I think what troubles me the most is how different we three are
Sure, we look alike, talk alike, but that's just because of our DNA
We share that. We share our laughs.
But those are symptoms. What we really share is our origin
But how far away have we grown from that place?
Or how have we failed to grow?
When we were younger, we'd sing songs written by men called Matt
About how they'd struggle with forward motion, we all struggle with forward motion
But did any of us really struggle?
I can attest to my struggles. They are many and so very arduous.
You've never been in the house with the monster this long;
Neither of you have
The middle is a good place to start. And the middle finds us at the start.
Middle, you never left from where we all began. Something stunted you
And you never even made it to the second stage
We left you there in the first, knowing that it's impossible to
make someone do that which they don't want to do.
So we up and left you
And you, the oldest, here you are. You have no idea how much I looked up to you!
But now I look to my left and see you, still at that second stage
The one I left a few years ago
I still held up small hopes that one day you'd leave that stage like I did
But then you started dating a girl from a strict Baptist church
With stricter parents
You and she sneak around to give each other kisses and maybe get to second base
But you are cemented, old friend, in this conventional wisdom
At least you got that far
I always wanted to take you with me. I always thought we'd be on the same side forever
But while I've realized that there are no sides, you're still against me
So I silence myself so no one can hear me
Finally, me: Who I really am is someone no one in my immediate family has seen
And that's so goddamn heartbreaking and lonely
But it's this or they toss me to the sea
The way I think is dangerous. The way I talk is slanderous. What I believe is incredulous.
And yet I stand on the other side of this journey, incredulous at the way they are
My whole family, but especially my parents
You two are the two I still have to see from day to day
In the mornings and the evenings, I see you
And you slam liberals
Unbeknownst to you, I stand there, shameless but broken, like a vase that shatters
And reconstitutes itself every day, only to be shattered again tomorrow
And have no one notice it
I'm lucky enough to have any ally, but I can't count you and dad as one of them
I've tried so hard to learn how to communicate with you without showing
Everything about me
I can make you laugh again. I can make you smile! We can joke and sing again!
I've tried so hard to make peace with you because you are my mother
And I will always support you
Obviously, I've saved the worst for last; my father, I can't count the times
You've brought me to tears without you even having realized
The words you said hurt me
You and me? We're men. We don't cry. Fuck, we don't have emotions.
And you don't have to tell me that's the way it is
You just have to consistently not show any emotions for 19 goddamn years
And then I'll understand.
And how I understand, father! How I know that I can't talk to you about "being a lib"
How I can't tell you anything about my art because I’m too honest in it
How my heart aches as you attack it with long, pointy spears
How did we get here? How have you gone this long without knowing who I am?
How have none of you understood that my Calvinist ex-girlfriend broke up with me
Because I supported gay people?
Am I that good at living a lie? Am I that good at hiding myself from you?
Once this goes on the internet, I suppose it's free game
But I'm betting on you to all struggle with forward motion
Last night I showed one of you a blog post of mine, and you enjoyed it.
I talked about a safe topic: grammar, one of the few things that I’m passionate about
That I can still talk about.
This is the cost of growth: following the intrinsic DNA of the universe
And leaving behind those who can't follow it with you
No matter how close they are to you
Regardless of whether or not you've spent two years or five years
Or your entire goddamn life building relationships with these people, you must grow!
And that involves making peace
God, be real and help me do that.
Pious old man
Reading the Quran
Always watching skies
For non existing storms
His daughter, my aunt
Silent like a pond
Longing for her child
Sitting next to her
Her husband, a martyr
Captured in a frame
But surely his soul
Floats somewhere around
Their daughter, a mum
Peaceful like a dove
A physician in love
With some plants and seeds
Her daughter, a child
Curly nasty hair
Annoying as hell
Innocent as dawn
Her son, a school boy
Hungry like a crowd
Surrounded by books
Distracted by clouds
This affliction is my enemy,
This pain is the end for me,
The undying truth of something incurable,
The undying hope of something durable,
My loved one will notice I'm weak,
She will notice I'm brittle,
But it's only true love I still seek,
My strength is very little,
Torn between telling her the truth,
The truth is I'm not as strong as I was in my youth,
Working hard during longer periods of indigence has crippled my body,
And now a fragile skeleton is the only thing I embody,
My grand kids will still be inspired,
Regardless if grandpa is retired,
I will hold and cherish the loved moments throughout my life,
And I'm still glad when time has passed I can still call her my wife,
I will always hold the times I've had,
Because deep down its not been all that bad,
Goodbye my beautiful queen,
I've loved you since I was eighteen.
I came to you with a half-open heart
That you poured yourself into
I let you in with my half-open arms
I opened them up a little just for you
My parents visited again --
In you, with pain and not much more
I feel so many more rocks in my heart --
My family and now you, I know!
I walked away from you with a half-closed heart
I walked away with pain and more
Every part that was hurt and cemented
I walked away with two, no few
Every part of my father you supposedly hated
I saw again and again in you
Now, I’m left to fill my half-closed heart
In hopes that I never turn into you
Now I’m left to mend myself
Because I never wanted to be neither of you
You bastards, I’m finally through.
