Times Past

Twenty-twenty, ‘tis said to be

Yet now, so clearly do I see

Hindsight views such times, now lost

To go back I’d pay any cost

Things I wish I’d done, or said

To those who’ve drifted, or lie dead

I wish, so dearly, for the chance

To change what’s now my circumstance

So much sorrow

So much regret

No more tomorrow

They’re gone, and yet

All that’s left to do is clear

I cannot dwell on yesteryear

My choices give no other choice

I’m left with nothing, but my voice

So now I speak the best I can

I try so others understand

What matters can’t be weighed in gold

Its finding those who’s hand you hold

When I’m Gone

It saddens me that people are

So short-sighted, they don’t see far

And that these words will not be read

Until I live no more, lay dead

It is the truth, I do not care

What you might think, you’re unaware

Just what these things I say right now

Might truly mean, and yet somehow

You live inside your same old box

And if the truth stops by and knocks

You plug your ears, say it’s not so

Pretend it’s not there, even though

Late at night, all that remains

Is blood that flows inside your veins

You can’t escape that which is true

That greed and envy consume you

‘Tis why so many are not read

Until they lie alone, and dead

Mentors of me, they say it’s so

Their names are Edgar, and Van Gogh

Persevere

I care not for opinions, the things I say are true

My conscience guides and truth resides

in action, not with you

If you must talk then walk the walk, because otherwise

You’re all the same, the fact remains, you’re jealous and unwise

Weakness fosters hate for those who climb above the rest

They try to drown and put you down because they are depressed

Hate is part of this old game, it hasn’t changed at all

It’s been played since the first day that humans learned to crawl

Care not for those who bet you’ll fail, because they are the worst

And even though they think it so, don’t ever lose your thirst

Success will come to those who wait, for patience is virtue

The only ones who’ve seen it done are those who know it’s true

Lines

Rest is what my mind desires

I see the redness, and the fires

I care not what they think of me

My thoughts confine what should be free

A puzzle piece that doesn’t fit

No matter what I do to it

It’s odd how heat can cause such chill

It’s never matched, and never will

The darkness dawns, it’s due to me

As solace comes to set me free

I’ve waited for its calm, you see

And longed for its serenity

There is a message, bottled up

It sits right here inside this cup

Doubt, and weakness, are a sin

And endings start, where they begin

One Day

Listen, can you hear it?

Such beauty, violin

It’s strings are humming softly

To remind us where we’ve been

Such time it took to get here

So far, the journey seemed

So quick were we to make it

We’ve forgotten why we dreamed

Our life was so much simpler

Our souls, they all were freed

When nothing seemed to matter

For love was all we’d need

Just how did all this happen

Where did we go astray

Is it lost forever

Or can we find our way

Such sadness sweeps, such sorrow

Alone and thinking, every night

My heart, it longs so dearly

To feel that things are right

My hope, I fear is empty

Despite how deep I yearn

To live with pain, this broken

Is something I can’t learn

I wish this world was kinder

I wish we could all live

I wish we’d act as equals

I wish that we’d forgive

We lost our love, compassion

Somewhere along the way

Yet hope will live in my heart

To find ourselves, one day

The One: First Entry

Can we be honest with ourselves for a moment? I want to talk about some things. Things like Facebook. Twitter. Instagram, perhaps. Hell, even Tinder…anything that lets people advertise who they are (or at least who they want to be) without having to concern themselves with the real world.

Yeah, I know.

It’s not easy to examine one’s self. We’d all much rather be judging someone else. But right now, let’s do the hard thing and focus the lens introspectively.

Sure, it’s easy to look on at the spinning wheel that is social media, watching as the people we know and grew up with move on with their lives. Comparison is the theif of joy, ain’t it? That’s what they say, at least.

It’s funny though because everyone’s aware, whether consciously or subconsciously, that social media is just a highlight reel. If only we knew who we all are after each one of those many layers of social graces and obligatory formalities got peeled back. The real, you know? Because as much as we market how cool our lives are, at the end of the day…it’s validation that we really want.

Most of us, that is. And you know what? That’s perfectly normal. Not at all a thing to be ashamed of.

After all, most of us just want someone who knows us. Who understands us. Who IS us. We want to enjoy life with a person who gets, more so than anyone, who we truly are. And I’m not talking about the person at three o’clock, bringing in coffee with the same fake grin we all wear knowing we’re just waiting for the hour hand to get knocked ahead a couple notches. I’m talking about the person we are when the day’s facade is over, the candles go out, and the door closes. That person you see when the ambient light from the TV flicks on as it highlights the it-was-a-long-day-fucked-up-hair and feetie pajamas silhouette. That’s the person we’re searching for.

And you want to know something? I bet you’ve already met them.

