F€@® & L0√£

I’m at the age where I realize, 

Nothing, actually (Sublime)
Just say the words, tell me I’ll be okay. 

You don’t have to mean it, it ain’t gotta be true, you’ll never have to be accountable for what comes or goes, 

Just say the words. 

I tell my friend, she of open heart and hospitality, tell me my parenting will get easier, tell me it gets better. 

She says, yes.

 She says, I did it, you will too. 
I tell my son, he of 13 years and internet-trolling, if it’s not true, helpful or necessary, 

Don’t fucking say it. 

He says, okay Dad. 

He says, I understand. 
I tell my wife, she of magical unicornism and poetry-inducing madness, 

I will always give what I have, I will work until I drop, to give us, I say, to give you, 

To provide for you, my girl, wife, dream, goddess, queen, 

My endless frustration

To give you home and hearth and love and food and bandwidth and hot coffee and cold air when it’s hot outside, 

I will give what I am to a job that takes all I have, to earn this place I see, this golden fantasy where you smile and we have a door with a lock, behind which we remember our youth and we expose our eternal truth

She says, wherever. She says, I got you. 

She says, be happy and I will. 

She says, we got this, love. 

We got this love, love, we have our love to rely upon, she says and she shows and sometimes she needs reassurance but,

She knows. 

Tell me, say the words. 

I will say the words. 
Even when I have trouble believing myself. 
You’re going to get through this. 

I’m going to get through this. 

We’re going to be okay. 
We got this. 

💚

Through A Mist

I will not see your face with my eyes, nor touch your hands with my own. 

I will never hear your voice outside of my dreams, I cannot watch you live. 

A life is not made of time. 

Supposing I knew you, I weep in secrecy for what I might have known. 

I can tell the story of what may have been and what was, I can interpret my intuitive emotions into language and create a space for you in the hearts that might understand. 

When I was twelve I had a kitten, he ran away before he was two months old. 

When I was nineteen I had a crush on a girl that didn’t return the favor. 

When I was thirty-two I forced life to my will and captured love and family. 

When you were-

When you were-

You weren’t. 

Perhaps I didn’t do it right, maybe a mistake on my part left you on the other side of the veil. It could be that I wish it was my fault, I’ve always been more comfortable wearing blame than my own face. It could be that random chance left me an unintended consequences. 

When you were… No. 

You were not, you were almost. 

I will never forget your name, the sound that means my smile. I will never let go of your possibility. I will be what is, I will be your life. You exist in me. 

I will hold your image, bouncing curls and sad eyes over a glowing, crooked smile. 

I will say your name in privacy, I will call your name through the mist of what might have been until my lungs stop drawing breath and my mind can finally let go. 

There is at least a small chance, still, that this life is my dream and one day I will wake to find that nothing was lost. 

Momma Said

 

  I was raised by a single mother and three sisters. My first friend was a girl. Most of my friends have been females. We had cats, a lot of girl cats. I’ve read a lot of books written by women. I’ve listened to (and loved) songs written and recorded by women. I’ve had really close friends and their mothers always liked me. 

This, in no way, makes me an authority on women. 

I have a wife, a daughter, and several female friends.

 I have eyes, ears and a working brain.

 I have reasoned my way to an understanding, betwixt my brain and my balls, a truce between thought and urge, a de-militarized zone between my mind and my dick. 

I have three sons. I tell them, several times a day, what my mother taught me –

“Keep your hands off of your weiner and off of other people.”

It’s not enough to say, act this way in public. 

The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.(John Wooden)

My oldest son is 13. I know that the raging river of hormonal metamorphosis is starting. I know that soon his pecker is going to be his main focus. Puberty is a difficult time. We change from children into children with sexual urges. 

I tell my son, leave it alone. Wash it when it’s dirty, and otherwise, try to ignore it. 

I know, I know… This isn’t part of the patriarchal dialogue. This doesn’t fit into the way that we see male physiology. 

I’ve seen it my whole life, from myself to my brothers and friends to men on television shows to literary characters and society says, men can’t help it. Dicks run the world. A man can’t control his penis. 

That’s the most ridiculous bullshit ever. 

My younger sons are constantly fiddling with their fidget-sticks. I tell them to stop. 

All three of my sons put their hands on others without permission. 

I tell them to stop. 

The two subjects are related. 

There is a need for boundaries. People need to respect the difference between “mine” and “yours”. Men, especially. We need a new dynamic in this world. 

