New Video for “A Pragmatist’s Guide to Faith”

We are the codes that our ancestors still speak in.

This is an older poem; I think I wrote this in 2013 or so. But having a new video of it (via Button Poetry) is a cool way to close out 2019. Like “A Pragmatist’s Guide to Magic,” and “A Pragmatist’s Guide to Revolution,” this is something I wrote for myself more than for any particular audience. Hope you like it, or that it can be valuable in some way to anyone else out there.

It’s also in my book, which is available here.

The words:

This is the art of drawing breath
Of making visible what has been invisible
This is a pragmatist’s guide to faith
This is singing when you don’t know how to pray
Welcome to this space; know that you are not welcome here
We are all trespassers, we are not welcome here
This universe would like nothing more than for you to not exist
And the proof is in the history you live, tell me this:
What are the odds that this planet would appear
In just the right place with the right atmosphere and geology?
What are the odds that life would suddenly spark
In the darkness from the carcass of this planet to a colony?
What are the odds that this anomaly would spread?
What are the odds it would survive and stay ahead
Of volcanic eruptions, meteorites and earthquakes
The first drum, first beat, first rhythm, first break
First time the notes broke to form a system
You could hear the first melody, the first multi-celled organism
What are the odds the first location to harbor life
Would meet another maybe fight or maybe harmonize?
But either way it would evolve,
So what are the odds it would evolve to walk and not crawl
To fly but not fall, to survive every single mass extinction
What are the odds of your existence?
How many generations did it take to make you?
How many plagues, wars and massacres conspired
To uproot your family tree and salt the earth around it
How many ancestors carried your fire?
How many farmers made it through the famine?
How many runaway slaves got away?
How many soldiers conscripted deserted?
How many times did that chain almost break?
How did your great great grandparents meet?
What was the song playing when you were conceived?
Is it inconceivable, the happenstance inherent in
This life you have inherited?
Some see the elegant complexity of bodies
Or the natural beauty of the planet and they say it’s godly
There’s gotta be divine intelligence behind it all
Because the odds that you would make it on your own are so small
But me? I see millennia trying to murder you
I see a thousand generations of pain and fear
I see struggle inscribed into your skeleton
And I see you still here
Ancestor armor, star-crossed survivor
An unwelcome guest in a hostile environment
Defiance is your birthright, fire from the first time
You drew breath, a smile on your face
Welcome to this space; know that you are not welcome here
We are all trespassers, we are not welcome here
So if our drawing breath is blasphemy, sin or treason
Let’s keep drawing breath until there’s nothing left to breathe in
We are the codes that our ancestors still speak in.