Monday, April 4, 2011

Concrete Streets: Spoken Word

“What do you believe?”
A girl asked me
One time
In a moment of my life
When most of my beliefs disappeared like the way the dust disperses in the wind
And I didn’t know how to respond or answer
So, I hesitated and gave myself some time to think about the question by asking her what it was that she meant,
And she said to answer the question as I see fit,
“So, what do you believe in, Stitch?”

I thought of a lot of things while I stared at my own two feet
I told her that I believed in concrete streets
Things that I can touch and that I can see,
Things like human beings and their capabilities
To do both good and bad
I believe in the angels that live on these streets,
Because angels are people like you and me,
They don’t live in the sky,
They live and they die,
Perform miracles almost every day
By smiling and saying the right thing to the right person and giving a hug when it’s needed.
They take their time and make it someone else’s
Sacrifice themselves but not for God but for you and I,
And they don’t have wings or halos that we can see,
Their wings are not made out of feathers but out of the hands behind their backs from all those people that they helped and touched,
Those hands are things that lift them up
Higher than the sky,
And they fly into people’s memories and swim through people’s minds,
Where they can live forever,
See those hands on their backs are the things that make them more divine,
They have the support of all those that they never left behind,
Their halos are bigger than their heads and it is the circle of people in their lives that encompass them,
These angels are greater than you ever imagined.
And the more that you believe, the more you begin to see what their halos and wings look like and what makes them so divine and so different from you and I.

And then I told her, “You know there’s a chance that we can become street angels too,
All we have to do is smile and press our own hands against people’s backs
Help support them and become their crutch when they need us,
Do things like offer our place in line or sacrifice our time to help others,”
But the girl stopped me there,
Shook her head and said,
“What about the devils of the streets?”

And I told her that just as much as angels exist, devils do too,
They live to kill and to destroy all those things that human beings and street angels create,
They rather solve problems with violence and guns,
Rather sacrifice others than themselves,
And their horns are made from all those bones that they broke,
And their tongues are cut into two from all those lies that that they spoke,
Their tails are those chains that they carry in the back of their pockets that don’t hold wallets but are used to choke people’s throats,
Their eyes are bloodshot and yellow from all those injections that they took filling themselves with all sorts of drugs that cloud their minds and make them think they are flying when they are not,
Their skin is the color of red painted by all the blood that they spread on those very same streets that they live in,
They call themselves kings and sit on make believe thrones,
But if you live there, it really isn’t a place you can call home,
But a nightmarish hell even the devil wouldn’t want.

And then the girl asked me,
“Who will win between the two?”
I told her that it isn’t a competition or a game,
Because people’s lives are at stake,
And just as much as angels can live and die,
Devils aren’t immortal-
They make mistakes and they can fall,
Everyone sheds blood and tears
And they all know the true meaning of fear,
They know how to feel, how to love, and how to hate
They just strayed down the wrong path and it’s never too late, because they can always come back from where they are
And switch sides as soon as they want,
Because they have that choice
To start building those wings made out of hands
And break off those horns and make them into halos,
Sew that tongue of two with a thread of truth,
Wash off the blood that colors their skin
And break those chains of punishment.

The girl stopped me again,
And asked me, “Can street angels become devils too?”
I sighed and said it works for both sides.
And that she just needs to realize what’s right.
Maybe not until we die
And maybe a few more generations later
When they all see how much of the streets actually bled
And see how many bodies were lined in chalk,
How many of their friends would actually fall,
How many graves they would count until it even outnumbered the stars
And wishing that they would’ve done something sooner,
And then, only then, they will notice it all,
They will notice their horns and their tails,
They will notice their wings and halos,
They will put their differences aside
And make it a fight
But not against each other or one another
But fixing what they had done and start cleaning up those streets
At least, that’s what I believe.

I believe that the only things immortal are those streets and its history,
I believe that angels and devils can coexist,
But they have to understand each other’s differences
And comprehend that they can all do right and all do wrong
I believe that we need to stop all the fighting and crying
I believe that we need to stand tall like those street lights that illuminate these streets at night,
Rise up against all the hate and discrimination across the streets of the nation
And build a better future for tomorrow
By starting today.
I believe in sharing these beliefs not between you and me
But with the entire world
And that’s what I believe.
And I also believe that you, you can share this story too
So start singing, whispering, talking, laughing, and screaming in the streets for what you believe in.
Because, I believe in peace.”

What do you believe?


Elisabeth said...

I believe that the redemptive power of writing like this is alive and well, and very powerful.

Thank you for a superb reflection on the nature of good and evil and of human life in general. This is inspirational.

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