We need to understand, men. 

Men, boys, all those that identify as male. 

We need to stop using that as an excuse for terrible actions. We need to create a boundary between our minds and our cocks. 

I know that the idea is quite foreign to most men, but I promise you that you won’t become female, or gay, or invisible, or alien, or a giant block of cheddar cheese, you won’t stop being a person. 

In fact, if that’s your fear, I challenge you to really think about that. We have ruled all of human history, we proud beasts with our mighty cocks and our dangling testes. Our physical strength and sexual virility has literally conquered the earth. 

Of course, along the way, we also destroyed and degraded most of humanity. We’ve cheapened life and made existence a filthy parade of dicks being dicks to dicks, one dick United in dickhood, with a dick-tatorship created by dicks, for dicks and about dicks. We’ve even got a ranking system based on money, which makes a whole lot of sense, because money helps dick the world over every day. 

The point here, the one I’m trying to make, is that I’m a Dad. I tell my sons to leave their dicks in their pants and to keep their hands off of other people. 

And my instructions mean dick. 

When my wife tells them, they listen. 

So we use that. Momma said, don’t play with your weiner. Momma said, don’t touch other people without permission. Don’t touch their things, their bodies, don’t touch them with your hands or your weiners. Don’t take pictures of your weiner and send it to people. That’s a dick move. 

My Momma said, you were born with a brain and a weiner and every day you have to choose which one is in charge. 

I’ve chosen both ways, through my almost forty years. 

My dick, well… He’s a dick. He doesn’t care about right and wrong. He doesn’t choose wisely, based on rational thought and integrity. He chooses to seek gratification. That is how dicks are programmed. 

My mind chooses more wisely. I choose compassion, love, integrity, poetry. I choose art, literature, romance, friendship, family. My mind is kind, my mind is interested in other minds and their thoughts, choices, interests. 

https://youtu.be/8APUM-b4-ns

I’m not standing here trying to convince all men that their dicks don’t matter. 

I’m saying that being a decent person means more than a dick. 

Momma said, be proud of what you do, not what you have. 

I’m not standing here, telling the world that I’m “not one of those men” 

I have used my maleness for male purposes in life. I have never forced myself on anyone, but I have certainly enjoyed male privilege in my life. I have a dick, which is like being a rich white guy in the U.S.  The world has been controlled by dicks so long that I don’t have any way to know if I’m “one of those”

 I do know that I have a choice. 

I do know that my sons have a choice. 

Make choices with brain. 

Make fuck with dick. 

Keep your hands to yourself, and use your brain more than your penis. 

Please. 

In Pieces or Whole

I had a dream that I was sitting with my dead sister and my dead brother

and I was describing to them the way that Dennis the Menace park in Monterey had been dismantled, destroyed and abandoned

which was strange because the park hasn’t been, it’s still there and functional

but I told them in detail the way that the train had been melted down 

and the big slide ripped out

and the tables were burned

and as I told them, in my dream, it never occurred to me that they were dead

or that I was describing an important part of my childhood that was gone

and when I woke I felt the pieces come together and the picture fell apart

because somewhere between a group of kids playing at the park and an almost-forty-year-old man having a dream 

some dreams were lost, some dreamers woke, some nightmares came true

and I massaged my temples for at least twenty minutes while my wife slept and the darkness changed to dawn, my head and neck and shoulders aching and refusing my request to slip back into sleep

when we were kids we would play and laugh and it never mattered if we got hurt because we were going to live forever

and the secrets behind the daytime smiles were never told

In loving memory of Ruane Richardson and Ethan Eayre

Speak

 They talked about what was lost, what had been taken away

They cried about broken trust and they poured out their rage

I sat in the circle wanting to fix them, not speaking

They took turns revealing wounds and scars and falling to pieces

They saw each other as safety, recognition of shared experience

I cried quietly and wanted to undo their past

They looked at me and asked the question

I couldn’t speak

I couldn’t share 

I hadn’t lost anything

I could still see the untouched, innocent, pure picture of me, in my head

I couldn’t reach him, but he wasn’t dead

So I didn’t tell them I understood, because I didn’t

I didn’t spill my hurts, my pains, my betrayals,

I was scared that they could tell the difference

If I showed my wounds

They would know that I hurt so much more for theirs

If I told my story they would hear the disregard I held for myself, they would know that I could see the hurt, but not feel it, I could remember the pain but never touch it, I could still hear the little boy crying and screaming in my mind but I couldn’t reach him to offer comfort, 

So I didn’t say anything, in that room where five teenage girls explained how they were abused, and I never explained why I was there. 

