Friday, August 27, 2004

You came to me
first draft

i sped to this place as so often i have
supposedly seeking your face
straining my ears for a still small voice
i missed you screaming my name

Among the lifeless bound to remain
my flesh succombed to its fate
hardly warm and losing steam
callousness seeped easily in

i could not move
i could not be
you came
to me

there i lay
alone in my fears
yet never alone may i be
when i'd tried till forgetting
just why i began
that's where
you came
to me

you've found my open hiding place
you've seen the mess i've undertaken
things aren't always lovely
they're hardly what they seem
yet, even here
you came
to me

until you came to me
i could not move
i could not be
you came
to me

To Know is to Be Known

It's peculiar. No matter how many times I've flown in and out of Midway Airport in the past three years, I still feel like I'm in a weird new place every time I'm there. I know Nashville's airport well enough by now, and thanks to numerous trips or necessary bus stop layovers, I'm well acquainted with General Mitchell in Milwaukee and the great big hub that is O'Hare. I actually have rather distinct memories of breakfast at one particular O'Hare McDonalds. It's like it calls to me: Eat a breakfast sandwich, you know you want one, add on some hashbrowns! Yes, being in airports means McDonalds breakfasts, Chili's dinner, Cinnabon desserts and a Starbucks latte (soy of course) to wash it all down. Basically, being in the airport means sucking it up and kissing the ring of the don that is corporate America.

Last night I actually got a little handle on Midway, though. Well, I remembered where the doors were to get out-- hey, it's an important thing to remember, right? Otherwise I'd still be there! Any way, I found the doors and as they automatically opened in front of me I could feel the wet blanket that is Midwest August air envelope my lungs and smother my flesh in a mere instant. Perhaps I've been in the South too long. I'd forgotten how incredibly humid it is up here in late summer. Instead of being simply next to Lake Michigan, one feels more like they're slowing walking at the bottom of it. All. The. Time.

Moving on. One of my very bestest friends in the world picked me up and we stayed up talking for an hour or two (drive included). She had to work this morning, so she slept on the futon and I had the bed. It was weird to not share the same room with her-- seeing as how we shared a dorm room one year and have fallen asleep talking even on a single bed before. But she didn't want to wake me (she's a dear), so she slept on the futon. It poured last night, alleviating some of the humidity-- but there are more storms to come. I suppose I've pulled this routine a number of times now. Coming in Thursday night and having LJ's place all to myself while she's at work on Friday before coming home and hanging out. It doesn't seem unnatural to be alone in her place-- and this is the third place of hers in which I've pulled this trick.

I love how much we know each other. Just as one can assume my refridgerator will echo from the click of the light turning on when you open the door, I know that LJ will always have food-- more than likely of the organic variety. It's also a given that when LJ comes to visit me, we will make at least one trip to the grocery store to pick up supplies to make meals for the weekend. No matter where we are, we usually have pancakes at least once, with peanut butter and syrup (you can try to fight it, I did for years, but it's actually really, really good). AND I know that somewhere LJ has a stashed soda reserve, too-- which is perfect since I've cut back on my coffee intake but am still a fiend for caffeine. What I didn't expect was Diet Pepsi Twist-- usually she's more of a Diet Coke or Diet Cherry Coke girl.

This is a perfect example of why I love my beautiful friends, even though LJ isn't in the picture below. We know each other and understand each other-- and yet offer each other twists in our daily routines. We can be open with our weaknesses as well as our triumphs. In short, my friends aren't just beautiful on the outside. As a matter of fact, it's what's inside that makes me treasure them most. To quote an amazing movie that I recommend everyone rush out to see:

You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? That idea of home is gone. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place. ~ Andrew Largeman in Garden State

My friends are my family. We all miss the same places and have the same experiences. The imaginary places that we miss, however, are in the company of each other. In having shared experiences, we've not only shared our lives, we've shared our souls-- that's what makes us friends. That's what makes us family. That's what makes it beautiful.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Sunday, August 22, 2004

No Noun Required

Some days, I am in love.
Not with hes or shes,
Nor any distinct or unremarkable, tangible dream.

Love need not abide
in the sight of a person,
Nor the smell of a place.
It need not even dwell
in the feel of an item running
through lotioned fingers
or beneath calloused heels.

No, love need not
be defined in nouns
scattered throughout one's visual plane.

It just exists;
without rhyme or reason
without subject or destination.
Both without and within
when it comes to my soul.

Love needs not my recognition
nor my peace of mind
for its existence.
But today, thankfully
I can see Love abiding in me
And He has shown me abiding in Him.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Well, He Knows Me

My computer desk sits in a corner of my office facing the wall. To my right and along the same wall, stands my door, usually slightly ajar in order to keep the heat in my office. In the center of the office, perpendicular to my computer desk is my "real" desk which usually receives little attention except from the piles and stacks of papers strewn across its surface. On the other side of that, basically the opposite corner from my computer desk, is my plant. Technically, it's my bosses plant which he received as a gift when he began working here nearly three years ago. I, however, seeing the poor treatment it received in his office, stole it and adopted it as my own.

