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The Golden Beam

I live in this world

I am not from another planet

My existence relies on the Sun and its light

I study the light because it gives me the ability to see God

We know the speed of light

We know the Sun’s rays are made of particles, photons

I raise my arm from side to side measuring the displacement

to replicate the wave length

God sent us this light

because God is light

God needs light to be God 

God is on this planet

And all of us

We are on this planet

We are of this planet

We are of the light

and due to our connection to our wonderful star

we are also beyond this planet

God is the mountains absorbing every inch of nearly 93 million miles of light

a continuous beam of God 

reaching out to touch 

nothing other than another form of its very own self

God is every plant and animal on the mountains turning its light 

into its life

God is the ocean reflecting photons 

and glistening in its glory

Warming the seas and providing the chance to live to creatures deep below

down to fathoms beyond where any measure of light is detectable

though its reach is there

Providing breath to the deepest trench

where God can still be found

God is in the cities

rich with footprints and endless in the energy of progress

God is in the villages with the Godly people who travel down roads 

bathing themselves in their own light

God is in the sunflowers as much as the ivy

the elk as much as the otter

the falcon as much as the serpent

The nobility and the peasant have equal light inside of them

God is in the many as well as the few

God is in 

and is

our planet

God is a sick fish absorbing micro-plastics

God is a jungle turned to wasteland

God is a river run dry

God is a village turned warzone because diamonds were found

God is the love that every thing needs

God is in the every thing that is needing that love

God is today as equally as tomorrow

Tomorrow the same as yesterday

God is an African-American lesbian

God is a father who loves the God inside his children

traveling across lands for their safety

God is in the dying mother with no access to medicine

God is the human with no rights

God is in the children stolen into slavery

God is in the boy who loves his best friend with all his bravery and might

God is the altar boy

God is the light that cannot be dimmed

The light that permeates and feeds

The light that reflects and shines

The love that warms

The love that connects us

The love that can be challenged but not broken

The love that can be ignored but never forgotten

The light that refracts into all colors

The colors that create every image

You are of this world 

As much as beyond it

You are the light equally of here 

as of there

Because you are nothing without it

Because you are nothing without God

Because you can only be you

You can only be God

Like everything else

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He sat still. Motionless. Brooding.

The room was quiet though a deafening anger was bubbling under the surface. Restrained, he sat in a state of silence until he heard the anticipated click of the latch as the door was opened allowing a hesitating, lowly figure to enter.

Smelling of stews and spices from the kitchen many floors below she entered the room delicately, asking for permission before every step. The towering doors closed behind her and she found herself within reach of the short trio of stairs leading to the throne, upon which only royalty may tread.

“You’ve had a very peculiar pattern ever since you first came to be in my service. The only thing I can deduct is that you undeniably fear the day you present yourself in a timely manner would be your last on this earth.” He paused for effect. “I think you must think it would kill you to be of even the most minimal of use to this castle much less deliver my afternoon tea at the correct time.”

She looked at him with as if the statement had thrown her from the room. She didn’t answer for some time.

Then – “Lord…”

“No.” He said cutting her like a whip despite his slow and calculated speech. She winced, dodging his gaze and halting her words as quickly. He waited until she dared return her eyes back to him.

“I haven’t had a good tea in a week. Making me wait for something that tasted like burned molasses two days ago would have given me reason to dismiss you.”

“My Lord, I could never be sorry enough. In your infinite mercy to which I am not worthy surely there’s an ounce you can spare for a mourning wife and mother.”

“Mercy. I had mercy on you enough when I drank such a foul concoction.”

“My Lord, you finished your cup. The pitcher even was light when I returned it to the kitchen. I thought surely you must approve…”

“I’ve never tasted anything so awful in my life. It didn’t arrive until after I had my afternoon constitutional. I was so parched I couldn’t help but choke down that grueling mess you called a tea. What have you possibly been using from my cupboard?”

Her eyes melted back to the floor.

“There’s no need to tell me anything that isn’t true” he said with great pacing, “nor waste your time to tell me anything I already know.”

She considered his words.

Speak!”

Her eyes reflexively darted to the ground as if dodging a spear. Though she averted his glare the radiation of the stare remained as visual to her as if he had cast a net over her very mind and trapped her.

“It takes time my Lord. The other women, they don’t let me start my brewing early. It takes time…” she said pleadingly.

“I’m an understanding king. I always have been. But what you have done is an atrocious act upon one of our land’s most sacred traditions.” He paused. “Who are we if not civilized beyond that of our peers?”

He choked, seemingly from his own disdain, for a moment without warning. He worked on containing his cough for several seconds before lowering his hand from his mouth and fixing his stair back on the servant girl. He looked at her pointedly and with purpose, like the tip of an arrow fixed on a quarry. He stared at her bonneted cap carefully fitted onto her head. He noticed despite the lack of any becoming measure to her service she managed the attire over her person with the utmost attention. Not a hair strayed from the decorative boundary of her headpiece and no scrap of skin was visible beneath her collar save for her hands which were void of any dirt or calluses common to peasant women.

“My Lord…” but he cut her through again. This time with more haste and a growing fire that had, until now, been only smoldering below. “A woman of your station, you know doubt are aware, is worth less than the leaves you so carelessly and improvidently destroy during your failure of an effort to conjure me a proper tea.” He choked on another go at the cup that had been set before him, the final threads of steam rising from its surface and dissipating into nothingness.

“I’ll remind you and your entire village from once you hailed the consequence of outlasting my patience. Need you be told again of Cornwall and the havoc my soldiers brought so they might understand the depth of my fury once it has been unleashed? Their people were ablaze with the fieriest shocks of hair one has ever seen. They say their strands of red nearly outshone the sun, but that’s not all that was on fire that day not so long ago. They burned like the common miscreants and waste of lands they were.” Noticing he had come to slouch he straightened himself, rising tall against the back of the throne, allowing him to look down upon her to an ever more intense angle.

“Now… girl… from what lowly place did you come to me?” and he coughed, nearly cutting short his provocation. He looked to his cup to provide relief, took a short sip and launched a cavernous dry cough from the depths of his belly, throwing the cup carelessly as he challenged himself for composure, begging for air. “For God’s sake what tea is?!” he screeched having forbade all sense of restraint.”

“It’s boxby sire.”

With this he stopped, motionless for a second, he studied her as if scanning for a shred of evidence to her truthfulness. “Ah, you conniving idiot. Boxby kills one in an instant. And has the acidity of a hundred…” but his breath was cut short.

“Boxby has no taste once a broth of argis has been consumed. The effect can last for days.” she calmly replied, politely yet with a sense of pride yet unseen since she entered. He looked at her, hand held to his face, laboring short but violent breaths through and around his palm and fingers. He looked at her, searching to make sense of her words.

She continued.

“My Lord,” straightening herself, “three days ago you enjoyed nearly half a pitcher of tea made from a mixture of Cairns roots and your customary blend of exotics from the kitchen. I would have never expected you to take such a helping, but as you so declared, the delay in service meant your tea didn’t arrive until after your constitutional, at which point you were parched beyond reason. Cairns root, in my village, is used to retain elements in the body. Opposite of a cleansing agent it can slow the absorption so medicinal herbs or things of that nature might remain longer in one’s system. The argis from yesterday’s tea would therefor remain for several days beyond the one whence it was consumed. Having no real flavor, it merely ads a thick or sometimes oily texture to any combination of drink with which it is brewed. Boxby, however, has a unique and highly suspicious aroma of course but one cannot detect its subtle hints and toxic elements whilst argis runs throughout.”

She gazed upon him as he sat, head tilted, arms hanging loosely over the sides of the glistening throne. His eyes, though weak, were ablaze as she had never seen. She could detect movement in his pupils as they darted up & down her figure as if seeking to identify her nature. She reached up to her chin, one of her very few movements since first being summoned into his presence, and untied the strings releasing her bonnet. “Of course, Cairns root delays the effects of any remedy or cure, so most people are unfamiliar with the taste as it is counterintuitive to use with argis in the healing process, though I noticed it works the same for toxins as well. So you of course are so impossibly correct, My Lord – boxby is commonly an instant death, though with Cairns root I imagine the full effect can expected to be seen within a very short time nonetheless. It slowed the release of the argis as it is delaying the boxby’s absorption. Should you have dismissed my service after the second day I would have needed an alternative opportunity to serve you the tea with the boxby. But as you said, you are a very merciful Lord, the likes of which we do not deserve.”

