When your school friends start having kids of their own
they’re too grown for sleepovers.
Smoking cigarettes like red vines.
drinking red wine out of sippy cups.
We are all growing up in different directions.
Got facial hair and dreadlocks,
nose rings and pregnancy scares.
We just can’t seem to keep our hands off of each other’s business.
So we grab fistfuls of tantrum and throw them into the sun,
hoping these back-lit highways help us forget where we came from.
I’ve seen good friends fall for bad women.
The closest excuse I’ve ever heard of for drinking
sounds an awful like burying love,
like marrying for love sounds an awful lot like too much responsibility.
So keep you keepsakes to yourself
there’s no secrets here.
You want it?
Take it. There’s nothing sacred.
Eat it. No need for permission.
We’re all just broken people trying to keep from getting forgotten about.
So we spend our youth chasing foxtails and pretty skirts.
Lighting fires to blow up dresses,
we’ve burnt down more princesses
than a boy scout with a nicotine problem
but we get burned, lesson learned.
So we burn our first names into palms of past lovers.Write poems on the mile markers of highways
and toss our high school diplomas into the ocean
because we all know what it feels like to come from privilege.
Welcome to America.
We bleed in red, white, and blue vintage
and rugged individualism.
We love factory workers
and We Can Do It,
M-16s and the 4th of July.
We try to hide behind the lies of Peter Pan
but we don’t want to grow out of our hand guns
so we hand them to our fathers.
Say “We don’t pull triggers anymore.”
Pretending we are worth our weight in adventure.
We are both World War II survivors and Vietnam protestors.
We hate our government but love our country,
so we burn our flag to hide our Bibles in its smoke rings.
And we’ve been blowing halos of discontent down Route 66,
and badmouthing every town we rub our lips against.
We are not some retro, makeshift, bohemian kissing booth
for the upper middle class to write home about,
not a dialogue box to be exaggerated over cocktails.
We do not own bodies without holes in them,
we all have different reasons for the holes in our knees.
Some from writing prayers,
and others from answering them.
We have fallen in love with an era we were not born to.
So we Photoshop our photos to look older and vintage.
Weathered and worn from make believe years in shoe-boxes,
top dresser drawers and tucked into wartime helmets.
Keepsakes from a time before we had lived lives worth the photographs.
We are nothing but fake patriots and hippies without Hendrix.
We like the good ol’ days
and Levi’s Denim
Old vinyl and Bob Dylan.
We’re making villains out of growing up,
so we’re throwing up peace signs,
smoking peace pipes like the Native Americans.
For some stupid reason I am so proud to be Native American.
Even though my skin tone reads like plagiarism,
I still cite it in my bone structure.
Know nothing of their struggle and everything of their feathers.
We love to pick pocket cultures we are fond of.
And some days,
I want to wrap my last name in smallpox
just to remind myself I am a part of something bigger than this country’s youth.
Tragedy or movement.
As long as the earth is willing to straighten our her spine,
we will dance with her.
Even if the sparks are self-made righteous,
we will write to it.
Spread your holy skeleton across the teeth of God
dare him to whisper shadow chaser,
you are worth more than where you came from.
You are not your grandfather’s shotgun
nor your grandmother’s garden.
You are a house fire without a name,
a freedom fighter’s wet dream.
He knows you best when he cleans himself.
A cold shower has a way of reminding of who you have been
and of the bodies you made caskets out of.
I can no longer lie in your bed without checking for a pulse.
Six weeks sober is just long enough to get thirsty again.
Please do not get thirsty again.
We are all both a first born
and a biggest regret.
We make all of our own mistakes.
I would not ask you to bury your nations dead,
only your own.
We have forgotten how to live
without pictures to prove it.
Life only happens when it gets tweeted.
People are dying 140 characters at a time.
We filter everything
like it’s 1975.
Tag me “Patriotic”
sounds a lot like growing up.