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

In the house I keep

In the house I keep each wall shall be

A coloring book for poetry

Where colors burst in harmony

Where war and peace succumb to paint.

In the house I keep each window sill

Shall only bear the daylight spill

Where succulents hang with free will

Where laughter’s never faint.

In the house I keep each lock will turn

With open ended thoughts to churn

Where no one line deserves to burn

Where honesty is quaint.

But when fear knocks in the house I keep

There will be no reason for which to weep

My hands dipped well within relief

Each wall we’ll finger paint.

In the house I keep my only wish

To deserve and serve this simple dish

Where forks and knives grow strong and rich

Where no wall goes untouched.

love is not a simple thing.

I’ve often tried

to be the guy

who stands neutral

on battle lines

like half a couple

dozen times

I’ve turncoat

on the Queen.

There’s nothing new

to tell in fact

I’ve wasted more

than my last breath

which left me quite

a while back

when I first

took my leave.

So if it’s time

to settle down

regardless of

this downturned frown

I’d rather this

than both us now

set sail

for the sea.

I gave her all

that I could give

she gave me strength

in which to live

we learned to love

the simple things

neither one

could speak.

And so the line’s

erased in sand

I held close to

her open hand

our hearts displayed

like contraband

no one but us

could see.

So with this one

last battle cry

collecting tears

from both our eyes

as King and Queen

we’re sure to die

what’s meant to be

will be.

For love is not

a simple thing

like confidence

or apathy

drawn to this loss

love often leads

in the end

we’ll find peace.