Nurture

Such sorrow do I feel

For those who never knew

My heart aches for the lost, unloved

And pain that they’ve been through

I’ve tasted life when sour

I’ve sampled it when sweet

True happiness, I tell you

Is who we love and meet

Let not the things around you

Cloud judgment, nor your sight

For life is meant for living

Do not waste it, do not fight

Dance when strings are playing

Kiss under mistletoe

Take this world by hand

And don’t ever let it go

Live with limits, never

Be generous, and love

Do not hold back anything

We know not what’s above

Such sorrow do I feel

For those who never knew

A heart that warms and comforts

Whose love was meant, for you

Smoke and Mirrors

Animals. Miscreants. Products of society.

Monsters making mice of men and dodging notoriety

When will people realize that this world’s not what we think it is?

If you’re naive and say it is just do a quick analysis

Peace. Love. A child’s future without war.

All these things they advertise are not what they are fighting for

Human nature guides our acts, but most of us are ignorant

The truth is that our leaders are deceitful and indifferent

Some of you will understand and some of you will tilt your head

Scoffing and believing in the things you’re told and lies you’re fed

All the actions humans take are driven by their minds, you see

Every single move we make is driven by priority

If we care we do it, the bottom line is crystal clear

Pretense is the mask we wear to tell you that we’re all sincere

But deep inside you know it’s true, yet no one seems to take a glance

Afraid that mirror might make us examine our own circumstance

Fingers seem to flex a lot when pointing at the ones out there

But flip the script and things appear to always seem so laissez faire

Why must we get so caught up in pointing out the obvious

None of us are perfect, stop expecting all this godliness

We’re driven by our motives and my friend, we’re all just animals

Behaving so predictably it’s like we’re all mechanical

Its why the ones who run the world all falsely claim benevolence

Then grin to hide corruption and intolerant malevolence

This world of ours is not the one they taught you in your church or school

We’ve let the thieves into our homes and put them on the throne to rule

Now the future we must face, as freedoms what we’re fighting for

The path ahead is free of fog, no smoke and mirrors anymore

Navigating

Days of old I envy, much realer all these feelings were

Now it seems it’s so fast-paced that every day and night’s a blur

Heartfelt talks under the stars are now boxed into tiny screens

And half the time when she’s not here I can’t tell what the message means

 

Context comes when eyes see eyes, the words we hear and understand

Its more sincere when we’re both here, when we can touch and hold a hand

I know the world’s exciting and the crowd is always calling us

But these things take the substance out and make love seem superfluous

 

Right now real is hard to find and so much harder to hold on

Those blissful eyes are nice, I know, but once you blink they might be gone

Why is it that we seem to care more for our fears than what we love

Emotions push, we build a wall, just to make sure they don’t shove

 

Its like we’re not supposed to feel or open up for weakness sake

Well I don’t want to live that way I want my soul to stay awake

I want to feel the ups and downs, and everything that’s in between

To know why I’ve been doing this, to know what all of it might mean

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

Wanderlust

Wanderlust, traveler, perhaps even gypsy

So many labels they’ve applied, but in reality

Living life is all she wants, it’s really that simple

Her spirit shines through both her smile, and her cute cheek dimple

Life is meant for living, yes, a thing she truly gets

Singing, dancing, spinning round, she loves without regrets

Always brightening what is dark, this girl, so free of care

Defined by “one day at a time”, she’s happy everywhere

Some may say she’s weak, not strong

But she knows that they all are wrong

She is not lost, like others say

This girl’s just finding her own way

For all the things we say and do

There is but one thing that is true

Life, she says, is nothing more

Than canvas, white, awaiting more

It’s you who gets to fill the blank

And for this chance, we all should thank

This beautiful and wondrous place

For giving us the life it’s graced

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

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

King in all but Name

Put my whistle to the wind, there’s naught another ‘round

Divided is the road I’m on, my choice shall prove profound

“Go left,” says he, “Go right!” says she

The demons, they’ve misled

I ask “which way?”

“That way!” They say

And so I point my sled

Every choice we make is a decision in our head

A string of choices, such is life, that’s all until we’re dead

When these choices come to you, what ever will you say?

Will you take the high road out or will you run away?

Make the choices that they love, My Lord you’re looking great

Undermine the ones they want and soon you will find hate

Treat the people as you would yourself, and you’ll find fame

They’ll sing your praises, call you King, in everything but name

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

My Last Supper

*Partial credit to Andrew Lloyd Webber of Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973*

Look at all my trials and tribulations

Sitting in a gentle pool of wine

Don’t disturb me now, I can see the answers

Till this evening is this morning, I’ll be fine

I’ve lost myself in search of something greater

I refuse to say “I quit” and that “I tried”

And when I retire, I can look back at life

So they’ll still talk about me when I’ve died

Always hoped that I would be a writer

Knew I’d make it with her as my guide

And now that I’m here, I can share my heart and soul

On this journey that we call our short life’s ride

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?

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.

The Answer: 2

Thought.

It is such a curious concept. It exists behind everything. Every single action, every single behavior, every single thing we do is motivated by thought, whether conscious or not. Breathing, for example. Do you think every time you take a breath? I think not. And yet you do it.

I am having difficulty compartmentalizing the minutia of human behavior. What things do I file as instinctual behavior, and what things do I classify as conscious behavior? It is a task my superiors have asked of me, and quite frankly, I do not yet know where to draw the line. What things were under these humans’ control? What things were manifested simply because of the circumstances at a given time? What could be helped, and what couldn’t?

The more answers I seek, the more questions I seem to face. This shall be a most difficult undertaking, if I am to speak openly. There are so many pressures I feel falling upon me to fully create an analysis of such behavior. This question of why may be my undoing.

I’ve yet to determine an answer.

Torn

The world is torn, its seams are frayed

They say they’ve wished them well and prayed

So many hold opinions, strong

But words are where they stop, its wrong

 

For if the ones who claim to care

Are genuine, then where’s their fare?

What costs have they all taken on?

Outside of tweets, or Facebook pawns?

 

Let me make this very clear

My life is committed to this, hear?

My books, my poems, they share a theme

The world, it needs a better dream

 

So while you spit and spread your hate

Know your words carry no weight

Keep posting, crying, doing naught

You’re dead weight, friend, an empty pot

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

Hide & Seek

Sweaty brow, aching back, home packed lunch and the sleepless nights

That’s how things were done when people worked, reaching up for higher heights

Dirt and grit, skin and bone, not a moment thrown into the waste

Men would own up to the challenge, no obstacle they wouldn’t face

Things got done, cities built, on the shoulders of their work

They didn’t need a safe space, they built these things from grit and dirt

Now, today, we watch as our children have their feelings hurt

Instead of saying “toughen up”, we tell them “get revenge and throw some dirt”

Paint the people disagreeing as bigots and misogynists

As they yell and cry aloud, raising pickets and their fists

Its sad to me, watching as we become so weak

Many years from now, the stronger will destroy the meek

Its not immoral, its not unjust, to teach your children to be strong

Look out at this harsh, cruel world and tell me that you know I’m wrong

And if you do, then friend, this is the only thing I’ll say to you

I hope you taught them hide and seek, cause hiding’s all they’ll know to do