The Book of Life, From A Homeless Seattle Youth
It takes a village to raise the child that is born to a mother the size of a village. Thank you, World.
Once Upon A Time Flashbacks come on without warning, bringing me back twelve years to a time when I was nothing. A time when I got pushed around, yelled at, and even beaten up. A time when I saw the consequences for my unruly siblings. When I courageously took 40 or 50 spankings in my brother’s place, not saying a word. Receiving the loud cracking noise of the cutting board welting my bare ass, then repeating 50 times. A time when things were unfair. A time when I was an inconvenience, not a growing child. A time when I was gut-wrenchingly kicked in the stomach for losing garden tools in the dirt. A time when complaining got me slapped, and not eating my vegetables led to starvation. When making mistakes was not an option, but being perfect was impossible. I could never win. Brings me back to a time when I’d hide my shitty undies to avoid being trapped in an ice cold shower for an hour or more. A time when displeasing my father meant preparing to feel his thunderous, boulder-sized fist clash with my sensitive head. When my dirty mouth got cleaned with an entire bar soap. I ate more soap than I did veggies as a youngin’. Brings me back to a time when I held my urine for hours, or until it came out on the floor. A time when leaving the safety of my room meant I’d get hit like my mother did, and I couldn’t be a bitch. A time when if I were to cry, I’d be given a better reason to cry. I watched my dad throw my brothers, them colliding with tables and floors at the end of their painful flight. Brings me back to when my voice was drowned out by screams of pain. I was never heard because there was always someone yelling. I was nothing. I was insignificant. I was trash.
My Culture I may be light skinned but I have a culture, too. I have a culture, just like you. In my culture I can be me. She can be she, he can be he. We are free, in my culture. In my culture we have traditions, food and drink that we always share. We share because we always care. I donâ€™t care, what you think. Sometimes it might not seem like we do, but we always care. We are always there. Around you, beside you, inside your thoughts and dreams, we are always there. You may not see us clearly for we are not divided by color. We are not split apart by eye shape, curly hair, or whether or not we are a brother. Brotha, sista, cuz. Just because. We do not divide, but decide, to be divine and prestine, pretty and clean. We shine, we gleam. Because. We are new to the scene. We are also old, historical And carry a story.
...My Culture contâ€™d You say we must lie down and bask in your glory? We do not. We fight for you and are victorious. For the win. Fuck the what? What the fuck is going through your mind when you think you can suppress us, and press us under rolling waves of other cultures, when all we want is to stand up and breathe. The same fresh air every culture deserves, that every culture serves you for. Delivers your babies, does your nails, cleans your house, bags your groceries. Every culture serves you for fresh air. Fresh air in the form of a weightless and wrinkled, abused, destructive constructive, productive, used pointless, ruthless little piece of green paper commonly referred to as the dollar. Unfortunately I am part of a culture that abuses this fresh air. One day I will not.
...My Culture cont’d One day I will have the courage to stand up and say, “This stupid piece of green paper Is destroying the culture that I love and cherish so much.” Oh wait I just did. My culture is fun. My culture is music, dance, coffee, movies, beaches and celebration. My culture is also strife, work, conflict, self-destruction, sometimes suicide. I am still fighting for my culture. I am proud to be one of those fighting for air. For my life, For my freedom, and for my own securities. I am not the first, and will surely not be the last. I love my culture. My culture loves me.
This Planet is My Safe Place -mural-
This Planet is My Safe Place I feel safest when I am grounded to my planet. I live freely, just as Earth does. Earth is abundant in resources, information and love the same way I am. Earth’s purpose. Rotate around the Sun until the day it can rotate no more. My purpose. Keep moving, doing and being me until the day I may no longer be. I am here with the planet as it is here with me. My body is as much water as the Earth’s. We are the Same. I have free will and can do what I please, the Earth cannot. We are different. The Earth is my best friend. I share with it my struggles, it points me in the best direction. It shows me it’s own struggles, and I buck the system to make sure my friend’s voice is heard aloud. Earth protects me, and I do my best to protect it the same. I love my planet, and pledge to overcome those inconsiderate bitches who don’t know how to love it. I will conquer, with my planet’s aid. And my planet shall live longer with mine. I am safest in nature.
