This is a fight you can’t see and yet
Everyone knows what’s going on.
Just watch the news.
They’ll tell you
Each day, there’s something else and what?
Does anything change?
Does everything stay the same
Or . . .
Is the war getting worse?
I tell you, it’s the demons that you can’t see . .
it’s me and you now . . .
Are you ready?
Good because here we go
What about them?
What about the upcoming recruits that we lose to the other side?
What about their past or their scars?
What about the bars which hold them back and now,
there they are,
held in captivity and trained to be warriors
while held in submission,
learning in holding cells and standing in cellblocks.
They’re living on tiers, in dorms,
in special housing units whereas before,
click, click said the finger to the trigger.
Boom said the gun to the side of the head.
Slash said the blade
and to the recruits,
the rage wore like razor blades on the heels of crazy youths,
skating the barbwire,
escaping between fear and their truths.
What about them now?
Where have they been since then?
Where have they gone and where are they being held
What have they learned and what will they teach?
What will become of them or their scars –
and what will happen to them with the guards behind bars?
Such is the war on invisible enemies
hidden in plain sight
murdered alive in broad daylight.
It’s routine, you know?
Ritualistic and habitual
It’s a crossroad of to be or not to be
(that is the question, said Hamlet).
passed down from generation to generation.
It’s viral and contagious between the host and the infected,
So who will it be?
Who will sacrifice their purity?
Who will hold the baton before passing the relay
and who will choose to break the cycle
before the next race begins?
What about them; the children?
What about the hand-me-down, lessons
that come with the glories of gangster-life cultures?
What about the glorified tangos or the dances with death?
What about the freedom of life
traded for county jumpsuits
or state-run facilities before meeting with the feds?
What about the romance of gun-slinging cowboys looking to make a name?
Or looking to be know?
What about them?
Where did this come from?
Or better yet, what about the ones who look to emulate the lies
that somehow this life is the only life
(for them)? What has to happen to defy the attraction?
What has to happen to prove that insanity is attractive?
It’s persuasive because click, click said the finger to the trigger.
Just a prick, just a trickle of blood
Just a lie that somehow tricks us
- They asked me to stand in front of a classroom of students.
- They asked me to talk about the drugs which I didn’t.
- They asked me to tell the kids about the ups and downs
and the unforeseen pitfalls.
But more, they wanted me to talk about the actions of it all.
The blood and guts, so-to-speak
- Tell them, they said.
Let them see, they told me.
We want them to know the truth.
- Okay . . . I’ll tell them the truth.
Is anyone ready for the truth?
- Either way, here it comes . . .
Warning about the dangers and about the fast paced, near-death lifestyle
or telling them about the buzz;
telling them about the mind-erasing memories of drugs and the drug culture;
or telling them about how my skin used to itch
or describing the crazy romans,
or how the high blinded me to a point where I no longer cared –
life could stop and nothing would have mattered –
or telling them about what I did (or who I hurt)
was not, will not and is not a deterrent.
If you want me to be honest –
Then let me be honest
To the wrong ears, the junkie culture
and the rebellions that come with being a criminal
are like a special badge which someone can hide behind –
for protection . . .
To the wrong ears, this could be an idea
This could be a commercial
Did I tell them about what I did?
Sure . . .
I told them about the wants and the needs
But I never told them about the glorified culture
which is otherwise commercialized enough already
Why would I sensationalize the moments which I regret the most?
Why would I promote that which almost killed me?
Why would I promote what killed so many?
I have been part of a lie before but now,
I want to be part of the truth.
And . . .
The truth is that the lies are too pretty.
The truth is that, to some people, the stories are not a deterrent.
The truth is, click, click said the finger to the trigger
is like the sound of a glorified anthem;
whereas, all the information, all the advisories, all the studies,
all the awareness programs and all of the speakers who try to warn
that hey, something wicked this way comes
is nothing more than a breeding ground
for the demons to come along and grab new recruits.
So, what did I tell them?
What did I expose?
I exposed my truth.
I told them about my fears and my losses.
The fact is I told them that my actions matched my emotions
because, in fact, I was screaming without using a word.
I wore the razorblades on my heels
to skate through the pain and inflict as much as I could along the way
I was a cog in a deadly machine because the truth is – I was afraid.
I had a gun because I was weak – not because I was strong.
I wore the garb and the uniforms and the scars
to tell the tales and to tell the world
Hey, don’t fuck with me
so that no one would pick on me –
I lost plenty.
So, I told them about my losses
I told them about my insecurities.
I told them what I had heard, which was
You are a reflection of the top people
who are closest to you in your life.
So? What do you reflect?
What did I reflect?
What does the world see in you?
What did the world see in me?
Who do you reflect yourself upon?
Who do you want to be?
I was a mark of my life and yet
I was a mark of what happened to me
I told them why I wanted to bleed
and not feel the pain.
I told them how I trained myself to accept pain; to endure it
and eventually, I told them how I learned to live it.
I told them why I had scars – just to feel and
I told them that I say this cautiously
because the last thing I would ever want in this world is for someone to be like me –
or should I say
the last thing I would ever want in this world
is for someone to ever act and feel like the old me –
the person I used to be.