I kept my words inside and I never thought much of it, 

I couldn’t feel how hurt that boy was, 

I could feel the pain of those girls and my sisters and my friends and all the girls and women who had been hurt, I could see how they would suffer without end, and I was a boy turning into a man, I had no time to fit suffering into the plan, whatever I felt was moss growing on the other side of the wall, I know that it was there but I couldn’t reach it at all

But I could have spoken up in that room

I should have

That little boy deserved some respect

This Is What You’ll Say

I am three months and a week from my fortieth birthday and I miss my mom. 

I am the father of three crazy, beautiful, intelligent boys and I miss my grandmother. 

I am living a love story with a girl I met when I was eight years old and I miss my sister. 

I am working on being able to reconnect with my daughter and I miss my daughter. 

The other night I was talking with my wife about dying. It’s not unusual to do this, we have had rough lives and her mom died a month ago. She and I have a deep understanding of the temporary state of life and, honestly, sometimes life is rough enough for us that we each consider that it would be easier to end. 

I’m not going to kill myself. My wife isn’t going to kill herself. 

We talk. We argue. We cry together, sometimes. We care about each other, and because we each have some self-loathing we usually care more about each other than we do for ourselves. 

Sorry… I get sidetracked. 

So we’re talking, lying in bed, and I ask, 

“What will you say to the kids if I die?” 

She starts to say that she’ll tell them I loved them and they’ll get through it, and they-

“No.” I said, “What will you say to Aidan?”

Aidan is our six-year-old hurricane. He is overly emotional (like me), he is overly intellectual for his age (like I was), he is and has been over-the-top expressive and reactive to everything, all the time (like me). 

I am the only one he will listen to. I am the lifeline that pulls him in when he is flailing. I am his hope, because he knows I understand him. I am his, and he is mine and we both know that we need each other. 

So I asked my wife, “What will you tell Aidan?” 

She doesn’t know. She made me promise not to kill myself, she’s convinced that if I died she will wither up like a tomato plant in Fresno during August (it’s hot).

She doesn’t know how to get through Aidan’s maze. He doesn’t know how to interact with her. She loves him as fiercely as she can, and he loves her as insanely as any boy has loved his mother, and they clash. Two storms fighting for control, and they usually both end up very upset. 

Sorry… I digress. 

What would she say to him? 

Daddy died and now you have to figure things out yourself. All the chaotic emotion raging through your mind are now yours alone, the only one that knows the way through is gone. 

So here I am, just in case. 

Aidan, if it’s time for you to read this, then I’m not coming home. I’m sorry. 

I need you to know so many things that I didn’t get a chance to tell you. I have all of these dreams for you, so many hopes and ideas of how you will live. 

I can’t start telling you those, for two reasons. First, if I start, I’ll never stop. Second, my dreams for you aren’t big enough for you. 

You’re going to make mistakes. You will do things the wrong way. This is a necessity. Doing things the right way doesn’t teach you much, if anything at all. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. You will get stronger, smarter, better because you won’t want to do things wrong over and over. Do your best when you can. Just do… Don’t let fear of failure stop you from trying. 

I don’t regret anything I’ve done. My only regrets are things I didn’t do. Things I didn’t say. Chances I was too scared to take. Be better than that. 

Don’t let anger be your go-to reaction. Your emotions make you angry, not getting your way makes you angry, being sad or being tired or being hungry or being bored or being ignored or embarrassed or basically everything except music and candy make you angry and I’m telling you in absolute terms, this is going to hurt you. Learn to let anger slide past while your other emotions load up. If your reaction is sadness, be sad. If you’re embarrassed, smile and laugh because it makes embarrassment go away. If you’re going to be angry all of the time, you will make your life so much harder than it needs to be. 

Enjoy the little things, and chase the big things. Little joys are where happiness lives. Eat the cookie. Play the game. Laugh at the stupid joke. You can’t focus only on the big Happy. 

Set goals and work for them. You need a direction and it needs to be your choice. Find the thing that makes your heart beat faster, the thing that makes your brain feel like fire, and just do that. Act, sing, dance, create, do whatever makes you, you. Don’t get so caught up in comfortable happiness that you lose track of your path. 

Be prepared for things to hurt you but don’t worry about the hurt before it comes. You will always recover and the things that hurt deserve to hurt. 

