Look Alive

01 November 2013


insight of at least
five moons -- full, clear, from on high --
is now in season;
applying pressure,
albeit healthy, to this
coal world. You've been warmed.

01 June 2013


"I knew you were coming. ... I'd like the chance to tell you something. Will you [bear with me]?
Then make up your mind. ... God will begin... It's time!"
Welcome June, or as a Twitter trend I noticed earlier would say, #BienvenidosJunio!

The week leading to this place was, like any, a dynamic one. Some personal transitions aside, sadly derailed trains, revisiting singer/actress Kelly Rowland's "Dirty Laundry" on the pop culture front, a new round of politically-charged ricin letter attacks and wild, destructive weather were among the movements of U.S. news. 

Change is inevitable. After all, people seldom stay in one place forever. Metals as well as the mechanisms they form and help function eventually wear down. Resentment and familiarity make an odd but popular couple. Power corrupts, or interrupts, and counting on mundane weather is 'vain'.

That last word can also be true of third-party perceptions and interpretations chosen to convey a subjective experience in any given moment. All that came to mind was a wish for an instrumental to Teena Marie's groovy "Portuguese Love" when another Twitter trend used said language. I couldn't tell you a thing about the Turkish and some unrecognizable tongues I've seen. Besides intuition, silence or perhaps the most powerful of instrumental music, does a universal version of the colloquial "real talk" even exist?

Of course, unduly speaking or acting out of turn is another conversation. But, if the man or woman next to you looks towards your partner coming from across the street (where, incidentally, the street light is counting down the seconds before cross-traffic makes casualties of peace), what are you inclined to perceive? Does it say more about the stranger or one's self? In those times, do we bother to meet minds or continue to build an internal lexicon lacking Love and self-control?

Just as there is some confusion out there about whether Kelly's candor was more about healing from an abusive relationship, the friend/fellow vocalist she was allegedly encouraged to doubt or the "Talk" album due out later this month, there are many phrases in foreign languages without exact English translation (read: ?@Ü! We who are not Ms. Rowland may never really know, as the Heart doesn't have a definitive dictionary for others to casually thumb through). To a certain degree, however, unless the Holy Spirit truly reveals the matter, it's likely that we need not know or judge. We need only meet it where, as it is and let it be.

Taken from the movie "Belly," that was the above approach Dr. Ben Chavis' Rev. Saviour character used toward the 'Buns' character played by DMX―whose life in 'reality' shows similar fire and desire for positive change mixed with a brazen habit for blame and entitlement when his actions do appear all wrong. I believe this Is God's daily approach to us all, in our flaws and at our finest. At the very least, that's what God did for my yesterday's cigars, preference for studying the stars instead of some elder "Christians'" mean ways and scars from a cystic medical history that attracted ridicule, rumor and their intended feelings of worthlessness. I learned that the energetics of undue holding (on or back) could also lead to cancers of the soul. That was then.

It is said that we are now among the early stages of what the world considers the age of Aquarius, not necessarily for the importance placed on the associated areas of electricity, telecommunications, esoteric knowledge and radicalism in this era. I draw instead from a revised water bearer aesthetic to better experience the True and Living Water: God-in-Christ Who met a woman and men in need of fixing at the well, the same Christ Who offers clarity and refreshment to all.

To put it simply, in our weakness, God Is Strength. In times of darkness, Light. In even hidden anger, Peace. Amidst hatred, Love. And Love is what's spoken and lived here, within me, despite whatever contrasts I may notice while reading English content, witnessing the temperance of my tongue, engaging deeper study interests requiring translation software and the occasional survival terms accrued during physical travels. Rechts or links fur zie toiletten... and thanks!

That Love, in God's Will, is where I all-ways hope to live, move and have Being. If and wherever you find yourself among places that are not-quite-right, please seek The Lord Who never left. It's Time.

