Wednesday, December 10

The Dishrag

The old dishrag sat in the corner of the room, collecting dust. It had been years since it had wiped a plate. Once red, now it looked a muddied pink-so many times had it been dipped in bleach, soaked in vinegar. The old dishrag should have been thrown away, with the trash, and the broken broom. But somehow it had been forgotten, in the corner of that living room. The tenants long gone, and the building now foreclosed. How long would this dishrag sit?

Sunday, November 2

Tiny soldiers tramping,
in a war zone behind the dog house.
They shoot flowers with flowers,
because the war is in my mind. 

Shared at Magpie Tales

Sunday, October 26

Mornings in the fall

Warm things in the fall
make mornings happy.
The air is chill when we wake up,
but the fresh brewed coffee is hot.
Our fingers are stiff until we grab
toasted bread topped with jam.
Soon, warmth fills our bellies
and we sigh contently.

Shared at Magpie Tales

Saturday, July 19

Pub Life and Community

Drunken bastards crying themselves to hope
Celebratory rounds gone wrong
This is the Pub Life
We gather here today...
Wait? Did we really gather?
Or did we just all wander in
seeking solace in community
and relief in this reprieve of reality?

Shared at dVerse Poets

Wednesday, July 16

It needs to be said

Monday morning I woke up and walked into my parent's kitchen. In the time it took me to pour my morning coffee, I realized that I should have examined the situation a bit more closely before daring to do such a dangerous thing such as mindlessly enter the kitchen in a half-awaken state. My 31 year old, mentally challenged brother was upset and was arguing with my father.  "Good morning!" I tried in my most cheerful voice. Maybe that would distract him. To no avail. By the time I was done with my coffee, I was in a war zone as he hurled insults at my dad like missiles. Too distressed to eat, I went walking instead, glancing over my shoulder periodically to make sure I wasn't being chased by an irrational lunatic disguised as my brother.

Tuesday, I was not so lucky. Instead of an alarm clock getting me up, it was yelling and screaming. My brother was having a fit again over something insignificant in our eyes, yet of life or death matters in his. "Let's go out," my mom suggested. We convinced him to leave the house with us and traipsed from store to store, seeking to divert his attention and change his mood. Our attempt seemed successful until lunch time. While my mom guarded the garage door, blocking any attempts of my brother deciding to go out and do something foolish, I retreated in prayer, hoping that today would not result with yet another trip to the mental health crisis center.

And then, the storm passed. Wednesday, I baked my brother a mini casserole, duplicate to the one I was sharing with friends at lunch, and saw him smile. Later, we took a silly FaceBook quiz determining his pet personality (What pet are you!?). We went swimming a quarter to 10 at night, just because its summer and we can. It was a beautiful day.

I'll never understand why my brother is mentally ill or why God never chose to heal him. I'll always feel pain for the daily struggles my aging parents endure in trying to give him the best life possible instead of giving up on him. But I thank God for days like this Wednesday, when there is peace and happy memories replace the bad.

Tuesday, July 8

Ancient Truths and Modern Lies

Bemused, I muddle through
Ancient Truths and Modern Lies
all the while he stands amused
longing for my dereliction
Can I move on past all forms of deception
Until I return to the point of conception?
I want to find a light that is bright
an untouchable fire
that will satisfy my thirst
for what is right
but this doubt kills
it is a sword to my soul
piercing it in halves and thirds
throwing me further 
I block my ears and close my eyes
I don't want to know what I'll find
the silence comes
it overtakes me and the words
"Return to the truth"
the words beat in my heart.

Sunday, June 15

A Masked Man with a Plan

Not To Be Reproduced, 1937, Rene Magritte 

He looked into the mirror. Was his disguise complete? Was he incognito enough? If his plan was to work, it was imperative that no one should recognize his face. He was a marked man, his face having featured on millions of posters and advertisements throughout the country. Though his name was still unknown to the masses, his face had become the symbol of dread.

