When it comes to this happiest time of the year,
My son status blinds from the rear:
Past times where I shined my rear – showing disrespectful assonance as only a teen could.
Copying your pronounced Kee pattern wasn’t in my lexicon.
Locking you out was the key plaster I put pressure on…
Yet even this bore a Kee master with evidence drawn to a spirit redeemed for good.
You see, to initially reject what you had to offer
Reflects what you had with your father.
Mom and Devonna saw our closely drawn personas prior to this piece being written.
They observed the bitter banter
Of our absurd and bickering chatter…
And saw the child in the father bothered by the father in the child
before I could believe and admit it!
As such, I don’t need a carton of blood drawn
To prove our father and son bond.
I’ve come along – I’ve peeped your fatherly blessing through the ‘Kee’ whole.
Though there was a time when it was presented
That I did resist and resent it…
I now write sentences to redeem the exquisiteness viewed within a keen mold.
Your paternity could never be a curse to me.
But there is a worse degree that occurs to me –
I’m concerned that you see only my shortcomings patterned after your faults.
While there are unresolved flaws I need to work out
That once accosted and bogged your worth’s clout…
I reserve no doubt that my unlocked potential gathered matter from your vaults.
Rather, copying your Master Kee patterns
Unlocked my stature’s esteemed grandeur.
Thus, I’m copying the Master’s master Kee pattern custom-fit for me.
The Lord cut and crafted you with purpose and vision
To break through doors and cuffs that once shackled your person within them…
I’m your versioned revision – fit to pick and Pop-lock with substance that clicks on-‘Kee’.
‘You ask: “Why is not the son charged with the guilt of his father?” Because the son has done what is right and just, and has been careful to observe all My statutes, he shall surely live. Only the one who sins shall die. The son shall not be charged with the guilt of the father, nor shall the father be charged with the guilt of his son. The virtuous (righteous) man’s virtue (righteousness) shall be his own, as the wicked man’s wickedness shall be his own.’
– Ezekiel 18:19-20 (Catholic canon, amplification added)
‘Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do : for what things soever he doeth , these also doeth the Son likewise.’
– John 5:19
*Kee is my family name which my pen name “Legend” plays off of. It’s coat of arms translates the name to “Manu Forti” meaning “with a strong hand” *
Though it may seem strange to say it, as a Christian I have taken some cues from Malcolm X and Dave Chappelle. To make it even stranger, these cues are in reference to the music I’ve listened to over the past decade of my life. In retrospect, I see a transition that has occurred that is quite drastic; having gone from being 100% immersed in secular Hip-Hop to my current preference that lends an exclusive ear for the likes of Jesus Culture and Israel Houghton.
In order get to the Malcolm X/Dave Chappelle references, I’ll have to do some backtracking. 10 years ago, though clearly Christian, you couldn’t have given Gospel music to me (downloaded for $FREE.99) that I would have willingly placed in my music rotation. My selection was almost exclusively Hip-Hop music. 10 years ago, I was a burgeoning poet who had only just begun to explore this God-given ability to write that was downloaded into me during my early college days at the University of Delaware. Although I started off as a child being mildly interested in Hip-Hop’s own infancy and was sparingly espoused to it as a pre-teen; by my senior in high school, I completely despised it. College was where I developed a habit for it. Throughout this time period, my affinity for gospel music had always been lukewarm. Yes, I knew my favorite songs to sing in my predominately black Catholic church in Southeast DC as sung by its Baptist-style choir. Yes, I knew the words to the songs that played on the radio en route to said church every Sunday. Yet these never fully appealed to or connected with me the way Hip-Hop would in years to come.
KRS-One calls the culture of Hip-Hop a religion in its own right. And though I would be inclined to agree that many treat it as such, that was not the case for me. Religion is something that one does out of a rote and almost mindless routine without careful consideration. It is a tradition. Hip-Hop was clearly not a tradition for me. What it became for me was an analytically calculated obsession. I lusted after Hip-Hop. I went from being diametrically opposed to it to being completely driven by and drawn to its siren. Have you ever heard stories about people who once hated a thing or person only to end up dangerously intoxicated by them? That was me. Hip-Hop was my drug.
