Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Teach Us to Pray

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Our Father (in Gullah)

We Fada wa dey een heaben,
leh ebrybody hona ya nyame.
We pray dat soon ya gwine
rule oba de wol.
Wasoneba ting ya wahn,
leh um be so een dis wol
same like dey een heaben.
Gii we de food wa we need
dis day yah an ebry day.
Fagib we fa we sin,
same like we da fagib dem people
wa do bad ta we.
Leh we dohn hab haad test
wen Satan try we.
Keep we fom ebil.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mirror Trick/A Slight of Hand

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A Wise person told me that there was some wickedness, concealed intentions, and half truths swirling around me in early 2007. Those ill winds followed me for a time, but now the tide has shifted. I am being cleansed and the light will continue to shine for me. The darkness brought on by disturbed sirens and silence has been swept away from me. I am more knowledgable now then I've every been. (... Now I see.) Praise God. I am a Victor and God is all knowing.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ra, Maa, and Other Observations

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I’ve made some observations and intriguing findings as an English as a Second Language teacher for the past few months. As some of my classes come to a close, I’ll share with you what some of my students have taught me.

One exercise that I had many of my students do was to write sentences describing things they do every day. A, a man from Tanzania, wrote:

I like to thank our God every day.

What I like about this sentence is that he says he likes to thank God and he acknowledges that God is here for us all when he says our God.

A and his wife J have an infant son who they sometimes dress in pink clothes or clothes with shades of pink in them. I would imagine that in their country, pink is not a color assigned to only girls. Also, I saw A wearing a pink wrist band the other day. He didn’t seem to think anything of it. I’ve seen some of the other boy children wearing colors like pink, lavender, and some other fashions that were perhaps meant for girls. I’m sure a lot of the clothes were given to them and they simply don’t care what color the clothes are, as long as they keep the children warm. These are little babies and toddlers. What difference does it make what colors they're wearing?

E, a student of mine from Moldolva who is studying ESL for Citizenship, created a sentence during one class that mentioned “the war between Germany and Russia.” She was referring to World War II, but she sees it through the eyes of a six-year-old girl from Moldolva. That’s how old she was when she experienced the trauma of the war. I asked her, “What do you remember?” to get her to talk more in English. She talked about the bombs, the friendly soldiers who gave them food, and hiding in a basement-like section of her house. Then her voice faltered as she talked about how German soldiers killed her father when she was six. She actually saw it happen. As she was talking I knew she was close to crying, but I encouraged her to talk anyway. I had never heard her speak so well in English. I hugged her when didn’t seem to be able to go on with the story. We all sat silently for a brief time and continued with the lesson. Isn’t it amazing how a memory that’s so old can trigger such emotion? Of course, this particular memory was probably her most vivid and traumatic.

This week I started teaching a student from the Congo — F, a soon-to-be French teacher for Charlotte's public school system.

F is also studying metaphysical science. I’ve learned some profound lessons about natural laws, auras, and some other topics like karma—-a pretty universal concept that says you get back what you give. In other words, what you put out there comes back to you—-sometimes twice as strong. F said that God will not say, “Oh, it’s OK. You didn’t know that was wrong.” You’ll get the thing back anyway.

He also talked about the concept of Ra and Maa. Evidently Ra is the male energy and Maa is the feminine energy. He said that I’m congested because I have too much Ra right now. Hmmmmmmm. I’ll have to look more into that. (Actually I’ve started doing some Maa chants. I hope it'll clear the congestion in my chest.) Let’s see what happens.

And finally, here’s a quote that was left on the board in the room where my morning class is held. It’s really quite profound.

“Our lives begin to end the day we stay silent about things that matter.”
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Freedom to the Prisoners

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Psalm 146:3-9
(New King James Version)

Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord raises those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the righteous.

Lord watches over the strangers;
He relieves the orphans and widows;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Se7en and Other Screenplays for You

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I found out that the film course that I want to take at The Light Factory starts in February. As I get psyched for the class, I'm paying more attention to films lately —how they’re edited, the dialogue, the fine or poor acting. Also, I've been reading novels that have been made into movies. Right now I’m reading Stephen King’s short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption." It’s amazing how much of that story is actually in the film. I think King’s work has the kind of definitive voices and rich images that potentially make for provocative and powerful films.

