Love…

Real love

Deep, rich, and spiritual

Though affectionate

Is not inordinately sentimental….

Robust and resilient

Vibrant and luminous

Rapturous

Compelling

But not sentimental…

She is beyond feeling

And often beyond word

She is creative force

Building and gathering

Ever transforming

Her objects into subjects…

She is the tree beneath

Which we find shelter

Hopeful rest

Healing repose

Hearty nurture

And peace…

She shades us

Simply by being…

Alas but where are the

trees in a desert?

There are

No streams to feed her…

None save the One

As she bears

Her strange fruit

At Calvary.

A.Mixon, 2018

Growing up jazz…

Growing up jazz…

With the soulful tragedy

of the blues

And the decadence of

the symphony

Hand-me-downed

Holy shoes

Gourmet meals

On a Coleman Stove

No lights or heat

Water or phone

Beautiful artistry

By candlelight shone

I grew up jazz

Days punctuated by

Violent syncopations

Drunken confrontations

Staggering gesticulations

Against shelves of books

Ebony encyclopedias

African histories

Next to Hemingway

And Elijah’s lessons

On how to eat to live

Coltrane plays…

Days bruised blue

And tears make rain

Smile away the pain

Taj Mahal sangs

Hunger pangs

Proudest shame

A masquerade

A game?

Nah, Jazz is my name.

A.Mixon, 2018

for that brotha named clarence…

 

birth of a nation?

cultural genocide

annihilation

in a god’s name

gentrification

ass-imilation

gotcha

ass-imitatin’

bowin’, scrapin’

adulatin’

ingratiatin’

ass-kissin’

emasculatin’

herit-images

amputatin’

psychologically

castratin’

freedom dreams

decapitatin’

black souls traded

raped and degraded

4th of july celebratin’

and gettin’ faded…

while some fool

steppin’ off the boat

hollas… ‘We made it…’

 

(nods to Frederick Douglass… the 4th of July for the Slave)

Response-Ability?

Responsibility is the ability to respond to a situation or circumstance and not just react. At least that is my definition.  In my devotion this morning, it was about abandoning blame.  I’m always leery of those who eschew what they consider to be ‘blame.’  Especially when the one railing against it appears abusive or oppressive.  That type of stuff can quickly devolve into victim-shaming, excuse making, and an overall lack of accountability.

Part of taking power back after someone hurts, abuses, or objectifies us, is the difficult work of taking responsibility for our own circumstances – whether we created them or not.  As a victim of abuse I understand the psychological hurdles that must be overcome.  We may identify root-causes but at some point we have to determine how we will respond.  Injustice is not fair!  Sounds redundant, I know.  But the point I’m trying to make is that we live in a corrupt, unjust, fallen world.  Injustice is not surprising.  So if it is not surprising then we can in some ways prepare ourselves for and bolster ourselves against it.  We can be responsible – that is able to respond.

This got me to thinking, about my people… Black people… I got a question for us…

What things help us to be response-able?

Education.

The more we know about something the better equipped we are to respond to it.

Resignation.

There are some circumstances that befall us all that we did not ask for or create – such is life.  C’est la vie!

Determination.

The fact that we did not cause or create our circumstance, does not absolve us of the reality that we still (and always) have choices to make.  This is not to say that our ‘choices’ are easy or palatable but we must make them! We didn’t cause or create ‘it’ but we must control our responses. C’est la guerre!

Orientation

How we respond to our circumstance determines whether or not said circumstance defines us or drives us – we choose the direction.

Actualization

We can learn from our suffering.  We can instrumentalize it (I know that sounds like a made-up word but you get my drift).  Our suffering may well temper, refine, and strengthen us – that is give us the tools to overturn – that is to create the revolution that finally conquers and dismantles the very systems (people, circumstances) that wounded us.

Response Ability? The ability to respond.

My inclination to demand personal responsibility from the people I love and serve does not undermine or preclude the need to address the corrupt systems and structures that place and keep people in bad situations.  Don’t misread me.

These words are actually half of a conversation that I must constantly have as a black preacher.   I must speak truth to power, but I must also speak truth to my brothers and sisters:

The system is not fair.  The deck is stacked against us.  It was not created for us or by us.

We’ve got to live and function in this system. 

Faster, smarter, stronger, wiser, more ethical – that is the demand – we must accept this responsibility.  Fair or not, we must respond. The legacy of our ancestors bears witness.

We are greater than this system.

While we work to reform the existing system, we must also work to create alternatives for ourselves – this is a very long game – and it will not afford an ‘either-or’ approach.  While we seek to reform and exploit this existing system, we are actively engaged in erecting a new system.   Why?

We are better than this system.

We must be willing to do what’s necessary for the protection and prospering of our people – for the future of our families and children, and for the advance of our communities.  We must pursue every avenue that will promote this good.

This was never the goal of the existing system.

