Thursday, April 16, 2009


I had a dream that conservatives
were hanging blacks and beating up homosexuals.
Well-to-do Christians committing atrocities
In the name of their Lord and Savior.
Advocates of the Moral Majority
in crisp suits and cold hands.
Establishing organizations to ensure
The freedom of "private citizens" above
The goodwill of "all mankind".

I saw them disappear into corporate buildings,
but never darkening the gateways of ghettos, prisons,
and homeless shelters.
I dared to look into the eyes of my brothers and sisters
And I saw them look back at me with eyes of disdain.
I represent a potential enemy.
A liability unless I move to the right neighborhood.

One of them opened his palm to me.
Showed me a bar of gold and said,
"See here? This is America. Land Where God dwells."
My eyes sparkled and saw opportunity.
"We could use one of you" he said, eying me carefully.
I smiled and felt the chains tangled around my ankle loosen...
...but stay put.

I walked with him.
And he showed me
the amber waves of grain,
and purple mountain majesties.
He took me to observe the beauty of
America's land.
He waved his hand dramatically;
a tear formed and fell from his eyes.
I wanted to see it. I did.
But all I saw was soil drenched with
the color red.
Vivid to my eyes,
So the pride that swelled in his chest
confused me.
Yet, the more I dwell on these thoughts
I could see the color on his face growing more pale...
and the chain on my ankle grow tighter.
So, I dare not speak.

I bravely continued to walk at his side.
As we trekked across the landscape...
He proceeded to share his gospel with me,
While I clenched the tarnished cross that my
great-grandmother gave me in my quivering black fist....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Be.Still. (Part Four -- Weariness)

Worse than a lazy man, is a weary one who has lost motivation.
Many times I have confused the two...
I've looked at a homeless man sitting on the side of the road and jumped to the conclusion that this must be a man who would rather someone else do his work for him. But that may not be the case...
...what if, in fact, this is a broken man? Who at one point ran the race with endurance, but then somehow got weary and gave up?

Now, I look into the eyes of that homeless man and I'm suddenly struck with empathy.
How close am I to matching his demeanor/mindset?

I am tired.
Well-rested, nourished, and active,
but weary. Running full speed on a full stomach and an empty tank.
I have not lost heart....because it has been trained though years of experiencing trials, but my MIND is revolting against me.

There is SO MUCH to think about, consider, worry over, plan, configure, and engage into.

...with 24 days until graduation, four months until graduate school, and a million other deadlines in between, I hear these words echoing inside my head:

"I don't know how much more I can take".

If I'm not engrossed in academic pursuits, then I am mulling over summer plans and money woes. Or the billion details concerning being an RA again next year. Or thinking about my mother's health/recovery. Or people that I need to meet and talk to. Or the state of my friendships. Etc. I try to pray over the clamor, but they all rush back into place once I utter "Amen". Why? Because no one else should carry my load but me. Right?

My arms and legs, though ripped from bearing my responsibilities, are fatigued and failing me.
I feel pieces of my academics slipping out from their neatly-arranged places; falling to the ground. Bit by bit, my well-guarded thought life drifts out of its alignment; no longer a safe haven.
Hope, piece by piece, slips away and shatters to the ground.

Just as I am about to completely give way, I drop to my knees and lay each burden. Every responsibility. All of my concerns, worries, and obligations. And lay them at the feet of Jesus.
I do not move, save the quivering of my shoulders as I weep from exhaustion.
Without one word spoken, I am swept up into the arms of my Savior. Closer to Him than I've been in a while. Close enough to see the scars on His hands and the stripes on His upper back and shoulders. The empathy in His eyes.

Weariness taught me something:
....when I am weak, He is strong. Christ bore it all. All of it. So He's strong enough. He really is enough.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Likes & Dislikes (April Version)

homework with 30 days of school left
cheap flat irons
cold wind
people who lack integrity looking to help you
stinky feet
people who stare
getting to know a severely socially awkward person

intimate conversations
photography at the park
making a wise decision
hearing about an answered prayer
laughing until tears
discovering a new music genre

Monday, April 6, 2009

Be.Still. (Part Three -- Grief)

I had just seen him no more than 6 hours prior.
Playfully hugged him and
tugged at one of his locks while he sat on our couch talking to my mother.

And now.
He was gone.

That night still haunts my dreams...
...there were too many people in my room at once:
some gazing back and forth from my mother to me,
while others simply lowered their eyes to the floor.
My mother was struggling to explain something to me, but all I heard was:
"Mike"..."gone"..."he's gone".

