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.

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

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

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

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?

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

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

Together

In my chamber, losing sleep

Rocking, thinking, silently

Watching broadcasts quietly

Observe this world, so violently

I wonder if the day will be

When people live, peacefully

Shedding war, with treaty

No longer loving fearfully

It all could change, if only we

Would be the change we want to see

We must admit, reluctantly

To fix the “us”, it starts with “me”

Don’t take offense, the truth, you see

Is no one lives life perfectly

We’re all together, I decree

To live, one human family

When Finally, It’s Built

The last years of your life

So confined and constrained

Arthritis was rife

It hurt, and it pained

No solace you had

But to lay in your bed

Retreat to your books

Build a world in your head

I’ll never forget, Mom

All the stories and shows

We’d read and watch together

To forget this life’s woes

CSI, Nora Roberts

Your favorites, I know

You’d gleefully immerse

In her books, or that show

Oh Mom, how it hurts

To think of these times

It rips me apart

But keeps me alive

All that’s ahead

Everything I achieve

Is all due to you, Mom

And your love for me

You deserved so much more

How so badly I yearn

To turn back the clock

Give the life that you earned

The impossible, I want

The impossible, I need

Yet I’m forced to move forward

And to carry this grief

Your love for those stories

They’ve inspired me, Mom

And I promised you one day

That’d I’d carry that love on

One day, Mom, I swear it

No more tears will be spilt

When I cut that bright ribbon

When finally, it’s built

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

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