy has toilet paper rolls!” she blurted to the classroom. The other children slowly joined her with their tiny giggles. Joy was laughing so hard that she had her hands on her belly, her head tilted back, and both legs up in the air. In fact, she had to keep herself from falling backwards in her chair. “These are for our special Christmas project,” commanded the now stern Mrs. Garphy.

“Christmas project? HA! HA! HA!” Now Joy was really making a scene. Somehow, the sacredness of Christmas and the ordinary item used to wipe butts seemed like a funny contradiction to her. She couldn’t help from laughing. It was just too funny. It was just too unreal for her to grasp. “Mrs. Garphy must be playing a joke!” she shouted. But as she glanced up at Mrs. Garphy, Mrs. Garphy didn’t have a “joking face” on. She had a mean face. That mean face was glaring down at Joy. “Joy, I want you to go sit in the hallway immediately.”

Joy went out to sit on the cold marble hallway floor outside of the classroom. She hated the brown speckled floor. As she observed the floor, she noticed how dirty it was and began to scribble in its dirt. She felt really sorry. She didn’t mean to get into trouble. She wondered if, like Marcie and the other children, Mrs. Garphy hated her, too.

Joy started to get a pain in her stomach and held it tightly. She really wanted to go home. She thought about playing in her neighborhood with her other friends who looked and acted a lot more like Joy than the children in the suburban school. Joy thought about how she played jump rope with Tisha and Natasia just the day before. Joy began to rap their favorite jump rope song, “Donald Duck is a one-legged, one-legged, one-legged animal. Donald Duck is a two-legged, two-legged, two-legged animal…..” She hit her hands on the cold marble floor as she sang. She noticed how when she slapped the floor, it made a nice high-pitched drum sound. Then she looked up at the classroom door that was shut. She wanted to bang on the door to see how it sounded. But she restrained herself.

Suddenly, Mrs. Garphy opened the classroom door. “Are you ready to do your art project now?” she asked.

Joy answered an obedient, “yes”.

When Joy walked into the classroom, she saw a little Santa shaped like a toilet paper roll. She really wanted to giggle but instead she bit her lip as hard as she could. Joy dutifully made her toilet paper Santa with her plate of felt and her glue. She topped it off with a cotton ball beard and set it to dry.

Next, it was music time. This thrilled Joy tremendously. She loved to sit right next to the piano and sing. However, she didn’t like looking at Mrs. Garphy’s big bottom in her brown polyester pants as she sat on the bench to play. They sang “I’m a little teapot”, complete with hand motions. Then they sang “Where is Thumkin?” Joy liked that song. She loved putting her fingers behind her back only to bring each finger in front of her at the appointed time. Joy pleaded, “Mrs. Garphy, can we sing it again?”

“Of course!” she answered.

Joy held both hands behind her back. As she eagerly waited, she felt a hard tug on her hair. “Ouch!” she whispered and turned around. It was Marcie. “You’re stupid”, whispered Marcie. “You stink, too!” Joy tried to ignore her. As Mrs. Garphy played the piano with her back away from the children, Joy decided to handle Marcie on her own by ignoring her. Marcie continued to poke Joy in the back. “Nobody wants you here”, whispered Marcie. “You don’t belong here.” Even though Marcie’s poking hurt Joy’s back, Joy continued to ignore her. Marcie started to kick Joy. “Everybody hates you! You’re black!”

Just then, Joy felt something like a fire burn inside of her belly. She was angry. She was so angry that she wanted to stand up and punch Marcie in the face. But, instead, she closed her eyes. She began to sing to herself, “I feel red, so red. I’m mad and my mind is red.” She hummed the tune that immediately popped into her mind. Then Joy thought about Marcie bossing everybody in housekeeping and how she was envious of her long blonde hair. With the same melody she sang, “I feel green, so green. I’m jealous and my mind is green.” Continuing with her eyes closed and shutting out everything and everyone around her, she thought about being in the hallway and how rejected she felt. She sang, “I feel brown, so brown. Nobody loves me and I feel so brown”. At this point, Joy was in some other realm. She was completely oblivious to her surroundings. With her eyes closed, she hummed and sang the lyrics in her head, “I feel light blue, so light blue, when I do what I like to do. I feel yellow, so yellow. When I’m happy I feel so yellow. I feel white, so white. When I obey I feel so white”.

