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spacer.gif   American Open Mike Volume 2: The Rev. Rodney Reinhart
Posted by : cj on Thursday, July 27, 2006 - 10:32 AM
American Open Mike:  New American Voices .

** The Rev. Rodney Reinhart **


I am paralyzed
You looked at me across the bar and left me paralyzed
Profound serpentine energy
Rose like lightning bolts in my soul and left me paralyzed
Your eyes locked in on mine
Like radar on an Iraqi Bomber
A heat-seeking missile took off
In my gut and it's headed for you
And I cannot stop it because
I'm paralyzed
Your eyes drilled deep in mine
And your lips licked like Lava
Flowed in slow motion to the sea
I stood there paralyzed in desire
To drill an oil well in your heart
And pump forth oceans of
Unfulfilled desperation and need.
You reached out to me and
Your hand moved with all the
Majesty of a New Orleans Jazz
Funeral or the coronation of the Queen and I wanted to kiss it and
Lick each finger as if frightened
by a mystic vision but something hot, sinewy, and succulent surged in my bones and I was paralyzed and able only to groan
You touched me and I was frozen in mid flight like the bishop's hands upon my head or Mohammed Ali's fist upon my face and I wanted to so much to say, "I love you" but I was paralyzed
and could only croak out "Hi!"
And when you spoke, that voice of hot honey and liquid steel streamed into my
Ears and down the small of my back with the burning tingling fire of lust so close to fulfillment that my whole Body shrieked for release
And you asked me the question…
The question each man so longs
To hear…

"Hey baby," you said, "Do you wanna….?"
And voices screamed like the
Oceans in my ears, "Yes… Yes...
I wanna! I wanna! I really do wanna"

"Hey baby," you said, "Do you wanna help me find the Lady's Room?"
And I said, "Yes! Yes! I wanna
I wanna help you.
I wanna… I wanna…. I wanna.
It's just past the pool table
And down the hall

And you walked away
Like Lincoln at Gettysburg
Or Jackie at Arlington
Or Monica in the Oval Office
And I was too paralyzed to

Torture Today

We feel today like
Overwhelmingly significant
Information starved soldiers
We scar the souls of children
Abducting vulnerable young men
Subjecting them to
Sustained blood stained drilling
As we stared cheering from the stairs
Watching them drown
In rivers of freshly cut flesh

Oh we loath trudging to the office
Shopping for old branding irons
Asking permission
Or obeying conventions
Listening for ticking bombs
Or the cry of the conscience
At inconvenient times

We seek precise items
To help us find secret
Hidden knowledge
Obtained in dark places
From reputable dealers
Who whisper high prices
To suitable patrons
In cryptic transactions
Away from large crowds
Who assure delivery
To late night places
In far corners of the globe
Where no one hears
the screams


America, we see ourselves through misty
Mirrors of meaningless dreams
Who condemned us to despair?
Who will rock us from the rut
Of diamond ice
Crystallized like a crack baby's scream

We remember '48…Kent State and '68
Days of purity and days of rage
Days we walked the streets uncaged like tigers
And felt the summer soft against our skin
Days are coming and days have been
When we shall walk those streets again

Days when we could float a loan on an ice-cream cone
Days our festively physical lives were filled with force and flowers
Days we could feel that power for hours
And cops would cower when the crowd came by

It is no lost youth. It is the coming of truth
Some wildly renewing force and faith
Dwelling within us…welling up from us
Flowers breaking through stone

Agony across Africa
Freedom born of blood
Stonewalls fall in a cataclysm of flame
And empires crumble
Consumed in the comfort of his smiling eyes

And we, in America
Trapped by mist and mirrors
Faith defying…. death denying
Trapped by lies disguised as smiles
Desperate to believe our own press-releases
While our machines melt in our hands

Whose voice have we heard
In this disturbingly absurd urban reality
Was it King, or the crack dealer?
Mandala, or the man with the gun?

We have borrowed every dime
To pay of the hucksters and the hustlers
Who sold us the promise that hate was just fine?
We are become the Prodigal Son and we can't go home this time

And my job and my jaccuzi got me jacked up in chain
And I see I sold my soul for vasciline visions and a viper’s bite
And you won’t be free till I’ve unchained your neck from my knee
And I won’t be free till you’ve unchained your hate from my heart
But the word has been spoken
We are called to hear it
We must be touched by that truth
Enflamed by their spirit

We must be gleamed by their gleaming
The mirror must be broken
So we are no longer falling or screaming

We have heard their voices
Comforting the nails in our hearts
We awoke to focus a broken song
A word spoken in pain
A token long gone
Down roads of redemption
Drawing down dawn

Days are coming
Days will be
Mountains falling
Haters flee

Days will be dancing
On flowers of desire
Dancing on flames
On the highest high wire
Falling and flying
Higher and higher

We kneel to seal
Our prayer with a prayer
Peace beyond flame
An end to despair

Joy beyond joy
Joy beyond sorrow
No lie can destroy
Our hope for tomorrow


The Rev. Rod Reinhart was one of the major poetic voices in the City of Detroit before he came to serve in the Episcopal Church here in Chicago. Fr. Reinhart played a significant role in the 1960's and 1980's revitalization of the cultural life of Detroit's Cass Corridor. Fr.. Reinhart co-founded Detroit's Community Concert Series. He founded the Plymouth Poet's Movement in Detroit's west suburbs. He also founded the Poet and the Power poetry cable TV show in 1994. He has been published in many small press books and magazines. He is also the founder of the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation, the international program to heal the wounds of racial and religious war.

Since coming to Chicago Fr. Reinhart has established Spirit Quest, a poetry reading on the south side. He is a co-founder of CASA, the Blue Island Hispanic empowerment group. He is an active member of Clergy Speaks Interdenominational, a new Chicago, church-based civil justice organization. He is also active with the Episcopal Church's Jubilee Ministries. Fr. Reinhart is the pastor of St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Blue Island. He is also the pastor of St. Joseph/St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in Blue Island.

Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

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