Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Poem - Stunning.©

Is the one word
I'd use to describe Her
Cause She continues to shock me
And leave me in Awe
From the first moment I saw
Her I knew
Something different was about to take place
Hurrying over to Her
Though I was in no race
It was just the pace
Truth is
I just wanted to kiss Her face
And touch Her hand
And take Her hand
To make Her understand
This isn't like
Anything like
Anything we've either
Ever seen
This was contrary
To what our experiences would have us believe
This was a moment
An about to come true kind of dream
I didn't even know what I would say
To make Her understand
To make Her need to stay
But I knew
Before I knew
And She did too
That the first "hello"
Would lead to "I do"


If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To This Blog:
And join me on Facebook
And Twitter

Thank You.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Poem - Her Through you ©

you want me to love you
Without you loving you
Without you giving me
What I need to be loved
You keep pushing me away
To pull me back
To push me away again
Like a fucking coaster
But that’s not how I roll
That’s not how I want this thing to go
I’m all for letting go of control
But I’m not about to loose control
To loose my hold
On reality
On me
So I’ll give you what you want
Just gimme a minute to right my mind
Cause in my head
I’ve already left
Right that’s it
I’ve marched towards the door
But I’m still here
For a reason I can’t quite comprehend
With logic so instead
I’ll just let it go
And stay right here
But don’t ask me to open my eyes
Let me keep them closed
Cause I still picture the You I first met
That’s the You who’s clothes
I’ll tear off
And lay beside
My minds eye
When I lay by your side
While I slide
Me into you
I’ll be making love to Her through you
Physically it’s your body I’ll screw
But it’s her spirit who
Turns me on
Makes me come
Who makes me stay.


If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog:
And join me on Facebook
And Twitter

Thank You.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Love Is Cursed By Monogamy"...

For much of my adulthood I've been somewhat of a nomad - traveling here and their in pursuit of my dream which is destined to me. On my journey I've been fortunate to meet many people who have added to my life and blessed to have my light spill into the path of others.
Recently I read something from an exceptional young man. His words "Love is cursed by monogamy."
This statement began me thinking. Is this the reason that many cannot remain faithful to one person? The reason why a company such as Ashley Madison can not only exist but flourish. Is love truly cursed by monogamy?
I mean stats go on to say that half of marriages that begin will end, and that many of the half that don't end isn't due to anything more than obligation (familial or financial most often). Hmmm... Love, cursed by monogamy huh?

When we think about biology - we are one of the only species who "mate for life" or at least are expected to. I mean most other species have a very specific purpose - to continue the species. So, monogamy goes out the window because the male of the species particularly is supposed to spread his genetic code as far as possible. So maybe love is cursed by the binding gates of monogamy.

That is, if you are being monogamous out of obligation and not any reasons deeper. What do I mean?
Sure, there is always a time on any journey where we do things strictly out of obligation to our duties and our word. But if we are to live life in obligation, doesn't that obligation become a curse?

And that's when I came to the explanation to my immediate reply to the words "Love is cursed by monogamy." My view?

"Monogamy is a curse without love."

Just like anything else, if we don't have a purpose that is greaeter than any 'challenge' (ie monogamy - c'mon let's be real, it is a challenge) we are not going to rise to the occasion, so to speak.

Monogamy must come from love. From a desire to be with one person, just that person and no other person. Monogamy must flow from within, from a place of "I don't even want to" instead of "I want to but I won't."
It's like discipline that comes from love & discipline that comes from fear. Sure they both work but one has a much shorter shelf life (don't believe me? Read up on the cause of some of these dictatorship topplings).

So not only is it possible but very probable to be monogamous and not feel the plight of 'the curse' of love.
Monogamy is a curse without love, but it is a blessing with it.
At least that's what I know...

If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To www.MarkSparksWrites.com by entering Your email address in the top right hand corner of the page, and don't hesitate to leave a comment. Thank You.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How Bad Do You Want It? ©

How Bad Do You Want It?

How Bad Do You Want It?
Are you willing…
to give stuff up?
To not give up?
To fight?
To run?
To climb?
To fall... and GET BACK UP?

Are you willing to be comfortable with being uncomfortable?
To going to bed late and waking up early?
To skipping meals, parties, hang outs, movies but NOT SKIPPING TRAINING & PREPARATION?
Are you willing to hone your craft?
Own your emotions?
Not let setbacks set you back?
Not let victories slow you down?

Are you willing to go to the edge, look over and JUMP?
Are you willing to give of everything you are to gain what you desire?
To let go of past defeats to make present victories possible?
To make future wins probable?
Are you willing to endure ridicule, alienation, and loneliness if you have to?
Are you willing to DISCIPLINE yourself?
To reward yourself with more training just cause you want to?
To make it a HABIT to make good habits?

Will you do it for free?
Will you do it with joy?
Will you do it and do it and do it until YOU say you’re done?
Until you arrive where YOU DECIDE is the arrival point?
Are you willing to DO MORE than most to get what most say they want?
Are you willing to let your words speak and your ACTIONS SCREAM?!

How bad do you want it?

Don't tell me. Show You.
Don’t say it. SHOW IT. Do it.



If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog:
And join me on facebook:
Thank You.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Confusion" Amidst "The Truth".

Someone recently said to me that the truth confuses them. Confused by this, I asked them to explain.

"Well, it seems like when the truth as other people see it is told to me I have conflicting views of it and feelings toward the so called truth teller."

"Ah." I replied. "So it isn't the truth that confuses you but instead the truth not conforming to your ego & it's preconceived truth that causes confusion."

"Huh?" they replied.

"When we ask a question as adults, we generally already have an answer in mind. We know what we want and simply ask questions to affirm our preconceived answer. Most holy books call us to have the heart of a child for this reason. You ever watch a child ask a question? They don't ask simply to confirm what they already, or in many adult cases think they already, know but instead they ask the question to get a genuine answer - to discover the truth. That's why they ask the same question again and again, because they haven't yet created their own answers to a question - even if the question was answered just a short time ago, whether five seconds or five minutes.
So if we, like children, ask a question and are open to the answer then the truth cannot confuse us but only set us free. For the truth has no shades when delivered. It has no ulterior motive. It has no upper hand to gain. It only has itself to reveal, but only when we are ready to hear it. The most amazing thing to me is that almost all of the time we already know the truth, our problem becomes quieting the noise which drowns out the truth, silencing the chatter which confuses us and directs our attention away from the truth. Does that make any sense?"

"Ummm, yeah actually. In a weird way it does. By the way you aren't normal, you know that?"

"I know," I replied. "And truthfully, I'd have it no other way."



If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog:
And join me on facebook:
Thank You.


Monday, November 7, 2011

In Another Life. ©

In another life
I would've done anything to make you stay
In another life
I'd do anything for another day
In another life
I'd make sure your every wish came true
But this isn't another life
And I'm not in this life with you.

In another time
I'd move a mountain to see you smile
In another time
I'd give all I have
To make you stay a while
In another time
I'd give up my life for us it's true
But this isn't another time
And I'm not in this life with you

When "if"
And "but"
Became "won't"
And "not"
When "I'm sorry"
Became "I'm sorry again"
When actions spoke volumes
Louder than words
And they screamed to me the truth
That you lied when you said
When you said...

