My hopes the wind done scattered
Snow has friz me
Sun has baked me
Looks like between 'em
they done tried to make me
But I don't care
I'm still here
thoughts, stories, poetry, insight, pain, laughter, the why, the ifs, the me, the shadows, our connection, the you, with love
Make sure that you have sound. I love this video. It just makes me smile. In the tragic sadness of everyday living, there is an enormous amount of beauty to be found and shared. Thank you, Matt, for reminding me, us, about this simple truth.
This video is very upsetting. My friend turned it on to me, and I was left extremely troubled and saddened. If you get a chance to look it up on YouTube, please look at the comments that follow this video. I am not sure what disappoints me more: the obvious barbarism of the video, the sadness of our inhumanity towards one another, the zebra mentality of onlookers, or some of the comments I read below the video based on fear and ignorance. I am disgusted by the actions of the two violent individuals in the video, not only as a black man, bat as a citizen of humanity. The perpetrators' reactions are despicable, in spite of race, but no more so than the comments of hatred and nescience that I read following the video.
We have such a long way to grow. We are still infants in our existence. I am bent by it all; and yet, I am not broken. I am hope, and I have hope. I would love to read your comments and reactions, my friends.
Good News! I know many of you have been waiting, and I've been lazy, so I should tell you: It is SARCOIDOSIS, not lymphoma. I'm asymptomatic, and that's a good thing. I'll try to keep you posted on any other developments.
“Dokyo wrote his last words while seated in the upright
am i afraid? you ask.
When Others Are Oppressed
There he was, Sean Penn, masterfully playing Harvey Milk in the current and timely film, MILK. I sat there for two hours completely absorbed, humored, impassioned, and ultimately, deeply saddened and grieved. I couldn’t help but to think about a line from a Greg Brown song: “why does good change take so long?” Why do we, as human beings, take so much joy in seeing others oppressed, others suffer?
MILK is a movie about Harvey Milk,
I thought about the suicides of Bill B. and the thousands of gay, lesbian, and transgender youth and adults who were hated, tortured, teased, ostracized, and/or judged by a world built out of sands of fear. I thought about parents who reject their children because they believe being gay is a choice. I thought about Jesus and how it would grieve him to see his children suffer at the hands of those who claim to know him. I thought about myself, and how my struggle as a black, heterosexual male is defeated if I can’t speak out and up for my brothers and sisters who are gay, Hispanic/Latino, Asians, women, transgender, physically challenged, elderly, Muslim, Jewish, raped, abused, hungry, or voiceless. Is not my cause their cause? Can any of us truly be free when others are oppressed?
I thought about
I thought about the tears Harvey Milk, had he not been assassinated, would be weeping on this past election day. I thought about my family and loved ones who are gay/lesbian/transgender. I thought about shackles and yellow stars and closets. I thought about bombs falling and government lists and associations and accusations. I thought about my daughter, and the world we are passing on to her. And I cried. And I thought about my tears, and how I weep for the gay community, and how I stand with them because my struggle is their struggle. And their struggle is my struggle. “We are all in this together. We are all in this alone.” – Pierce Pettis
“And you’ve got to elect gay people, so that child and the thousands and thousands like that child know that there’s hope for a better world; there’s hope for a better tomorrow. Without hope, not only gays, but those blacks, those Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the Us’s . . . without hope, the Us’s give up. I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. You, you, and you got to give them hope.” – Harvey Milk
I was deeply moved by this Mayor's speech. I, too, felt disheartened by Proposition 8 in California. Why? It was the irony of it all. Our country saw the first multi-racial president elected, in part, due to the record turnout of African-Americans at the voting poll. Proposition 8 was passed in California, in large part, because 85% of African-Americans who voted supported Proposition 8.
For those of you who do not know about Proposition 8, allow me to summarize. Proposition 8 was a voting point to ban gay marriages. However, gay marriages were already made legal in the state of California several months ago. Why was this important to people, who are not gay, to ban? Could not the African-American community see that we as a country made leaps in civil rights with our presidential choice, but stepped backwards with the support of Proposition 8? I need to ask the African-American community: could you imagine a proposition for re-instituting segregation on the voting blocks every two or four years? How safe would you feel? And don't you realize that no one is free when others are oppressed?