I told them about what it means
to forfeit my freedom and lose to my surroundings.
I told them about the pain
I told them about the strange suspension of animation;
in which case, the rest of the world kept moving but me –
No, I missed out.
I never had the typical rites of passage.
I never saw the things that a young man is supposedly supposed to see.
I never had a graduation.
I never went to prom.
I never had real friends that went beyond the business of life
because in that life – the rats chew through you
just so they can be free.
I told them how my parents never saw me walk in a cap and gown
or celebrate me with the prestige of graduating with a class –
I told them this because I traded myself for pins and lies.
I was part of a demon that smiled and knows that every warning
is only a notch in the belt. These demons are mean but pretty
because with every warning,
someone else will raise an eye and want to try – just to see –
just to taste something so mind-erasing
that they can hide, they can escape,
they can wear upon their sleeves
the lies that seem to be “cool”
just so they can survive in this thing we call “life.”
Click, click said the finger to the trigger . . .
I never told them about what it meant
to bear down on someone with a pistol;
just to see them squirm;
just to feel control;
just to punish someone’s soul
just because, to get a fix
or to satiate myself
to the point where my soul could be like a parasite
and just to devour the life of someone else – just because,
just to prove “that I could”
or emulate the fact that otherwise,
I was weak.
Instead, I told them about the times
I’d rehearse my goodbyes in the mirror.
I told them about the truth behind my reasons
for why I wanted to die.
They took me to different schools
and in each class I told them the same truth.
I told them about the pain.
I told them about my self-destructive response disorders –
otherwise known as criminal behavior.
Otherwise known as drugs and alcohol.
Otherwise known as a culture of lies
which hide behind the theft of souls
and, of course; I told them
how I’d pretend like none of this hurt me.
Click, click said the finger to the trigger . . .
And this is why people die –
it’s not because they want to but more
it’s because they expect to –
So then why bother?
Why try? If the gang life is only supposed to live so long,
and if there’s no other way (for some)
then why expect to live long at all?
Why plan for a future?
If or when the supposed end is upcoming and abrupt and violent –
Why behave as if life can be long or happy and prosperous or free?
Why expect this when
nothing is free
And by the way
neither are we . . .
Everything comes with a price.
Either way, everyone has to do their time but hey,
it’s like they say in jail – do your time.
Don’t let your time do you.
Ain’t that right bitch?
Or wait, I mean yes sir while someone holds my pocket
So much for the training . . .
So much for the promise of youth . . .
I gave a 10 minute speech in front of a gymnasium of students.
Are you ready for this?
Their ages ranged from freshman, to sophomores, and juniors to seniors,
I spoke for ten minutes out of a 15 minute time slot. I cut it short like a mic-drop
It took me almost three hours to leave the building
the reaction from the students was unreal.
In the end, there were teams of kids
huddling up, crying and chanting,
“We’re not going to kill ourselves.”
I never saw anything like this in my life.
I never saw this kind of response but dammit all, I was proud to see it
I knew they understood me.
I knew they knew where I was coming from.
One kid . . .
They went home crying
and told their parents what happened in school that day.
Apparently, the parent was upset with the topic of choice.
Apparently, the parents called the school board and the prosecutor’s office.
They called anyone and everyone
to complain about what took place in their child’s school that day.
No worries though – they’re kid decided not to kill themselves
Way to go, Mom and Dad . . .
(no thanks were necessary)
About one month passed –
I didn’t know what happened.
All I knew was that when I went to speak in the next town over,
I was censored and told not to tell the kids
about anything other than the drugs I did.
You got the wrong guy, I told them
I refuse to be part of the commercial.
I refuse to tell them click, click said the finger to the trigger
because this is a lie and it’s not a deterrent –
It’s like a build-up of soft-grade porn
which does nothing more than open the door
to the full-on bullshit of what happens to life when you find out too late.
I found out late and yet I found out early because I got out young.
The hardest part of my lifestyle is not living clean.
No, it’s the people you lose along the way.
It’s seeing the revolving door of recidivism –
People go in and out of jail.
People die to the needle, to the bottle,
to the pills and to the razor-blade heels
which they use to skate through the pain,
which only serves to euthanize the truth or worse,
which only serves to leave them in closed-coffin ceremonies
where Moms cry
and Dads wish they could have done something differently.
I wish I could hold out my hand more.
I wish someone would take it
This way, they could see the truth
that there’s proof of a life
in a much different world;
one with a future, one with hope,
one with a promise that no child has to die young
Click, click said the finger to the trigger
Boom said the gun to the side of the head.
Bye said the world to the child who never knew
Hello said the hell,
which is always looking to recruit
- – Stay with me soldier
The fight we’re in is on all sides
The battle is unfair
Then again – this is war
And war is hell.
“How long have you been fighting for?”
Aside from my entire life you mean?
It’s been 32 years . . .
No one will ever see me high again.
Not on my watch.
Not in this life.
Not now. Not ever.
So, come on . . .
Lace your boots up.
We have an enemy we can’t see and the fight is at our gates
You with me?