In another time
My heart belonged to no one but you
In another life
I'd do whatever you needed me to
In another life
We ended happily
But this isn't another life
So this time I'm living for me.



If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog:
And join me on facebook:
Thank You.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poem - The Offer. ©

I Said "I've Got A Lady"
She Said "So?!"
I Said "I Love Her, So You Can Leave"
And She Said "No."
I Said "Here's A Photo Of Us 3"
She said "Oh."
I Smiled
And She Finally Realize She Had To Go...

I though I'd be sitting all alone
Then she decided to take a seat
"My name is blah blah blah blah blah
And you it is my pleasure to meet."
"Umm, thank you" I said with a half smile
Feeling where this was gonna lead
"I've actually got a lot to do
I've got this script I've got to read."
"Oh, your an actor
That makes sense cause
I knew I've seen you before
But forget about tv & magazines
I would like to see more"
"I'm flattered Madame, I truly am
But there's something you need to know
I've got a lady & I've found my soul mate
So there's no place for this to go."
"But I'm only in town
Like 4 times a year..."
"Umm, okay, let me be more clear.
No way in hell am I cheating
You and me ain't gonna be
Again I've been blessed with a gem
Even a blind man could see."
"Sigh, I can't believe you're saying no
You're bent on this 'I'ma be faithful' kick,
Well understand I don't want to take your 'Queens' place
I just want to feel her dick."
"Alright Ms. I didn't get your name
Nor do I particularly care
Our pleasant conversation is done now
So would you kindly leave that chair."
"Pfftt, your loss" She said as she left
"But I'll see you again one day.
Oh, and for the record Sir,
You've got one lucky lady."
I smiled and nodded as she left
If only to be polite
But the one thing that I knew more than any
Was that I couldn't wait to see my girl that night.
I got home late, after some drinks
She fell asleep waiting up for me
"My lady is a lucky girl?" I thought
Nah. The lucky one is me.



If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog:
And join me on facebook:
Thank You.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Poem - Seeing My Future©

As I sit and reminisce
On a past that has never been
I begin
To transform
Into someone I've never been
As I await patiently
For me
My future to arrive
Seeing my future
From my past
I'm feeling Marty McFly
And I don't know why
It hasn't worked out in the past
Cause I've met smart and sexy
With a whole lot of ass
But that hasn't been the key
To unlock the door
So I continue to search
Sitting here
Waiting for "it"
Needing something more
I've also been waiting
For myself to be
Who I must become
The amalgamation of the many facets of me
So I poured all of myself
Into one
And Voltron'd my personalities
And views all together
I see my future from my past clearly
So this time it's
No hoops to jump
Cause I got nothing to prove
But I'll jump over tables
Cause I got nothing to loose
Rick Astley type stuff
You know "Never gonna give you up"
Or let You down
Or not be around
And when we occasionally fall down
Which is inevitable that we will
I'll be right where I'm at
Waiting for You
And remembering
A past
That hasn't yet come to pass
From a future that is presently
Speeding towards my rear view glass.



If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog:
And join me on facebook:
Thank You.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Poem - My Worst Fear (A Man's Eye View)©

I don't often write an introduction to my poems but I feel this one warrants one. Often in various media outlets and places where people gather to conversate we hear ofrelationships gone bad because of a cheating man. Rarely do we talk about the other side of the coin, rarely do we talk about the times when the man is faithful... Just saying.

My worst fear
Is that we'd end up here
I mean our relating ship
Ain't sailing no where
Don't ask 'bout your day
Cause I don't even care
Truth be told
It's cause I don't think you care
Cause when I ask you to share
You gimme this blank stare
And the same answers all the time
"Nothing happened today
What's wrong with me?
Nothing I'm fine"
So I sit back
And continue to listen to you whine
And I don't say a word
As you pick up the phone
And make plans to dine
With a friend
From way back when
Some dude you been hanging with
You say since you were like 10
Logic say don't believe you
But I don't wanna do that math
My gut says ask more questions
But what choice do I have
Cause you tell me he's just a friend
But I'm your husband
But that band
On your finger
Isn't visible anymore
You say you took it off
To go down to the store
And it's by the sink
And "why I got to wear it for?"
So I just sit back
For the sake of the kids
I just continue to love
And hope to keep the peace where we live
But something's got to give
Something has to break
I mean I wake
In the middle of the night to hear
You on the phone giggling
So I go back to bed and wipe away the tears
My worst fear
Has become my reality
I just confirmed
My wife was cheating on me...



If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog:

And join me on facebook:

Thank You.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Evolution Of My Stupidity©

It's strange to me
Has taken over my thoughts
At first I believed 
Anything was possible
And as I got 'smarter' & 'grew up' 
I did not.
"That's impossible" 
Someone would say
"Nope" just gonna take some time
My thought was
"Work hard & always believe"
And my God given light
I would always let shine.
My greatest fear was to be
Less than I possibly could be
So when did I 'grow up'
And accept mediocre me?
Stupid beliefs that are dulling my light
I release from my soul
To my dharma I march on
With joy
To that "impossible" goal

evolution - pattern formed by or as if by a series of movements
stupidity - the state, quality, or fact of being stupid
stupid - characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless
When I was a little kid I was pretty stubborn. I mean I still am but back then it was in a much different way. I remember once wanting something that was on a counter. I remember it being way out of my reach but me wanting it more than anything else in the kitchen so I set out to get it. Over and over my different attempts to secure said item failed. Or so it seemed to the one watching me:
"Mark, what do you want?"
"That Gramma"
"But it's very high - would you like me to get it?"
I'll get it.
"But it's very difficult for you."
"I know but I have to get it."
There's many examples as the one I've just mentioned where as a child difficulties between where I wanted to be & what I wanted and where I was were just temporary roadblocks as opposed to stop signs.
It seemed the older I got - the more 'grown up' I became, the more I began to believe the same roadblocks to be the end of the road instead of minor and temporary bumps on my journey to where I was going. It seemed that I, through a series of movements created a pattern of senseless beliefs and foolish limitations.
It seems I created the evolution of my stupidity.
I was a pretty smart kid.
Time to get those smarts of mine back.


www.MarkSparksWrites.com (Subscribe today! Seriously I'm talking to you. Thank you!)
Twitter - @MarkSparksInc
Facebook - TheRealMarkSparks

Friday, July 15, 2011

Poem - War: Me. Vs. Me

I'm in a battle
This is war
And I've got to succeed
But how do I win
When it's me vs me?
I need faith to proceed
But I've used so much to get here
And I admit I have no clue
Where I'm supposed to go from here
I swear
Sometimes I wish it wasn't so hard
Sometimes I wish I didn't care
Sometimes I wish I didn't know
That my destiny is waiting right there
Sometimes I wish I could forget
Some of the things I've seen
I mean
I know they make me who I am
And allow me to be me
And yes I shine
Of that I'm aware
And I know my path I made
Is marked for me or I wouldn't be here
But sometimes the light is dim
And the path just doesn't seem to exist
Sometimes I'm only walking
With a hope & a wish
The force is powerful
But it has two sides
Sometimes, I admit
I feel like I'm ready to dive
To the blackness
Which can exist in my soul
I get cold
When I venture into that hole
Holy crap
What's happening to me?
Sometimes I'm blind
Which means
Sometimes I can't see
And the blessings that are in front of my eyes
Don't even exist to me
Sometimes I feel invincible
Like I can only win
Sometimes I feel invisible
And my will to go is thin
Sometimes that fuels my hunger
Sometimes that fuels my drive to my fate
Other times it fuels my fear
And on occasion it's fueled my hate
Sometimes I'm blind
Which means sometimes I rely only on belief
It's Deep what we have to go through
Sometimes in order to see
A sailor is only tested
Not when the sea is calm
But when he rides through the eye of the storm
And is able to hold on
As iron sharpens iron
And great pressure creates diamonds from coal
Perseverance is my only option
Success is my only goal
I'm in a battle
This is war
And it is me vs me
But with those odds I can only win
Thank God that's the only option I see.

