Here and Now: A Lesson In Living

Be here
Be now
Stop yearning
Stop turning
Around

Just be here
Just be now
Enjoy the moment
Before it goes
Where next the wind blows

If yesterdays mistakes
And hopes of tomorrows
Are all that’s on your mind
Today will up
And leave you behind

So be here
So be now
Appreciate this moment
And wow
Wow

If you are here
If you are now
Living each moment to the fullest
Life need no longer be a quest
For in that instant
You will find
That your life has been defined

You are here
You are now
Each small moment is a blessing
No matter is as pressing
Than the miracle of now
So you push away
Stay thoughts
Tomorrow’s hopes
And fears
Finally, you learn to appreciate your years.

America

Big, four wheeler, all terrain, 7 seater, SUVs for a single person.

Fourteen bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and a master for a family of three.

Seventy one cents, for a family of 5, to get by for a day.

Homemade dinner, family is full, the other half of dinner gets dumped.

22,113 dollars or three-hundred and eighty thousand dollars for a family of four.

One year, two lives.

One country, two lifestyles.

Ground beef, or something that looks like it. Potatoes, or at least that’s what they claim to be.

Dropped into vats of grease and oil. Deep fried and ready in seconds.

Fast food, or at least fast…

Fresh vegetables, full servings of fruit, fresh baked bread out of the oven.

Family gardens, CSAs, expensive grocery stores. Home-cooked meals.

Healthy food.

Disgusted by food, obsessed with media, distorted mind.

No food.

Animal rights. Health concerns. Repulsed by the industry.

Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Poultritarian, Vegan.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Lactose-Free, Nut-Free, Peanut-Free.

Allergies.

Excess, leftovers, waste. Throw it out.

Not enough. Hunger. Starvation. Scavenge.

One purpose, different outcomes.

One country, countless lifestyles.

Read As Race

My identity was smeared
Right across my god damn face
Yours was hidden
Woven in like intricate lace

Who were you?
The world did not know
A mystery gone unanswered
Like each complex flake of snow

Who was I?
An open book
Defined like a dictionary
Just by giving my face one look

With a look they discerned
I must simply be black
You were a curiosity
That kept drawing them back

Standing in the shadows
They thought I blended right in
Simply shadows, simply darkness
No curiosity about what was within

Look inside I begged
I just wanted them to comprehend
Not just Black and not just White
Not just race or gender or religion
What I wanted them to comprehend
Was what it meant to be a true blend

They didn’t’ want underneath, they didn’t want me
It was fair, I thought. So, I never stopped fighting
I yelled and I screamed. I hoped and I dreamed.
And eventually I found another outlet in writing

I thought and I wrote
And that writing said
Wake up and just try
Try to understand what’s in my head

I wished and I waited for some minute little change
But, somewhere, somehow, my wishes got lost in translation
So I yelled and I screamed and I made a big fuss
At first they simply put me on probation

But, finally, when they’d had enough
They boxed me up and sent me away.
They said I was crazy. They said they were sane.
And I ended up somewhere in utter dismay.

The Rhyme of Innocence

“No matter what your child says or does, stand by them and love them. All of us must find our own way, and live up to our own decisions whatever they may be. Love them stronger than their actions or words, love them because they are your children.” -Unknown

 

Credit, where credit is due.

 

 

Favorite activity: dress up marriage
Most beloved toy: the baby carriage

Her mother made sure to record
Each and every silly award

Swim lessons, spelling bees
And even scraped knees

It was all written down
Like the history of a king’s crown

Deep in the attic was her old wooden crib
And her first “I love mommy” bib

Recorded was the day she learned to walk
And stories, soon after, sharing her love to talk

Next came training wheels
And home cooked meals

Trips to sea
Were with mommy and me

The day she first flew that beautiful kite
Each lullaby her mother sang her at night

Then came kindergarten and soon first grade
These are the places her best friendships were made

Each of her playmates was approved by her mother
She never even considered playing with another

Until one day when she awoke
And realized she felt as if she’d started to choke

Fifteen, she thought, that’s old enough
To be adult and alone and do all that independent stuff

She remembered, she used to tug on her mother’s sleeve
But now all she wanted to do was leave

So she left the safety of her home and started to run
To here and to there expecting nothing but fun

At first it was like a dream come true
But soon the sky adopted a purplish hue

She found some kids who went to her school
And decided to stop because she heard they were cool

She looked up into the night and wished she could fly
They told her she could, if she would just get high

She was new and naïve, but they were the “cools”
So she said okay, and for the first time broke her mother’s rules

Her mother grew worried when the clock struck ten
She had no idea, not yet, not then

She came home in silence, no jacket, no key
Without an ounce of regard for her daughter’s plea
Her mother went on her very first yelling spree

Her mother shrieked a warning to stay in the house
But soon she learned to be quiet as a mouse

And out she would go
With a rebellious glow

She went here and she went there
She died her hair and learned to swear

On occasion she’d miss those trips to the zoo
The ones where her mother was sure to come too

