Changes (all the time)

I strive to be something I’m not
Wait, is that true?
Do I strive?
Or can I even attain?
Or do I even want?
What is it that I’m not?

People always tell me, “you can change”
People love to lecture, “if only,” “how could you,” “don’t you know better than that”
People love to sympathize, “I understand,” “yes, life is rough,” “make the best of what you’re given”
But
People, all these faceless souls, yelling, crying, searching for answers
They don’t really care
Cause those motherfuckers will never know

How can you picture a life on the City streets, strewn with garbage and human waste, covered with used needles and blood, picked at  by cops on their beat…
How can you picture the will to go on in the face of tragedy, of starvation, of slowly dying and disappearing, everyone disgusted by me…
How can you picture the want and the need, the frailty of humanity, where bullets kill the innocent, where soup kitchens feed the weak…

You, with your suburban life, your pretty lawns, your Volvo on the street
You, with your high manners, your ladylike demeanor, your Prada shoes on your feet
You, with your fancy degrees, your charity at the social club, your slavishness to the latest beat

The words don’t cross over
The feelings are untranslatable
Mere sign language with no interpreter around
Mere symbols without a Rosetta Stone to be found

Oh, and they try, reach out to the needy, as if a pat on the head, free lunch once a day, a wary smile on the streets, that these efforts will guide them to heaven
And what of me?
Well, I’m just a way post, a check on the list, a duty considered done, a man of meager means whose soul they supposed to have saved
Stay away, you, just let me be

Yes, I’m an addict, yes, I’m a fucking whore, yes I’m a rebel, yes, just show me the fucking door
To the jails and prisons and institutions where they care for people like me
Reading their books round a circle,
Stating their names and disease,
Disowning themselves,
Til all that’s left
Is a pile of bones where there once was a soul
“Victory!” they claim, another convert on their list, another way post on the way to heaven

You know what? I’m fucking proud of who I am
It’s a miracle I’m alive
But since I am, death can take his sweet ass time taking me away
I don’t love it on the streets, no,
But I have mad respect for those who live it
Those who fight every day towards no other goal than just living a day longer
Those who put up with abuse because deep down, they know they’re better than that
Those who love life so much that being downtrodden, suffocated, scoured away… It’s all in a day
That shines bright with the light of the sun,
That twinkles mischievously with the passage of stars,
That reminds them that Prada ain’t what’s real, that degrees don’t count where it matters, that all the fancy talk of councilmen, lawyers, mayors and governors will never raise their lot in life
But the sun still shines bright when those Prada shoes break, the stars still twinkle while those politicians have one last drink

How funny it is, I used to be those “others.” Who’s to judge me as being an outsider when I can judge you just to  same? Let’s not judge.

Can I change? Can I give up the crack? Can I quit being a fucking whore? Can I strive to be something I’m not?
Hell no I won’t go
I can give up this life, but not to suit you, not so you can say that you converted one more today
Fuck you and your pretentious concern
Fuck you and your manicured lawns
Fuck you and your Volvo and your 3.5 kids and a dog
Crack is whack, but it’s where I’m at

Meet me where I’m at, or don’t even try
I strive
Every day
Every night
In every way
Not to be something I’m not,
But to be a fucking better version of what I’ve got

What’s it that I’m not? An upstanding member of society? A law-abiding citizen? A man who likes women instead?
Who wants those things, those trappings, those symbols of suburban angst?
Deep down, you’re terrified
I’m not
Cause I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, I faced it, I made it, and there ain’t no thing I ain’t ready for now
Too bad you clucked away all those years, marking your charts and penning your bills
I learned who I was and how to survive

There is no better version of me
So Fuck y’all and your well intentioned smiles and prayers
I found God already
Right here inside myself

So next time you tell someone “you can change,”
Ask yourself, what are they changing into? Who are they changing for?
You know the answer
Let it be
I want to be the best version of me
And I know I can
I already am

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