The Work of My Lifetime

I can rhyme words without a rhythm
but as soon as I try, I lose the feeling.
So I’ve learned to let them flow,
let ‘em roll
off my tongue - or in this case my pen -
so I can let everyone know what I’m thinkin’
and take you all on a journey to the inside of my mind
where you can meet all my thoughts, demons, and secrets. I hide
behind my words because my voice isn’t enough.
I’ve spent years building up my image to seem tough-
er than I may actually be.
because being weak has always scared me.
I’m not supposed to ask for help.
I’m a man, I can take care of myself!
Isn’t that what being a man means?
Havin’ the means to survive anything while everyone leans
on your broad shoulders that have earned you the nickname "Atlas"
when in reality you’re just tryin’ to map out this
journey called life
and survive all your own strife,
much less help everyone else face theirs.
Everyone has their own cross that they bare.

See, I can let you in on all this with my words and never my voice
but in all honesty, I’ve never had much of a choice.
Words just flow through me; they always have
ever since I was old enough to grasp
the language and master it like a craft.
English was my best subject, always paid rapt
attention to sentence structure and grammar.
I felt like I was gettin’ hit in the head with a hammer
but I kept hittin’ the nail on the head
and that’s what eventually lead
my mind to this ease with which I write
and half the time, I don’t even remember doin’ it. I lose sight
of everything after the pen hits the page and the ink starts to flow,
it’s almost like I don’t know who I am anymore.
And then someone reads it and they're like, “Damn,
you got some serious skills, man!”
I know they wouldn't lie, but it’s hard for me to believe
that someone like me could ever achieve
such a high level of praise.
(My self-image has always been shrouded in haze.)
But the thing is that when I write, I feel free
and I feel like I can actually be the true me
and express myself however I want.
I can escape from the reality that daunts
my life. All my struggles and fears melt away
and I can finally say whatever I want to say
with no filters and nothing to hold me back
and no one to call me out. I can’t catch any flack
because here I am king, here I rule,
here I am safe and protected from the cruel,
cold, dark, miserable world.
My pain and secrets here can unfurl
with no penalty, no rejection, no judgement.
I submit to no one and no one submits
to me.
If you enter my world, you are free to be free.

My words speak for only myself
but you’d be surprised at how many people they help.
I’m not here to start a movement or overthrow
anyone. I’m just telling you the truth that I know.
Everyone’s story deserves to be told
whether it starts from rags and ends with gold,
vice versa, or something in between,
everyone has some “behind-the-scenes”
footage they don't want anyone else to see.
I’m sharing mine so you can get to know me.

This is the power my words have always possessed.
They capture you, they captivate you. I’m obsessed
with finding just the right word or the right phrase
to convey exactly what I mean. I can struggle for days
over a paragraph, a sentence, even single one word.
It sounds absurd, but that’s just how my mind works.

I like to think of myself as an artist, not yet a master.
Maybe I’ll never get to that point, and that’s fine with me. I’m not after
the fortune or fame or even the title.
This is just something I do to ensure survival.
I'll always keep writing, it’s what’s in my soul
and my story will continue to be told.
As long as I’m alive, I’m gonna keep at it,
and I’ll only get better with practice.

Each piece I write only helps me grow
and helps keep the flow
of creativity going as the pen glides across the page.
The day that I run out of things to say
will be the day I lay my pen to rest
and hope that I've done my absolute best
to make people laugh, to entertain, and to inspire hope
by helping people find ways to cope
with whatever circumstances that have caused them strife
because writing has let me live ten thousand lives.
I've given people strength in their hour of need,
perhaps when they were moments away from admitting defeat.
I’ve connected with people I’ll never physically meet
and that is pretty freakin' sweet.

But, at last, my ink has run dry
and so, with a weary yet satisfied sigh,
I convey my deepest thanks to all
who have helped balance me where I thought I’d fall.
And to all of those I have helped to inspire,
it’s all of you whom I truly admire.
I am the mechanic of the car you drive;
you have allowed me to see my work come to life.
For that, I am humbled and truly grateful
and when we finally do meet, I’ll save you a place at the table
so that we may connect and talk in peace
about how you pumped life into the heart I buried within loose-leaf.


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