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

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

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

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.”

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?

Scars

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

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

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

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

Letter to My Lost: 2

My dearest Lilliana,

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

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

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

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

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

Forever with you,

Your Braden

My New World

The other day I went out and bought this big ass terrarium. At first I wanted something else, like a ferret, or salt aquarium. But I ended up changing my mind. Something about that enormous, transparent habitat just appealed to me. Not sure why. Anyway, I took it home, set it down, walked away and spent the rest of the day doing various chores around the house. Later, as the day wound down and I finished getting ready to set sail to Slumbertown, I stood beside my bed and stared at this empty tank in front of me, and thought: “Now what?” Well, I stared for awhile longer, pondering all the things I could put inside. Like lizards, or turtles, or the disembodied limbs of my enemies, ya know? But then, for some reason, I figured I’d try to think bigger, like a sugar glide or boa snake or some awesome theme park hamster slide, but then I internally heard a voice say “Hey Matt! Can you kindly shut up, and actually decide?” (Sometimes I forget that my brain actually speaks and isn’t just along for the ride).

Okay maybe that last part, I confide, didn’t really happen. I lied. So what? This is MY story, dammit, and I’m the guide; you’re just here for me to preside as YOU sit there along for the ride. Like my bitch ass brain should be. And you know what el – okay I’m just playin. I apologize.

Lets get back to the empty tank, shall we?

There I was. A literal micro-world of possibilities sitting there before me when all of a sudden, it came to me. Oh my God! I can populate this thing with like, an entire cornucopia of different organisms and let them all co-exist. Just like Earth! It’ll be my own little universe to create; with myself, of course, ruling over the entire domain in control of its fate.

So I thought about that for a moment.

As I stood there, so many things started coursing through my head. Things like how the tank sits next to my bed, and what if I moved it to the corner instead? My brain considered that but eventually said “Just leave it there Matt. Heavy lifting? We know that’s a thing that you hate and you dread. Because to be candid, you’re kind of a pussy.” And before I could reply to my ever-annoying mind, something happened. I, at last, realized something of grave importance which would directly affect the internal debate currently transpiring in my skull.

I realized l had bolted the damn tank to the table earlier that day, and that I couldn’t move the stupid thing even if I wanted to. So that took care of that.

Then things started to get a bit more serious. The above realization had freed up my thought, and I started to jot what kinds of things could be bought to populate this little glass plot. I wondered how much time I’d allot to spend in this spot, as the truth that I fought is that there’s only so much time that I’ve got.

That’s when I decided.

I’ll put whatever the hell I want in this thing! Let’s Noah’s Ark the Hell out of it. After all, I own this dominion, no? Of course I do. This tiny world was mine to create. So again, that took care of that.

I would run the place my way. Or ways, I should say, because hey – why limit myself to one set of rules or pathway? Wouldn’t it be more fun to rule one way on weekends and another on workdays?

So that was my decision.

Ironically, I decided that deciding didn’t warrant my abiding by the expectations usually presiding over the world WE live in that, admittedly, could use much, much better guiding. Would I mimic this world of constant dividing forcing families into hiding with a fear that’s never subsiding as their dreams are ever sliding down a hopeless, empty chasm? Or would I opt to be providing? The latter, if I’m confiding, that I wish was more closely coinciding with the regimes currently overriding any form of free thought or challenge to their authority as they quell dissent with brutal chiding. Perhaps I could create both environments, depending on my mood. Sky is the limit I suppose.

Yes, this will be Matt’s world.

This would be a world for me, alone, to create. A world where Matt can dictate who they’ll love and who they’ll hate, and whether one lives in an estate or whether they instead await a much less privileged, unfair, sadly hopeless fate. A world I own; my own private city-state where I can close the real world’s gate, retreating as the night is late to the creatures I rule, as I mandate that they worship me as “Matt, The All-Knowing; The Loved, The Feared…but Mostly The Great.” I imagine that would very much elate, as my animal instinctual desire to dominate can be an appetite that finally, I can satiate.

That’d be cool, right?

Then my Brain did that thing again. That thing I keep telling it not to. It dug. Deeper and deeper.

And I had an epiphany.

All of these creatures that I dreamt to control might actually have their own aspiration or goal. Who was I to keep them tied to this pole that my mind had created; after all, they all have a soul, don’t they? And, if we’re being candid, for one to feel whole they shouldn’t have to hide in some hole that they dug to avoid paying a toll to some hovering, judgmental ruler who more closely resembles a troll than the benevolent creator that some poor schmuck described millennia ago on a crusty, crumbling scroll.

So I changed my mind yet again.

And I bought a fucking turtle. Because truthfully, my brain was annoying the hell out of me. I installed this little mini-swimming pool for it and everything. Hell, I even got the little shit a floating lily pad for those times it desired extra, extra laziness. Oh, turtles. How uneventful their lives are. This turtle’s existence, however, would be eventful as shit. ‘Cause this turtle, unlike any before in the history of Turtledom, lived in Matt’s World. It would be treated as a King. Actually wait; let’s say prince. It’d be treated like a prince. I’m the King. Duh.

Lucky turtle.

Oh, and I call the thing an “it” because I have absolutely no idea how to identify the gender of a turtle without using means that are entirely too…intimate. So how do I name it, I wondered? Well, I decided on the path of least resistance, and just named it Pat. Sure, there are dozens of gender neutral names, but hey. Pat rhymes with Matt. Now we’re two peas on a lily pad, god dammit. And to anyone making fun…you’re obviously just jealous you don’t have a Pat of your own. Haters gon’ hate.

Anyway, a curious thing happened after I (and Pat) got settled to go to Sleepburg.

I thought back to that thing which, before, I would laud. All that power I wanted, which to me now just seems odd. I pictured an image of the creator I so recently imagined I’d be, and suddenly I was swept by an eerie sense of awe. Awe by that place where my mind’s steps had just trod. The thing I fear most; that power is a thing I desire and applaud. A thing, to be frank, that’s just a corrupted facade. The empty, false confidence of believing my own fraud. A dream that I now realize exposes a harsh truth; which is the fact that I’m enormously flawed.

Because why, so recently, had I thought to maraud an entire universe of creatures as if they were just inmates, helplessly at the mercy of my personal firing squad? This question, which sawed at my brain as my frozen thoughts were all thawed as I started to prod, questioning my own moral fibers with a psychological measuring rod – I was suddenly, overwhelmingly consumed by the most profound of considerations.

See, this world I had imagined just hours ago wouldn’t be far removed from the world that WE know. Had I thrown those poor creatures in that tank all alone, sitting back as I watch them all fight, die, or grow, knowing that I could intervene at any point down below – shouldn’t I? I mean if with all of that power I could use and bestow, what reason would I have to let my own creatures woe? As peace, I forego; what kind of monster would that make me, watching them suffer when at the snap of my finger, away it’d all go? What kind of creator could do that to the very things he put there to begin with? They didn’t ask to be put there! They owe me nothing, right? Why would I do that?

Then I recalled my old thoughts yet again. I recalled all that darkness which my own brain had thankfully outlawed just hours before, as I was confronted by a question that was narrowing my beliefs that were once far too broad.

I asked, though I silently feared the truth; were those the same thoughts that were considered…by God?

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