an ode to violence? (yes, really)

courtesy: healthyplace.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

violence begets violence

i am haunted…by violence

i see it everywhere, i mean everywhere

in movies, news, the papers…obviously

in language, in mentalk, in football…possibly

violence is so so normal

it is so so masculine

its synonyms are with us

every effing, no, every violent day

 

intensity, severity, strength, force,

great force, vehemence, powerfulness,

power, potency, ferocity, forcefulness,

wildness, frenziedness, fury, storminess,

tempestuousness, turbulence; lack of control,

lack of restraint, passionateness; fervency, ardency

 

honestly, sadly, and unfortunately

violence sounds so so sexy

makes me just want to…

have mad mad passionate, ferocious  sex in the rain

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pain is an act of love 

pinching, pushing, punching, slapping

threatened with beatings for bad behavior

threatened with further beatings for not answering questions

threatened with more beating for talking back

for keeping quiet, for speaking up

 

beaten for causing embarrassment to the family

beaten to get rid of the resulting shame

beaten for disrespecting the elders

beaten for fighting, failing, foiling,

beaten because it hurts them, too

 

beaten for not doing the right thing,

beaten for delay in doing the right thing the first time

beaten because you must have done the wrong thing

beaten because you are a man

beaten because boys don’t beat girls

 

beaten because sparing the rod

is disobeying the good lord

growing up and straying

a sinful parent it’s portraying

beating, you learn, is the ultimate act of love

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the language of initiation

it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

a man must learn to withstand pain

and then spend the rest of his life running away from it

 

it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

the plan is to go through it now

and learn why later

 

it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

to understand that nothing in life

comes easy

 

they brought presents

money and food

and i learned that pain is a party

for them, not you

 

it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

the point got lost

when i tried to inflict it

rather than endure it

 

it hurt a whole lot

and to this day

three decades on

it is still baffling

why the dance with pain

leaves more marks beyond the question marks

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adolescence – romancing  with pain

adolescence is god’s act of violence on man

suddenly, what was normal is not any more

not my mother, not my sisters, not girls, not boys

 

not my body

oh no, certainly not my body

and then… they call it growing up

the acne, the crazy dreams at night and the messy sheets in the morning

that i was told was a sin

the weird emotions when with others and when i was alone

 

and i was told that this was all normal

that this was ok and that i was becoming a man

i dreaded the thought and more so the alternatives

castration, suicide, or going far far away

 

then booze showed up

a welcoming froth

warmed my gut, my heart, my soul

and most of all my mind

 

if ever there was the ultimate experience of

peace, love, unity,

bliss, freedom, happiness,

release, rest, love

where violence was absent…

…it was when i got high

 

and…

if only i could stay high forever

would there be peace on earth

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dancing with the punches

his fists taught me to dance

to skip the parts that were out of tune

to tread carefully as on a fragile ego

so that the jig would be just right

 

he painted the house red

when his fiery insecurities waltzed

with my innocent sensibilities

and did we create hit music

 

he played my heart

with his fists

and i learned, too

to do cover songs

on others hearts,

minds and bodies

 

once i used words of a hit song

and she said

she preferred drum music to rap

waxing lyrical moved to fisting to the beat

 

with his fists and my rhyme

the rhythm created a disordered

orchestra of pain, of agony,

of fear, of the unspoken

a complex dance with the fists

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once and for all

my sister says once you hit once

you will again and again

do you promise to never hit me

no matter what?

 

your sister is right

your sister is wrong

 

i will not promise to never hit you

simply because

i cannot promise to never hit you

 

so what do i do when

i feel unsafe

threatened

afraid?

 

run

to your sister

to your god

just run

 

what does that say about us?

i need guarantees

i need to trust

that i can feel safe with you

that you won’t hurt me

 

i need that if i am to be with you

otherwise we have a problem

a huge problem

 

baby, the way i see it

the one with the problem

is the one with unmeetable needs

not the one with ungiveable promises

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son, i’m sorry i hit you…again

he came to me as a refuge

in me he found confusion

and a slap and a punch

for never doing the right thing

 

all because

 

he wouldn’t do his homework,

or the dishes

i told him this was about life

as his face met my open palm

 

i lied

 

it was about me

and my pain

and my fear

and my anger

 

i am sorry

i hurt you

i hurt us

 

and now

 

i don’t know what’s worse

being an absent indifferent father

or a present violent one

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what i am really really afraid of 

if you love, trust and respect me

before i have earned it

i will think you are mad

or drunk on something cheap

 

if you demand that i earn it first

i will insist your standards are too high

then i’ll go hate on myself

poor me, poor me

 

they say be yourself

we’ll love you as you are

and i chuckle

and whisper to myself

 

because i know very well

that i belong in the sewer

because that’s where shit belongs

and i can’t stand the smell

 

but more than that i can’t stand

the unspoken, the silence

that the smell brings

especially that loving you

is more painful

than remaining lonely

 

if love is pain

is that love really?