Having decided that the guise was sufficient for his ploy, Germilio stuck the mint plan book in his jacket pocket and set out on his subterfuge. Tonight, retribution would rain from the sky.

Shared at Magpie Tales

Sunday, June 8

The Cassette

Set in motion and winding on, the ancient cassette recorder hummed behind me. I knew the voices on it were key to unraveling the mystery which engulfed me presently, and yet, it took great efforts to sit on the lone chair in the room and tune my ears to their tales. It felt strange, to finally find a match to those faces I had long studied and marked as the conspirers and murderers of the late Professor Jacobs. And yet, when I listened, I did not hear the voice of murderers. There wasn't the faintest trace of a homicidal tendencies in any of the three voices that chimed in and out of conversation like a haphazard ballet.

Shared at Magpie Tales

Thursday, June 5


For all its worth, language fails
I'll run off a cliff, hoping to fly
and when the words don't catch
I plummet downwards

Shared at dVerse  

Tuesday, June 3

Surgery: Hope Augmentation

It doesn't matter anyways. I've lived this life long enough to know it. Our cities reek of corruption. What is the point of engaging in civil disobedience? I think I will just sit here and cry.

No! Don't say that! You cannot give up hope. You must keep dreaming. Did you know all children are born full of hope? It is only with age that the hope begins to slowly seep out of them. But we can stop this aging process. If  the stroke of a pen can grant rich women the tools to remain young forever-breast implants, rhytidectomies, abdominalplasties, labiaplasties, then can't we believe that we can preserve something far more precious than that?

Shared at

Wednesday, May 28


You've been all alone for 18 years. The state has been Mother and Father. Hours wasted in entertainment are now all gone. Today you started learning through eyes pried open by the past, and with each new fact you breath a little deeper, unwilling to go back. Now you are bound. Bound to start a revolution, bound to surge forward like a storm. There is no more sleep for you tonight. Sleep is for the dead. 

A "B" post, shared at

Tuesday, May 27

In the Act

I do the dishes,
slowly passing the glass plate
under the stream of water,
The water pours-
a tiny storm in my sink.
A sound at the door,
A shadow falls on me
I'm caught making love again.

Shared at dVerse

Monday, May 26

Memorial Day

This a day to demand change
a word marred by our current president
cursed as the word may be
on being profaned
it is still the tonic that'll heal our land
Can we change that we mourn
for those lost in wars?
Can we change that our sons and daughters were pawns
in a war played by monied richlings?
The honest hold fast to a hope that their deaths
were as honest as the hope that they hold
But truth be told today and tomorrow
about the wars of yesterday and today
Death came uneventfully
Death came with shame
Death came senselessly
knocking at our doors
stealing our youth
while locked away in ivory towers
men stood looking asunder
drinking champagne and laughing

Shared At Imaginary Garden

Sunday, May 25

Within the Mess

The high-pitched buzz of a mosquito sounded by my ear. The buzz rose and fell in pitch as it flew around my head. What a miserable summer this was going to be. It was only 10 o'clock in the morning but I had already sat in the dusty, humid, second-hand shop for two precious hours. In that time I had painted my nails, read through a 1990s copy of Vanity Fair and drank 3 cups of coffee. Maybe it was the coffee that was making me restless.

The decision to work at Our Lady of Light Thrift hadn't been my own. My plans for the summer had been to work with my punk-rock band, The Deadly Vipers, but after I was caught "decorating" the girls' locker-room with black spray-paint and glitter (all harmless promotion for the band, of course), Mom and Dad decided that not only did I need to pay for the damages I had incurred, I needed to learn responsibility. So, they spoke to Father Joseph at the school who helped them cook up the plan of enlisting me to work at the school's auxiliary shop. Hang me, please!

An annoying jingle of bells sounded, alerting my attention. A woman with steel-grey hair and wire-rimmed glasses stood at the door. She was petite beyond measure and her arm-length, floor-length cotton frock made her look over-dressed for the 90 degree weather. "Good, heavens! What a mess!" she declared.