Something I carry My glasses are small. Plain black plastic frame, with two tiny screws that fall out once a fucking day. When I first got them two years ago, they hugged around my skull so tightly that Iâ€™d constantly come down with headaches. Now, theyâ€™re so loose they make me think of my mother who has ten children. Gross. But unlike my mother, my glasses have been there for me. They make things apparent to me. They interpret my fuzzy, obnoxious world into a crystal-clear, high-definition Vizio flat screen playground.
Pride, the Ass Pride speaks, his words soft as air, coastal. On a stretch of roadway, infinite in length, he seeps through air vents and open windows, lying to rest on my veiny, exhausted flesh. My wing-man, taking the passenger seat while I drive my shiny new tank through hungry salt-infested air space. Preaching directions my way, influencing my every steer, my trust in pride dilating, creeping up on my destination. Iâ€™ve become confident in Pride, even letting him steer when I require a well deserved break. His words now bearing weight, lying like tree leaves with apparent shape on my worn hide.
Pride can’t drive a straight line, he never took enough lessons. I enjoy his captaining my ship, lessening my load of concerns, leaving everything up to him. Stop. We’ve almost collided with three trucks and a guard rail. Shitty driving! Why do I expect him to perform well? He never took lessons. I may have liked him too much. I did. Submitting to him, giving all control to my fully grown ego. When you’re fully grown, you know what’s best. NO. He won’t forfeit the wheel, he thrives on it.
The Gay Jeans They tightly grip my skin, from my ankles to my waist. Accentuating my bones in an uncomfortable manner. I am impossibly thinner. These Jeans are so gay! They have a stone-cold attitude, a chip on their waistline. My posture is poised, the jeans sucking out every last air bubble between the thread and my skin cells. Wear the Jeans, do not let the Jeans wear you. My soft skin hides behind the protective denim. My pale toothpick legs disguised as two fashionable walking sticks. Price tags are running high, and I remain humble and poor. The Straight Jeans fit better, And keep my wallet fat. These jeans keep me on my toes when Iâ€™d rather be sitting on my ass.
Roots Roots planted in the northwest, Set sail to grow. I’ll always love my home, No matter where I go. Reminisce, never miss. Never forget this. Going forward, backward, Left or right, I’ll be back one day Without a fight. She gave me a chance To take flight. Wiggle my feathers, Head first dive Into an ocean of People, alive. Endeavor achieved, High five.
I love the two-fiveThree. Home to me. Always looks pretty. Always smells shitty. My debts to the city, Paid with integrity. I’ll always be Her celebrity.
The Book of Life, from a Homeless Seattle Youth By Josh My own life is a book, but only I can read it in it's truest form. I look at things in my life, and I am faced with a choice: accept things as they are and change them where I can, or ignore them and move on to a different page of my life and lose track of my own story. I cannot erase or re-write anything in my past for it is in permanent ink, but I have the choice of what I want to write in the next sentence. My book is available in only one language, and only I understand that language and can speak it fluently. That explains why not everyone understands me all of the time. Life is about creating yourself, my friends, not finding yourself. You can find inspiration everywhere, but you must choose which influences get the lucky opportunity to affect the changes in your life. The pen is permanent, but it is in your hands and your hands only. When other people attempt to read your book and judge you, they are only taking a break from focusing on their own book of life because they cannot handle themselves. Let them be. Life is also about discovering your own spirit person, and being able to self-manage and self-regulate your life. In summary, gain control of that pen and consciously decide what is being written in the pages of your story. Love to all, and remember, love is a living energy. Pass it on.