I have never taken or abused drugs but I know how it draws a person in. After an initially adverse reaction to it, more exposure to it builds up an immunity and resistance to the highs it gives which increases a person’s tolerance to it. What this means is that the person begins to increase the usage to get the same euphoria that they previously experienced from smaller dosages. Eventually, if left unchecked and unbalanced, it can become something that they are completely dependent upon. Eventually, it becomes an addiction. I was addicted to Hip-Hop. Without getting into all of the sordid details and proof of this confession, it became a yoke and crutch for me at the same time. It alienated me even more from Praise and Worship music which is supposed to be a hallmark of my Christian relationship to God through Jesus Christ.
The Tracks of Lifelong Addictions
When you’re blind from the
Facts, the signs from the tracks are
Lit’rally in vain.
I remember refusing to listen to Alicia Keys when she first came out. Despite the accolades she was getting for her masterful craft and powerful voice, I tuned her out for one reason: I thought she was a Christian artist. I don’t know how I had come to that conclusion but I thought she was in the same vein as Yolanda Adams. As such, I had no desire to hear what she had to sing about; that is, until I knew that she was not of that particular genre of music. I have fleshed out the spiritual matter of this stronghold of idolatry in previous articles such as The Exorcism of Emnity’s Prose, America’s Got a Talent, Hypocritical Me, Uneasy as A-B-CD-DD… and Jay-Z: The Greatest Scape G.O.A.T. of All Time?… , so for the sake of redundancy and time, I will not rehash it here.
Enter X. In his autobiography, a part of Malcolm Little’s transformation into Malcolm X involved kicking a drug habit. As his mind became open to analyzing its imprisonment to drugs, skewed social norms and the moral dilemma of his life (all while incarcerated, mind you); one major step he took to rid himself of the burden and sins of his past life was to get off the drugs. He didn’t do this willingly but was assisted with the help of a less potent chemical agent. He transitioned from being drug-dependent to a more drug-free life with a tea concoction that consisted primarily of nutmeg spice. It wasn’t illegal, it curved his appetite for stronger drugs and thus, it provided a chance to gain clarity in his mind to receive deliverance from his former ways. Holy Hip-Hop was my nutmeg.
A Hip-Hop, Skip and a Jump Away
I’m seconds away
From jumping tracks and skipping
I was initially disgusted by Christian rap. It offended me. It killed two birds with one clumsy stone in my soul when I first heard it because while it was not honoring the beauty of Hip-Hop’s robust beats and “dope” lyricists, I knew that its message about God was being lost because it wasn’t good music. Thus, in my mind, its artists were like the Insane Clown Posse of rap: “Of God, they were making a mockery” (that’s a Chino XL reference right there!). However, the artists and production has made leaps and bounds since my initial introduction to it and became my vehicle for leaving behind my former fix(ation) on Hip-Hop.
Turn Away and Table Fables
Turn your itching ears
From undiscerning fables
Churned from turntables.
‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.’
– 2 Timothy 4:3-4
My choice to stop listening to something that I had made an idol (placed in reverence before God) in my life almost introduced me to another potential false idol as I felt myself beginning an entire new fascination with AHHH: All Holy Hip-Hop. I had a happy medium to wean me off of secular Hip-Hop yet I was concerned that I might make it into its own monster; but this never happened.
As I grew in seeking, analyzing, understanding and applying God’s Word in my life, I began to understand the reasonable service of making myself available to God through true Praise and Worship. I began hearing spiritual lyrics clearer. I began feeling chords differently. I began seeking out artists like Israel Houghton to express my adoration for the Lord that I served. I was transitioning from poison to purity.
An Untrained Ear
Tunes you let run up in and
Impregnate your tubes.
‘A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.’
– Proverbs 17:4
‘He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.’
– Proverbs 28:9
I still listen to my Nutmeg tracks as I believe my soul is just built in such way to receive bass and lyricism a little differently than other Christians but even that is beginning to wane. I have no desire to find or listen to new Christian rappers and even some that I listen to now bother me slightly because I can hear puffed up arrogance and rebelliousness in some of their words. At first, I thought it was jealousy of what and how they’re performing but having put such childish things away and relying on my discernment, I have discovered another moment of clarity.