Do you not see that the civil rights movement was not just a "black thing", but a human thing? And do you not comprehend that by setting back another group, you set your cause back?
Thank you, Mayor, for following your heart, regardless of this setback. I stand at your side. I speak for all who have been oppressed. All. Not. Just. Me!
I've never quite cared for fashion, and style is in the eye of the beholder. I like how certain colors (like black) look on me. I've never been hip to all the changes in fashion. Don't get me wrong, I can dress very well, very cool, if I actually give a damn about what is labeled, "hip" or "cool". Usually, I just don't care. And I'm not trying to be a rebel, I just be who I be, and throughout my life that has been labeled everything from devil worshiper to freak to "what the hell?" to "turn down those colors!"
Some of you know that I had an interesting few days a couple of weeks ago. I felt that my death was somehow approaching me. Then I felt that it wasn't necessarily my death, but something that had to die within me or around me.
Do you remember back in that April of 1993, back when I was on that desperate train that had gone far out of control? Do you remember? I called you one day because I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. I tried to call my mom and tell her that I was in pain. I tried to tell my mom that I never really wanted that boy to take advantage of me. I tried to tell my mom without really telling her, but she couldn't see that I was bleeding, so she just kept cutting. And I was almost bled out, Charlie. I almost bled it all out on that day, Charlie. My thoughts were cutting me, and I wanted to jump from that train. I was almost convinced that jumping would be fun. I almost couldn't see past the moment of my jump, but then I called you. And you listened. And you pulled out that bandage. And I cried because it hurt so bad, Charlie. And I never saw God more clearly than on that day. You listened. You prayed. You let me cry, Charlie. And I almost couldn't take it. I wanted to punch my head through a wall, so all the blood could come out at once. And you never made me feel bad for that.
If ever the time comes, I would gladly lay down my life for you, Charlie. You have always been the soft whisper of God in my darkest nights.
It's strange how timely it has been for your footsteps, your friendship to enter into my life. I know you think that you don't have the magic words to speak me out of the whirlwinds and hurricanes that beset my path, but you, Irish soul, listen graciously with heart. Your words and thoughts have brought comfort to me. It was you, in my darkest moments in the fading autumn light, who reminded me that darkness was only the absence of light; darkness truly doesn't exist within a relationship unto itself. It corresponds to the degree of light. Darkness can only exist if light dims herself; darkness can never take over light. It was you who reminded me of this simple truth. And I know I've said this to you before, but it's worth saying again, you, with laughter and truth, have melted some burden down. Ferron said it best:
And I found that all the world could love you save for one. And I don't know why it is, but that kiss will be the haunted one. You'll pine and weep and you'll lose good sleep and you'll think your life has come undone, until you learn to turn and spurn that bitter wind.
What more could I say? This day is cloud dust and star shine.
The Rubik's Cube: A theory in defense
of the existence of God
We've all seen the Rubik's Cube; that six sided enigma that has perplexed simpletons and the brain-powered. To some mathematical geniuses, it is just a fascinating equation, one that can be solved using a minimal amount of moves. To me, it was, and remains to be, a luring quandary.
I started playing with the cube when I was 10. I studied books on the cube, and would spend hours trying to solve it. When I eventually solved, (with the help of some suggestive books), I decided to mix and match different approaches in solving the cube. (I've never been quite good at following someone else's approach.) I had Rubik's cube books that claimed the cube could be solved in 45 seconds or less. I've never been able to solve it that quickly. My fastest time was 70 seconds.
When I was younger I focused on results, (e.g., how fast could I solve it, why is it so hard to turn at times). I wanted to do it faster and faster. But alas! 70 seconds was the best time I could get. Eventually, I got bored with the Rubik's Cube, and I put it away.
Within the last six months, I mentioned at a show about my Rubik's Cube abilities. After this show, a girl came up to me, holding out her cube, asking me to solve it. I froze. I hadn't seriously tried to solve the cube for more than (Gulp!) 20 years. And because the cube is not a mathematical equation to me, (geometry was the only math I disdained), I was stuck. I couldn't solve it. I couldn't remember my moves. I walked away embarrassed that I even mentioned my Rubik's Cube days.
