To Be: The Real You

The truth is they won’t accept you
Because you won’t accept that you’re accepted
You remind them of the lies they told
Because you reflect what they projected
The denial of your existence
Protects identities that don’t exist
And now you want to be like them
What part of the message did you miss?
Who you are before you’re born
Is more true than you can know
When you let someone tell you who you are
Who has no power to make it so
That’s why I live and keep on living
Without the dream of keeping score
Knowing absence from the body
Is Presence with the Lord
And by “Presence with the Lord”,
I mean I Am Presence too
Because the One You Are when You’re with God
Can never be taken away from You

Seeing Angels

I think I always believed in Angels

But the ones I saw just don’t have wings

They showed up as I needed them to

While the world was busy with other things

They entered my dimension

Through vehicles such as art

Creating treasures out of trash

And healing through broken hearts

Picking up my pieces

And turning them into Peace

Hiding behind the eyes of those

Our systems call the least

Penetrating so called power

To reveal what they want us to disguise

We are all angels from time to time

When Truth is lifted above lies

© Copyright 2023 Pedro S. Silva II

Cover photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

To Be and To Become 

Looking through the window

I see what is the soul

The Witness of all I witness

The fulfillment of my goal

The genesis of my being

And my exodus return

The destination I never left

Through living I have learned

An eternal invitation 

To be and to become

An only among the Many

Realized when I am One.

© Copyright 2023 Pedro S. Silva II

Lies Hurt

Do we say, “the Truth hurts”,
Because we’re all a bunch of liars?
100 percent smoke
Zero percent fire
Addicted to desire
And other folks approval
Saying what they want
Is business as usual.
Programmed by patterns
Like an algorithm
Access to knowledge
But we’re lacking wisdom
Can’t make decisions
Because we’re scared to see clearly
That what we want to be real
Is actually nowhere nearly
We’re scared out of our wits
Because we know we’re dying
So we pay for distractions
Even if we know they’re lying
And there’s no denying
But it’s all we do
Because we’re afraid to be hurt
By the One and only thing that’s true.

© Copyright 2022 Pedro S. Silva II

Indescribable Impetus

You will ask me how I got here
In reality, I do not know
I surrendered to my brokenness
What you see now is emergent flow
It is not a part of Creation
Since it was before things are
The zero point of beingness
Collapsing distance from what seemed far
Be still and then you’ll know
Has nothing to do with stopping
Just as rising from the fall
Is not a consequence dropping
It is more like finally arriving
To the place I never left
By getting to the “other side”
Through borrowing another’s death
Now coming back to life
I choose to live like I’m twice born
Reinhabiting an incarnation
Through the veil that has been torn
Now when looking through the windows
I see what cannot be described
To those who breathe like they are living
But have yet to come alive
This is now the indescribable impetus
For everything that’s coming through
My actions coming from inaction
A human being before I do.

© Copyright 2022 Pedro S. Silva II

You can listen to this poem on Pedro’s Poetry Podcast.

The Burden

“How on earth are you hoping right now?”
I really want to quit.
No more coping right now?
My demons got demons.
No more glowing light now.
I have become my own shadow.
Whys consuming my how.
We’ve all heard the stories
Of who we’re supposed to be
But I wrote my own story
When yours was opposed to me
Became a default leader
They’re drawing close to me
Now my failures are their failures
Supposedly.
When I’m not “myself”,
No one knows it me.
Hiding in plain sight
Until you let go of me.
This is the burden
That none of us has asked for
But if one falls from grace
We’re all put on blast for
They say we credit our race
Or we bring them down
Then when “I’m” not there
I am finally found

©️ Copyright 2021 Pedro S. Silva II

Almost every Black person I know who has grown up in America knows what it’s like to feel the existential burden placed upon us that says, “You represent your entire race.” I remember getting in a conversation with a military buddy who happens to be White about this a couple of decades ago. He was honest enough to admit that he had observed this too. And being a straight forward man and not very politically correct, he indignantly said, “Dang man that’s messed up. It’s not like I have to think about how every serial killer makes me look. And you know most of the serial killers are some crazy White guy.”

Because we are good friends, we could have an irreverent laugh about the absurdity of it all. And in the context of our friendship, he and I have dismantled most of that systemic garbage so that it isn’t between us. But, at the same time, things like what went down between Will Smith and Chris Rock shows that the larger culture is still entangled in this tendency to place the burden of all of us on everyone of us. Even many of us Black folks are wrestling with this, calling the incident “Black on Black” crime, because we have been enculturated into this mindset and don’t think of questioning the culture that create such misnomers and agreeing that what happened puts Black people back instead of just the person who made the decision.

As someone who has wrestled with this burden most of my own life, while always questioning its validity ever since a teacher told me I was a “credit to my race”, I can say this is unfair and needs to be deconstructed. When my teacher said it to me, I let him know that I didn’t take it as a compliment even though I knew that was how he meant it. It hurt his feelings. But not as much as him essentially saying to me, “Your race is so messed up, they are lucky to have you.”

If you are someone who doesn’t have the social obligation to represent your entire community to the world, I invite you to meditate on that for a moment. What does it feel like to think that the next thing some one from your group does that is unwelcomed reflects on you directly? Imagine someone coming up to you at your job and asking you, why someone did something as if you all have some kind of group telepathy. That’s what a large segment of society is asking of us everyday. So, if you want to lighten that burden, don’t participate in this tendency. Be part of a better way. Get to know people as individuals. Listen to and share personal stories from folks who differ from you. And don’t rely on biases to determine your relational capacity.

You can also listen to this poem on Pedro’s Poetry Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

If you’re looking for opportunities to relate beyond biases, check out events such as America Talks and the National Week of Conversation.

Thanks to @anas_alhajj_ for making the cover photo available freely on @unsplash

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

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

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