My grandpa who eats steamed sweet potatoes on foothills textured in green rice patties
dreamt up a tall brick house with a black iron gate
barbwires sprung around the tips of the entrance to keep out thieves
right now he wonders how long he can keep fibbing to my mother—
their rotten hut at the end of the massive foothill, not fleeting
monsoons come early, swells the ground till it gave
a landslide takes four people and a child
that day, red stars hung above Tiananmen square gates
grounded bones came in sacks, white cement hauled by green skin trucks
My grandpa who loves sweet potatoes constructs an ivory wall.
after the revolution, the sun peeks out in montages
peering through the smoke
gunpowder stuck to the tank tire roads
black heads roll off yellow tar dirt into a pit
My grandpa gives his best friend one thousand yuan—
visas for my mother and grandma,
His best friend disappears,
writes my grandpa
an apology and, leaves him a large white sack of uncooked sweet potatoes
light tan, severs in half and plops down on the lumpy cutting board,
dusty orange inners, grandpa tosses them in the boiling water
and later, while gnawing down,
he pretends they are oranges for once
Grandpa, who’s kneeling on our dried front yard with a worn out copper pail
waters the salty earth slowly until it sprouts sugar canes
chops one down, breaks it in half, the sun beats
peering through palm leaves
a viridescent river of silk and pale honey
my small three year arms grab a hand full
sliced by grandpa into pieces neatly placed
in a blue flowered ceramic bowl
years later, I chop a stalk down and chew until
English becomes a second language again
and in my twenties, I grab a hand full
sliced my mom into pieces, places them in a weaved basket
made of reinforced bamboo
I put it in front of my grandpa’s grave
in Fujian on the foggy mountainside of a small retirement town.
The edge of the South China coast covered in a thick plastic smog,
I sit on a stone eating sweet cold potatoes with my grandpa facing outland,
a red kneeing sun, barely visible past the trees
PAIN IS THE NAME
WISDOM IS WHAT IS GAINED
'Joy love and laughter '
Keep The familial ties Alive .
Derivations None !!
The Constants Hold Value Extant !!
INFINITY is The Bet
TRAJECTORY Be Correct
INFINITE IS THE GAIN !!
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens....
Has been stuck in my head since tuesday,
I overheard you singing it to your daughter,
I will never have.
You're only three,
And your life seems so easy,
Financially stable parents,
I have to admit sometimes I'm jealous,
the life you'll have,
Will be the life I've always wanted.
But could never grasp.
Is a good man,
Will always love you,
Have a bad man,
And he never loved me.
And I can't be too bitter,
You're only three,
But I wish the way that they loved you,
Would love me.
My brother killed himself
Gassed sat in a car
I ran to try and get to him
But it was oh so far
He died alone and angry
I never knew why
It still hurts to this day
It still can make me cry
He could have spoken to me
He could have said it all
All he did was connect a pipe
And give me one last call
Brother I am dying and I am not scared
Did he not understand that everybody cared
I held his coffin up high
And walked with tear filled eyes
I’m sorry that I failed you Paul
I never heard your cries
Years have passed but the pain is strong
Memories come flooding back
Like a long forgotten song.
Did you know mother?
Did fear not show in my eyes?
Did you turn a blind eye?
Did you see the tears I cried?
Your love for him outweighed your heart
The maternal thoughts rebuked
His stinking breath, his gravel voice
Remember how I puked
You abandoned me without concern
Left in dark distress
I blame myself every day for my life, this rancid mess.
Did you understand mother, in the fullness of time
Maybe you share some guilt for his innocence robbing crime.
© Matthew Earl
I miss home.
Maybe it’s the feeling of quiet in the night, how the air seemingly stands still, the silent cricketing of… crickets singing their symphony of the night
Maybe it’s the gentle breeze that graces you through the hot endless summer of the tropics
Maybe it’s nothing more than the endless stream of tricycles drag racing down city streets.
Regardless I miss home.
This place is beautiful.
This place, with the massive stream of culture flowing from every part of the world
This place, with it’s beautiful, clean air, and tap water so clean you could drink directly from it
This place, with the promise of something better - a life full of opportunity
Honestly, this place is amazing. This place to one may seem like paradise.
I’m not one to disregard my blessings, and living here, it is one, but this place lacks one thing.
It lacks family.
This place, in all it’s beauty and it’s cultural mish mash, lacks all the people I wish I could explore it with.
This place, with all it’s opportunity and promises, lacks the people I wish could have a part of it.
This place, though bewildering, endless, and… different, lacks the people i wish to share it with.
Often my heart goes home.
Often my heart flutters off of my chest as I lay face up at night, and takes me to another life.
A life full of what ifs.
What if I didn’t leave.
What if things turned out differently
What if they came with us
What if. What if. What if.
My mind drifts into this hulking chasm, one which the end of it stretches farther than the echo in which I use, curiously trying to finding the end.
The friends I would have made. The bonds I would have connected, severed, connected, and perhaps severed again.
The lessons I would have learned. The mistakes, shortcomings, failures, and perhaps even the way I dealt with them. How different it would have been.
My hair style. My taste in music. Hell, even my skin color.
And as I lie in that bed I start to miss something. Something that was never mine in the first place. I start to miss that life that I never led, the path that has long closed itself to me.
I desperately want it, but desperately don’t. Caught in a cycle of would have been, should have been, never was, and never ever will be.
Nevertheless, though the memories were never made, the bonds that were meant to be are still there, and I’ll cherish them until the day both paths converge again.
I miss home.