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

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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

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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.