I cannot put into words my initial feeling, but I do remember being confused.
It was if all of the logic and reasoning that I had was no help to me...
All sensibility and understanding that a 14 year old usually possesses did not come through for me in that moment.
All I know, is that I felt alone. Abandoned. And wherever my brother was...I wanted to join him.
I could not bear the thought of being left alone here.
Left to contend with the process of loss and mourning.
And having to watch those closest to me endure insurmountable pain.
I knew it the moment my mother's words escaped her lips that pain was promised.
So, in my head...I ran.
Full speed...away from the pain that pursued my soul.

The following year of my life...I lived in a personal hell where the flames could not reach me.
They scorched my family clean. Especially my mother.
I helplessly watched her cry and scream. Her grief hit her in spasms; at unexpected moments. In such sporadic succession that I walked on eggshells in my home.

I did not smile.
I did not speak.
...and I dared not cry.

I had to keep running.

February 28, 2000.
372 days after my brother died.

I sat on my bed, distracted with something that I was drawing.
I happened to gaze over at the picture of him on my nightstand.
I quickly looked away, but felt a throbbing in my chest.
I opened my mouth, and said to my empty room:
"I miss you Mike."

Tears followed the release of my words. many tears.
I cannot remember how long I sat mourning on my bed.
Quiet sobs turned into loud, angry wailing.

When I could cry no more...I wiped my face and saw my pencil and notepad lying on my bed.
The silence in my room was peaceful, and the words in my head gathered and aligned.
I picked up both the pencil and notepad. Wrote my very first poem.

About him.
About my brother.

So grief taught me a very personal lesson:
Running from death preoccupies you from living.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Be.Still. (Part Two -- Anger)

I hated him for what he did to me.
To my mother.

I remember nights as a small girl,
gazing at his kind, black eyes with my bed's sheer pink canopy
outlining the safety in his expression. "Good night, my baby", he would say.
And I believed him...
...after all, he was the only father I'd ever known as a girl.
He let me prop my tiny feet on his and dance across the living room to the Temptations.
He bought me beautiful, Black barbie dolls for Christmas
made heartfelt, awful attempts at braiding my hair while my mom worked double shifts.

But soon after I had to learn how to master the side ponytail on my own.
And my mother's role became unisex.

He left.

And I'd never known hatred until that afternoon
when I saw him raise that strong hand above my brother's head.
That same hand that I usually felt open-palmed to swat my behind after misbehaving... clenched to form a fist.
My mother's shrill cry preceded
I sat at the end of the hallway feeling a lump form in my chest.
I hated him.
My world started to speed up; progressing in a spinning motion.
Circling past moments where I was content and safe...
...ending up right back where I sat at the end of my hallway.

I danced with anger.
A slow, simple grind
Switching back and forth from waltz to tango.
...and my world moved with us.

It wasn't until I saw him 13 years later that
my world stopped spinning.
His father had died and my mother wanted to pay respects to his family.
I wasn't expecting to see him that day, but the moment I looked up
and saw him: older, shorter, and more docile...
I froze. Swallowed. and felt no lump there.

Stillness taught me another lesson:
Forgiveness is the gate that leads to the path of Freedom.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Be.Still. (Part One--Love)

He and I.

We are both seniors in college.
Steps away from cap -n- gowns, and a summer's length from graduate school.
we are both (individually) doing
Like a running back does as he is yards away from the endzone.
We take stance on tiptoes, avoiding and desperately dodging the things that
doesn't want he or I to achieve the goal.
(i.e. "Senioritis")
In the midst of all this...we go nowhere.
Friends...and nothing more.
Not regrettably, I mean. I do not say this with the slightest hint of remorse.
Because of one tremendous fact: we are still.

I've thought so many times about running away (metaphorically) with him.
Snatching the potential with swift hands and taking off directly for the future.
Towards the center of my heart wherein lies the desire to be with him.

there are blessed moments where I am sitting near him...and no words are spoken.
It could be because one or both of us are tackling academics. Or cleaning.
Contentedly writing/ or nodding along to Mos Def or Little Brother.
I feel the world halt.
The chaos of life, the bright colors of the finish line's ribbon, and the encouragement of the crowd
All in an instant configure themselves,
And get in line according to priority.

And it suddenly makes sense.
Stillness gently reminds me:

God has me exactly where I need to be.