A Message

I can still remember the days I begged you to come home
All your friends living with us you swore were my brothers
but no matter how scare I was of you being home
you couldn’t be replaced by another.

But you wonder why I looked to others
to start to make me feel safe
I was sick and suffered
You didn’t care at least it seemed anyway.

You mocked me when I needed you most
Instead of being there
You’d get violent when it was us home alone
I don’t know what’d I’d done if it wasn’t for locks and sprinting down the stairs.

The police called no matter where we lived
I was plucked out of Conway
because of the bullshit you and your friends did.
You had no consequences while I was harassed nearly everyday
because we are mixed.
I don’t get why you don’t understand why I worship Gabe
He was the one who taught me how to deal with these racist kids
He was the one who kept me safe.

But like mom and dad you don’t believe me
The only who did was Gabe.
Your life was relatively selfish and needy
Gabe did all he could to keep me safe
from the racism and you.
He cared about how I felt and wrote
So it’s crazy you don’t remember the things you’d do
that I still can’t let go.

I can’t even mention what happened when you were six and I was three
When I told mom I didn’t expect her reaction
it was all about protecting you and not a thing about me.
It’s like she blamed me for what happened.
To this day I regret ever telling her
because as an adult she’s held it over my head.
I don’t think you’d ever feel such hurt
of wanting to repress it to the point you wanna be dead.

The cloud mom holds over me
well, it has company because of your best friend.
And if this came out to everyone about me at thirteen
I know you’d defend him to the very end.
Our family would be divided
It would call for me to recant or be forever alone
because I told mom hoping she’d be quiet.

Yea, I still remember sprinting down the stairs.
I was sick and you didn’t care.
We were home alone
and the violent brother ALWAYS showed.
Despite it all I begged you to come back
Even in death I know Gabe has my back
Now I need you to have my back
Any act of kindness from you mom holds onto that
Another cloud over my head
but she forgets how you’ve chased me over the edge
Egging me on until I felt the only way out was to wind up dead.

The first and only boy
Dad wishes I’d been you
Because you brought our parents so much joy
but now look at what you’ve turned into
Somehow it’s my fault you screwed up
and it’s somehow my fault dad feels you ruined his life
He wanted a son to brag about and all that “stuff”
It’s like he wishes you and I could switch lives
I could be a single mother of nine
And neither of our parents would be an eye.

It would be okay if I had your life
It wouldn’t be such a disappointment
But here I am looking back on our lives
Anything you did, mom kept from dad’s wrath and finger pointin’
I saw how you were protected
I saw my good grades and advancements
These were placements you were expected
Despite my good grades and gifts mom wrote it off as I had easier chances
It was about poor you
Mom did all she could to protect you
My whole life I learned it was all about protecting you.

The life you lived
affected me more than expected.
Everything you did
came to haunt me
Here’s my question:
What more do you want from me?
I’ll never get an answer but at least it’s out there –
this message

Advertisements

“Why Now” Question

First of all, this is not another poetry entry but I mere rant because I’m ready to pull my hair out with this. I applaud everyone man and woman coming forward right now. I believe 99.9999% of them until proven otherwise. (The only one I’m not completely sure of is Menz and Franken. I like Franken and was glad Tweeden accepted his apology because that was the most important person to apologize to next to those of us, like myself, who admire him. I know women of prominent organizations who work with Franken in their offices and in his. He cares about women’s issues and has gone above to ensure women and men who are trafficked get help – mentally, medically, with homes, etc… I feel he cares about women and with Tweeden he was being a dumbass. But something doesn’t add up with Menz, sorry). Anyway, Franken aside, well not quite aside – I am seeing my liberal progressive feminist friends defending him and others who can be deemed as liberal or progressives. They are asking the stupidest question I can think of to these women (and men) coming forward – “Why now?” As if that erases their experiences. Now, when the right wing was facing heat, before Moore but with like O’Rielly and others at Fox News members, these liberal friends knew this was an inappropriate question to ask and applauded every woman that came forward (and keeps coming forward). Now there is obviously a difference between Franken and Moore – Franken did a dumbass “prank” and used Tweeden as a comedy prop (more to come on this) while Moore is dating girls as young, and younger, than my oldest niece. (And this is all weird because Trump is calling for Franken to resign – mainly because he’s a liberal but he’s endorsing a pedophile but yet not shocking since our POTUS is the “grab the by the pussy” “I’d date my daughter. We have sex in common” accusations by his ex-wife, multiple women, and 13 year old saying he raped and/or assaulted them. All disappeared when he “won”). I’m not one to be like “well this was so much worse than that,” I really am not… but pedophiles vs a dumb comedic move… c’mon.

