Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Thanks and Hello
I appreciate your grace
For a young man
In a new place
Who is suddenly aware
Of the color of his face

I don't know you
And I don't know me
(That's why I write poetry)

So this is my attempt to retrace
Twenty-three years at a
Four minute pace

Picked up by a lawyer
After 70 hours of life
From the wailing arms of my mother
To the joyful tears of two others
Those two I now call parents
They are the people I know best
And the best people I've ever met.
Usually the more you know people
The worse they get.

I was their only child
But content with my lot
I grew an imagination
Which became my sisters and brothers
And I didn't want any others

I was taught in a church
Where the gospel was presented
Jesus Christ became my Master
When at four I repented
(Not that I knew what any of it meant then)
I excelled in school and sport
And whatever I attempted
It was a live ignorant of sorrow
Any suffering prevented

At twelve I decided to become an engineer
Took all the right classes to pursue that career
High school graduation
Marked by immigration
From suburban Pennsylvania
To suburban New York.
That's the state.
Yeah, the whole state is one big suburb
Of New York City
Except for some hippies in the middle
And I big park in the north east
And in the west I guess
There's a waterfall
And some really bad football

Ha. Sorry that's completely
unnecessary commentary.

I went to the Rochester Institute of Technology
Got involved in a student group called InterVarsity
God continued to transform me
Five years later I had a Masters degree
Fell in love with a girl who
Somehow loves me
But she's still back there studying
And I'm here
Now that's a story

I went to Egypt last summer
That's how it starts
God showed me he's about my heart
But that's only a part

See, I never cared much about poverty
Didn't seem to have any affect on me
But suddenly there were Egyptians
I cared for deeply
They lived on rubbish raised swine
And were eighty-cents-a-day poor
A few of them became friends of mine
And that changes everything
Now "poverty" isn't just a big bad word
An abstraction to be deplored
But easily ignored
It's a face
And that changes everything

I started studying Scripture
With new eyes
Imagine my surprise
To find it's not my
Place in heavenly rest
But justice for the poor and oppressed
At the center of God's heart
It's reconciliation of man to God, yes
But man to earth
And man to man
Are also part
Of God's beautiful plan of
Redemption, restoration
A proclamation of the
Coming Kingdom of Christ
He called Good News
For the poor
It left me wanting more

So it's 3am and there I am
At the Red Sea crying, "God!
"What do you want from me?"
And he said, "Go to the city."
So I cried, "God!
"What do you want from me?"
Hoping perhaps I hadn't heard correctly.
But he said, "Go to Detroit." Now,
I know that when God says, "Go"
You don't say, "No"
Unless you wish to end up
In a very large fish

So here I am
Without a job
Or much of a plan
But I brought two friends
And there's two more on the way
We stay on Hazelwood and Third
Behind the produce store
You're welcome to stop by
If you want to know more

That's my kind-of introduction
In kind-of poetry
I'm an amateur of amateurs at this thing
So if you have any advice
Don't think twice
Thanks for listening.


Belinda said...

:) Awesome first Detroit open mic poem.

Chops said...

Did you actually perform that at an open-mic thing? That would be awesome!

Chops said...

Oops, just read the next/previous post and got my answer. Props!