By this time, all of the children and Mrs. Garphy were staring at Joy. Joy finished her song in her head and then opened her eyes. Even Marcie was still. Everybody was still and staring. Mrs. Garphy broke the silence, “What are you singing, Joy?”

Joy answered, “It’s nothing….just a song in my mind.”

“Can we hear it?” asked Mrs. Garphy.

A confidence swept over Joy. “Yes, you may.” She stood up, cleared her throat, and sang:
“I feel red, so red. I’m mad and my mind is red.
I feel green, so green. I’m jealous and my mind is green.
I feel brown, so brown. Nobody loves me and I feel brown.
I feel light blue, so light blue. When I do what I like to do.
I feel yellow, so yellow. When I’m happy I feel so yellow.
I feel white, so white. When I obey I feel so white.”

Mrs. Garphy and rest of the children (besides Marcie) stood up and clapped. “What a talent!” Mrs. Garphy boasted. “Joy, we are so happy to have you. Thank you for sharing with us your colorful mind.”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Prison: The Epicenter of a Movement

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from Prison:

The Epicenter of a Movement

(C) 03/2005 Angela K. Mack

The Apostle Paul and his friend Silas praised their God while waiting in a prison cell. “And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” (Acts 16:26 KJV) Similarly, in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his “Letter of Epistle” to nine white liberal clergymen who opposed his peaceful demonstration and again, there was an earthquake. This earthquake shook the foundations of segregation and racism in America.Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” contained words that had the power to open the doors for a 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington with 200,000 demonstrators present. In addition, this letter reached the eyes of an American church that needed a serious wake up call. It also reached the ears of the American government resulting in the 1963 Civil Rights Bill. Yes, the words from this prisoner left a lasting imprint on American history.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. He came from a lineage of clergymen. He was a devout Christian man who had his religious beginnings singing in his father’s church. His mother was a teacher. His mother, a teacher, also comforted him as a child when his childhood friends told him that they could no longer play with him because he was black.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in a part of the United States that had its Jim Crow laws. Humiliating “WHITES ONLY” signs were posted in many parks, hotels, swimming pools, schools, and restaurants. This had a tremendous impact on Martin Luther King Jr. He later grew up and became a pastor. Shortly after he began his first job as a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to get out of the “WHITES ONLY” section of a city bus. Consequently, she was arrested. King encouraged a boycott of the buses and many blacks protested. This event began his activism in the Civil Rights. This same sort of silent protest landed him in jail when, after many attempts at negotiations, Birmingham merchants continued to display their “WHITES ONLY” signs.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. begins his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, “MY DEAR FELLOW CLERGYMEN.” He sets up his discourse giving the clergy a clear understanding of his scope of influence. He sets up his credibility as a leader and demands respect by gently explaining that he is the “president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights”. He then likens his role in the region to the Apostle Paul and declares that he has a “gospel of freedom”. He uses a metaphor that the clergy can clearly understand.

 

Next, he gives the antithesis, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Using this powerful craft of language, he gives another antithesis, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” (Unknowingly, Martin Luther King was honing in on his skills as an effective communicator which would later benefit his “I Have a Dream” speech.) Yes, King had a lot of time to formulate his thoughts. He, almost in a humorous tone, mentions later in his letter, “what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts, and pray long prayers?”

 

Martin Luther King Jr. used his time in prison wisely as did the imprisoned Apostle Paul who wrote many letters to the churches. King was an example of the spirit in African Americans. He possessed fortitude in the midst of tragedy. His letter praises the spirit of all African Americans throughout.

