Happy Day Of Tradition

Today is different than it was in the past,
This holiday used to hold so much more,
But now it feels like it has already passed,
Because the people I crave are not here,
And the traditions I once had are no longer held dear.
I have grown and moved on from all of this,
But there is so much that I miss,
Like the company of my sister,
And the cooking habits of my mother,
The calming effect of my father,
And playing with the children of my brother.
I wish that I was still seated at the kid’s table,
With responsibility passed off to another,
Expected to only contribute as I am able,
Left to enjoy the bounties of someone else’s plunder.
But I am no longer that child,
And the traditions I have are changed,
With the family I have being scattered,
Leaving me with a sense of pain,
That holidays will never again be the same.
I will never again know the habits of my youth,
And I can never go back to the moments I miss the most,
Making holidays a chance to reinvent the truth,
Since I cannot recreate the feeling of those days I held so close.
They are now nothing more than vague memories,
And drinking appears to be my only remedy, so far,
That allows me to suppress the crushing weight of it all,
To carry on tradition and practice how my parents raised me,
And make holidays something that they once used to be.
But that is not possible and I must admit,
That they will never be the same no matter how much I wish,
I could go back and enjoy those times that I miss.
Change is ever happening and traditions are ever evolving,
Making holidays something that I love and dread,
Leaving me to make up traditions of my own instead,
Like dancing with the turkey and drinking away my day,
Inviting over friends to eat, dance, and play,
Homemade butter and cooking with my brother,
Smoking and listening to music,
While reaching out with a call to my mother,
Doing all the things that I was once not allowed to do,
When I was just a youth under my parent’s rule.
So here’s to tradition and changing it with permission,
From my father who loved this holiday the most,
And understood that thankfulness was paired well with a toast.
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This One Is On You

This is not my problem,
Yet I constantly give in to collateral guilt.
This was not my choice,
Yet I refrained from speaking up and adding a voice.
This one is out of my hands,
Yet it is something that I cannot seem to escape.
I know the choice I made,
But I did not consider the potential consequences,
And I never considered that this is how it would play out,
I never thought that I should have a shade of doubt,
That you might be the one that brings me down.
Since you were always there for me in times of need,
And I always considered you the friend who I could believe,
Has had these experiences and witnessed the struggle,
And could provide me with words for a rebuttal,
That proves that I was meant to survive this,
And I have the strength to do it with grace.
You were the person I always called when I hit bottom,
And you were the one who I respected blindly,
Because I could see there was so much you understood,
And so much more you could help me through.
But now that the roles are reversed,
And I am left to be the one who provides you with the strength,
And the guidance that helps you navigate,
I am left in a debate of if I should have ever trusted you in the first place.
I wonder if I should have ever believed you,
Or see value in the things you went through,
Because they have all been skewed by your point of view,
Which is inexperienced and shallow,
And based off of speculation versus knowledge,
Blurred together to present a mirage,
Of a life you think you have lived,
Versus the one that we were both given,
With the same opportunity and the same chance,
To make this something worthwhile that will last,
With the same parents and the same lack of prestige,
And yet all of the same basic needs.
But you will not admit that you messed this chance up,
And you will not see the evidence of your mistakes,
Instead denying that they ever even took place,
Because admitting defeat seems to come naturally to you,
And that is something I never taught you to do,
But is something I learned from you,
And something I wish we didn’t do,
Because defeat is not a true portrayal of what we have been through.
It may be what you focus on,
And it may be what blinds you from seeing,
That I am working on winning and I continue believing,
That that is within you as well,
And that we have the potential to grow with what we were originally dealt.
So at this point the choice is yours,
I have done all I can do and I have said all I needed to say,
And I can do nothing more to influence you to change,
This was never my problem,
But I know you needed someone to assist you,
In the same way you once assisted me,
But the difference was that I actually believed,
In the words that you spoke and the intentions you shared,
But now I feel that that isn’t there,
You don’t share the same respect,
And you don’t have the same resolve,
That I once had to change it all.
So this is no longer my issue,
I pass this back to you,
Since there is one thing I learned is true —
Only you can really save you from the things you do.

