Monday, March 31, 2003

i desire to embrace
the simplicity of christs love.
the purposefulness of mohammed.
the lovingkindness of buddha
mysticim of sufi
seeds of ahisma by gandhi
passion of malcom
courage of mbuyu nehanda
the dream of martin
the beauty of my mother
gentless of twin flame

i wear green today

Cathedral of Hope Prayer Ministry

Devotion for March 31, 2003

Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to
accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"-not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36)

As I was praying for peace today, images of the tragedy of war still fresh in my mind from our instant access media, I felt such a sadness for the planet...such a sense of despair for the seeming collision course with disaster we appear to be taking the entire world on.And I prayed, "God we need the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, we need the spirit of Gandhi, the spirit of non-violence, of love, of peace." Then Jesus appeared to me, he said nothing, just beckoned me to follow him. And as I walked along with him, I saw he had called a few of my friends along as well...

Silently we followed, wondering where he was taking us; the din of the war seemed to diminish as together we climbed a steep mountain. And then, just as we reached the top, there was a blinding flash of light.And standing beside Jesus was Dr. King on one side and Gandhi on the other. The three of them talked for quite some time. It's hard to tell how much time actually passed. It could have been minutes. It could have been days.They spoke of the war and past wars and sometimes they held each other and
wept, and sometimes they spoke no words, letting the weight of their orrow anchor the moment.

And sometimes they spoke passionately and with great hope about how things could be different. About other ways of solving nternational hunger, poverty, disease, homelessness. They spoke of the negligible cost of creating a safe planet for all people. Easily accomplished if those with plenty would share with those who had none. And when they spoke of these things, my own heart caught the vision of a world of peace. And I felt the fire of hope leap up within my soul. And before I knew what I was doing, I blurted out "Jesus! This is so cool! This is what I want! This is what I've been praying for! The Spirit of Gandhi and the Spirit of Dr. King, infused with your Holy Spirit, this is what we need! Let's stay here! This is where we need to be! Let's build monuments here, place an interactive learning guide with quotes made by all of you. Let's build a camp ground so people can come and sojourn here and catch the vision, too!"

As soon as I spoke I was sorry, for it seemed the spell was broken. With a roaring silence I was wrenched from the kairos time of God back into the chronos reality of this world. And I realized that while we had been on top of the mountain, the sound of war had grown louder once more; the clamor of people keening in grief and pain filled my ears.

I wanted to turn away, wanted to hold onto the moment on the mountaintop.But then a voice like thunder rent open the heavens and said "This is my Chosen Child...listen, listen."

As the voice reverberated through my spirit a remarkable thing occurred.First I saw Jesus even as the voice said "this is my Chosen Child" but suddenly the mountain was swept away or I was swept away and even as the Voice echoed again and again that sentence I saw other faces, the face of an Iraqi child, orphaned five minutes ago, bleeding and crying for her mother;
the face of an American POW, frightened and pale, the face of a British soldier lying lifeless in the sand and the face of his partner when he heard the news.

I saw the faces of homeless children in Boston and entire families in Africa, AIDS etched indelibly across their features.And still the Voice continued as each face came into view, "This is my son, this is my daughter, and this one and this one, my Chosen...listen to them,oh listen."

From a distance I heard someone weeping and it wasn't until the vision left that I realized it was me.

And I understood then. Peace was not about building monuments to those whose lives were given for Peace but in becoming a monument for peace in my own life, in my own time and world. Peace wouldn't be attained by sporadic anti-war rallies but by making every action I take become a Prayer for Peace.

Oh I wanted to stay on the mountaintop, wanted to soak in the holy hope Christ offered there, wanted to remain in the company of two whose lives had been an offering of the sweet incense of peace. But I understood then what the Voice had been saying, If I was to see Christ and listen to him I could not stay in the serenity of undiluted hope, in the rare air of saints. If I was to see the chosen-ness of each child of God and listen to their cries for justice and for peace, I could not remain in sterile desire for peace, I
had to go out into the world, into the grittiness of fear and pain, of complexities and confusion of loyalties. I had to go where the language of enemy was spoken and teach the language of love.

