I Am From Here, Nowhere, and Now Here

I’m from “Daddy’s not coming back.” on my 2nd Christmas
And my first prayer to God that taught me “no” is an answer too.
I’m from the smell of mothballs when we moved in with Grandma
And toast with melted Mozzarella on top
I’m from the “Daily Bread” Bible verses she made us read before every meal
And the Family Bible that had my Dad’s name in it even if he wasn’t there to read it to me.
I’m from sneaking into the children’s ward of the hospital to see my little brother
And Uncle Willy making a funny sound with his mouth to let me know he was here to pick me up.
I’m from a 21 gun salute at my grandfather’s funeral,
The sound shaking my body, the smoke rising as if it were going to join my grandfather in heaven, and the warm hands of Granddaddy’s friend covering my ears telling me that I don’t need to cry.
And I’m from the broken promise of that last tear that I told myself I would never let fall again.
I’m from both sides of the tracks–
Struggling during the school year
Financially secure in the summer.
Black experience with my mom’s family
And a minority in my father’s household
Rendering me too Black and never Black enough for some folks.
I’m from a Black mom, a white stepmom, and an immigrant dad who was both and neither and my identity formed in the Void.
I’m from sitting in the dark in that mothball closet fussing with God about all that had been taken from me
And a peace that surpasses all understanding that told me nothing God gives is ever lost.
I’m from going to the Deacon Board at age 6 and asking to be baptized before the age of accountability
And their warning that if I backslid and sinned after my immersion the penalty of eternal damnation was on me.
I’m from childlike confidence that I could live a sin free life.
So I submitted to the capable hands of Pastor Fleming who joked with me up to the baptismal tub, said the words that made me new, and lowered me into the water.
I’m from the awareness that sin abounds, but grace abounds more.
I’m from:
Countless hours alone,
Making best friends with books,
Corn flakes for multiple meals,
Never knowing what utility might get cut off,
The smell of a borrowed kerosene heater, and my mom, brother, and me all sleeping around it.
I’m from respites when the income tax check came.
From a mother who did her best but was broken by a life of endless stress.
I’m from being a Black man in America
Trying to learn to live without looking over my shoulder because Black Lives Matter and absence from the body is presence with the Lord.
I’m from not knowing where I belong
But trusting that I am welcome wherever God is.
I’m from not wanting anyone to go through what I’ve been through
Because to me this is loving neighbor as myself.
I’m from still being that little boy trying to not cry unless I know that someone cares.
I’m from losing a child to racism in a way that makes my face warm to think about
And at the end of a broken heart, trying to become a car selling monk.
From a woman who entered my life through an email and ended my monastic aspirations.
I’m from having a child at 32 and 41 when I expected to have none.
I’m from a house full of emotions that I lived a lifetime trying to avoid.
I’m from trying to be the father I never had and the husband my mother never had so that I can be the man God created me to be.
I’m from that baptismal tub that eternally abides making me new each day
And from laughing with people who know similar suffering.
And I am from the words of Jesus that said, “If you want to follow me, take up your cross and bear it.”
I am from all of this and more.
And I am from grace,
Inexhaustible grace,
The Pearl of Great Price for which I count all things as loss so that one day I will learn to receive everything that truly matters.
This is where I’m from.
Where are you from?

© Copyright 2020 Pedro S. Silva II

This poem was written in response to a writing prompt in a retreat on calling with Karen Herring sponsored through First Congregational Church Boulder. It is based on the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon.

Eye of the Be Holder

We think that we see clearly. But we often just see the projection of other people’s past at the forefront of our awareness. In other words we programmed to see what we were taught to see.

The Roofless Church

Have you ever seen a cygnet? A cygnet is a baby swan. And they are super cute. And yet, when we talk of people who blossom into a more physically beautiful being than one may have imagined, we say that they were an “ugly duckling”, based on the tale by that name created by Hans Christian Anderson.