Enter Dave Chappelle. I once read a transcript of an interview where Dave was asked what comedians he listens to. His answer was off-putting because he said that while he listened to the classics before getting into comedy, he doesn’t catch the acts of his contemporaries. Why?: because he doesn’t want his material influenced by his peers. I’m not a Christian rapper but I am a Christian lyricist/poet. I respect the gifts and talents that God has distributed through His body but if I begin to focus too much on what one hand is forging, it may cause me to either mimic it or undervalue my craft as I lose focus on the “strong hand” that God has given me.
Hate it or love it, when I’m under God, I’m on top. Take that Game. Take that 50… eh, eh!
Getting on Track and Setting Records Straight
Let’s set records straight –
Getting on tracks isn’t the
Only way to rhyme!
The beauty of your birth shows
The duty of my birth stone –
For the ruby has a worth bestowed to the measure of a virtuous woman.
Born in July, my best gift was truly unsearched and unknown
Until May the thirteenth could unfold…
As your uncertain and untold fortune makes other treasures superfluous and wooden.
As such, your birthmark of beauty exceeds
A beauty mark birthed to me that’s truly esteemed.
Duly and indeed, there is no Cancer that maligns the note of your skin tone.
You are my tropical bounty.
Your beauty marks my topical foundry…
As Steel Waters owes its flow and phenomenal boundaries
to the odes you tend to invoke.
So to you do I owe an immense token
For bringing what was intrinsic within me into the open.
I dipped my fountain pen into a chromium ocean and drew
out your invaluable value.
Since then, even before we were newlyweds, your gift to me
Has given propensities written from me in ruby red tendencies
That have dually bled and bred my ministry in incalculable volumes.
‘Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.’
– Proverbs 31:10
originally composed on 3/26/05
A woman that circles ‘round His thrown
Exhibits virtues that ground the grown.
Her profound role has risen well in the Maker’s oven.
From the sustenance of her brown rolls
To new ranks ushered in of newfound posts…
Crowns of gold now crowd her goals like a baker’s dozen.
With the shrouds of old
Cast out from their doubtless molds,
Once clouded souls now resound with bold power and vigor.
The beauty we knew to be in countless homes
Can now be viewed and seen around the globe…
As we proudly boast the renown we’ve known within our sisters.
Such women weren’t ripped away from vertebrates –
They were picked from rib cages of dirt and clay.
So it’s absurd to say that the good ones stand behind us.
Since the touch of such women could cheapen and spoil Midas’,
From young and up, they should be treated as royal Highnesses…
Alongside the Godly guidance of His, their footsteps are planted beside us.
For whom God’s delivered and placed in our lives
As moms, sisters and graceful wives,
We should be grateful guys! – yet we sometimes take them for granted.
Every motherly instinct we feel hovering nearest
Recovers the mysteries revealed by our ‘mothers dearest’…
Each woman hosts a wonderful clearance – to ignore it, forsakes the planet.
Who is it that rocks the foundation
Steady upon the Rock of Salvation?
Whose loins start and stop nations – birthing both war and peace?!!
Whose gravity are ‘can’t get right’ men drawn most towards
That gradually draws them close to the Lord?…
It is she whom Mother Earth is known for – you whom we adore so sweet!
‘Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.’
– Proverbs 31:25-31 NKJV
Our Christian community glows amidst the light
Christened for unity by the crimson tides of Jesus Christ.
Our bond with Him is stronger than the sins He shed for us.
Jesus being a light in His worldly journey,
Freed us from seeing the sight of eternal burning…
Replaced by an internal yearning fueled by that which He bled for us.
Jesus prepared His wisdom and splendor
To be shared in crimson embers.
We’re entered members in the kingdom of His new family.
Not by anything that we’ve accomplished
Nor by anyone whom we’ve admonished…
But by the honest love that He holds for humanity.
The sacrifice that God offered
Baptized a right for us to honor.