Devotion by Rev. Nori Rost
Pastor, Pikes Peak MCC
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

birth is the remembering of journeying, it is not to be forgotten. we are women. we belong together in an ancient caress of the earth. we are full of giving like the parting of clouds, gently falling, carrying the promise of growth, of a season serene with maturation.

grandmother says that a woman cannot point to the source of her pain, saying, it is here and there. a woman finds her sorrow in her dream and everywhere. she is wounded even in her awakening. sorrow is not like clay which is put beneath the sun to dry. it has no shape. it is
only tears. slowly she cries. slowly she weeps. sleeps. and awakes. grandmother touches me with her word. i stand close to her and between us is a faraway place we have found, the place of abandon. grandmother says even though we weep we wait to be remembered. and to remember. she says of we wait till morning the dew will visit our feet. the earth has not forgotten us.

a memory is a mouth with which to begin. we have no mouth, grandmother says only the departed can speak our sorrow and survive. only they can walk on a path covered with such thorns, and such unwelcoming soil. only the departed can celebrate the end of life and nurture death in a calabash till it blooms. only they have a wisdom that can embrace suffering. only they can gather, in laughter and dance, the brightness of the moon and turn it, once more into death.

grandmother's song enters into my growing and find parts of me hidden and still and alone. full of forgotten things of the earth. she moves nearer to me and touches me with her shadow. the shadow falls from her mouth, falls from the deep inside her dream. i am swallowed by the shadow which grows from grandmother and bends deep into the earth, lifting me from the ground, raising me high. it is warm inside the shadow. it is warm like the sleep.

i wait for grandmother to find me, to find all my dreaming with her lament, with her tears. her song tells me about birth. her song rises from ancient rivers where the sun no longer rises or sets. a woman will find herself in such a place where memory lingers like the sun, she says. in such a place women stand without trees to surround their weeping. a woman's cry is naked like birth, there is nothing to hide it. it is a place with roots but without trees. grandmother's song finds the world where women gather. it is a place watered by tears. it is a place of remembrance. when the tears have become a river, morning will arrive even in such a place.

- yvonne vera. under the tongue.

"What is truth?"

Cathedral of Hope Prayer Ministry
Devotion for March 25, 2003

In times past, it was not unusual to walk into a meat department and see a drawing of a cow with its various parts labeled. This is where you get round steaks -- this is where T-bones come from -- and so forth. I haven't seen one of those drawings for years. At some point the people who run supermarkets discovered that we don't really want to know how the anatomy of a cow relates to those pretty packages in the meat department. We don't want to think about it. We just want to buy our
dinner and take it home.

I guess the media people who cover wars have discovered the same thing. When the government hires a P.R. firm to come up with a theme for wars - "Operation Iraqi Freedom," and campaign descriptors "Shock and Awe," it is clear that selling the war has high political value. And according to most polls, Americans are buying. So why is it I have the same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I used to get when I saw those cigarette commercials which claimed their product tasted "smooth," "cool"
or "refreshing?" Of course, that marketing campaign worked well too. Half of all Americans bought it at some point in their lives, even though the package warned of dire consequences.

All of this leaves me asking the same question Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?"

Lent continually calls us to be more introspective and honest. The most dangerous people around are those who do not know the depths of their self-deception. A recent conflict with one such person left me and those around me deeply scarred. Many a night I asked God why such people didn't come with warning labels. The trouble is, self-deceived people are so good at deceiving others because they believe their own press. They can make you believe hamburger grows on trees because they really
believe it themselves. They can make people rally around the cause because they are themselves convinced the cause is just.

No doubt Judas believed he was doing what was right, moral and good. The High Priest was clear, "It is better that one person die than the whole nation perish." Those who destroyed Jesus were convinced that theirs was the way of righteousness. When my District Superintendent in the Methodist Church asked me to resign, he said it was the moral thing to do. I think of him every time I mount my moral high horse.

I want to live with confidence and conviction...but I pray that God will never let me forget that when I am self-deceived, I am the last one to know. Perhaps grace is the better path...just in case hamburger really does grow on trees.