Anyway, I keep losing track here and hopefully you’re still reading this. My point at this moment is both sides and the center of the Wings always ask “Why now?” when it’s the other side being accused. Just because you like or admire someone, like I do with Franken, doesn’t mean they are innocent or should be given a pass. Franken was wrong. He admitted it. He apologized. An apology a billion women across the globe do not get. He looked deeper into his past comedy and has condemned himself for it. He didn’t deflect like Spacey did when he suddenly decided to “come out” (though we all knew, didn’t we?) or try to blame the other party of conspiracy like Moore is doing. Franken apologized. Nevertheless, there are die hard supporters (Geez  I used to think I was one) that won’t let this go, although I think Tweeden and Franken are ready to move on. There’s all these “conspiracies” about Tweeden and again the question “Why now?” The same goes with Moore minus the apology. His die hard supporters will not see anything wrong with him and what he has done. They buy into the conspiracy that the democrats are setting him up. What are his supporters asking? “Why now?” See, who said liberals and conservatives don’t have anything in common?

I got into a huge argument with a die-hard Spacey fan who I thought knew better than to victim blame or shame a victim. To me, and I think others – at least those I’ve had this convo with – feel he admitted what he did and possibly insinuated there’s others. In the same breath he finally “came out” and said he has “decided to live as a gay man.” My friend did not hear this or at least did not want to hear this. Even though he apologized and did obviously try to deflect, he was speaking to the wall… now, as someone who is a victim herself, it blew my mind when she asked “Why now?” and blamed it on the victim’s not-so-very-successful-career.

My mom was one of the biggest Cosby fans EVER. I remember car trips across the states hearing his stand-up and listening to her favorite one over and over and over again until you pleaded with your life to just turn the radio on for ONE song. She watched his show religiously, even syndicated, she thought he was the greatest comedian, loved his movie (“Ghost Dad” was one of our weekly movies. I didn’t cry because the dad died, I cried because  I thought my mom was torturing us with Bill Cosby), and she hung onto everything she ever said, no matter how incorrect he was or even bigotry towards his own people. If you argued with mom about Cosby, you were not going to have the last word and you were lucky to leave with your head still on. So needless to say any further, my mom was a die hard fan.

When the first woman came forward against Cosby, my mom listened intently. She didn’t want to believe it yet she did. When the second, third, forth. etc… came out you could since she felt heartbroken and betrayed. This was a comedian she enjoyed and had the clean enough comedy that she could torture her kids with on road trips. She just loved his parenting jokes. But here she was looking at a man she deeply admired and in the past could do no wrong in her opinion. As we were driving one day she had the radio on, one of those popular radio stations that my niece torments me with (I understand now why dad did all he could to fool us that our radio station no longer existed). The DJ announced another woman came forward. My mom shook her head and said “To think, all these years these poor women were afraid to come forward. It breaks my heart for them. And if he was a predator, I worry about everyone who was on his show and movies.” My mom felt sympathy and concern for these women. When any mention of Cosby is brought up she emphasizes her concern for those on his show and movies that might still be afraid. She does not feel bad for him at all. She feels for his victims and has flat out said what he is – a predator. There was no “Why are these women coming out now?” It was sympathy for them. Empathy for all the years they lived in silence, scared, hurt, angry…

I grew up in a family of intergenerational trauma when it comes to sex abuse and assault. I grew up in a family that was hyper-vigilant about “good touch” and “bad touch,” “you can always tell mom and dad if something bad happens to you… if you’re playing somewhere and a stranger approaches you saying they were sent to get you” there had to be a code word. If I got a bladder infection I was, first taken to the doctor, the questioned long and hard if anyone had touched me. As sexist as my dad was (preferring the boy over the girl) and at time neglectful (unless we were drinking) and physically abusive or took off for weeks, he was still very much in us knowing the difference and to always feel safe coming to him or mom about if anyone hurts us.  I can remember this one time I I was walking home with the patrol and they weren’t watching me. This old man gave me candy. I knew not to take candy from strangers so I showed it to a patrol who ignored me and I thought I just picked it up somewhere (I think I was 6). When I got home and told my parents what happened they were on the phone with the school and made a police report. The police report was made after much debate between them and their friends – it was decided to be made in case this man was stalking children.

