Somewhere aside from the typical norm,
besides the same streets we’ve seen
or aside from the usual views of the Hudson
as seen down by Liberty
or the spots in SoHo, the Village,
or the uptown fads and Central Park,
or aside from the long walks along Central Park West
and a memory thereafter;
which is a time at the Conservatory Garden in Harlem,
that was visited during a class
in which I saw myself in a different light –
learning that I earned this right
to claim my share in this world
and be who I choose –
There is a place which I have never been to
nor seen yet
I have seen this place at least a thousand times.
I’ve dreamed of this.
I’ve dreamed of the walls
and the features of the rooms.
I’ve dreamt of the walls and the furnishings
and the lands around, which is farm-like and still,
quiet as ever, pastoral and healing
and surrounded by views of rolling hills
and bright blue skies.
I have dreamt of this place as more than just a get-away.
This is more than a place which is intended
to reconstruct the soul and reset our footprints
so that we can allow for change
so that we can be free to walk the earth.
I have dreamt of the house and the barn,
the animals, the stables,
and the fields and hills around us.
I have dreamt of the escape
that would be for people
who are unable to escape themselves.
Aside from the common thoughts
and the agenda of the news and the media;
aside from the forced information we see or hear
and away from the habitual patterns or regular,
everyday status; I have dreamt of this place
which I call The Second Family.
I have dreamt of this place
where people could go
and let go of their past, their judgments,
or their sentences which hold them back
from being anything better than who they were
I have dreamt of this so-called Shangri-La
or paradise on earth, imaginary by definition and
I have dreams of this reality
to where I can apply what I have learned
and build a school where kids can grow,
people can live
and we could all grow without the forced lessons
or the contrived spirit
or the politically biased appeals
and lessons of social priority.
I want to build this place.
This is something I have always wanted to do –
to build a place,
somewhere away from the typical,
away from the forced or coerced themes
of everyday living.
I want to build a place away from the typical modalities
of so-called “treatment’ and rather than focus on symptoms,
or “one-size-fits all” mentalities
I want to build a place on a farm
where people can discover their own solutions.
They can build a new life
which goes beyond the spectrum of their old life.
No judgment, no bullying
and the only restitution is the restitution of self
and how to recover
from the social landmines
and everyday bullshit.
I would have classes on how to live.
How to shop in a grocery store
How to enjoy dinnertime
How to calculate, negotiate and navigate away
from the webs of anxiety
and defiantly move beyond the programmed limitations
which we have been taught to believe.
I want to build a place
where the abused can walk away from their abuse.
I want to build a safe haven
where the fearful can move away from their fears
and they’ll never have to feel afraid again.
I want to build a place where the “pinhole” infections
and the scarred arms can heal
and the mind can clear
and clarify the soul’s next intention.
I want to build a home
for people who’ve felt they’ve never belonged
and when they’d arrive; alas, they’d be at home.
I want to build this place,
not to help others as a means of popularity.
No, I want this to be the place
where I allow my sins to rest –
My yesterday would be no more
and my debts would be settled.
My amends would be made
and my conscience clear.
I have this view in my mind.
I have this place which is
away from everything and, me,
I can see myself.
I am sitting in a rocking chair
beneath a covered porch,
looking out at a place that was built
with the intention of abolishing the mental harms
that we’ve incurred throughout our time.
I am just a man. Simple. Ordinary.
Sinful like the rest of us
and hoping that although
I have given my time to the wrong associations,
I have given my blood and my sweat
to make up for it
I have done so,
not to justify my plot for redemption
but instead, to redeem myself
with an accomplished forgiveness from within.
Someone once asked me,
do you ever think you’ll have paid back enough?
I don’t think there is such a thing.
I think we all live on borrowed time and thus,
anything borrowed comes with interest,
which in my case, I say –
let me pay back now.
Let me settle up
Let me own up to what I owe
to keep my soul clear
So ante up . . .
the game is just getting started.
I want to build a place
where there’s no such thing as addiction or alcoholism
or depression or anything of the sort –
but since this place does not exist
or since the threat of this is all too real
and always ongoing,
I want to build a place,
a safe haven where even if these things do exist,
at least people can have a place to go
where they can catch their breath
and stay safe for as long as they’d like
at the Second Family . . .