Her eyes softened as they slowly inspected the limp body slumped down into the seat. She pulled her bonnet from covering her head, folded it in half, and then half again, and stowed it in her apron. She moved herself a short bit forward to stand on the bottommost step which was enough to put herself at eye-level with the wilted king.

“I’m sorry you have not liked my tea, My Lord. I do apologize for the delay but my drinks are made from various roots which take longer to effectively brew than if they were simply tea leaves. With your permission, My Lord, I will let myself out and return to where I came. We have much work to do there, what’s left of us.”

She gave an abridged version of a formal bow to her majesty and turned, leaving the room without a sound. With a silent breath the last bit of heat left the cruel, fading king and dissipated into nothingness. The sun lowered slowly in the sky and poured boldly through the court’s sweeping windows; the bounding light striking a scattering of fierce strands of hair set ablaze on the floor, fiery as any ever seen, nearly outshining the sun itself.

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gman-park-jam2
Ever since I was a knobby headed snotty kid
with sloppy clothes & slob appearance
shoddy lyrics potty mouth and not committed 
I could hear it 
poppin on those rocker boxes
toppling my body parts & going partly non-responsive
rappin was the hottest topic.
party where the cops are watching 
bombing up the parking lots & 
watching where the heads are noddin
hoppin scotch & double dutchin
droppin stuff & now we got them Otterboxes.
rhyming to the 1 & 2’in
movin you to groove upon it
beats & rhymes the reason I
am still at school in afternoons
people’s trunks are open, showing off the volume how u doin’
speakers bumpin, tweeters knockin
all the parks are live & poppin.
kick a few to blow your socks 
stepping to the baddest boxing
miniscule to mighty oxen
moccasins are bitin often 
spitting fuel that’s raw & toxic.
interview the mind of Spock &
watch a couple dreads unlocking
picking up what I am droppin
corner stone to corner coffin.
mamas in their rollers on the porches 
babies in pajamas
ladies in their finest, sun is shinin
bring it back to basics, place it in the perfect timing.
girl is fine & guys are trying to get attention spitting rhymes
or showing off their newest tapes to make ’em say “Oh where’d you find it?”
I been on my grind & steady shinin’ back in ’89
you see me pressin play and often pausing, pushing fast rewinding
fat was fly & fresh was nice, enticing every rap device
& dicing out the fairest slice on any brand of stereo types
I carry no hype but keep it tight in spite of other rapper’s reps
eventually I’ll meet my match although hasn’t happened yet
I’m trackin the way that back in the day the music used to pack a wallop
fattest laces wrapping through Adidas leather woven eyelets
double deck cassette recorder equalizer radio waves
can bring the sun from out the clouds and freshen up the rainier days
remember back when we was young and fun was all we was about
before a bunch of hyper active rappers started runnin’ their mouths
I wanna rebound from dumbing it down for lyricists I can’t debate
let’s take it back to breaking, making beats and shaking cans of paint

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For two years now I’ve been fortunate enough to be holistically bound to the most magical creature through life, through love, through law, and through marriage. Every day and every week we water seeds with the joy of the present with hopes they will blossom and grow into a fruitful tomorrow. We nurture the very soils of our souls and plant gardens for our future. It’s really I who am the most lucky because she’s a truly unforgettable, beautiful person. There’s no person I spend more time thinking about than she.

I love our life not only for the things we have, but the things we don’t. The things we are working towards make me equally happy because these gaps in how we live, in what we do, in what we own – we will fill them in together. There’s such an abundance of things we have yet to achieve and as we move forward we’ll change and improve both of our lives through joint-efforts where each endeavor and every victory is an additional step up the mountain on this lifelong hike.