When I told my mom at age 11 I was molested by a family member, when I was 3, she did something I NEVER expected – she swore me to secrecy and for almost a week made it seem like it was my fault that this happened to me. She also revealed to me that multiple relatives of hers molested and raped her, her sister, brother, and cousins – one of them being my grandpa. When I was 13 I was raped by my brother’s friend. After how my mom reacted when I was 11 I didn’t feel I could tell anybody that I had to act like nothing happened, which meant hanging out with the guy and trying to have fun. When I distanced myself from him and my brother (I was that tag-a-long little sister) my parents figured I was just at “that age.” When in fact, I missed hanging out with my brother and his other friends, who I called my brothers. But this friend of his , I just couldn’t be around anymore. I was raped again at 21 by a neighbor. The only person I ever told was my best friend. She encouraged me to make a police report but I said I couldn’t because it would ruin my parents’ friendship with him. I was protecting everyone else but myself.

When I finally started to deal with my mental illness PTSD was one of them. I didn’t realize how much it had really affected my life. From age 11 and up I didn’t feel I could turn to my parents. Mom made it seem like it was my fault and I must’ve triggered her. Dad was violent, drunk a lot, tired from working 4 jobs, and would take off for weeks (how he maintained those jobs during those weeks he took off I’ll never know. Maybe he just gave them warning and not us). In fact my brother’s friend, the one who raped me, my mom swore for years I had feelings for him. She even accused me of bringing him home while she was gone with my dad for a weekend. I was so angry and disgusted by that but again I had that fear in me. I didn’t realize how much I distanced myself from my parents, especially my mom. As I’ve stated on her I went through years of being racially harassed and attacked for being mixed race, I never trusted my parents to believe me on that and I felt everything they said meant they didn’t believe me. This is why Gabe was so important to me. I could tell him anything and he was there for me. I never told him what happened to me when I was 3 and 13, but I know he could tell I was holding something back. He tried hard to teach me not to trust men when I’m drunk and to always have a sober friend around to pull me out of jams I might get in because of my drunken ass. I should’ve heeded what he said. I often wonder what would’ve happened had I opened up to him precisely what happened, would he have stood up for me? Would he have said “I believe you”? Would had talked to my parents? Or would he ask “Why now” am I saying anything? I don’t think the latter would’ve happened, I hope not at least. But I know I was always scared somebody would find out and shit would hit the fan.

I had just moved back down to the Cities from up north on a Rez when I had a very emotional session with my therapist about what happened to me at 13. I went to my parents house to get something and my dad could see something was wrong with me. My dad and I have been trying to make amends for years now but he said to me “Honey, if you have something to tell me, tell me. You look pale and dark. I know that look all too well.” It went like that for a week then one day I went over and my mom was outside. She said my dad wanted to talk to me. My dad revealed to me that one of the orphanages he was in was in fact a sex ring for pedophiles. He told me that only I and my mother knew. He also said “I know what it’s like to be scared to tell or ashamed you did something wrong to deserve it.” My dad was in his 50s. I was beyond shocked and felt sick. That meant his mother, him, and I were all victims of sexual abuse, rape, assault, etc… My dad witnessed his mother being raped and beaten (he was in and out of orphanages until he was 13). Who knows what his grandmother went through? You don’t talk about those things in Korea (more on that in a moment). After my dad and I had talked about his childhood, the parts I didn’t already know, (I know A LOT about my dad’s childhood thanks to being his drinking buddy), my mom walked me out to the car. I hadn’t said I thing the entire time I was over there. She opened my car door for me and asked me if I remember what I told her what happened when I was 3 by a relative and how she reacted. This felt like a trap so I just stared ahead. She apologized for how she responded and said she wanted to know what was going on with me. I still didn’t feel I could trust her or my dad with what happened at 3 and 13. Gabe had been deceased for almost a decade so I didn’t have him to talk to. I just had my therapist.  I was able to work through what happened to me 21 and what happened to me at 3 was so painful, I would vomit in her office and on my way back home. But I worked through it. 13 right now is the one that is the hardest to process… there’s a reason to it.

