Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Fix

The Fix

I struggle without it
Start to lose my mind
The hours pass slowly
And I become fully
Agitated... by all of the
Idiot ting surrounding me
People hounding me
All of it downing me
Can’t think straight
It’s hard to wait
When it seems
Without end
I’d spend my last dollar
Just for a fix...
A mix of the finest kind
Fresh from Jamaica
Or maybe Trinidad
Guyana, South Africa
Even Germany or Japan
I need it bad, man
I have to check the one
Named VP...
Him have good quality
Or maybe Greensleeves
I’d even go as far
To find the one, JetStar
Just to get my hands on
My one single passion
And when I get ready
To nice up my medi
I tear off the wrapper
Assail with tooth and nail
I need it, just...
One draw of the One Drop
Oh, I’ve tried to stop
But when it hits... you feel ok
So, hit me...
Hit me with music
Sweet reggae music

(c) 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Dove Tale

A couple of days ago I stopped by my parent’s house after work for some dinner. My Dad wasn’t home at the time, but I ate and spoke with my Mom. Afterward while preparing to leave, I went into my car in order to throw out some trash. When I turned around to walk back towards the car my mother and I noticed a Mourning Dove had flown down and perched on the roof right above the driver’s side. I suppose that wasn’t too odd in itself, but I started to become curious as the bird just stayed there. I started to edge closer... and closer, all the while thinking that the dove would feel its natural instinctive fear of humans and fly off in a moment, but it didn’t. As I kept heading for it I took out my phone and used the camera to get a picture; still, no flying away. Finally I reached the car and I was literally looking at the bird face to face. I could see into its small black eyes as it bobbed its little head, I could see every little detail in its plumage, every crease in its orange feet. I took more pictures, even a little video clip... astonished by the fact that it wasn’t scared. It just sat there looking around, occasionally dipping down to drink some beads of rain water on my car. Once in awhile it made a soft cooing sound. I was quite baffled, and my Mom came out and stood next to me... both of us gawking at the creature. It reminded me of the famous movie scene where apes cautiously approach a mysterious black monolith in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The Mourning Dove did not appear injured or seem to be in any pain. We found that it could flap its wings and fly a distance when it wanted, but it really liked hanging out there with us. I half-jokingly asked my Ma what she would do if the bird just started talking. It would be Old Testament style... Balaam and the talking donkey (Numbers 22:1-35). Then she mentioned that, “maybe it was Grandpa or Grandma”. Maybe. I guess that requires a short side-story.

Growing up, my maternal grandparents and I lived on the same block, and later on, a couple blocks away. I can remember always hearing Mourning Doves with their soft low call, cooah, woo, woo, woo. It was almost like the neighborhood’s trademark... a strangely peaceful and melancholy sound at the same time. You would always see them sitting together on power lines or tree branches, one beside the other. I learned later that Mourning Doves are monogamous. That fact definitely reminds me of my grandparents, they were in a strong loving relationship for most of their life. My grandfather was the first to pass away and I was 15 at the time. When a stone was prepared for the cemetery plot, my grandma wanted a picture of two doves sitting together on a rose branch. Seven years later, she too passed on. The Mourning Doves, both in their life and in their absence, forever remain symbolic of my grandparents in my heart. Even the lamenting calls of the doves remind me of how I still miss them. Back to the present...

