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

Miraculous People

What I saw that day, my mind insisted were people,

running back and forth—silhouettes—they were equal.

What I saw that day, I just couldn’t conceal

their shape was mine, it almost didn’t seem real.

See original thought comes before the prequel,

because the love we’re born with exists before evil.

What I saw that day, sure I know they were people,

while my beginner’s mind worked, I couldn’t help but feel

—their heart’s skip beats—my heart was healed,

by what I saw that day on a beach filled to equal:

coexistence at birth, we’re miraculous people.

A kick in the head!

I will always be curious

and allergic to cats.

Ain’t that a kick in the head!

Her guiding light

What I cannot see

in the dark of night

within myself

is another’s plight,

she finds me there

her guiding light

my luminance

in the dark of night.

Eating edibles by the ocean

Her sun kissed skin

My wind swept hair

Eating edibles by the ocean

So happy we’re here

Seated in the summer sun

Seated in the summer sun

drenched in heat

reading a novel, alone

how sweet.

With memories of you

drenched in heat,

feet stretched out

along the beach.

Where in the summer sun

you’d sit and read

a novel too, my mother

sweet.

While you’d watch us kids

the swimming sea,

and how you read

effortlessly,

I never wondered then

like I do now,

how a quiet lesson

could teach me how.

I turn each page

my mind at rest,

my mother’s sun

warm on my chest.

Manhattan’s in the Village

You know what they say, don’t yuh?

Can’t live with em, can’t live without em

But don’t get me twisted, I’m not talking about women

though the skin beneath my tongue’s still sore

my heart’s still heavy and well

there’s nothing quite like seeing her smile come morning

but anyway like I was saying to this jug of doom

in the evening gloom where I choose not one but two

and then two more to boot because, well, hell

who am I kidding? Nobody but the moon this evening

cause it’s this bitter sweet feeling

the kind you feel deep down in the rumbling, stumbling night

where it all gets so far gone, where nothing meaningful is born

where it all makes some sort of convoluted sense

and alas, once again I am but the floorboards dull creak

where I am like the riverbed flowing calmly and discrete

where life is but a dream and I am dreaming once again

of you dear friend, rustling like the leaves at my front door.

Oh dear friend, how I long to walk the beach again.

How I long to hear your sick, silly, sweet voice again

like those long ago up all Friday nights of old

all those Brooklyn winter blue’s and yellow streetlights

guiding us home, or at least to Crown Fried Chicken where

like two youthful bums we’d scavenge our pockets for change

enough to buy a couple chicken wings, coke, and pint

enough to settle the bone, cold, sidewalk snow till home

where we’d fall arm and arm up stairs

to that old wood, smoke filled, railroad apartment you’d call Grove.

And though I don’t often pray, in my own little way

I do for you now as I did then, driving back to my Long Island apartment.

I pray this little song of self, this little song of you, this small token of my appreciation

for your boundless soul and effortless style and class.

I ate too much cheese, I’d shout while holding a kitchen knife to my throat!

Where in a Polaroid our youth is kept,

where so many nights while you slept I wept,

where you’d give me your bed for a smile,

where I’d talk with Forest about everything and nothing for a while,

long enough not to feel alone in that maddening, crazy New York glow.

So I write this little poem, not enough but enough to show you

I’m still listening through the terror behind the walls.

Dear friend,

How are you?

I can’t live with you, but hell, I can’t live without you.

Manhattan’s in the Village

God knows we never had the scratch, aligned

I feel inclined to take this time and offer you my best

impression not impressed?

CALL ME SPIDER! CALL ME SPIDER!

I just had to get these salami’s off my back.

I just had to sing this short praise of you Mac.

I believe, I believe, I believe in you

I’ve a laundry list of confessions

like the phases of the moon

Sometimes they pose a question

sometimes they propose two

I’ve got a long list of suggestions

to sink my teeth in to

Half the time full of dimension

still I love the dark side too.

Some people live by first impression

I tried but couldn’t resist

Tangled knots in life’s suspension

marionette’s even sometimes quit

Bottled up untapped aggression

like a dog in heat I bit

Every hand who fed I bargained

sold my soul for half a cent.

Sometimes I just don’t feel ok

when color seems to fade to gray

But even I knew better days

were drawn like window shades.

Put me on like a flannel

in the middle of May

Wear me out completely

with the words that you say

Today the sun is shining

brighter than yesterday

So strum these heart string chords

cause you know just what to play.

Blow me out like a candle

I’ll be your flickering flame

Tuck me in like a child

too old for past mistakes

Let me sing to you a while

and the words that I’d say

Light the sky like a storm

and your rain’s saving grace.

Sometimes I just don’t feel ok

and you tell me that that’s ok.

I believe, I believe, I believe in you

I believe in you everyday,

cause I believe you believe in me.

a new days morn

Golden white light

of a new days morn

pours through glass

another day reborn

In the ashes of night

there lies but a thorn

plucked from the side

no flesh had been torn

White sheets toss n tangle

cold toes on the floor

unfathomable visions

eyes closed I see more

Her inflow of breath

his outflow explores

the depths of her hair

do please stay the course

There’s reason in knowing

what comes from the source

in the golden white light

of a new days morn.

Sedona sun

It’s a warm sensation

like the Sedona sun

pours light unto my eyes,

how I’ve had everything

I have always needed

right here inside of me.

I just needed to let it out.