Listen Within, Continued.

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Making a Miracle Come True!

Dandelion“How do we manifest a miracle? It begins with a wish.”

-Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

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Soul Bridge: Maya Angelou’s Legacy of Literature

  Soul Bridge: Maya Angelou’s Legacy of Literature by Gordon Hays

“You said to call on Your name, and I’m calling. I’m stepping out on Your word” -Maya Angelou

    Yesterday marked a very special anniversary. On April 4th, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. On that day in 1968, Maya Angelou was celebrating her 40th birthday. As the celebration of one influential Black woman’s life commenced, another important Black civil rights leader’s life ended. Maya Angelou lived for another forty-six years. And yet, a measurement of time cannot summarize a life. A set of years would not explain the impact and value of Angelou’s living experience and literary legacy. Eighty-six years cannot calculate the impact of Angelou’s written works, beyond the expanse of her life. Maya Angelou carries on. Angelou’s pages of poetry, literary works, films and music continue to educate, entertain and inspire. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe Maya Angelou acted as a soul bridge between generations, promoting peace and equality. With poetic grace, humility and moral strength, Angelou navigated the shifts in consciousness and social change surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and continued struggle for equality. Known for a writing process that included having a deck of cards and a crossword puzzle within arm’s reach, Angelou was an influential voice politically, personally and academically throughout the efforts for civil equality. Maya Angelou acted as a soul bridge, offering wisdom and encouragement through her writings, uniting racial and cultural differences through shared understanding, which demonstrate the positive ideals of an empowered African American woman.

Maya Angelou 1

It was while watching the 1993 film, Poetic Justice that I first encountered the words of Maya Angelou. In the film, Angelou’s powerful poem “Phenomenal Woman” is recited in voice over while Janet Jackson’s character is portrayed at home, immersed in an evening of solace. The sacredness of that moment in the film, combined with Angelou’s affirming poetry has continued to influence my thoughts and actions. Watching that film, and hearing Angelou’s words was a reminder of my own worth. I began to understand that I too have something to offer this world in my beautiful uniqueness. It may seem unlikely that the words of a black woman poet would resonate so deeply with a queer white man. But, that unlikely connection illustrates the manner in which Maya Angelou and her writings act as a soul bridge. Truth traverses the boundaries of race, culture, sexuality and class to unify the common thread of humanity and love. Angelou’s message of tolerance, acceptance and dignity demonstrate the enduring legacy of her literature.

Works Referenced, and Suggested Readings

Angelou, Maya. Maya Angelou Her Phenomenal Life and Poetic Journey. Ed. Vanessa K. Bush. New York: ESSENCE Books, 2014. Print.

Angelou, Maya. And Still I Rise. New York: Random House, 1978. Print.

Angelou, Maya. Letter to My Daughter. New York: Random House, 2009. Print.

 

Just Published in The Salmon Creek Journal 2015!

I am very excited to announce that my artwork and poetic narrative were just published in The Salmon Creek Journal 2015. Below, is the poetic narrative “Rainbow Cup” written in 2014 that I saved for this moment to share with you all. I am so honored to see these words reflected back to me in print!

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“Rainbow Cup”

Gordon Hays, 2014

Nothing can grow from falsehood. It must begin with the seed of Truth.

Story shapers and deceivers know this alike.

The beginning. It starts with me.

People say I have an attitude, among other things.

I say, I speak my mind.

I say, I claim my voice.

I alone have walked through the fires of my life.

I alone exist with the charred remains of my personal triumphs, and the wasteland of my failures, flaws and missed opportunities.

I draw from the deep well of a varied past. Covert and cruel, beautiful and heartbreaking. The enduring spectrum of the modern queer.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Thick with the spoiled slick of hate and rejection; dredged with tears and brutality.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Spilling over with jubilant celebration; the flood of creative liberation.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Longing for a mulled sweetness, warmed by desire. A never sated want of un-ending thirst.

I drink from a rainbow cup. Poured from a history of silence and enduring strength. Poured from shadows of the past into an illuminated future.

Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

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The Luxury of Dreaming

Yesterday, after an insightful phone conversation with my aunt, I was lost in thought about the luxury of dreaming. We were discussing the hardships of the people who came before us in our family, paving the way for our experience in this lifetime. I posed the question to her-Why is it that we come from a line of people who placed importance on order, working hard, and living modestly? And yet, there exists a drive within myself to reach beyond that way of life, exploring the things I am passionate about and daring to dream. My aunt said something very profound to me that I had not pieced together before now. Imagining the hardships of my family’s past, dreaming wasn’t available to them. Striving to survive doesn’t leave room for the luxury of pursuing your dreams. Thinking on my family’s narrative, I am reminded of where I have come from, and where I desire to go.

In my lifetime, I have the luxury of pursuing my dreams, and for that I am grateful. Recently, I shared a piece of poetic narrative with fellow blogger ‘Seeing the Whisper.’ I was so honored to see my own words reflected back to me through that experience, and I wanted to share that piece here. I wrote the words listed below just before leaving my hometown and moving to a place I had never been. I continue to pioneer into the wild unknown, blessed with the luxury of dreaming.

Dear Life

“Dear Reader, do you remember your passion? I’m not writing of desire, although it has its’ place. I’m writing of your passion. At the very core of you, the call you can’t resist, but daily hide under a veil of responsibility. Your passion-what you dream of in spare moments…the ‘if only.’ You only have one shot at this lifetime. One chance, now, to do the thing you are meant to do. Will you let it slip by? Inside of me a fire burns to create. Any way I can find to create from nothing, and bring into being something. For so long, I denied this creating its’ place in my life. I decided during one of the hardest times of my life, as tears leaked down my face-I will sink my teeth into my dream, and I will not let go. I will hold on. I will follow my heart, my dream against every obstacle, against every opinion. I just want the chance to lay my handprint on our timeline. Write my initials in history like wet concrete.” -Gordon Hays, 2009

Image: “Dear Life” by Gordon Hays, 2010

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

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Word Art

G Word Art

WordPress inspires Word Art. This is how I describe myself in words and color. How would you describe yourself? Imagine and create!

by Gordon Hays

Artist, Writer, Wayshower

Gordon Hays Artwork

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gordon-Hays-Artwork/380616048717195

The Good Life with Gordon

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