Winds of Change

Softly cup my hand to ear

As wind blows whispers that I hear

Sadness, loss, regret they bring

All shadows from my yesteryear

Words escape me, ones I’ve lost

I never knew how much it’d cost

When I thought not to buy a ring

The path I should, I never crossed

Now I’m forced to walk, move on

Time has passed; those moments, gone

And though I wish to have them back

I must stay focused on the dawn

For life is cruel, it won’t concede

Regardless if I pray and plead

And though I may not be on track

Faith in myself is all I need

Things in life, they come and go

And as I lift this small window

I look outside, only to see

That we reap the things we sow

Every action, every word

Is seen, or felt, or tasted, heard

And whether it is you, or me

Life’s purpose always seems so blurred

So, to you, who has a past

Do not let your transgressions last

We’re here, together, throughout our time

And everyone has sins amassed

Live with love, try to arrange

The life you want, an open grange

Do not break rhythm, just to rhyme

And always, ride, the winds of change

Woe is Me

Friday night, bars are closing

I don’t know why I’m here

Feelings hit me deep inside, stepping in this Uber ride

It’s loneliness I fear

Every time, inside my head

I say that she’s the one

Naïveté and ignorance have got me acting with no sense

So why oh why do I keep saying this is pointless and I’m done?

Finally things are going well

But like every other time

The real comes out and causes doubt

I cant stand the paradigm

I don’t think I’m wrong but

You don’t think I’m right why

Can’t we get along and

Not do this every night

I’m tired of the fighting, and

I’m tired of the arguin’

This only causes breakups and

Makes people want to live in sin

I wish more than anything

To find someone who’s struggling

Someone who sees the world like me

Who doesn’t judge and lives freely

A person who embraces flaws

Instead of these unspoken laws

Who’d rather sit and talk with me

Than go out for a shallow drink

Sadness sweeps so subtly

The more I think of you and me

I wish this world was different, see

Filled with love, and yet sadly

It’s superficiality

That guides our actions, you agree?

I beg your pardon, woe is me

This world is just…melancholy

My Hands

Never idle, on the move, ink pours on the page

The force that drives, a needed guide, is with me on this stage

I try to be an optimist, but sometimes I’m consumed by rage

Thinking of how things are done and how they could so quickly change

Yes all the world’s a stage you know, it’s something that you shan’t forget

The sun and stars would get along if only they’d shake hands and met

Humanity could follow suit, we’ve got the tech but somehow, yet

We manage to exacerbate the very things we should forget

Fossil fuels and everything, you know that it’s all temporary

But tell me more of how it works, and how mining isn’t mercenary

If you truly want to change the world into a gilded sanctuary

Then play the long game not the short, and hire you an actuary

Maybe they can run the numbers, project a truth that you won’t like

Their findings likely point to truth like human beings should take a hike

Sure, we all know that we need to build that interstate or that turnpike

Yet as we do this trees are cut, it’s like the land of the Third Reich

Yes it’s so, the world’s a stage, it’s just a game of checkers, chess

We put our pieces on the board, where we think they’ll help us best

And when we find a new chance to establish ourselves, let me guess

You want to build a military presence just to clean the mess

Sure my man, come on down, bring your gadgets and your tech

Cause I don’t really care what happens as long as I get that big check

You see this is why the world is wasted, all it’s countries are a wreck

We let the people be in charge that only care for their own neck

Maybe one day you’ll wake up, realize that this dream of yours

Doesn’t have to happen this way and you won’t be on all fours

Rising up and taking charge, you’ll fight and finely take these lands

Until then I’ll try my best, just writing with my moving hands

Scars

They’re carried each and every day, they never ever go away. I cannot seem to find a place where minds are clear and thoughts erased. They stay with me, they’re always there, it seems a saddened love affair. My heart is blackened when the air begins to flow with fervent prayer. The things I’ve done, the things I’ve not, they occupy my every thought. The questions that I ask myself are known to me; and no one else. The answers lie in of itself, or maybe on my dark bookshelf. Our past, it haunts, it makes us see, that which we often disagree. For truth is that, and nothing else. It doesn’t care for time, or self. It shines its light, and nothing more. It opens every locked, closed door. Yet when we see the things we’ve done, we often want to turn and run. Such deeds exist, there in your past, and if you let them ever-last, your further will be chained and cast to those who judge and those who blast.

