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First Time Always Hurts

Throughout my life, I’ve had several people telling me to do something with my writing. So this is my humble attempt at sharing with people my short stories, observations, rants, and photos of what goes through my head. At the end of the day, we are all specks of dust, searching for our purpose, as we navigate through the Earth. So…here we go…

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Message Man or Message, man!

Since Trump has a tendency to brand people with nicknames, I think I have one for him.

I was listening to one of my favorite bands, Twenty One Pilots, and their song, “Message Man” hit me with such euphemistic bliss my head almost imploded. I hate to involve Twenty Pilots in this neurotic exercise of personal satisfaction, but indulge this nano second of narcissism on my part.

Caveat: This is Trump’s fault, not mine. He keeps distracting us from Russia and with his tirade of Tweets, I can’t help it if my brain goes amiss sometimes.

“Release me from the present
I’m obsessing, all these questions
Why i’m in denial
That they tried this suicidal session
Please use discretion
When you’re messing with the message man
These lyrics aren’t for everyone
Only few will understand”

Now I know this is a stretch, but the irony of this is too strong to let go.
I mean come on…media, I’m looking at you as well.

Perhaps Trump could put his phone down for a second and have an epiphany of the messages he’s sending out. What do you say “Message Man”, huh? I mean you wouldn’t want someone to misconstrue the message, man!

Lebron Ally-Hoop

LeBron-James-I-Promise-School

*Image used for Entertainment purposes only. No copy right infringement intended.

July 31, 2018-was the first day that the “I Promise” school opened. What school is this you may be asking? If you haven’t heard of Lebron James, you will, for he made non-basketball news this week. Lebron opened up a school for at risk youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. This school will specialize in S.T.E.M. programs and will serve in the community as a hopeful beacon of opportunity for students. Sounds wonderful right? Well, this is Lebron James-a polarizing figure on and off the court, but a man who has the courage to persevere in the face of cowardly insolence.

Say what you want about him, his many haters do, now add to that list the “President of the United States”, who insulted Lebron via “Twitter” last night. If you follow Lebron closely than you’re aware he isn’t a fan of the current occupier of the White House. Lebron also is social conscious, and has been one of the few brave athletes to speak out on societal issues, especially concerning black males.

Don Lemon on his show asked Lebron what he would ask the “President” if seated across from him. Lebron replied he wouldn’t sit with the “President”. The “President” proceeded to insult not only Lebron, but Don Lemon.

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”

Two things. One-I’m not shocked by Trump’s blatant racism and his tendency to insult prominent black people. His incessant need to insert his opinion and change the narrative is tiring and transparent. Remember, he called NFL players “sons of bitches” if they knelt during the anthem. The one he doesn’t know the words to.

Two-If you’re reading this and are wondering why the word President is in quotes, well let me explain. It’s my humbling opinion that the title of President is earned. Very few of us will occupy that office, that space, that responsibility, and that privilege- and the current occupier has demonstrated countless times that he is not deserving of that title just yet.

Powerful and wealthy white men in this country seem at a cross roads. I’ll stick to sports. Athletes are treated like commodities, and black athletes in particular seem to have to behave in a submissive manner, especially if they continually want to get paid and not face any consequences.

Whatever their prowess is in “athlete” mode, people accept, and root for or against them. But, they are still black in America the minute the clock strikes “0:00”. How they are treated and viewed outside these lines in regards to their behavior, whether positively or negatively is regulated differently, and this has always been the issue.

Black athletes protesting social causes is not new. Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Colin Kapernick, and these are just a few who risked their careers and livelihoods to promote equality and justice. Lebron often is outspoken, and when he was told to “shut up and dribble” by Laura Ingram- it was a blatant disregard for the cause he was protesting and an attack on his character. “Shut up and dribble”. Really? So you think these athletes should just be grateful for the opportunity to showcase their talents in sports and shut the hell up huh?

Is Lebron somehow immune to the systemic racism and ignorance that has persisted in this country since its “discovery”?

How many videos have we seen this year of black people existing and 9-1-1 being called on them? Police brutality is nothing new, especially to minorities. The police have been used as agents of the state to police black people in a certain matter since before the liberation of slaves in this country.

We speak out and nothing happens. We march and are met sometimes with police lines, equipped with batons and shields. An athlete silently protests, and when asked about it, proclaimed like a man, that he’s protesting police brutality and is essentially black balled from the league. “But why during the anthem?”