My brother’s friend is in prison for molesting a relative who was about the age I was when he raped me. Everyday I feel this sickness inside wondering if I had said something if I could’ve helped her not be in such a dangerous situation.  So I live with this guilt. There’s more to this though. My mother has never trusted my brother’s friend and has made it clear he will not be around her granddaughter – the one she is raising, and has warned my brother’s girlfriend about not letting him around their kids once the friend is out. My brother believes his friend is innocent. I know he’s not.

Having worked with my therapist I was finally able to tell my mom what happened, age 3-21. I told her how sick she made me feel when she accused me of having him over or having feelings for him. My mother’s response, my mother who had been a victim herself and had kept what happened to her from her mother for almost 20 years, asked me “Why are you telling me this now?” I told her I knew what would’ve happened – dad would’ve killed him, she would’ve put some blame on me, and my brother would go against me. She said that wasn’t trust. Two sentences later she said “I think I need to tell you brother.” Moments before I had even told my mother what happened I swore her to secrecy. I begged her to not tell my brother but her excuse was “Well, it will make him know _____ can’t be around children. I should tell him.” Although I see her point, I honestly do,, this confirmed to me that I couldn’t trust her. She keeps telling me she’s “still thinking about it.” So honestly, everyday I feel sick and reminded of not only what happened, what happened to his niece, but more guilt of what will happen if I don’t get her the “okay” to tell my brother (which btw she doesn’t need from me. If she wants to tell him she will), but I feel betrayed all over again and like my instincts to not tell were right, We have gone back and forth about how my brother will react – I firmly believe he will not believe me and this will rip my family apart. My dad will find a way to hurt this guy even though he’s in prison and he might get angry that I waited “until now” to say anything.

So I’m in this nightmare. A nightmare that almost all of these men and women came out to tell their stories. And frankly, everyone in Hollywood who knew about these things happening, and did nothing because it wasn’t their problem, should be ashamed of themselves, especially those who say they care about women and women’s rights (this is not a liberal vs conservative issue btw). Actors who still continue to work with Roman Polanski should REALLY be ashamed of themselves and get over this “It’s an honor.” Would it be an honor if it had be their 13 year old daughter raped? I didn’t realize that a couple of my favorite actors worked for him yet champion themselves as caring for children and women. But this right here is another example of what happens when a victim comes forward, even right away – they are put on trial by everyone, the police, investigators, media, and the Polish and French gov’t, (seriously, how can they defend this guy? And why is Hollywood still working with him?) The victim has since begged for things to be dropped so she can stop being traumatized. So is there ever a “good time” for a victim to come forward?

While Korea was occupied/annexed by Japan (which started way before 1910 btw) women were raped almost openly. Women, girls – girls, were coerced or abducted to be military sex slaves. They were sent to rape camps. They were brutalized. They lived in terror. It wasn’t just one, two, or even “just five” men who raped them a day, but tens of them. Many committed suicide. When Japan lost many committed suicide or refused to go home because they were ashamed. The Japanese, in some areas, knew they were losing so they burned places down, systematically killed the women, and tried to put them in mass graves (a grandmother I knew in Korea was actually saved by Kim Il-sung’s gurella fighters from the mass gave). My grandmother, who could not read or write, managed to make it back to her family in a small village. Her family was happy to have her back, she sacrificed herself basically for them. As grateful as they were that she was back and sacrificed for them, they referred to her as “damaged goods” basically (Idk how you would express it in Korean and don’t want to know). She was never going to be able to get married they told her. They were very impoverished so they told her to go to Seoul and be a prostitute – don’t turn down any soldier that’ll pay you money, American or Korean and don’t worry the Japanese are gone. Although, I would say at least, majority of Korea knew what happened these survivors were shamed and still are.

My dad witnessed his mother being beaten and raped. He witnessed her black outs even flashbacks that didn’t make sense to him as a boy. When he reunited with her he demanded to know what was happening to her. Why did she say certain things? Why would she scream in the middle of the night when it would just be the two of them, no “clients” around. My grandmother did not want to tell him but he wouldn’t back down. So she told him all that happened. He didn’t believe her. Not a single word. He left forgiving her and keeping in touch as much as they could (I still have blankets and robes she sent to me) but he did not believe a word she said in regards to what happened to her.

