What do you want?
Do you mean me?
Yes you. It’s really a simple question.
What do you want?
I suppose I want the same as most people. I want to enjoy my life. I want to be happy.
I want to see things. I want to do things.
I want that feeling you have when you’re still a kid.
Do you know what I mean?
I want that feeling, which is like everything you see is fresh and brand new; it’s like looking at something or meeting someone exciting for the first time. I want to learn how to preserve my amazement so it lasts as long as forever. I don’t want to allow cynicism to steal my freedom to look or touch or laugh or dance.
I want miracles to be real, which is not to say that there is no such thing. I believe in miracles. They happen every day. I just want to see more of them. I want to feel that elusive thing that we call hope. I want to nurture and hold my secret of endurance and not be afraid to try or start over.
I want to speak freely or openly and not have someone take it wrong. I want to be honest and open and not have someone think I’m in need of their advice.
I want to overcome more. I want to learn more about myself. I want to learn more about others. I want to understand more about love. I want to understand more about desire.
I want to find a feeling, like, say, when an old song comes on and the nostalgia hits the emotions. It’s the connection with the lyrics, which is enough to make you feel. I can’t say anything more about it other than this; play the right song and it touches the right chord.
What do I want?
I want a rewind button. I want a replay button. I want an option to pause and erase so that I can redo and recreate. I understand life does not come with an eraser. But hey, the question is what do I want. It’s not about what I can have.
So, back to it.
I want to sleep through the night.
I want to relive a few moments with people I never had the chance to talk to before they left.
I want to fess up to a few people.
I want to let things rest.
I want the past behind me to stay where it is. Besides, it’s best left there.
I want to hear the song Mother, performed by Pink Floyd.
I want to breathe easy.
I want the tensions between us to solve themselves and finally, somehow, there could be peace in the city.
We might not all agree but at least we could all get along.
Since you’re asking, I’d like the chance to go back to my old self on a day in August in 1989.
I’d like to tell myself a few things. I’d probably say, “Don’t go.”
I’d say, “Don’t worry about them. They’re not your real friends.”
I’d probably say, “You don’t have to live this way.”
I’d say all of these things to my former self but I’m not sure I’d have listened.
I’d have probably answered, “I don’t think I have a choice.”
And the truth is, I didn’t think I had one.
I want to build something.
I want to create something for myself, which is enough to prove that I am valid.
Do you understand? I want to validate myself.
I don’t want to have to wait for someone else. I want this to be enough.
By the way, I call this honesty. I call this out with no issues, no shame and no regrets.
Instead, I call this out because I don’t believe people are capable of being honest.
It’s uncomfortable to say things, especially when they pertain to the heart or the mind, the soul or the fears about the lack thereof.
And dig it:
I know this is raw.
This is raw and real and yet childish all at the same time. I know this because I am a child. No matter what age I become, I am still a reflection of my youth, which has only improved enough to allow me to become a man (or so I hope).
I want to detach and unhinge from the ideas of what is or is not socially desirable and instead, I want to remain loyal to what is desirable.
I have these thoughts at night, which, of course is why I title these poems Insomnia Poetry.
I thought about the bravery behind the video of a young girl.
She is about to die from cancer.
Someone was shaving her head so she could lose her hair gracefully.
There was a song playing in the background.
And I don’t want the whole world to see me
“Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken . . .
I just want you to know who I am.
This is raw. This is real.
This is the heart without fancy words or dressed up in some promotional package.
See what I mean about the music?
See what I mean about the way songs somehow reveal an inner sense?
I swear, if we all just stopped for a second; I know we could all relate.
Or wait, is that too real?
The truth is there are more people that think and feel similarly but yet, they say nothing.
And me? Well, you asked what I want.
Man, I just want to be heard . . .
There is a strange romance attached to a wild life and a hair-pin trigger. This can pull and go off at any given moment. Everyone is looking to take a shot.
Everybody wants the power.
Everyone wants to be the lie; to be the fantasy, the black-hatted cowboy, to be the bad boy gangster with mystique and a story because hey, no one picks on the tough guy.
Tough guys are too dangerous. Right?
This is not real though. This is only fantasy – and that’s just it – you learn this too late.
