Hollow Masks

sacrificing self-acceptance
for petty public attention
consistently lying to yourself
                         by the guilt
weighed down
it's like borrowing character
from somebody else
those loans won't help
we always end up paying
for all the facades we build


A Walk With Fate

She sat, darkness dousing the sound of her own pounding guilt.
The devouring sound came from a wound within -- a wounded womb.
She swam from day to day by way of her tears.
In all of her 18 years alive, she had never felt so dead.
The hollowed hope in her head, though, kept her afloat.
Some symptoms still surfaced... what would be the odds?
The doctor came back with the test results.

"My God... "

* * * * * * *

There was a warm breeze at our backs as we trekked up the trail.
I'll never forget how the Tri-Cities looked underneath that summer sunset.
(Sure, the desert can sometimes be an ugly place
But the beauty is surely there if you look for it.)
The words came easy between me & my mom on that fateful hike.
Eventually she asked if I was happy where I was at,
& I told her that I thought I belonged.
Then she suddenly stopped walking, I stopped talking.
She looked me right in the eye & said,
"It's time you knew...
I had an abortion when I was pregnant with you.
& yet, there you were!
& here you are.
You are meant to be here.
So wherever you are, that's where you're supposed to be.
Trust me."

I would be pretending if I said that conversation didn't change me.
At first, honestly, I was angry.
Then it became clear to me, it all made sense.
Hearing about the abortion that should've eliminated my existence
somehow cleared my conscience.

I'm thankful just to be here
& to grow old with all my kindred souls on this world.
It's true what they say, you know:
blessings are often disguised as burdens.

I am meant to be here
& I refuse to live in fear.
It's my time to make the most of my time.
It's my time to be myself: someone no one has ever been.


Rippling Effect

I recently told a friend 
I'd never like a song with that word in it ever again
But I quickly accepted defeat
Kept nodding my head to the repeating beats...
There was once a time when we were simply seeking peace
We were seemingly making progress in the process of deleting it
But now we're writing it in permanent ink
So we can see the words
Again & aggin
Now we're just going sdrawkcab
How did we let this happen?

Over the years tears & blood have been spent
Now it's a term of endearment
"Only WE can say it"
Despite all the pain
The double standards still remain
What a shame...

I did a little experiment to back up this vent
I heard it 75 times in Magna Carta*
Hidden, intertwined in Jay Z's rhymes
That got me thinking...
What about Biggie?
& Jeezy?
& Weezy?
& you can't forget Yeezus
Their choice of words has an impact on us
In all their fan's minds that word is just fine
I realized I was one of them
Rehearsing their verses
Again & aggin
Why is it so intriguing?

Maybe it's just me
But it seems like the same people who're angry it's still here
Are the ones who're actually keeping it relevant
It's pathetic how accustomed we are to these racial epithets
America, we've been conned
The entertainment industry has altered history
"Nigga" is now an accepted part of our lexicon

* Magna Carta is Jay Z's 12th studio album. To this date, 1,060,000 copies have been sold in the United States.  



She was my first kiss, I’ll never forget
We were playing house out in the woods with the other kids
She was “Mom,” I was “Dad”
It was the best acceptable excuse we had
We were only seven,
but even then, there was an inevitable attraction
Some of us are simply bound on a collision course with one another

I moved away in the 4th grade, but our friendship remained
Seems like the hardships only brought us closer
I remember coming back for the funeral
We cried & cried & cried & cried
I remember wiping the tears off her face when her dad died
An accidental suicide
I remember hugging her & not wanting to let go
I remember thinking things wouldn’t quite be the same after that day
& they never were

Next thing we knew, we weren’t kids anymore
High school graduation
That last true summer vacation
I moved back to Dayton
& we both started a harvest job with the Grain Growers
If only we had known then what was in store…
“I know this sounds crazy, but I think we should start dating”
“Oh please, you’re like my sister”
“Don’t say that, you know we’re supposed to be together”
& on it went
On & off & on, again & again, consistent as sin
I should’ve never listened to her

The famously dangerous drug also known as lust
Sure crept up on us
Me, especially
There’s obviously a certain trust that comes with intimacy
What we conceal, then reveal
Tell someone how we really feel
Believe me, I know that
But apparently I was too blind to see clearly that August night
I don’t know why I allowed myself to be sucked in
The self-imposed pressure to impress everybody
Only compressed me down into a nobody
Into somebody who only thought of himself
Someone who disregarded the respect she deserved
The respect that she neglected herself of

I made it my life’s mission to make hers brighter
& yet I eventually provided the lighter
Only made the flames burn higher & higher
The smallest spark can start a fire

Words, actions that can’t be taken back
The ones that connect our past with the present
& change the future
I should’ve never said that
I should’ve never done that behind your back
But I did
& I’ve had to live with it ever since

From the beginning, seemingly until the end…
But then, just like that, & forever was over
She was gone
I’ll never forgive myself for what I did
I’ve held this in for far too long
I sure do miss my friend


I'm No Nomad

Author's note: I recently moved to a new town. A lot of thoughts have been going through my head since I've gotten here. Here a few of them.