When an organization of Korean women uncovered the history of the “Comfort Women” (the military sex slave to Japan) they begged for any survivors to come forward. One finally did and after that more followed. I don’t know if my grandmother would’ve been one of them because she died as all this happened. When my dad heard about these women though he felt horrible that he didn’t believe his mother. In my view, the “Comfort Women” especially the Korean ones (there are thousands across Asia) are used as political props against Japan. North Korea insults women by calling them “Comfort Women” but are one of the first to shove down Japan’s throat what they did to Korean women. I remember in Korea they were trying to open a museum dedicated to the women and women across the globe who were made into military sex slaves. “Korean martyrs” stopped the groundbreaking of the museum because it was in “martyrs park.” The women were called disgraces and horrible horrible horrible names – yet I know beyond doubt that in an argument over Japanese atrocities they would bring up these brave women and talk positively of them, and the inevitable questions of “then why now” would be asked on why they have come forward.

They’re political props. Tweeden was a comedy prop. Women are props. Props are quiet and usually put back in their places once they are done being used or useful.

“Why now?” should be rephrased to “How?” What has given these men and women the strength to stand up? How are they able to? I couldn’t do it without 2 decades behind me. My dad couldn’t do it with over 5 decades behind him. I wake up in fear thinking I told the wrong person about what happened – how have these women been able to say “Fuck what they say or do, this is my truth, this is what happened to me! I am now in control!”

I’m sure this has jumped all over the place. Forgive me. I’ve been manic and the whole racing thought shit and concentration level, but I hope my point has come across. Asking these victims “Why now?” Is the wrong question and frankly the questions shouldn’t be aimed at them but at the perpetrators. And this she not be a democrat vs republican, liberal vs conservative shit. Clearly sexual assault, abuse, harassment, goes beyond party lines. It goes beyond race. And instead of blaming people we politically disagree with for all these brave men and women coming forward now, let’s work together to protect them, ask the right people the right question, listen to the victims, and hold people accountable regardless of their party alliance.

It’s never easy to talk about sexual abuse that has happened to you. Whether you talk about it right away or you wait 7 decades. It is not easy. So this “Why Now?” bullshit needs to stop. Just because you’re a fan of Kevin Spacey doesn’t mean what he did wasn’t wrong and that his victim wants something. My mom is no longer a Cosby fan. As she has said “he’s a predator.” We need to hold EVERYBODY accountable.

There’s so many reasons “Why now” people are stepping forward. “Why now” doesn’t erase or fix what happened to them. It’s a play into global rape culture.

Unraveled 

2014

My feelings for you lie between love, hate, and pity
and I no longer have it in me
to listen to you talk all pretty
the same night you drink and treat my mom shitty
To sleep with my phone on nine
ready to reach for one
because I no longer trust you with her life.
Everything you instilled in me has been undone.
Unraveled in your lust for liquor
in the anger you display.
I fear you but not the effects on your liver
because I’m at the point of
“Whatever makes you die quicker”
so that I don’t have to hear this anymore
you pounding on the door
stomping on the floor
Selfishly thinking others must endure
something you can’t control
and don’t even try to.
What do you do when your hero falls
and you don’t even care that mine’s was you
and you’ve fallen from the face of grace
The one man, who’s supposed to make me feel safe…
You’ve fallen from grace.

To Toua and Ben

This is long. Took me weeks to write because it’s about two of my friends turning their backs on me because they can’t handle I’m Bipolar. They were my best friends. One even like a brother so this was emotional. There’s literally 9 different ways I started to write this one and threw them all away. On paper it’s 17 pages, so it’s long.
I don’t know where to begin

I mean I get

having a Bipolar friend

isn’t the easiest situation to be in

but how everything came to an end

is where my heart sobs and head spins.
Toua – we started an equal friendship

that over time became more kinship.

No matter how pissed off I’d get

I never let anyone talk shit.

We were basically the only two

Asians in school.

Billy was busy gang bangin’ and running with his crew.

Getting suspended or not even showing up.

So really it was just us.

Nobody gave a fuck

but we somehow had fun

calling each other Gook and Chink –

not caring what anyone, even the teachers, had to think

about us reappropriating racial slurs.

No matter how many times reprimanded you were a Chink and I was a Gook.

I even had it occur

in my rhymes as I wrote about making nukes.

I embraced the stereotypes.

You just shook your head knowing at that place and time

that just how I was gonna be like.

