Hellow

hel·low (ˈhelō/) exclamation. A salutation embodying the vibrant energy found in the color yellow.

31 May 2012

Chinks In the Armor

From a distance, things appear flawless. The imperfections are concealed by a void of obscured vision. A smooth face can be covered in pimples and wrinkles when the eyes of the observer come close enough to brush lashes against them. Is it ugly? The truth may not be beautiful, but it is the most honest and natural. Being impenetrable, wearing a layer of armor, gives people a sense of security. It allows a person to feel like they can't be harmed, like it puts them above the rest, on a shelf to be untouchable by others. Like some deity upon a throne, people live to hide their imperfections, to shield them behind armor and not let others see the wrinkled skin behind it. But there's no perfect armor. There are holes, gaps, errors, in this impenetrable layer. When those are found, people can see right through to the person in hiding. If there are chinks in the armor, why do people still wear it? Take it off. Take it all off.

28 May 2012

My Fist, His Jaw

Two boys after school
Eyes locked in combat
Cheers and taunts
From the ring of children
Fists fly, dirt rises
They depart.
One victorious. One defeated.
Lessons learned. Conflict resolved.
But the Fight never leaves
It swims within
Rivers of tears
Oceans of sweat
Mental strain
Exhaustion
Beating at sacks of sand
Hairline fractures
Swollen knuckles
Teeth hit the floor
Imaginary stars
Many months
One moment
Several minutes
Hardly enough time
To slaughter a dream
To break a man
My fist, his jaw
My floor, his blood
My victim, his loss
My hand raised
His candy-ass swept off my floor
I did him a favor
I broke him
Snapped bones regrow stronger
He will rebuild himself
Come back to the ring
A man, not a boy
Ready to return the favor
Pound his face in
Like I did to him
Like another man did to me
As I stand here
Fist in the air
I watch the broken man leave
Know the drill
Hop in the ring
Go through hell
Drag another man out.

24 May 2012

Emotional Immaturity

Physical maturity occurs whether we want it to or not. We get taller and stronger and grow more hair. Our teeth fill in and the contours of our body arrange themselves in correspondence to our genders. Mental maturity is cultivated naturally as well. Our brain grows more cells and fills them with the knowledge we accumulate day in and day out. Most of our learning happens subconsciously and our mental development can be easily cultivated through the discipline provided by our elders. This can sometimes be difficult and there are many methods in existence to prove useful in educating the young, but the maturation of one's intellectual capabilities matches nowhere near as important as the cultivation of a person's emotional development.
Recently, my high school made national news for a suspension of 65 seniors on their last day of school. With a police escort in order, they all rode their bicycles to school together. Seemingly harmless and trivial on the surface, this small act was seen as a violation of a "no pranking" order mandated by the principal and agreed upon by the seniors. Whether or not the title of "prank" can be justly bestowed upon this situation is an argument for another time, but the principle of the matter is what's important. The principal--a woman who is new at the job, having only been at this school for a year--lost control of her emotions and made an unwise decision. An unexpected event pushed her buttons and she behaved inappropriately with anger and shock. Almost immediately, everyone attacked her. The press was hot on the case and students and parents rallied to voice their opinions on the incident. The poor woman didn't have time to see what hit her.
Being in a position of authority, such as the principal of a high school, demands a great deal of maturity. It calls for strong mental development, as the individual must possess experience and knowledge in many areas of management. But more importantly, it relies upon emotional maturity. This calls for a control of emotions. Rather than using them as deciding factors on situations, emotions are best used as consorts, something we can take advice from but make a decision separate from. By controlling emotions, one can evolve to become a wise and successful person. However, it takes a lot of work to cultivate, and may require many years in the making.
Personally, I have had great trouble in this area. For the longest time, I thought controlling emotions meant hiding them. For a few years, I never talked about them and tried to relay as few of them as I could. To me they were wild animals and I wanted to keep them locked in the cage that was my heart. As time moved on and circumstances changed, someone taught me to unlock that cage. I learned what it felt like to feel. All the emotions I locked away began to resurface and I learned to use them. However, as different circumstances arose and my emotions roamed free, I lost control of them. Generally petty incidents escalated to ridiculous proportions. I flailed at misconceived threats to my emotional well-being. Unable to control my feelings, I acted rashly and inappropriately. In a short period of time, I lost something I had cherished. I regret my lack of control, but I realize it was unavoidable, for I was emotionally immature.
The recent actions of my high school's new principal are no different. She reacted on emotional impulse because she cared that much. She wanted to hold her ground and control others without first controlling herself. I have done the same. I handed over the keys to my heart without taming the beasts that lied within. So when my untamed emotions attacked the holder, she ran away. With no keys left to keep the emotions behind bars, I had no choice but to tame them. Locking them in a cage, hiding them, was out of the question, and I could not function with them running wild, so I learned to control them. But I am still learning. The principal of the high school is also learning. There is a lot of stress for her to manage--as she is involved with the maturation of today's youth--and when all the cogs are not aligning properly, uncontrolled emotions can leap upon trivial instances when uncontrolled.
Like me, this principal has made a decision she will likely regret for many years. Instead of attacking her for this one mistake, let's recognize that she is human, like all of us. As humans, we are creatures inclined to fail, and we should realize that is always an option. We should support this woman for putting her whole heart into her very important job. She will learn from this situation and become a more evolved and mature person afterward, ready to tackle new challenges. Like all things, this was meant to be.
So let's keep moving forward. To grow. To evolve. To mature.

