The Monkey Trap by Melia's Papa

Why Melia’s Papa? | August 12, 2009

papa melia ralphs phone

My name is Dave Room
Some people call me David,
dahveed, Dee Room,
Dee Rizzle, Room, Rumi,
rheumatism, even romper
I identify as a black man
a person of color
and a citizen of the world
When I was young
the other black kids called me
banana man, yellow man,
piss colored,
light bright damn near white,
and my personal favorite Old Yeller
which recalls a Disney movie
about a boy and big yellow stray dog
in Post-Civil War Texas
The slurs stung me deeply
a transracial adoptee
with white parents
I struggled with identity issues
through college

But I’m clear now
My most important identifier
is Melia’s papa
She is my inspiration
and motivation.
She is the reason I am writing today.
Things about me
I used to be corporate
management consulting and then the internet
had dreams of a house the hill and semi-retirement at 40
now i work for pennies on the corporate dollar
at a nonprofit I co-founded
Bay Localize
I like hikes and bikes,
have a car but avoid using it
I think of myself a ovo-lacto-vegetarian.
But more than that
I am a Buddhist vegetarian
which means that I eat
whatever (within reason)
my host provides.
I do not watch television or have cable
I pick up trash at parks
If I am shooting some trash into a basket
I always pick up whatever I miss
and shoot again and again until I make it
Sometimes I dry my hands on my pants
Like growing food and medicine
and for Melia to see that
food comes from the Earth rather the store
I do yoga in room heated to 108 degrees

Blah blah blah
I could go on
But today really isn’t about me
Its about our children and nature
I think of kids and nature together
because they don’t have a choice in the matter
And its about you and what you do


  1. Hi Dave, it’s Harel..

    I’ve dropped by before in the past few months at your blogs, and almost, but didn’t quite post..I think about you when I read about peak oil, or when I think or read about voluntary simplicity, but also to be sure, when issue of race come up especially in the context of activism..I don’t expect you to “represent” any group any more than I want or can ‘represent’ all Jewish born people or all people who lost relatives in the Holocaust, but I do think there’s a value to listening to someone you know as well as listening to ‘strangers’ when it comes to issues they might know about personally…the internet lets us hear from many ‘strangers’ (if we care to open our eyes) but to hear it from someone you know (at least somewhat, I don’t pretend to know you as a close friend would) is very with Carter’s comments about the “you lie!” comment I went to search through your blogs again…

    I do want to say it was very courageous of you to share all of that about your childhood. That must have felt terrible. I still cringe at the relatively very small things I went through, having pennies thrown on the grown for the ‘jew boy’ to pick up back in 7th and 8th grade..I cringe even more at myself (ashamed at the fact I was shamed and defensive about it, ashamed that I even wanted to ‘prove’ to them they were wrong by not only not picking it up but walking in the opposite direction) but I realize full well (more than some fellow Jewish Americans admit) that what most lower-income and many middle class nonwhites go through is 10 or 100 times worse…Anyway I’m amazed and humbled at how much of yourself you put out there in this post..all those words that sting…I guess it might be a cleansing of sorts to be able to write those words down in your blog so as not to let them have power over you.

    You just reminded me of something from way back around 1986 when I was a student in college in Bill Cole’s music class at Dartmouth..An African American and liberal professor who was mercilessly harassed by the right-winger including showing up to his classes to confront him and “demand an apology” for his verbally cursing them response to a previous ugly harassment by them! He was finally driven to leave, I’m sorry to say, as I recall, though some years after my graduation. He brought in his adopted white son once…it’s funny since the other professor I knew most was John Lamperti who had an adopted black daughter but race was not why I connected with Bill Cole..I even disliked some things: he apparently believed in astrology for example. But I connected strongly with him because he put his heart out, not just worked his heart/ass off but put his heart out, musically but also as a human being, to his students. While a right-wing music teacher *inappropriately* put their own politics into *their* course (a long reading with much ado about nothing screaming against ‘marxism’ with the excuse of ‘well there is a marxist school of musicology’ which was an excuse, the reading didn’t really touch on the musicology we had in the class) but Cole put only relevant personal or politically or racially or socially relevant things (and would still get bashed by the student right for ‘putting stuff in politically’) but once, was a list of words he put on the blackboard, starting at N word and later “Colored” and sharing the evolution of words…and the sting of so many of them..He touched hearts and minds and that is a victory, no matter what the rightwing a**holes did to harass him.. Sorry for going on so long. Feel free to drop me a note, I’d be interested in what you’re up to and there’s stuff going on in my life, but if you’re busy don’t worry about it, I hope to drop by here again some time 🙂


    Comment by ED — September 16, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

  2. Below is what I posted about the Carter, Obama, “you lie!” conversation, as it were at

    Do you or others agree?