If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog. Thank You

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Poem - Awoken By The Alarm ©

I wake up to the blaring sound
A constant ringing
Is something is going down?
There's an alarm going off
And it's loud inside my head
Is it a five alarm blaze
Or just some kid
Playing games with the little red box
That right now I'm sure is pretty easy to see
I wonder if I should investigate
Or just go back to sleep
I remember the last time
I woke up like this
In a cold sweat
But I didn't do shit
I was awoken by the same
But instead decided to fall back asleep
Only to find out later
That flame wasn't a dream
The unthinkable
Or what I thought couldn't happen to me
Became reality once
So how do I know that this time
It really is all a dream?
Do I trust my emotions
When my heart can lie to me
Or do I ignore the smoke
And just go back to sleep?
The alarm is still ringing
But I don't feel like going outside
If there is fire where I smell smoke
Then I'll find out at some point alright
For now I'd much rather
Believe it was just a dream
And the alarm that I'm hearing
Is only in my sleep
That there is no fire
And I'm imagining the smoke
That the foundation is strong
And this alarm thing is just an over active imagination joke
So I shut down my computer
And off to bed I go
A quick prayer for strength
Humility and to continue to grow
I don't know what kind of news
The morning will have in store
But I won't waste another ounce of energy
Thinking about it anymore...


If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog. Thank You

Monday, June 13, 2011

Poem - Ode To A Cigarette Smoker

Dear Cigarette smoker blowing smoke in my direction,
Please put it out
When I'm about
Or at least stand down wind
So I don't have to breath it in
Your habit stinks
So I have decided I think
To let you know
Where to go
When you decide to light up by me.
I don't enjoy your smoke
Flowing into my face
And at 6'4"
It seems my face is in the place
Where your misdirected puffs seem to go
When out your mouth you blow
And perhaps you don't know
This is why I'm telling you
So the next time you blow in my face
I will, with great haste
And of course with great love
Give you a gentle verbal shove
And I hope this will do
Cause I'd hate to have to
Snatch that cancer stick from your hands
Whether you are woman or man
So it is to you I write this to
Smokers, not all but you know who
That us non cigarette smoking bunch
Have had quite enough
So please give us our space
And don't blow smoke in our face
And we'll hold our end of the bargain too
By not telling you what to do
And in this mutual respect
Where we choose life & you death
We will happily co-exists
Verily, I tell you this
Many thanks & best wishes I send your way
And hope you have a nice day.

If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog. Thank You

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Poem (Audio) - Together Before We Met©

You ever meet someone for the first time? Again?

If You Enjoyed This Piece, Please Subscribe To The Blog. Thank You

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dr. King's Speech "Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that."

Recently a few words attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King in response to some of the grotesque celebration of the killing of Bin Laden surfaced

"I Mourn The Loss Of Thousands Of Precious Lives, But I Will Not Rejoice In The Death Of One, Not Even An Enemy." A testament of humanity indeed, but not the words of Dr. King.
Below is a portion of the quote that does belong to King, which has I've seen mashed together with the above quote in different combination...

"And the other thing is, I'm concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice; I'm concerned about brotherhood; I'm concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that."
-Martin Luther King.
August 16 1967 In Atlanta, Georgia at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

The only way that freedom will reign is if we each actively seek and speak the truth - but only in love. And it is in love I submit this. This is the speech that was spoken by Dr.King which can be found in the book "A Call To Conscience: The Landmark speeches of Dr. King" bu Clayborne Carson. But don't take my word for it - read it & search it out for yourself. It comes in an audio book too. Just sayin'...



Dr. King August 16 1967
In Atlanta, Georgia at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference...

Dr. Abernathy, our distinguished vice president, fellow delegates to this, the tenth annual session of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, my brothers and sisters from not only all over the South, but from all over the United States of America: ten years ago during the piercing chill of a January day and on the heels of the year-long Montgomery bus boycott, a group of approximately one hundred Negro leaders from across the South assembled in this church and agreed on the need for an organization to be formed that could serve as a channel through which local protest organizations in the South could coordinate their protest activities. It was this meeting that gave birth to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

And when our organization was formed ten years ago, racial segregation was still a structured part of the architecture of southern society. Negroes with the pangs of hunger and the anguish of thirst were denied access to the average lunch counter. The downtown restaurants were still off-limits for the black man. Negroes, burdened with the fatigue of travel, were still barred from the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. Negro boys and girls in dire need of recreational activities were not allowed to inhale the fresh air of the big city parks. Negroes in desperate need of allowing their mental buckets to sink deep into the wells of knowledge were confronted with a firm "no" when they sought to use the city libraries. Ten years ago, legislative halls of the South were still ringing loud with such words as "interposition" and "nullification." All types of conniving methods were still being used to keep the Negro from becoming a registered voter. A decade ago, not a single Negro entered the legislative chambers of the South except as a porter or a chauffeur. Ten years ago, all too many Negroes were still harried by day and haunted by night by a corroding sense of fear and a nagging sense of nobody-ness. (Yeah)

But things are different now. In assault after assault, we caused the sagging walls of segregation to come tumbling down. During this era the entire edifice of segregation was profoundly shaken. This is an accomplishment whose consequences are deeply felt by every southern Negro in his daily life. (Oh yeah) It is no longer possible to count the number of public establishments that are open to Negroes. Ten years ago, Negroes seemed almost invisible to the larger society, and the facts of their harsh lives were unknown to the majority of the nation. But today, civil rights is a dominating issue in every state, crowding the pages of the press and the daily conversation of white Americans. In this decade of change, the Negro stood up and confronted his oppressor. He faced the bullies and the guns, and the dogs and the tear gas. He put himself squarely before the vicious mobs and moved with strength and dignity toward them and decisively defeated them. (Yes) And the courage with which he confronted enraged mobs dissolved the stereotype of the grinning, submissive Uncle Tom. (Yes) He came out of his struggle integrated only slightly in the external society, but powerfully integrated within. This was a victory that had to precede all other gains.

In short, over the last ten years the Negro decided to straighten his back up (Yes), realizing that a man cannot ride your back unless it is bent. (Yes, That’s right) We made our government write new laws to alter some of the cruelest injustices that affected us. We made an indifferent and unconcerned nation rise from lethargy and subpoenaed its conscience to appear before the judgment seat of morality on the whole question of civil rights. We gained manhood in the nation that had always called us "boy." It would be hypocritical indeed if I allowed modesty to forbid my saying that SCLC stood at the forefront of all of the watershed movements that brought these monumental changes in the South. For this, we can feel a legitimate pride. But in spite of a decade of significant progress, the problem is far from solved. The deep rumbling of discontent in our cities is indicative of the fact that the plant of freedom has grown only a bud and not yet a flower.