And there's my lecture for the day. That's all folks.

16 May 2012

A Misused Limerick


I know why Santa never shaves
All the magic the long beard saves
The Stork carries life
Teeth reward the strife
And keep the monsters in their caves

13 May 2012

A Personal Ocean


A child fills the sails of his ship
With a gentle breath
In his bubbly ocean
Mighty storms and relentless quests
Valiant heroes and faithful crew
Battling villains
Exploring new lands
Imagine!
A sea of roaring waves
Mysterious dimensions
A fire burning of curiosity
Leads the child, a man
To the sea

Look!
Flat. Calm. Hazy air.
Grey-blue extension of land
Liquid over sand
No ship
No pirates
An adventure of the mind

He fades
Spirit of exploration
Dissolves with pale sky
Shadow on a beach
Rain mixed with sea
Undo to day-two
One line with light
Separate sea and sky
The dreams die

Mother pulls the plug
Lets the tub drain
Goodnight.

11 May 2012

Brunch

She told me girls wear makeup because they’re self-conscious. Eyes that couldn’t speak for themselves called for mascara and eye-liner. Small thin lips hired products to accentuate them. Most people were one way or the other, she said. I asked her why she never wore makeup. She said it didn’t do anything for her. I agreed. She didn’t need the assistance. That was six weeks ago. Five weeks ago she wielded the scissors I never thought she could lift and snipped the umbilical cord to my heart. She turned away while I fumbled to seal the gaping hole.
Maybe I was low on vitamin K, but that hole would not clot. Maybe it was because I was willing to take the needle and sew the cord back on. Maybe it was because I picked the scab every time the stream of blood slowed. After five weeks of bleeding I thought the tissue would reassemble and seal the wound. Perhaps a scab had formed and I didn’t realize it.
            Now I am meeting her for Tuesday brunch. For the five brunches previous I sat here watching the empty space across the table. I would be so hungry and have no appetite. Today was no different. Maybe I was five pounds lighter with hands too shaky to pilot a fork, but my appetite had not changed. She wanted to be casual friends. Brunch was a good place to start, her text said. Any chance for the needle, I responded. Sitting down five minutes early, I waited for twenty-five minutes, watching my food go cold as I was unable to touch it. Bacon and eggs, a side of toast, a glass of milk; it was the formula for a healthy breakfast. I wanted to start the day on the right foot. Breakfast was what I wanted, something to sustain me. The plate being set down before me was filled with a Caesar salad. She was here for lunch. My eyes fell on the long dark lashes. She blinked and they waved at me.
I remember the soft brush of them on my cheek as I laid my head on the pillow beside her. The moonlight sparkled on their blonde tips while her blue eyes met with mine. She would smile and I would return it, pushing the delicate tresses behind her ear, gently brushing her cheek with my palm. “Goodnight,” she would whisper, closing her eyes and smiling as my lips pressed against her cheek. “Sweet dreams,” I would respond as I gazed at her eyelashes against the pillow. I would fade into sleep and she would meet me again in my dreams. I would open my eyes and she would still be there. I would smile like I did the night before and throughout the day. She would share every smile, every hand-squeeze, every kiss, every time.
            But five weeks ago the passion was extinguished and I bled myself out in the dark. Now she sat before me, no smile on her lips and mascara on her lashes. I didn’t know what to say. The dark eyelashes stretched their long talons. I didn’t know if I had anything to left to bleed. But as her eyes did not return the smile they always had I realized she was not here to sew. Mascara brushed on my wound, and it stung.
            Breakfast and lunch were best kept separate.