As the Father’s Son became one with what is the Church –
So, too do we symbolize in marriage
What the blood of Christ has forever cherished…
Once severed to perish, we now inherit everlasting worth.
Sanctity best found in this life
Is thankfully bound to me in my wife.
What our matrimony represents is a blessed event.
Our soon to be unity
Assumes a deep beauty to me…
The hues we’ve deemed infuse a theme that’s heaven sent.
These candles and colors epitomize
What we handle as lovers deep in our lives.
Sanctified by His blood, our unity is christened in crimson.
Let this flame stoke what’s enclosed in our hearts
What this sanction of two souls must impart…
As the gold that we spark is a moment embarked as strengthened Christians.
The Tie That Binds
Thanks to Jesus’ crimson tides,
Matrimony is christened with pride.
As men take Christian wives
To eat of His bread and strengthened wine.
Through such lengthened ties,
We make the mission wide
That’s hidden in the submissive guise
of men and women Christianized.
As the honor glistens in splendid eyes
For being bought at such an expensive price –
Paid for by the Prince on high
And held together by the knot of His crimson ties.
‘Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way He opened for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.‘
– Hebrews 10:19-22
* dedicated to my mentee and his new bride Mr. and Mrs. to Gilbert Lomax, III written on the day and during the hour of their wedding: July 6th, 2012:
Today is meant to be a special thrill
For you to express your will
In a separate skill that you’ve never acquired before.
So though you’ve always walked
to the beat of a different drum,
And been seen as the unwrapped yet gifted one…
What you speak today is in a different tongue in a higher form.
So as you grow from choirboy, drum lines and drills
To the desired joy that being a husband and wife builds –
Realize this: you’ve become an alumni filled with graduated thought.
This means childish things must be left behind.
Cleave to and salvage manly deeds to your left and right…
Set wisdom alongside your blessed bride to saturate your walk.
Calculate the costs of your time and life sacrificed.
Now evaluate that loss next to Christ’s life amplified.
Leave your wife satisfied by ratifying gratified submission:
To His image be ye conformed.
This role you’ve taken on is not to be taken lightly.
This role will make you strong, it will make you Christly…
Though it breaks you mightily – be prepared to be repaired
as your kindred spirits become joined.
Put on Christ’s likeness – He died to address you, Gil!
This is about more than being dressed to kill.
He doesn’t care if you’re dressed to the gills –
He wants to build you up as a fisher of husbandmen!
They rejected Him for it, though –
so it’s okay if you’re dressed to the ‘neins’ ** –
Let folks object and abhor this –
let them go to the press with their whines…
You’re not dressed to impress them – you’re dressed to wed
as the Bread and Wine of a new covenant.
Besides, He’s already rectified you and your wife unto Himself.
Your testified plights undo the grips of hell you’ve beheld
Which proves the Son can outdo outfits that can’t prevail from this fallen world.
So accept your call out of this world –
sail like an eagle lifted over and above them, groom!
As much as you’ve fallen for this girl –
don’t let your male ego trip over loving Him, too…
After all, the Son already rent out His heart and affixed beloved rooms for this all to unfurl.
** as is ‘dressed to the gills,’ ‘dressed to the nines’ is a common expression for how sharp a person is dressed while ‘nein’ is German for ‘no’
‘…For my augmented alter-ego
grows more and more lethal,
With each new poem lies
an undertone of rage.
This regal pseudonym
wasn’t meant to be grim,
All he was to be was a rebel without a cause.
A defiance to conformity,
an alliance to humility –
Both brought about by a woman who
walked over my locked jaws.
But pause… that legend was in ‘97,
so for a time this name became irrelevant –
adrift in the confounds of shallow space.
Until it filled a void in the untapped skill of a boy –
A poet-to-be who needed a name to place his face.
With rhyme and reason settled,
this character formed rebuttals
Every time someone would inspire or violate.
But in time he began to feel treason, betrayed
by how rationality rationed his breathin’ –
He existed only when time to mitigate.