When you love someone, all you can do is give that person your love and hope. You can’t make them into what you want them to be, you don’t get to choose who they are or how they will love you. You can decide what you will allow but you cannot make people give you what you need. 

Sleep when you’re tired, and when you wake up, get up. Don’t lay around doing nothing. It makes your mind stagnant. 

Eat when you’re hungry and when you feel you’ve had enough, stop. 

When you miss me, remember me. Think of the times we shared. Think about my smile, my laugh, my voice talking to you. Think about the way we connected. Remember the things about me that make you feel good, loved, special.

Because you are good. 

Because you are loved. 

Because you are special. 

Don’t ever, not for one moment, believe that I am gone. I am right here, thinking of you. You’re asleep and your brothers and Mom are sleeping, and it’s quiet. I’m thinking of you, and my heart is wrapped around you, and I will always be right here in this moment. 

Can you see me, son? I’m smiling, and loving you, and I will be, 

always. 

In Difference


I don’t know you. 

There’s no cheat sheet for life. We each get our own instruction manual when we’re born, but it’s written in a language we have to learn. 

I can remember a story about a boy, he grew into me. That memory is meaningless in my life, despite being the only foundation I have to define myself. 

What I know of myself today is that I am capable of things I never expected. I am talented and strong. I am expressive and openly emotional. 

Those few things don’t define me. 

I am mid-way through a life expectancy, and I have yet to figure out how I belong in my own life, beyond a very strong attachment to my current situation. 

I choose to let my emotional reactions to experiences be the prow of my ship. I cut the waters of my journey with how I feel. I direct my path by what feels right to me. 

I am secure in this choice. It suits me. 

I have been faced with opposition to my choice for as long as I have existed. Close or distant, family or friends, I have been told how wrong I am, over and over. 

I have not, I will not allow anyone else to choose my path. 

My path must be travelled by my feet. Nobody else is required to live my life. 

I don’t know you, and I don’t know how you have chosen, and with all due respect, 

I don’t give a damn what you choose. 

Your choices may impact my life. 

Mine might impact yours. 

We are not solitary islands, separated by oceans. We are interactive and interdependent in this reality. We are pieces of a global machine. 

My choices will be mine, and yours will be yours, and that is just fine with me. 

So give me your indifference, in this difference. 

We have our own lives to fuck up. 

Eyes, Skies, Lies


 
It’s okay if you feel like these are just words on a screen, and if that obscures the obscene from your mental regime than I cannot fault your resolve and try to topple your walls, if it’s somethin strange in your neighborhood and you don’t call Ghostbusters than I’m not sure we can really connect. 
So. I see a lowered flag waving from your heart, and I want to help it fly boldly and proudly, to stand true and strong and somehow find light in private imagined darkened rooms, pre-emptively constructed tombs of doubt and despair, to climb up the ladders and fly up the stairs no matter how the stares and the glares might pierce you and demean, your challenges accepted, you are coming clean.
] tell me what you need
And I will provide
When they read of my love for her they look above her but none could ever be supreme to her she is my queen to serve and my life is what she deserves to burn if she wants fire I’m fuel, an uncontested duel of whatever you want and what I’m willing to do, but I would sell my child’s organs for you because my skies are all lies covering a thin disguise and my eyes cannot pry from locked doors and closed minds what truth in my life I should not leave behind.  
i can’t say anything anymore without thinking of how it sounds, 
 
is there a gentle touch inside us all which might propel some form emotional evolution, some type of redistribution of values and ideas which have been seen to be false; perhaps on a cold day all men shiver, and time is a package which never remains undelivered, but the hearts of all creatures are designed with a purpose, to live the next fraction of a second before your life muscles contract, every breath is gone with no guarantee of payback.
At times I think the whole world has gone crazy and at times I know there is no world or any crazy which is crazier than the thought of a placebo effect and we still won’t believe that we are what we perceive…is there any sense to any of these insane pursuits which scuff up our boots and leave us bereft, clinging to the small pieces left from the last time we loved and got broken again. 
someday all the doubts that live in my head will be silenced for good and I will believe what I cannot deny. 
Maybe.

What I Really Meant To Say

I meant to say, I love you, Mom. I was eleven and lying on the living room floor, and she was falling apart. Crying about life, about the difficulty dealing with my youngest brother. She poured out her heart, and then she had to go. 

“I love you,” she sobbed. 

