I will call this a “Thing” because
there are so many more names to call it.
But either way, I have this “Thing” inside me.
I have this “Thing” in me,
a voice perhaps, or a life, like a child
or a little kid that hides away.
I have this thing in me, which I see as a source
and I call this “Pure” because this is real.
It’s me, and I understand that,
but still, I have this thing in me
which I keep hidden away.
I keep him behind me now
and he only comes out sometimes,
when it’s safe enough to talk
and I can explain myself
without any interruptions.
I have this thing in me,
which is very similar to something Bukowski wrote.
He talked about the bluebird in his heart,
which Bukowski wouldn’t let out
because he was too tough for him.
I am similar, but . . .
mine is not a bluebird though.
Mine is my true spirit.
This “Thing” in me is more than a voice or a song.
This is the child
that wished he learned how to dance
or knew how to build a tent
or wished he didn’t know about some of the silly rules,
like say, wearing white after Labor Day
or any of the other disproved theories
that people come up with to define the social standard.
I have this thing inside me.
It’s a boy
and he doesn’t always understand.
He doesn’t get why people do or say things.
And I try to explain.
I try to tell him not to worry
my words seem to come up short.
And I try again
I tell this childlike “Thing” of mine:
“What the hell’s the matter with you?
What are you gonna do, cry?
Do you want to let everyone see?
Do you want everyone to know you’re there?”
But later, I feel sorry for what I said
and then I reach out and say, “I’m sorry.”
I say, “I know you’re there.”
And I tell him,
“I know why you don’t understand.”
I just lose patience sometimes,
which is more about me and my fears
than it is about my child within.
This is more about me than say,
the starry eyes and youthful dreams.
I have this thing in me,
like a child that tugs on my pant leg
and asks for attention.
He wants to play. I know he does.
He wants to go on a hike.
He wants the one like we did when we were little.
We walked alongside a stream
near my childhood home.
It was the one time
it felt absolutely amazing to be by myself.
I have this thing in me that feels everything,
— especially, for others,
which is not to call this sympathy
because I do not feel for others.
Instead, I feel with them
which I believe the difference is called empathy
but either way, this is not an easy thing.
I’m sensitive but then again,
what kind of man is sensitive?
This is why I try to keep this “Thing” under wraps
because I’m afraid someone else might see
and then maybe they’ll mistake my sensitive nature
And they’ll try to take something.
I try to explain this.
But this thing in me, or this child,
or my internal me, my voice,
or in whichever way I can describe him
is lonely sometimes.
This is where the conflict comes in.
I tell him, “You don’t understand.”
Nobody wants to have sleepovers anymore.
Nobody shares like the way we’re supposed to.
“What do you want me to do,
share everything and walk away with nothing?”
But later on I understand and come to my senses.
Sometimes it’s too late though
the damage is done and the child in me
And then I have to come back to him and explain,
“I know you only want people to be happy with us.”
I know he only wants to make friends.
It’s just hard for me to live up here
and be on the exterior
because not everyone plays fairly.
But sometimes, I find a place.
No one else is around.
And I let him go.
I let him dream.
I let him play.
Sometimes, I find someplace safe enough
to let all of this out.
And it’s good to see him laugh.
It’s good to watch him smile and run around
and be free like a kid on a playground.
After we play and after he’s tired,
I take him home to rest.
And on the way, I tell him a few things.
I tell him that I love him.
I tell him that sometimes
I do or say things I do not mean.
I tell him why because I want him to understand,
“It’s not you. It’s me”
but this is confusing to him
because he is me.
I have to tell him:
There is nothing ugly or funny about you.
You didn’t do anything wrong,
it’s just, well, sometimes being an adult is scary.
Sometimes I’m afraid to laugh
or even be free
because I’m afraid something might happen
to knock me down to Earth —
and then both of us will be hurt.
I let him know that in all honesty,
I don’t always know what to say.
I don’t always give myself the permission
to not know the answers.
I don’t always know what I’m doing.
I’m just me, or more aptly, I’m just you.
I’m just a scared kid,
hoping to dear God that no one picks on me,
hoping to have fun on the playground,
hoping they pick me first when someone picks teams.
I’m hoping I don’t drop the ball
if someone passes to me
and because of these fears,
I suppose I forgot what it means to have fun.
I forgot what it means to be a kid.
Or more appropriately,
I forgot what it means to be me.
I have this thing in me that I apologize to
because I take out my hang-ups on him.
I realize the reasons why I keep him locked up
and this has nothing to do with him
or the way he is as a child.
No, I kept him locked up
and hidden away for such a long time
that I was afraid to let him out.
I’m sure I’m not alone with this.
I’m sure this might be too raw for others to touch;
as if the real me is something I put down,
I’m not putting me or anything about me down.
I’m only being honest.
I have this thing in me that wants to be heard
and wants to be liked.
I have this thing in me
he wants to watch the sunset
and see the sunrise.
I want to play.
I want to be free.
I want to be me without any explanation
or be uncomfortable
because of the distractions of vulnerability.
I just want a victory.
Is that too much to ask?
And the kid in me asks, “Who are you trying to beat?”
I suppose the answer is
as soon as I stop myself for beating me up
just for being me.
And like I said, I’m sure I’m not alone here.
I’m sure there are others that feel this way too,
but for now, there’s a little kid that needs some comfort
because I was too scared for too long.
And I swear, these kids, they take on our pain
as if it’s their fault.
They blame themselves for the world.
They blame themselves for being who they are,
as if who they are is wrong
which couldn’t be more further from the truth.
There is nothing wrong with you.
How about this?
Let’s make it through today, you and me,
and later on, we’ll find a place to run around,
and laugh and play.
We can top this off with some ice cream.
How’d that be?
Just don’t go away, kid.
I need you.