Monthly Archives: June 2013

Carbon Copy

you are my carbon copy
  the very fibers that I denied
  I reach forward
  and you withdrew
  declining, rewinding
 spent the rest of the night on the line
   knowing this forestry
  will be leveled
  inhale, exhale
 count down the minutes, seconds
  Were we caricatured?
 Placed these masks on
  and forayed enemies camps
  took no prisoners
    took no lands.
  Should we sleep?
 Or should we creep?
  slowly without backpedaling
 Spies encroaching on foreign land
  conquering, imprinting the sand
 We tried to ram into the gates
 but they wouldn’t give
 our cities gates fell
  conquerors become the conquered
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There Is Meaning

I have to believe that there is meaning in the universe. Even if most of life is about cause and effect, the random spin of the draw, people playing roulette at a casino with the spinner blending both whites and reds.I have to believe that tragedy is purposeful. But life circumstances, events, don’t have any meaning until we’ve placed meaning upon them. Until we’ve connected the dots, until we’ve constructed a story from A to B, C to D, events don’t have much meaning at all. They can disappear, like crumbling skyscrapers, disintegrating into the wind. They are nothing, just the bitter reminder of “what ifs” and “how abouts.” There is no point in looking back, because the past is the past, it’s dead and gone.  

 
If I could transfix meaning upon an instance, then the memory could have a reinterpreted meaning in the future. It could serve some other person. 
 
If I live life thinking that I am a free-agent, I am truly depressed. Because when I believe that to be true, than my disappointment and dissatisfaction, is placed on me and me alone.
 
I am controlled, compelled by, given to something, some fate far greater than myself. I am pulled towards like a man attracted to the eye of a hurricane, like a lover drawn towards her eyes. 
 
Even if life was meaningless, it would be better to ascribe meaning to circumstances, even if we don’t know if that is the exact truth of the matter. 
 
It is better to create a story worth hearing about even if it isn’t exactly true. It’s better to see your life through a metanarrative because it will help direct the course you are heading towards.  The other way only leads to bleak nihilism, or to self-forgetful hedonism that some of us live. 
 
I want to believe God is controlling some aspect of my life, that I’m not thrown to the dogs to fend for myself as my creator stands far off, lamenting that he shouldn’t have gave me free will. 
 
I would like to believe that my decision I made, was mine to make, and that there is some importance in acting out of faith, trust, in some inner strength that is beyond myself. 
 
I want to think that when I see a baby, I see objective beauty, not some Darwinian impulse in an attraction to big eyes, small features, and an unwillingness to eat my own progeny. 
 
I want to see that life in itself is amazing, as much as the flower and it’s pigments is not only to attract bees, but for me to marvel at the pigmentation, smell the nectar, and pick the pedals asking “She loves me, She loves me naught.” 
 
There is something in experience, in existence that cries for beyond more than the material, the idea that the atoms are constantly in motion, and we as humans are in motion. We are not static, but dynamic, not waiting until the last breath, but breathing each breath deliberately to sustain our lives. There is something the cries for more, something that tells that we were born for a reason more than procreation. 
 
 
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Turkey

 

raised the flag 

  half mast, or to the heavens 
 my thoughts are tumbling to and fro 
  we don’t know where they’d go  
  when they got pepper sprayed 
 and the tear gas blanketed the streets 
  coughing, spitting, choking 
  push against riot shields and batons  
  rubber bullets rang out 
 emotionless behind a caged mask  
  following orders 
 as they marched single file 
  the groomsmen and bridesmaids walk 
  and her dad’s proud chin, arm in hand with my lady 
   and I with mom’s flooded eyes 
  But I’m handcuffed and dragged by two policemen  
    We were tied the knot as the celebratory bullets defied gravity 
 my lady and me crossed our hearts, and hoped to die 
  The crowd threw rice in the air 
  then we threw rocks 
  and they threw gas canisters 
  I donned a gas mask 
  we demonstrated, remonstrated 
  and these fires are burning with the flag waving 
  as this seems to be escalating 
 the revolution bound us together 
    
 
  
    
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Revisiting Superman Returns: Does the World Need Superman?

superman_returns

Why retread a Superman movie made seven years ago that audiences and the film industry dismissed as a massive let-down and underwhelming? What is it about Superman, the most fundamental of all Superheroes, the big daddy of Superheroes? As I browsed the internet, fans praised and admired Superman’s human-like qualities, compassion, stalwart morality, humble upbringing on a farm. Superman is loaded with super-everything: x-ray vision, flight, super strength, heat vision, super hearing. Everyone knows that Superman will kick the villains butt, but it is the psychological and moral battles of defeating the foe in an ethical way. Superman is the ultimate goody-two shoes, and he’s not afraid to show it. Unlike other Superheroes, he is the bastion of goodness, justice, and right, he is pure in the sense that he doesn’t have the same shortcomings and moral failures like other Superheroes. With a name like “Kal-el,” which could mean “voice of God,” in Hebrew, Superman has many Christocentric and God-like qualities.