And before discussing the awesome responsibilities that we face in the days ahead, let us take an inventory of our programmatic action and activities over the past year. Last year as we met in Jackson, Mississippi, we were painfully aware of the struggle of our brothers in Grenada, Mississippi. After living for a hundred or more years under the yoke of total segregation, the Negro citizens of this northern Delta hamlet banded together in nonviolent warfare against racial discrimination under the leadership of our affiliate chapter and organization there. The fact of this non-destructive rebellion was as spectacular as were its results. In a few short weeks the Grenada County Movement challenged every aspect of the society’s exploitative life. Stores which denied employment were boycotted; voter registration increased by thousands. We can never forget the courageous action of the people of Grenada who moved our nation and its federal courts to powerful action in behalf of school integration, giving Grenada one of the most integrated school systems in America. The battle is far from over, but the black people of Grenada have achieved forty of fifty-three demands through their persistent nonviolent efforts.

Slowly but surely, our southern affiliates continued their building and organizing. Seventy-nine counties conducted voter registration drives, while double that number carried on political education and get-out-the-vote efforts. In spite of press opinions, our staff is still overwhelmingly a southern-based staff. One hundred and five persons have worked across the South under the direction of Hosea Williams. What used to be primarily a voter registration staff is actually a multifaceted program dealing with the total life of the community, from farm cooperatives, business development, tutorials, credit unions, etcetera. Especially to be commended are those ninety-nine communities and their staffs which maintain regular mass meetings throughout the year.

Our Citizenship Education Program continues to lay the solid foundation of adult education and community organization upon which all social change must ultimately rest. This year, five hundred local leaders received training at Dorchester and ten community centers through our Citizenship Education Program. They were trained in literacy, consumer education, planned parenthood, and many other things. And this program, so ably directed by Mrs. Dorothy Cotton, Mrs. Septima Clark, and their staff of eight persons, continues to cover ten southern states. Our auxiliary feature of C.E.P. is the aid which they have given to poor communities, poor counties in receiving and establishing O.E.O. projects. With the competent professional guidance of our marvelous staff member, Miss Mew Soong-Li, Lowndes and Wilcox counties in Alabama have pioneered in developing outstanding poverty programs totally controlled and operated by residents of the area.

Perhaps the area of greatest concentration of my efforts has been in the cities of Chicago and Cleveland. Chicago has been a wonderful proving ground for our work in the North. There have been no earth-shaking victories, but neither has there been failure. Our open housing marches, which finally brought about an agreement which actually calls the power structure of Chicago to capitulate to the civil rights movement, these marches and the agreement have finally begun to pay off. After the season of delay around election periods, the Leadership Conference, organized to meet our demands for an open city, has finally begun to implement the programs agreed to last summer.

But this is not the most important aspect of our work. As a result of our tenant union organizing, we have begun a four million dollar rehabilitation project, which will renovate deteriorating buildings and allow their tenants the opportunity to own their own homes. This pilot project was the inspiration for the new home ownership bill, which Senator Percy introduced in Congress only recently.

The most dramatic success in Chicago has been Operation Breadbasket. Through Operation Breadbasket we have now achieved for the Negro community of Chicago more than twenty-two hundred new jobs with an income of approximately eighteen million dollars a year, new income to the Negro community. [Applause] But not only have we gotten jobs through Operation Breadbasket in Chicago; there was another area through this economic program, and that was the development of financial institutions which were controlled by Negroes and which were sensitive to problems of economic deprivation of the Negro community. The two banks in Chicago that were interested in helping Negro businessmen were largely unable to loan much because of limited assets. Hi-Lo, one of the chain stores in Chicago, agreed to maintain substantial accounts in the two banks, thus increasing their ability to serve the needs of the Negro community. And I can say to you today that as a result of Operation Breadbasket in Chicago, both of these Negro-operated banks have now more than double their assets, and this has been done in less than a year by the work of Operation Breadbasket. [applause]

In addition, the ministers learned that Negro scavengers had been deprived of significant accounts in the ghetto. Whites controlled even the garbage of Negroes. Consequently, the chain stores agreed to contract with Negro scavengers to service at least the stores in Negro areas. Negro insect and rodent exterminators, as well as janitorial services, were likewise excluded from major contracts with chain stores. The chain stores also agreed to utilize these services. It also became apparent that chain stores advertised only rarely in Negro-owned community newspapers. This area of neglect was also negotiated, giving community newspapers regular, substantial accounts. And finally, the ministers found that Negro contractors, from painters to masons, from electricians to excavators, had also been forced to remain small by the monopolies of white contractors. Breadbasket negotiated agreements on new construction and rehabilitation work for the chain stores. These several interrelated aspects of economic development, all based on the power of organized consumers, hold great possibilities for dealing with the problems of Negroes in other northern cities. The kinds of requests made by Breadbasket in Chicago can be made not only of chain stores, but of almost any major industry in any city in the country.

And so Operation Breadbasket has a very simple program, but a powerful one. It simply says, "If you respect my dollar, you must respect my person." It simply says that we will no longer spend our money where we can not get substantial jobs. [applause]

In Cleveland, Ohio, a group of ministers have formed an Operation Breadbasket through our program there and have moved against a major dairy company. Their requests include jobs, advertising in Negro newspapers, and depositing funds in Negro financial institutions. This effort resulted in something marvelous. I went to Cleveland just last week to sign the agreement with Sealtest. We went to get the facts about their employment; we discovered that they had 442 employees and only forty-three were Negroes, yet the Negro population of Cleveland is thirty-five percent of the total population. They refused to give us all of the information that we requested, and we said in substance, "Mr. Sealtest, we're sorry. We aren't going to burn your store down. We aren't going to throw any bricks in the window. But we are going to put picket signs around and we are going to put leaflets out and we are going to our pulpits and tell them not to sell Sealtest products, and not to purchase Sealtest products."

We did that. We went through the churches. Reverend Dr. Hoover, who pastors the largest church in Cleveland, who's here today, and all of the ministers got together and got behind this program. We went to every store in the ghetto and said, "You must take Sealtest products off of your counters. If not, we're going to boycott your whole store." (That's right) A&P refused. We put picket lines around A&P; they have a hundred and some stores in Cleveland, and we picketed A&P and closed down eighteen of them in one day. Nobody went in A&P. [applause] The next day Mr. A&P was calling on us, and Bob Brown, who is here on our board and who is a public relations man representing a number of firms, came in. They called him in because he worked for A&P, also; and they didn't know he worked for us, too. [laughter] Bob Brown sat down with A&P, and he said, they said, "Now, Mr. Brown, what would you advise us to do." He said, "I would advise you to take Sealtest products off of all of your counters." A&P agreed next day not only to take Sealtest products off of the counters in the ghetto, but off of the counters of every A&P store in Cleveland, and they said to Sealtest, "If you don’t reach an agreement with SCLC and Operation Breadbasket, we will take Sealtest products off of every A&P store in the state of Ohio."

