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

Everything Breaks

I am broken.
And finally, it all makes sense.
Everything breaks.
Everything breaks.
And all of the world’s suffering comes from the denial that
There is nothing in this world–
Seen or unseen–
That is going to remain unbroken.
Even our systems will break.
Our religions are breaking.
The Earth is breaking.
Rocks break.
Grains of sand break.
We break atoms and release cataclysmic levels of energy.
And we use that power to make bombs
That cause explosions that break everything within a certain radius.
And what the bombs don’t break in body, they break in spirit.
Because they are a reminder that everything breaks.
And there is nothing I can do to stop it.
There is nothing that any of us can do to stop it.
And it is driving us mad.

In our denial, we create broken systems, use weapons, and create endless entertainment–sometimes called “programming”–all meant to distract us from one of two truths that we all have in common–
If you choose to be born, you will be broken repeatedly by this life
Until you cannot break anymore.
And when you break for the last time, you may wonder
Where did the breaking world go?
Will the things I left behind just keep breaking until they are where I am?
Nowhere.
Now Here.
Nowhere else.
Yes, they will.
Everything you worked for or didn’t work for,
Everything you stole and everything you kept from others,
Everything you took credit for as if you were the fount of Creation,
It will break.
And it will no longer matter.
If it ever did.
And at some point, everyone who ever was will be completely broken.
And then the earth will break.
And then the Sun will break.
And then the solar system will break.
And then the galaxy.
And then the Universe.
And then whatever contains the Universe.
It all broke.
It dissolves.
It will all go away as if it had never been.
And all that will remain is the Love that fought the losing battle to prove that each of us is worth the effort even though we’re breaking.
Even though we are broken.
Love breaks but can’t be broken.
Is everywhere and nowhere.
Creates and destroys.
But can’t be created or destroyed.
Energizes but is not energized.
It is what it is before we are what we are.
And love will remain when we are no more.
Realizing this, let me love love while I can.
Let me live love while I am here.
Or better yet, let love live me.
So that even as I am breaking, love pours through.
I guess that was what he was teaching
When he said, “I am broken for you.”
I am broken and I am breaking.
When I accept it suffering ends.
And only Love remains.

© Copyright 2022 Pedro S. Silva II

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

Apology to The Mother

I used to come out here and listen to your wisdom.
The incarnation of flow
You reminded me that I am not my own Source
All that passes through our bodies derives from something Greater than ourselves
You weren’t just the singer
You were sung
And when I listened to you and your Way,
I wanted to be sung as well
Stillness in Motion
Your moves were not your own
Moved by the Unmoved Mover
You carried those who rested upon you with borrowed Strength
And this is how we thank you
You chose us because you knew the joy of being chosen
But, we didn’t choose you back because we thought we were entitled
And now, like the One who learned from your mistakes,
You’ve been poured out for us
So now when I look at you, I know what it looks like to be cutoff from the Source.
Reckless realities collide
Who will mourn for you if you die
When we realize that it’s all of our funerals too?
I know thoughts and prayers are pointless
But I do it anyway
Because sometimes lying to ourselves is all some of us have left
But, what I’m really trying to say is that I’m sorry for my part in all of this
And if there’s a chance that my tears will bring you back to life,
I’m prepared to cry rivers
Perhaps that’s why I’ve held back this long.

And find it on your favorite platform here.

© Copyright 2022 Pedro S. Silva II

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

A Friend In Need

They say a friend in need is a friend indeed
Or is it a friend in deed
Meaning a friend is one who acts as one
When another friend’s in need

Or maybe it’s the former one
We’re friends when we’re in want
But otherwise we give no others thought
Just to make it blunt

But perhaps it is more gray than that
Which makes it difficult to name
Because where self-sufficiency is idolized
To be in need is to be shamed

It’s really hard to put my finger on
As I examine my condition
When I’m aware enough to know I should ask for help
But won’t fully give myself permission

On one side, it’s because I don’t want help
I have learned so much from all my failing
But on the other side, I know that there’s sufficient grace
For those of us prone to self-assailing

Furthermore when I’m on the giving end
I always do what I can do
But when I’m on the receiving end
I do my best to just push through

But presently I am torn
This uphill battle seems unending
I could keep on trying to handle this
But in reality I’m pretending

I’ve always been good at holding burdens
But now my burdens are holding me
As I consider that I’m just a request away
From a space that feels more free

Well, if anything, there’s a lesson
These constraints I feel won’t last
And it matters little if I hear “yes” or “no”
Things will get better because I asked

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

I wrote this poem after wrestling with my thoughts about whether or not I should share a fundraiser I created for my mother to help ease some of the financial impact of her pending move.  This season has been really tender for me for a lot of reasons. Besides watching my mother succumb to the effects of a lifetime of stress and anxiety, trying to keep this pressure to myself has taken its toll on me and my family, both emotionally and financially. But it’s not all bad. This also has been a very creative season for me as I’ve tried to make sense of my own anxieties in light of my faith that when we are open, there is a solution to every concern. I’ve written poems that I never would’ve been able to write were I not translating, what at times felt like, overwhelming emotion. I completed a rap that I’m really proud of despite the fact that it has not yet brought in any of the money I’d naively thought it would. And in my social justice and community building work, knowing that I am personally impacted by so much of the challenges that we’re trying to ameliorate, has shaped my preaching and public speaking in a way that perhaps it would not if my family was more shielded. And finally, by putting this out here, I feel that it is on the path of healing the ill effects of the negative type of pride. And so here we are.

I Always Feel Like Crying

I always feel like crying
But it doesn’t mean I’m sad
It means I’m paying attention
To the issues that we have

In my soul I see a vision
Oneness is our Way
But in my body I feel division
As I watch morality decay

I have prayed and prayed for comfort
But it seems it’s nowhere near
Until I accept that I can’t save this world
And release my brokenness with tears

I wish that I was stronger
But my weakness keeps me humble
I would love to never make mistakes
But I was put on earth to stumble

I see heaven’s door wide open
I call on all I see to enter
But I’m afraid that if I go in first
I’ll forget what I remember

I know that’s backward logic
But they say the first’s the last
So when I came here from the future
It was to finish off my past

I hope that I’m not losing you
By speaking in ways that are not clear
I just had to get this off my chest
In case I’m drowned out by my tears

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II