You find this out when the barrel points in the wrong direction. The bullets fire towards you instead of away from you. Or, you find this out when the cuffs hit your wrists. You understand when the door shuts to a cell.
And then BOOM . . . there’s no way out.
And those cuffs, man, they clap tighter than you think.
There’s a strange but sad magnetism to the so-called gangster life.
By the way, the romance is all a lie. The glorified tales and the war stories are all a joke.
Only, no one laughs in the end, the romance is revealed to be a lie.
Let it be know that this is the ego, too afraid someone might see the truth; too afraid someone might find the cracks or the faults. This is the worrisome part of vulnerability, which no one dares to talk about.
No, this would be too real.
This would be too honest. So instead, we lie. We put notches in our belt to act “As if.”
You want to be known, right?
You want to be tough or else. Or else, what?
Or else, someone might see the weakness, which you so desperately hide.
I see you by the way. I know you.
In some regards, I am you.
You want to be valid or validated. You want to be known so you can have some decoration called a legacy. You want this until it ends; until it goes wrong; until the cage door rolls shut or the body bag zips up like an exclamation point to a sentence of a line that can never be taken back.
I have watched people both live and die this way. I’ve met with people that swore to a code; only to find themselves behind doors that roll shut or sit on their rack, waiting for a visit from family or hoping to have someone put something in their commissary.
I’ve met with children missing their Dad because Dad wanted to be a gangster; and yet meanwhile, their child only wanted a father.
I have seen people become loyal to a life that was never loyal to them.
They said they’d never rat. They say they’d never be a punk or sign a “PC” or be a “Bitch” in Protective Custody.
Ride or die, right?
There’s a strange fascination. Or no, wait. This is more like a sad admiration for the violence of a tough guy that has to wear a mask. This is the truest silence of fear and the manifestation of cowards seeking bravery. This is the silence of the loud voice that talked too much, too often and too loudly to pretend to be tough.
Play the role. Be the part. Just don’t be seen for who you are.
Is that it?
Keep the blade sharp. Enjoy the glimmer. Enjoy the fantasy or the storybook lies.
Keep in mind, we’re talking about tough guys here.
I mean, these are the legends in their own mind; too tough to tackle, too smart to catch, too quick to stop.
Meanwhile, the truth starts and stops with one common identity – FEAR – and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can never piece their lives together again.
I once asked a man about the time he taught his son to ride a bicycle.
He said he wasn’t there for that.
I asked about the time he taught his son to play catch and throw a baseball.
He said he wasn’t there for that either.
He missed almost 10 years of his son’s life.
I asked, do you know what this kind of damage is called?
No, he said
What’s it called?
It’s called irreparable.
I’m thinking there’s a way out. There has to be.
There’s a way to evolve from the world around us.
I’m thinking there’s always a way.
A way to overcome the common obstacles and be better
even if it’s only for a minute, there has to be a way.
Then we can say, “I did it.”
We can say I’ve been through this before,” and tell ourselves,
“Maybe I’ve been better than I am now
but at least I know I’ll be better again,”
We can transcend from failure into progress.
The way I see it,
Not every step we take will be in the right direction,
but at least we’re moving.
In the end, everything is relative.
Perfection is just a word;
This is only a proposal that dangles in front of us,
like some fancy decoration, which we think is pure.
By the way, this is what kick-starts the process of insecurity.
This idea we have about perfection;
This trickles into the jars of greed and envy, and in the end –
We don’t want to be “That person”
But yet, we are (at least a little bit).
To afraid to speak openly because hey
God forbid we live as we are
Which is real . . .
Too afraid to speak and be misunderstood.
I’m thinking there’s a way.
There’s a million ways to live
And if by chance, this way works
Then let this be the way we go,
no matter how long it takes me.
The way I see it,
success is not just the destination,
it’s part of the journey.
It’s looking back and understanding how far we’ve come.
We’re no different from anyone else.
Some days we get lost
And then sometimes
We watch children play with toys
We see them and remember,
That was us once too.
God, we all grow up so fast.
Not everything is so goddamn tragic
It all depends upon how you look at it.
So open your eyes
Don’t be afraid to be who you are
Don’t worry about interpretation.
Speak from the heart and someone will hear you.