The prologue kicks off continuing with the events of Superman II. Superman returns to earth after a five-year exploration of the remains of the planet Krypton searching for survivors. His disappearance has been duly noted as the planet earth is racked with war, crime, and revolution. Superman’s long-term romantic interest Louis Lane has seemingly moved on from Superman, winning a Pulitzer for the book Does the World Need Superman? The film revolves around the question, and it is akin to the stagnant faith and the rise of secularism around the world. Lois Lane blurts out, “The world doesn’t need a savior, and neither do I.” Superman shows Louis the city from afar telling her, “Every day I hear people crying out for one.”

The film is directed by Bryan Singer, and penned by Daniel Harris, Michael Dougherty, all responsible for X2: Ex-Men United.  If we have learned anything from Singer’s movies is that he cares about character development, and the slick and snappy dialogue really shines in the script. All the characters play their signature roles, Kevin Spacey is the perfect diabolical, heartless villain who is bent on creating a new continent in spite of killing billions of people. He stands as a perfect antithesis of Superman, with his sly comebacks and his off-handedness. James Marsden plays Richard White a minor role as the long-time boyfriend of Lois Lane, a pilot and a shadow and imitation of Superman, who can fly and is more morally grounded refusing to use his x-ray vision for carnal desires. Brandon Routh plays Superman and Clark Kent perfectly, in his simple, innocent, politeness and mannerisms, while being awkward in the presence of Lois Lane. Even though Superman can leap off of tall buildings, and save hundreds of people from a crashing plane, his alter-ego can’t get an apartment in Metropolis. There’s some irony here, which makes Superman work. Clark Kent humanizes Superman because he struggles with the same concerns as we all do.

Daniel Harris and Michael Dougherty do a masterful job creating conflict by the domino effect of Lex Luther’s lust of power and domination. The kryptonite crystals in the fortress of solitude wreck havoc on the city of Metropolis.  There is no clear marker or threat, until it is fully realized in the last hour of the film. Singer understands why audiences care about heart-pumping actions scenes and destruction, when he makes us care about the characters involved and the reaction on the people’s faces as Superman scrambles to save the people despite goliath-like circumstances and natural disasters. A major critique is that there is far too much dialogue is less actions, but the film never drags for me because of the interesting character developments and the clashing of personalities of the cast.

Allegory sticks out the most as Jor-El, or Superman’s father, says “the Son inherited the same characteristics as the Father.” Like any good story he faces his humanity as he lands on an island of kryptonite and is beaten and shamed, in the same way Christ is humiliated. Superman carries the island out into space, and literally faces death as he plummets back into earth’s atmosphere. Subsequently his empty white hospital bed is similar to the empty tomb account. Self-sacrifice is a theme of all Superhero movies, and Superman must face life and death itself. The newspaper headline “Superman is Dead,” is a title we all would never see. Superman can’t die, he’s Superman. Singer’s movie breaks new ground as Superman truly faces pain and suffering, groveling on the ground being beaten by Lex Luther’s cronies.

Is “Superman Returns” the movie that we had expected or even wanted? No, it isn’t. But it was what we certainly deserved, because it gave proper homage to Superman’s series at least more than III and IV. Much like the complicated and artful “Hulk” film by Stan Lee, it has been vastly underrated and misunderstood by audiences desiring mere pop-corn entertainment, and transformer-like explosions.