We must invest every ounce of our social, political, intellectual, artistic, and spiritual capital in advancing the cause, restoring the dignity, and liberating the bodies, minds, and spirits of our people.

We must be bold and courageous in speaking truth to power.  We must be tough and unsentimental in demanding responsibility from our brothers and sisters.

We must do both in the name of love.  Because we believe.

GOD is greater than this system.

tha prophet…

tha prophet

my verse is ill

when I spill it

like verbal cards

i deal it.

pickin’ prose

like figs

i peal it.

makin’ paralytics

feel it.

a fisher of men

i reel it.

dipped in holy

water, i heal it.

makin love

outta words

truth,

i reveal it.

with two lips

hands clasped

i pray and

i seal it.

amen

© amixon

tha preacha…

tha preacha

the feeder of sheep,

fleecin’ the sheep,

keepin’ us sleep,

tryin’ reap..

from the sweat of others,

pimpin’ sisters, and mothers

narcissist lover

spiritual bloodsuckers

hustlin’ the Good News,

like the crack of the Hebrews,

sippin’ communion

with cheap booze

unholy dope slingin’

abusers…

got people payin to pray

you playin’ with faith

sealin’your fate

leavin’em twitchin’

and itchin’

fancy tickled

and broke, chokin’

on the lies that you spoke,

pushin’ false hopes,

golden ropes –

strands

and glorious bands,

promised lands

just beyond the river.

by and by in

the mornin’

the kingdom

judgment’s comin’

but when you wake

to slither you snakes,

prophetic fakes,

you’ll be livin’

in a house on the lake,

of fire and flames

cuz Jesus says,

‘I never knew ya…’

©A.Mixon

Genetically Engineered

I was genetically
engineered inadvertently
in an effort to break me
My ancestor’s owners
Subjected we
to the worst atrocities
Unaware that what did not kill we
strengthened we
Terrified they see our resiliency
Jealously observing our creativity
How we dine on adversity
Scraps turned soul food nourish we

Strong growing we
Feast before our enemies…
Shackled and bound yet,  sing we
Soulfully deep

Spiritual, and rhythmically
Sing we
Blistered and whipped
Sun-beaten and stripped
Dance we
The strength of our stance
Smiling de-fi-ance
Taken for ignorance,
survive we
Through subtle resist-ance

They take the gold
But we get the glory
We break the molds
And tell our story

Stolen Man

Stolen lands…
In our songs, our dances,

Our laughter, and stanzas
Avert we

an African holocaust
hope unexhausted

faith undaunted

We be the new griots
Artistic soldiers
Waging cultural war.

They say the hate us

But always want more.

We live… We sing… We dance… We laugh… We win…

© AMixon 2018

Disruptions? (just thinking)

Sometimes the scariest thing in the world is change.

Most of us are creatures of habit and there is certainly some level of comfort that we develop in our routines.  Doing things differently or being forced to deal with interruptions or disruptions in our schedule can become frustrating and unsettling.

I wonder, though, if the disruptions and interruptions of life might be the very substance of faith and the foundation of creativity.

What monotony and boredom would ensue if all faded into gray, indistinguishable patterns of repetition?

I’m sure there is a certain beauty in redundancy but what if there were no wrinkles in the plan?

What if the stone dropped in the pond caused no ripples?

What if the blueness of the sky was never broken by a bright white cloud or midnight fractured by the light of the stars?

Perhaps change and transition, interruption and disruption are our opportunities to see differently – to see more – to grow – to imagine – to live beyond the specter of the ordinary in the shadows of the mundane…

I wonder if our patterns and routines – our comfort zones – are no more than comfortably padded manacles tethering us to an average existence somewhere short of truly being…

So… if you run across something odd today, or someone interrupts you while you are working, or when your child gets in the middle of some chore you want to finish, or a friend calls at an inopportune time, give pause… slow down…  see… feel… listen… and be grateful… all these make life beautiful…

Broken Mirrors

A mirror before

A mirror behind

Distorted visions

Twisted lines

Future and past

Interwined

Consummating

Present times

What was… what will be

What is – ‘tis mine…

~

A mirror before

A mirror behind

Reflection or projection?

Mentality binds

Ascent or descent;

A fall or a climb?

Progress or regress?

A doubled-mind

Frozen with fear

Sightless and blind…

~

A mirror before

A mirror behind

Shattered them both

Abandon design

[What was is not what is and what is is not what will be]

Forsaking causality

Destiny redefined

[I am not what I was and what I will be remains to be seen]

Grace is the key

The secret to life

No mirror before

Or mirror behind…

I’ve broken them both

As I look to the sky…

©A.Mixon, 2018

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,  forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

 

Lust… untitled…

Lust is the language of lack

Never let the illusion usurp reality

Hopeless, hungry, saints? That’s a fallacy…

A deceptive ruse

So even if you ‘win’ you lose…

Contentment is inner-work

Love is that of abundance

Durable and resilient

Not a commodity for purchase

But a state of being, one must nurture

By sharing.