I Want This To Be My Existence

There was a stillness in the air that I savored that morning,
A sense of peace that I inhaled as I stepped out onto my porch,
And a trust in the present that surprised me.
There was nothing on my mind besides the million thoughts that I constantly suppress,
And a breath where I realized I have nothing to worry about in this moment,
Where I caught the sun rise and it stopped me in my tracks,
All I could do was stare at the glory that something created long before me.
There was an awe that overwhelmed me and an involuntary reflex to stop,
And recognize that which I have no control over and the beauty that is born from that,
It was only just a moment but it felt like I could stand there for an eternity,
Taking in the sun waking up the world and all the possibilities it holds.
It is that stillness that I miss and I crave and wish that I could witness every day,
Because it is that moment where I have no other thoughts,
And I am subject to stop and listen to what the world is saying,
Even if there are no words being spoken,
I listen even harder as if there are secrets I am not hearing,
And believe that if I can just stay still for one moment longer I might begin to hear them,
Thinking that if I can listen then maybe I can learn,
From the whisper in the trees and the rustle in the grass,
That which will help me make all this struggle pass.
So I stopped instinctively and I inhaled deeply,
Taking in a moment that usually escapes me,
With the buzzing of my phone and the pressure to respond,
Allowing others to constantly interrupt my thoughts,
And thoughts to remain incomplete,
As I light another smoke and submit to this defeat of distraction,
And mental frustration and a sense of never growing,
Since I don’t take enough moments like these,
And I will diagnose my own disease that does not allow me to be free,
Which makes me unable to stop and think,
Before getting distracted by something I don’t need or want,
And allow myself to derail this very thought,
That I could care so much more if all I had to watch were sunrises.

A Millennial Choosing A Career

I think that I can actually do this,
Although I won’t claim that it is my calling,
It was more something I fell into,
And something that is proving I was meant to do,
Because this appears to come naturally,
The ability to organize and deceive,
Those who are surrounding me,
Making them believe that I know what I am doing,
And that is something that I will continue proving,
As I learn and experience the things that are hard to itemize,
Growing and expanding a resume I never aimed to comprise,
Yet having this feeling that it is all coming together,
In ways that I never expected when perceiving my own disaster,
Of work experience and doing what I had to do to get by,
Yet never giving anything I do an honest try,
Because I was too preoccupied with the conflict raging inside,
Telling me that this is not my destiny,
And I was meant to be more if I truly believe,
But I am coming to terms that it might be true,
That this is what I was meant to do,
It is what comes easily and what I was educated on fully,
Making it the obvious choice for what I should be doing,
While realizing that if this is what I did without trying,
There are far more possibilities that I have been denying,
So what if I committed to this today,
And finally gave it a try in my own way,
I could realize the chance I have,
To live a life that fits me and the person I want to be,
While using that which comes naturally.

A Thankless Task

I hate that I have hate for you,
Because the truth is that I truly love you.
I hate that you do these things that you do,
Because the truth is that I have more faith in you,
Then you seem to ever gather,
And you never seemed to believe,
That you are someone who can change it all around,
Because you are never willing to put your head down,
In an effort of focus and a practice of self-discipline,
Recognizing and allowing your true feelings in,
Of regret and disappointment,
Allowing yourself to feel some guilt for the things you forgot,
While you were drinking and smoking your life away,
And delaying your opportunity to convey,
The dreams you once had for this life.

But I am coming to the realization now,
That you might have never had dreams then or now,
And you might have just been scraping by,
Waiting for the next opportunity to get high.
I might have misplaced my faith,
And you were always destined for this fate,
Of destitution and disablement,
Unable and complacent.
I am beginning to think that you always struggled,
And that I am harping on old issues for which you have no rebuttal,
Because you have never tried to change,
And I am the first to make you face your pain,
Leaving me in the role of the older sibling,
Allowing you the chance to listen,
To the struggles and experiences I have been through,
And the things that they could teach you.

But you don’t want to listen,
And I am beginning to lose faith in you,
Because you continue to do the things you always do.
Leaving me to debate if my efforts are worth it,
And if I saving someone who deserves it,
Since again and again I extend a helping hand,
And again and again I am burned in the end.
So here is your last chance for redemption to see,
Or at least I think it will be,
That you are taking me for granted,
And I will no longer be taken advantage,
Because you will be cut off,
And I will do it without a fifth thought.

Our Own Worst Enemy

How do introductions among women still begin or end with descriptions of their men —
Hi, how are you? What are the things you like to do? And who are you attached to?
How did our attachment become a simple fact,
So that we no longer hold value of our own,
And we need someone else to bring the bacon home.
Or even if we have the ability to pay for dinner ourselves,
How do our men still come up in conversation over it?
What does it matter who you are dating or attached to?
I don’t know them, I know you.
I honestly don’t give a fuck about the things they may do.
I asked about you and what you do.
I might be bitter from a lack of attachment,
Or I may be upset about the support that I lack,
But really what irks me is that we as a collective can’t seem to speak without relating it back,
To the images we are trying to break free from with our independence,
And the actions we took to prove our ability to be everything a man can be,
But the fact of it being that when I ask a man those same questions —
How are you? What are the things you like to do? —
They cut me off before I can even assume that there is someone they are attached to.