 

After setting up his discourse as to what his mission is, King informs the clergy of the four steps of his campaign: “collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.” He makes it clear to them that the Birmingham merchants were not willing to negotiate. “The city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.” This apathy toward the civil rights of African Americans was very common, especially in the south. Whites did not want to listen to what the black community had to say. Blacks were to be considered as being invisible. So King believed that non-violent tension was needed in order to wake up the collective wrong thinking of the day. He wanted for his actions to spark healthy dialogue resulting in equal rights for African Americans.

 

Martin Luther King quickly shifts the tone of his letter. A rapid pace begins to take over. It’s as if the beginning of his letter was strictly business-like. However, it takes a passionate turn and his righteous anger spills out onto the pages using the language tactic of repetition. But before giving his series of “when” scenarios, he throws in another antithesis, “justice too long delayed is justice denied”. King’s series of repetitions contain phrases such as “when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers”, “when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, and even kill your black brothers and sisters”, “when your first name becomes ‘nigger’”, “when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’”. He tries to let this group of white clergymen see what it is like to live from the eyes of an African American.

 

After this section of the letter, he transitions by using yet another antithesis as he quotes St. Augustine, “an unjust law is no law at all”. The next portion of his letter takes on a political tone. He explains what a “just” law is and what an “unjust” law is. There is no doubt that the southern states during this time in history were clearly acting unconstitutionally. King mentions the “First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.” He gives political and biblical justifications for breaking unjust laws. He even refers to the fact that Hitler operated under “legal” German law. His political thesis was that segregation was unconstitutional and demanded to be dealt with. “We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates.”

 

Martin Luther King Jr. shifts his focus and then becomes apostolic in his writing. He addresses the flaws of the white church as a whole. He begins with, “I had hoped that the white moderate would see this need.” The sad part of the church in that part of history was that it ignored the civil rights issue. Using biblical theology of obeying the law of the land and the separation of the sacred and secular, it made it easy for the church to not get involved. King accused the church as being socially neglectful and afraid of being nonconformist. He proposed a return to the philosophy and doctrine of the early church. “In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principals of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”

 

You see, Martin Luther King Jr. confessed that it was the white moderates who were the greatest enemy to the Civil Rights cause. He even went so far as to saying that it was not the White Citizen’s Counselor or the Ku Klux Klan that posed the greatest threat. “The white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree in your methods of direct action’;”

 

His final discourse touches upon the idea of an unjust police force which has remained an issue even to this day. He commented about their “ugly and inhumane treatment of Negros here in the city jail”. He mentioned how the police “push and curse old Negro women and young Negro girls.” He writes that they “slap and kick old Negro men and young boys”. He alludes to the fact that reformation is needed in the police force.

 

Reformation is the theme of Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from prison. He calls for a reformation in the southern business community, the government, and the churches, among the whites and in the police force. His prison cell experience gave him the opportunity to display his intellect. (He was so smart that he graduated from college at age 15!) He was able to craft his words by establishing his credibility, making appeals, giving insight into the life of an African American, intellectual arguments, theological and political debates. He fashioned his letter with a spirit of negotiation and intellect rather than out of vengeance. He showed great restraint toward a group of religious leaders who could have easily been reamed out. The tone of King’s letter was diplomatic. He didn’t argue like a fool. He didn’t rage like a man of vengeance. Rather, he used his knowledge of different subject areas, his skill of communication, his intellectual arguments, and his passion for the cause to create a letter that would shake the world.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. was an apostle. He was an organizational leader. He was a politician. He was a man of divine purpose. He was a prophet. He was an amazing communicator. He showed all of us the impact that one person can have upon the world. He declared the message of divine and innate freedom even from a prison cell. His messages could not be overlooked. They demanded attention. His ability to move others through the use of effective communication and passion forever impacted the Civil Rights Movement. Yes, the messages of Martin Luther King Jr. created a very much needed earthquake in this American land of segregation. May the quaking continue!