The next day [applause], the next day the Sealtest people were talking nice [laughter], they were very humble. And I am proud to say that I went to Cleveland just last Tuesday, and I sat down with the Sealtest people and some seventy ministers from Cleveland, and we signed the agreement. This effort resulted in a number of jobs, which will bring almost five hundred thousand dollars of new income to the Negro community a year. [applause] We also said to Sealtest, "The problem that we face is that the ghetto is a domestic colony that's constantly drained without being replenished. And you are always telling us to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps, and yet we are being robbed every day. Put something back in the ghetto." So along with our demand for jobs, we said, "We also demand that you put money in the Negro savings and loan association and that you take ads, advertise, in the ClevelandCall & Post , the Negro newspaper." So along with the new jobs, Sealtest has now deposited thousands of dollars in the Negro bank of Cleveland and has already started taking ads in the Negro newspaper in that city. This is the power of Operation Breadbasket. [applause]

Now, for fear that you may feel that it’s limited to Chicago and Cleveland, let me say to you that we've gotten even more than that. In Atlanta, Georgia, Breadbasket has been equally successful in the South. Here the emphasis has been divided between governmental employment and private industry. And while I do not have time to go into the details, I want to commend the men who have been working with it here: the Reverend Bennett, the Reverend Joe Boone, the Reverend J. C. Ward, Reverend Dorsey, Reverend Greer, and I could go on down the line, and they have stood up along with all of the other ministers. But here is the story that's not printed in the newspapers in Atlanta: as a result of Operation Breadbasket, over the last three years, we have added about twenty-five million dollars of new income to the Negro community every year. [applause]

Now as you know, Operation Breadbasket has now gone national in the sense that we had a national conference in Chicago and agreed to launch a nationwide program, which you will hear more about.

Finally, SCLC has entered the field of housing. Under the leadership of attorney James Robinson, we have already contracted to build 152 units of low-income housing with apartments for the elderly on a choice downtown Atlanta site under the sponsorship of Ebenezer Baptist Church. This is the first project [applause], this is the first project of a proposed southwide Housing Development Corporation which we hope to develop in conjunction with SCLC, and through this corporation we hope to build housing from Mississippi to North Carolina using Negro workmen, Negro architects, Negro attorneys, and Negro financial institutions throughout. And it is our feeling that in the next two or three years, we can build right here in the South forty million dollars worth of new housing for Negroes, and with millions and millions of dollars in income coming to the Negro community. [applause]

Now there are many other things that I could tell you, but time is passing. This, in short, is an account of SCLC's work over the last year. It is a record of which we can all be proud.

With all the struggle and all the achievements, we must face the fact, however, that the Negro still lives in the basement of the Great Society. He is still at the bottom, despite the few who have penetrated to slightly higher levels. Even where the door has been forced partially open, mobility for the Negro is still sharply restricted. There is often no bottom at which to start, and when there is there's almost no room at the top. In consequence, Negroes are still impoverished aliens in an affluent society. They are too poor even to rise with the society, too impoverished by the ages to be able to ascend by using their own resources. And the Negro did not do this himself; it was done to him. For more than half of his American history, he was enslaved. Yet, he built the spanning bridges and the grand mansions, the sturdy docks and stout factories of the South. His unpaid labor made cotton "King" and established America as a significant nation in international commerce. Even after his release from chattel slavery, the nation grew over him, submerging him. It became the richest, most powerful society in the history of man, but it left the Negro far behind.

And so we still have a long, long way to go before we reach the promised land of freedom. Yes, we have left the dusty soils of Egypt, and we have crossed a Red Sea that had for years been hardened by a long and piercing winter of massive resistance, but before we reach the majestic shores of the promised land, there will still be gigantic mountains of opposition ahead and prodigious hilltops of injustice. (Yes, That’s right) We still need some Paul Revere of conscience to alert every hamlet and every village of America that revolution is still at hand. Yes, we need a chart; we need a compass; indeed, we need some North Star to guide us into a future shrouded with impenetrable uncertainties.

Now, in order to answer the question, "Where do we go from here?" which is our theme, we must first honestly recognize where we are now. When the Constitution was written, a strange formula to determine taxes and representation declared that the Negro was sixty percent of a person. Today another curious formula seems to declare he is fifty percent of a person. Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. Of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites. Thus, half of all Negroes live in substandard housing. And Negroes have half the income of whites. When we turn to the negative experiences of life, the Negro has a double share: There are twice as many unemployed; the rate of infant mortality among Negroes is double that of whites; and there are twice as many Negroes dying in Vietnam as whites in proportion to their size in the population. (Yes) [applause]

In other spheres, the figures are equally alarming. In elementary schools, Negroes lag one to three years behind whites, and their segregated schools (Yeah) receive substantially less money per student than the white schools. (Those schools) One-twentieth as many Negroes as whites attend college. Of employed Negroes, seventy-five percent hold menial jobs. This is where we are.

Where do we go from here? First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amid a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values. We must no longer be ashamed of being black. (All right) The job of arousing manhood within a people that have been taught for so many centuries that they are nobody is not easy.

Even semantics have conspired to make that which is black seem ugly and degrading. (Yes) In Roget's Thesaurus there are some 120 synonyms for blackness and at least sixty of them are offensive, such words as blot, soot, grim, devil, and foul. And there are some 134 synonyms for whiteness and all are favorable, expressed in such words as purity, cleanliness, chastity, and innocence. A white lie is better than a black lie. (Yes) The most degenerate member of a family is the "black sheep." (Yes) Ossie Davis has suggested that maybe the English language should be reconstructed so that teachers will not be forced to teach the Negro child sixty ways to despise himself, and thereby perpetuate his false sense of inferiority, and the white child 134 ways to adore himself, and thereby perpetuate his false sense of superiority. [applause] The tendency to ignore the Negro's contribution to American life and strip him of his personhood is as old as the earliest history books and as contemporary as the morning's newspaper. (Yes)

To offset this cultural homicide, the Negro must rise up with an affirmation of his own Olympian manhood. (Yes) Any movement for the Negro's freedom that overlooks this necessity is only waiting to be buried. (Yes) As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. (Yes) Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation, no Johnsonian civil rights bill can totally bring this kind of freedom. The Negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation. And with a spirit straining toward true self-esteem, the Negro must boldly throw off the manacles of self-abnegation and say to himself and to the world, "I am somebody. (Oh yeah) I am a person. I am a man with dignity and honor. (Go ahead) I have a rich and noble history, however painful and exploited that history has been. Yes, I was a slave through my foreparents (That’s right), and now I’m not ashamed of that. I'm ashamed of the people who were so sinful to make me a slave." (Yes sir) Yes [applause], yes, we must stand up and say, "I'm black (Yes sir), but I'm black and beautiful." (Yes) This [applause], this self-affirmation is the black man's need, made compelling (All right) by the white man's crimes against him. (Yes)

Now another basic challenge is to discover how to organize our strength in to economic and political power. Now no one can deny that the Negro is in dire need of this kind of legitimate power. Indeed, one of the great problems that the Negro confronts is his lack of power. From the old plantations of the South to the newer ghettos of the North, the Negro has been confined to a life of voicelessness (That’s true) and powerlessness. (So true) Stripped of the right to make decisions concerning his life and destiny he has been subject to the authoritarian and sometimes whimsical decisions of the white power structure. The plantation and the ghetto were created by those who had power, both to confine those who had no power and to perpetuate their powerlessness. Now the problem of transforming the ghetto, therefore, is a problem of power, a confrontation between the forces of power demanding change and the forces of power dedicated to the preserving of the status quo. Now, power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political, and economic change. Walter Reuther defined power one day. He said, "Power is the ability of a labor union like UAW to make the most powerful corporation in the world, General Motors, say, 'Yes' when it wants to say 'No.' That's power." [applause]

Now a lot of us are preachers, and all of us have our moral convictions and concerns, and so often we have problems with power. But there is nothing wrong with power if power is used correctly.