Written for The Mag

Saturday, May 24

The Safest Place I've Ever Known

Danger lurks in every corner of this house.
It creeps through every crevice,
leaving me unhinged from safety,
vulnerable and void.
So I creep into my mother’s arms
and settle on her lap.
I snuggle up to her praying chest
and let the fears be cast away.

Here, I am safe. 

Poetry Challenge: Words Count
Shared at: Imaginary Garden 

Six Word Saturday

Original Painting: Talking Heads by Anita Kunz
Poetry added by Charleen Martinez

Shared at

Sunday, May 18


Edward Hopper, 1922 

"Now, of course, Roy. I wouldn't want to impose on you. It'll only be for a couple of days."

"Cream? Lois?"

"What? Yes, please. But wouldn't you consider it? Think of it as a favor to your Dear Aunt Ruby. You know how much she adores you."

Roy retreated into his chair. "I fail to see which part of letting a 16-year-old run away stay with his Bachelor cousin in New York, is a favor. Why, I ought to have whipped your backside and sent you packing on the first train to Lansdale as soon as you as you set foot in this town."


"Now, don't you start your crying with me! I've got enough trouble as it is at work. Rumor has it, something big is about to go down and I've got to put my full attention to it. My suggestion is, that you go home and face whatever trouble drove you here. Running away never solves anything."

Lois cast her eyes downward. "Yes. I suppose so."

"What's a stay in the big apple going to do for you anyways? Go home. Your mother is worried sick about you."

Not as worried sick as she'll be if she finds out about this, Lois thought, letting her hands rest on her belly.

Shared at

Sunday, May 11

Suspended Reality

Suspended reality. I light my way to the moon through my mind's eye and float above turbulent waters. Slow motion makes the pain drain from my near lifeless body. Behind me, a forest full of secrets lurks-- I shut it out building a wall of fog that blends the truth with my fiction. When will I awake from this dream?

Written for The Mag

Wednesday, April 30

Tuesday, April 29


I will sit next to you
As the sky turns to grey
And the birds fall asleep
For sorrows run deep

Sunday, April 27

Three Stanzas on Love

Why let go of this love?
Is there a better way?

A love so pure
A love so true
No doubt exists
Between me and you

Isolated by your love
I am frozen
Time stops in your love

Saturday, April 26



I slouch behind the counter,
hand in apron pocket
jingling the change
left by table 26
waiting for my

I'm not lazy, just tired

Shared at dVerse and Imaginary Garden

Friday, April 25

Giving You Up

Willard House Windows Bars by Lisa Gordon
Lisa Gordon Photography
My heart lies on a slab of concrete
exposed to all the elements
as I watch the one I love walk away
walk away into the asylum
what a beautiful word
a place of retreat and security
the place where help never comes
to those whose lot is less
to those who cannot tie their shoes
or read or write
who mourn at a butterfly's death
I wish I could have cured you
I wish the world would understand
instead they sit here judging
judging you for who you are
judging me for giving you up
judging, judging, sans cure, sans hope
while my heart bleeds to death.

Shared at Imaginary Garden

Thursday, April 24

Lying in Bed at Night OR We're Not That Different, You and I

Wouldn't you like to know
the intimate details of my heart
the secrets that spin when it's well past dark
whirling infinitely without pause
trying to figure out what flaws
can be pruned and tended to from day to day
isn't that our mutual fray?

Shared at Theme Thursday

Wednesday, April 23

Cup of Pudding

  us pudding is my favorite
   even if it proves the co
     ok was not adept and
       let the milk boil wi
        thout stirring or w
          atching the pot
What do I care, if it's edible still?