I used to have an amazing system for watering my plant. Once a week Robert would come in to read to me. (Robert is in his fifties and just began to read a few years ago) Robert and I would sit in the chairs along the wall in front of my "real" desk and he would read a passage from the Bible that he had been working on, adding my help when needed. Being on that side of my hefty "real" desk called my attention to my plant, so when Robert left, I would water it. However, Robert's visits have become more sporadic and, therefore, my plant has suffered due to my Pavlovian watering-reminder trick.

Of late, I have been making a concerted effort to remember my poor plant. It is starting to flourish again, perhaps it'll even flower again soon; it used to have flowers all the time. I finally got around to a superficial pruning today. There were a lot of dead leaves and the further I pruned, the more I realized how it could benefit from a real repotting and removal of dead shoots attached to live ones-- how it could grow even more if I just gave it some more space and took off even more of that extra baggage.

I'm as sure that I've used the following illustration before as I am that I will use it again, so let me bring it to the table. In C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5, Eustace Scrubb becomes a dragon and tries and tries to peel away at his own scales to reveal the boy he knows lays hidden inside. Eustace was trying to prune himself. However, it wasn't until he let Aslan tear deep into his scaly hide-- piercingly rending his pride and vanity, that he could finally find the boy he was meant to be; a boy different from the one he himself had remembered or imagined.

You probably know where I'm going with this. Often times I feel like I'm offering up my life for God to prune, but only to the point at which I'm comfortable. Perhaps this isn't actually allowing God to prune me after all, much less give me a good repotting-- rearranging my own idea of who I am and who I was meant to be. I think God wants to prune and repot me, to give me an overhaul. I hope I am brave enough to let Him tear into my pride and see myself as He sees me, as I was truly meant to be and then continue to be that person.

"But who is Aslan? Do you know him?" [Eustace]
"Well--he knows me," said Edmund. ~ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

When I was a kid I was really random.

But now that I've grown up, I'm still random.

the end.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

An Attempt at Redeeming One Lost Post

Here goes:

There's a poem that has been eating at me lately. A whole work, really, that I long to hold in my hands and pour over time and again. It signifies a life, or rather many lives, that I have been fortunate enough to never know. And yet, I feel like there are still many lessons to learn from these lives, these tales, these heroes and heroines in their own right, in their own world, even if not in their own sight.

I don't remember if it was assigned to me in high school or junior high, but I do know it has stayed with me ever since. Though I could not fathom the significance then, these poems were embossed on my heart, on my very soul. I was privileged enough to hear the poet, herself, read them out loud. I can still hear her strong, sober voice telling tales of children who do not always come home to milk and cookies. She didn't just tell us of their tales, she wrote each one from their own innocent, yet jaded, young-but-learned perspective. Gwendolyn Brooks wrote Children Coming Home in the 1990s. It is raw, emotional and heartbreaking. It currently only exists as a section in her compilation, In Montgomery and Other Poems, which I have on hold at the library and can't wait to get in my hands; to caress the spine as though it were the hardened face of each abused or ignored child in hopes of comforting just one for at least one moment.

One of the poems that has stuck with me most superficially seems to have nothing to do with me at all. Delving deeper, however, I realize that it has everything to do with me. It can teach me pride and respect and love. It can teach me mercy and grace and patience. It can teach me how to live. See what it might teach you.


According to my Teachers
I am now an African-American.
They call me out of my name.

BLACK is an open umbrella.
I am Black and A Black forever.

I am one of the Blacks.

We are Here, we are There.
We occur in Brazil, in Nigeria, Ghana,
in Botswana, Tanzania, in Kenya,
in Russia, Australia, in Haiti, Soweto, in
Grenada, in Cuba, in Panama, Libya, in
England and Italy, France.

We are graces in any places.
I am Black and A Black forever.

I am other than Hyphenation.

I say, proudly, MY PEOPLE!
I say, proudly, OUR PEOPLE!

Our People do not disdain to eat yams or
melons or grits or to put peanut butter in stew.

I am Kojo. In West Africa Kojo
means "Unconquerable." My parents
named me the seventh day from my birth
in Black spirit, Black faith, Black communion.
And I Capitalize my name.

Do not call me out of my name.

Reprinted from In Montgomery and Other Poems, published by Third World Press (2003).

Thursday, August 05, 2004

In case you were wondering

I've written two wonderful posts this week: long, extravagant-- mesmorizing really (and humble, I'm sure), only to have them lost with a flick of the wrist. Therefore, you get this for your post instead. sorry. I'll try harder next time. Or maybe I won't. I'll leave you with this thought:

I'm confused. Oh, wait, maybe I'm not.


Monday, August 02, 2004

Sounds Like Someone Has a Case of the Mondays

My roommies and I have started having weekly Bible/book Study on Monday mornings in order to get the week started off right. However, seven o'clock came way too early this morning. When my alarm went off at 6:30, I thought I had just lain down my head. That was a sad, sad thought. But, now I'm awake and at work. I'm still sleepy, but whatcha gonna do, right? Anyway, to top it all off, the air's busted again-- has been since Friday or Saturday, so it's a little warm here in the office-- however, I'm the only person who's actually happy about this-- I'm tired of being frozen out! Well, I'll also be happy if it doesn't last too long or get too hot. Ah yes, conditional love... gotta love it.