You see, what happened is that some of our philosophers got off base. And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites, polar opposites, so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love. It was this misinterpretation that caused the philosopher Nietzsche, who was a philosopher of the will to power, to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject Nietzsche's philosophy of the will to power in the name of the Christian idea of love.

Now, we got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. (Yes) Power at its best [applause], power at its best is love (Yes) implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. (Speak) And this is what we must see as we move on.

Now what has happened is that we've had it wrong and mixed up in our country, and this has led Negro Americans in the past to seek their goals through love and moral suasion devoid of power, and white Americans to seek their goals through power devoid of love and conscience. It is leading a few extremists today to advocate for Negroes the same destructive and conscienceless power that they have justly abhorred in whites. It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our times. (Yes)

Now we must develop progress, or rather, a program—and I can't stay on this long—that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income. Now, early in the century this proposal would have been greeted with ridicule and denunciation as destructive of initiative and responsibility. At that time economic status was considered the measure of the individual's abilities and talents. And in the thinking of that day, the absence of worldly goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber. We've come a long way in our understanding of human motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system. Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment against their will. The poor are less often dismissed, I hope, from our conscience today by being branded as inferior and incompetent. We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy develops and expands, it does not eliminate all poverty.

The problem indicates that our emphasis must be twofold: We must create full employment, or we must create incomes. People must be made consumers by one method or the other. Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available. In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he wrote inProgress and Poverty:

The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind, the work which extends knowledge and increases power and enriches literature and elevates thought, is not done to secure a living. It is not the work of slaves driven to their tasks either by the, that of a taskmaster or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who somehow find a form of work that brings a security for its own sake and a state of society where want is abolished.

Work of this sort could be enormously increased, and we are likely to find that the problem of housing, education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished. The poor, transformed into purchasers, will do a great deal on their own to alter housing decay. Negroes, who have a double disability, will have a greater effect on discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use in their struggle.

Beyond these advantages, a host of positive psychological changes inevitably will result from widespread economic security. The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions concerning his life are in his own hands, when he has the assurance that his income is stable and certain, and when he knows that he has the means to seek self-improvement. Personal conflicts between husband, wife, and children will diminish when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars is eliminated.

Now, our country can do this. John Kenneth Galbraith said that a guaranteed annual income could be done for about twenty billion dollars a year. And I say to you today, that if our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God's children on their own two feet right here on earth. [applause]

Now, let me rush on to say we must reaffirm our commitment to nonviolence. And I want to stress this. The futility of violence in the struggle for racial justice has been tragically etched in all the recent Negro riots. Now, yesterday, I tried to analyze the riots and deal with the causes for them. Today I want to give the other side. There is something painfully sad about a riot. One sees screaming youngsters and angry adults fighting hopelessly and aimlessly against impossible odds. (Yeah) And deep down within them, you perceive a desire for self-destruction, a kind of suicidal longing. (Yes)

Occasionally, Negroes contend that the 1965 Watts riot and the other riots in various cities represented effective civil rights action. But those who express this view always end up with stumbling words when asked what concrete gains have been won as a result. At best, the riots have produced a little additional anti-poverty money allotted by frightened government officials and a few water sprinklers to cool the children of the ghettos. It is something like improving the food in the prison while the people remain securely incarcerated behind bars. (That’s right) Nowhere have the riots won any concrete improvement such as have the organized protest demonstrations.

And when one tries to pin down advocates of violence as to what acts would be effective, the answers are blatantly illogical. Sometimes they talk of overthrowing racist state and local governments and they talk about guerrilla warfare. They fail to see that no internal revolution has ever succeeded in overthrowing a government by violence unless the government had already lost the allegiance and effective control of its armed forces. Anyone in his right mind knows that this will not happen in the United States. In a violent racial situation, the power structure has the local police, the state troopers, the National Guard, and finally, the army to call on, all of which are predominantly white. (Yes) Furthermore, few, if any, violent revolutions have been successful unless the violent minority had the sympathy and support of the non-resisting majority. Castro may have had only a few Cubans actually fighting with him and up in the hills (Yes), but he would have never overthrown the Batista regime unless he had had the sympathy of the vast majority of Cuban people. It is perfectly clear that a violent revolution on the part of American blacks would find no sympathy and support from the white population and very little from the majority of the Negroes themselves.

This is no time for romantic illusions and empty philosophical debates about freedom. This is a time for action. (All right) What is needed is a strategy for change, a tactical program that will bring the Negro into the mainstream of American life as quickly as possible. So far, this has only been offered by the nonviolent movement. Without recognizing this we will end up with solutions that don't solve, answers that don't answer, and explanations that don't explain. [applause]

And so I say to you today that I still stand by nonviolence. (Yes) And I am still convinced [applause], and I'm still convinced that it is the most potent weapon available to the Negro in his struggle for justice in this country.

And the other thing is, I'm concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice; I'm concerned about brotherhood; I'm concerned about truth. (That’s right) And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder. (Yes) Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. (That's right) Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate through violence. (All right, That’s right) Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that. [applause]

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. (Yes) And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. (No) And I'm not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I'm talking about a strong, demanding love. (Yes) For I have seen too much hate. (Yes) I've seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. (Yeah) I've seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. (Yes, That’s right) I have decided to love. [applause] If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren't moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. (Yes) He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

And so I say to you today, my friends, that you may be able to speak with the tongues of men and angels (All right); you may have the eloquence of articulate speech; but if you have not love, it means nothing. (That's right) Yes, you may have the gift of prophecy; you may have the gift of scientific prediction (Yes sir) and understand the behavior of molecules (All right); you may break into the storehouse of nature (Yes sir) and bring forth many new insights; yes, you may ascend to the heights of academic achievement (Yes sir) so that you have all knowledge (Yes sir, Yes); and you may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent of your degrees; but if you have not love, all of these mean absolutely nothing. (Yes) You may even give your goods to feed the poor (Yes sir); you may bestow great gifts to charity (Speak); and you may tower high in philanthropy; but if you have not love, your charity means nothing. (Yes sir) You may even give your body to be burned and die the death of a martyr, and your spilt blood may be a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn, and thousands may praise you as one of history's greatest heroes; but if you have not love (Yes, All right), your blood was spilt in vain. What I'm trying to get you to see this morning is that a man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety may feed his pride. (Speak) So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.

I want to say to you as I move to my conclusion, as we talk about "Where do we go from here?" that we must honestly face the fact that the movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. (Yes) There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, "Why are there forty million poor people in America?" And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. (Yes) And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's marketplace. (Yes) But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. (All right) It means that questions must be raised. And you see, my friends, when you deal with this you begin to ask the question, "Who owns the oil?" (Yes) You begin to ask the question, "Who owns the iron ore?" (Yes) You begin to ask the question, "Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that's two-thirds water?" (All right) These are words that must be said. (All right)

Now, don't think you have me in a bind today. I'm not talking about communism. What I'm talking about is far beyond communism. (Yeah) My inspiration didn't come from Karl Marx (Speak); my inspiration didn't come from Engels; my inspiration didn't come from Trotsky; my inspiration didn't come from Lenin. Yes, I readCommunist Manifesto and Das Kapital a long time ago (Well), and I saw that maybe Marx didn't follow Hegel enough. (All right ) He took his dialectics, but he left out his idealism and his spiritualism. And he went over to a German philosopher by the name of Feuerbach, and took his materialism and made it into a system that he called "dialectical materialism." (Speak) I have to reject that.