This infuriates my captive –
but I’m the active captain
who captures his captions
And releases them in small doses and sections…
But I’ll refute his dominance no longer…
BEHOLD! – my caged songbird
And make way for the rebirth of Reggie Legend…’
(excerpt from Cursory Rhyme and Reason written in 2003)
As I monitored the expanse
Of this moniker rehashed,
An unseen monster smashed through Steel Waters’ glass surface.
Like a mobster enhanced,
He staged a robbery of my stash:
As my peace was clobbered and bashed from a
monstrous mash which masked a purged resurgence.
So while I managed to congeal a dormant surface
Within Steel Waters’ purpose –
It concealed a torturous version of myself beneath it.
So though I seemed imperturbable,
My reactions deep within weren’t permutable…
They were mutable – merely suitable and nearly moot in stealthy sieges.
But like the legends of sea monsters,
Though few had seen it, there was an emotionally obscene monster
Growing and careening ‘hostiler’ – seeing red from a bullying God.
A God Who allowed monstrous things passage.
A God Who ignored unconscionable scenes that happened…
A God Who gave me a seed with screaming patterns that pushed and pulled alarms.
It was the latter that provoked the bound and sleepless giant within
With an infrasound that beamed right through its skin.
Blighted through thick and thin, it made me sick with jaded and envious shade.
Without gamma rays or a syringe feed,
Once raised, this bamma razed and avenged me…
As the revenge needled by my pen’s deeds tracked an empty and flushed cage.
So though never a nutcase within my bruised manor,
My plush and rustic angst never waned enough to cool his clamor.
As such, I held Bruce Banner’s brutish mannerisms within my soul.
Though beefed up, what I still lacked in physical bulk,
I packed in spiritually lyrical sulks
Which literally backed up a black and visceral Hulk within my mold.
And as my anger churned beneath steeled water pressure,
He rearranged my words from dormant fetters.
Allowing a perfect stranger to distort my letters,
he became the Tyrone Cash to my Leonard Williams.
Coupled with faux composure in my work field,
This doubled the growth of my foe’s earthly build
Until it broke my will – all the while growing angrier STEEL from inner unwillingness.
Sustained by an undertone enraged
From such an undertow assuaged,
My muscle tone abated from repetitions of such monstrous weight.
But what was once uttered in notes abased
Began to utterly choke my base…
As my twin brother’s keep became low keyholes in a rage I couldn’t moderate.
These holes were like kinks in my armor
Seen as the beast beneath unleashed an imposter:
Ripped to ‘peace’ like fleece on a heaving monster, my serenity was marred.
That is, until I confessed and repented from my secret:
‘Don’t make me angry?!!’ – that sentence wasn’t even worth repeatin’…
As such words are defeated once perpetual anger creates enmity with God.
But I’ve decided not to let this enemy rob my charge:
I am a spiritual brother, husband, son, father and bard.
I can’t remain hot and bothered by the consequence of suppressing an anger of sin.
Walking in Truth and Spirit means subjecting
my flesh to ignite its flawed fallacies
As I’m guided while hitchhiking through God’s galaxy…
To deny and hide life’s unhappy abnormalities
only feeds and stresses the rancor within.
Thus, loosening the anchor to him and this temper he wields
Improves the saner strength of my tempered STEEL.
Though it temporarily tempted a tenderer build, I’ve survived the assault.
Striving for a stronger temper-mental instilled,
I’m writing off better notes for my songbird with spiritual zeal
By tuning my attenuated sinew bated by His permissible Will – leaving me primed to exalt.
‘Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.’
– Psalm 46:10
‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.’
– Psalm 8:2
‘Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.’
– Ephesians 4:26-27
Take One for the Home Team
Rallying Rails: The Subpar High Ground
Even if your home
Team’s subpar, don’t trade ranks – take
The ‘L’ for the team!
Originally from Maryland, I grew up as a fan of the Washington Redskins. In the early 90’s, that was a thing to say with pride; but alas, the era of the 2000s has ushered in a losing streak that leaves little for me to celebrate or talk about! Yet, despite it all – I am a fan tried and true. After all, what type of fan abandons ship just because it’s headed in the wrong direction?!! I am the captain of fans, I suppose – because I will go down with the ship! Though I am transplanted in Chicago, to me, that’s what having a home team is all about.