The bird was still there perched on my roof. It slid down my windshield once. It also left a little “present” for me on the window. Something its feathered brethren often do, although I rarely catch them doing it so unabashedly right before my eyes. As my Ma went to get some leaves to clean up the mess, I wanted to pick up the bird, partly out of curiosity and partly to gently remove the fellow so that I could get going. But I was stopped by my mother who told me to not touch it because of parasites and the like... whatever it was just a bird, but I wasn’t going to argue. Several minutes ago we began talking to it, “ok Mr. Bird, you gotta move now... time to go”. And even funnier, “if you have something to say to us, say it now ‘cause Josh has to go”. No response. So, soon after my Mom shooed it away with a little leafy branch. It didn’t choose to fly though, but rather strut around on the street. It reminded me of another bird story from my childhood. My Grandpa once brought over a paper bag to the same house. Inside was a pigeon. A rather strange pigeon that didn’t fly but walked in circles... it was very peculiar but it must have been hurt or knocked in the head too hard. My brothers and I affectionately named it “Bert” after Ernie and Bert and the latter’s love of pigeons. That pigeon would run around in circles, I’d pick it up and it would glide in circles. Eventually Bert flew off my arm and away in the sky... in one giant sweeping circle. I was quite proud. Anyway, pigeons and doves are close cousins... so the strange behavior of this one had me reflecting on that moment from the past.

Eventually I left, my Ma waving goodbye and the Mourning Dove safely off the street sitting on an electric box, looking at me. I said bye to both of them and decided to drive to the cemetery to the top of the hill. I used to visit my grandparents here often when the wounds of the heart were all too fresh. We also used to walk together in this peaceful cemetery when I was a child. Something about it is very serene. As I looked upon the stone, I saw the two doves sitting on the rose branch and below that, the name of my grandpa and my grandma carved into the black granite. I stood there and said a prayer. I really did wonder, was there a message for us? Just a few weeks ago I had been in an art museum and saw a painting of the Portland Bridge (or the Arrigoni Bridge for the highbrows) from an angle that would have been from the unique vantage point of the house where my deceased friend used to live… it had been the day of his birthday. That had to be a sign... I don’t believe in coincidences, but rather JAH-incidents... meaningful, purposeful things. Was this Mourning Dove one too? I did have a deep conversation about society and humanity with my mother before I even left the door of the house... but who knows.

The whole incident, the Dove Tale, could be a sign, or it could be of no significance... but it does have me a little more aware of things. Even just sharing those few minutes in such proximity to one of JAH’s wild creatures made me ponder the whole relationship between humans and animals and plants. Do we need to step back more often, look into the eyes of the beasts and consider JAH creation? Do we need to be open for a message... a message like the donkey spoke to Balaam, and making an ass out of a prophet. Do our ancestors look after us, ambiguously revealed in familiar echoes from the past? Was it the Most High just saying, “Hello”? Things to think on...


Livicated to my grandparents, Edmond and Philomena Gioielli.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Attitude Of Gratitude

When was the last time you sat down and ate a meal? I mean really ate, like taking slow bites and savoring each flavor. If you try it, it can be a completely different experience from the usual wolfing-down food on the go. You discover flavors that you were previously unaware of, and you become satisfied with smaller portions of things. I’ll be the first to admit that I am usually guilty of eating too fast and too much... but I’ve been more conscious of that lately and it has caused me to think beyond food and propose this question: When was the last time you savored the flavor of life?

In this day and age it is so easy to forget about the very vital things that sustain our lifestyles, let alone our very lives. We wake up each morning taking for granted that we have actually woken up. We have food to prepare a breakfast, or we have the money to buy some. Speaking of money, most of us have sources of income, so we can take care of our needs and our wants. We have shelter, we have comforts. We have family, and friends among us. Yet one thing most of us act like we don’t have is time. Why is it that we have so much abundantly set before us, and we never bother to consider how blessed we really are. We overlook all that we have, and instead desire what we don’t have. We never really taste the goodness of life, we just nyam it down.

Try taking the time to give thanks during the day at every moment possible even if it seems like there is nothing to be thankful for... because there always is. Even if you were to have nothing, which is rare but almost possible, then give thanks for every draw of breath, every beat of the heart, every little second onward against the tide of struggle. It requires a great deal of humbling of the self and magnifying of the Almighty. I know that some people do not believe in God, but as a Rastaman I have to give thanks and praise to the Creator and Sustainer of Life... Yahweh, Jehovah. I give thanks for the love and sacrifice of the Savior, Iyesus Kristos. I give thanks for the wisdom and faithfulness of King Selassie I. I give thanks for all the prophets, the freedom fighters, and the lovers of humanity. I give thanks that life has a purpose to it, that there is a rhythm... and you just have to tune in. When you're in sync, it is easier to go forward in confidence.