    The media is playing dumb and so are many others.

    The focus of Carter’s words is clearly not about whether the outburst was based on this congressman personally having racism in his heart.

    That’s not what Carter said and that’s not the big issue, the big issue of whether it’s “based [in part] on racism” concerns whether as a calculated strategy, whether certain (not all, but more than a few) right-wing attackers are calculating that they can get away with more because of Obama’s race.

    Carter’s words are quite true: As the more cynical right-wingers know full well, Obama’s uncommon name (to mention a smaller second factor) is “a problem” for some Americans and Obama’s race is a much, much bigger problems for some of our fellow Americans, unfortunately and they base their calculated attacks including the fine tuning of how brash they can be, on their perceptions of how much animosity, including without question, on their calculation of how much racism-based animosity, or race-based less-respectful-treatment of Obama there is out there, particularly in their districts.

    The right said it was “outraged” at comparisons of Bush with fascism, even those were based on solid facts: at the Nuremberg trials the Nazis defended themselves by saying their invasions of other countries were “defense” and the judges asked a follow-up question: “on what evidence do you base that assertion that it was ‘defense’ in any way?” and the reply was “well, we and only we get to decide when our own actions are ‘defense’” This was of course rejected by the judges. Well comes along GWB’s invasions based on lies and the international condemnation by allies as well as everyone else and tens of millions in the street in protest and GWB administration said, “well we and only we get to decide when our actions are ‘for defense’” after their war based on lies. This was a completely reasonable comparison not to Hitler but reasonable comparison to the Modus of that fascist regime, by the very choice of “argument” claimed by the GwB…very very reasonable comparison, in fact, purely factual.

    Now anyone on the left they don’t like, they don’t need any facts and they throw out comparisons not just to facism but to H*tler himself…outrageous isn’t strong enough a word. What the Conservative parties in Europe accept and support as a public nonprofit health insurance, the right-wing extreme of the US wants to call h*tler…I have an answer for them: they, the US hard right, are themselves fascist, they are 100 miles to the right of the mainsline conservatives of Europe and Canada and Obama himself is 10 miles to the right of Europe and Canada, where even the conservatives (in Canada) consider their single payer (which is far stronger than merely ‘public option’) to be a quote “sacred trust” untouchable, and having massive public support. The US is so far right it’s Democrats are to the right of the conservative wings of Europe and Canada and other firstworld nations…as if that’s not bad enough, they dip into ‘willie horton’ race-baiting politics, not out of personal racism necessarily but out of cold calculation. When Hawaii is a US state where Obama is born, while McCain was not born in the 50 state but in Panama in a US military area, and it’s not McCain but Obama who is questioned on citizenship, it’s cold calculated to appeal to racism and xenophobia.

    But you know what? The right has won if we let them make all of these issues — important though they are — unless we also slam the media for being too cowardly to say what they, the media know, “clearly per section…..the notion that the bill would give benefits to illegal immigrants is a flat out lie and complete fabrication” six-lies-about-hr-3200/

    Of course why do the rightwingers jump on this? They hope to capitalize on fear and insecurity..the same right wingers who fight against better wages, who fight against better benefits, who fight against better protections for safety of workers and who do everything to make US workers more insecure, then capitalize on this insecurity hoping US workers will fear and hate illegal immigrants (who the bosses use to maximize profits) instead of angry at the employers, and so this anger at illegals is what the rightwing policitians hope to exploit.


    And while my heart aches when any child is kidnapped or any woman is murdered, there are, as far as I can tell, also race and (what liberals talk about even less) class related things going on with the media’s focus on the murder of a Yale student versus how some working class neighborhood murder might have been covered, or when a girl described by the media about her “blond hair” at age 11 is kidnapped versus how it might have otherwise been treated…right?

    Comment by ED — September 16, 2009 @ 10:11 pm

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    About Melia’s Papa

    Brotha from the Bay - Papa of his Inspiration - Solo Performer
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