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Mall Rats

you wander to and fro
you’re a child lost in a mall
crying with a volcano ice cream melting in your hands
we saw the other holligans wading into the water fountain
and we wanted to pick the pennies, steal other people’s dreams
so it’s food for thought, something to digest to mull over
but the mall cops shined their maglites on us and we scattered like crows
we were mall rats, sharing the delicious gossip
How Jane looked too longly at Jake
and some touched too close to home
He showed us his arm where the cigarette butts burnt our skins
and we tried to pay the owner of Borders with Monopoly Money
and we skated away on our roller blades before crashing into a sunglass vendor
We worried about our outfits
gazed longingly in the mirror
and we slurped on our sodas, lounging in the food court
We owned this mall
We were those kids
skinny jeans
shoe tongues sticking out
sucking on blow pops
our parents gave us a twenty
and dropped us off at a mall
Parential guidance shunned
but in the end
aren’t we just a lost chiild in a mall?
looking for the next attractive thing?

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King David Pretending to Go Crazy

I find it funny when people who have not read the the Bible before tend to think of the book as moralistic/ fable tales. In fact, I think most Christians today are unfamiliar with some of the more eccentric parts. Perhaps church worship and sermons should incorporate parts of scripture that is uncharistically abnormal.

One of my favorite stories is about David who is running away from Saul who wants nothing more for him to be a shish kabob. David goes to Achish, Gath’s king. Achist’s servants recognize the runaway infamous bandit beloved by crazed fanboys and fangirls everywhere (the modern Justin Bieber). David, this warrior who killed  thousands of Philistines, fought lions, and bears, oh my is afraid. David must have been quite creative, he was a musician playing the lyre for Saul when he had his migraines. A creative spark must have lept up inside of Him (or the for my Tolkienites the Tookish side) and he started pretending to be crazy.

He started scratching the doors on the city gates, let spit run down his chin (21:13). He must have been acting like a rabid rabies infecting dog, wanting to leave the city gates, acting like some kind of zombie. Achish asked the servants, “Look this guy’s completely lost his marbles; I’ve already have a fresh supply of insane people around me already!” (aren’t all our politicians crazy enough?). “Send this guy away!”

So David leaves the premises, with a new identity, a crazy person. He gathers a bunch of hooligans around him (everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt, everyone who was discontented) (22:2) and he becomes the leader of this band of misfits and outlaws.

This is a great story to me because, we often don’t think of Godly, or even “moral” leaders as crazy. David is a man who is first and foremost human, he shakes in his sandals now and again, he’s also smart, and is crazy enough to try anything in order to survive. A chapter before, he steals the holy bread in the Temple because he was in need of supplies. He is also pretty bad-ass, he takes the sword he beheaded Goliath with him.

David’s a pretty eccentric and human character, he has his flaws, and failures yet he was called a man after God’s own heart. It’s also interesting how he was continuously described as dark skin, probably because he was a shepherd. So this is an outdoors, backwoods type of guy used by God.

I think I’m similar to David sometimes, I don’t think much of myself, and think about some really random things. I have a morbid imagination, I think about car crashes happening at any moment, a guy being rejected by a girl when she slaps him in the face (that is pretty funny to me). AndI don’t always stick to the script in social situations. Sometimes when everyone downing a glass of wine at a wedding, I’m thinking about our cells and how they are constantly dying and regenerating. In more serious situations, like if I was an airport, I joke about hiding the bombs or the semi-automatic rifles because I’m American.

What I realized that it really isn’t about the people who want to be famous, or world changers, but the people who have grappled with their self-identity, they know who they are, and whose they are. They are unbound by expectations of others, they are exactly who they are created to be, and they are incontrovertibly unapologetic in their identity, because it is rooted in something far greater than themselves.

As Steve Jobs says, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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The Desert Life

I found it left over in between my teeth

the a result of overgrown weeds

   found myself mulling on the porch
  sifting through priorities and irregularities
  misfortune always seem to land at my door
  and  it took my heart hostage as I begged for mercy
   Now I’ve been living my life on the lam
   in the back woods, the wild west
    the outlaw always outdrew me in a duel
     then showed me Jacob’s ladder
    I couldn’t even make it past the first rung
  We live on our own terms and conditions
  In a godforsaken land, of rattlesnakes, succulents, and cacti
    these silent night below the stars are unending
  and the torrential down pours drown out my cries
  the Natives told me to keep my quiver full, but it’s empty
     I’ve shot too eagerly, or over shot
  and the gov’t and God is out to get me
  but I don’t feel his eyes on the back of me no more
   and I’m heading somewhere over the orange horizon
  I’ve spat poison, and hung with ruffians
    They’ve taught me more from life than a saint
     Goddamn the truth’s out there somewhere
     I’m just here as a man
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