 

Works Cited

“The Man with a mission—Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr.” Guyana Chronicle Online, January 19, 2004. http://www.guyanachronicle.com/ARCHIVES/archive%20%2019-01-04.html

Adler, Davis. A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday House. New York. 1989

Gates, Henry Lewis Jr., and Nellie Y. McKay. “Martin Luther King Jr.”. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature., pgs. 1895-1908

King, Martin Luther Jr. “A Letter from Birmingham”. 1963. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Pgs. 1896-1908.

We Need the Theater (Short Poem)

We Need the Theater

by Angie Mack Reilly 2019

Feature Photo by Kevin Mikolajczak.  Lion King Jr. Produced by Angie Mack Reilly of Ozaukee Talent at the Cedarburg Performing Arts Center for the North Shore Academy of the Arts.  January 2018.  

We need to get raw and real
and express our emotions.
We need the theater to make us cry
and laugh and love again.
Humanity is threatened and compromised
by artificial intelligence.
We are at a pivot
and must preserve.

Most photos below were taken by Angie Mack Reilly.  Otherwise used with permission.

Poem: Deeper

Deeper

Photo and Poem by Angie Mack Reilly, musician, Grafton, WI 11.29.19

We don’t go deep enough
into the lives of others
because this world is
speeding up
and being tousled like
a giant and messy ball of yarn.
We are doing too much
in too short of time.
We need to slow down.
Simplify.
And really get to know each other.

What is your deepest desire?
What are your quirks?
What hurt you in life?
What did you want to be when you were young?
Where would you like to travel?

We need to sit on our rockers again,
sip our sun tea and talk it up
until the sun goes down.
But, for many of us, we are working
our asses off just to survive
this greedy globe.

Poem: Stretch

by Angie Mack Reilly

Stretch.
Stretching a rubber band.
Stretching a muscle.
Stretching the truth.
Stretch a note.
Stretch a line.
Stretch a piece of gum.
Stretch your imagination.

*photo taken by Angie Mack Reilly at Kohler-Andrae State Park

First Chairperson for Paramount Plaza Walk of Fame

Names in the Paramount Walk of Fame through 2008

Grafton, WI

Chairperson of International Committee:   Angie Mack Reilly

(Patriarch of St. Louis Blues) Henry “The Mule” Townsend
(Father of the Delta Blues) Charlie Patton
(Mother of the Blues) “Ma” Rainey
(First Country Blues Star) Blind Lemon Jefferson
(Mississippi Blues Legend) “Skip” James
(Father of Gospel Music) Thomas A. Dorsey
(America’s Jazz Ambassador) Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong
(Preeminent Mississippi Bluesman) Eddie James “Son” House Jr.
(American Jazz Pioneer) Joe “King” Oliver
(King of Ragtime Guitar) Arthur “Blind” Blake

Follow Angie’s Paramount Records Educational Facebook Page

 

 

 

The Untouchable Dream

The Untouchable Dream

Photo and written entry by Angie Mack Reilly

Originally published on Facebook January 15, 2009 at 9:46 PM

I have come to learn that some dreams are touchable and others are not. So how does one distinguish? It is a matter of accessing the risks, the time, and the reality of the dream.

 

Some dreams are just fantasies not worth pursuing. Others are very attainable through real goals, focused attention, and hard work. I have achieved dreams so far in life. I have had dreams to do recording projects. I have had dreams to grow in my career. I have had dreams to buy a house. All of these were attainable through real goal setting, focused attention, and hard work.

 

There are other dreams that I hold tightly inside that are not so attainable in my opinion. We shall see. But it is very important for the dreamer to distinguish between fantasy and real dreams. A fool chases fantasies without considering the final outcome. It takes great wisdom to be a dreamer and to choose which dreams are worth pursuing and which are considered only fantasies.