PRAYER: O you who are amazing Grace, possess our souls so completely that we can risk new levels of honesty and self-disclosure. When we encounter those who would "sell" us that which is not true, renew our humility. Help us to remember that only One has lived who was The Truth, and WE are not the One. It is in that name that we offer ourselves vulnerably to you. Amen.

Michael Piazza, Dean
Cathedral of Hope

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

pinky: so brain what shall we do today?
brain: what we do every day..try and take over the world

it shall be
the new fishes
a bowl of chana dhal
isis/guadalupe--la virgen indígena
egyptian musk
ndugu bob
alice walker speaking
& i curled up
in my green warm blanky
thanking you for your company
as i think out aloud.

Monday, March 24, 2003

:: the divine love ::

to mercy, pity, peace & love
all pray in their distress;
and to these virtues of delight
return their thankfulness.

for mercy, pity, peace & love
is god, our father dear,
and mercy, pity, peace & love
is man, his child, and care.

for mercy has a human heart,
pity a human face,
and love, the human form divine,
and peace, the human dress.

then every man, of every clime,
that prays in his distress,
prays to the human form divine,
love, mercy, pity, peace.

and all must love the human form,
in heathen, turk, or jew;
where mercy,love, & pity dwell
there god is dwelling too.
- william blake

in peaceful acknowledgement & sweet remembrance.
i celebrate the life, love and kindness
of roberta angela dee.
a brave, courageous and loving woman.
who fought and loved with intensity and passion.
& cared with the generousity that few can muster.
i am honoured, grateful & forever blessed
to be a witness to this love.
asante sana. thank you.
i love you.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

ode to lost innocence.


whose child is she
who is cradled
in the arms of another
a bruised spirit as she.

whose child is she
who lights up
the lives of others
casting a gentle smile
a loving gaze
a familiar touch
a sweet kiss

whose child is she
whose femaleness
began to form
beneath dried blood
underneath the dishdashas
her hips were taking form

in/out . (ward) edness.


whose inner folds

:would: yearn.

can yearn

should be let
to yearn..

whose child is she
pushed down
the throat
to listen
crashing rooftops
dreams deferred

delights of youthful
childlike enchantement
womaish exhuberance
exhiliration of the
first touch.

whose child is she
whose child is she
is she

Friday, March 21, 2003

she is really taking a deep breath
& thinks of purple flowers
toe curling sunshine
instead of
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:: forgiveness & love ::

I wrote this song following September 11th, 2001 and thought it might be appropriate to release now given the present worldwide mobilization for peace. In writing it, I thought a lot about the radical love and forgiveness taught by Jesus and the early Christian tradition as well as the principles of peace and justice that are at the roots of Islam; I thought about the frequent uses and misuses of religion, including the invocations that imply that God would somehow choose sides in a war.

As I'm no politician or scholar, I tried to explore my thoughts and feeling about these issues through music. Among the basic questions that I hope folks will think about, feel about and meditate on is whether the 21st Century is going to be any different than the 20th Century-- which was as murderous and oppressive as it was creative and technologically brilliant. Will we use all of our intelligence to eradicate or escalate warfare, hunger, disease and poverty? In what ways will each of us individually reconcile the undeniable fact that our lifestyles depend upon the suffering of others?

What would have happened if the U.S. as a nation focused on these questions after 9/11 instead of prioritizing revenge over healing?

I invite folks to enter into dialogues rooted in hope and aimed at understandings that go beyond partisan politics and fearful arrogance. And beyond listening to this tune or talking to friends, family and colleagues, I hope folks will check out some of the links below and take action.


Thanks to Maverick Records for making this available as a free MP3.

As the Parliament-Funkadelic tune goes, "Think, think, it aint illegal yet!" Life is a gift."

— Meshell

meshell's "forgiveness & love"
meshell's message board

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

with war drums thundering
across the middle east.
& its only no longer about why
but when.

i feel helpless
& discouraged
& greatly saddened.

i think of the women.
the children.
the men.
of a rich
vibrant history

now entrenched
in years
of systematic
violence and suffering.

the faces of baghdad.

