Sunday, March 12, 2006

Witnessing: Eating Corpses on Christian TV

I am something of a religion freak. Notice I used religion and not religious. Since I was a little kid I have always been interested in religion and faith based systems. I love reading up on various religious groups (especially ones that people consider cults) as well as the more mainstream religions. I started doing this to understand where different people come from in terms of their value systems, but also to make sense of my world, my self and my own spirtuality...

I take elements from various religions that I like and incorporate them into my own life. I then also examine elements I don't like and see how they manifest themselves in our daily lives regardless of faith.

I say all that to say this...I watch a lot of religious programming. Since I was a little kid I've watched the 700 Club and TBN. I love watching public access when various religious groups present programming. When I was in the M.E. I watched a lot of Islamic religous programming. I find them entertaining and informative. More entertaining than informative...

So last night I was watching this program called "Travel the Road" for the first time on TBN. It's about these Christian missionaries who travel the world and witness. For those who may not know, witnessing is the act of proclaiming your faith to strangers, so that they may wish to convert...

I love watching witnessing, I love watching peoples reactions when they are being witnessed to. Kirk Cameron has a hillarious show on TBN where him and some other guy witness. The reactions are priceless...

Anyway I digress...

So here I am watching TBN right...It's a Christian station, which is good family entertainment. Here are these people, Tim and Will, walking around the mountains with skulls all over the place...I kid you not! Skulls and bones. So I'm like...oh crap this is going to be serious...nothing prepared me from what I was going to see next.

Remember, this is a Christian tv station. This is family entertainment. The people who watch this claim that there is too much sex and violence on tv right:


I saw vultures eat a corpse!

I'm not joking y'all...I saw vultures rip through a corpse...on TBN!

Ok, so now that the initial shock was out of the way I do need to explain what was going on. I witnessed a "Sky Burial" in Tibet. It all makes sense when you think about it. Space is at a premium in Tibet, much of the ground is frozen, so it's extremely difficult to bury, and firewood is extremely expensive so creamation is reserved for monks. At once I recognized the brilliance of what they were doing.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that the soul leaves the body upon death. In essence the soul was only borrowing the body. After the soul leaves the body, well the body is useless, it is mearly flesh. Feeding corpses back to the vultures is a way of getting rid of that flesh, when more "traditional" methods won't work.

I don't see any reason to pass judgement. Of course the good people at Travel the Road did. They gave the impression that this was a most ungodly thing that the Tibetans were doing. Now, to be honest, how is it less ungodly, less barbaric to bury someone in the ground so they can be consumed by maggots, worms and beatles?

But hey...
*shrugs shoulders*
who am I to speak...

So I went to their website to see what some of the viewers had to say about the program. I found some of the comments interesting:

"Saw the episode last Saturday night. I felt such an oppression that i got physically ill. I actually got sick. That's never happened to me before. I had a question when you were at the sky burial site in Tibet, did you just pray while witnessing this?? Even though I know you are strong in your faith could you feel an opression there? I actually started praying for the entire nation. I hope you guys are doing ok. I'ts so good that you document these films so the world can see what evilness takes place in so many places and the danger you take on. GOD Bless you . Janie Kazor Huntington Beach California THE LORD BE WITH YOU...................."

How is this evil?
How is this oppression?

Why must people be so judgemental?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Our Side

Like I have said many times before I do spoken word poetry. I wrote and memorized this a few years back. I wrote it on the anniversary of 9/11, and originally titled it "The Millionth 9/11 Poem You Will Hear Today." It feels like I have performed this a million times and is definetly one of my favorites. I fit right into character like your favorite t-shirt, you have left your impression after wearing it so many times, it feels like it is you, just another layer of skin...

I want to give people a little info about where I am coming from this. As a part of my writing process I write about getting into character. This helps to set the stage for myself as I am performing, and means I don't have to warm up before getting on stage. It also allows the audience a chance to get to know the character of the piece...

It is manic, and that's my intent. The whole time I envisioned myself as that madman that has been locked away and has to get every idea and thought on paper before it is beaten out of him..."Head back blood splattered". Technically the charcter development ends there, and the poem truly "begins"...

It's hard to transcribe a performance piece, and I have always been afraid to do so. It looses something on paper, the fire, the edge, the urgency with which I like to spit.

Its been a crowd favorite, and a personal favorite. I hope y'all are able to enjoy it too...

Peace,
Chef Raw
___________________________________

Some say you have to be outside to write
That writing is a sensual experience that must be shared in communion with nature
I say writing is a reality
Writing is the essence that my soul breathes to recreate realities and bring forth inconsistencies
Some say that I am angry
That I have a fire that burns that must be quenched

Some say I don't write love poems...

I don't write love poems

I keep my soul locked up and hidden in a box
Much like the room I now reside
My only communication exists with a white Playboy bunny
I followed that rabbit deeper and deeper down into that whole
My room is dark quiet and alone
I have come to enjoy the darkness
I feel at home in the night
The darkness' uncertainity is the dream I now breath
My love exists in that which people forget
The artful forgetfullness that has brought me to be alone
And you are not there...

