MY FRIEND

My friend, how often do you cry?

I see the remnants on your cheeks

And the cold, damp stains on your sheets.

Yet there is no red in your eye.

 

My friend, how often do you hide?

I see the mask of gold smiles

And the fancy perfume vials.

Yet neither is at your bedside.

 

My friend, what is it you feel?

I see sorrow dance on your lips

With each of those martini sips.

Is there nothing I can heal?

 

My friend, please tell me what to do,

I want to see what is in your soul;

To be the one who makes you whole,

Because I love your point of view.

 

Or rather, my friend, because I love you.

——

 

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GOLDEN STRUGGLES

It’s hard to believe

Life is hard for everyone.

Even Donald Trump.

 

Although Donald Trump

Might not have it quite as hard

As a Harlemite.

 

Better dipped in gold

Than underneath a bootstrap,

Or invisible.

 

In the beating sun

Better to carry the whip

Than pick the cotton

 

That life’s more easy;

Even if they both get burned.

Only one gets scars.

 

But that’s hard to see

From a penthouse apartment

In your own hotel.

——

 

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STOOD UP

His right leg was twitching. Beating up and down like a drummer in the middle of his solo. But he was stuck on a bench waiting. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out at half past ten and rising. The birds were chirping, the children were playing, the air was crisp, and the grass seemed greener than usual. Yet he looked as if he were sitting in a dark room.

He had been there for two hours. Sitting, waiting, wishing. Hoping that she would show up. He let his mind wander to the dentist, to his classes, to his family, and back around. He’d look at the children playing happily and smile. But if anyone looked a bit closer, they would see the pain hidden behind that smile. The sense of worthlessness that had hardened itself inside. A sense that himself tried to hide away in drinks, parties, and friends. Yet nobody ever seemed to look that closely. They just saw the smile, and thought he was ok.

He stayed through the sunshine and into the starlight, until the happy cries of children had turned to the empty silence filled only by the chirp of crickets. Until finally a gust of wind pushed him to his feet, and he realized the time. With a cool, clean breath of the night air, he began his walk home. He passed by happy couples, warm houses, and smiling teenagers, until he finally got to his flat. He ascended the stairs, focused hard at the ground so as to not think about the let down he had experienced again. He numbed himself to the pain, until he could stand to face himself in the mirror.

He checked his phone. No new messages. No calls. No friends. He felt so alone. He tossed his shirt to the hamper, and left his pants on the floor, and decided to shower. The water was like the warm embrace he had hoped for. He let it drown his senses. The steam built up and cleared his lungs. He cried. First it was small dribbles, then in heavy heaves. He sunk to the ground, legs crossed, and waited. The water poured down on him for what seemed like hours. Until he felt the heat run away and the chill set in. He got up, shut the water off, and got out. It was time to get up again.

THE CAVE

In the valley there is a Cave

To which few people get to have

More than a moment to visit.

Yet when in my youth I viewed it

I came to find the love of life.

It’s the sanctuary from strife,

The protector against the cold,

For all people, from young to old.

 

When I heard that the Cave collapsed,

All the memories that had lapsed

Came to the forefront of my head,

To mourn that a great man were dead.

A GLASS OF MILK

She swallowed. The milk was cool and refreshing after a long day of work. She set the glass down on the counter, still half full, and looked out the window, admiring the uncharacteristically blue sky and the pinks and yellows of the neighbors flowerbeds. She wondered how the world could be so beautiful and so loving.

She heard the creek of the hardwood as she walked through her kitchen to her bedroom. The wood was cold beneath her socks, but she liked it. It, in many ways, was comforting to her to know that even on a warm day like today her house was a place for respite. She pulled off the sweat ridden t-shirt and pants she wore, and threw them in the hamper. They caught at the top of the pile for a moment, before listlessly rolling to the ground. She rinsed herself off, all the sweat, dirt, and filth from a day’s work melted away like the winter’s frost in spring.

She turned the water off, and for a moment paused to kick the small specks of dirt that now lined her tiled floor into the shower drain, before eventually drying off. She dressed herself in a pair of warm pajama pants and a long t-shirt, then walked back into the kitchen. She picked up her cup of milk, and took another small sip. As the liquid crossed her lips she looked back out to the world outside. It was nearly sunset, with the blue sky giving way to a beautiful orangish color.

Her eyes wandered through the clouds before finally settling on her husband, who was walking up the steps. His head was bowed in deep thought. She lifted the glass of milk for another sip. It was already half empty. She drained the glass, leaving but a thin residue along the side of the glass. There was a knock at the door. She swallowed.

FEARLESS DEPRESSION

His face in his hands and his shoulders slumped,

A man sits in the corner of the room.

Happy people’s feet a floor above thumped,

While rain pitter-patters and darkness looms.

In thick droplets, water pools from his eyes,

As though each one contained a part of him,

And they scatter, like the storm in the skies.

His heart begins to rip him limb from limb.

And then, like a flash of lightning it comes,

Pain and agony shoots through his being,

It rocks and shakes him like the beat of drums,

And all his sadness runs away fleeing.

He looks out the window to greet the night,

And in fearless depression he takes flight.