I find it hard to imagine that someone reading this hasn’t heard of this story. But, in the off chance that you haven’t, the story is basically about a swan whose egg falls in with some duck eggs. And when the egg hatches, all the little ducks freak out because this one duck, which is actually a swan, doesn’t look like the others. So they do what any anthropomorphized duck would do, they start seeing the worst in the little cygnet. There’s no sense of wonder or compassion. There’s only, “You don’t look…

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New Me #BLM Cut – Pedro Silva (featuring the Voices of the Movement)

New Me #BLM Cut – Pedro Silva (featuring the Voices of the Movement)

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

Here’s the Truth
We don’t need your proof (approval)
Mustard seed of juice
And the mountains will go poof

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

In loving memory of:

#ChristianCooper
#AhmaudArbery
#BothamJean
#AtatianaJefferson
#JonathanFerrell
#RenishaMcBride
#StephonClark
#JordanEdwards
#JordanDavis
#AltonSterling
#AiyanaJones
#MikeBrown
#TamirRice
#Charleston9
#TrayvonMartin
#SeanBell
#OscarGrant
#SandraBland
#PhilandoCastile
#CoreyJones
#JohnCrawford
#TerrenceCrutcher
#KeithScott
#CliffordGlover
#ClaudeReese
#RandyEvans
#YvonneSmallwood
#AmadouDiallo
#WalterScott
#EricGarner
#FreddieGray
#BreonnaTaylor
#GeorgeFloyd

And all those lost to the silence.

#RestinPower
#BlackLivesMatter

The song is available for download an all major digital platforms like iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify etc.

Video produced by Katrina Dawn Miller https://www.blackatvideoproductions.com/

Song mixed by Prasanna Bishop
https://akashicrecording.com/

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 Their 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

As I am exploring this idea of God’s plan—and I’m not using that term as it is conventionally used—I am being in wonder about how I can fix my perception so that I am not distracted from a knowing that there is an underlying perfection to All That Is. I realize that living into this will take an act of radical surrender. But that’s the Seeker’s Way. So…

There is an underlying perfection to all things.
(Click Image to hear more.)

Mind-jacking

I was robbed by an elderly woman

I didn’t see it coming

It hurts. But I don’t want to tell my friends

Because I know they’ll think it’s funny

So I decided to tell my plumber

Since he has a doctorates degree

But he said, “I’m a surgeon. Not a psychologist.”

“But I know who you should see.”

“There’s this woman at the burger joint who has a Nobel Prize.

She can help you with your trauma

And it comes with a bunch of fries.”

Well you can’t beat that kind of offer

So I grabbed a corner booth

Ordered a burger with cheddar cheese

And an extra side of truth

What she said was so revealing

It nearly “blue” my mind

She said I chose that woman to carjack me

To free me from my confines

In the world sold by deceivers

All of the robbers look like me

And victims look like an old white lady

That we’re programmed to believe

Even when I’m innocent

There’s guilt all on my face

Due to messaging that I’m a predator

Displayed in every place

It’s so bad that when I hear of crimes

Even I think it might be me

And I was in the bathroom when the crime went down

So I know it couldn’t be

But when they hold back the image of the perpetrator

I know they weren’t someone of color

It’s all a part of the marketing plan

To make us fear each other

In reality we don’t commit more crime

And the impact of them’s small

Compared to criminals who steal entire countries

Resources, people, and all

But that’s not the point I’m trying to make

I just want you to scratch your head

And be curious instead of always judging

You can’t always trust where you’ve been led

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

Department of Justice Statistics Disprove Racist Talking Points
https://www.colorlines.com/articles/3-stats-department-justice-disprove-racist-talking-points-crime

 

Damaged Goods

Your stories need to be told
This is something I can’t deny
But I don’t want to go where they’re taking me
And I’m afraid to tell you why

Yes, I thank you for your bravery
Still I can’t escape the shame
But through forgiveness I can take another step
Yet, it still can’t dull the pain

I want to keep this to myself
After all this is your hour
God grant me the ears I need to hear
So I can listen to your power

Sacrificed at culture’s altar
I can admit they hate your voice
That’s why I don’t want that to be me too
So I try to suppress my choice

But every time I do it
It’s like something in me dies
It seems there’s no love for the middle path
When the world is choosing sides

So today I am choosing you
I can have my day tomorrow
Just know that my silence I’m speaking now
Doesn’t mean I have no sorrow

While I might not say all that I can
It doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you
Some men just don’t know how to say the words,
”I have a story too.”