Frequently enough she made mistakes
And sometimes she had the brains to turn on the brakes

When she didn’t, things got out of hand
Not everything turned out as planned

In the same spot where she once learned to share
She learned again, now in occasion of her boyfriend’s affair

She shed some tears, she learned to cry
But some days, it sure did feel as if she could fly

She became a girl who loved to roam
Never, if she could help it, did she go home

There’s the spot where she got caught
Out and about when they thought she was not

Now she hangs out down by the pier
And every top she wears is sheer

Her brother tells
Her mother yells

Her mother is worried and angry and lost
But deep down inside she knows another bridge has been crossed

As a kid they thought she was mild
But seasons change, and now she is wild
No longer her mother’s innocent child.

but an Echo

An echo of a soul
The shell of a heart
A mark of a once brilliant brain

Sunken eyes
Tear stained face
Scars lining her outer case

These scars are bad
But not the worst
Those lay deep within

Her hollow chest
Filled with cold air
And the grisly shadows of despair

Her heart, with its scars like an intricate map,
It was the first to go
Fallen like a battered soldier in a war torn field

The clock, it lay internally, never ceased to tick
And this was no exception,
Tick, tick, tick.

Her soul escaped
Like a thief in the night
Strings set free on a wind-filled kite

And still, her clock ticked on

The voice in her head taunted, “You can’t win”
And faithfully her brain relinquished control
Like an emperor stepping down from his throne

And still, her clock ticked on

Heatless
Soulless
Brain-dead

And still, her clock ticked on

She wondered how this could possibly be
She must now be a different entity
Because, certainly, she couldn’t still be me?

But still, her clock ticked on

So she wondered,
And she wondered,
And she wondered,
When she would just be gone.

I Wanted to Be Me

I never wanted to be what you wanted me to be
Only, I didn’t have the strength to tell you that
Or the courage to admit it to myself
Or the bravery to whisper it to him or her

I never wanted to be what you wanted me to be
But you made it so painfully easy not to be me
With the mask and the smile and the playful grin
With the false sense of belonging in a world where you’re meant to fit in

I wanted to be me
Not the me you wanted me to be
But I wasn’t
Because one day you handed me that pretty white mask
And said “Put it on, and you’re problems are gone”

And they weren’t, but I still believed you
My naïve little mind believed your empty promises
So I waited
Me and that pretty white mask
We waited for all our problems to disappear
And they didn’t, so we waited some more

I never wanted to be who you wanted me to be
But you promised, no problems, not anymore
And they didn’t go away by you vowed that they would
So I pretended they did, and you pretended they did
And sometimes it even felt as if they were no more

I never wanted to be who you wanted me to be
With your I promise, you’ll be pretty, you’ll be smart, you’ll be happy
Enough
You’ll be enough
And I thought enough was enough and no problems were enough
Maybe, after all, this life really wouldn’t be so rough
How hard could it really be to be the me you wanted me to be

I never wanted to be what you wanted me to be
But you made it so painfully easy not to be me
With the mask and the smile and the playful grin
With the false sense of belonging in a world where you’re meant to fit in

I never wanted to be the me you wanted me to be
And one day, I realized I wasn’t me
And I wasn’t the me you wanted me to be
And I couldn’t be

I never wanted to be the me you wanted me to be
I couldn’t be white-masked, no problem, enough is enough, grin on my face me
You’re stone cold grip was slipping
Because I had finally realized that you didn’t want me
You wanted who you wanted me to be
But that was a girl who couldn’t even see

I never wanted to be what you wanted me to be
I wanted to be me, but I didn’t know how.

Fearless

For a moment, I just stopped and thought, ‘I don’t want to be afraid’. I wanted to be fearless. Not in a reckless way, but in that ‘no obstacles, try your best, no regrets’ kind of way. I stood there oblivious to my surroundings and considered all the times fear had built a brick wall in front of me and dared me to get past it. When that list got too long, I thought about all the times I had knocked down that wall. Okay, well, maybe all the times I had knocked it down, or climbed over, or went around it. Or maybe even squeezed under it? With the insignificant amount of luck I had with that, I found my thoughts filled with excuses. I couldn’t do it because it was selfish, because it was dangerous, because I might fail. Because someone else stood there and told me I couldn’t.

It didn’t take long for the absurdity of all these reasons why NOT to sink in. In reality, not a single one provided an acceptable cause to back down. Instead, they were a bunch of words thrown together meant to cover up the tracks my fear had left behind. But right then, as I thought about leaving my fear behind, it saddened me to think of all the lost opportunities. With tears in my eyes, I made a conscious decision to go out and live my dreams and to battle that fear with every bit of my strength. I vowed, going forward, not to let my fear become crippling, because every minute I succumbed to this fear was a minute of my life I was not living. For a moment, everything made complete and utter sense; my only true obstacle, was fear. And, in the same instant, I realized I was no longer afraid.

I only hope, that the next time fear comes knocking, I can find an ounce of that fearlessness hidden somewhere in the depths of my being.