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

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.

Feelings

New to me, these feelings are

I thought these thoughts all dwelled afar

For years they have alluded me

Now here, tonight, my soul’s set free

Comparison: the theif of joy

I’ve longed for this since just a boy

I’ve watched, observed, the ones who love

And always wished I’d rise above

Such reservations I have had

Since yesteryear and just a lad

Now here, tonight, under these stars

It feels like this whole world is ours

And as we dance under moonlight

Those eyes of yours, they shine so bright

Such luck it was that I found you

Let’s live this life, as we’re meant to

Hello Ma’am

Hello ma’am, I have for you

A query I need answers to

You see, I was across the bar

Seated, writing, mind afar

But then a shimmer caught my eye

It was your gaze as you walked by

And so I was compelled to think

Would this girl join me for a drink?

Now here we are; sappy, I know

I am not Edgar Allen Poe

My pen does not Tell Tales of Heart

But every story has a start

What if this was both yours and mine?

My dear, you’re looking mighty fine

What better way to introduce

Our journey than with this Chartreuse?

Let me politely fill your glass

That dress tells me you have such class

Let’s talk and see where things might go

That smile says you’d like to know

Your Words

What is it that you’re thinking while you’re looking at me blinking as you’re struggling with every thought and word?

I’m here before you standing and your silence is demanding all you want is to be seen and to be heard

Babe just take a breath, you’re hands are trembling to death, I’ll be right here until you want to go

Say the things you came to but when everything’s been talked through there’s just one thing that you and I both need to know

Its taken years for us to get here

There’s not a thing that we should fear

We’ve been through every twist and every single turn

So just say what’s on your mind

It could be hate or could be kind

If there’s parts that I don’t know, I want to learn

My mind is torn to tatters but the only thing that matters is to weather through the storm coming our way

This fight will come to pass and when we’ve said our peace at last you know I’ll be here waiting every day

So just get it off your chest because you know I’m not the best at this I won’t come back for seconds or for thirds

Tell me what’s up there, I’m not going anywhere, I love you and I’ll listen to your words

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

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

Support

It’s so funny

To me, at least

Each time I see

A friend succeed

As others shout

He’s a sell out!

In a negative outburst

Real friends agree

And true family

Support you, see

Help climb that tree

They do not doubt

What you’re about

They help you charge headfirst

It’s easy to see

The irony

For if you feed

In jealously

As people go

I’ll let you know

My friend, you are the worst

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

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

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 Biography

Alone in darkness, thoughts embark, and though this page displays my mark, nameless I shall now remain as embers’ heat begin to wane.

Uncertainty is close behind, forever shrouding this dark mind. I fear I may have intertwined the light that shines so bright behind the madness in this room upstairs with other shapes; those unfit squares. These pieces, see, they don’t belong, yet when I try to right the wrong I’m greeted by the same old song who’s tune just drags me right along, its lyrics say to “just stay strong”.

This is my life, these things you read, I’ve told the world that I concede. I give my every waking breath to live without the fear of death and make each day the best I can, to help and heal my fellow man, to be the one who gives their life to try and pull the piercing knife that penetrates hearts of men, that dagger of our constant sin.

The judgement that so rules this land, I cast away, its purpose banned. All it serves, its only stand, is harm or hurt, please understand.

Every second, every day I chase a dream that’s far away but every single moment spent I’ve sacrificed for my ascent. Its all been planned, accounted for, and let me guess; by thirty-four I’ll look back as those toasts are poured for changing locks to open doors. These poems I write, they aren’t for me, they aren’t to show the world I’m free; they’re nothing more than thoughts and things I’d write in my own diary. There is one thing that’s different, see, between the world and folks like me; that every single thing we think is shared for all the world for free. Our thoughts and all our passions flow, just like the light through this window, and when the doubt begins to grow we cut them down, like throwing salt on frosted snow.

So many say they write in vain, but please allow me to explain that none who know the strife and strain will know until they feel grit or grain. I’m cheating on my healing; I want to stop the hurt that’s seeps through every vein and yet I can’t stop sleeping with my pain. Pain of memories lost, that now I know I’ll never gain, acts that now I must abstain, and things from which I force refrain.

