at the risk of seeming ridiculous…

over there.

Posted in heard thoughts, written thoughts by Charles on April 28, 2010

i often think of what’s better “over there”.  that perhaps i’d be more happy, more joyful if i were more like that person over there.  that i’d be a better musician if i could play like that guy over there.  that maybe i’d be more content if i were as smart as that person over there.  that things would be greater if my situation was like that over there.

from this sentiment, i often impose my ideals and life-thoughts on others out of this need to get them to that “over there”… even when that “over there” is an illusion, or perhaps that no one actually knows what “over there” is.  and really, that it is out of my own fear of not having what’s over there.

the “over there” is often opposed to your “right now”.  maybe it’s the restlessness of the moment.  perhaps it’s dissatisfaction.  maybe it’s tragedy.  whatever it may be, the “over there” is our greener pastures.  the “over there” is the unrealized dreams of the future… the longings of our past.

but i’m learning.  i’m realizing that the greener pastures don’t really exist.  even when we reach what we think is our over there… we meet yet another fence that separates us from our unrealized goal, whatever that may be.

i’m learning that all we really have is right now, the present moment.  that is all we are promised.  and i’m learning that from this place… i don’t have much that i can impose.  because i often don’t know what helps me get in here.  my blanket reason is that God helps me be present.  and at the heart of the matter… for me… that’s really the only way i know how to describe it.  i can try to discipline myself to meditate… to pray.  but that doesn’t mean that i’ll always be present.  or in another sense, i can play with the same band, at the same place, at the same time, with the same tunes night after night… but that doesn’t mean that we’ll all get lost in that groove.  it doesn’t mean we’ll encounter freedom.

so it is from this place that i am trying to write… or rather… it is this place that i am constantly searching for.  and it is from here… that i can’t impose anything on anyone.  my sense of spirituality, my understanding of the world and God, my feeling of how things can be.  all i can really do is try to help people get into that similar space.  that realm where you can feel deeply, be awake, and encounter an openness to where you’ll be led.  sometimes… this is a smile.  a kind gesture.  a prayer.  a moving conversation.  offering a song.

whatever helps me express what this moment means… and whatever helps you feel it.  that is all we can ever really do.

that here, i can be content.  here, i can be joyful.
here, i don’t have to look that far to find something beautiful.


wrote a new one.

Posted in heard thoughts, visual thoughts, written thoughts by Charles on March 16, 2010

a tune i wrote and arranged dedicated to boston progress arts collective (

this was a special moment for me because it was one of the few times that i “led” a jazz band… and the first time that i did it on keys. these musicians came together graciously for this event. we were only able to run through the song twice… and this was our first time playing together as a group.

it was messy.
it was raw.
it was honest.

hope you feel it.

jack deboe: drums
freddy deboe: sax/flute
afro d: trumpet (
takenori nyshiuchi: guitar
kohei kimura: bass
chuck kim: piano

So I’m in a Music Video…

Posted in heard thoughts, visual thoughts by Charles on December 11, 2009

Shot back in June with Wong Fu.
The artist is my long-time friend, music collaborator and brother.
Check out some of his stuff:

A Poet by Way of Palestine.

Posted in heard thoughts, visual thoughts by Charles on November 2, 2008

We Can’t Run an Empire…

Posted in heard thoughts, visual thoughts by Charles on September 17, 2008

Obama for ’08

Posted in heard thoughts, visual thoughts, written thoughts by Charles on August 16, 2007

Let me start off with my thoughts on politics.  The system of politics, for me, must create the conditions necessary for people themselves to do what they can for each other.  In this sense, government itself is a contingent entity, which must fluctuate depending on the sorts of demands by the people.  Democratic… yes.  That said, I believe it is an ignorant notion to think we vote people into office to do the work for us.  No policy change will end racism.  No policy change will end poverty.  No policy change will end sexism.  It is, rather, the people themselves who must change and must act.  Policy must follow accordingly to make those movements possible.  If we want change, we must take responsibility and do it ourselves.  We can’t wait for someone to do it for us miles away in a white house.  It is really our task.

Grassroots activism is how change really happens.  If you read your history, you will know that too.  Societies and their political systems change because the people rise up and change it.  A good politician helps make that happen.  Obama is that kind of man for me.  He was a community organizer.  He understands the grassroots process.  And with his experience as a civil rights attorney, he also understands how to make that happen.

So let me cut to the chase and be frank.  Obama understands the plight of the poor.  You can see it in his senate voting record.  And honestly, that is the most important issue in my opinion.  For it is a tragic betrayal of American ideals that a family ought to go hungry.  It is blasphemous to think a child cannot get treated due to health care costs.  Painful to see schools get shut down from under-funding.  Ironic that a student must go kill another man in order to have the financial means to attend school.  You see, poverty is a pervasive issue.  It affects all realms of life.  On a deeper level, poverty is the very negation of what humanity is.

He’s fought against poverty.  He’s voted against it.  And his focus on it is refreshing.  After all, how you judge a country’s character is to look at how it treats its poor and downtrodden.

That is what is most important for me.  All other issues are secondary.  Though, how he stands on the other issues are quite inspiring as well.  But you can check that out yourself.

Obama being pushed into the presidential candidacy was a grassroots phenomenon.  Whereas Clinton is really just a reflection of the Washington establishment… not the present administration but rather the process of getting there.  But Clinton is a great candidate too.  I just prefer Obama.

Anyways.  Obama for ’08.

Now… where can I get my shirt?