By Carlos Rodriguez
Amidst the silver bullet my head and heart spin
I can only look at the eyes of strangers
Children of the world
Most invigorating city on earth
Source my life in the energy of your life
Source my hope in the opening of your wounds
Teach me the ways of the hidden language you only speak in the pauses between your words
Silence me with the beauty evaporating from your retinas
Lift me with the hands of your forefathers and foremothers:
Jews, Russians, Albanians, Irish, German, French, Colombian, Eritrean, Indian, Australian, Iranian, Spanish, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and so many more
Sacred Spaces of this city overwhelming me with spirit
Spirit forgotten built over by castles of Gold
Hearts turned into rock
Caring only about profit
Men without shoes walk the subway
Children without hope line the schools
Some stars are lifted while others are covered by carcasses of old monsters
Speaking to me in tounges of perseverance, callouses of history
Spirit of Hope arriving on the island off this City
Converting me transforming me expanding me
Spirit of this City---Where will you call me?
Heart ready to stretch with that of others
Expanding circle of compassion---hidden voices----shadow stories
Lifted up source becoming source
One source all of us lifted beyond potential
One subway ride at a time.
Santiago, Chile to Los Angeles, California, and then to Mexico and then to New York City. This poem comes at the end of what felt like a very long slide of life. In Santiago I wrapped up my experience and then I was in Los Angeles--discovered once again the beauty of an incredible family, engaged with Loyola Marymount, one of the roots of my story, was nurtured by companions in the spirit, and then worked at Loyola High School engaging my love and gift for ministry. After that I went to Mexico saw my grandfather's grave, caressed and loved my sick grandmother, and connected with my little cousins, now mostly teenagers, who I had last seen when they where kids.
After all this I moved to New York City to start graduate school--an occurrence once thought unimaginable. After a month in New York and three weeks at NYU I can begin to say that I am falling into some sort of rhythm that feels more consistent which I welcome with open arms after the last couple of years. This consistency seems exciting. And yet after my brief time living in New York the biggest thing I have learned is that New York City is the most inconsistent and most exciting place on earth. Maybe I will find peace in the inconsistency---something that is always there in life but that sometimes we kid ourselves into thinking we can plan around. Let me tell you there are stories from my Peruvian plumber Carlos who saved me from my first apartment disaster, to heartbreak around every corner and joy across every street, from Albanian immigrants travelling thousands of miles to veteran classmates opening up their stories to me, from one to the other holy stories because they are human stories have the potential of meeting me anywhere and at anytime in New York City.
Hoping to balance the time spent between academics, the engaging with these stories, and the time to source them into my heart and reflect upon my life, Friends of the world, I ask for your prayers in this hard journey and promise to go more into depth about my sacred time in New York in later blog posts. As for now I am just happy that I was finally able to sit still enough to write and take in the beauty of it all swirling around me in the city that never sleeps.