Now’s the time to stock the ship as unknown warriors crack their whip. The time is now for fellowship, so load the gun and soothe the grip, and forge unlikely partnerships for once its out you can’t acquit. This room has now grown pale, moonlit, and all the thoughts that I transmit are meant to peel the fake from real, to call out what is counterfeit.

And as I end this plead and plea, I’ll pilfer from philosophy the bits and pieces I agree and cast away the false debris. The lesson that we all should see is that we’re of the same old tree whose branches bare uniqueness, yes, but become the same as we undress. While we’re different, nonetheless, there are qualities we all possess: the need to love, the need to feel, the need to shape our own ideal, these are things that we all need, a hunger which we need to feed. We’re all connected, its true you see, regardless of geography, no mind for color, biology, we all are here and share this tree. If one thing I can leave for me, the purpose for my reality, it’s to show the world community.

This, nothing more, is what I want in my biography.

The Truth

Never have I ever wondered what things lay in front of me, the futures not a question, I know exactly what’s in store for me. I don’t live for today, I live for forever; looking ahead with a clever grip on the trip that I’m about to take with whoever has the ability to sever the ties with the lies that they live while we endeavor to become whoever the fuck we wanna be. And whichever lever we decide to pull is a a tool that we can use to spool and weave whatever reality we want to achieve because this world is ours to perceive. We can talk real or deceive, either way you’ll believe what we create and conceive ‘cause the passion we grieve is sewn so deep in our sleeve that while we want to relieve we just inform the naive that we don’t want a reprieve we’re just soldiers away without leave.

That’s right, we’re AWOL.

AWOL like the kindred spirits we enthrall as we relate to the masquerade ball that we call life where all we do is don a shawl so we can hide behind the wide hall of sins we commit. We try to stand tall and paint over the writing on the wall that unapologetically tells the real story, breaking protocol as it tells the truth we only see when we look in the mirror and ask ourselves “is this me?”

The real you is the one you see when you’re all alone, so don’t lie to yourself and think you’re the person everyone else thinks you are.

I may have turned my back on Him, but as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. That’s right, I might feel abandoned by God but that don’t mean I can’t live my life based on a Proverb that reverberates through me, one you’ll find in Chapter twenty three. And as I fall onto my knees, begging for my mind’s release as it slowly capsizes

in these treacherous seas, I can’t help but ask why this has happened to me. Why have I been plagued by a mind that’s so inclined to constantly remind itself how unaligned it is with the rest of the world. The torment I find in this unconfined, sadly maligned existence does nothing but blind me from the things I so passionately grind for.

My drive is relentless. I don’t care if you think I’m arrogant. I’m real, and I believe that I can do anything I put my mind to. And you know what? You should feel the same, because this life is what you make it.

People will always, always rise to the level they believe they can, and no further. No human is better or more capable than the other. It is a simple question of how much faith one has in themselves.

It’s so simple. You feel your limit on the inside, which is precisely why you’ve tried as hard as you have to get wherever you are. But the ones who know no limits, who know that every great person in history started as no one are the ones who rise to the top. Do you want to know why? Because they don’t stop, ever. They never quit, and forever apply themselves until they sever the ties from their old life and welcome themselves to their new whatever.

Excuses are for the weak. And if that stirs frustration within you, then you have proven my point.

Life is a constant examination of priority. There is no authority dictating our behavior other than our own; and whatever desires take up the majority of our thoughts, we act upon. And yet we still try to complicate things when we act in hate, attempting to justify our behavior so we can lift the weight of guilt we should feel when we aggravate others. We do this so we can advocate how virtuous we are, when the truth is we simply can’t admit that selfishness is our defining trait, lying to ourselves so we can close the gate of self-awareness as we misstate the kind of person we truly are, caught by the same hook that we always bait.

I envy those who can clear their conscience at the flick of a switch.

Sadly, as I write this I know that some will condemn this statement as a cynical rant that I just had to vent, when the truth is that they’re just projecting their own malcontent as a result of the subconscious recognition that the truth hurts.

Therein lies the irony.

The irony that those who misunderstand me are the very ones who need to examine the person they imagine they are. The ones who think this was written by someone who thinks they’re above them.

I don’t.

No one is above anyone. Every human is graced with the same potential as others.

The only difference is how you use that potential.

Afraid to Feel

Vulnerability.

It seems like something most despise

So let me be frank; I’ll tell no lies

Truth is, I’m quite conflicted

About something often on my mind

I suppose I’ll just be candid

Bluntly share this struggle of mine

Relationships.