Shared at Three Word Wednesday 

Tuesday, April 22

Home Away From Home

Mom always took us grocery shopping 
a week before The trip
we'd load up the cart with goodies
single-serve boxes of sugary cereal
Frosted Flakes and Apple Jacks
Ho Hos and Twinkies
Slim Jims and Fritos
It was all within our grasp
All because in 7 short days
we'd be riding past red-rock mountains
zooming through fields of corn
and camping out with bandit raccoon
on our way to visit family whose names I did not know
Who could trust a grocer in Kentucky?
And wouldn't they be racist in Georgia?
What if there was no food for miles around
during our enduring voyage to Florida?
It'd be our comfort on the dank days
when the RV broke down
waking me with sticky hair clinging to my face
waiting for hours for a repair to snap up
A welcome routine on mornings away from home
Siting around a small Formica table
knocking elbows with everyone
I'd take a spoonful of my colored cereal
and know I was home away from home.

Shared at dVerse.

Monday, April 21

La Flor Roja-Un Poema en Español (The Red Flower- A Poem in Spanish)

La Flor Roja

Andando por un camino
con una flor me encontre
era roja como la sangre
pero tierna como la amanecer 

Recogi esa flor roja
poniendola como horquilla en el pelo
esperando que en esa dulcura 
encontraría deseado consuelo 

Porque cada dia ando 
buscando paz para mi corazon
la paz se fue volando
cuando usted me abandono 

The Red Flower

English Translation:

Walking down a path
I crossed ways with a flower
It was as red as blood
but tender like dawn

I picked up that red flower
and placed it like a pin in my hair
hoping that in this sweetness
I'd find the comfort I desired

Because each day I walk
looking for peace for my heart
since Peace took off flying
the day you abandoned me

Sunday, April 20

On the Outside

Finland, 1968, photo by George F. Mobley 

Its dreary-- and yet,
flashes of color pop.

What could be so important
that you would stand out in the biting rain?
Wandering in the woods
with your hearts and apples?

Is it worth it?
To celebrate when the world is grey?

Can you unearth joy
while the atmosphere sneers?

Shared at The Mag.

Saturday, April 19


Am I attractive?
Am I pretty, at least this?
I wait for your words.

Shared at Carpe Diem.


Care ate
4 the bunny
but She don't carrot all.

the Bunny cries
4 care-it don't matter
big or small

can't you carrot?
4 the bunny?
the Bunny looks like a doll

without a care at
4 ever's door
the Bunny dies with a bawl

Shared at Imaginary Garden

Easter Traditions

Growing up, the traditions my family had were getting dolled up for church Sunday morning, celebrating in unity with other believers and then visiting The Garfield Conservatory before having dinner in either China Town or Greek town . Although Easter baskets and Egg Hunts are very popular at Easter and many people sit down to an Easter Ham, my immigrant parents never bought into those very American traditions. Having celebrated Easter differently than most Americans, I've always found it interesting to note the different traditions people engage in in honor of this holiday. The following are four traditions (some mainstream American, and some not) that seem to stick out as hallmarks:

Do you participate in any of these traditions? What different traditions do you hold dear? 

Shared at Show My Face

Friday, April 18

Good Friday Acronym

God's only son
On a rugged cross
Occupying a space
Designed for us.

Freeing us from death and the
Rule of sin
In his selfless act of
Yeshua be exalted.

Thursday, April 17


Don't cry over spilled milk
unless it if fell upon the silk!

A fool and his money are easily parted
unless that fool has malodorously farted 

Drastic times call for drastic measures
this is my excuse to plunder your treasures 

Wednesday, April 16

Traveling Down a Fog Filled Road

Round the curve on a fog-filled night
Searching and seeking for a light
When suddenly a face appears
Inducing horrors and bone-chilling fears

The inanimate image of Baphomet
Standing tall-an insentient threat
The goat-headed symbol of the occult
Mocking the traveler, a perverse insult

Then with a glance, it all disappears
As we go wiping our impassioned tears
We ask ourselves questions about the spook
Was the demon real or a shadow's fluke?

Shared at Three Word Wednesday

Tuesday, April 15

The Ardor of Fire

The Ardor of Fire

The darkest gloom of night
Carry the torch, though it weigh much

Monday, April 14

Tomorrow's worries quietly groan
as they stand dejected at their rejection
Isn't it detrimental for them to be ignored?
Their abandonment is like refusing a glass of water
when the water is stale and old
To slight them is like saying no to the sun
when the sun threatens to scorch and sore.