Over the years I’ve known her I’ve been inspired by her actions, her words, and often simply her presence so much to the point I jot down brief instances in little notes I keep to myself. The best day of my life, is any day when we’re at home just me & her. You can’t beat it. Her heart is elysian. She is assiduous about those close to her and shows it in her every surprising thought and idea that reveals a genuine appreciation for others and the desire to actively contribute to nearly every facet of the world as it revolves around her. It’s rare for her not to jump in to any situation and not want to help or take part.

We aren’t plastered across social media. We don’t post on Facebook boasting to the anonymous world how great is the other person. Neither of us feels compelled to aggrandize the other which just cheapens the core value of the object to which one is trying to over-assert. Greatness doesn’t require that kind of publicity and neither of us require such superficial cheerleading. The romance of energetic feelings and the sentiments that arise from personal experiences with one another are always welcome in the real world however.

She is also not my best friend. She’s better than my best friend. I’ve had best friends. They change. Some of them fail to even be friends of any caliber later. When people say “I Love You. You’re My Best Friend!” I think it’s great if you love your best friend, but that’s no compliment for your spouse who is, in my opinion, meant to be much more than that. When I got married I didn’t want a best friend I wanted a wife. I wanted a partner for life. I wanted the other half of the equation with whom I would team up and walk this amazing journey of days until we come to the end of the road and take our final rest. Of course I wanted somebody with whom to make jokes and go out to eat but can’t I find that in nearly anyone? I wanted my 1st wife, not my 5th best friend. Friends are islands. My wife is a continent.

She’s quite amazing. She impresses me on a reoccurring basis. And her husband is pretty great on occasion too.

untitled

 

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You can love an old man

You can love a cranky old fart

You don’t have to like all their ways

but you can still love the heart

You can love him like he’s an old drunk who shoots off his mouth

You can love him because you know he’s out of touch

You can love him because his life has been different than yours

You can love him for all the things he lacks

You don’t have to excuse everything he does

You don’t have to look away from everything he says just because of who he is

You don’t have to ignore the things he has said

You can hold him accountable for the things

You can help him improve

You can love the person he is because he is still a person

You can love him for what good he has done in his lifetime

You can love him like a ludicrous product from a crazy world

You can understand that life taught him lessons we have not had the experience to learn

You can acknowledge that he may have been exempt from learning many of life’s best lessons

You can love an old man no matter how belligerent or angry

You can love an old malcontent not for the mal but because of the content

You can give him a break for being wrong

You can love him for his mistakes

You can love an old man because somewhere deep down we all are good

You can give him the chance to be better

You can love an old man

You can love a cranky old fart

but don’t make him president

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It’s hard to look closely and recognize everything that we have lost on the small scale. Usually we do keep ourselves focused on the here and now when we could instead benefit from gazing at the larger picture. But that’s not the case here. I’d like to look closely and focus on the minute details that, once isolated, are easy to excuse. To focus on these grains of sand is difficult though because they incessantly start to blur until you can only recognize the beach that they pile together to form.

The beach is just easier to see.

All the things we’ve lost are thrown carelessly into this oblivion. Each singular identity becomes lost into the greater appearance of the coast.

We all know people either like or don’t like the beach.

As the winds shift our lives around in the swirling fates of unpredictable destiny I can see the traces of the dead.

As the sea laps its gasping tongue against the shores of what is gone it creates a middle ground that is neither living nor dead. No soul has ever sustained their existence in this trench of the void for very long before having to commit to the sand or the sea. We saw my grandparents traipse this watery slope as they left their life of the ocean to the sedentary dunes of the beach. To the still land where rest is complete. We saw my uncle slide gradually from life to land and now the times of his life have left the tides to remain off shore where they dry and scatter in the winds that influence us all. Yet occasionally a soul will leave the mighty deep, where colors and textures drift freely amongst the varying temperatures and life, to cast itself upon the rinsing shelf of the surf, where the turbulence of change, and the pressure of the life left behind tries mercilessly to pull back its lost treasure into the bath of boundless possibilities.