Who Helluva Noise

Who Helluva Noise

by Angie Mack Reilly

What if I was a Who
and you were a Who
and we put our Who’s together
and made a Who Helluva Noise?
Against who?
Why, the non-Whos
who are stealing from the
rest of us Whos.
Corruption against the Whos
is abounding
and an elite few are running
the main industries.
They are zapping us of our
time, talent and treasure
for their monetary gain
But do you realize that
that there are more of us than them?
Yet we cannot conquer if we are divided.
And divided we are.
The Divided States of America.
Don’t you tell me that innocent and hard working people aren’t suffering under the greed of the top percent.
Whos! Wake up!
We must tell them that we matter!!!
The sad thing is,
they don’t care.
Heartless.
Greedy.
Narcississtic.
Abusive.
Damaging.
Stealing.
Corruption.
The UNITED States of America is supposed to be a melting pot.
Not one where the elite are corrupting the political system with their lies and greed. Meawhile, intelligent youth are falling through the cracks. The system is not in their favor.
Whos, we must speak.

DISCLAIMER:  Remember that the purpose of the true artist is, sometimes, to get others to think.  Writing is an art form that can be just as minimalistic or abstract as any painting or dance can be.  Most of my work is to get others to think.   Poetry is an artform.  So as you read my work, imagine sitting in a museum and listening.  Not everything needs to be literal in life.   

Why Do We Compete So Much?

Competition for Thought

spiritual musing by Angie Mack Reilly, author and speaker on creativity

How many games would you say that you watch in a year?
You know, football games, baseball games, golf tournaments……

Please pause and think about an actual number.  Really.

Now say this.
“Competition.
Has been on my mind at least
*insert your number* times this year.
At least.”

You want your team to win.
You want your guy to win that tournament.
Win.
Win.
Win.

Conditioning to win.  Conditioning to win.

We need to consider how much we think about competing and fighting.
It absolutely baffles me that people waste so much time watching competitive sports.
Competitive.
Things that cause parents to attack each other on the basketball court.
Teens shaming a soon-to-be all star player with an embarrassing photo.
People literally everywhere are competing.
Businesses. Political parties.
WE. NEED. TO. STOP.

This is not why we are here.
A house divided cannot stand.
We are not to be competing black v. white, gay v. straight.
Stop. Competing.

We were not called to win over flesh and blood.
We were called to win over principalities and powers.
We were called to fight fear with love.
Love in action.
This.
My dear humans.
Is why we are here. To love in action.
Not to win.
With winning, there is dominion.
Ultimate dominion over another.
We are not called to dominate people.
Hear me.
We are not called to dominate over people.
The sex scandals, the political hate, the corrupt industries.
Almost all corrupt industries.
Not even the church is safe.
The schools aren’t safe.

Is the government looking out for our safety?
Are the pharmaceutical companies looking out for our safety?
Is an unborn child safe in the womb?
Who is safe?  The food industry?
Who feels safe?

In order to feel safe from uncomfortability, some of us acquire as much wealth as possible no matter what the cost. You bet we will trumple over the poor. After all, “It’s me, the CEO, versus he, the guy with kids struggling to keep his marriage together because of financial stress.”

How many families have been destroyed?
The love of money is the root of all.
Yes.  Evil.

I am calling it that today. And so did you.
Don’t we teach our children to share and be kind to others?
Why does that change?
When does that change?
Now we are teaching our children to fight even earlier through video games, television and handheld devices. We have stopped raising them with the values that matter in a civilized existence.

Neighbors helping neighbors.
Evil is happening at a rapid speed. I see it.

The internet brought us an advancement of education and communication.

But it also accelerated evil.

That is why we need to walk in the light.

I keep reminding myself and now you………

Love in action.
not dominate to win.
Love in action.
not dominate to win.

This is why I love the arts and why you should too.

It encourages community over competition.  Kill the arts?  Kill the community.

DISCLAIMER:  Remember that the purpose of the true artist is, sometimes, to get others to think.  Writing is an art form that can be just as minimalistic or abstract as any painting or dance can be.  Most of my work is to get others to think.   Poetry is an artform.  So as you read my work, imagine sitting in a museum and listening.  Not everything needs to be literal in life.   And we need to quit getting so damn offended and nit-picky over every single word.  Social media arguments are sucking the camaraderie.

My poems are actually more like monologues or mini sermons.   They are intended to be spoken.

Writing Services by Angie

contact angie@ozaukeetalent.com

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