I mean, we truly were like sister and brother

because nobody could annoy each other

like we did.

We also egged each other on for the good and the bad – we just did.

When we met you were trying to get into rap

and you talked like you had an actual opinion.

I still look back

and remember you trying to be a critic.

How I thought it was whack and just laugh.

I was going by Shorty Pain

You said you were Weapon 5.

I was having none of that and gave you a new name:

“2APac” now work on your rhymes.

And you tried… I remember you tried.

You just wanted to write

I saw it inside.

Words came easy to me

but you were a broken English Refugee.

I still remember telling you to just write,

don’t worry about the rhymes.

But of course you never really took my advice

and kept trying to rhyme.

I remember others in that school didn’t think I could battle rap

but you had my back.

You always had faith in my skills

and we dreamed of an empire to build –

but we were kids

and try as we did

we had to grow up.

And outta nowhere my life began to erupt.

My brother was killed and they had to operate on my heart.

You visited me in the hospital.

I got so torn apart

unsure how to get over these obstacles.

I don’t remember

if it was you, me, or whatever

but I lost my cool

and said it shouldn’t have been my brother, but you.

And it was just like that we were

no longer on speaking terms.

But time heals and we learn.

We’ve been through car fires

and other times swearing we hated each other

but I’ll say it again in each other we inspired

and were just like sister and brother.

All I did was send a text

and just like that we made amends

and went back to best of friends.

But then you told me you signed up to go to Iraq

and I swore to you I wasn’t ready to lose more kin.

Asked you to rethink that.

You didn’t.

Let’s face it –

Neither of us was ever good at being able to listen

especially when passionate about what we were facin’!

And at this very time

you were occupied

with the woman who’d become your wife.

I remember the turbulence

every fight you had

I’d tell you “Toua, you’re being immature in this.”

You sent me a letter from Iraq.

Well not a letter but a fucking gag!

I remember trying to open up a glued piece of paper

thinking what soldier wastes a stamp on the crap?

Toua – Toua does that!

Why? Because he can

he’s that type of friend and man.

The first time you came back

we were at the Hmong New Year.

Maika drove us there.

I said you had to marry her before you leave and you got very sincere

and said “Krystal, I don’t want to leave behind a widow.”

Marriage is never simple

but you two had to overcome your cultures forbidding you together.

As friends and family got angry with you

I never saw the issue.

I mean, I find culture important.

So you probably thought I’d be one to not support it

but I knew you were in love

although you’d shrug

and swear that’s not what it was.

“She’s just the one, no love.”

As much as your families tried to put you to shame

you both overcame

and settled down as the Yangs.

Next up was fatherhood

and I knew you were a nervous wreck

which I think everyone understood.

But you never admitted you were nervous

it was just in our talks, even texts

that this is what is going through your head.

You two got into a nasty fight and said you’d like “an abortion, that sounds good” or “kick her in the stomach.”

I told you no matter where you and Maika stood, this child you’d still love it.

Come August and the birth announcement.

The pictures of Horus had me all around bouncin.’

I truly saw him as my nephew.

I remember sitting in my car

we were on the phone and you suddenly said “Thank you” for all the support this far.

You even said you wanted me as his godmother.

There we were again, sister and brother.

All your kids I got close to

and loved as my own niece and nephews.

They were my niece and nephews.

I adored everything they’d do

even if it was annoyances to you.

I just saw it as precious.
I honestly think my mind was always broken.

Maybe even before my brother died and my heart cut open.

But suddenly it came to such extremities

that some things I have no memory.

I didn’t want to be awake

for so many days.

I didn’t want to hallucinate.

It wasn’t the world I’d create.

I wanted to be me.

You tried everything to fix me I believe.

From getting me to talk about being raped

to deciding I had to sober up.

I flat out told you there’d be only so much you’d be able to take

until you had enough.

You weren’t a pill or a shrink.

You were Toua – Forever my Chink.

But the way you think

just wouldn’t give up on me.

I get it, you’re a vet of the Army –

as tough as they come

but this would be the time you’d come undone.

Not even a trained soldier

can fix the Bipolar.

I told you over and over

again you couldn’t fix it.

But you thought different

and again just wouldn’t listen.

God knows, I owe you a lot for driving me to the hospital.

Giving my mom the emotional support as we tired down from all these mental obstacles.