The anthem, ladies and gentleman, was written by a slave owner. I could go one step closer and call Francis Scott Key a racist, but that would be short sided and slightly biased; as the man was ambivalent on the issue of slavery, but not so much as he floated the idea of sending slaves back to Africa.

I’m not shitting on America, I’m stating facts, truths that a lot of us willingly or not tend to forget. But it’s the ideals and the essence of what America is and can become that make it great. That is what Kapernick is protesting, the hypocrisy of the democracy. We proclaim it to the rest of the world with cultish chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.”, but turn a blind eye when children are ripped away from their parents at the border.

In totality he is exposing the hypocrisy within the NFL. The U.S. military has to pay the NFL, not the other way around. Patriotism is now politicized. But don’t bring politics into sports? The nerve, except when J.J. Watts pipes in, and then it’s okay. So the NFL is going to draw the line in the sand with protesting, but domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse is tolerated. Okay, got it.

I propose the separation of sports and anthems. The only time an anthem will be played is during the Olympics. There, problem solved.

Lebron like Kapernick is using his platform for positive change, and maybe that’s why Lebron’s likeability swings on a pendulum for some people. We do for whatever reason hold certain people more accountable than others. But they’re just people, going about their professions, which they’ve sacrificed for, and they live amongst us. They’re exposed to the same realities we are-when they turn a blind eye, society complains. So why on Earth do we criticize them when they speak out?

As I’m writing this it’s my understanding that Lebron hasn’t responded to the “President’s” Tweet, and why should he? Why reward a petulant kid any attention.
Lebron’s vision is to stay on task and he’s sending a message to society to invest in the future, through our children, through education. I saw a bumper stick once that read, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

Lebron James opened up a school this week…and people had something to say about it…interesting.

Life Lesson

I’m a human being, I presume you are as well,
so why don’t you act accordingly?
Never once did I believe that I
would get caught up in the melodrama.

Never once did I believe that I would be a pawn.

A pawn in a long game of chess
The Light was bright here for a moment…
But in the blink of an eye, plunged
plunged into darkness. Suffocating…

In this black I feel eyes on me
Sharp, red, vengeful, devilish.
They slowly reveal their teeth
that WANT to rip into my flesh.

What did I do to deserve such glares?

I’m not going to wallow, I’ll fight
and navigate my way towards The Light.
I will not grovel and stay on my knees
I don’t like looking up to you anyways…

Little did you know that I had a flashlight this whole time.

It starts and ends with my humanity
I emerge from the dark hallows,
of hell, to look you dead in the eye
to brush off your indignation with ease

and…

Proclaim proudly how short that trip was.

Running Commentary: CONCLUSION

C.295.-Thus speak, inspired, our holy Prophet,
Muhammad, on whom we invoke God’s blessings
Forever and ever;-we who are heirs
To his teaching, his exemplary life,
And the golden thread which he inwove
Into the web of human history.
In pious retreats he prayed; much thought
He gave to Life’s most obstinate tangles;
Against odds he strove with might and main;
Wisely he led; gently he counseled;
And firmly he subdued Evil.

C.296.-Mantle clad, he solved the most baffling
Mysteries. His soul would scale
The heights of Heaven, yet showered its love
On the weak and lowly of this earth.
Like a cloud that catches the glory of the Sun,
He threw his protecting shade on all.
The widow’s cry, and the orphan’s found
An answer in his heart, as did
The cry of Penury and Need.
He searched out those who felt no need,
Being by pride or ignorance blinded,
And he fulfilled their real wants.
His last great charge summed up the rule
Of spiritual life in linking Faith
With one universal Brotherhood.
Ah! never shall we see such life again!

C.297.-But his clarion voice still speaks his message.
His love and wisdom still pour forth
Without stint the inexhaustible Treasures
Of God, for whosoever will bring
A purified heart to receive them.
And never did the world, impoverished
By its own wayward lusts and greed,
Need those Treasures more than now!

C.298.-There’s still with us much sorrow and sin,
Injustice, oppression, wrong, and hate.
Still does Arrogance deaden Conscience,
Rob struggling souls of even the crumbs
Of Pity, and make, of loathsome flesh
And crumbling dust, fair-seeming Idols
For worship. Still does Ignorance blow
A mighty Horn and try to shame
True Wisdom. Still do men drive Slaves,-
Protesting smoothly the end of Slavery!
Still does Greed devour the substance
Of helpless ones within her power.
No, more,-the fine Individual Voice
Is smothered in the raucous din
Of Groups and Crowds that madly shout
What they call Slogans New,-
Old Falsehoods long discredited

C.299.-What can we do to make God’s Light
Shine forth through the Darkness around us?
We must first let it shine in our own true Selves
With that Light in the niche of our inmost hearts
We can walk with steps both firm and sure:
We can humbly visit the comfortless
And guide their steps. Not we, but the Light
Will guide! But oh! the joy of being found
Worthy to bear the Torch, and to say
To our brethren: “I too was in Darkness,
Comfortless, and behold, I have found
Comfort and Joy in the Grace Divine!”