17 May 2013


X is a crossroads where those marks already seared into us, resistant to erasure by mere wo/man's might, converge with the often polar terrain ahead. Needless to say, energy of sometimes unknown origins often seeks to malign or align with such important journeys, even without invitation.
Considered differently, the X (or tenth)—arguably talented or otherwise—can represent that liberation, as with the Adamic curse being lifted nine generations later with Noah the ark-builder and father of Shem, Ham and Japheth. Genesis 5:29 in the VOICE translation states that his father Lamech so "named him this because he predicted, 'From out of the ground the Eternal cursed will now come someone who will bring relief from our work and painful toil.'" This anticipated "comfort" of a son would somehow temper the 'powerful', 'wild' and 'lowly' man he had been; a redemptive hope rightfully echoed in the hearts of all who birth something new.
"...And we pray, every day..." for Divine clarity beyond inevitable, human contradictions.
Books and beef brisket are both ill-fated if too many hands try to control their outcome.
The X that came to mind so strongly this month was that of the most recent generation it coarsely describes and two of its members. In an April 2008 TIME article, writer Jeff Gordinier channeled the perceived angst of "Gen-Xers [who felt] colossally invisible" amidst what was later cited as the Y/millennial generation's "bloggy, bling-bling birdsong of me-me-me-me-me sounds". Back in the summer of 1997, it was tragic to learn that Malcolm X's first grandson, then 12, was charged with setting the apartment fire that claimed the physical life of his grandmother, Betty Shabazz. The 28-year-old is reported to have suffered a brutal assault and wrongful death in Mexico on May 9. After years of processing the pressures of walking in the revolutionary activist's footsteps, the young man is illustrated by the Final Call, Amsterdam News and NBC News alike with degrees of discreet respect, as one looking towards positive personal growth. 21-year-old Hofstra University student Andrea Rebello also met an unexpected death, this time by the one police bullet that missed the reported invader of her and her sister's home. From this humble platform, I extend heartfelt condolences of peace and healing as they're needed within both of the families and communities affected by their unfortunate losses.
The generational boom, X or Y, of the former global citizens mentioned here—like human chromosomes—need not render any individual unimportant or superior, but interdependent; a relatively fragile fiber in Creation's greater fabric worthy of becoming even more beautiful in Divine time. May the curses of ignorance and hypocrisy in light of this natural right be checked against our shared human needs, succumbing to billions of blessings towards each other that transcend bars, bullets, colors and the unlike. Letters and numbers aside, exceptional wo/men with the heart to edify our Creator without unnecessary harm are welcome. Thank you for your time.
[5/31/13 UPDATE: See also "Generation X Fares Poorly During Recession"]

21 April 2013


Faith and fatherhood have long been at the fore of many eras' popular cultures. Old Abraham passed one of written history's most enduring tests involving his son, Isaac. Pastor/"Purpose Driven Life" author Rick Warren and family grieve the loss of his youngest son, Matthew, to suicide on April 6, sparking a firestorm of opposing backlash that both doubts and expects the Warrens' exemption from such a tragedy. Lauryn Hill is an acclaimed musician and actress whose hip-hop from certain graces is often rumored to be the result of an unequal yoke with a legendary son who fathered five of her six children. Juxtaposed with her early career's open desire to have about 12 children and a possibly unrelated adulation for his famous family, her and many good, hard-working people's current financial struggles place Ms. Hill back in the news. (4/24/13 Update: A silver linings 'songbook' of sorts may be on the way.)

Taking a break from day-to-night shift coverage of the Tsarnaev brothers' alleged terror in Boston wherein their father Anzor defended the young men, a Raymond Santana Sr. appeared as the sole supportive father among those living with the injustice displayed in the PBS documentary, "The Central Park Five". Conscious avoidance of yet another week of "Preachers' Daughters" made way for the redemption song of one in particular. Singer Fantasia Barrino returned to the "American Idol" platform from which she sprung to widespread fame. An impromptu view of her "Lose to Win" live performance was a soul-stirring reminder of the young woman's major vocal talent, enhanced by a special intangible that powers through lies and no money can buy otherwise known as 'the anointing'. Her Commodores-sampling ode of self-growth seems to gradually triumph over her "love" for the positive "inner" qualities she perceived in a man who pleased her "inner" parts while both were aware that he was still 'in a' marriage union with another woman.

