Desparation

If I had a dollar for every time we say, 

“If I had a dollar”

I’d have enough

To never even bother

I’d buy a private island

In a land faraway 

Take every single dollar

And give it all away

I’d be the poorest and the richest

And no one else would know

Buried my treasure in the sand

To see if it grows

Then in a state of desperation

For all that I have lost

I will hold myself for ransom

To see how much I cost

We weren’t born for this 

But still we do it daily

We let the world we created

Drive us crazy

“I choose the lie over life

Believing it will save me”

Is the thought

Of the emotionally lazy

You’ve been lied to

How is it possible you can’t see this?

It wasn’t God

Who created us to be this

To the One we are Beloved

It’s our Name from the Beginning

It’s believing otherwise

That’s the Genesis of sinning

Desperation

How did we get this way?

It defeats the very purpose

Every time we try to pray

I can’t stand it

How many times can we be told?

You can’t serve two masters

And the worst of them is gold

©️ Copyright 2021 Pedro S. Silva II

Freestyle Vision Statement

It’s All too big

For us to be this small

We got to push out fear

So we can hear Love’s call

I  will keep building bridges 

To overcome your walls 

Undivide your divisions

Till we’re all in All

I don’t care if you don’t like me

What you may think unsightly,

I can never let it fright me

It might be…

Let me make a new decision

Undo everything I’ve learned

With Mysterious’ precision

Lose my vision

Makes me the opposite of blind

Eternally forgiving

Means never running out of time

I shine…

When I come out of the dark

“It is finished.”

From the moment that you start.

©️ Copyright 2021 Pedro S. Silva II

God’s Plan

it started in the beginning
it ended in the beginning
the Peace and the war
the losing and the Winning
the time we have to wait
the weight that comes with time
the Word and the verse
the pentameter and the rhyme
the Hope for a better tomorrow
than the way things are today
the separation from God
and the recollection when we Pray
the anger and the rage
that makes me hate my fellow man
and the Forgiveness of all error
that makes me want to hold His hand
the slavery that freed me
and the freedom that was my prison
the Light that was so blinding
that it made clear my True vision
the death I had to suffer
to see that I was Alive
the Love that is more Perfect
than all that man’s contrived
all that I will overcome
that led me to come over
to the Answer that’s so close
that it can’t get any closer
the doubt that made me Trust
that there’s Nothing I should doubt
and the Silence that’s so deafening
it drowned out all my shouts
my enemies who hate me
that I may know the Love of my friends
and the Salvation I received
because I committed all those sins
so when it comes to God’s Plan
there’s only One thing we need to know
this world was already Perfect
before our struggle to make it so

© Copyright 2004 Pedro S. Silva II

Serenity

There is no serenity, unless you know serenity.

Living life abundantly is the essence of infinity.

Something from nothing–creation is this simple.

Concepts of the middle ground come from trying to keep it mental.

What is your mission, but to know life and live it?

No thought of receiving when your spirit’s led to giving.

Serenity is the knowledge that you are who you are.

In you is the Universe, with the composition of the star.

My mind’s eye sees what my mind’s eye knows.

Life is the vessel. Love is the ocean on which it flows.

We have to keep moving. There’s no Way to stop.

The only death there is, is being what you’re not.

Be and it is means–you are when you’re being.

Be still and know; you can’t know when you’re fleeing.

In serenity there is nowhere to hide

And nothing to run from, since death is a lie.

Dreams give you direction to where it is you’re going.

Life is perpetual constantly flowing.

The only sin there is–denying what is real.

Don’t interpret your feelings. Feel what you feel.

Accept you’re the miracle you’ve looked for but couldn’t find.

There is nothing hidden that isn’t in your mind.

There is peace in reality if you live for God’s dreams.

This is the definition of what serenity means.

Live!