Just as I saw it

You had to quit

You had to give

You had to submit

but you wouldn’t admit

that you gave in.

You put the end of our friendship solely on me.

Maybe… maybe… just maybe…

if I didn’t have this chemical imbalance

we wouldn’t have faced this challenge

and I’d be showing your kids their potential in writing talents.

But I’m not.

I don’t see them anymore.

I don’t see you anymore

It all just stopped.

We weren’t as thick as I thought.
Shit Ben, where do I begin?

We were the strangest of friends.

You the cool geeky science guy.

Me the history lover who does nothing but write.

Dear God, back in high school

I threw pencils and books at teachers across the room

and it never fazed you.

Just shenanigans you’d expect I’d do

to try to get attention

because I wasn’t getting the challenges I mentioned.

You just knew my moods and tensions.

I remember my goal everyday

was to make you make

your “what the fuck” face.

The racial jokes we made

were worse than Toua and me.

Ghana 2004, you were no longer a wetback but “Damp Feet.”

I was “Sea Legs,” no longer a gook –

the racial slurs we made for each other.

We’d joke about deporting you

while joking I was making nukes.

Everyday it’s just the thing the school

knew it was us two

and we had no control over the jokes we’d do.

I remember every time I’d spaz

because of your procrastinating lazy ass.

Every week I swore I hated “your Mexican face,”

but it was just more jokes we’d create.

“Damn anal Korean.”

No matter our disagreements

we always had each other laughin’.

You came out to me and got no reaction.

We hadn’t spoken for a few months so I was just happy to see us fall back into our patterns.

“Damn Koreans” “Damn Mexicans”

just like that we were Krystal and Ben again.

With my family you came to live

and we were honest to God best friends.

But we started to clash

and as much as you annoyed me

my mom loved your agitating ass.

I felt like I had a choice see

either you’d have to leave

or we’d really crash

and just like that we spent years not talking.

I went through old videos and pictures

reminiscin’ about us talking.

In all the high school mixture

You dealt with my intense crush on a teacher

introduced me to Eden

who was a better achiever

at getting you to ask “what the fuck?”

So outrageous, I couldn’t beat her

but you tried to draw lines on tables and the ground for me, saying I crossed them mostly for strange reasons.

It was again a running gag –

lines all over tables and numerous in the sand.

While I jumped across them and laughed.

I looked at the pictures and cried

because I missed all of that.

I reached out and apologized.

We both admitted we said harsh words and the bad guys.

Bad fag, bad hag

God there was no slur we could’ve call each other and then spend hours to laugh at.

We met up for your first powwow

and it was crazy how we were right back on our cozy level somehow.

Every other sentence was “Oh I forgot we didn’t talk when that happened to me”

“Yea, it seems weird I didn’t know this” catastrophe or master piece.

That was the only thing we needed to do to get back in sync.

Took a little bit because our instincts

still felt like we knew what the other would think.

In a way we did.

We just had to catch up on our pasts to truly get

back into each other’s thoughts.

We constantly talked.

I listened –

you wanted out of Minnesota.

But to me you didn’t

otherwise you would’ve seen the volcanic soda

with sweet grass aroma

bottoming out to the ground.

You took off out of state

when I was at the bottom

but you had a lot on your plate.

So I listened closely to your problems –

even though I had so much going on.

I was barely holding on.

If it hadn’t been for Toua and my mom I’d be gone.

I look at how our relationship became

and wonder would you have even cared

if I no longer could handle the pain

and was no longer here?

If you did What would you have missed?

A friend or an ear to bitch?

Because every time I tried to tell you what was wrong

suddenly you couldn’t stay on the phone long.

But I shrugged it off as Ben is going through a lot.

He just needs to talk.

Look at what I’m doing to Toua –

I’m making people nuts or giving up.

I’m a bit too much.

Ben doesn’t need that right now.

So when we talk, I’ll have to act happy somehow.

Yea, that’s what I did for you

but you probably didn’t notice

because it was always about you.

And I really didn’t care if you did know it

because all I wanted to do

was get you through.

Then all of a suddenly you flew to Germany.

I supported you but there was a little hurt in me

but again all I wanted to do

was see you make it through.

Then came the months not talking.

All of a sudden I have a 763 area code that keeps calling.

You know I don’t pick up my phone

so you better find a way to leave me a message.