Fret not beloved... the judgmental hypocrisy of mortals even towards higher beings is historical. 
Make it right with the Maker. 
["Jesus the Homeless" sculpture © Timothy P. Schmalz]

All of the situations above attest to the fact that the media spotlight often encourages questionable acceptance, embellishment or omission upon those eager to be or stay in it. For instance, the additional human right not to agree with or partake in trends of deception, sexuality, drug culture, shoes or even nail art du jour threatens to affect one's influence in their chosen corner of the popular arena. To slap a Nicolaitan amen on the end of our wrongs and keep them going is made as appealing as Neapolitan ice cream, while talent and integrity are chided as uncool; maybe cute. As we begin to know better, this sensuality over sensibility should not be. The Bible and reality TV notwithstanding, nowhere else are the pet projects we make of planting and reaping our own self-loathing in others' lives as present as in crisis intervention texts or work. During my volunteer internship days, scenarios unimaginable or otherwise rewarded with Hollywood salaries for their gross imagination are somehow common. Among the least graphic of them, I have found:
  • Wo/men beaten down by their intimate 'pillar of the community"-type partners, physically or otherwise challenging their ability to hear and process the truth
  • Intricate attempts at sabotage in the name of "success" 
  • Emotionally and/or sexually violated children who see no harm in judging or doing the same to other children (maybe except their own, if so blessed later in life); their abusers probably having escaped the arrest their conscience and hearts' development was made to suffer 
  • Young people ready to end their real lives over virtual rumors and relationships
  • Wo/men who curse their parents and inadvertently do everything possible to be just like them while thinking and vowing the opposite 
My Spirit resonates with an echo both distant and present: "Forgive them, Father..." and while You're at it please forgive us. Objectivity mandates some advocacy for the other side by inviting the questions: what about those fathers and other authority figures who need forgiving? As an appointed leader of the household, an absentee or abusive father may well deserve some blame for the resultant behaviors of the world's wayward or weary. Reportedly, Fantasia and her father did happen to have a tumultuous relationship. Because perfection escapes us ALL on this human journey, however, if we're so willing to travel far enough down the tree's roots to find faulty seeds, why not take the independent initiative to reach even farther and seek true healing from our Divine Source Who creates the varied environments of dirt, air, water and sunshine we must have, whether we flower or flounder?

We seldom let up when giving others the proverbial business. By forgiving, forgetting and pressing forward from the empty feel-goods of the past, then, let's give each other a chance at the lasting joy and wellness our Father wants for us. Even without the courage and strength of a direct, honest word, we can be heard sometimes expressing ourselves in poor taste. Science and sick days alike teach us how closely the latter is related to our scents; that they precede our sight. By making room in our hearts and souls to feel His Way through dark times and making the change of repentance, we Will Know, Love.

03 March 2013

Just His / Licent...


It evokes thoughts of beatniks dressed in black, stereotypical finger snaps, melodramatic ways of saying 'that' and those indescribable spaces also known as none of the above. Temper, temper now, all you modern-day Calliopes, Eratos and Euterpes; absolutely no disrespect to your Work is intended or offered as I Love my family :) 

The artform did come to the helm of my mind recently, however, because marketing and some of its patterns and packages tickle me. My subconscious has toyed long enough with the convergence of Janet Jackson's sampled appearance on a popular Kendrick Lamar/Drake single, an informal remix featuring Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip as well as mention of her (not-so-new, hush-hush) marriage. It is likely that one set of the guys will never get closer to her than the tribute of their sonic platform. The other individuals have indeed shared good stage, screen and studio space with her, seemingly neither to the benefit nor the detriment of current projects. Then right on time, albeit a year later, mention of the elusive one's nuptials surfaces. I mean, egad! Who plans these things? ...and what exactly is at work: justice or license?

