life

spoken words of magic…


as i’ve taught my students about spoken word the last few weeks, one of the cool things is to find fresh poems for them to have as examples. i’ve shown them my good friend James Wilson and slam poetry sensations Taylor Mali, Sarah Kay, and Buddy Wakefield. this is a wonderful poem by Buddy. by the way, i’ve been careful to edit for the students. enjoy…

 

Hurling Crowbirds at Mockingbars (Hope is Not a Course of Action)

By Buddy Wakefield

If we were created in God’s image
then when God was a child
he smushed fire ants with his fingertips
and avoided tough questions.
There are ways around being the go-to person
even for ourselves
even when the answer is clear
clear like the holy water Gentiles would drink
before they realized
forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past.

I thought those were chime shells in your pocket
so I chucked a quarter at it
hoping to hear some part of you respond on a high note.
You acted like I was hurling crowbirds at mockingbars
and abandoned me for not making sense.
Evidently, I don’t experience things as rationally as you do.

For example, I know mercy
when I have enough money for the jukebox.
You know mercy whenever someone shoves a stick of morphine
straight up into your heart.
It felt amazing
the days you were happy to see me

so I smashed a beehive against the ocean
to try and make our splash last longer.
Remember all the honey
had me lookin’ like a jellyfish ape
but you walked off the water in a porcupine of light
strands of gold
drizzled out to the tips of your wasps.
This is an apology letter to the both of us
for how long it took me to let things go.

It was not my intention to make such a
production of the emptiness between us
playing tuba on the tombstone of a soprano
to try and keep some dead singer’s perspective alive.
It’s just that I coulda swore you had sung me a love song back there
and that you meant it
but I guess sometimes people just chew with their mouth open

so I ate ear plugs alive with my throat
hoping they’d get lodged deep enough inside the empty spots
that I wouldn’t have to hear you leaving
so I wouldn’t have to listen to my heart keep saying
all my eggs were in a basket of red flags
all my eyes to a bucket of blindfolds
in the cupboard with the muzzles and the gauze
ya know I didn’t mean to speed so far out and off
trying to drive your nickels to the well
when you were happy to let them wishes drop

but I still show up for gentleman practice
in the company of lead dancers
hoping their grace will get stuck in my shoes.
Is that a handsome shadow on my breath, sweet woman
or is it a cattle call in a school of fish?
Still dance with me
less like a waltz for panic
more for the way we’d hoped to swing
the night we took off everything
and we were swingin for the fences

don’t hold it against
my love
you know I wanna breath deeper than this
I didn’t mean to look so serious
didn’t mean to act like a filthy floor
didn’t mean to turn us both into a cutting board
but there were knives sstuck
in the words where I came from
too much time in the back of my words.
I pulled knives from my back and my words.
I cut trombones from the moment you slipped away

and I know it left me lookin’ like a knife fight, lady
boy I know it left me feelin’ like a shotgun shell
you know I know I mighta gone and lost my breath
but I wanna show ya how I found my breath
to death
it was buried under all the wind instruments
hidden in your castanets
goddamn –
if you ever wanna know how it felt when ya left –
if ya ever wanna come inside –

just knock on the spot
where I finally pressed STOP

playing musical chairs with your exit signs.

I’m gonna cause you a miracle
when you see the way I kept God’s image alive.

Forgiveness
is for anyone who needs safe passage through my mind.

If I really was created in God’s image
then when God was a boy
he wanted to grow up to be a man
a good man
and when God was a man
a good man
He started telling the truth in order to get honest responses.
He’d say,
“I know.
I really shoulda wore my cross
again
but I don’t wanna scare the gentiles off.”

play at your own risk…


“I want to risk hitting my head on the ceiling of my talent. I want to really test it out and say, ‘Okay, you’re not that good. You just reached the level here.’ I don’t ever want to fail, but I want to risk failure every time out of the gate.”-Quentin Tarantino

 

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that is an interesting quote from Tarantino. he’s one of my favorite directors and i love that he is talking about risk. i find it fascinating that he seems to be saying a failure is an end to his talent. i would say that if you are a risk taker, then failure is the beginning. you’ll never know how good you are until you’ve failed numerous times. but maybe i’m not grasping the context of the quote here. maybe he’s talking about failing at the very height of the ceiling, or maybe he is just saying he doesn’t like to fail. i don’t think any of us do, but i think we need to learn to embrace it if we are ever going to reach the apex of what our potential is. and there is a huge difference between failing and wallowing in that failure. i’ve been there. failure shouldn’t define us, it should inspire us to drag ourselves back up and do it again. so push through. allow yourself to create ceilings that you can bust through so that failure is the launching pad for the greatness within you. if you never take the chance, you will have a whole bunch of maybe’s and almost’s to talk about someday.

countdown to spring break…


i teach school. today is the friday before spring break.