Shared at Imaginary Garden

Sunday, April 13

Hernando Martinez

The King of Cats, 1935, Balthus 
Hernando Martinez was the King of Cats
He made himself famous, and that's a fact
He worked for the circus and he worked for the zoo
He worked with tigers and with kittens too

Masses and mobs came to his show
while the lights from above cast a faint glow
over their heads and though the crowd
he came swinging and whooping, bowing proud 

With a kitten in tow, and a cat in each hand
there was no doubt about it, he was king of the land
of cheetahs and jaguars, pumas and lions
they'd bow at his feet, when they heard the sirens 

Hernando Martinez, King of all Cats
To laud and applaud him, take off your hats
He can tame the lions and all feline beasts
Making him a wonder from west to east. 

Shared at The Mag

Saturday, April 12

The Fish Bowl

On my dresser stands a bowl
With some fishes black as coal
Others swim in pretty red
Their scales match my Christmas sled
One fish looks just like the sun
His bright scales are so much fun
The one that's green lacks some luck
He looks like a big dump truck!

Shared a Imaginary Garden

Flowers in a Vase

Flowers, by Odilon Redon

Flowers in a Vase

Earth colored urn 
placed on a dark honeyed table,
filled with flowers from the field.
Each flower dances in its vibrant color,
some so light, they embody life,
twitching to fool the viewer
"I am a butterfly dancing," they lie.
The sun, the river, 
the sky, the ground,
all play together in this vase.
A mess of life-- stabled, 
captured for a time.

Shared at Imaginary Garden.

Six Word Saturday

Shared at Show My Face.

Friday, April 11

Waiting Beneath the Wisteria Walkway

               falls            and
          stand                    beneath
         her                         wishing
          for                              a
         love-                            er
          who                             is
         long                              in
         arrive-                          ing 

Poem shared at Imaginary Garden



Thursday, April 10

My poem today is based off of  a legendary list of rules for teachers supposedly written in 1872. See if you can determine which rule I am responding to...

After a day of desperation
You'll be yearning for a libation
But please resist temptation
Lest you receive condemnation
And commit character assassination

This poem was shared at Theme Thursday.

Wednesday, April 9


       that s
      eeks to
     punish ra
     ther than
     assess is
     not a test,
     my politic
     ian. It is a
     idea that
     will make
     the bright
     est minds
     listless &
     moody. P
     lease sto
     p this non
     sense bef
     ore I thro
     w up. Bef
     ore my co
     ountry give
    s up and I'm
     stuck with

Shared at Three Word Wednesday

Tuesday, April 8

The Notebook

Chicken scratch from 1997--
I was an author,
with an audience of one.
Only eight and in love
with the world of writing.

This Poem was shared at

Monday, April 7

Dreams of Gypsy

I'll be a gypsy
With my long, loose, flying hair
Catch me-if you dare!

Shared at

Sunday, April 6

Rising Hope

The rising of the morning sun
assures the desperate of salvation.
If the light streams in,
unhindered by last night's failings,
then hope plays on
the horizon of the new day.

Written for and shared at The Mag

Saturday, April 5


Every hair defined
Every pore pointed out
The pigmentation- uneven
dotted with freckles of time
Peeling nose
Two tired eyes
A chin as big as sin

and yet

Every hair defined
Every pore pointed out
This is a face that has seen time
roll by gently, like a friend
with her joys and surprises
and stored behind that visage
is a mind that meditates upon these things
unhindered by a mere reflection
that captures only what the eye can behold
and not the stores of imagination

Shared at where today's prompt is "Mirror, Mirror."


Friday, April 4

A Fool for Christ's Sake

I hauled the cardboard.
It was large and smelled
faintly of morning dew,
but it would do.

I dragged it down the street,
the neighbors all watched me,
but they could not erase
the smile swathed across my dace
as I counter myself a Fool,
a fool for Christ's sake,

No one knew my intentions,
of how I'd transform that piece of trash
from uselessness to Gospel.
How I'd paint it up and down
to make the story of Christ come alive,
if but for just a moment
on a Blessed Easter morn.