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

 

 

The Visitation – Being a Healing Presence

In our spiritual community at First Congregational Church Boulder, UCC some of our members are reading a small book called, The Art of Being a Healing Presence. Those of us reading it, are part of a small group of people who are choosing to heed the call to embody a healing presence with community members who are open to our invitation. Over the months that we’ve been meeting, my heart has increasingly found joy in our time together encouraging each other as we discover the gift of Visitation together. I wrote the following poem to/for them to both express appreciation for their gifting of themselves and to remind them that when we are being present, every moment counts.

The Visitation
It was only for a moment
It was here and it was gone
But when they think of the Visitation
The Presence lingers on

Breaking into Time-space
Eternity in half an hour
When two or more gather here
We’ve invited in the Power

Never underestimate,
What a moment can unfold
A single earthly encounter
A lasting balm for the soul

You were called to bring the Presence.
Being is what you do.
Giving form to the Love,
That preceded me and you

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

Matthew 18:20
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Take This Life (w/ Lyrics)

(When you shine your Light it isn’t just for you.
It’s for everybody else that’s been watching what you do.)

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

You ever had those thoughts that wouldn’t go away?
They’re runnin’ though your mind like every single day.
Wake up in the mornin’
Get on your knees and pray
Don’t believe it works
But you do it anyway
That’s what it’s like when you feelin’ hopeless
Lookin’ at your life and it’s got no focus
You say, “It gets better.”
Swear to God you know this
But you caught up in the mix
Don’t where your flow is
This is the way of the American dream
We think we see clearly
But it isn’t what it seems
Addicted to consumption
So we livin’ like we fiends
Only find meaning
When we get a bunch of things
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

You know the Way
That’s what they say
That’s why I pray
To shine like the Day
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

Here’s a little something
I’m getting off my chest
It’s been a long time
Since last I confessed
I denied you
Thinking I’d get the rest
But life without you
Is a life that’s a mess

The best of me
Is messin’ with the rest of me
It’s testin’ me
At least until I get to see
I’m blessed to be
Livin’ with you next to me
‘Cause life within you
Is but ecstasy
You see

They say you know the Way
I’m inclined to believe it
Though never in my life
Have I seen one to achieve it
You told us how to do it
I’ll be shocked
If we gon’ heed it
Then we looking all surprised
By the fact that we defeated
Soo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see

You know the Way
That’s what they say
That’s why I pray
To shine like the Day
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

When you shine your light
It isn’t just for you
It’s for everybody else
That’s been watchin’ what you do
You can talk that talk
But the walk shows what is true
Are you a hypocrite
Or the proud and the few?
That’s the kind of question
I ask myself daily
Trying to get back to my roots
As if my name was Alex Haley
You don’t like my style
But never will you play me
‘Cause I’m gon’ shine my light
Till the day that they take me

You say I know the way
‘Cause if you do, I’m supposed to
I’m glad you chose me
Even when I hadn’t chose you
The world is out of order
And everybody knows it
How’s a nation under you
When all you are, it opposes
If they gon’ be that Pharaoh
Then I’m gon’ be that Moses
They don’t want to see us shine
‘Cause when we do it exposes
So I’m gon’ keep speaking
Til everybody knows this
It’s when we turn to you
That we see where the flow is

You know the Way
That’s what they say
That’s why I pray
To shine like the Day
Sooo…

Take this life
Make it right
Take this life
Make it Light
To see…

Matthew 5:15
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Repairers of the Breach

There is nowhere God is not
Even in what doesn’t last
God gives all things a future
And is not shackled by the past

In our weakness strength is known
And through it we know each other
So through it we are all made One
Each a sister and a brother

So let us see our humanness
Through the eyes of the One who made it
That we might be repairers of the breach
For the world we’ve co-Created

© Copyright 2018 Pedro S. Silva II

It’s My Cross Too

I want to be of service
To pour out who I am
Without the thoughts being accepted
Or that people will understand

I don’t want to shift based on opinion
Just to move when I’m in Truth
And be willing to fail if that’s what’s real
And need no signs or proof

I want to follow Jesus
Even if it takes me to the Cross
Because I know he stands in the Light of Love
Where in Truth there is no loss

I no longer want to deny Him
Just because he cannot be explained
You see he’s bigger than religion
With a love that’s not contained.

I want to live his revelation
That all of us are One
The truth he lives and dies for
Until every lie’s undone.

© Copyright 2016 Pedro S. Silva II