Earlier today I went downtown,
found a bench, sat down, looked around,
& realized I didn't know anyone.
I'm a stranger, surrounded by strangers, in this strange land.
I scurried home not long after that thought crossed my mind,
my tail tucked between my legs. 
Seemingly on a whim
I find myself in this little town called Sequim. 
It'll surely take a while to get used to this place.

* * * * * * *

A map of the Puget Sound is on the wall of my new room.
My hometown is completely out of sight,
on the opposite side of the state...
The smell of the once distant ocean drifts through the window.
Fear of the unknown comes in waves, some stronger than others.
A barge makes its presence known in the night.
The horn blast reverberates atop the water, the sand,
& then echoes across the land on which I know reside. 
There's no denying: I was scared to come here. 
I'm a stick in the mud, a creature of habit -
Change just isn't my thing. 
& yet change is everything.
Change is the only constant.
How can we grow without letting go of our fears?

With that said, I can't lie (believe me, I've tried),
my confidence doesn't travel well.
Hell, it often runs dry.
Over my 22 years, I've relied on others to remind me who I am.
I will miss those friends more than anything...
But this isn't goodbye, it's only "til next time."
Thanks to them, I don't have to begin again.
I'm beyond fortunate; I really do have it made.
I may now be in a different place,
but it's still the same face looking back at me in the mirror.
This move has made one thing clear:
This house may or may not become my home,
but I, alone, must become my own comfort zone.
Happiness derives from within.


Update (Forever) in Progress

He sat there,
spinning around in a swivel chair,
frustrated by it all.
His laptop was on the smooth oak counter in front of him.
The system update was progressing rather slowly…

- - - 25% complete - - -

He began to explore the Web while waiting,
quickly becoming entangled.
He signed into Facebook to take a look
at the girls who habitually post pictures –
not believing in their beauty until receiving at least 15 likes,
their confidence depending on the comments. 
He scrolled down through the plagiarized quotes,
the list of borrowed song lyrics – copied & pasted.
What’s the point?
To pretend that you have it figured out more than most?
To make people think on the other side of their screens,
“Hey, yes! By God, that’s it! He’s found it!”
The meaning of life in a post.

- - - 50% complete - - -

 How confusing…
He signed out, began perusing through the links,
looking for his calling,
the dream,
the scheme,
the means
in which he would make all of his money.
How about a firefighter?
A liar A lawyer?
Or what about a psychologist?
He began to lose himself in the lists
somebody else had devised for him.
He took a personality test so someone else could tell him.
INFJ, it said.
“Oh, that was easy.
Wait… what does that even mean?”

- - - 75% complete - - -

& the search continues…
He gave up, put his headphones on,
put his head in his hands in defeat.
Next thing, he woke up,
not quite sure how long he’d seemingly been asleep.
He looked up to find that the laptop was off,
the update undoubtedly complete.
His reflection was looking back at him in the now black & empty screen.
They stared at each other for a while, analyzing, smiling.
His grandmother opened up the door, startling them.
He paused the song in his head.
“There you are,” she said. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”
“Why, yes, here I am.
I guess I’ve been here all along.”

- - - 1%  - - -



If you think about it,
sharing music with someone else
really means a lot.
Whether we're willingly able to admit it or not,
we seek outside advice
about how to best live our lives.
Music is a convenient,
entertaining, communication medium
that allows us to hear the rhythm
other people live their lives to.
As a result we're allowed to reflect,
& consequently edit,
our own flow.
We listen to music the most when we're together
& when we're alone.
We listen to music when we're allowed
to freely sing as shitty as we please,
when we're allowed to dance
as embarrassingly as we deem fit.
We listen to music so we don't have to pretend.
Our favorite tune is our favorite
because it helps us relate,
helps us feel real & genuine.
When somebody else shares their music with you
they're voluntarily and vulnerably revealing
a piece of their personality.
To me, that's the embodiment of friendship.


Such is the Flux

Magazine covers with the beauty queens on ‘em
Always end up in the trash
Trendy fashions transform into fads
Nothing lasts
Yeah, we can’t have the good without the bad
No, we can’t be happy without first being sad

Hide your wounded pride inside
Ride those tides
Don’t forget to smile every once in a while
Even though it always seems
Like we’re rolling smoothly
Right into a rut
But, such is the flux of life

Before you start to worry
Please promise me that you’ll see
The opportunity
In every difficulty
When pressure is pushing you down
Just know it’ll come back around
In the meantime…

Hide your wounded pride inside
Ride those tides
Don’t forget to smile every once in a while
Even though it always seems
Like we’re rolling smoothly
Right into a rut
But, such is the flux of life
Such is the flux of life

Endure the downs
Appreciate the ups
Every peak has two valleys

Endure the downs
Appreciate the ups
Every peak has two valleys
A mind devoted to negativity
Is blind to the ubiquitous beauties of reality

Don’t forget to smile every once in a while
Don’t forget to smile every once in a while
Even though it always seems
Like we’re rolling smoothly
Right into a rut
But everything will be all right
Such is the flux of life


I Love My Mom

I love you more than words can say
But I guess I can try anyway...