Moments After Martyrdom

You’re about to die for the cause you believed in,
But you can’t decide if it’s an honor or a tragedy.
As you look into the faces of those who surround you,
It is difficult to remember who is friend or foe.
Didn’t you see this coming?
You know it could’ve been avoided
But the momentum was too strong
It’s kind of like being caught in an undertow.
You were tired anyway
So, tempted by the thought of rest, you surrendered.
But as the light fades and voices begin to muffle,
You start to wonder if you might survive.
Wouldn’t that be a story to tell?
Something the cause could leverage
And seal your message as one with Divine Authority.
Because the truth never dies. 
But, then a metal like taste coming from within 
Confirms what you know.
You are dying.
And once you accept that, everything changes.
You don’t perceive the way you used to.
Eyes are everywhere.
Ears are everywhere.
Taste and touch are everywhere.
And you see everything as it is.
As if you are on the inside and the outside of everything,
There are no distinctions between your inhalations and exhalations.
And then everything stops but your consciousness.
You wonder how you’re here and nowhere at once.
And then you rise and expand at the same time
Like a balloon floating upward as it’s being filled.
Are there limits to your expansion
Or the heights that you might go?
Living this question is what made you who you were.
It was why you said what you said.
It was why you did what you did.
And it got you killed.
Or did it give birth to the reality of who you are—
Who we all are and who we could be?
And then you stop expanding
Is this finally the end? Or is it the beginning?
It is both. It is neither.
And when your last breath is as pure as your first,
In returns to in and out returns to out
Then, an existential popping sound.
It reverberates throughout all of Creation.
Now you have a choice.
Give birth to the you who will die for what you will believe in,
Change your mind and hold your breath,
Or live as the You who cannot die?
And then you remember why you decided what you will decide.
Whoever saves their life will lose it.
But whoever loses their life will find true Life.
This is the cup that was passed to you.
This is the cup you drank from.
This is when you decide that no one can take your life.
You will give it freely.
And so you descend. 
And so you contract.
Time collapses.
And you remember why you will choose to come here.
You will not die for a lie.
You will live what is eternally true
No matter how many times it takes
To be truly born again.

© Copyright 2021 Pedro S. Silva II

If I Die Before I Wake – A Reflection on the Regal Nature of Chadwick Boseman

I can’t stop thinking about Chadwick Boseman. He’s been on my mind so much that I caught myself shaking my head in the gym on the edge of tears. Now if you know me, you know that this isn’t characteristic of me. So, I had to examine why I was taking this so hard. Even before he died, I would find myself googling about his health. Like many people, I saw him getting thinner and would find myself concerned about him. I too hoped that the weight loss was due to him thinning up for a movie role. It had been announced, around the time that he started coming into public noticeably thinner, that he was going to play the first and only Black Samurai, Yasuke, who served under Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in 16th century Japan. Once again, he was going to take on the role of one of the “First Blacks to…” just as he had with James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and Jackie Robinson. So I hoped that his gaunt appearance was going to reveal itself to be indicative of his passion for his craft and the calling on his life to bring powerful characters into the consciousness of people who for so long had very few symbols to hold on to.

Thank you for being a King in this life—for challenging our imaginations and giving us an aspirational symbol. I know many people will think that you were “just an actor”. But for those of us who never grew up with superheroes who looked like us and saw ourselves portrayed in a negative light, you made an indelible mark and shined eternally bright. #restinwakandaforever

My Instagram post August 30, 2020

I don’t say this much out loud. But I often feel lonely. Part of this loneliness comes from the fact that I don’t have many living role models before me who can relate to my background or life’s experiences. Everyday, I try, in my small way, to live up to an ideal that I have never actually witnessed being displayed up close. And I do it knowing that I live in a world that, whether people will admit it or not, is always waiting for me to fail. And not just me. If I extrapolate from the conversations I’ve had over my lifetime, almost everyone who is veiled in Black skin in this country carries this burden either consciously or unconsciously. Though many people are in denial about it, if you’re paying attention as a Black person, you know. And others know it too. If we fail, we take so many other people down with us. Because to be Black here is to be a symbol. And as a symbol, you always represent much more than yourself. Whereas, if some other people fail, they are simply seen as an individual–often deserving of second, third, fourth, and fifth chances.

When you are a symbol, society tries to make you an exception when you achieve in any capacity simply because the underlying belief is that most of us are incapable of meeting the illusory standards of this country. That’s why I think our ascendance, however small, is watched very closely. I believe that this is because, every step that any of us climbs, undoes the structure of the painfully comfortable false narrative that was built upon the foundation of our supposed inferiority. In other words, when Black people do well, especially in arenas where we are not always lauded, it tears at the fabric of this nation’s institutional myth about the capacities of American Blackness that almost everyone has bought into–even many Black folks. What if we were always this talented; this intelligent; this powerful? What does that say about how our ancestors were treated? What does it say about those of us who succumbed to the lies told about us? Does the past become even more tragic if we consider that we all had Wakandan like potential that was virtually strangled out of us for centuries? The questions are almost too much to contemplate.

