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.

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.

© 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.

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

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

The Truths Cannot Die

The next time that you kill us
Remember we never really die
Suppressing us won’t free you
Because Truth can’t sustain a lie

I know our presence scares you
We make you feel unsure
Nothing can quite prepare you
For seeing your prejudice impure

You’ve been taught we’re inconvenient
You try to hide us from your view
But locking us up doesn’t keep us out
Since you can’t get away from you

Your history of violence
Towards those who look like me
Has left so many people silent
That we barely know how to be

You say that we are valued
And yet you try to hide the Truth
But there’s no escaping what’s evident
We are the living proof

But where does this knowledge leave us
For too many it ushers shame
The one thing no one wants to feel
Because we can’t escape the pain

See that’s not what we’re seeking
What we want to share is hope
But in our face you see a mirror
And hang the image from a rope

Your guilt too, is not of value
It’s just denial in different dress
Which leads to justification
Which fosters anger and unrest

So what is the solution?
Where do we go from here?
How can we live by a better Way,
When we hold on to our fear?

The answer is we cannot
We have to let love win
Or die in the darkness that we choose
And then do it all again

He Fit the Description

They told him “put your hands up.”
He did and that day he died.
Innocence put to death.
His crime was he complied

The authorities are the ones who killed him.
He must have “fit the right description”
They called him a troublemaker.
Never mind it was a fiction

It wasn’t just the way he looked
It was also the way he saw
He loved outside the rules
To them it violated law

He was out with his friends
No one knows what he did wrong
But they came for him with their weapons
They already had them drawn

Though unarmed and non-threatening,
They started drawing near
To me it’s quite ironic
That they were filled with so much fear

What were they afraid of–
The stories they were told?
“You better watch out with a guy like him.”
“He’s been known to lose control.”

“Have you seen the crowd he hangs with?”
“Let’s look at all the facts.”
“A gang leader if there was ever one.”
“He should have never crossed the tracks.”

“He dines with people known as criminals.”
“He’s friends with women of the night.”
“Believe me he’s not innocent’.”
“Something is just not right.”

That’s the kind of messaging
That makes those like him such a threat
No one ever gets him
And we still haven’t seen him yet

That’s why still today we kill him
In the bodies we see as least
And yet many of us say we follow him
I thought he was called “The Prince of Peace”

He died so we could stop this
But still we choose to pay the price
Because whenever we kill the innocent
We are always killing Christ.

© Copyright 2016 Pedro S. Silva II

martin-luther-king-and-his-hands-up-huffington-post

No matter what one thinks about Christ, we know what innocence is and what it isn’t in the depths of our being. When we deny that knowledge, we deny all that can be right in this world.

Fighting Over Crumbs

All things to All things
Nothing is denied
But we’re fighting over bread crumbs
Because someone believed a lie

So now we kill each other
In our constant pursuit of more
We believe we are “consumers”
Because we don’t know what we’re for

Infinite Creation
Nothing more or less
But instead destruction follows us
When we put us to the test

Addicted to the thought of conquering
Sixty steps till we unlearn
That the truth of life is obvious
When we’re not looking for our turn

In the mean time there’s confusion
We’re told we have to choose a side
Contests between “us” and “them”
Where the winner doesn’t die

But what if someone told you
That everything is yours
And everything is everyone’s
And no one’s keeping score

The House is not divided
Upon the Rock is where it stands
Never to be shaken
By unreasonable demands

But because it can’t be broken
It won’t resist what it is we do
We can lie all the hell we want to
Because all of it’s untrue

Though we deny the Absolute
It simply continues as it is
Fully realized. No need to strive.
For it’s the life that we all Live

It’s the Bread that’s not devoured
Though we eat it to our fill
Diminishing every sense of loss
Like nothing ever will

 

Spontaneous Cypher

Wonder where I’m coming from?

Let me get you up to speed.

If it’s true–God provides

What I want, I don’t need

Being less never is

In the One Source of All

But let the world tell it

We’re divided by our falls

Makes us so small

Man this grift amaze me

Used to say, “We all One”

But they called me, “Crazy”

Now to me it seems lately

It’s the Word of Truth

The lie of separation

Is now busting loose

Because I Am you are

One Light Two Stars

Shining inside out

So we never go too far

Well that’s about it

That’s All I want to say

Now that that’s off my chest

I bow down to pray.

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