I look to you when I'm happy
I listen to you when I'm bitter
You make it even better
& you make it all seem not so bad
I can't help but smile
At all the good times we've had
It hasn't all been good, though...
During those trying times
When sorrow
Overpowered the prospects of tomorrow
I won't lie
I had to borrow some of your courage
You've taught me patience
& endurance
I've become stronger
Through your words of encouragement
Even though I outweigh you now
(practically twofold)
You're still the strongest person I know
I know, I've already said that you're the embodiment of good character
But I have to say it again
Because I will be forever grateful
For I am most fortunate
To have innately adopted
Even a few of your characteristics
No matter what way I look at it
Despite all of my new perspectives
I'll never have to swallow my pride
To say that you're the most important person in my life
Mom, it's an absolute privilege to be your son


Grandma 1 & 2

Even in the arms of her groom
Her eyes rested on the most attractive woman in the room
You see, conformity forced her to be the same
To live up to her name
Society said that success for a woman
Was determined by a ring & children
So she listened
She ignored the innate instinct within
She said “I do,” three times, had two kids
Of course, living a lie
She was never truly satisfied
Used, abused
She was losing herself

One day, she gathered up enough strength to walk away
She knew she couldn’t hide her true self anymore
So she decided to see what she was all about
Came out
& welcomed what the future had in store
Always working so damn hard just to blend in
She went on vacation
That was when they met
A remarkable relationship ensued as a result of that cruise
Her happiness began when she accepted her sexuality
Her happiness began when she met Patsy

* * * * * * *

I was seven when I realized my grandma was a lesbian
That friendly woman who was always with her
Was more than just a friend
Some wanted our bond to end
Wanted to keep me away because they were gay
“He doesn’t need to be in that environment”
“It’ll poison his mind, their life is a sin”
What toxic logic, to discriminate because of a harmless difference
Ironic how religion preaches love, but breeds hate

Thankfully my mom knew better than to let me grow up without them
Grandma Sue taught me to always look within
She’s wise, yet has the personality of a rebel
By watching her I learned how to listen
Her love for others, simply admirable
Patsy showed me the importance of curiosity
I sure discovered a lot on those treasure hunt walks
I called the things we found "clues"
I still do
Her dedication will always be an inspiration to me

There will always be opposition in regard to this predisposition
But, popular opinion is finally catching up with morality
At least in this sense
I mean, it only makes sense
To let people be who they were meant to be
& to let them legally love
whoever they want to be with forever

* * * * * * *

Earlier today, I heard her say
“You’ve always been my Cubman
Now I want you to be my ring bearer”
20 years after their serendipitous beginning
There will be a wedding
They’re still deciding on a date, but I couldn't wait
I had to write about it

Despite all that has tried to convince them otherwise
Their love has thrived
Grandma Sue, Patsy
Grandma 1, Grandma 2
I am so, so proud of you


From Father to Son

I was five when I heard those gunshots
echo across town
It was a hot night, July of ‘96
I was cuddled up with Mom
The bedroom window was open
She was singing me to sleep
It was such a peaceful song

I remember how she flinched
In an instant
I knew
She knew
That a part of both of our lives
was gone

* * * * * * *

Let me tell you a tale
About a guy who died too damn young
I’ve heard he could’ve been a standup comedian
Man, how I’ve lived with his demons…

The man I remember
is a memory I want to forget
That thunderous knock on the door
“Let me in! I just want to see my son!”
The welling tears in her eyes, my mom
Telling me to hide

He was only twenty-five
I don’t remember much
I meet him through their stories
Apparently, he was everyone’s friend
People gravitated toward him
that he was the only one
Who brought himself down
that he brought others up
But practically put himself in the ground

My dad met his end because of $200 worth of meth
I know the name of the man who shot him
I know they still haven’t caught him

* * * * * * *

I’ve met a lot of the people he was close with
It’s the same thing, every time
They gasp when I walk in the room
Sometimes even begin to cry
Sometimes I cry without even knowing why
It took me awhile to see
I have such a hard time missing him
Because he still walks with me
He still talks to me

My angel tells me to confront my demons
Tells me to be different
This time I'm listening


Every day, I see thousands of faces on this chaotic campus
The only one I want to see every day is yours

I’m all for the pursuit of perfection
But please, don’t doubt your reflection
You’re already perfectly you
I want you to feel wanted
To be confident
But only to a certain extent
Build yourself up too tall & down you’ll fall
I’ll be here to pick up the pieces
Just as you’ve always done for me
Except for when you leave
I never get to see, get to know...
Where do you go?

You're my connection to this world
Without you, I wonder around like a lost soul

You’ve witnessed my best
Seen me fail to impress
When I lost my voice you barely gave me a choice
Practically demanded that I write more
Yet you want more than just words
So do I
You’ll find this is how I find myself
I think about you when my thoughts are true
& there’s no one else I’d rather write for

We’re on & off
Forced to be apart
You've pushed me away
Hell, I've done the same
Through it all, though, you’ve been there
You’ve been here from the start
I'm thankful for that, for you
I always write best with my heart