Posted in Musings and Reflections

Resistance is Futile – Joining the Persistence

Resistance is the latest buzz word it seems, though it is not a new thing.

See Big Mountain – Resistance.

“Your modern ways don’t inspire me. Jah Jah guides.”

So is resistance futile, as so stated by the hive mind collective Borg in Star Trek? I don’t know, but I have found a nagging discomfort within regarding fully participating in the current manifestation of the so-called Resistance.

Perhaps it is because I have seen this all before. A new public figure demonized. The masses crying out for justice. A few bread crumbs of change thrown to mollify them until they return to their normal sleep walking existence while real change remains elusive.

So pardon me for my insistence at putting some distance between me and this instance of the Resistance.

Perhaps it is because I suspect that while our attention is on what seems obvious, the movement is subverted by the subtle, not-so-easily-discernable lies that keep us chained within.

So as I have pondered my resistance to the Resistance, a word has risen to the surface of my inner tumultuous ocean.

That word is persistence.

Another word for this (at least in theological circles) is faithfulness.

As I have reflected on what these words mean, some thoughts have begun to percolate in my brain.

Persistence is about taking the long view, vision, and/or second sight, by overlooking petty differences, and refusing to be short sighted.

Persistence is about humbly acknowledging that in the present we see through a glass darkly, that the revelation of truth is a gradual thing, that it is best revealed in radically diverse company, and that no one person or group has a corner on the truth no matter how loud he/she/they may shout.

Persistence is a marathon, not a sprint.

Persistence is about learning to breathe and taking the time to do so. It is about both inhalation and exhalation. It is about being mindful of what we breathe in and what we breathe out. It is about what words we say and when silence can be a shout.

Persistence is an acknowledgement of the great cloud of witnesses, saints and sinners, who have walked this road before, and who are watching how we walk this road now. It is the knowledge that we break no new ground, that we walk in their footsteps, that this river at least, when we step into it, is the same river, is constant, and has been rushing since the beginning of time towards the inevitable thundering fall of justice.

Persistence is the trust in Alpha and the Omega, in the beginning and the end. It is the faith that we know the end to the story, and that this end is good news.

Persistence is never surrendering to despair, never giving up on hope, always believing that love conquers all, that love never fails.

It is remaining faithful to the bitter, and not so bitter, end.

So on this day, with this faith, I am joining the Persistence.

Join us, won’t you?

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Image of Faith

in these days
when the heat of summer
slowly succumbs to the
crisp cool air of fall
it is not an easy thing
to believe that the lies
of this past season
will finally give way to the truth

like the canvas covered vintage car waiting to be exposed by the tearing wind
or the red tipped wine bottle which noses out from a black plastic bag
it is only a matter of time
before what is right
is revealed

i must admit my faith has been sorely tested
i am distracted
benumbed
distressed by and
obsessed with
the news
i have flown too close
to the burning sun

yet a new season is dawning
a cool wind blows out
of the north
it whispers
have faith
i truth am here

my response is a simple thing
an act of faith
change is coming
i proclaim it
every time
i photograph
a laid
low
leaf

Posted in Musings and Reflections

La Lluvia Viene Como La Raza

Years ago, so long ago it seems like it was a dream, or that the man in the street was someone other than myself, I marched with my Latino sisters and brothers through a Columbia Heights very different than the neighborhood of today. It was right after the Mt. Pleasant Riots, the anger at an unarmed Hispanic man being shot by police on Columbia Road still present in the chants of the marchers.

“¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!”

“The people united will never be defeated!”

We marched behind a red banner with the same words in white spray paint on the front. (Later, I took the banner home, tore it into strips, and made an art piece with it).

It began to rain. We laughed, shouted louder, and kept marching.

I began to say these words.

“La lluvia viene como la Raza.”

And then;

“La Raza viene como la lluvia.”

“The rain is coming like the people.”

“The people are coming like the rain.”

I no longer recognize the place I called home those many years long ago. Condos and chain stores crowd the sky, looming over what used to be burned out storefronts and the charred pavement where the police cars were set ablaze. A different kind of people walk the sidewalk where I staggered, my eyes burning with tear gas.

Change came, but I doubt it was the kind we were marching for. I can’t help but wonder how many of the people in the crowd behind that red banner on that rainy day were priced right out of their own barrio.

Yet, I doubt any us regretted our march through the streets, or the subsequent protests, or the candlelight vigils, or the community meetings at the Unitarian Church, or the light in the dark eyes of the youth who finally felt empowered to do something, whether we agreed with their methods or not.

You see, the people keep coming like the rain.

And we will keep coming, marching behind banners, be they red, white, or blue, raising our voices, until the noise of our passing rattles the powers that be like hard rain on a metal roof.

Yes, we, the people, will keep coming like the rain, until, as the prophet Amos said, “justice roll(s) down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Posted in Musings and Reflections

This Maelstrom of Myopic Malignity

In these waning days of summer, when the clouds hang low in crooked shades of blue, heavy with promise, it seems the Dixie storms of my boyhood home have joined the dark migration from the South to here.

Unlike my brown sister, I was not forced to leave by men in white robes, whose cries of hate in the dead of night remind me of the grinding thunder outside my window, the flashes of guns and fire crisscrossing that landscape long ago like the lightning inside the billowing sky.

I make it inside before the clouds open up, but my mouth is thick with the bitter taste of sulphur, my eyes blinded by the strikes, my ears ringing with the booming of ugly words, my heart filled with fear.

I have yet to find someone who can walk between the raindrops, who can step out into this tempest and not get wet. I must succumb to the baptism, confess my capitulation, and admit that I too have contributed to the din of divisiveness, to the howling hurricane of hate.

I cannot control the weather. Yet I can control my response to the storm.

I can wall myself off from the tempest or I can offer shelter to another who seeks refuge from the deluge.

I can let the thunder drown out my voice or I can let my silent prayers reseed the clouds.

I can cower in fear from the strike or step boldly outside, turn my face to the sky, and scream my resistance into the pelting rain.

I can listen with joyful ears as the ugly water disappears with a roar into the gutter, running blindly underground, until it dissipates with a whimper in the bright brine of the cleansing sea.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Anyway – A Postcard from TenaCity

Sometimes the wind and the rain keep blowing out the candle –

We’re going to keep lighting it anyway.

Sometimes the feedback screams and the sound system won’t cooperate –

We’re going to keep praising our good God anyway.

Sometimes the voice is hoarse, the fingers bleed, and the guitar won’t stay in tune –

We’re going to keep playing and singing anyway.

You see, my friends,
persistence
IS resistance.

So in the struggle
to be free,
rename your town.

Call it
TenaCity.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Resistance

Nothing, No nothing
can penetrate the exhausted cobwebs which cloud the corridors of my mind.
Nay! Dost thou dare to send thy words treading down private paths.

Get thee back or soon ye shall be
trapped within and remain wrapped thee,
tentacles of anger to poison you and free
the words you so unwittingly spake
to curse you in future paths you take.

The mind is mine,
alone to own.
The door is locked and closed
and I alone have authority
to give to one I love the key.

(2.2.87)