Let your scars, while they remain, fade away into the plain. You’ll always have them, they’ll maintain, but use them for your growth and gain. Learn their passage, learn their plight, and if you ever have to fight, your scars will tell you what to do; if it’s wrong, or if it’s true. Some see them as the wounds of life, but I prefer to use them like a knife. Every time I’m broken, down; my scars remind me that I’ve found. I’ve always found that this will pass, and every time, it always has.

Love can be the best of things, but think before you exchange rings. Be certain that they are the one, that love and bond won’t come undone. Take a look back at your past. Make sure this time that it will last.

And if you doubt things, look to the stars. Then, look back, at all your scars.

Letter to My Lost: 2

My dearest Lilliana,

Not a day goes by without my thoughts eventually falling upon you. Those carefree, restless nights spent together I always think of as I sit here in the trenches, covered in the grit and dirt that this advance has cast over me. Every day we are inching forward, further and further as we push back the filth who see this world in a way that our loving God surely wishes to admonish.

Your last letter struck the deepest chords of my heart. I long for nothing more than the knowledge to tell you I shall be returning soon, and yet I fear there are many more battles to come. The officers have assured us that this war will come to a swift end, but many of us withhold our doubts. There is even talk that things are growing so perilous that the Americans will be giving their support in the way of rations and arms. The men say that it would be better if they would send their troops, but it seems as they are careful not to get themselves directly involved in the atrocities that the sons of Europe have been forced to bear witness to.

I cannot say I blame them, much as we would welcome their aide. No God fearing man on this Earth should be forced to shoulder the burdens this war has created.

I so hope that I shall see you before long, my love. This tiny locket I carry does not do justice to the image of you I dream of each time I lay down for the night.

Pray for me, my Lilliana. God willing, I will hold you in my arms soon.

Forever with you,

Your Braden

My Diary

My Diary

I lay in this bed with these thoughts in my head, looking at the blood that I bled when these pieces of my heart were all shred. These nights tear me apart, make me wish I could go back and restart the life that I’ve led so I can sew together the dangling thread hanging over me. It taunts me, like that bold message you dread that you want to ignore but know eventually has to get read. And I try so hard to think of the good things instead but this pain is so widespread and it’s grip on my head is so tight that I can’t even slip the slightest semblance of solace into this locked shed that’s trapped my mind inside.

I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve cried and I’ve cried and all the pride that’s implied on the outside can’t seem to hide the truth I’m forced to confide; that I’ve died on the inside. Each time I try to divide the sad thoughts that reside together in my head they just get amplified; magnified in frustration that I dared try to hide them. They collide like atoms in my mind and become multiplied until the whole space becomes occupied by nothing but unidentified questions and desires that I know won’t ever get satisfied.

My mind longs for either peaceful rest, or cyanide.

I can’t help that I view life through such a jaded, clouded lens. A timeline of careers and diverse group of friends, asking myself the whole time when will it end? When will I feel it and at last comprehend my purpose? When will I transcend this pretend realm and extend my everything to the place I so long to attend? These thoughts course through me as I desperately grasp for a Godsend to befriend and depend on to help me ascend to the realm where I know I belong.

Because that day isn’t far. Its not far from tonight, it’s not far from tomorrow, and I know this. I know this because there’s so much fuel in this car, each shelf stocked in this bar, so much pure light in this star that’s waiting to supernova.

But I guess right now I’m supposed to act like I’m nothing and won’t ever be something, because that’s what people want to see. They don’t want to think that the people they feed are destined to overcome and succeed, growing bigger than them because it causes a stampede of lost causes while it impedes on their dreams – but hey.

It really isn’t fair to hate on someone just because they have bigger dreams than you.

But that won’t stop them, will it? No, they’ll still hate the success and your name in the press as they cuss and confess that they knew you’d progress into whatever it is you’ve become. And while they look in the mirror and hate that you’ve made it, they’ll try to bring you back down to their playing ground to make themselves feel like they’ve crowned a win while instead they just drown in their toxic waste that surrounds.

People confound me.

But this last verse, no more ire as I light a bright fire and tell all of you reading that I never will tire from doing what’s right as I fight and aspire to always reach higher on this quest to acquire through blood or gunfire the just world we deserve.

