Lent 14

Today was Epic! I heard the title track to Father John Misty’s latest album, Pure comedy on my way to work. On the way home I heard JJ Grey & Mofro’s This River (another title track).

In between, I had a better than normal day at work. I sold a bunch of stuff. And I had a good performance review. Then, I got out of work and my day really began.

We had a fantastic open mic tonight. Singer songwriters, poets, a comedian, even a video crew. They are shooting a promotional video, filming scenes at many of Grand Rapid’s thriving open mics. And the All Access family really came through. So many of my favorite people where in the same room at the same time. It was a night of amazing art and coffee, and a bit of Old Style (the coffee shop is right next door to a decent little bar).

I closed the show as I often do, with a rendition of my piece, Van Gogh. It is probably the single piece of poetry I have worked on the longest. It will probably never be finished. It is an outgrowth of several lines from a paper I wrote in seminary. I first turned it into a poem shortly thereafter. But it was upside down. It originally started with a reflection on what a beautiful place the world can be; and it ended with a meditation on the darkness that lingers. In the first major revision a few years ago, I stood it on its head. Or probably better to say I finally flipped it right side up. As it stands now, it begins with some words about how cold and brutal the world can be at times; and it transitions into how good and beautiful the world can be and could be. It ends with a plea for artists to splash their colors, or chord structures, or words – their truth – across the face of today.

It has become somewhat of a tradition to improvise the piece live and write stuff down later. Other poems have grown out of these improvisation sessions. I have done a “Christmas edition” a “40th Birthday” edition. Tonight’s poetic freestyle was about “the spotlight.”

I used to want to be the next Bono
But I could never fill those glasses
I used to want to be the next Scott Stapp
I believed if I could just spread my creed
across the land
I could save everyone who heard
I used to want to be king
I used to want to be king
I used to want to be king
Now I don’t even want to be a prince
In this sick society
I prefer to spill my guts on the floor
My gut used to be nearly 4 feet ’round
Everyone thought I looked sick
When I got down to nearly 200 pounds
I used to want to be king
Until I saw Scott Stapp and Kid Rock
Getting blowjobs from drunk fans
Saying it’s good to be king
Now the silence at the end of every show
Is my favorite sound.

Today was Epic! I am so privileged to be surrounded by so much talent. Amazing people with amazing voices. I am ending my day by listening to Firing Squad by J. Cole before bed…

“While the people debate who’s the king of this rap game
Here comes lil’ ol’ Jermaine
With every ounce of strength in his veins
To snatch the crown from whoever y’all think has it
But rather than place it on his head as soon as he grabs it
Poof, boom, paow, it’s like magic
With a flash and a bang the crown disintegrates
And falls to the Earth from which it came
It’s done
Ain’t gonna be no more kings…
Today I know that we are the same, are the same, you and I
Different kind of skin, different set of eyes
Two different minds, but only one god
It’s for all the kings
Cause I know deep down every poet just wanna be loved”

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