The backdrop for our Easter play
lay on my back that day!

Thursday, April 3

Fat Kid Proverbs

Handfuls of buttery popcorn
Are better than a tuna-fish sub
And cupcakes made up of vanilla
Will beat cod liver oil any day!

Wednesday, April 2

Gone Away

Are you leaving?
Are you going away?
Like an extinguishing light
Like a bumble moth in flight

Tuesday, April 1


Foreigner from a far off place
with wearied feet and tired hands
wanders on the streets today.

Will she reach her resting spot,
before the night falls?

Friday, March 21

The Painting at the Marketplace

Help me! I'm trapped! 

The woman kept her vision forward, her glance far from the wooden frame that encased the age-old oil painting. Who would of thought the painting was talking, beckoning strangers from its humble spot among ruins?

Take me home. I belong with you.

It had been a long day at work. All she could think of was making it home to the room she shared with three other seamstresses.

I am important to you.

She glanced at her tired hands that had somehow managed to stitch 1000 shirts today destined mostly to the United States and sighed. When Sufia had left her village to come work at the factories of Bangladesh, she knew she was escaping an early marriage and gaining freedom, but sometimes on days like this, she felt homesick. 

Never mind it all. Just look at me!

The painting screamed in anger, desperate to catch Sufia's attention before it was too late. Three more steps, and it would be out of her view completely. In a fit of desperation, it appealed to the common objects around it, hoping that one would take on his case. The pewter candlestick assented.

"Ow!" yelped Sufia as the candlestick struck her toe. She squated  low to knead the pain out of the quickly swelling red member.

Up here now! 

Sufia lifted her eyes and saw it, a dusty rendition of a woman swathed in a gold saree sitting in a bamboo chair. Though the woman was older with silver streaks running through the jet black of her hair, she seemed awash with life, her eyes beckoning the viewer to challenge her, if they dared. A faint smile crossed her lips, as she seemed to hold back a smile.

Slowly, Sufia stood, still staring at the painting. "How much?" she called to the elderly man who ran this corner of the market. The man shook, roused from his half-asleep vigil over second-hand wares and signaled 50 Taka, roughly the cost of a loaf of bread. With a sigh, Sufia shook her head. What was she expecting? The price was actually quite low, given the masterful strokes that made up the composition, but however cheap the painting was, it was still beyond her limited budget. But as she started to walk away, the old man called to her, "But today I run a special. Free painting to pretty girl." His leathery face cracked with a smile.

His disposition seemed sincere, and though the young woman had learned to be extra cautious with strangers as to avoid accepting gifts hidden prices, she consented this time, offering a heart-felt "Dhonno-baad," thank you.

Thank you. The painting smiled.

Friday, March 14


I started off my run lazily, dreading the run, anticipating pain. How many days had it been since I'd last hit the pavement? Too many. Clearing the dust from my sneakers had nearly sent me into an asthmatic attack.  But here I was, willing to inflict this form of self-torture commonly referred to as "exercise" by my slimmer counterparts, women with thigh gaps and jutting collar bones.

Should I run my usual one mile or literally go the extra? With no hope of actually completing two miles running, I figured I'd at least try. If I gave out after my first mile, I'd still have to walk the the other one home, thus achieving two miles of physical activity. Breathe in, breathe out. In through the nose, out through the mouth, one step at a time. Try to forget that sneaking ache threatening to seize your whole left side.

I made it to the the one mile marker. I could still breathe and nothing hurt yet. I'll just run around this corner to Blaine Street and then...

"One mile? No sweat! Two miles? Better yet!" a man walking his dogs yelled at me.

Hmmm. I like that. One mile? No sweat! Two miles? Better yet! And step by step, those words became my mantra. I made it to the end of Blaine Street, went around the cul-de-sac and still my feet kept moving.