You were back home

and I felt a completeness in my soul

Like “this is Ben and Krystal back on a roll.

Wit, sarcasm, racial jokes.

It’s seriously like we never grew

out of high school

with some of our wicked humor

but here we are trapped in the future

and there isn’t much going on.

Stress, jobs, family, cars.

Good God, how’d we get these cards

when back in the day we did work hard.

In our own ways of course

but nonetheless we tried to stay on course, of course.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar

and it isn’t like you gave me the cold shoulder

You just wasn’t much of a supporter.

So I knew I could never tell my emotions to you.

They were too intense and it was again all about your issues.

You thought it was great when I acted manic

but got upset when I said I was intensely depressed.

“Get over it” you said and I had it.

When Carrie Fisher died

I vowed to never hold back or lie

about the fight with Bipolar

and your callousness stung my mind.

I’m telling you the intensity I have no control over.

All I wanted from you,

my supposed friend, was support

like for you I’d always do.

You made fun of my openness about Carrie Fisher.

My devastation and how deeply I was going to miss her.

I ignored you for a few days.

The callousness you kept having to say

finally drove me to say

how your reaction hurt

and you had no idea what you were saying.

And it did finally occur

the way I was behaving

was a bit out of hand.

But FUCK – I just wanted you to understand

that talking about this disease isn’t easy.

Those around my who have it don’t take care of themselves.

It was her she got me believing

life wasn’t over.

I just needed to take care of myself.

Ben – I’ll always have Bipolar.

Everyday I’m reminded I’m Bipolar.

If it’s not the moods

it’s the daily pills.

But I shouldn’t expect out of you

to know how that feels but it’s real.

I used to not want to talk or acknowledge this shit

and knew if I started talking about her I would.

That’s still something you’ll never get

and honestly probably never could.

There’s better ways I could’ve explained all of this

without going cut-throat

but my mood I can’t always control it.

Just fuck it though.

I apologized and apologized

even though there was a lot done on your side.

I’ve gotten over that.

Wouldn’t have been the first time in fact.

But now the fact is you did turn your back

and I still yearn for my friends back.

But if you can’t understand the imbalances I struggle in

then I guess once again

we’re better off not being friends.

Don’t think for a moment that doesn’t kill me within

because it did.
But just like with Toua it is what it is at the end – I lost my two closest friends.

Close My Eyes

2011

Close my eyes & rewind

memories in my mind

everything behind

I’ve tried to repress since the homicide but I find

There’s so much I need to acknowledge if I’m to find positive 

Not to belittle myself into an optimist but not everyday do you graduate from college

Just to think months ago

I was too weak to pick up the phone but wasn’t safe to be left alone

Holler at me though because I’m a danger to myself I need help

Therapist said it’s PTSD from a bad week

that I’m not weak

She’s been through it too

You eventually move 

But my mood keeps me out of the loop

Trying to fit the pieces together 

but all I can do is remember

the day was calm perfect weather 

I tried calling you forever 

but whenever I tried it went to voicemail each time it felt like nails

going against the chalkboard. 

We don’t talk on the regular just the consistent so never could my mind afford 

the thought that such could occur – I just, I just couldn’t  

Act of Malice

2011

Did you ever think your son could commit such an act? 

With his own hands he could take another man’s life?

Wondering where he could have learned that?

Have you come to terms in your own lives? 

Because I haven’t in mine

For the past 6 years you raising a murderer has possessed my mind. 

And for 6 years I have wished your family agony

Even though I know tragedy plus tragedy just equates to greater tragedy

And I get nothing out of pain to your family. 

Nothing will bring Gabe back. 

I’ve cried enough the past 6 years agonizing over the simplest of life’s fact 

When you’re dead you’re gone – there’s no changing that. 

Every night pleading he’ll come back never works. 

The last 6 years I’ve lived in a constant state of hurt.

Having to wonder why your son, your offspring, could throw my brother’s body in the back of a trunk,

let his body lay in Neff Lake for over a month – 

Then you, you being the one to see his body float up

Decaying, thinking just another stupid injun drowned drunk 

But then your son goes on the run

and you claim not to suspect anything.

He’s innocent you think 

while I pour another drink

Hoping your son gets shanked

I pray even without the drink. 
Could you ever believe

He’d cause so much pain in others? 

Because I still can’t believe he took away my brother…