For you film lovers out there, here’s a Web site that includes, what must be, hundreds of screenplays — it’s called Screenplays for You. All you have to do is click on the title of the work and read. Here's a sample from one of my favorites:

Se7en (1995)
by Andrew Kevin Walker

EXT. CITY STREET -- NIGHT

Somerset carries his suitcase outside the train station. The
city demands attention: cars screeching, people yelling, sirens
blaring.

Somerset passes a family of bewildered tourists. A WEIRD MAN has
a hand on the tourist-father's suitcase.

It has become a tugging match with the Weird Man shouting, "I'll
take you to a taxi... I'll take you." Ahead, a group is gathered
on the sidewalk near two ambulances. People clamor to get a look
at a BLOODY BODY which lies on the street.

Policeman try to hold the crowd off. Ambulance attendants
administer aid to the victim, who convulses. Somerset moves by,
ignoring it all. He motions for a cab. One pulls up from the
street's stream of vehicles.

INT. CAB -- NIGHT

Somerset throws his suitcase in and shuts the door behind him.

CAB DRIVER
(about the crowd)
What's the big fuss?

Somerset looks out at the crowd, looks at the driver.

SOMERSET
Why do you care?

CAB DRIVER
(under his breath)
Well, excuse me all to hell.

The driver leans forward, checking it out. The circle of
spectators shifts suddenly. A man has shoved another man and
they're really going at it now. The swing at each other and tear
at each other's clothing. One man's flailing fist connects and
the other man's face is instantly bloodied. The fight grows even
more spastic. Policemen try to stop it.

CAB DRIVER
Crazy f****.

The driver pulls away and the cab rages down the street.
Somerset watches the parade of neon passing on the avenue. He
slumps back in the seat and closes his eyes.

CAB DRIVER
Where you headed?
(Somerset opens his eyes.)

SOMERSET
Far away from here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Back on the Block

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Another mess has occurred in my old neighborhood up in Delaware. A woman from Wilmington must have seen the article about the shooting that happened last night in Rosegate. She was searching for information on my old stomping grounds and found this blog and the stories I've written about Rosegate. She then sent me the News Journal link which tells the sad story of an 18-year-old man who shot a 34-year-old man on the first block of Thorn Court in the Rosegate community (across the street from our old house). The teenager is wanted for first-degree attempted murder, possession of a firearm during a felony and possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited.

The article says "he should be considered armed and dangerous." No kidding.

I'll have to keep Rosegate and its people in my prayers, including my parents who live real close to the place now.

Here are my past posts on "The Gate:"

Where We Come From: Rosegate

More Trouble in Rosegate

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

For Your Soul

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As I was talking to my soul sister Cheryl today, she made me think of a question that we all should perhaps ask ourselves:

Is your focus on things that can't do anything for your soul?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Jonathan Green Find at the Thrift Store

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I've been looking for some artwork for my apartment lately. I need some pieces with red in it because I've adopted the color red as my theme for the time being.

As I was shopping at the Salvation Army on Central Avenue today, I almost immediately spotted a Jonathan Green print that had a dash of my required color. The piece I found features a dark brown man standing on the beach with a fishing pole in his hand. He's also sporting a simple, yet elegant red hat. When I saw that the artist was Jonathan Green, I snatched up the painting, picked up a couple of pieces for my daughter and was out. The beauty of it was that the framed print was only $7.99--a steal!

Now I'm looking for a companion piece to hang next to it. It would be nice if I could find some more Jonathan Green art with lots of red in it. Any suggestions? I can't afford the original paintings of course (some of those cost as much as $100,000!)

Jonathan Green is an African-American artist from the Gullah Islands who has managed to capture the magic, power, and joy of that area. The Gallery Chuma (out of Charleston, S.C) says this about Green on its Web site:
Painter and Printmaker Jonathan Green was born and raised in the small Gullah community of Gardens Corner, located near the Sea Islands of South Carolina. From the moment of his birth, Jonathan Green was a special child. He was born with a caul--an inner fetal membrane covering the head at birth that some believe is a sign that the child is touched by uncommonness and magic that will bring inordinate grace to the community.