Granted, I’m not a FANATIC. I have been able to keep my composure through these very literal dry seasons. Even when things are good, I don’t lose my mind over my ‘Skins – after all, it’s just a game. Admittedly, though – I tend not to watch them if I can for the debacles that they’re so aptly inept in displaying because I enjoy watching football too much to have it soiled by the miserable M.O. of my team!
But this entry isn’t about the Redskins or football – it’s about a mentality that I’ve noticed in some fans that just may questionably reflect a bigger and more flawed state of mind. I recently came across a friend of mine that I’ve known since middle school who bashes the Redskins with unmitigated gall – stating that he is the farthest thing from a fan of theirs though he grew up in the Metropolitan area the same as me. As I called him out for being an actual fan who is just acting out his frustration at the consistently abysmal performance of our dear home team, God revealed to me that His people treat Him the same way.
Despite a roster full of potential that we should be able to put faith in, season after season, our hopes and dreams go unanswered and deflated as the Redskins literally fumble it all away. In their disgust, many people fans rally against the Redskins – rooting for their downfall because it’s easier to put faith in what is playing out. Others who don’t have the fortitude to stick it out through the bad times end up badmouthing them as my friend does; separating themselves from all association because they don’t want to be affiliated with the embarrassment of the Redskins failures. Is this not how we treat God when He doesn’t answer our prayers? But is God inept? Is He capable of failure? NO!
Atheists tend to doubt and badmouth God because as they look around in the world, all they see is failures that they attribute to Him. The major difference between God and the Redskins though is that He can and has done all things in order and perfect execution. It is us, the fans, who have ruined “the game” of the Lord! While we are neither invited nor able to rush the football field to partake in the game (assuredly botching up the field of play with our best intentions), we HAVE been invited to share in the dominion of this earth. God mandated and custom designed us out of the dirt of the earth to reign over the this world. Yet, we mishandle this authority and have the nerve to blame Him for our failure!
We have His playbook availably at our disposal but choose to read and execute the plays incorrectly and wonder why we can’t get a break – tossing up Hail Mary after Hail Mary despite not even being Catholic!
So if I may say so, we should shut our collective mouths. If you haven’t executed the Lord’s well drawn plays to perfection, stop being a Monday morning quarterback and be a Sunday through Saturday Super Saint! I know I’ve got much to learn from my Coach because despite understanding the calls He’s made, between the huddle and the snap, my carnal mind continuously wants to make audibles for quarterback sneaks that selfishly cheat the system in place. As such, I will always defer to His instruction.
Super Saints vs. Monday Morning Quarterbacks
quarterbacks are breezier to
sack than super saints!
After all He called in His Son to show me how it is truly done. And though He came in as an underdog with the spread set against Him in a physical world; taking the ultimate L for us all – He still wound up and was always on the winning team. So the real question becomes if Jesus took one for the team, why can’t you?!!
SELAH… oh, and GO SKINS!!!!
In the prime of my video gaming heyday, I became an avid fan of Street Fighter II. I gave out beatings as fairly as I received them so while I’d say I was good at holding my ground against my friends – admittedly, I was nowhere near going out on traveling circuits to compete with folks who took the game a little TOO seriously!
As a novice, I started out with the more simply-configured fight moves of Guile but graduated to the likes of Ken and Ryu quickly as I desired smoother and more intricate moves. Just as I’d gotten into a good groove with these fighters – assuming that I’d reached the pinnacle of well-rounded characters – Akuma came onto the seen. Akuma was like Ken and Ryu rolled together… but on crack and/or steroids! This cat could throw fireballs in the air and execute a host of other near cheat moves. Yet his absolutely wickedest move came when his SUPER power got maxed out during battle which would enable him to levitate and disappear from the screen only to reappear close enough to his opponent to grab and attack them with an onslaught of moves so fierce that the screen would go dark – returning to normal only after a bright flash of light showcased a barrage of unintelligible hits which was accompanied by his name written in Japanese on the screen… leaving said opponent limp on the ground with 80% or ALL of their energy depleted.