09 May 2012

God Could Use An Prayer

"Oliver!"
"What?"
"Put your fork down! We haven't prayed yet."
Oliver dropped the meatball-loaded fork into the pile of spaghetti.
"Sorry mom."
"Don't say sorry to me, tell God you're sorry."
Oliver twiddled with the knife on the side of his plate. His mother finished setting the rest of the table.
"Time to eat!" she yelled to the house.
Footsteps sounded on the stairs and down the hall. Oliver's mother sat down at the table and brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. She massaged her temples while Oliver stared at the bags under her eyes.
"Mom."
"What?"
Oliver paused and looked down at the knife.
"What, Oliver?"
"Uhh, thanks for making dinner."
"Mhmm."
 The rest of the family filled the empty seats around the table. Six-year-old Darla and eighteen-year-old Johnny sat down on either side of Oliver, whose age was exactly in-between. Oliver's father sat down at the head of the table with the newspaper.
"Alright, time for grace," said Oliver's mother.
Darla set down her doll and Johnny lowered his headphones. Oliver's father set down the paper and his reading glasses.
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen."
They crossed themselves and recited aloud.
"Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty and through Christ, Our Lord. Amen."
They crossed themselves again. Darla picked up her doll, Johnny slipped his headphones over his ears, and Oliver's father picked up the paper. Oliver's mother sighed and dipped her fork into the spaghetti on her plate.
"Thanks mom," said Oliver.
"Okay honey."
Oliver stared at the meatball on his fork before playing with the knife beside the plate again.
"Mom."
"You're being pesky today, Oliver. What now?"
"Why do we pray?"
"Oliver..."
"What?"
"You know why we pray."
"No I don't."
"We pray because it is the right thing to do. We have to thank God."
"But why? God didn't make any of this food. You did."
"But God provided the food for us."
"Dad did, he goes to work to get money to pay for it."
"Oliver, eat your dinner."
"Dad, why do we pray?"
"Listen to your mother now, Oliver, eat your dinner."
"But I'm not hungry."
"Oliver, you've been acting strange all day, if you're sick, not eating isn't going to help."
"But mom, I'm not sick."
"Then eat your dinner."
Oliver sighed and set down the knife. Why it was there in the first place, Oliver had no idea. Nobody used a knife to eat spaghetti and meatballs.
The dinner continued on in silence. Eyes were focused on the plate or the the newspaper and the mouths were too filled with food to talk. Five minutes later, Johnny slid back his chair and left. Two minutes later, Oliver's father did the same and a minute after that, Darla attempted to follow.
"Darla. Finish your noodles," Oliver's mother corrected her.
After finishing the noodles, Darla left. The TV flickered on in the adjacent room as Oliver's father turned on the news. Oliver finished his meal but sat, staring at his plate, until his mother stood up. Picking up Johnny's plate and glass, she reached to pick up Oliver's but Oliver snatched it before she had a chance.
"I can get it, Mom."
He took Darla's and his father's as well and walked to the kitchen.
She followed behind him.
"What did you do, Oliver?"
He placed the plates in the sink and turned around."
"What do you mean?"
"Did you get into trouble at school today?"
"No..."
"Then why are you suddenly being so helpful?"
Oliver stared at the wrinkles engrained on his mother's face. He tired eyes stared at the pile of dishes needing to be washed.
"I prayed for you today."
A smile cracked from her wearied face as she turned on the hot water.
"Thank you, Oliver."
"I don't think God needs those prayers."
She turned off the hot water and stared out the window above the sink.
"Oliver..."
"I'm sorry! I just don't see how God deserves all this praise when people like you are the ones that do all the work."
His mother sighed and turned around. She ran her hand through her son's hair and pulled him in for a hug. They stood there, in the middle of the kitchen, before the pile of soiled dishes, holding each other.
"We praise God because he created us. He does a lot of things for us that we don't appreciate."
They separated and Oliver looked through the doorway at the TV. A newsreel of war footage was playing.
"Most of the time God is ignored for all the good things he has done," Oliver's mother said, "He makes the sun rise in the morning. He gives us life, all our talents and abilities, our opportunities and friendships. He does many small miracles without thanks."
She turned around and began to clean the stack of plates.
"God could use a prayer."
Warm soapy water embalmed her calloused hands as she scrubbed at the dishes, as she did every night. There were never complaints, but always work to be done. By the end of the day, somehow, it would always be finished.
"Thank you, Mom."

02 May 2012

Complications of Complaining

"This sucks"
"I hate this"
"This is the worst"
"I can't stand it"
"Why is my life so terrible?"
"Oh my god..."
"Seriously?"
"UGH!"
Complaining is common and largely inescapable for most people, but completely illogical. There are only two things you can complain about: stuff you cannot change and stuff you can change. If you complain about something that cannot be changed, like the weather, wherein lies the point? If you complain about something that you can change, why the hell are you not changing it? It seems like a major waste of energy to complain when you could be figuring out ways to fix whatever problem is afflicting you. If you don't like your job, improve it or find a better one. If you aren't happy with your body, go to a gym and change your diet. If someone is bothering you, talk to them and figure it out. If you don't like Michigan weather, move to Florida. If you aren't happy, be. Leo Tolstoy that $hit. If you cannot change any of these things, deal with it. Complaining isn't going to change anything so don't waste your time.
Unless wasting time is your goal and complaining is your coping mechanism for hardship, then by all means go for it.
I just did.
Hypocritical? Hell yes.
Went Al Gore on this $hit.