How Do You

How do you move through the world
When the world is against you
It will not admit it out loud
But will hint of injustice
In ways that you will feel
Yet will not be able to explain
It will make you question what is true
The pain will be your pain

How do you move through the world
When you are set up for failure
When you didn’t get the same
Amount of
Time
Love
Money
And you know it
Others know it too
But will not acknowledge
At least not to you
They pray for you to
Go to college
Work harder
Change
Deal with it
College doesn’t fix broken dreams
College doesn’t sew up the seams
Of unfairness, life’s cruelty
The heaviness of humanity
Resting laboriously
On certain beings

Others will not say
Not to your face
It will be talked about
You will be talked about
Not by name
Impersonally
Theoretically
Speculatively
In offices, in meetings, in expensive rooms
With catered dinners, stuffed pockets
Fancy watches, privelge
But nobody will do anything about it
Except you
It’s up to you

The makers of the problem
Will not offer a solution
But who created the problem?
How can you blame an institution?
The individual lingers
Behind corporate names
Government agendas
Money and fame
There are too many fingers
To point
Not enough to touch
To change

Help is offered
With things expected in return
Help is not free
It is not given willingly
Some people deserve things
Others only accept what help brings

Who decides who gets help
Help is a transaction
Not a gaurentee
Success is not equally distributed
Help is not equally distributed
Despite the need
The desperate plea

Acceptance
Prayer
Pity
It’s life, it’s just hard
You’ll survive

These words run marathons
Around dispair
By people trying to care
These words are easy to say
Smooth utterances of the fortunate
The card dealing
The ones in control
The lucky ones
Things are going thier way

How do you move through the world
When you don’t have a voice
When you can’t speak
When you don’t know what to say
To get what you want
And even if you said it
Wrote it all down
It would be in the wrong language
In the wrong font

Nobody will tell you the rules
You fumble around in the dark
Looking for tools
Finding only a spark
It’s not enough

How do you move through the world
When you’re invisible
When no one sees you
When no one cares
Eyes averted
When you are painfully aware
Of the feeling
Of it being unfair
Of the meaning
Not going anywhere

Empathy is not possible
Without knowing
A society of hostile
Feelings growing

How can you fix
What you’ve never experienced
What you don’t understand
The ones who have the power
Seem to have the better hand

And you
The one who never got to
What do you have planned?
Will you be able to demand
Something different

A Prayer

What is a prayer
A hopeful plea for someone to care
Something or someone
That’s bigger than everything else out there

A request for help
A feeling that we are in control
Softly pulling the invisible strings
Addressed to a God we cannot know
A mysterious force
Reliquished to the void
That manages all things

A comfort in a sea of insecurities
A negotiation for our impurities
A twisting of God’s arm
Despite the selfish nature of prayer
We mean no harm

We pray for our team to win
For something to remove our sins
For a clear day
For our sickness to go away
Prayers so deep and insignificant
Almost fully prepared to repent

A universal drawing of strings
A selected day to receive blessings
What of a prayer that helps one
And harms the rest
Some of are surely cursed
While the others are blessed
I suppose we are all just trying to do our best

Maybe I don’t know how to pray
I think I believe in something
But I don’t know what to say
To get what I want
To tip the Universe’s favor my way

I’ve tried with my eyes closed
Standing still, laying down
Walking around
Even on my knees, on the ground
If my prayers are heard
Who knows, who believes

I do know how to cry and sweat and scream
I do know how to fantasize and dream
I do know how to let go
I do know how to admit that I don’t know

Who do you pray to
Is there something special I have to do
I pray to the grass, to the sun
I scream my desires to the mountain
I forget my problems when I run
When to push myself to go far away
Just to make it through another day
When I swim in the ocean
Let the music and waves move me to fun
When I finally allow myself to play

Have you ever laid in the fresh summer grass
Let the sun beat down on your face
Beads of sweat rolling down
Knowing you will burn if you stay in that place
Not caring, letting the bugs crawl on your skin
Savoring the space, taking it in
The sweet smell of flowers, the summer season
Letting the clouds and time pass
To get up and begin again

Is that a prayer?

What do you pray for
Do you wish upon a star
Send a message to sea
To help you on your journey

You tell me to will pray for me
But I don’t want your prayers
I want kindness and empathy
Can you listen without a prayer
Listen to the Universe if you dare
Don’t offer a prayer of judgement
Don’t offer a prayer to have something to say
Your prayers won’t help me anyway

Is silence a prayer
Maybe awareness is the only thing out there
Have you ever sat for hours in meditation
So long you can feel your body, your hair
So long that your become intently aware
Of energy, of feeling, of the world that’s unfair

Have you ever run in the rain
Have you ever fully embraced your pain
Have you ever loved so deeply
That you will never be the same
Have you ever loved someone different from you
Proving our silly biases untrue

What will a prayer change?

