Sometimes the soundtrack is just scoring the spinach, fish and mango- not life. Not an entire existence. Just healthy food on a plate accompanied by Gallant in all his soulful glory. Easy. Monday. x
“He is giving up on fame… He is giving up on millions of dollars in order to stand up for what his conscience tells him is right… There is a very dangerous development in the nation now to equate dissent with disloyalty.” – Death of a King by Tavis Smiley with David Ritz
I didn’t grow up in a house where my parents viewed a regulated fight between men as an honourable test of mortality, substantiated only by the contenders adopted strain of humanity. Therefore, with neither of my parents being boxing fans, there were never any pay-per-view invoices stacked on the table, no sounds of bells every few minutes travelling down the hallway of our home and leaking into my bedroom to announce the end of another round. Not even a taped cassette, commentary from a celebrated night in Zaire or the Philippines. However, though Ali retired before I was born, it is but an impossible feat to escape references to the giant; his name embedded on the tongue of every hopeful, replicating his motion and reimagining themselves in his place, earning his glory. Ali bomaye! Ali bomaye!
The quote aforementioned allegedly recites Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s support and admiration for Muhammad Ali’s controversial refusal to fight in the Vietnam war. I remember as a child that this historical event was one of the first encounters I’d ever had with the work of the man said to be The Greatest of All Time. So irrespective of how ignorant I was of his boxing career, this man, this Muhammad Ali still managed to find a seat at our table. It was through his contribution to the Civil Rights Movement that he found a way to pervade our hearts. Reports of his strength outside of the ring, where his power though seemingly incalculable, surely laboured to match the strength of his convictions. The man he chose to be, undeterred by the villain people sought to make him in his anti-war stance, revealed in such measure the worth of his heart.
A civil rights leader. An asset to the black community. A champion in his right. May the God you know welcome you home and may the hearts that break at your passing, find comfort in the light of your story.
What a life you have lived.
What a man we have loved.
I’m looking at a tree and it’s waving at the sky. What has been decreed by the wind, so the leaves and branches must obey. They are slaves to something free; attached to limbs, fastened to bark rooted in the earth. If the wind blows one way these leaves must bow without thought as to what they are offering passive acquiescence. This tree has no mind, only movement, and even that is governed by something separate from itself. As human beings we live to become a version of ourselves that can be substantiated by our experiences, our capabilities and perhaps even our dreams. But I believe it is our limitations that shape what we ultimately become. I believe they are the roots that keep me grounded like the tree; my failures, proof of what I am not and reason to continue the search for my independence and identity. When I am hopeless, in my own way I demonstrate my compliance and lose a little bit of myself. But when I have hope, it is more a dance than a bow and in that moment, however long the privilege lasts- I feel free.
The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. -Maya Angelou
This place, as it stands in all its faults and all its beauty will never be who I am. I cannot bring myself to submit to the ways of this broken system. I will not survive a corruption of my independent thought and speech. I feel lost. This is not my home. This will never be my home. I just wanna go home.
There is an ocean I fear.
The waves are strong,
And the water is shallow.
The coral reefs are sharp,
And the salt stings my eyes.
She is beauty packaged in lies,
Floating stories written in blood,
She is uncontrollable and inconsistent,
A wild, rebellious wonder,
A callous, unforgiving punisher,
A beautiful, inviting stranger.
She breaks hearts and bones,
Her consumption unexpected,
Love her and she will be the medicine that mends your soul,
You will learn why they fall deeply, quickly,
Into her arms, into her whole,
And when they rise, if they rise,
… May they rise.
The monster that loves,
The heart that beats and pounds,
A raw crash on unstable ground.
Wave after wave.
Waves and more waves.
“Whoso has felt the spirit of the Highest,
Cannot confound nor doubt Him, nor deny,
Yea, with one voice, O world, though thou deniest,
Stand thou on that side, for on this am I!” – F.W.H. Myers
I very rarely get it right. Most days I grapple with the idea that a Being so great would live and love us so completely as to let us choose. Most mornings, I wonder why I have to endure the task of a day’s worth of everything that goes against the rationale that God could exist. But He must. For me to live, He must. And if the day should ever come when I find He doesn’t, so my life will reach its end.
There is a story I was told as a child that made me believe the world is good; that most people are kind; that all love is pure. It was a story of freedom and justice, where all actions are aptly met with punishment or praise. Where colour is representation of heritage and not an indication of worth. Where opportunity is owed every being and not bought at a detriment to those who sleep hungry. It was a story that promised healing and security to the sick and vulnerable; one that swore the compassion and integrity of those we call leaders. But I was lied to. Greedy men bought the world through carnage and deception. This so-called ‘humanity’ found a way to own and package our liberties as well as limit and cripple our progress. This world is not very good; most of us are not so kind; and not all our love has proven pure. 2014 marks another year that we continued to lie to our children. On to the next one.
I’m in love with the written word. It is the amplifier of my soul and when I walk, it is the principle by which my feet are governed. It is a scrutinized publication of thought and speech; polished armour before the war. It pains me to leave at the discretion of others an interpretation of something so sacred as my words. They are mine and will always belong solely to me.
Sometimes I wonder if birds got a raw deal. They come closest to heaven but every cloud is a red herring for the real trapdoor into the supernatural. They can take short breaks from humanity’s indiscretions but ultimately they too must be part of the dance. So while they whistle songs of the free, they only move to the tune of the enslaved. The strings that keep them in flight; the Puppeteer in all His glory ensures that they will never fly higher than what was intended. They may spend their days in the skies but their bodies will inevitably rest on the earth. So home is where they nest because even for them, paradise is met with great limitation.
I spend too much time falling in love with memories that my mind has dusted, soaped up, and wiped down. However, my infatuation never seems to be with people but more so with a distortion of the truth; an illusion of who they really are. Sometimes this is not at all based on any real understanding of them, but on a fantasy I created of who I needed them to be in that moment that I orchestrated their role in my mind. Why can’t I ever see people without creating some narrative about them that convinces me of their personalities and characteristics, when in fact it is for them to show me what I need to see?