What I'm saying to you this morning is communism forgets that life is individual. (Yes) Capitalism forgets that life is social. (Yes, Go ahead) And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis. (Speak) [applause] It is found in a higher synthesis (Come on) that combines the truths of both. (Yes) Now, when I say questioning the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. (All right) These are the triple evils that are interrelated.

And if you will let me be a preacher just a little bit. (Speak) One day [applause], one night, a juror came to Jesus (Yes sir) and he wanted to know what he could do to be saved. (Yeah) Jesus didn't get bogged down on the kind of isolated approach of what you shouldn't do. Jesus didn't say, "Now Nicodemus, you must stop lying." (Oh yeah) He didn't say, "Nicodemus, now you must not commit adultery." He didn't say, "Now Nicodemus, you must stop cheating if you are doing that." He didn't say, "Nicodemus, you must stop drinking liquor if you are doing that excessively." He said something altogether different, because Jesus realized something basic (Yes): that if a man will lie, he will steal. (Yes) And if a man will steal, he will kill. (Yes) So instead of just getting bogged down on one thing, Jesus looked at him and said, "Nicodemus, you must be born again." [applause]

In other words, "Your whole structure (Yes) must be changed." [applause] A nation that will keep people in slavery for 244 years will "thingify" them and make them things. (Speak) And therefore, they will exploit them and poor people generally economically. (Yes) And a nation that will exploit economically will have to have foreign investments and everything else, and it will have to use its military might to protect them. All of these problems are tied together. (Yes) [applause]

What I'm saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, "America, you must be born again!" [applause] (Oh yes)

And so, I conclude by saying today that we have a task, and let us go out with a divine dissatisfaction. (Yes)

Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. (All right)

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice. (Yes sir)

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history (Yes), and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home.

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.

Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.

Let us be dissatisfied (All right) until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin. (Yeah) Let us be dissatisfied. [applause]

Let us be dissatisfied (Well) until every state capitol (Yes) will be housed by a governor who will do justly, who will love mercy, and who will walk humbly with his God.

Let us be dissatisfied [applause] until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. (Yes)

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until that day when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together (Yes), and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.

Let us be dissatisfied (Yes), and men will recognize that out of one blood (Yes) God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. (Speak sir)

Let us be dissatisfied until that day when nobody will shout, "White Power!" when nobody will shout, "Black Power!" but everybody will talk about God's power and human power. [applause]

And I must confess, my friends (Yes sir), that the road ahead will not always be smooth. (Yes) There will still be rocky places of frustration (Yes) and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. (Yes) And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. (Well) Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. (Yes) We may again, with tear-drenched eyes, have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. (Well) But difficult and painful as it is (Well), we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. (Well) And as we continue our charted course, we may gain consolation from the words so nobly left by that great black bard, who was also a great freedom fighter of yesterday, James Weldon Johnson (Yes):

Stony the road we trod (Yes),

Bitter the chastening rod

Felt in the days

When hope unborn had died. (Yes)

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet

Come to the place

For which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way

That with tears has been watered. (Well)

We have come treading our paths

Through the blood of the slaughtered.

Out from the gloomy past,

Till now we stand at last (Yes)

Where the bright gleam

Of our bright star is cast.

Let this affirmation be our ringing cry. (Well) It will give us the courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. (Yes) When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair (Well), and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights (Well), let us remember (Yes) that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil (Well), a power that is able to make a way out of no way (Yes) and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. (Speak)

Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Let us realize that William Cullen Bryant is right: "Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again." Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right: "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. (Oh yeah) Whatsoever a man soweth (Yes), that (Yes) shall he also reap." This is our hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow, with a cosmic past tense, "We have overcome! (Yes) We have overcome! Deep in my heart, I did believe (Yes) we would overcome." [applause]

Monday, May 2, 2011

Celebrating Death?

What does it say about the society we live in when we celebrate the death of a man? I understand the may implications that Osama Bin Laden's death has but a celebration?Anyone who knows death knows that there is no glory in it. There is no joy in taking the life of another person. And there should never be a celebration.To celebrate the death of one for killing isn't just wrong but absurd. I'm not taking a stance on his righteousness, far from it. I am saying that it's pretty scary to hear so many people elated over the news. Where does it end? When does the desensitization of the finality of death end? When we celebrate the death of another human being we push boundaries that are sacred. Life is sacred. Death, although an inevitable end to life is never a thing to be taken lightly. Killing even less so. Sure sometimes it may be justified. Sure at times it may be warranted. That doesn't mean it is to be celebrated.

We need to get back to loving one another, setting aside our differences, looking to understand each other and find a better way for all people. We don't need to be celebrating the death of any person. No matter how evil we may judge him to be.

Just my thoughts.




Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poem - I Use To...

I use to say "I can't"
And I could tell you why
But it doesn't really matter
All that does is I didn't even try.
I use to run from this feeling
Even though I knew it was right
Until I surrendered to the fact I deserve happiness
And stopped the upstream fight.
I use to think that love
Came with a price too heavy to pay
But now I know there's nothing I won't do
For love, verily.
I use to let my physical
Rule what needs had to be fulfilled
Thank God I've turned my spirit into my Captain
And developed true free will
I use to despise discipline
For I viewed it as a prison cell
But now I see it for true freedom
For what I say I'll do I know I will.
I use to think that vulnerability
Was weakness in the flesh
But now I know that this is one quality
That allows me to be my best.
I use to think that going Diep
Was something I should fear
Cause I thought there would be nothing worse
Than losing someone I hold dear.
I use to make the easy choice
But not the one I knew in my soul was right
I once was lost but again I've been found
Thanks, in part, to Her light.
Now I know I can
And I'll do more than just try
For with hunger, humility, faith & Love
"Whatever it takes" I'll fly.

If you enjoyed this please Subscribe to this page & join me on facebook

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dreams vs. Reality or Making Dreams Reality. Your choice.

"There are some people who live in a dream world,
and there are some who face reality;
and then there are those who turn one into the other."

A friend of someone I adore sent this to them & they shared it with me to help add to my inspiration for the day (one of the many reason I can list why I adore 'em).
And now it's my turn to pay it forward.

Let me go on record to say that I believe positive thinking is ruining our society. The secret is an awesome tool or concept or theory. The problem with theories, concepts or tools is that they don't do much on their own. Ever see a screw driver walk over to a loose screw & just tighten it up? Exactly.
Positive thinking takes you out of the realm of reality which takes you out of the role of cause in affecting your ability to effect your circumstance, situation, perspective & results. Positive thinking is a band aid solution to an issue. Positive thinking is a hope for attitude usually followed up with a post action free nothing happened expression.
The other end of the spectrum is negative thinking. You know the "it's the end of the world, how can I go on, life is so unfair so I'm just going to stop fighting or making any effort to move forward" type thinking that doesn't serve any of us in a constructive manner. Throw this out too.
Reality is where it's at. You see when we look at things from a realistic point of view we're able to figure out what we have, what we want & what direction to head in to get it.
When we look at things from a realistic point of view we are able to assess, evaluate, plan, take action and then re evaluate, measure, manage and continue towards our goal. We are in affect, able to effect our outcome. Or be at cause which is the only path to the joy of setting sail on the life of our dreams.