“Bye.” The cold cruelty in my voice startled my brother and I felt something die, inside. 

I meant to say, I need to be your friend. I had been strung out on meth for weeks, maybe months… It gets fuzzy. Fifteen years old and trying to destroy the thing called me. I was desperately in love with her, Twenty-three and so much that I understood. Smart, funny, damaged. She told me that I was too young, of course I was. I told her that I couldn’t hang out with her anymore, because I couldn’t get over wanting her. 

I meant to say, please don’t let me screw this up. Twenty-three and so easily destroying the only real love I had ever found, she needed me and I needed her. We fell in love together, holding hands and reading philosophy and poetry by the ocean. Making love every night and fucking every day. Innocently, desperately, with joy and enthusiasm, we loved our love. We licked it. We breathed it into each other, 

and there I was on the phone, saying, 

don’t come back. Inside my head I was weeping, begging the words to change, please don’t let me do this. I need to be in this love. I can’t let this happen. 

But I did. 

I meant to say, so many things. Death after death after death and I kept thinking of the perfect things to say, too late. Funerals and memorials and another and another and when, when, can I say the fucking words that I need to say, in the moment? 

I need you, I love you, I  sorry. You were so much to me, you were my favorite. I need you. I need you. I need you. I’m sorry. 
Please don’t die. 

Buckle up. 

Look both ways.

 Take care of your health. 

Go see a doctor. 

Stop doing drugs. 

I need you. 

I meant to say,  I waited my whole life for you and I screwed it up the first time but I will not, this time, thank you for loving me, today we are man and wife, woman and husband (why don’t they ever say it that way?) Today we are choosing to say, 

This is us. 

I meant to say,  

I’m not anything special, just another survivor of childhood trauma and abuse. Just another recovered drug addict. Just another tormented writer, just another contradiction. Just another overactive mind. Just another insecure, needy, desperate fool trapped in a moderately attractive and confident man. Just another magician, using sleight-of-hand to show smiles and talent while hiding broken edges and shattered dreams. Just another depressed person, struggling with PTSD and suicidal urges. Just another day in the life of the impossible. 

I meant to say, this. 

Eulogy for my Childhood by Jesica Nodarse

I bathed in the holy water and drank the kool aid. 

I did it willingly, even excitedly. 

I was a perfect waste of youth.
I was a good kid, not in the “your grandma says you’re good, because she loves you” kind of good,

 but in a way directly affected by my abject fear of disappointing my parents.

 This carried me throughout the first twenty years of my life. I lived in dedication to a god, and devotion to never upsetting my family.

 I didn’t even question it, at least not out loud. I instead found bible texts and church articles that cemented my utter and blind obedience,

 I think even sacrifice can become an addiction.

 Obedience came easy to me and in the same way rebels seek attention by acting out, I found mine by becoming the pastor’s golden daughter. 

I could recite bible texts before I could even read, in fact I clearly remember 

being 3 and reciting psalms chapter 23 

in its entirety

 from memory, 

and even at that age feeling a little guilty

 because the oohs and ahhs of praise 

belonged to god 

and I held them to my chest a bit longer than I should have.

 At that tender age I already had what is termed a ‘trained conscience’  

which is just religious lingo meaning

 you have been indoctrinated enough to believe every single breath you take and release is somehow linked to the big man upstairs.

 At 4 I broke all kinds of records by speaking in front of the congregation 

and the looks of admiration in my parent eyes made every decision for me

 for many years to come.

 After that it all becomes a blur of faith and devotion, fervent prayers that became litany, and sacrifices that turned to resentment, 

highlighted with moments I was hailed prodigious and made to feel important.  
I understand, they did every single thing with the best of intentions, every single controlling sentence was with the hope of giving me salvation and eternity. 

When I wasn’t allowed to play with others kids they rationalized it as protection 

and when I wasn’t allowed to join clubs or be part of any secular activity

 they saw it as vigilance for my spirituality. 
Still, somewhere between being the perfect daughter and the perfect Christian … 

I forgot to be a kid,

 and no one offered a reminder.

Jesica Nodarse is a Cuban-born immigrant living in Florida, with her husband and children. A powerful writer and poet, an intense and driven woman, Jesica offers her unique perspective in today’s world and empowers her friends and colleagues with passion and grace.

Jesica can be found on Facebook at

 facebook.com/heathenwordsmith 

and on Instagram at 

https://www.instagram.com/j.nodarse/