That’s the long answer to the frequent inquiry.

These are just thoughts…that I write in my diary.

It’s Cruel, You See

Gazing in this mind of black

At all the things that I’d take back

If only it was kind to me

But time, regret, its cruel, you see

The things I wish I hadn’t done

They never fade, they never run

They occupy my mind at night

And fill my heart with doubt and spite

Oh, to have it back, now lost

I’d pay the toll, at any cost

To right the wrongs, that I transgress

To heal the pain, as I regress

Alas, its time that’s cruel, you see

And as I look back, woefully

The past, it grows so rapidly

To haunt my wounded memory

Doubt

Some folks believe me

Yet others still doubt

It’s funny to me, really

When I say what I’m about

I’m climbing this here ladder

Right in front of their blind eye

Yet they still keep on hatin’

As if the fucks I give could fly

So let me put this plainly

These words, do not mince

We’re righting world wrongs

We’re not trying to convince

We’re not trying anything

“Try” means we could fail

Sorry, that ain’t an option

This ships already set sail

So be on board, or don’t

That choice ain’t up to me

I’ll just keep on writing

Making minds more bold and free

And when this ladders finally scaled

When at last we’ve reached the top

I hope you brought your sailor shoes

Cause this ship ain’t ever gonna stop

What If They Died

What if they died?

What if that artist

Who painted their works

So great, yet shunned

For personality quirks

What if that singer

Who hit impossible notes

Wasn’t caught up in drama

Or the brunt of your jokes

What if you focused

On content they write

Instead of the bullshit

The cheap and contrite

Why is it, so often

An artist, who yearned

Must die to achieve

The recognition they’ve earned

It isn’t the painter

Whose genius, they leave

It’s ego that chains us

A jealous reprieve

For when you are dead

You’re no threat to us

So sure, we can like you

Just stay off of my bus

Some day, I do hope

The people will see

That passion is living

And envy is greed

You

What things go through your head

When you lay down and no one is there?

When you know that no one is listening

Is it a dream, or perhaps a nightmare?

Do you think of the rest of the world

And how we’re all stuck in a cell?

Or maybe those shoes you’ve been wanting

Or if there’s a heaven or hell?

Think hard, for I say this

Not to judge; no fingers I point, I can say

But your thoughts? They truly define you

Not facades, nor roles you portray

Live. Love. Be honest

Please, be true to the core

For when you find the real you

Your reason to search – it’s no more

This is Cozy

Let’s take a moment and talk about the real deets

Some of y’all are prolly thinking when’s he finally gonna peace

Well I hate to say this but I’m actually kinda comfy here

It’s really fun, it’s helped me write, and I’ve shed a couple tears

The people here are just that, they’re the real deal

Not a mask, not a hat, I never get a fake feel

So I hope we can get along without getting jealous

Cause you know that’s natural, guys were just competitive

That’s all. Just in case anyone’s annoyed. It’s the natural way of things. I still luh you.

My Life

Monday, Friday

Every day through the week

Working, writing

Never hanging with the weak

Paying, my dues

Those that came before me

Same grind, same time

Time off? Please that bores me

No sir, no ma’am

Sure, I talk politely

At night? All night

Writing, it consumes me

Let’s take a break

A break from what, Matt?

That rhythm there

Oh, you don’t like that?

Okay, no way

See what I did there?

Symmetry, those beats

Flip it over still the same thing

Hold up, last verse?

No the one before, damn

Oh shit, that’s right

What’s this poem about, man?

Who knows, I don’t

All I know is writing it

Has been, no joke

Fun as hell and now it’s ten

Sure is, turn in?

Bitch you must be playin

No chance, next glass

Man Baxter is sleeping

So what? Wake up

All these tasks on my hand

Right now? Yes now

His ass can sleep at work, man

True that, no doubt

That dogs my dog, see

No joke, I know

Little guys my world, B

Okay!

Lets hold up

Time to pause for a cause

So I can fill my cup

Okay!

For real this time

Tomorrow imma read

Laugh my ass, this rhyme

Okay!

Time for bed, for real.

Cmon Mr Baxter. Seriously. Come on.