By simply being who he was and living into his moment, Chadwick embodied that potential. His nature was regal. And in his person he carried the spirits of many of our ancestors. Perhaps that is why he was called here to embody them for us in the enduring form of film. He showed us our past and our future. He changed our world. And then he left.

In my work, I have seen many people die. I have watched as the light leaves their bodies and often wondered if they illumined every place they came here to shine in. I suspect that most haven’t. And that’s why there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about when my day will come. But I am not afraid of death. Ever since I became aware of the expectation that, as a Black Man in America, I would either die or spend some time in the criminal justice system by 18, I have contemplated my death. So no, I am not afraid of death at all. What gets to me is the idea that I will not do all that I can with this life because I will have allowed myself to be overly weighed down by the loneliness of being the first or the only. As they say, I don’t want to die with my music still in me. I want to truly live while I am here. And the truth is that I can’t say that I’ve done that yet. So perhaps that is part of why I can’t stop thinking about Chadwick Boseman.

Consider what he accomplished in the 4 years that he was diagnosed and being treated for colon cancer. Can you imagine? And consider that he did all of this while keeping his diagnosis to himself. Talk about lonely. But I don’t think he kept it to himself for himself. I think he did it for all us who know what it’s like to be the first or the only. In a consumer driven world where illness is seen as just another failure, he commanded his body and the world it inhabited to conform to his ideal. And in so doing, he tore that mythical fabric of Black inferiority that much more.

Of course, it is sad that he was not able to share his struggles with the world and receive the wellspring of compassion that he would have likely received and perhaps lived longer. But he was Black before he was The Black Panther. So I can imagine that he didn’t think he would get a second chance. So he did everything he could with the chance he got knowing that just like when one of us goes down we inadvertently take others with us, when we ascend, we take others with us as well. And that’s why I can say unequivocally that though this man had no earthly crown, he was and always will be a king. And at least for me, his being brings about a sense of conviction that before I die, I must make contact with my own regality and do everything I can to encourage it in others.

A Poem Fit for a King (In Memory of Chadwick Boseman)
I’ll see you on the Other Side
But I still can see you now
In the ways you changed the atmosphere
And by your essence you showed us how

We can’t believe that you are gone
And yet you’re here now more than ever
Giving form to a future and a past
We salute you now and forever

Now that your form is no longer with us
We see the burden that was in your eyes
You held the Space just long enough
To show that One who is Living never dies

Someday we all will meet you
In the azure canopied ancestral plains
Where everyone is a queen and king
In the Place where Spirit reigns.

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

Miss You While You’re Here

Lately I’ve been thinking about
All the moments that we missed
When we’re younger we think we have plenty of time
And don’t think about stuff like this

We put so much off until later
But what if later never comes?
All tomorrows repeats of yesterdays
The future setting like the sun

I’m not ready yet to miss you
When I know that you’re right here
There’s so much I wanted to give you
Before my chances disappeared

Now it hurts that we talk almost everyday
And yet we never talk at all
Or that I battle with all these tempting thoughts
Not to answer when you call

Of course I want to be here for you
But it seems this is always where we’ve been
You telling me about how hard it is
While I listen on the other end

I look back and feel like a failure
I wish I could’ve spared you from some pain
But the best I can do is be a witness
And pray for something else to change

I still have hope that you’ll get better
That perfect love will cast out fear
But for now I’ll be grateful for what we have
Because I don’t want to miss you while you’re here
© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

I wrote this poem as I started to think about how many conversations I have with my mom are about how to make it from month to month. We talk everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. But rarely are our conversations about thing that I would like us to talk about. Because of all of the stress over the past few years, there has been a strain on the relationship. I’ll be honest and say that often I am acting like I am her parent rather than the other way around. I want her to be safe and make decisions for her well-being. I know how hard she tried to be whatever and whoever she felt she needed to be to make sure we survived growing up. That took a toll on her. And I know that she had huge dreams–most of which never got fulfilled. This is a wound in her heart.

She always told me that she wanted to leave my brothers and I with a legacy. What she meant was money. That hasn’t happened and it saddens her. She apologizes for not being in a better financial situation and asks me to believe in her that she can still pull it off. I want to believe, but… And now that I am witnessing her forgetting so much and yet still holding out hope for a miracle or for her “ship to come in” as she says, I feel a twinge of regret.  I ask myself, “If I knew we were going to end up here anyway, what would I have done differently?”