 

Hello everyone,

Happy end of the week! I decided to change up my poem for this week with something not romance related (at least, not necessarily romance related, this poem is still open to interpretation). Let me know what you think of it! Its a sonnet, and it’s fairly close to being in iambic pentameter, so, you know, judge it how you will.

CULTURE SHOCK AND BROCK TURNER

Hello everyone,

 

So today is Thursday, and I am feeling quite a bit better, which is good for obvious reasons. So lets chat about Brock Turner really quickly. I would say I know about as much as the average person about his case—he raped a girl behind a dumpster, was noticed by a group of people, and later identified and convicted. His conviction was for an extremely short period of time, with the judge citing that any longer amount of time might be impactful to his life. Brock Turner was a swimmer with apparently some amount of talent. He got off his sentence early due to “good behavior.”

Alright, so that’s the story in the most objective way I can put it. I have no doubt you have probably seen some of the pictures related to this case, since it is the biggest case in recent months about a raping. But my favorite one was where they compared Brock’s sentence to the sentence of a man who was caught carrying and smoking marijuana. Now, I’m not going to come out with my position on smoking weed, because that is irrelevant to this argument, but lets take a look at the two based on their impact on others. Smoking weed can affect others in the immediate vicinity by giving them a high, minor or major depending on the location. Other than that, it’s relatively harmless. Society, specifically lawmakers, has defined it as illegal, which is how it goes and is enforced. Regardless, this relatively harmless thing that has been deemed illegal has a heavy crack down on criminals going against the law. Sure, in some areas this isn’t true, and in some areas it is legal at a state level.

Now lets look at rape. Because that’s what it is. Not “20 minutes of action” as his dad put it. But rape. How does it affect others? Well, onlookers can be distressed and traumatized, and the person being raped is very rarely not damaged for life. Suicide rates for victims increase, a fear of the assailant’s gender develops, and so on. So when we talk about the severity of impact on a person’s life, like this judge has found to be an important reason for Brock Turner’s short sentence, why don’t we take a look at this young woman who was violated by this guy.

I’ve tried to avoid using the phrase “piece of shit” to describe Brock Turner, no matter how awful he is, because lets be honest. We don’t know his life. Sure, maybe he even was the jerk on campus, but I have no doubt that at least some number of people thought he was a great guy. Which means that even those we perceive as good are capable of doing awful things. And I think that’s important to remember, because I guarantee that the people lining up outside Brock’s house with guns have not forgiven him—and they shouldn’t. But this guy is a member of a society that devalues the well being of women quickly, which is probably why the judge so hastily allowed for Brock to get off easy, despite his severe impact on the life of this woman. And that problem is more rampant in society than just Brock Turner. Certainly, this was a horrible injustice, but look at the bigger picture. Brock is just one in thousands of men that assault women daily.

If we can so passionately condemn this rapist, why is it that, across the board, so many women are silenced without a second glance? Why is it that we blame a woman’s clothing as the reason she got raped, as opposed to the fact that the man was a rapist? I don’t have all the answers. But I can tell you that it’s because we still don’t have equal protection of men and women. What do you think? Let me know!

COLDPLAY LIVE

Hello everyone,

 

Ah, Monday has returned, and it’s time to wipe the sleep from my eyes. I had quite the weekend. Saturday night, I saw Coldplay live at the Rose Bowl! In all honesty, this was my first major concert in something like 15 years, if memory serves. Which was quite an experience. First of all, parking was a killer. Seriously, it was $40 for general parking. That is like legit highway robbery. Then, getting into the stadium was a pain. There were such huge lines that my industrial engineer of a sister pointed out were horribly inefficient.

You would think that, with all this negativity I would be somewhat put out. But I couldn’t have been happier! Coldplay has been a long time inspiration for me. And sure, you may not like their music, and that’s ok. You’re still capable of understanding my experience has led me to pull a lot from them. So, when the lights finally went out and they started playing, I was understandably ecstatic. When they walked out, the wristband that somehow everyone except my family had gotten all lit up. Which means something like sixty thousand lights the size of your wrist were illuminated. It was a sea of red, then yellow, then blue, and so on. And it was moving, which was absolutely gorgeous. It was almost like seeing the a sky full of stars (see what I did there? No? Here).

Of course, Coldplay is about a lot more than simply lights and showmanship, The reality is that they are seasoned veterans of touring. Apparently in about a month with be the 20th anniversary of their group’s existence. What’s even more amazing to me though is that they aren’t just a band in it for the money. I mean, sure, it’s possible that they well surpassed the amount of money they could possibly spend in their lifetime many years ago, which could nullify my next statement, but I like to think it won’t. What’s great about Coldplay is that they are out for the betterment of humanity. Although their love songs are typically the most popular (Yellow, Fix You, A Sky Full of Stars, and so on), many of these have a tone of being more that just a love song. Take Yellow as an example. Certainly, the primary tone is to say “I love you so much that I’d write this song for you,” but what does that tone mean? Does it have to be a love song? No.