Suffice it to say, I always had a certain sense of guilt playing with Akuma because of the edge he gave me but his fighting style was too raw to pass up! It was like being enticed by the dark side of the Force! Much like a dark Sith lord, Akuma was clearly evil in his motives and actions. His back story made it quite clear that his intentions in competitive fighting were selfish and far from noble – accented by his willingness and history of killing his opponents. But it was just a game, though – no harm, no foul… right?!!
Right – this post isn’t going to go off into some tale of how I started entertaining murderous thoughts linked to video games or some Fight Club type of obsession for fighting in real life. It will merely serve as a cautionary correlation to how we play with evil everyday while we profess to “fight the good fight.” In order to launch into this concept, I must first divulge one final and important detail about “Akuma”: the name itself for this ferocious street fighter is Japanese for the word “demon” or “devil.” I’d like to tell you that I found out about this years after I retired from video games or that I stopped playing as the character Akuma upon finding out the meaning of his name… but I can’t. I found out the translation of his name at the height of my choice to play Street Fighter as a demon. To my point, I didn’t stop playing – I merely looked past it for the sheer thrill and entertainment of it.
How often do we do this ourselves as a culture for the sake of entertainment?
Wine and (Evil) Spirits
Partakers of the Flesh and Spirits
When liquor wines and
Dines in excess on the flesh,
It gets possessive.
‘Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.’
– 1 Corinthians 10:21
You may see this scripture and think to yourself “I’m safe! I don’t fool with alcohol OR video games!” But it is merely an example of the behaviors we showcase in many aspects of our lives. Take television for example. While in college, I dated a girl who LOVED watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. As her boyfriend, I got over my disdain for the shows and watched for the sake of sharing something with her that she enjoyed. The CW (formerly known as the WB) channel had other shows like Charmed and eventually Supernatural that I also began watching… religiously – as I supped at the table with demonically-themed shows for the sake of being entertained. But God warns that such abominations are not to even exist in our homes in ANY degree.
While there is a concern to the exposure of demonic themes that I could easily go into, I merely want to stress how each of these shows depicted certain akumas/demons that are actually depicted as fighting/existing for good as super-natural elements of these shows. Reformed demons helped Buffy out. Angel himself was a vampire turned good who often teamed up with other demons to fight “evilier” (staying true to Joss Whedon’s affinity for making up words!) forces. Charmed, in the same vain as Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, showed witches as being benevolent; a concept which dates back to The Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz and has experienced a large surge/rebirth in many shows today as well. The entire phenomenon of Harry Potter and the obsession with vampires and werewolves runs rampant and is saturated in forms of media which attract young children in droves.
The point I want to make is that evil is evil… PERIOD. We can’t dress it up. Demons don’t repent and become reformed. They and all rebellious elements of witchcraft and wizardry are diametrically opposed to God since sin’s beginning and will be so until the end of time – sent to steal, kill and destroy the children of God. When we desensitize ourselves (as I did) to their presence, we make light of the damage that such sin brings. Or as Paul wrote to the Romans “for the wages of sin is death.” Frankly stated, we make light of death.
The False Labor of Light
Making Light of Situated Death
In the twilight of
Our youths, darkness is being
Birthed in them as light.
‘And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.’
– 2 Corinthians 11:14
In a spiritual sense, death means separation from our life source: God. If you don’t agree with this concept, just take a look at Adam and Eve. God told Adam that the day he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would SURELY die. Once he and Eve ate the fruit, they didn’t just fall limp to the ground as if they’d just been thrashed by Akuma though, did they? BUT… the presence of the LORD left them; and at the point of such separation ushered in by their sin of disobedience, they ceased to live with God as He’d intended – they became separated from their source of POWER. They became separated from their very source of life.
People of God – stop allowing things that are not of the Lord to come between you and Him. Die daily to things that seem innocent enough for entertainment and “well-being” – whether it is yoga or the latest and hottest movie trilogies that the world continues to offer. Fight the good fight… and STOP PLAYING with evil!
Stop Playing with Fiery Fights Between Good and Evil
Stop playing – you can’t
Have fun with demons and fight
The good fight of God.