Rarely has one washed up onto the middle ground between awake and asleep so early and remained for so long. The blank space between here and there is no place to take up residence.

That is a soul lost to nothing; not to death nor to complete loss, but a wanderer to nowhere – a place of waste. For a time that, itself, becomes waste. We’ve lost beautiful souls to death – the loss that unites us all. It’s on rare occurrence we lose a soul purely and purposely to the beach itself. That is not its place but that is where it remains.

When a ball tries to roll into the sea it rides the edge of the water as it laps back and forth on the sands until it is ultimately cast back to the land where it belongs. When a buoy attempts to float onto the beach from the rolling ocean the endlessly moving surface of the water gently pulls it back to the wide open sea where it too is meant to be.

When a body washes to the shore the natural cycles of the Earth attempt to pull it back to the drift of the waters, to return it to its natural place in time. Its timely progression will occur on schedule as it is meant to occur along the path of its natural rhythm. We’ll all be pulled back to sea until the time is right to be cast from its lively waters and deposited into the drying, decaying sands and soils of the land.

I don’t know what this one body is doing, disregarding its aqueous alignment and repudiating its remaining days burgeoning amongst its peers until it is delivered felicitously from the depths. A voluntary despiriting of desperation. A martyr for martyr-sake.

Don’t wish for the beach ahead of your own schedule. Don’t wish for the beach before it is your time. The beach just might accept you.

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the R-word

I have thought a number of times that the R-word is my N-word.

Well, not exactly.

The N-word, what with its history of torture, pain, and suffering isn’t exactly the same as using the R-word. The N-word I don’t believe has any possible meaning other than to degrade another person.

It’s used between and amongst African-Americans, sometimes jokingly or showing friendship, and sometimes showing hostility or as a put-down. But all that’s another story and another whole conversation.

It’s your European-Americans (white people), and all other nationalities and cultures to whom the N-word is off-limits socially; with good reason. So in the past when I’ve used the word “retarded”, it’s not quite the same thing as a term that invokes the legacy of hatred as achieved through centuries of systemic racism and personal, direct degradation.

So it’s not the same. I think the R-word might be my Confederate Flag actually.

Hold on, though. Let’s take a step back.

The R-word is a real word. The word “retarded” has some varying definitions at this point in time. Google first and foremost returns with its meaning as “less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one’s age”, a definition it also deems as dated and also offensive. It also has the meaning of being “very foolish or stupid”, similarly coined as informal and still offensive.

Merriam-Webster: “slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development”, with the post-script sometimes offensive.

We can go on but you get the point; a real word that was taken on by society and used in a widespread way to the point where the meaning has changed.

I grew up where kids called each other “retarded” and no one thought much about it. It was another era, which makes an excuse for then, but is no excuse for now.

It was years ago I first saw a campaign that brought attention to the hurtful and undermining uses of the word “retarded”. It was probably long overdue to shed light on something that has the potential to be as hurtful as this word.

I argue the R-word and the N-word aren’t even in the same ballpark, though I do think they’re similar in the way they’re hurtful words usually chosen to be directed towards someone who has no control over their condition whatsoever or in any way. A person can’t choose their born nationality, skin color, or culture any more than they can their naturally-born mental, physical, or emotional abilities (or inabilities). A person is born an African, a Christian, or with Down’s syndrome as simply as being born blonde, or poor.

We’re moving on from the N-word because the relationship is too weak between that and the R-word.

The R-word is also a verb. It’s used in science to describe the influence of a chemical that can slow down the speed of a reaction, or in general the verb means to delay or hold back progress.

“The process has been retarded by a strong combination of indecision and lack of leadership”.

After childhood I’ve most often thought of the verb form of the word and used it appropriately when speaking.  It rarely came out of my mouth as a means to describe how stupid a process or decision might be – but rarely still does indeed mean sometimes.

I’m not perfect; not trying to be hurtful.

The R-word campaign (R-Word.org) came about years ago to discuss the topic and to ask people to think before the next time they say it. The R-word doesn’t dawn on most people as potentially being all too bad, but if you ponder the social connotations it’s easy to understand how and to whom might be affected by the trivial use of this word.