17th century English historical figure Thomas Rhymer is credited with the coinage of the literary "poetic justice" that experienced a pop culture renaissance of sorts via the namesake 1993 film and current song. The term refers to those odd, unexpected and possibly stylish ways that 'right' finds a Way to remain written into the Life script while 'wrong' gets wrung out. Poetic license, on the other hand, is considered a "deviation from fact, form, or rule by an artist or writer for the sake of the effect gained". 

One harmless example of the latter could be my trademark use of parentheses to denote a Divinely timely  delivery of "peace". The word isn't normally punctuated, but I believe my positive intent is underscored by doing so. As calculus and Rosa Parks have already proven, deviations can be standard and outstanding. Deviance can also be akin to harmful behavior, the aim and effect of which is typically licentious or otherwise negative. Choices, choices!

Any time and any place we approach the ​Word, 1 Corinthians is one location where we can receive discernment assistance regarding what we take the liberty to justify. To paraphrase its chapter 6 verse 12 and chapter 10 verse 23, anyone can march to their own beat and do anything s/he wants to. 'Anything' doesn't always make good sense nor is all compromise guaranteed to yield the expected payoff. Please don't be deceived, especially with your own permission.

The journey may not all-ways be safe, but it can be sound. Speak Lord.

03 February 2013

Prey & Praise in the Land of Saints

It's Super Bowl Sunday in the U.S.!

Unlike last year, I will not have the pleasure of beholding the wide-eyed and salsafied physical beauty that is Victor Cruz. *sigh* I haven't spent that much time in the Bay, so until 2014's game in the New York region, another one of my stomping grounds -- Baltimore -- will represent a li'l something to shout about. 

Truth be told, repping San Fran, B'more or the New Orleans playing field doesn't really matter. In this Life, if we're lucky or hardworking enough, we will enjoy memorable experiences on various terrain and with good people. After all, y/our (future) grandkids deserve healing spice amid their inheritance! Should battles arise on the gridiron or in greater arenas, however, this 47th exhibition seems to offer some allegorical assistance.

The Baltimore-affiliated raven, as mythical lore from across the globe and legendary writer Edgar Allen Poe would have it, is a bird of prey, dark and mysterious in its approach. Considered an intermediary between spiritual and mundane realms, raven is sometimes mistaken as solely a harbinger of death. Instead, it behooves us to heed Raven's question, What hidden or shadowy area(s) in y/our lives better serve us, most likely by ending?

On the other hand, the seven squared figure of San Francisco's 49 brings to mind redemptive Jubilee and the Work required to get to the blessed increase upwards of that 50th year point. What in my Life is worthy of celebration, forgiveness and just due respect right now?

Just a thought as February and these famous festivities march in...

10 January 2013

For Real

Happy Newish Year, all! 

With the Northeast expected to experience unseasonably warm weather with almost two weeks of January behind us, it's wild to realize that the first month of "2013" is moving the way that it is.

While there are some things that have changed so far (by resolution or revolution), needless to say, some things have remained the same... yes, I'm talking about my enjoyment of online dictionary entries and scripture.

According to Merriam-Webster online, January 11 is all about "realia" -- those tangibles that bring our education home and help make it more true-to-life. It's funny, then, that Dictionary.com has made the business week ending on 1/11 draw the curtains on what's false. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and what the typically preemptive, mobile version listed as Friday's word focused on the "pseudo-" in name, habit, form, original style and (unless it changes) attribution/credit respectively. 

Beyond the 1994 Curtis/Schwarznegger movie, truth and the unlike often find themselves in close company; sometimes without that specific intent or any harmful results. For instance, this blog and the accompanying music player were set to Pacific Time by default when I first created the accounts. When posting in the late evening  hours, polarized as the coasts are, a certain limbo presents itself with the time-sensitive collateral data like the midnight-refreshed daily words and devotionals. Some are available for me to cite when they supposedly shouldn't be, encouraging either real-time disclosure like this or the decision to ignore the inspiration and wait for the externally accepted time so as not to look wrong. Keeping up appearances in that sense would be easy, but more often than not, I ask myself "why bother?" and go forward with integrity. Such is faith.

For s/he who can see "It" for all it is and could be, a clear line has been drawn. May the True and Living  God determine the starts/finishes in and through us.