This quote sang to me. Why? Because of it's simplicity. Because of what it presupposes. Because of where it came from.

I've got dreams. Big dreams. Huge dreams. The reality of the journey I've been on is that each step towards each dream has been wrought with more & more tests of my spirit, my will & my passion. Each step closer proves to be harder than the last yet easier than the next. I've worked on in joy. I've shuffled on in despair. I've walked, ran, flown, climbed and crawled towards 'em.
I don't know how long it'll be until I complete this step but I know I'll complete it & move to the next. How else am I to be one of "those who turn one into the other."
Hope you find your simple but not easy path to making your dreams & reality one & the same.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm Coming Out/Movies Lie.

2 titles. One message.

I'm coming out!
My name is Mark Sparks and I am an Actor. My chosen profession leaves me with a wee more free time than most people so I am also a Conditioning Specialist. People always ask me if that means I'm a personal trainer and to keep interactions light I say yes. Usually preceded by a long "ummm". What I really do is work with people to help them gain things in their lives that they desire and deserve. With many of the men I work with (shout out to www.MensRoom.tv - and if you haven't seen it swing on by to see what the buzz is all about. Shameless plug, season 2 was so much fun to shoot and so enlightening) the topic that comes up most frequently is dating. Well actually the lack of dating. Which usually leads to the lack of relating or as most people call 'em relationships. My job? To help them discover the inspiration within their own souls so that they can first shine and then attract to them that which they desire - in this case relationships.
My name is Mark Sparks and I just came out.
(please email all requests for coaching to Mark@MarkSparks.com)

Okay, now to the second part, Movies Lie!
I am always searching for understanding of human interaction. I am inspired by people who are able to make changes in their lives by changing their habits, actions and in turn beliefs (shout out to my home girl E!) In my search to understand my own motivation and in turn what motivates other people to take action I read countless books, travel to seminars, pay very exceptional professionals for mentorship, interview experts, host a show, watch documentaries, television and movies and speak to a lot of people face to face or via email or the phone. In my 10 year search I have concluded a few things that are true. What does this have to do with movies lying to us you ask?

Movies make us believe that life happens in 90-120minutes. Sometimes a little longer but not much. Movies make us believe that we will meet the person of our dreams, that we will instantly change from who we are to the person we desire to be with minimal effort, that we are in an instant able to dismiss all the situations and circumstances around us that make being in a relationship with our dream person impossible (read all those other guys/girls you've been 'casually' dating - whatever that means to you).
Movies lie.

Movies will have you believe that "and they live happily ever after" is it. That attaining the dream person is not only the beginning of the relationship but the only part that requires our effort. In movies the guy will jump onto runways, run in the rain, stand outside a locked window freezing or outside a locked door confessing his undying love. In the movies the woman will succumb to his romantic proclamations of love and end up in his arms. In the movies love prevails and the two hug, kiss and then the credits roll.
Movies lie

In real life, "the end" is really the beginning. In real life saying "I love you" means far less than showing it. In real life the connection, trust and respect necessary to build a lasting relating experience takes a little longer than 90-120minutes. In the movie the guy gets one shot, takes it and against all odds wins. That's probably part of why we like movies so much. It's probably also the biggest relationship lie.

Gentleman (and ladies), the awesome thing about life is that it's a marathon, not a sprint. We get more than one opportunity at 'the dream person'. In life we mess up because we don't have a team of writers to aid us in articulating our true thoughts. We don't have a director mapping out our blocking (where you need to go to make the scene work). We don't have a co-star who is there to first create drama and then fall for you at the directed and scripted time.
In life we say the wrong things, we do the wrong things and we sometimes even do the wrong people (yes I said it, we grown you know what I'm talking about). The beauty of life is that we always have another shot. And more than 90-120minutes. The truth is that too many people quit fighting for what they want - or specifically the woman (or man) of their dreams because there first attempt was brushed off. How's that for passion?
Here's something my Grandma taught me - if you want something, go out and do whatever it takes to get it. Do that from a place of love and you can't ever fail.
That's passion. But that takes patience & perseverance and if your living according to a movie you only have 90-120minutes.
Luckily life is not a movie.
Now excuse me, I've got someone to call...
Stay Blessed,


Saturday, April 23, 2011

"I Feel You"

I feel you.

You ever "just know"? As in, no words, no reasons, no factual data to confirm nor deny yet you just know?
Knowing without knowing.

The Tao Te Ching speaks on relativity:
"We know beauty because there is ugly
We know good because there is evil
Being and not being
Having and not having
Create each other."

The bible calls it faith:
"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for
and assurance about what we do not see."

Even the movie Avatar –You’ve never watched the movie Avatar? Really? Wow. I mean my Grandma's seen it and she’s 96 – anyways, there is a part in the movie where they use the phrase "I see you" which refers not to a physical sight but one of spiritual insight, or seeing the spirit of someone, the light that shine from within.

Confidence in what we do not see... Knowing without knowing... “Seeing”… Hmmm.

Knowing without knowing. You know? (Hehe).
It’s a crazy thing to feel someone. Like feel someone.
It’s one of the rarest of emotions. And I’m not talking just physically either, deeper. Though I am acknowledging it’s physical as well.
It’s not a sum of attributes or a combination of admirable qualities. It’s bigger than any resume could describe.
To feel them before you see them. To know before you know.

There’s this concept I’ve been meditating on for the last little while: Surrender.
It’s crazy how freeing it truly is. I’ve also meditated on another subject quite heavily for the last year: putting your whole self in.
Lots of times we give ourselves options ‘just in case’ to make sure that we don’t get hurt, that we don’t loose what we have or can have by going all in. Sometimes we know we need to go all in, we want to go all in, we’re destined to go all in but there’s a part in all of us that yearns to control our lives, control our futures and control our feelings. And to an extent we can. And then there’s that other piece which we cannot.
That piece where we simply “know without knowing”. That piece that we feel before we see. That piece that creates something within us that cannot be replicated by anything else but demands our all in order to ever truly realize it’s full potential to make us wholer. Yes I said wholer. It’s a word that describes being whole alone and finding that which makes your whole even more whole. Wholer. Now that you understand that back to the ‘point’.
The redemption found in risking everything and the pain that comes along with it, as was once said, isn’t the pain itself. Or the suffering. It’s in what or rather who we become on the journey and more so that on the other side of that pain awaiting us is a joy unknown. A joy that can only be found on the other side of that pain.
And there in lies the redemption.
The pleasure that can only exist after the pain of that journey.
The pleasure that can only “be” after the passage to the other side.

So back to the title “I feel you”.
Translation --> I know without knowing. I feel without thought. I understand without explanation. I dig without a shovel. It’s effort not work. It’s simple not easy. I know because relativity makes it so. I know because I just know.
Why? Cause even before I see you I feel you. No proof. Just faith.

So when we know, just know, we need to go. Just go. No questions, no pause for understanding. Just go.
Surrender yourself in order to experience unexplainable freedom.
Go in. All in. No noise. No other option.
Cause you feel it.