I know I have.

Fame is Not What it Once Was

Fame is not what it once was

It did not do what it now does

A King would rule, a Saint – anoint

To serve the people – fame’s case in point

Yes, fame is not what it once was

So widely grasped for “just because”

No noble cause, just pride and gain

To serve the selfish, indulge the vain

Those who lived by what was right

Replaced by attention’s appetite

We lost ourselves along the way

Our cultures plagued by moral decay

And while, in light, we all agree

The darkness proves: wicked, are we

Perhaps one day fame will return

To what it was: no one’s concern

Back to roots we know once were

When life was not a fast-paced blur

When people cared for what was true

For those you love, and who loves you

What I’d Give

So bittersweet, this day to me

Each year it lies in wait

The pain so strong, the memories: glee

I’m struck by love and hate

The loss of those we hold most dear

Turns to tragedy, life’s play

And while you feel the hurt all year

We all have that one day

A time when all emotions rise

Consuming every thought

We try, in vain, to don disguise

Our mind, so overwrought

For her I write this, through endless tear

I’d give anything on Earth

To spend, with her, just one last year

This day: my mother’s birth

Cause & Effect

Hatred, malice, walls, no door

Cities, countries, all at war

Fighting just to stay alive

Families struggling to survive

A world of waste we’ve made, it seems

Turned to gray our once blue streams

Pillaged, they have done to Earth

All just to increase their net worth

Sickening, it is to me

That they thought these things were free

That all this came without a cost

And yet, on them, these words are lost

As no one seems to think things through

For if your cause would effect you

The actions that you choose today

Would be quite different, I would say

Your children’s lives, you all neglect

Yet sadly, that’s what I expect

From a kind who’s quick to take

And never thinks of what’s at stake

Love & Loss

Unforgiving, relentless, cruel

More sour than lemon or lime

Yielded by Life, this emotionless tool

Deals pain that’s inevitable: Time

No matter the love or the laughter it sees

It strikes without warning or sign

Its flame turns to smolder the most peaceful of trees

All beginnings, it ends by design

Why, all too often, is it the trivial, mundane

That seems to be our sole focus and care?

It takes moments like these, meant for family; not pain

The harshest reminder – her cold, empty chair

How fickle it is that this Life seems to be

Just a path we all struggle to cross

It’s proven by Time, regardless how desperate the plea

That if you ever know Love…you’ll know Loss

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

My Release

Consumed by this confusion nothing works the way I think it should
Checked out of this world the day she passed now I’m misunderstood
Look back at the lies and the deception of my childhood
Human law’s all that’s between the things I can and things I would
 
People say to shed the hate and try to focus on the good
They don’t comprehend that I’ve done every single thing I could
You think I haven’t tried forgiveness? I like to wear this shroud and hood?
Spend one second in my mind and tell me that you’d “see the good”
 
 
Imagine how it feels to beg someone you hate to grant you peace
Knowing this world’s nothing more than His self-serving centerpiece
If some other realm had room I’d leave this place and sign their lease
A place where life works how it should where all the pain can come to cease
 
Instead I look around and see a black man killed by his police
A child raped by the same man whose congregation just increased
So please don’t ask me why I look at things through such a dark eyepiece
And now you know just what I mean when I say writing’s my release

The Fear of Death

Some time ago, I sat upon a balcony, just staring on

My mind, my thoughts, my very soul, sat wondering where it all goes

I pondered whether, when we die, the scrolls are true, or just a lie

And as I sat there, lost in thought, a child came, a book he’d brought

Sitting down right next to me, he looked me in the eye, said “see?”

“Can’t you tell that he’s up there, and wants to free you from despair?”

Softly smirking, to he I said “my child, so many things I’ve read”

“Allah, Buddha, Krishna too; the testaments, both old and new”

Sadly sighing, this boy looked down and shedding tears, began to frown

“But mister,” this boy said to me, “our souls live for eternity”

“And if you doubt this, so I’m told, you’re cast aside ‘till time grows old”

I paused a moment, listening, and thought back to my christening

“Listen, son, for Matthew says, seek the kingdom; righteousness”

“The truth is all I want to know; to gaze upon a clear window”

“Do not let past transgressions rule, do not let dogma play the fool”

And then, with one last final breath, I said to him: “Do not fear death.”

The Why Behind

Why do people do all of the things that people do?

I fear that there’s a very simple way to get the truth

Just think about it. This isn’t a joke; I mean it

A person’s actions show you that very person’s characteristics

So let’s put that into context, shall we?

As a human I desire love, happiness is all I need

And how about that friend you have who really gets along?