There are billions of voices that must be heard
Hundreds of languages
In which prayers are offered
Certainly no one is favored
We are all trying to make it in this crazy world

Wether prayer is fact or fiction
Belief is the only thing that makes a difference
Claiming your space in this broad expanse
A belief that maybe you have a chance

If you believe it works then it is so
It doesn’t matter where your prayer will go
It doesn’t matter if it happens quick or slow
Keep praying so the world will know
You exist, you matter

Band Aid

You stuck to me like a band aid
The colorful one
That you put on sometimes
Just for fun

Giving my days a rosy hue
I’ll dig through
All my cluttered bags
For you

Soothing my wounds
Yet you leave a residue
When I tried to take you off
So I decided to keep you
An extra layer
I try to make belong

A charismatic plaster
Always in the midst of some disaster
Creating wounds
And dressing them up
An illusion that they’ll heal faster

A band aid
Covering my fears
But you never expose yours
Non absorbent
Deflecting my tears
You always disappear

A dreamer
Who doesn’t do
Eating up my time
Always making it about you
Talking yourself through

A band aid that has no depth
Adhesive worn thin
It only lasts for a few hours
You always leave, hide
Evade my deepest desires
When I need you

I’ve taken you off so many times
And walked away
My emotions sway
But you sneak back in
Enough time
Allows you to play
Tricks on my mind

The one that got away
Is easy to say
Every time your efforts
Had a delay
It’s much harder to show up
To be the one willing to stay

A dirty band aid
On the floor
You’ve been ripped off too many times
I can’t make you stick
Anymore

Holes

I am full of holes
A human sieve
Emotions pour through me
But they don’t stay
I am putty
I allow people to play
Mold my identity
Sometimes irresponsibly

There are holes in my soul
My experiences are vague
I can’t make sense of
Any feeling, any day
Nothing sticks
Everything flows through me
While time passes away

My mind is full of holes
Things that happened long ago
Morphed into memories
Blank spots
Illusions and stories
That I can’t show
Shape-shift and sway
In my conscious
They are close
But happening so far away

My body is full of holes
Incomplete
Fragments of humanity
People I meet
Everyone sees me
And experiences me differently

I must be careful
Not to fall in my holes
They like to hide
I don’t know their exact location
It’s hard to see when I’m inside
Their depth is immeasurable
Their deception penetrable

Old holes and new holes
Needing repair
How can I heal myself
When there are holes everywhere?

Deserving

Deserve is a strange word
We need a reward for just being
All of our desires must be heard
By the Universe
Which should cater to our needs
Our purpose and meaning

But who gets what they want
Who is deserving
And who gets punishment
Does anyone deserve to be the brunt
Of the worlds cruelty?
The harsh divide between you and me?

Does everyone deserve to eat?
To have shelter and seek
Security, a better life
Who is deserving?

And who delivers this reward
It seems deciding who is hard
Can we make these decisions?
Without having all the information?

Who deserves land, territory
Who deserves to tell their story
Who deserves to be recognized
And who should be despised

Does anyone deserve war?
To have their hearts broken
Do some deserve more
Than others?

Is this something you manifest
Perhaps this is all a test
Of our humanity
Our willingness willing to give
To someone with less

To think about others
When it doesn’t benefit us
To accept what we have
And be more generous

Or do we think we are better than the rest
The less deserving
We are so self serving
Our entitlement will be our demise
Unless we become interested
In others lives

Others that are far away
That we haven’t met
That are separate
How easy it it to forget
We are all human

Who deserves to live
And who deserves to die?
We pretend we know
We think we are right

But our window is so small
Do the Gods respond to the prayers of all
Can everyone’s pleas be heard?
Do everyone’s dreams matter?
What do you deserve?

Lines

I stare at myself in the mirror
Expression lines
Creases
Crinkles
A story etched into my forehead
When did I get wrinkles?

I want them to leave
Exit immediately
I rub creams, oils, masks
Apply sunscreen desperately
I wonder if you see what I see
Instead of looking into my eyes
You are looking at my lines
Folds that tell you I’m getting old

Markers of my experience
My time
A life of stress and excitement
Hard decisions I’ve had to make
All the paths I’ve chosen to take
Repentance, glory, and sin
Worn on my skin
A face full of life
Seeking
A bottle of collagen
My youth has disappeared overnight

I stare back at them hard
I see every faint crease
Every mark
I run my hands over their indentation
Setting an intention
To love myself
I’m learning so slowly

I try hard not to move
My eyebrows, my eyes
Trying to improve
The situation
As if I keep still
They will reside
My forehead will smooth
Milky white

My perfection, my youth
Faintly slips away
I suppose these lines are here to stay
I find myself further inside
Tempted to hide
My flaws, my face
I think about Botox
Trying to erase the evidence

I embrace my age
I embrace my lines
Knowing my wrinkles
Don’t define my character
I want you to see my life
My old soul
And know that’s it’s full
My happiness shows through my crinkles
I smile deeply
Crows feet
Even though it creates
What I hate

I want to be this person
I want these lines
I want all of my experiences
My expressions, appearances
But I fear growing old
We’ve all been sold
An illusion of perpetual youth
Unflawed, non-reality
Smooth skin
And told it’s our duty
To look this way
I accept who I am in the mirror
I refuse to pay
These wrinkles are here to stay

