Monday, August 11, 2014


Greetings Boys & Girls,

Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to perform as a part of Christ Unity’s church service, and it was a really amazing experience. It was a first for me. Over the years, I’ve performed in and organized fundraisers and other activities for churches, but never before have I presented my own works as a part of an actual service.

Also, yesterday marked my first time attending a service in many moons. I don’t think I’ve been to one since 2009, actually.

God has appeared in my work in a number of interesting ways over the years. I’ve only come to realize that recently. It definitely gave me a nice range with which to work and choose from. I didn’t want to eat up too much time, so I decided on a mini-set of four poems that featured something from Between Beauty & Bedlam, a piece from my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes, and two pieces that aren’t on either project (Weight and Mama Said).

The response that I received was so warm and affirming. I was genuinely touched. I feel really honored to have had the opportunity to use my gift in that manner. Several people spoke to me afterwards to tell me how much they enjoyed my work, and that means the world to me. If you’ve known me for any significant amount of time or have even taken a gander of this blog, you know that my goal is to connect with whatever audience I’m in front of, and whenever I’m successful, I truly feel happy. I would love to perform for another service again sometime soon. I’m easy to get a hold of, so if you’re interested in bring me to your place of worship, let me know, and we can hammer out something.

Completely switching gears, I’ve been closely following the Mike Brown situation and everything that has transpired since. I’m always drawn to these stories, and for a number of reasons. I’m moved whenever young people are struck down, because they will never have the opportunity to develop their lives and strive to achieve their goals. They die with unfulfilled promise. Also, I was accused of trying to steal my own vehicle by a police officer when I was eighteen, and the night I graduated from college, an officer drew his gun on me in Ybor City after claiming that I ran a stop sign. If things had gone slightly differently in either encounter, I could’ve easily been Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, etc. and that is never lost on me.

What’s fascinating about this particular situation though is the information that’s emerging. If you follow the stories that are coming out from the Associated Press, you’re getting a TREMENDOUSLY different count of what’s happened and continues to happen than if you were to follow Michael Skolnik or any of the reports from people who are currently there, living in the neighborhoods, attended the protest, etc. Talib Kweli once said that you can have your own set of opinions, but not your own facts, and whenever there are discrepancies in factual information, a number of red flags should pop up. Where is the consistency? Why is the information so scattered? What agendas are at play to make that happen?

The past few months have painted a really brutal picture of the police. While every officer is not violent or corrupt, situations like the one in California where the woman was punched repeatedly on the side of the road, or the killing of Eric Garner (and the arrests of the man who filmed the episode and his wife), etc. are extremely hard to take. These incidents are scary for many reasons, but, perhaps, most importantly, because the institution involved in all of these situations operates with a mission statement to serve and protect. Period. All people.  When that doesn’t prove to be the case, I think it’s natural to feel very adrift and alone, and that in an instant, you could find yourself in a position where you could have to fight for your very life.

I don’t have any answers for this most recent story. My heart and prayers are with Mike, his family, his community, etc. If you’re remotely invested in what’s happening, I strongly encourage you to get on Twitter and follow people like Antonio French and Michael Skolnik, who have been reporting the wishes of Mike’s family and really been working to document what’s really taking place (with evidence). 

That’s all I have right now, brothers & sisters. What are your thoughts? What are your hopes? Let me know.



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1 comment:

  1. We appreciated your poetry so much Christian..thank you for coming and for touching my heart so deeply. Thanks also for giving a voice to the growing violence perpetuated by police officers on is a horrific trend I have been watching almost daily through social media. The external world seems to be more crazy every day and it is apparently pushing us to go deep within for our guidance in navigating and cocreating a more just and peaceful world.