At first, I told myself I would’ve stayed in the military so that I would have my retirement right now and I could be working another job to provide for her. But then I look at my wife and kids and know that I had to take the course I did.  I then think that I should’ve chosen a more lucrative profession than being a pastor. But then, I was having a conversation with a guest at the church who is experiencing homelessness and watching members of the congregation–to include children–serving food and sitting with our homeless neighbors and I thought, “I am glad to be in this moment.” And then I thought, well maybe I was called to be a pastor for a season, but now that my mom needs me, I need to move on and do something else because my responsibilities demand it. And then I prayed and I felt the spirit moving me to be honest about how hard this is and to tell my friends. And so I did. And they stepped in and blessed my family and gave me room to breathe so I could figure out how to make the next best move for my mom. They showed me the truth of the teaching that says, “[God’s] strength is made perfect in our weakness.”

And so then in that space, I asked God what I could do differently for my mom. And in my soul’s language I heard, “Don’t miss her while she is still here. Because that’s what you’ve been doing. If you want to have different conversations with her, change the subject. Talk about the things that you wish you could talk to her about. If she misses it and repeats something else she just said, tell her you love her. Tell her your dreams and maybe she’ll get joy in knowing that she is a part of them. Have an unreasonable belief in miracles because you never know what might happen. And don’t forget, you are not in this alone.”

So if you are reading this, what my soul spoke into my life, I speak into yours. There are so many things in life that can distract us from the moments we are in–something to tempt us to forget that there is always the possibility of great beauty around the corner. In my weakness, I found strength in hitting my limits and reaching out. My hope is that in sharing what I am learning, it is blessing you all too.

With true love,

Pedro

The New Me

In a Roofless Church blog post, I wrote about how I sometimes hold myself back from shining my light. The excuse that I was using was that by holding myself back in some areas, I was somehow protecting the people who would otherwise try to hold me back. I’d hold myself back before they could try to. Yeah. That sounds pretty silly writing. But I made it make sense. Fortunately, I didn’t hold myself back completely. I made sure to write whether it was blogs, poems, articles, letters, etc. Doing this was like leaving myself clues back to me. And writing that post admitting to myself what I was doing was just the push I needed to stop holding myself back in one area that I’ve held back in for decades–my music.

The image above is the cover for my new single. Over a year after I wrote the song, I finally got to a place where I could put it out there and open the door to some new possibilities of creative expression. In so doing, I am admitting to myself that I have no excuse for holding back. Spiritually, speaking, I never had an excuse anyway as I express in some of my lyrics:

They can’t kill me
Holla if you feel me
Who I am was never born
So they’re never getting near me

Many of us are trapped in the habits of old patterns and behaviors that we want more than anything to break free from so that we can be the people we know we are capable of being–better parents, partners, etc. There are unfulfilled dreams that hang over us like shadows and darken our self-perception limiting how we show up in situations. This song is an anthem for those of us who refuse to leave this world without shining that light that we are. We will shine! To be the new us, we will kill the old us. The old us lives fearing the illusion of death. The new us lives life as fully as we possibly can.

Primarily, I wrote this song and am putting it out into the world for myself–to eradicate any excuse I might make to not shine the light that Creator put in me. Secondly, I wrote it for my wife and kids because if there is anything that they want to do, I want them to at least try. Even if they fail, they can hold their head up knowing that they put themselves out there. And I can’t teach them that if I don’t live that. Thirdly, I did it for everybody who needs a reminder that as long as they have breath in their lungs, it is never too late to be who you might’ve been.

To be the new me
I had to kill the old me
To wake up from this lie bruh,
This is what they told me

Wake up from the dream
Death ain’t nothing but a bee sting
Hallelujah’s what we sing
From the moment we see that real thing

To hear my new single click here.

My Creator

You are the Love of my Life
And the Life in my love.
Every love poem I write to You
Has been plagiarized from Your Heart.
Though words cannot contain You or express You,
You have endless names
So that anyone who will
Can know the satisfaction of calling on You.
But Named or not,
We cannot beckon You to come where You’ve never left.
You are always here.
The places we go where we cannot find You do not exist.
As the Psalmist wrote,
“When I awake, I am still with You.”
Am I still with You?
I must be.
Or I would not be writing words that only Love can speak.
Am I awake?
I must be.
Or I am dreaming the only thing worth dreaming—
That You are the Love of my Life
And the Life in my love.


Me

Emerging from Nowhere
Participating in everything
Desiring Nothing
I walk Alone
With everyone