 

your love cleanses the stench

your trust provides the confidence

your respect, oh, your respect

births a desire to glow and grow up

 

and suddenly, i am no longer afraid

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grace is real 

therapy

or prison and therapy

are the only options available

for violent perps

she told me

 

i had done the work

of therapy, of cleansing

of healing, of forgiveness

of letting go

i told her

 

i was a pre-convict

and because of grace

and loads of self-work

i avoided the story

of an ex-convict

 

and yet i stand here

and sit among you

a free man

living a day at a time

without having to look over my shoulders

or you having to watch your back

 

yet

though i make a vow i cannot keep

i still do not give promises with guarantees

 

grace is real

it keeps the past in the past

and the present presents as a gift

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violence is…

 

violence is borne of a lack of self-acceptance

violence is a lack of acceptance of another, of me

violence is lying in a ditch and feeling sorry  for the world

and then dragging them to your level

and beating them with experience

 

violence is low self-esteem in need of company

violence is causing pain because you are in pain

violence tells you the world is messed

and it’s your job to beat it into shape

 

violence keeps the cops busy

and the priests, and the counselors

and the chemists and the doctors

because peace on earth may just wipe out

a whole load of jobs

 

violence can be physical, emotional, verbal, psychological

or spiritual

sometimes it is abnormal in a normal world

but often it is normal in an abnormal world

 

violence strips you off layers of self-respect

self-love and self-worth

in your quest to restore, to replace

then you only strip others of their humanity

when a simple look in the mirror would’ve sufficed

 

violence breeds violence

people resort to solving issues through violence

as victims and perpetrators

why can’t she leave? how does she put up with it?

i am sorry, please forgive me. i know i said the same thing last time

 

violence is addictive, it’s contagious, it’s progressive

yet, yet, yet, violence is avoidable, needless and treatable.

                                                                                                                                   

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For Men Only – Poems on Masculinity

Mwanaume ni Confusion

It’s not easy being a guy in this day and age

On social media, mainstream media, githeri media

Name it

On social media, #MenAreTrash

On mainstream media, #MenAreViolent

On Githeri Media, #MenAreRapists

Mwanaume ni Confusion

 

I go to church and I hear

Man up and Man Enough

And what I see

Man is up there on a sister (not his)

and topping the food chain

Never having or being enough

Father is only title shared by God

Why are many, then

Fatherless, Godless

Mwanaume ni Confusion

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Toxic Masculinity

Men bashing is a thing

We accept to be bashed

We are called right

We refuse to get bashed

They say see we told you

 

Man Trashing is a thing

You defend trash

You’re reminded

Your place is the bin

 

The good thing though

About a trashy place

Is that it can be cleaned up

And healed and restored

 

This masculinity can be detoxified

Cleansed, healed and made whole again

Masculinity can then be a thing

Of pride, privilege, power

Most of all, of love

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 Mr President

The commander in chief

Extremely wealthy and privileged

Tuko pamoja

Until I get home

And I get it

I am on my own

 

The people’s president

He has fought the good fight

We will write

And gotten everything

A handshake except the prize

 

The other president

Who tweets for man-y

A warrior in a hostile jungle

Yet

Yet

Yet

Where he dares we will not

He is a lonely one

 

Remind me again

Why being president

Is a good thing

Urais si raisi

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Fatherhood

Wisely

Patiently

Violently

Angrily

 

Those are the words he used to describe his father’s authority style

He is wounded before he starts on his journey proper

Fathers cause wounds to their sons

But the greatest of these

Is silence

 

Until he gets his son or punching bag

I fear for both

Because wounded souls wound humanity

Hurting people hurt others

 

Is there no hope for our sons?

Silence needs speaking up

Authority needs honor

Even in the presence of pain

Of shame and despair

 

Sons of fathers and Fathers of sons

Need a reawakening

A new consciousness

Oh dear, is there an app for this?

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God the Father

This God is quite baffling

They say I am created in his image

Yet the image I see is

Jealous. Insecure. Angry. Punisher.

 

Then God the Son

Heals many

Feeds many

Sweats blood

Crucified at 33

And joins that Father

 

God the Holy Spirit

Great guy

But he is still a courier

I am told

For God the father

 

Why then is it difficult to see the love

through the violence, vengeance and vanity