& now.
i am transported

in the dead of night in baghdad.

where a family of four.
a small boy
barely ten
but looks younger
with a face
that seen suffering
who gently huddles his sister of five years.
holding her tight.
as tight as he possibly can
with as much love and protection his emaciated
body frame can muster.

i see the mother.
with suffering
etched deeply in her face.
and her eyes
have have lost the twinkle of delight
yet light up
when the children
are close by her
her children
close to her bossom.
sharing stories from the hadith.
stories that mohammed (s.s.w)
shared with his followers.
stories of peace.
stories of compassion
stories the children
heard in the madarasa with other children.
stories the children remember by heart.

& i see the father.
looking outside the window.
across the skyline of baghdad
light up
with bombs and military warheads
he can
no longer protect his family...

there is a loud bang.

then silence.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

(the flowers of all our tomorrows are in the seeds of all today’s –mahatma gandhi.)


yesterday i
become part of talons
of hate
hovering over two hundred sixty souls*
with questions of why
in the distant lips of passing last breath.


yesterday i
sat maintained
distant with a glee
nonchalantly muttering
it was about time.

yesterday i
remembered the outcry
of kaffir reverberating
through the tendrils of time.
kitchen toto
nugu/ monkey man/woman
sartje baartman –like grotesque-ness

it was about time.


yesterday i
silently coiled with
mis-placed gratitude
for at that moment in time

the sins committed
would be repaid.


yesterday i
thought it mattered then.

today i cried.

* the victims of the us-embassy bombing in nairobi, august 7th, where over 260 kenyans were killed, 4,000 physically injured.many severely


Dear reader ,

The world stands on the brink of war. It appears increasingly likely – though not certain – that the Bush administration will trigger an
assault against Iraq within the next few days, despite the disapproval of the vast majority of citizens in virtually every country in the world. Such an attack would be an unjust war, in violation of international law, and an immoral refusal to seek peaceful resolution of conflict when such a resolution is possible.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has declared March 21 to be World Poetry Day, with an emphasis on poetry with “topical themes like the culture of peace, non-violence, tolerance, etc.”

Poets Against the War calls upon poets everywhere to transform March 21, World Poetry Day, into a day of poetry against the war, to organize readings of poetry against the war in cities, towns, villages, and homes, and to present the 13,000 poems that have been published on the web site to governments everywhere.

To create a reading for World Poetry Day, go here

To create a presentation to a government or organization of 13,000 antiwar poems, plus a list of 12,000 poets and a chapbook of 35 highlighted poems from, go also here

Yours for peace,
Poets Against the War

"Of course the people don't want war. ... That is understood. But ... it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials, 1946 from "Nuremberg Diary," G. M. Gilbert

Saturday, March 15, 2003

If you insist upon fighting to protect me, or 'our' country, let it be understood, soberly and rationally between us, tht you are fighting ... to procure benefits which I have not shared ... in fact, as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." Three Guineas," Virginia Woolf (1938)

went to the library today and while i was fidgeting through the online catalogue..a gentleman next to me stuck a conversation with me. the chitchat gravitated towards the possibility of war. the said man felt that it was the american responsibility to unleash hell and fury to the man of bagdad.

i asked him about the women and children of iraq. he muttered,'aren't they running to the the neighbouring countries?'

Youssou N'Dour decides to take a stand.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

three hundred is the magic number

it has to pause at sometime or another.
it is such a relief i suppose for the family. considering that this is texas & remember him. the tide seems to be blowing across the oceans.

anyone drinking coffee elsewhere?

the tale of two seatings

it was the best of times and the worst of times.

.: scene i:.

i was cool.
looked fine.
felt fine.
luxuriously satiated
with hours upon hours of sleep.
decked in my zawadi ( gift).
it was warm outside.
spring was on its way.
had been listening to her
on my way to 'the other home'.

then i saw her.