You see, Coldplay’s song’s have depth. They don’t have to be about simply romance. They can be about something more common than that—like a friend, or a family member. Which tells us a bit about how they as a group think. To attempt to decipher that, I would say that the group believes something along the lines of this: everyone suffers in life, some more than others. And in spite of this pain and suffering we must rise above. Rise above and make each other better people, together.

MENTAL ENDURANCE

Hello everyone,

 

I’m really tired. I mean really tired. Like Eminem “knees weak, arms are heavy” tired. Even just sitting here typing right now hurts a bit. Why? Well, for the past few months I’ve been doing only an ok job at exercising. By that I mean I have been doing 4 days a week of weight lifting, which honestly in itself was hard enough. But I realized I should be doing cardio, so this week is the first week of me adding some miles to my routine. Of course, this is also my first week back from vacation, which means I have not exactly timed things too well.

Which brings me to today’s subject: mental endurance. You can probably figure out what mental endurance is simply by hearing the name of it, but we’re going to talk about it all the same. Mental endurance really comes down to answering “Yes” every time you ask yourself “can I do this?” though I can definitely see room for the argument that it is saying “No” every time you ask or tell yourself “I can’t do it.” Either way, mental endurance is what helps us push through barriers within our own bodies. Think about that 6:00 am alarm clock on a Monday morning. Getting out of bed for work is hard, right? It really takes a couple “I can do this” thoughts before you can roll out of bed and get moving. Same with anything else.

That being said, mental endurance can’t make up for everything. At some point, your body will hit a breaking point. Usually you should stop just before you hit this point when you are really pressing yourself, but it can be extremely hard to judge when that point is sometimes. Even harder is knowing when to stop taking a break. I was thinking about how difficult it was for me to put in a couple miles when just a couple years ago I could run roughly 5 miles a day and hardly break a sweat. Which means pain is a relative factor. So, overcoming pain is relative too. While I certainly don’t want to pull a muscle by exercising too hard, I also want to make sure I’m not babying myself at all. That can be a tough thing to monitor alone. In fact, self motivation can be really had for people—I think that it’s the main reason people hire personal trainers, because it’s hard to get yourself going when its all on you.

Of course, this is true for any form of success. Being internally motivated to go above and beyond what your comfort zone is hard for anyone. Sometimes people bite off too much, and in doing so they give up even worse when they fail. Or think they fail. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked myself into thinking I had failed before I had actually failed. But to succeed it takes gritting through the pain, which is where the idea of “blood, sweat, and tears” comes from. But realize that, for many people, that’s not just a saying. It’s a reality. And it’s scary. But to succeed you have to be willing to fail. Again and again and again. But when you finally do come out on top, every failure won’t look like a loss, but instead just another step you had to take towards being great.

COUPON CUTTING

Hello everyone,

 

How are you all doing today? I’m super sleepy because I was up watching the new Star Trek movie. Heads up, if you download the Atom app, you can get a free movie ticket, no strings attached…you know, besides downloading another app. I’m not sponsored by anyone, I just thought I’d share a sweet deal. Hey, but Atom, for real, if you want to pay me I’ll take your money.

Ok, but seriously, that’s actually the subject of the day. No, not Star Trek, there’s no way to have a good talk about something like Star Trek because there’s always someone that will disagree. Today I wanted to talk about deals. Specifically coupons or free tickets and the like. First of all, who doesn’t like a coupon? Seriously? How? There’s a non zero chance that this thing you would have bought for $50 is now only $40 if you just bring them a piece of paper, or a code to scan.

Yet for whatever reason we live with this weird, sort of low key stereotype about people who use coupons as being cheap. I mean, sure, there are always those people who wont shop somewhere unless they can get a coupon, but that’s such a tiny minority that they can’t be that impactful to the real life views of coupons. Let’s take it a step further. What happens if you’re on a date, and your partner offers to pay, and you let them. Super sweet of them right? Suddenly they pull out a newspaper clipping for $20 off on your restaurant bill. Is it less sweet that they offered to pay now that they’ve done this? If no, cool. If yes, why? Your food fees were still covered. If you hadn’t paid attention to how they paid, you would have had no idea that they didn’t spend money.

Even further, this person still spent their coupon on you, and not someone else, so they obviously care. Now lets say you are in line behind someone at Stater Bros. and they take a gritty piece of paper out of their wallet, hand it to the cashier, and their bill is reduced by $10. They pay the cashier, smile, and walk out the door. How do you feel? What did the person you picture look like? Was it some white guy in a business suit and those fancy shoes that all businessmen seem to wear? Was it a large African-American woman who walked with self-assurance and spoke with some sass? What do those stereotypes of what you pictured tell you about your view of someone who uses coupons? Maybe it was a teenager whipping out their phone so that someone could scan a code. Regardless, these are just images created within the context of your life, but they are then applied in real life when you see someone. If there is a negative association made with the use of coupons, then it is also true that, to some extent, all people who use coupons will be seen poorly. And that’s bad. In all honesty, I don’t have the answer on how to fix that, but I can tell you that if you actively attack your own stereotypes, whether its over coupons, or cloths, or lifestyle, you will be better prepared to reserve judgment on someone when it really counts.