When I think of my top 10 list of offensive words or derogative terms it wasn’t the first word to come to mind. It probably would have been around #15, after all the various racial slurs and crude terminologies that have been created over the years. So even though I don’t think I ever upset somebody by my use of the word, I could easily and quickly identify the potential. If I’m to minimize the suffering of people around me and uplift my fellow humans around me I wouldn’t want to call them something that would hurt them, even light-heartedly, jokingly, or indirectly.

To go back in time just a little bit, the word didn’t taste like gasoline on my tongue or make me feel ashamed later in the day if I had used it. But I know it wasn’t right. It wasn’t positive. I’ll take sides with the R-Word Campaign people and even say it is probably most often used offensively; even if it has alternative meanings and connotations.

This is what puts it in the category to become something similar to the Confederate Flag.

It’s the ability to learn that makes us a higher species, if you want to call us that. It’s the ability to learn that makes us human in the highest sense of the word; to adapt and to respond appropriately.

The Confederate Flag also has its hurtful meanings to lots of people – just like the R-word.

It has a history that differs from some of the current-day definitions and emotional responses it causes – just like the R-word.

It too is something a person can use without the intention of hurting another person.

In effect, the R-word is a thing I don’t have any problem with in its original form. But after I see how other people have used it, which has been to isolate, or hurt the dignity of another human being, then I see the harm it can cause.

Once I came to learn and realize that although this word isn’t by definition a bad thing, but to entire populations of people it is something that causes hurt or insult, then I had to adjust myself.

My speech. My thinking.

Once my thinking changed that is when I had learned, adapted, and essentially one tiny cell in my body and one small component of my soul evolved into something greater, though miniscule as it may be.

And therefor I remain dumfounded by the Confederate Flag and the adamancy with which people defend its symbolism.  It has a history, the various components of which one can argue until the end of time, but it is also something that time and society has altered. The Buddhists don’t continue to capitalize on the symbol that later became the German swastika even though to them it was a religious symbol centuries before the Nazi Nationalist Party existed.

People often use the “old days” or “I’m from another generation” as an attempt at reason in trying to dismiss or legitimize the continued use of the N-word. Similar claims of “heritage” and “history” tend to surround the prolonged use of the Confederate Flag.

They both should have been long retired.

I feel that way about the R-word nowadays. We might have made mistakes in the past or maybe things have just changed in the world we live in, but we have to change with it either way. We have to accept what people tell us when they say something causes suffering. I don’t have any intention to argue with someone that the R-word has meanings that don’t have to be necessarily insulting or offensive. I instead attempt to understand, and once I understand, I accept.

Today the final Confederate statue came down in New Orleans. I hope one day I’ll look back on this day and realize how much further we’ve come since this day; it was yet another small step to discontinue the idolized worship of our most misled and embarrassing 4 years as a young country. Holding on to the ideals of this era demoralizes the common man and woman. I hope in my example of learning, realizing, and accepting the hurtful use of the R-word that others might come to similarly learn, realize, and accept the hurtful use of the Confederate imagery.

As New Orleans’ Governor Mitch Landrieu said to his fellow New Orleaneans today, we are able to “choose a better future for ourselves, making straight what has been crooked and making right what was wrong. Otherwise, we will continue to pay a price with discord, with division and, yes, with violence. To literally put the Confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is… an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.”

The lesson for me is when someone tells you you’re being hurtful you should believe them. Reach into the deeper parts of your soul where you find your humanity, and love for others, and try to understand why. If it challenges one or many of your long-held beliefs then give it time and continue to think about it. Return your thoughts to the first step – listen – as you struggle to move onto learn. If you believe you’re on a path to reduce suffering you will eventually find yourself at the final step – change.

Our stubbornness is nothing more than a break pedal on the highway of life. It’s the changing of our minds that is the changing of gears allowing us to go forward faster.

Think with positivity. Speak with compassion. Act with empathy. Breathe with the rest of humanity.

Retire the R-word.

Retire the Confederate flag.

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