A Respectable Career

I did what you said

I did what you taught

I practiced and practiced

I studied a lot

I did all those things

You said would pay off

To get a career

So I wouldn’t be lost

You know what? It’s funny

All of us writers are linked

Try to fit this world mold, still unhappy

I mean come on, what’d you think?

You tell us that dreaming is stupid

Get a job, blink your eyes and wake up

Keep punching that card every morning

The weekend will hand you a cup

Sure, I did college at Vandy

It taught me a hell of a lot

A degree in Econ/Corporate Strategy

But the lesson in life’s what I bought

The people I met all around me

The times and the fun that we had

That’s the career that surrounds me

The job to make people feel glad

To give people love that they can’t get

From working a 9 until 5

After all if it wasn’t for these things

What’s the point in being alive?

The Battle Begins

The Battle Begins

You think I like this?

Dark nights but my lights are all on as my head splits?

Look back at regret

All the should that I could

The times that I left

The times that I cried

The times that are lost

The day that you died

I hate it

The pain that I bare

So I sit in this chair

My pen to this page

Raising the bar of minimum rage

That clock, it just taunts me

Spinning around silently

Turns the direction I don’t want it to be

Smirking and laughing, sadistically

You think it’s funny, follow behind – see?

Go through this shit and then stand beside me

Bah, fuck it

Where to from here, Shao?

Just keep those eyes locked, it won’t be long now

Sit back and enjoy, just give it some time

You can’t storm a castle without ladders to climb

This siege has just started, it’s hardly begun

And it ain’t gonna end till I’ve looked back and won

Forward

It’s often that i see this

If truth were to be told

Despite the goal: inspire

It turns warmth to bitter cold

If ever you are struggling

If ever you are down

Remember they don’t matter

And that words can’t bring you down

For often will you hear, when

You are looking far ahead

That all your dreams are fiction

Come and fit the mold, instead

Be strong, my friend, for as we

Chase our dreams and live as one

Your calling will come one day

That it’s justified, your run

Don’t ever tell yourself “no”

It just simply can’t be done

Instead get up, get grinding

Until that day has fine’ly come

Our time on Earth has limits

It’s too short for stress and strife

Just find what makes you happy

And live your dream, this life

My Dog is Famous

Oooookay!

Where do I even begin? I suppose a little background context is a good place to start.

So my dog, Mr Baxter, has a nasty habit of chewing his leashes. He’s pretty much the perfect pup outside of that one annoying, economically burdening trait. Most of my brainstorming for writing is done with a beer, on a dog friendly restaurant patio somewhere – so naturally he has ample opportunity to inconspicuously gnaw his way to freedom while I’m immersed in my journals and outlines. So every time he successfully liberates himself, I’m forced to buy a new leash. I’d get a metal one, but toting one of those around gets annoying and clinky.

Anyway, so the other day I left my office to grab lunch and run into PetSmart to return his latest leash. Obviously I couldn’t take him in because he wouldn’t have a leash on the way in. So I left him in the car. By the way, it was 64 degrees outside and I was only going to be gone for like two minutes. In and out.

Well as I return to my car, I’m confronted by a lovely social justice warrior taking photos of my beloved Mr Baxter in my car. So I’m like “um, what are you doing?” 

The girl then proceeds to berate me and tell me how abusive I am to my dog, and that I was lucky she didn’t bust my windows out and next time she would. So I tried my best to explain how my dog is literally like a son to me (he’s all I have), and that he probably gets better treatment than most humans. She wanted nothing to do with that. Instead, she informed me of how illegal it was for me to leave him. A comment to which I responded “well if what I just did is illegal, then that’s a stupid law.” And I may have told her she was the problem with America, but whatever. 

Anyway, I go back to work and mention my recent encounter on Facebook to get a laugh. Then, in my post thread, someone tagged a photo of my hometowns FB page where she had posted a pic of my car, license plate, and peacefully slumbering dog – telling the whole world I was a monster basically. 

Naturally, as these things always do, there was a huge outcry of differing opinions. Most were pretty reasonable thank god, stating that he looked fine. So I then commented her public post myself and explained what had happened. 

That’s when the business went down.

Suddenly an enormous surge of awesome, logical folks came to my defense. It was amazing, and I’m still speechless at how good it felt to have so many kind hearted people to have my back. 