Fighting The Culture I Grew Up In

I wish I was less American —
I wake up in a panic,
Worried that I’ve slept through work,
When really I’ve barely slept enough to make my body work.
I stress that I am not putting in enough hours,
That I am falling behind and someone will notice,
Scared I am no longer top of the class,
And that all the opportunities I dreamed of might pass me by.
I wish that I did not believe in the dream —
The idea that we all have a chance if we work hard enough,
And that luck is of no consequence,
Instead we trust in the promise of the impossible,
Since determination has promised to make it possible,
To live the dreams we always heard of,
Giving us the ability to rise above,
The class we were born into and the trials it lends to,
If only we keep that dream alive,
Believing in a lack of compromise.
But I truly wish it wasn’t so —
That I could brush off the seeds I am destined to sow,
Of guilt and regret,
Self-consciousness and internal debate,
Pride and remorse,
The belief that I might change this course,
And begin anew with what I was truly destined to do.
But the pressure is too much,
And I am being crushed under the weight,
To the point where I am debating,
If this life is even worth saving,
Or if I should finally cave in and be more European —
Taking naps in the middle of the day,
And three weeks vacation every year,
Learning to embrace the things I truly hold dear,
Such as family and friends,
And sharing a glass of wine with all of them,
Not disturbed by a lack of productivity,
And unconcerned about tasks that are never ending,
Allowing myself to truly enjoy,
The little things that make this life so much more,
Than a never ending race to the top,
With never ending trials destroying what we first sought,
To be content with this life and what we’ve been provided,
And savor the moments in which we regularly reside in,
Not allowing anything to be for granted,
And being thankful for all that is demanded,
In order to live life to the fullest,
And have the strength to continue through this.

Lasting Side Effects

How did I develop this issue of abandonment?
When I was raised by a mother and father who loved me so clearly,
And I held a life that others would accept so readily.
How did this become something I need to learn to handle?
When I always knew that I am loved,
And I have a family that is there for me.
What did I do to deserve such an issue?
When all I gave was trust,
And all I received was acceptance.
How do I have something to complain about?
When I have no doubt that I had a good childhood,
And I was healthy and happy, albeit a bit misunderstood.
Was it the anger I saw projected by my oldest brother?
Or the depression I saw by the other?
Was it the silence of my younger sister?
Or the struggle I could not deny my mother was under?
Was it simply the loss of my father?
Or is abandonment something I have always harbored?
What made me doubt that I am someone to value?
And what made me assume that I will always be forgotten?
How did I accept this begotten state of fear?
And never try to hold anyone near?
I have few who I think of as family,
And fewer I consider friends,
Leaving me closed off from almost everyone in the end.
I am weary of new relationships,
To the point where I have become complacent,
Proud of my capacity for detachment,
Boasting about my reflexive reaction to shut down and close off,
Leaving nothing for men to do but take my clothes off,
Having no emotions to tend to and nothing from my mind to lend,
Devoid of all feeling that could make this mean more,
Than an easy fuck on their bedroom floor.
I have no follow up and no regret for messing this up,
Since I assume that my body was the only thing they were after,
And my personality was just a distraction from this factor.
But am I doing myself an injustice?
And are there others I can really learn to trust?
Despite being left by the ones I loved the most?
Can I relearn to love in the presence of such a haunting ghost?
And if so, what is there for me to really find?
What would a life look like of that kind?
How can I trust that someone might be there to catch me when I fall?
When I have spent so many years bracing myself for the impact,
And the final call where I find myself standing alone once again,
And I have only myself to count on in the end.
Finding that all my efforts were made in vain,
And the fight not being worth all the pain,
That I knew I would experience if I allowed others in,
And I had to let go of them once again.
But despite knowing that I will be alone at the end —
Are people worth believing in?
Are they worth trusting?
Are they worth the experience?
Can I see value before inevitable retreat?
Are there people I can value in a moment?
And others I can trust to last through it?
What has made me so suspicious?
And how can I not accept a simple kiss,
Without flinching and cringing,
Resisting the urge to run away from it all,
And accept my inevitable fall,
Into darkness and depression,
Because I have no one left to listen,
Since I pushed them all away,
In a desperate effort to survive another day,
Without experiencing the familiar feeling of loss,
And move on at all costs,
From this lingering feeling of regret,
That I never had the chance to say the things that needed to be said,
Allowing a hole to be ripped through the middle of my heart,
And a punch to be laid square in my gut,
Knocking the wind out of my lungs,
And suppressing my mind to be numb,
So that I am not consumed by thoughts of the moments that we never shared,
And the remorse of never showing that I truly cared.
While the truth was that I cared too much,
And leaving was the last thing I considered,
Taking for granted the words that I remitted,
Before I no longer had the opportunity to speak them.
How did this become a desperate search for attachment?
While dependency is something I have always lacked.

Bliss of Youthful Ignorance

I once decided I would start speaking out loud,
At an age young enough to recognize I had no choice,
And an age old enough where I was expected to already have a voice.
I remember the decision so clearly,
That I was not satisfied with who I was being,
And I wanted to change completely,
I can recall the moment when I declared I would start speaking –
I was ten and recognized that I this could be the end,
Of the person I had known myself to be,
And the fear that constantly silenced me,
I made the decision to take the leap,
And express the secrets that I would so easily keep,
Hidden for the rest of my life,
If I allowed myself to continue on without a plan,
To change completely who I am.
It was as simple as that,
And I approached the task as a fact of life,
Something that I had to accept to set right,
It was a flaw that I was born with,
And a challenge for me to perform any act,
That involved the experience of social interaction,
And the expectation that I could speak without a reaction,
That was violent and debilitating,
Providing me with the feeling that everything is crushing in,
As I opened my mouth to speak three simple words,
Overly conscious of the fact that I might sound absurd.
So I vowed to put an end to the struggle,
And woke up one day with the determination to be another,
Kind of person than I had known all of my life,
And introduce new experiences from which I am now derived,
Pushing myself to see what it truly means to be alive,
Not allowing my character flaws to be a hindrance,
To the life I wanted to experience.
I once decided this with such determination,
That it is hard for me to now recognize that forbearance,
And the young girl who operated with timid boldness,
Making a resolution all in my head,
And allowing it to become my reality instead,
Leaving no excuses for it being outside of my ability,
And truly believing in what I could be.
Where has that young girl and her determination gone to?
Because I need her to hold my hand with what I am going through,
Questioning yet again the person I am meant to be,
And suffering from the weight of all the possibility,
I need her guidance and her faith,
That I can accept the crushing weight,
Of the facts that are unavoidable,
And the possibility that this is something I can thrive through.

Resurfacing

I am beginning to remember it more clearly —
The day I lost all sense of belonging.
I am starting to reminisce upon this feeling,
Of being devoid of everything,
Yet simultaneously overwhelmed by emotion,
That was too much to handle without closing in,
Avoiding a view of the rest of the world,
Because it was no longer anything I recognized,
And the fragility of existence left me terrified,
Since I had never considered that someone I love could die,
Least of all well before their time,
When I still needed them as a life guide.
The shock made me instantly numb,
And I was only able to succumb,
To a place of the floor,
Destroyed and nothing more,
Shaking in a fit of my uncontrollable tears,
Leaving me to face head on one of my greatest fears,
That death is a reality,
And no one is safe,
From the end that can be so easily obtained,
I was confused and obliterated,
Not able to do anything but crumble,
Devastated.
Then came the emotion to attack,
Fight back,
Deny that this was something that could not be taken back,
So I ran.
I fled.
I thought that maybe I could walk this all off instead.
Possibly if I just kept moving,
Everything would be as I knew once again.
I walked for miles,
I moved with determination,
Not allowing the stumbling of my feet to detain me.
Until the moment came,
When I could stumble no further,
And there appeared a kind hand on my shoulder,
Of a mother a would come to love more than my own,
Reminding me that I needed to return home.
I had to face my new reality,
And I needed to be surrounded by family,
But when I returned I found that once again I was being abandoned,
By my mother and best friend’s father who had to handle the body of my father,
I was passed off to the care of another,
Leaving me even more numb and indifferent to everyone,
Except for my dear little sister,
Who was the only person left to listen,
But I had nothing left to say,
And I wouldn’t for many days,
Allowing myself to disappear in the blackness of loss,
And suppress the surfacing of any thoughts,
Leaving me broken pieces in a battle lost,
Against being the stronger person who could step up and assist,
Offering love and support in moments such as this,
Knowing how to care for my sister,
And being thankful for the people who helped us,
Despite being abandoned by two brothers and a mother,
Leaving us to be cared for by my best friend’s mother,
Who somehow made us eat,
And allowed us to sleep for days,
Since I have no recollection of the passing of time,
But I know that my mother did return,
And I saw my brothers the day after all of this occurred,
But I can’t recall ever sitting down as a family and providing support,
I remember a meeting where we planned my father’s wake,
And I remember the countless hands that I had to shake,
I remember using it as an excuse to drink,
And an opportunity to sink away from it all,
Retreating in an effort to make my world even smaller,
So that I had nothing left by which to be bothered,
And I could close myself off from the potential to ever feel abandoned,
Because it is too much for me to bear again.