C.300.-Thus should we pay the dues of Brotherhood,-
By walking humbly, side by side,
In the Ways of the Lord,
With mutual aid and comfort,
And heartfelt prayer,
Backed by action,
That God’s good Purpose
May be accomplished
In us all together! (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)

Running Commentary: 291-294; “The Father of Flame”; “Purity of Faith”; “The Dawn”; “Mankind”

Sura/Chapter 111-Lahab (the Father of) Flame

C.291.-The Chose One of God, in his earnest
Desire to proclaim the Message, gathered
His kin together to hear and judge
With open minds between error and truth.
Behold, the fiery “Father of Flame”
Blazed up with foul abuse and curses,
And said to the holy one: “Perish you!”
With his hands he took stones and cast them
At the holy one’s head. Purse-proud he headed
Relentless persecution. His wife
Laid snares, tied thorns with twisted ropes
Of prickly palm-leaf fibre, and strewed them
In the holy one’s path on darkest nights,
For cruel sport! But lo! the curses,
Insults, spite, harmed not the Innocent,
But hit the wrong-doers themselves
And branded them with eternal infamy! (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)


Sura/Chapter 112-Ikhlas (Purity of Faith)

C.292.-Keep faith all pure and undefiled.
There is God, the One and Only;
Eternal, Free of all needs; on Whom
Depend, to Whom go back, all things;
He hath no son nor father nor partner.
There is no person like unto Him. (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)


Sura/Chapter 113-Falaq (The Dawn)

C.293.-It is God Who brings forth light from darkness,
Life and activity from death, spiritual
Enlightenment from ignorance and superstition
Banish fear, and trust His Providence.
No danger, then, from the outer world,
No secret plotting from perverted wills,
No disturbance of your happiness or good,
Can affect the fortress of your inmost soul. (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)


Sura/Chapter 114-Nas (Mankind)

C.294.-Insidious Evil lies in wait
For man, and loves to whisper and withdraw,
Thus testing his will. But man can make
God his sure shield; for God does care
For him and cherishes him: God is
The heavenly King who gives him laws:
And God is the Goal to which he will
Return and be judged. Let man but place
Himself in God’s hands, and never can Evil
Touch him in his essential and inner life. (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)

Keyboard Warriors Got All The Sense…

Let me preface this by saying that I have never heard of XXXTentacion, the 20 year old rapper who was shot and killed today in South Florida. I didn’t even know how to pronounce his name. I had to ask my sixteen year old nephew. I’ve never listened to his music. But this afternoon, while I was perusing Twitter, his life literally flashed before my eyes. All it took was a swipe down to refresh my feed. One moment he’d been shot and unresponsive, to being transferred to a Trauma unit, to being pronounced dead.

xxxtentacion-press-photo-bw-2018-billboard-1548.jpg

I’m not here to defend this young man. In the span of two hours, I’ve read some disturbing things he had done. His fandom will understandably and expectedly grieve. To them, he was a troubled young man, who was striving to turn his life around. His haters, and lord he has them, they will JUDGE him and loathe him, with the same fervor as those who seemingly worshipped him. To a lot of people, he was their “Savior”.

Me? I’m neither. I don’t worship man. I worship THE CREATOR, the ONE TRUE GOD who created me and this young man that just passed. Now, if you take issue with me defending him, I’m not. Although, I suggest you take to Twitter, and the Internet-so you can witness first hand, mankind’s empathy and judgment.

There are “people” on Twitter cheering his death. There are “people” on Twitter posting the video of him shot and unresponsive…in his car…clinging to life. There are “people” acting like the Lord himself, playing Judge, as if they are without sin, as if they don’t have to meet their MAKER one day.

I’m not here trying to convert anyone. That is not my job. I’m not here trying to preach morality to anyone, although maybe I need to remind a few out there. I’m not perfect! You may or may not believe in God, but you can’t deny that there is something greater than yourself that you can’t comprehend.

If you do believe in God, like I do, then you know that we will be held accountable for our actions on this EARTH, even XXXTentacion. For those of you making a spectacle of his death, I pity you. I curse you, and I pray for you.

