Monday, January 19, 2009


"Remembering MLK (again)"
- an MLK post that is incredibly well written and insightful - whether or not you agree with his views of how MLK Day has been transformed and manufactured since his death in '68. Definitely skip on over and read it. The conclusion is striking:

I wonder what Martin Luther King would think of his eponymous day. Of the MLK lesson plan - long on heroism, patriotism, and feel-good rhetoric but short on violence, non- or otherwise — in my son’s classroom. Of the fact that his holiday’s roots in organized labor have been completely forgotten. Of the painful irony that corporate sponsorship proved key in passing the law marking his birthday.

More than that, I wonder what those sponsors would think if they were transported back to Grosse Pointe, on March 12, 1968, to hear King deliver his “Other America” speech, including the line, “a riot is the language of the unheard.” I suspect they wouldn’t recognize that Dr. King. I wonder how many of us would.

I listened to MLK's "Mountaintop" speech today on the radio and wanted to post it up for anyone who stops by and hasn't heard it. I think it's my favorite MLK speech and especially meaningful because he's so aware of what he's accomplished and he was assassinated less than 24 hours later. In Austin 88.7 is playing MLK's major speeches today throughout the day and it's absolutely breathtaking and heartbreaking how relevant they still are today. I had the fortune of being in D.C. last spring break and standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and looking over the "I have a dream" inscription pictured above (and man how I wish I could be there tomorrow!). I feel like any words I could produce to describe the emotions attached today and tomorrow would fall far short of what I want them to do so I'll let the speech speak for itself.

On a related note, they played this on the radio too, although I prefer the Five Stairsteps version myself:

If you want more ideas for your soundtrack for the week check out this post from Souled On.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Amazing Peace
By Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.

Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
implore you to stay awhile with us
so we may learn by your shimmering light
how to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
to translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ

Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices to celebrate the promise of

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.

We look at our world and speak the word aloud.

We look at each other, then into ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul

I read this poem while spending far longer than I should have in Barnes and Noble today. I ended up getting The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, The Waste Land and other poems (T.S. Eliot), Against the Gods (Bernstein), two new Moleskine notebooks and Sammy the Seal (for my brother). It was a wonderful, relaxing excursion and maybe school won't kick me too much this semester and I'll have a chance to read them. I came across this book and I thought this poem was particularly eloquent. Ms. Angelou is so poignant with every word: "We look at each other, then into ourselves, and we say without shyness or apology or hesitation...Peace, My Soul." It's a little past due with Christmas being over and all but who cares I'm the type to listen to Christmas music year round.

Buy it here.

I had the great fortune of seeing Ms. Angelou last semester at UT and here's a clip from her talk where she recited a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar.