Children

Children are very important, more in tune

than our fragile adult minds are willing to admit,

because kids know what’s important

and they’ll tell you to your face,

though it’s hard to hear them

with all the nonsense man’s created

to convince the world

he ain’t so little anymore, knowing the truth

once he’s willing to truly listen.

My Nephew Collin

How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel? For this average white guy, countless.

If I could go back, all those years, and stand next to twelve year old me, would I have the courage and strength to tell that nervous boy watching all the other children, swimming, laughing, and running—playing shirts v.s. skins—to quit worrying and join in, that it doesn’t matter how chubby you feel, or how different you look, that as long as you love and accept yourself, no words from another can harm you, or would I just sit back and watch, still the observer unable to join the party?

It’s funny how something so simple as taking your shirt off to swim can be so detrimental to a young child’s self esteem and yet as adults we often forget what that was like or rather what external forces beyond our control led us to believe ourselves unworthy of such a simple, yet harrowing task.

As in childhood, so as in adulthood, what we allow to harm us will.

Commercials show us long, slender, sleek models who seem to effortlessly fit in to their surroundings while being rewarded with warm smiles and admiration for seeming perfect.

Television shows and movies give us well manicured, quintessential versions of ourselves that often seem more like science fiction than what actually is.

Billboard ads and magazines are placed conveniently to fill all our psyche with blemish-less detail to promote this false sense of unattainable beauty that even when met, there’s ultimately an even whiter teeth formula, or wax to whisk away our imperfection.

It’s a cycle that even before the mind has time to develop, stunts it’s growth and like a cavity begins to decay all sense of self worth.

How often have you judged yourself by your looks rather than how you feel?

For this average white guy, countless.

But it’s taken all those countless times to figure out that it doesn’t matter in the slightest, especially as a child who’s developing.

So would I tell that twelve year old me to take his shirt off and go swimming with the rest of the lot?

I don’t think there is a clear answer other than that instead of telling him what he should or shouldn’t do like all the rest of the world, I’d allow him the opportunity to listen to my story and decide for himself.

But I would say this. Chances are that boy or girl over there thinks there nose is too big or there ears are too small. Chances are that kid who cringes to put on his glasses everyday feels just like you do now, wondering what others will think of what makes him human.

Perhaps I’d reassure him that everybody has stretch marks, even the biggest, strongest athletes. Even his mother, and what could be more beautiful than sacrificing your physical form to grant another life?

But we all figure it out in our own time.

I know he did.

Clearwater Beach Florida

Call me crystal and I’ll make this clear

Call me crystal and I’ll make this clear

The world’s your oyster, won’t you be a dear?

Remember us, when you’re famous

Such a dangerous manifestation

Bite the bullet trigger happy kid

They said break a leg behind closed eyelids

Opportunity, don’t blow it

You’re a shooting star, now show it

Call me Ishmael cause I am drowning quick

Wailing never got you through the thick

What more could we ask for?

Through closed doors

Another kid’s born in the grave

By the third day he’ll be saved

Another wick is burnt too late

Just one more spirit and you’ll feel great

Wipe the Chalice, next in line to drink

Every word has meaning, child

who’s never’d time to blink

peaches

An idea
fosters questions.

And questions
raise ideas.

Picked like peaches,
pickled and peppered,

in sealed mason jars,
upon dusty wood shelf
buried in a garage that smells
of gasoline, and summer.

Where as kids playing nerf
we never raised such questions

not having any idea
of the hungry beast out there

waiting, sharpening its claws
using our parents as dental floss,

grooming its teeth, and ready
for the day

it too, could devour our peaches.