I pray, I don’t see the Hell-Fire. If you read the Holy Books, I’m sure you don’t want Hell to be your destination either, but what I witnessed on social media is just unconscionable. I’m shocked, and my spirit moved me to write about a young man I didn’t even know. I’m trying to process people’s reaction. I normally don’t engage on much on Twitter, but this was me:

Aquila Lynch (@nohumilityinart) tweeted at 6:39 PM on Mon, Jun 18, 2018:
@xxxtentacion trolls. You who are without sin, cast the stone. YOU aren’t The ultimate JUDGE. None of us are immune from death. Have some respect.
(https://twitter.com/nohumilityinart/status/1008841648154054659?s=09)

Are we really going to cheer death? Is that what society is being reduced to by these gutless, faceless, cowardly, Keyboard Warriors? “Oh, but he beat up his pregnant girlfriend…”, he will be held accountable, make no mistake about it, and shocker…he may be forgiven for his sins. You don’t know, and I don’t know. Only THE ULTIMATE JUDGE knows.

Yeah, it’s easy to pass Judgment…behind a keyboard…behind a smart phone. Like I stated earlier, he had issues. He will have to answer for what he did. Those of you celebrating and mocking his death, you aren’t above reproach. “If God were to punish mankind for their wrong-doing, He would not leave, on the (EARTH), a single living creature(An-Nahl, 16:61)

A single living creature also applied to the Prophets (Muhammad, Jesus, Abraham, Noah, Moses, etc. etc. etc.). They were men of flesh. (Like US.) They were of creation. (Like US.) They made mistakes. (Like we all do.) They repented and The Creator forgave them, Inshallah. For the God that I worship is (“Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim”) “The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful”. That is why when it’s my time to go, I’m most thankful that I will be judged by Him (Al-Hakam) The Ultimate Judge, and not the Keyboard Nation. And I pray that my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds.

XXXTentacion, I didn’t know you. Wherever your soul is presently, I pray God has Mercy upon you. I pray your family and true friends find some semblance of peace, and I hope they stay off social media for awhile. I just got done fasting for the blessed month of Ramadhan, maybe I need to fast from social media…because…people. We are a special breed indeed, we are so ungrateful. We don’t value each other or LIFE itself, and we are witnessing the consequences of that collective selfishness and ill regard for each other’s humanity.

What if XXXTentacion was your brother, your son, and you found people getting off from his death? Regardless of what kind of person he was, none of us have even an inkling of how he was RECEIVED.

Oh, and before I forget…all you with this hateful energy. You want to get another tragedy trending online? How about this….FLINT STILL DOESN’T HAVE CLEAN DRINKING WATER!

 

Running Commentary: 286-290; “The Quraish”; “Neighborly Needs”; “Abundance”; “Those Who Reject Faith”; “Help”

Sura/Chapter 106-Quraish (The Quraish, Custodians of the Ka’ba)

C.286.-Who gave the Quraish their talents for the arts
Of peace, for trade and commerce, and for journeys
South and north at proper seasons,
And made their home inviolable in Mecca?
Surely they, if any, should adore their Lord
And listen to His Message of Unity and Truth. (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)


Sura/Chapter 107-Ma’un (Neighborly Needs)

C.287.-What remains if you deny all Faith
And personal responsibility? Why then
Help the helpless or teach others
Deeds of Charity? Vain were worship
Without heart and soul. What think you of men
Who make great show, but fail to meet
The simple needs of daily life? (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)


Sura/Chapter 108-Kauthar (Abundance)

288.-To the man of God, rich in divine
Blessings, is granted a Fountain unfailing,
That will quench the spiritual thirst of millions.
Turn, then, in devotion and sacrifice to God,
Nor heed the venom of Hatred, which destroys
Its own hopes, alas, of the present and the future! (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)


Sura/Chapter 109-Kafi’run (Those who reject Faith)

C.289.-The man of Faith holds fast to his faith,
Because he knows it is true. The man
Of the world, rejecting Faith, clings hard
To worldly interests, Let him mind
His worldly interests, but let him not
Force his interests on men sincere
And true, by favor, force, or fraud. (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)


Sura/Chapter 110-Nasr (Help)

C.290.-For that which is right the help of God.
Is ever near and victory!
When the spirit of men is stirred, they come
To the flag of faith in troops and battalions.
They are to be welcomed: but Praise and Glory
Belong to God: to Him we humbly
Turn and pray for Grace: for He
Is Oft-Returning in Grace and Mercy. (A. Yusuf Ali, 1934)