* inspired by the lyric from Mos Def’s “Hip-Hop” track:
‘…the invisible man’s got the whole world watchin’ !’
** fortified by 20 Black Inventors as read in:
For those who, without hesitance,
Doubt the relevance
Of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man –
They are no doubt, irreverent
To the clout and stout benevolence
That exists throughout the settlements of this indivisible land.
From Eric Williams who broached
broken hearts with less invasive stents,
To James West who improved what’s embedded in
this mic to a great extent.
Our race’s stint erases the stench of stagnate arrogance in America’s white noise.
In fact, cats like Thomas Jennings and James Letton
straightened and aired out its errant laundry.
As determined deterred men,
they dried out its damp and invariant philosophy
Through the betterment and daring offerings of Negroes with united poise!
With a presence that resonates throughout time and space,
We’ve proved they can’t just rout and jettison our entire race –
This is not a game – but if it was,
Gerald Lawson would’ve been the first to market it with cartridges.
Just ask George Alcorn in the year of ‘84 –
NASA adorned him with its Inventor of the Year Award!…
Thanks to George Carruthers, it’s a picture that clearly forms –
as his creed helped Apollo develop negatives into positives.
Picturing that, if the point doesn’t jump out immediately,
Perhaps our victory lapsed in subtle clout needs HDTV –
Better yet, we can make it 3-D thanks to Mark Hannah and Valerie Thomas.
Yet and still, we go unseen like famous stars in tented Cadillacs
Until someone like Patricia Beth uses lasers to carve off intended cataracts…
These are OUR forefathers and mothers of invention
who battled back from what Valkyries dishonestly tarnished.
Rather, instead of them living on in our memories,
They’ve been put to sleep like some distant dream.
They’ve faded in blackouts of history – relegated to thin lines between death and sleep.
Far from marginal, these lines align lies with n-word ignorance
To marginalize the despised despite our inward brilliance…
Caramelized as carnal lies to pilfer our resilience – once it spreads, the deception is sweet.
But wherever karma lies, there’s always a tradeoff.
We’ve gone from cart drivers to Tiger’s acclaim in golf –
But despite greener pastures, there’s still a train
of untrained thought that mars the landscape.
What about the likes of Granville Woods? – snubbed convincingly
Despite being dubbed the ‘Black Thomas Edison’ of the railroad industry…
This ‘held over the coals’ tendency is a farce full of disregard – planted with hate.
And although we know of George Carver
who donned the moniker of the ‘Black Leonardo da Vinci’ –
Who’s heard of Percy Julian’s remarkable syntheses?
His pursuits sparked a litany of chemistry between plants and medicine.
From such a ‘Forgotten Genius’ who truly
forgot more than most will ever know,
To Lewis Latimer who improved the light bulb to
highlight the bright ideas of Frederick Jones…
Our endeavors are cold! – we’re ever on the go with patents accredited!
We’re so much more than rappers and thespians!
Forget Jay and Ye’s adaption as Redding’s impressionists.
How about samplin’ the tested strength of Otis Boykin’s dampening deeds?
His path of success didn’t follow the least computed resistance.
Neither did Mark Dean or Roy Clay –
both led design teams of IBM’s PC and HP’s computer division…
These are the truest contenders who mustn’t be split
from the nuclear roots of our family tree.
Speaking of nuclear – what I mention may surely get a reaction:
The chair of Clinton’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission was Shirley Jackson –
She was the first woman to serve as an American African –
she literally made the ground move!
Soak it up like Lonnie Johnson – let your radiant minds absorb this.
These are OUR kin, folks – their salience should remind you of YOUR gifts…
Need I say more? – it’s important to sense the enormous extent of who surrounds you!
So you see, what you don’t see is still a great inspiration.
Those whom you don’t know can instill creative instigation.
You may be convinced of your vocation thanks to
the critical expanse of such sojourned watchmen.
So whether you use the everyday tools they’ve improved upon
Or a loved one exists because of their school of thought…
There’s one rule to be taught – ‘the invisible man’s got the whole world watchin’!’