And then with a start
I turn the off the lights
I can no longer see, only feel
My innermost self, beautiful
My lines disappear in the dark
My skin recedes
Blackness envelops me
And I become energy

Why

Life feels like I’m running on a treadmill
To no avail
No lost weight, just time.
Like dieting, desperately
Just to find
I look the same
Nothing’s changed
No matter what I do
I’ll never be able to fit that small size

Why still try?
It seems as if the Gods
Have already decided
They are against me
A fight with reality
A fruitless effort
A frustrating ride

I spent an eternity calling you in
Yet you just walked by
Without a smile
Without catching my eye
A life wasted
An unsaid goodbye
A lucky break
For the wrong guy

I put in so much effort
But I’m barely getting by
Dated my whole life
And never met my soulmate
Did all things right
Except participate

Got caught in civil wars
Poor countries
The wrong side of the caliphate
An incorrect direction of fate
Born in the wrong color
The wrong state
One year, one minute
Too late

Punished for things
Beyond my control
That happened
Before I could even cry
At what point am I responsible
For my life?

I’m unable to find a reason why
A universal struggle
With no answer
To the question
That’s been asked
Since the beginning of time

Or so the story goes
We all wonder
But no one really knows

Why?

Freedom

What is it to be free
Is it to think independently
To have lots of money
Buy anything you want
Own property
Be on the right side of the red line
To have status and credibility

Do we get it when we are wealthy
Or when we learn to set boundaries
Maybe it’s not blaming others
Taking personal responsibility
Over our lives
Or does it have to do with being happy
Certainly it’s not being right
It seems quiet hard to define

Is it the ability to leave the country
To sit quietly
And turn off the mind
Freedom of press
Openness to express
Our true selves
Not being confined

Is freedom movement
To exercise your ability
Move about the world freely
To seek whatever you want to find

Is it to make your own decisions
Perhaps it’s concerned with our rights
To speak and act
Think and move forward
Without looking back

Perhaps it means something different for everyone
A fluid state
A dance, an escape
From the system
That tells us what to do and think
Absence of foriegn control
The corrupt government
Pushing us to the brink
Of our humanity

Perhaps there’s levels of freedom
To be free mentally
Overcome your childhood
Trauma of your family
To be free physically
And have a healthy body
Participate in society

Free your mind
But how will we know when we find
We can have it and lose it a thousand times
To have freedom is to have power,
But what kind?

Freedom
Maybe it’s an instant feeling
Like flying
Or perhaps it’s gradual
Like a deep sigh after a long day
Simply just breathing
Allowing things to unfold
Knowing what to do or say
Without being told

We all seem to want freedom
But we don’t know how to find it
We can try to detach and let go
Yet we are still alive
We have wants and needs
To thrive and survive

We are so influenced by our society
This culture, this state
This idea of being free
Perhaps to talk about freedom is hypocrisy

Who made this word
This elusive idea
And what did they want it to be
How will we know
When we are free?

Maputo

I sit on the ledge
Waves lap at my feet
I’m content, yet not present
You’re always on my mind
So many things I’m searching for
I have yet to find

Tears fall for the things I want
A feeling that will never stay
I don’t believe in God
Otherwise I would pray
For you

I wonder where you are
I know I’m so far away
But I still care
More for you, than you care
For yourself right now

You are not well

I don’t know how to tell you
You need help
Yet you will not help yourself
There’s nothing I can do
But to care for myself

So I sit here
Wipe away my tears
Ten minutes feels like years
Smile in response to stares
Dodge potholes, centipedes
Try to fulfill all my needs
In a foreign place
I have so much space
So much time

I want to leave
But I don’t know where to go
Or how I’m supposed to know
Where to be

So the cool ocean breeze
Soothes me
And I make peace
With my tears
My fears of losing you
For I have so much to do

And so little control
I send my wish
Out to the sea
And breathe deeply
I keep walking
In Maputo
Eventually,
I’ll know where to go

The Ocean At Night

The ocean at night
Is mysterious
A dark lover
That holds all the secrets

I know you are there
But I cannot see you
Waves roll in from the darkness
Inviting me in rhythmic motion

The ocean at night is intimate
I walk along the edge
Of a cool saline sadness
Dancing with the water

Daring it to come closer
Playing with the unknown
Black expanse
In front of me

There is no end
To the ocean at night
It’s solidute is inviting
I ask my questions to the moon
Negotiate with the shadows
I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going

The moonlit tides
Soothe me
They tell me it will all be okay
Wispy clouds say
Keep going

The sky and water merge
In the dark
And I feel at ease
In my secret world
Where only I belong

The waves blow my troubles away
The salty breeze sets me free
I dance in the darkness
But you can’t see me

I sink deep into the chilly sand
Into the infinite
Stars and sea
Laid out before me

I trust the ocean at night
The invisible hum
A soothing lullaby
Asking me not to forget
That there’s a plan
I just don’t know what it is yet

Dark waters are illuminated
The moon smiles as if to say
You’ll see
Follow my soft light
I won’t lead you astray

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