.:scene ii:.

i walk in.
and there she is.
seated nonchalantly.
the coolness evaporated just like that.
didn't feel pretty no more.
zawadi didnt feel zawadi-like no more
i fumbled.
wished the earth would swallow me.
and the thumbling heartbeat wasn't helping the situation.
hours of mantra.
lesiurely soaking miles
ah umming to spring time
to quench the gushing heart..
whatever happened to progress.
fortify my heart.
forget reaching out.
no longer dance
to touching breasts
quivering thighs
hear her tremble
as i touch
she touch me
i got asked
whether i knew love.
understood love.
as if my eyes would lie.
my lips would speak of truths
that i am yet to fathom.
as if
i was unafraid.
of being branded a dyaic/woman

look into my soul and see the murmurings of my heart.
feels like this everytime i see her..

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

my friend is getting married and it was only last evening that i finally felt happy for her. it was no longer about drawing closer toward the alluring light of patriarchy, only to be snapped away into oblivion.

my friend is glowing in the realization of basking with her beloved. and she purrs contentedly with the possibilities of being part of a processes and peoples rather than her family and friends ..something bigger than herself. embracing another skin. more multi-layered & colourful. to be part - an active participant of the chain of life.

where her body shall not only be a vessel of spirits that the world so greatly deserves. it is a body that holds, protects, nutures her beloved before facing the mhondoro (lions) outside the karal/boma/homestead/house on the praire/townhouse in the concrete jungle.

i have been honoured to be a witness of my friend's evolution. we are cut from the same cloth, my friend and i. we question, analyze, draw into wells of introspection, silent, questioning, african women who are propelled with the heart and the spirit is the anchor.

i thought i was going to lose my friend.
now i am certain. it will never happen.
she is a consort of the spirit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

tender is the night

i have began eating bread again. not one dandy slice, but chunks and chucks of sweltering layers of strawberry jam and butter sandwiches.

as a prepubscent girl woman, bread was my comfort food. i'd make myself a midnight snack of four slices of white bread, a cup of hot, drinking chocolate, cuddle with a book, with midnight love music crooning in the background and i'd eat.

fast forward to many years later and i'm back again with a vengence only this time, i'm miles away from my little space of heavenly bliss, hopefully, i kid myself sometimes, wiser but with the the same longings as a young woman, unsure somewhat of her place in the world.

this weekend, the sky burst open and we were basking in glorious sunlight. el sol blessed us with abundance of light to beat away the ghastly sleet that had cast an ubiquitious sense of cold. i was deliriously happy on friday. i finally, finally, to listen to the whole track of this delightful tune take 6 there used to be this blk&white ad that played on television eons ago. and there was a clarinet solo that was catchy and resonated a certain panache.

it has always stayed logged some where in the celebral mausoleum and when i woke up on friday, thats all i thought and viola, i found it in my home away from home, safely tucked between the other side of the tracks and kroger store.

is the universe expansive or what.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

being out means you are doing what your grandmother told you to do, which is not to lie. black lesbians and gays who are out are not lying. but we pay high prices for our integrity. people really need to understand that there is entrenched violence against lesbians and gay people that very much like and parallel to the racial violence that has characterized black people's lives since we have been in this country.everyone should have safety and freedom of choice. we have a right not to be intimidated in our homes or on the streets because we're black, or on welfare or gay.
jewelle gomez & barbara smith: taking the home out of of homophobia: black lesbian health.

while still relatively new in the usa, i had a conversation with an afri. american man who felt that it was detrimental for the race that his fellow sisters were vocal about being lesbians. he felt that was causing enough strive and division in the already fragmented community. he said there was need to show a united front in the face of hostile racial barriers. to sort of show boss man that the field negroes had their act together.

i find this ludicrous to say the least. it’s like we as people who are two spirited need to hide themselves. that we should be ashamed of our love and concern to each other. that we need not to uphold each other in love and prayers. is like matters of race are more imperative than those of love.

but, I somewhat understand where he and many other people are coming from especially the perceptions of in the life may mean. i think it is intimidating to many men that women can find comfort, security, support and sustenance with each other. that its not about missing dic. but about forging communities and new ways of being. its very disheartening to come to grips with the internalized homophobia in the hands of our own family.

what was heart rendering this week was watching the laramie project. like a ton of bricks I tell you. is still very hard for me to fathom violence emitted to specific groups of people especially in a country where the foundations of the country are build on the tenant of freedom. i still don’t get it. do you?