Take a moment to pray, to show some gratitude. Many things come forth from a grateful spirit. For instance, being thankful will help you become happier, healthier, more satisfied, more caring and more aware. Take time to acknowledge creation, the plants, and the animals, the small and wondrous things that we often just pass by. If you did so, you would know JAH because creation reflects the Creator! Gratitude can change your doubt into faith, your weaknesses into strength. And if you don’t sight up the Most High but say you are grateful, then who are you really showing gratitude to? It’s bigger than you, or me, or any man or woman. Yet people are so vain and confused, sometimes they’d rather say that aliens came down and genetically manufactured us rather than admit that there is a God. Go praise some Martians if you want... but I can’t sight that up, not at all!

Gratitude should be a continuous attitude, it should be part of one’s lifestyle (or as we say in Rastafari, livity) and not just for a particular occasion. When you have gratitude it allows the peace of JAH to reign in the heart even amidst troubles. When you honor and glorify the Most High it eradicates the trivial worries, the selfish wants, and the despair that can form when you don’t clean up your mind and heart. When you practice being thankful, all of those burdens just slip off because you give them no foothold. It’s not a magic wand and not everything will go as you would like, but you will see things in a different way when you have a thankful heart because it helps you to keep counting the blessings rather than overlooking them. Being grateful for even the smallest of things can make a huge difference on your outlook on life. And just like a delicious dish that you take time on, life too will taste a little bit sweeter... I guarantee it!

All Praises Due to JAH! Rastafari! Keep an attitude of gratitude!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Old Friend

Old Friend

It sure has been awhile
When did I see you last?
Yes, it was somewhere
Amongst scraps of paper
Napkins, tickets, receipts
All of those improper sheets
Before I moved into that
Empty pad on Writer’s Block
We used to converse all the time
With lines of prose and rhyme
Wow, I have so much to tell you
Of all my travels and trials
All of the things that I’ve done
It really has been too long
May I confide in you again?
It’s good to see you, old friend

(c) 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Forbidden Love

Forbidden Love

I dived into her
With no life vest
No vessel
Just passion
Swimming through her
To the depths of her heart
Tenderly embraced and
Lapped by her waves
Until tempest blew
And changing winds
Flailed me against her
As I grew weary
Drifting further away
Greeted only with
Cold stony shores
The surf receding
I was still breathing
Yet a cast away
Muddy sand
Caked on my skin
Salty brine
Against my cheeks
A fool in a tidal pool

(c) 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Still Haffi Shine

Still Haffi Shine

When the wicked people try to tarnish my name
I still haffi shine
When they try to use me for their personal gain
Still haffi shine
Even when a woman leave me with a heart full a pain
I still haffi shine
The world could change but the Truth will still remain
So I still haffi shine

Cause it is time, I have to break loose
Remove my neck outa Babylon noose
They only want to see me suffer
And get me confused
But that is not the type of life that I choose
The system try fe make me bend
Sometimes I can’t even trust a friend
So Jah Jah send…
Give me just a little light
So I can turn away evil and bring forth the right

When they try to mix me in their dutty little game
I still haffi shine
When they try to put out my eternal flame
Still haffi shine
Even when they try to make me trim my lion’s mane
I still haffi shine
The world has gone crazy and that is such a shame
So, I still haffi shine

If it was up to them, I’d be in big problem
They’d lock me in a prison or insane asylum
Just because they see me...
Give thanks and praises
And dash away the fire of those hell-raisers
Can’t stand it no more so I haffi strengthen up
Keep myself sharp
Cause the system’s so corrupt
And meh know, it just a matter of time
Before Babylon has to pay for its crime

Still, still, still haffi shine
Strengthen up the body and the soul and the mind
When they do me evil, I will never resign
Cause come what may, I still haffi shine

(c) 2008