Yes that’s right. Which may come as a surprise

After all, I love to socialize, whether with a girl or with the guys

But every time, without fail

When it seems like things are getting real

I tuck my tail, turn, and fold the hand my feelings deal

You see, its not commitment that deters me

No, one love’s enough for me

Rather, the fear of failing

Is what keeps me cowered, on my knees

You all know what I’m planning

What I’m doing with my time

I’ve poured out my intentions

On so many poems and lines

I know myself, my actions

That if I gave myself to one

This path I’ve laid before me

Will fade; get overrun

And this, quite simply, explains

Why I shut myself off; reserve

I hate the thought of dating

If I can’t give what they deserve

At times, I envy others

Who can date without concern

Selfishly quenching that emotional need

To feel wanted, loved, and yearned

But as I look at my own past

(Details, for now I won’t share)

I witnessed, intimately, a woman spend her life

More than earning something that just simply…wasn’t there

These words, right now, I am writing

Aren’t inscribed in hope that you’ll read

I mean this with absolute sincerity

It’s this act of writing that I need

It’s my outlet of expression

To be vulnerable, as said before

It helms the ship I’m sailing

Behind my jaded, lonely door

So I hope this answers that question

I get so often – these words are real

There’s one, very simple, explanation

It’s that I’m just sadly…afraid to feel

The Tour

Psst, hey you! Come here, my friend

To you, my hand, I shall extend

Don’t be shy, come quietly

This is for you, just follow me

 

A tour this is, with me, your guide

So let us gently step inside

Now take a seat, get strapped right in

Prepare the mind to twirl and spin

 

First stop, its here, a bright red light

We look around, no soul in sight

And so we drive, but wait! Just stop

A ticket written from this cop?

 

“You ran a red light.” So, my friend?

There was no one around the bend

What purpose do you serve, you see?

Protect and serve, for my safety?

 

Then why, dear sir, must you oppress?

I looked each way, both right and left

‘Twas obvious, no danger here

And so I went, but still you’re here?

 

Truth is, my friend, that light you see

Is simply there for trafficking

A ticket now is petty, no?

Written only ‘cause “I told you so”

 

But hey,  you there, let’s move along

Let’s not get caught up in this “wrong”

The point of using it, you see

Was to make you sit and think

 

So come on now, next stop ‘n still

Is at my cousin’s funer-ill

But don’t feel bad, no please don’t cry

He had it coming, stupid guy

 

Just look around, observe and see

All these tears and cries we grieve

Tell me, is your faith in God?

‘Cause if it is, he’s just a bod

 

That’s right, he’s nothing now, down here

So wipe and dry that tumbling tear

If believe, you truly do

You’d be happy for the news!

 

He’s up there in your heaven, right?

And as you lay down, every night

You tell yourself “we’ll meet again”

But will you really, my old friend?

 

Okay let’s pause, and take a break

I know it’s hard to be awake

This tour is tough, it’s hard for me

To drive folks through reality

 

The truth is harsh, it doesn’t care

What color, skin, or crown you wear

These words offend you? Sacrilege?

Buy “ignorance is bliss” package

 

This tour, I say. it must go on

And money man, it pays the bondS

So let’s move on to our stop three

And talk about our friend, money

 

Here we have, right in our hands

The instrument, that rules our lands

Every single thing you do

Is to make more, more accrue

 

More and more until its thought

We can afford the life we want

Well what if way back, way back when

‘Fore money was invented, friend

 

They’d thought of something else, instead

Like I build houses, you bake bread

Existence without currency

I know its weird, this tour with me

 

Its in a world, where things are not

The status quo, these thing’s we’re thought

Hey, you know, I’m just your guide

That’s how it is, just let it slide

 

Pretend its normal, this new world

Cause every curl we have uncurled

Is hard to think of, yeah that’s right

Because you’ve learned one way, alright?

 

Conditioning, please don’t feel bad

But when you wake up, don’t be mad

These things we’ve taught you to believe

Are all an act, a just reprieve

 

Created rules, and laws you see

To contain the thought that’s free

But now my friends, you have a guide

I need support, this scheduled ride

 

We must end it, I decree

And bring back our humanity

There is a game, you know it’s true

And trust me, world, I need you