I went home determined to solve the cube, once again. Within hours, I was able to solve the cube; I rediscovered the process. It's odd how things start to come back to you when you haven't done an activity for so long.
This time around, though, I was intrigued by the process, the "how," and not the "how fast." There are hundreds, maybe thousands of ways to solve the cube. I have my series of 20+ ways. One approach that remains consistent with me is that I start off solving the cube by working on two opposites first. The color patterns are always the same: red/orange, blue/green, white/yellow. Therefore, if I choose the yellow as my first color, the white side will follow. Before fully completing those two sides, I arrange the corners of the four remaining colors, and then I finish the rest of the two colors with which I began.
Upon completion of the initial colors, I work on completing the remaining four sides. However, in order to complete the remaining four sides, one must be willing to "upset" the order of the two completed sides. When I am solving the cube I don't even pay any attention to this disturbance; it is what is necessary when I am trying to solve the cube. I thought about how wonderful of a metaphor solving the Rubik's Cube is for life. If there is a lot of distractions and disturbances and confusion for a relatively simple cubed equation, what more can be said for the distractions and disturbances and confusions within the multi-variables of life?
As some of you are aware, I am intrigued by philosophical and religious meanderings. I love to sit and ponder; this brings me joy. Lately, I've been reading and listening to discussions about Evil. For those of you who are unaware, the problem of evil is the chief weapon for atheists in their defense that God does not exist. Personally, I believe God exists. Yet, I can't just ignore this serious premise: If God exists, why would God allow evil? If God is loving and benevolent, almighty and omnipresent, why would God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why is there suffering?
For the sanctity of blogging, and for the sanity of my reading audience, I will keep this discussion to simplicity; yet, I recognize that even simplified, this discussion can be discoursed equally as well with mushrooms, as with sobriety. By the very nature of this discussion being philosophical, some of you may bow out right about now. For those of you who are still around, let us enjoy one another's company.
I can get bogged down with themes such as the local and global arguments from evil, the idea of God, the hiddenness of God, and the suffering of animals to approach this discussion. However, time and interest is of the essence; therefore, allow me to draw upon my rediscovery of solving the Rubik's Cube as a general, but faulty, approximation of why evil exists.
Earlier, as you may recall, I mentioned two salient points concerning the cube that I would like to infuse within this discussion. First point being, there are multiple methods to understanding and solving the cube. Secondly, the process in which I take requires the disruption of seeming perfection in order to obtain holistic perfection. In other words, I must first destroy the two sides I solve in order to complete the remaining four sides.
Could not the Rubik's Cube, in theory, be seen as a working metaphor to address this question? What if life, as we know it, (or life unbeknownst to us), is working to achieve some level of perfection? And what if this journey is far more extravagant than some simple cube? What if the mathematical computations are played out through billions of years, with infinite possibilities, with pieces (i.e., people and things) that don't necessarily fit within their given time and space, and can only later be understood through reflection or the revelation of other factors? What if God is beyond the scope we place on God? Beyond the books and sermons and suicides and prayers and judgments and boxes in which God so neatly fits? What if God can only be God? What if stopping all the evil would no more be of God than stopping all the good?
When I solve the cube I solve two opposite sides first; the opposites work in tandem with one another. They work together and rarely against each other. What if these opposite sides were to be seen as love/hate, evil/good, suffering/healing? What if to God the framework is not greater and lesser evils, but rather, greater and lesser goods? And what if it is about the intentions of things, rather than the acts themselves? For example, if I say to you is a mother evil if she purposefully shoots her child? Would it matter if I told you the mother was mentally ill? A criminal? Or if I told you that the mother had been wounded during war time, dying, and her eight year old girl would be raped, tortured, and killed by her captors. Would that make a difference?
We can only see through this glass darkly. We are trapped within the immediacy of our time. We attempt to understand the pieces of this cube we call life, but we don't know the intentions or strategy of the Cube Solver. Onlookers can only gasp and remain baffled by the movement of life within God's hands, and what appears to be the destruction of perfection, what we label as evil, could in the end, be set to serve the greater good.