On the way home I saw the man with the mutts again, but this time it was I who yelled, "One mile? No sweat! Two miles? Better yet!"

He smiled approvingly, nodding his head, encouraging me. "That's right!"

And that is how I ran two miles tonight.

Thursday, January 16

Sunday, January 5

Manage the Night

Manage the night
with its oils spilled allover the ground
fragrances of motor and lust rise up and meet the sky
the pavement's uneven and grabs at her heel
a cackle's released as she grabs at your hair
the silence of this street is deafening
the honks and calls blend to make a wall
as tall and straight as her former posture
remember when she was sober and beautiful?
remember when you couldn't tell her the truth?
a bottle of Cabernet served with steak
couldn't cut to core of what needed to be said
and now we saunter down this alley
three streets away from reality
and the night wastes away

Shared at

Friday, January 3


I'm hiding behind my camera
You can't see me
While I declare liberty
Every click is a portal
Every shot breaks down a door
I fly with these pictures
Around the world
And all the while
I am hiding
You'll never see my face
Even if my picture takes you to my home
Even if I stare into the mirror as my finger
moves down to make the shot
I'm hiding behind this camera
Because I know it'll make me free

Shared at

Thursday, January 2

Baby Unborn


My childhood was not replete with the sound track of Contemporary Christian  Music . We went to a Spanish speaking church, where hymns of old were sung in our mother tongue. I'd like to know who was the fair missionary who translated "Amazing Grace" into Spanish. I can just imagine them among the sugar-cane fields, sweating from the heat and with fever but persistent in their mission to spread the Good Word. When it was not "The Old Rugged Cross," it was a corrito, a shorter song sung with the vivacity of the islands my parents had left behind. I heard plenty of congas and maracas in the praise and worship music of my youth. 

Living in the culturally diverse city of Chicago, however, meant my parents could not inculcate me absent from mainstream America. My father especially, having moved here as a child, was fond of tuning to the local gospel station. Now I heard "Amazing Grace" sung richly from great African American voices. My mother, not having an inclination for music, or perhaps not having English enough to understand the words, complained that the gospel music sounded like noise.

I am convinced that it was her lack of English that made her accuse the genre, for years later when I discovered CCM, she made the same accusation. Just noise. But I filled my ears with the music. To her, the music sounded wholly secular and nothing like what praise and worship music should sound like. To me, it was something novel and modern sounding. Something more American than what I knew. Sure, many of my classmates were listening to Brittany Spears and The Backstreet Boys, music that both of my parents had banned from the house, but CCM at least had some semblance of mainstream pop. I spent hours recording down the lyrics of songs and trying to commit them to memory. The words "Jesus Freak" now adorned the pages of my notebooks. 

As I've gotten older, I've become aware of the complaints contrived against CCM and with some contemplation I can give some of these merit, but over all when I think of what role CCM has played in my life, I cannot reach any conclusion other than to say it help extricate me from believing that God can be worshiped only one way. Surely, CCM did not do this alone, as the germs of this idea were already there as I heard multiple versions of "Amazing Grace" but it did help further the idea-push it to the limits. 

Wednesday, January 1

Generosity and Greed

Christmastime had come again, with it's gay tidings and joyful gift-giving. But every coin has two sides and with the generosity of Christmas came the greed of the season too.With every penny dropped into the Salvation-Army bucket,  three coins were kept for no reason other than greed. "Charity! What a useless thing!"

The stores advertised their sales: 50% off, buy 1 get 1 free, limited time only! And with each sagacious purchase made in honor of a loved or cherished one, three purchases were made to fill the closets of the buyer. Business men rubbed their hands with greed as they saw sales send their profit lines into the black.

The little children were pranced to the malls and made to wait in long lines to see that generous man of Christmas, Old Saint Nick. And while these Santa Clauses from near and far represented the idea of a generous heart, they gave nothing while taking up their paychecks and collecting the greedy long lists of perpetually insatiate children. 

Oh yes, Christmas, the time when the greed of the season is so great, it threatens to squeeze out any true generosity from the heart.