That person honestly just wants their friendships to be strong

Let’s broaden the lens, now tell me what you see

This world is run by people who want power and money

It’s simple when you think about it, cause if that wasn’t what they want

They wouldn’t run for office to feel superior and vaunt

You see, people who want power are the ones who want control

They’ll do anything to get it, even if they have to sell their soul

This is the reason that most are held down and oppressed

The people who desire power think they’re better than the rest

Well guess what, Planet Earth? I’ve got some news for you

Ironically the inverse is what’s valid and what’s true

The very basic fact is that the ones who want to rule

Are self-obsessed and want to be above the me and you

So please, folks, understand the human mind

Use your intuition, and find the “why” behind

For once you realize who they are, the ones we look up to

Are nothing more than selfish frauds, the change will start anew

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

Between the Lines

Never have I ever wanted to fit into normalcy

Every time I thought of it I knew that it just wasn’t me

Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s society

There’s nothing bad of being glad and fitting in the mold, you see

And if I’m being candid it’s a life I’ve started to envy

All the happiness that comes along with having a family

Sometimes I think about the path I’m on and start to think so differently

A wife and kids don’t sound so bad if I’m looking at things honestly

But then I think back to that day, when I got down on one knee

I told her I would change the world, no matter what, I’d make it be

That was the day I started walking, embarking on this journey

Using every tool I could, my sharpest sword is words it seems

This pen and pad are all I know, through time they’ve ‘come a part of me

Now my purpose has been found, it was her death, ironically

That made my prior motives lost, I’m born anew and finely free

To do the things she would have done if she were here and she was me

Understand the “why” behind this, then you’ll know the realest me

I truly do not care for fortune, or the fame that others seek

I want a world where all is fair, without the animosity

I guess I’ll post this poem online, but we all know it won’t matter, see

People want their news to heed the sickness and the tragedy

They care not for the positive; the things that most will never see

I pray one day this changes and we have a new reality

But until then I’ll post this, sure, but no one really cares to read

Ripples

Ripples, I see down below

The waves are moving, soft and slow

Like zephyrs, gently drifting through

The water’s stillness calms and soothes

I cast a rock into its deeps

Watch it sink as this willow weeps

I see the first bright evening star

Across the lake, the trees afar

The coast adorns a bright green coat

It’s shadow cloaks a lonely boat

My friend, on four, barks on a whim

As children there, begin to swim

A sigh escapes, the calmest breath

There’s so much life to live ‘fore death

And as I stand, to pack my things

I thank this world, for all it brings

My Life

The sand, the dirt, the grass, the trees

The sticks, the stones, the light, the breeze

The things this world has made for me

Have warmed my heart and set me free

I look at the stars as I rest on my knee

They twinkle and spark, this light that I see

I gaze at them wondering, what could they be?

As I listen to waves hit the rocks under me

So calm it all is, out here with the leaves

No fear of the world, or it’s warriors and thieves

My mind is at rest, this feeling I’ve sought

A needed reprieve from the torment I’ve thought

The darkness within isn’t something I share

I keep it behind the false mask that I wear

It’s not that I’ve feigned, and not that I’ve lied

I just don’t want to release all the pain that’s inside

I want to be happy

I just want to live

Her death, it has gripped me

And it’s hold will not give

My words carry weight

Of this, I know

But now I see nothing

Through her bedroom’s window

It used to be filled

With her smile, her love

As she watched us all playing

With a ball and a glove

Those days are all gone now

And it hurts me so much

Please take this away, God

Please heal me, your touch

I don’t care if they read this

It’s my only escape

These pages have saved me

From a much harsher fate

I beg you, my Father

If you truly are there

To take this away

And heal my despair

These words that I’m writing

They’re the realest I’ve penned

I beg of you, God

Will I see her again?

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

Letter to My Lost: 1

My love. My all. Such memories do we share. Memories such as the times we’d awaken to the sun’s shimmering rays darting through the window, on those soft linen sheets as you’d rollover, greeting me with the morning’s first kiss. Memories of your fingers gently gliding, cusping the back of my neck, holding me as if you’d never let go.

I so long for these moments. I cannot help but wonder where you are and what dangers lie ahead. Each day, without exception, I sit gazing out this window at the calm beach and its soothing waves; the soft sound of the salted water drifting to the shore. I think of us, my love, walking along that cool, flawlessly smooth sand with our hands clasped tightly together, enjoying the warm breeze as it passes through us without a care in the world.

The days are proving harder, my love. Each day without you further shatters my soul, as my thoughts are imprisoned by the uncertainty of your welfare. I miss you every waking second of the day, and am greeted by your embrace only in my most deepest of dreams.

Tell me you will be returning soon. I cannot bear the thought of going through this every day. I miss you, my Braden. I hope my letter finds you well.

Please come home to me.

With everlasting love,

Your Lilliana