The post has since been deleted. But now, at the behest of some of these community members, we are going to host a #vivamrbaxter event where people can bring their dogs, have fun, and get educated on the legal standpoint of this type of thing. Like when you can and cannot be a hero.

Point is, now the community has turned what could have been an overly dramatic fight into something that will raise money for animals, and everyone wins.

That, if I may say so myself, is how the world should work. 

I freaking love my city.

Family Ties

It’s times such as these

When you want to say please

What more can I do?

What else will appease?

All you want is a pat

Maybe “Hey, way to go”

Or “I’m proud of you, son”

“It’s hard work, that I know”

But none of it fits

Beyond all my wits

I can’t do what is right 

Im up thinking at night

I just don’t understand

I just don’t comprehend

I just want to be proud 

I just want to fit in

The people I’ve met

Who never I’ve seen

They’re beautiful, dancing

All over round me

My family ties

And this, I detest

They’re toxic to me

Will be, till I rest 

Why is it so hard?

Why can’t you support?

I’ve written alone

My mind is my fort

For blood isn’t born

Its gained and it’s yearned 

And true family ties 

Cut deepest, when earned

The Tiki Torches: 3

“Alright, everyone. This evening we have an excellent opportunity to show these people just what we mean. We’ve tolerated centuries of oppression, decades of condescension, and countless years of bigotry! I say unto you all, stand up for your rights! Stand up for your freedoms! Stand up for the God Given, inherent capabilities of existing as a human being!”

Hurrah!!

Standing tall in front of a melting pot of human beings, the mayor of the city of Perth gives an emboldened speech at the municipalitie’s town hall meeting. As a champion of all races and creeds, he has garnered the support of pretty much the entire town. Except, of course, a small minority of closed minded bigots who refuse to adapt to change.

“We will stand strong with our brothers and sisters, no matter the cost!” The mayor shouts from his podium inside the town halll. “This is but a small town, but we are a united town!” He adds, a finger shaking in the air to reiterate his point.

“We will not allow a small contingent of oppressors to light up the evening! We will stamp out the flames of injustice!” Hurrah! “We shall stop them in their tracks!” Hurrah! “We shall meet them on the battlefield of intellectual opposition, and let none leave without exposure to our light!” HURRAH!!!!

As the mayor lets the crowd’s energy die down, he holds out his arms.

“My friends.” He says. “Let us begin preparations. It’s been reported that there has been a spike in Tiki Torch sales at the Wal-Smart across town. Let’s show them that these torches shall not have been bought in vain! We shall show them the error of their ways.”

Hurrahhhh!!!!!!

Slowly walking off his town hall stage, the mayor finally takes a moment to catch his breath.

“Great speech, sir!” One of his constituents says.

“Yeah. It was. But it was just that. A speech.” The mayor snaps back, obviously caught up in thinking about something else.

“But sir, you moved the entire town! That surely must count for something.” The constitutant says.

“Yes. They’re motivated. And for that I am grateful. But there is so much else left to do.” The mayor says.

“Come, we must prepare for the Torches.” He adds with a sly wink, clearly indicating that he has something in store for the folks riding his way.

The Other Side

Oh my freakin’ God, guys

Here we go again

Just throw the leather ball, dude

My team – it needs a win

You really aren’t oppressed, guys

And my moneys on the line 

So if you don’t deliver, then

I’m trading you next time

Leave politics to them, bro

‘Cause no one really cares

Just score and make my team win

Leave out the thoughts upstairs
—————————————————
Now hang on one damn second, man

You haven’t heard my side

I’ve put up with all this bullshit

For my whole entire life

I’m sick of all the judgment 

When I walk into the store

And how so many hate us

Except for when we score

I’m more than that, my brother

I’m a human, after all 

And treating me as you are 

It drives us up the wall

So please, my man, just stop it

We want all to get along

You’ll win your league, I promise

When you know that we belong

Become

Frustrating, it is

To retreat to the hole

As you narrowly focus

On your one, divine goal

A life you desire

Yet you know you can’t grasp

As attentions diverted 

The white fence, it won’t last

And how hard can it be

When to God, you enlist 

When you tormentingly believe 

That He might not exist

My mission is clear

It’s the path, I await

This life, I’ve committed

No regard to my fate

For greatness, inside

It lies in us all

If only you find it

Your one, dying call