I sit alone and dream of love poems but you are not there
So I sit in the darkness and wait for your breath of life
But that breath has been silenced
and that breath has been stolen
So I stare in the darkness even longer and give a blank stare of the surrounding silence
and I hear a hummmmmmmmmmm....

Bringing forth incandescent illuminosity
Preaching the last infantile attrocity
Adolescent dreams of power, sex, whores
and now we are nothing but power sexed whores
Because police batons are fallic symbols
and we're being raped to contrition
and this slow mental circumcision has me hold my crotch in fear

But my crotch was never the issue...

And then black
head back blood splattered then black
head back blood splattered
he was black on...

Both sides
We need to discuss both sides
I don't think you quite address both sides equally
Both sides
but both sides
unequal and even
but both sides
equal and even
converge and converse
average American is a Middle Eastern scholar
on both sides
both sides
unequal but both sides

Broadband broadcast the occupied
I am both sides

My heart beats life
911 beats per minute
My heart is beating so fast I can no longer maintain
For the last two years I've been hiding in my safe room
I cover duct tape to protect me from all
Anthrax, nuclear fallout, small pox, dirty bombs, dirty cops, militia members who think the revolution is on, communists, anarchist, drugs
And that dude with the turban at the 7/11
I knew something was wrong with him with his impecible American accent he must have been trained
The way he'd ask me how my day was and how work was going for me
See wait wait wait....
My job was placed on the Top 100 possible targets in my city
I was a target...

Now my heart beats reality
58 beats per minute
58 occupied beats that have been taken from
I placed duct tape all over my living room
Well, what once was my living room
Above ground stalactites of splintered wood
and I can now walk into my neighbors bedroom
See there was a general alert of a terrorist threat in the apartment building across from mine
and my room was the direct route to get to the building on the corner
See it all makes sence
When examined from both sides
of my wall...

I was screaming both sides when they hauled me off to prison
See I need to examine this from both sides
Well the government swears that I was named on a list of possible terrorists on my street
And well, with my name who could blame them
Weren't all the terrorist on 9/11 Muslim
and with nearly billion Muslims in the world that was a pretty big pool to choose from
See they were really trying to protect us by
Destroying civil liberties
Fighting the world
Killing the envrionment
Ending abortion
Minimum mandatory sentencing
The death penalty
Minimum wage
The assembly line
and
Slavery
Slavery
Slavery

They say in capitalism the biggest weapon is money
So I guess an immigrants wallet is worth 41 bullets
at 10 cents a piece thats $4.10
and with the average minimum wage at $5.15 an hour
I now ask for my pay packet in deaths per minute
Isn't it any wonder that we remain disposable
When its so much cheaper to blow us off
Cause we all must be killed of something
"MIKE CHECK
more than my bags at the airport as I was checked to a checkpoint"
I made a mistake
I flew while Arab
I feel blessed to be a part of the fastest growing segment of the US population
Not bounded by religion we harmonized
Driving While Black
Flying While Arab
United as a single amorphis being
Certifiably
We were convicted...

Of Breathing

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Writing as Reality

"Some say you have to be outside to write
that writing is a sensual experience that must be shared in communion with nature
I say writing is a reality
Writing is the essence that my soul breathes to recreate reality
and bring forth inconsistencies
Some say that I am angry
That I have a fire that burns that must be quenched
Some say I don't write love poems
I don't write love poems..."

Often times when you tell people that you like to write poetry or do spoken word, they expect you to have an arsenal of love poems at your disposal.

As if the extent of human emotions, experiences and existance is love. As if love is the most powerful human interaction that we have. I don't believe so. Yes I have experienced love, yes I feel love. It's because of those reasons that I choose to write something else...

Anyone can write a love poem. We have all done a few now and again. It's easy to make bad poetry that deals with love. I don't write about love in the traditional sense. It is my love for humanity, my disappointment in what we have done with our gifts that causes me to write about what I write...

My writing is dark, deep and ephemeral. I like to say that it exists in the eternal. The true measure of love is being able to call out ourselves for our flaws so that we may attempt to fix them. So in a way I do write love poems, just not in the way you would expect them to be written.

Of course in my past relationships this has proven to be an issue. Anytime I am in a relationship with someone, and they find out about my hobby they jump on the chance for me to write something about them. The easy answer would be that you really wouldn't want me to write about you. If you appear in my work, its usually not a good thing.

Of course, people don't like to hear simple answers. People want to hear what they want to hear....

I did attempt to write a love poem here is what I ended up writing (still a work in progress)

"It was the stir of the echoes of a dream
Ghost of a whisper rhythmic mystic nightmare
Scent that lingered on the tip of my tongue
Shivering to the chill of a long forgotten blizzard in cherry blossom spring
I'm not half the man I wish I was when I was...
It was that type of love thing
That first sight fling
that only a glance of those eyes could bring..."
There is still the darkness, the longing, the despair and hoping that things were different. I say writing is a reality...

By Whom?

Faith has been replaced
and the face of the race
is embroiled in rage
explosively engaged
cause we've been played in a wage
By whom?

It's a rate we can't take
psychologically raped
surrounded by fate
when we worship the fake
it's the game that they make
For whom?

When presented the tools
to get them to move
your labeled a fool
speaking reason to truth
cause death is the rule
For you.