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kids are typically going stir crazy. spring break is their last week of freedom before we enter what is called “the testing season” or as i like to call it, “the way the legislature wastes money and time”. today they seem a little quieter than they should be. that might be because some of our kiddos started their break a little early.

at 3:45, i will be free for a week, and i’m hoping to catch some great time with my wife and experience some of SXSW in Austin this week as i help bandsintown with their app. so watch for some posts about my break and i hope you have a good one if you get one.

pfffffftttttt…..


that’s me blowing dust off of this blog….

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again…

now for the 8-9 of you who have read this blog for a while, it’s probably no surprise to you that i’m popping up again. i know that my writing is sporadic. a few years ago, i even tried to make a commitment to write every day for a year. that fizzled out, so i’m just going to try and write as my heart allows me to. during lent, i am adding instead of denying. i’m adding exercise a few days a week and i figure that means working out my mental muscles as well. so i’m going to read more and write as well. i’m hoping that it makes a difference in someone’s life, maybe yours, maybe mine. dang, it feels good to write in lowercase again.

sorry for the neglect. i hope to do better.

 

getting better all the time


wow, can you believe that February is already over?

this year seems to be blowing by. last year was such a tough year, it seemed to drag on and on. i just wanted it to be over. this year it seems there is not enough time to get everything done. i guess it’s because i’m more busy and haven’t isolated myself like i did last year.

funny thing about denial, you don’t see it until you’re already in the cycle. i never thought i isolated myself last year, but i did it over and over. not only that, i ran away from and pushed away people who loved me. it pretty much sucks.

so i’m saying this year is going better. i have community. i have purpose. i’m staying, and not running away.

i hope your year is going well too.

how’s your heart?


i got the chance to go sit in my friend Ramy’s living room the other night and worship with some friends. it was a beautiful group of moments. i’ve been fighting allergies and couldn’t sing, but it was nice to sit in the dimly lit room and just take it in. it was really simple. towards the end Ramy asked everyone in the room a question.

“how is your heart?”

and i began to think, what am i going to say when it gets to me? am i going to say something that sounds slick or amazing? am i going to say something that sounds authentic? what am i going to say? then i began to listen to the others who were telling how their hearts were. some beautiful answers to a simple question, and i realized that my heart is still on the mend. it has been stomped on, but it still beats. it still dreams and longs to create. and as the testimony time was finished we sang Gungor’s “Beautiful Things”. i sang with what voice i had as the evening ended with communion.

i tell you that because i want to ask you the same question. how’s your heart? what is it longing for? is it freshly broken? do you feel like it can never be put back together? do you still have hope? or, is your heart joyful and full? it doesn’t have to be broken.

how’s your heart?

wherever two or more are gathered…


i continually wonder about the presence of God. He promises to never leave or forsake us, yet sometimes it seems like He is distant. i know the clichés like “if God seems far away, it’s you who has moved, not Him.” ugh, i hate clichés.

i realize that sin sometimes is a barrier for us. nothing is a barrier for Him. I can see how we put on our fig leaf and try to hide. i just wish sometimes i would hear Him say “where are you?” maybe i’m not listening. maybe life is too loud and it drowns out His voice. maybe the shame is so heavy that it dampens the calling. whatever it is, to be honest, sometimes i feel alone.

but my feelings will betray me. if i do the things i feel like doing, then i am not living in His will, i am dwelling in mine. i’ve found that my will, even with temporary moments of pleasure, does not bring long term peace or satisfaction.

i was reading this morning and came across a prayer. i love Paul’s prayers for the people in the new testament churches. this one was for the church at Ephesus.

Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Liberating King will reside in their hearts. My love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Liberator is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus, the Liberating King, from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:16-21 The Voice

he addresses the very thing i’m feeling, so i suppose the Ephesians struggled with the presence of Christ too. he talks about it taking root so that they and we would know that Christ’s love surpasses anything that we can understand. so maybe instead of seeking the presence which is already there, i should ask for the fullness. i should seek to be filled. i should request the power to understand.

also this prayer does not say i pray that this individual will see these things. it says they. we were not meant to grow outside of community. maybe sometimes the reason we don’t feel the presence of God is because even when we are around people, we isolate ourselves. He wants us to practice His presence in the midst of others. He wants us to see His power in the lives of others. we grow as a body. He promises to be wherever we gather.

do you struggle with believing that God can do those awe-inspiring, immeasurable things? well, then let’s get together and be for each other as He is for us. let us dream big and see what He can do. are you ready?

passion in the presence


i had a friend tell me once that we are most fulfilled when our passion intersects a need.

i have fleeting moments of passion for things it seems as of late. i’ll get excited about doing something and then the excitement fades. i have grand designs on getting some things done, but then apathy or fear set in and i end up getting nothing done. i’ll hear or see something that fires me up and i’ll talk about it, then it never happens.

i mean i’m a passionate person. i know this because when i do go after something, i do it full force. i’m constantly thinking about my “want to” and lately things have been getting done because of my “have to”.  i’m deceived into believing that it will never happen, so why bother trying? i know that comes from failures in the last few years, but i don’t have a give up spirit.

i will say that i have made a commitment to get up early and read, and to write here as much as i can. now if i can just slingshot this discipline into other areas. life is too short to not run after dreams because i am lazy or afraid.

you see, i know that God is with me. sometimes i lose sight of that presence. sometimes my heart gets so heavy with other stuff, that i miss Him. but in His presence is joy. and no matter the situation, i can find that joy in Him and only Him.

so today i want to make Him my passion. i want Him to move in me to help me do those things that only i can do. i want Him to be the inspiration for the passionate life that only i can live. i will not resign myself to a life of insignificance. let’s live today. you too.

it’s good.


i guess my last few blogs have made it seem as if i am sad or a little depressed. 

that is not the case.

in spite of hardship and loneliness, i am actually in a really good place. far from where i was 6 months ago. way far from where i was a year or two years ago.

i am in the process of trying to get a better hold on some financial things, and i’m dreaming of creating again. there is still a bit of fear over the creating, but that will go away as i just do it. writing every day is a start. 

i looked back over my blog stats and noticed a pattern. when i was in a good place, i was writing. people were reading. i can look at the dates and see that. 

so my prayer is that in humility and love, i will create. and i won’t fear, and i won’t care if anyone likes or sees it. i am creating for me in the hopes that it blesses others. i don’t think that is selfish, but maybe it is.  maybe i should create for others in the hopes that it blesses me.

i guess that’s something i need to figure out. there are so many reasons we do things or don’t do them. do i love the process or the result more? do i know enough about myself to know what i should and shouldn’t be spending time to create? am i constantly re-examining what i’m built for as an excuse instead of just doing it. 

i do know that i am happiest when i find amazing words in my heart to put down on a page. when i get to play music with my friends or even strangers. when i get to work with people in creative ways. and i like to think that when i’m happy and filled with joy. other people are too.

 

 

Forgiveness…


i haven’t talked a lot about my divorce on here. most of the people who know me, know the details. because of this situation, i chose to attend Divorce Care.  it’s  a great opportunity to be around people who are going through the same thing you are, and even though the videos are a little outdated and sometimes cheesy, it gives great information and the discussions are really good.  i love my group and i’m thankful for our leaders.  all that to say that this past weeks topic was forgiveness…

i think anyone who has been hurt or injured emotionally struggles with forgiveness.  i know that i do. i don’t want to forgive, i want to get even. but that’s not what God calls us to do.

so i opened up my book and i saw these next statements and it changed my perspective. i had preconceived notions of what it meant to forgive.  what i had to do, what it meant. so this was eye opening for me and i wanted to share it, because it applies to any act of forgiveness.

here we go…

Forgiveness is NOT:

A feeling-it is an act of my will

Minimizing the offense-what happened really happened

Condoning the other person’s behavior-i don’t have to call what they did “OK” to forgive.

Trusting the other person-forgiving them doesn’t mean i have to trust them again

Letting the other person off the hook-but they won’t answer to me

Expecting an apology-even if i never get one, i still have to forgive

Forgetting-God forgets our sins and remembers them no more, but i am not Him

i can’t tell you how freeing those statements were for me. so for the last few days, i’ve asked God for help to forgive and actually said the words, i forgive _________for_________

i’m finding that my heart is being softened even in these few days because i’m being obedient. will i feel that way every day? no because the enemy likes to drag that stuff back up, but i’m going to continue to obey God and be forgiving.

who do you need to forgive?