Thursday, June 5, 2014

Two Poems by Josh Brady

***trigger warning: suicide***

Today's post is from guest blogger Josh Brady:

At 13

At 13
he is holding a blade against his vein
struggling to remain sane
to find an escape from the pain
he is forced to sustain
by being forbidden to exist
as he is.
At 13
he tries,
but can no longer hold the pain inside,
nor can he cry
because his soul has grown so cold
his tears are frozen.
At 13
he is no longer able to pierce the holes in his head;
he’s only a kid,
but he’s dead on the inside –
being criticized by his peers
who shout “Faggot” as loud
as their hollow hearts would allow,
or let it slip from their tongues as if nothing is wrong.
At 13
his right hand shakes
as his fragile skin begins to break
while he tries to understand why
his dad said,
he’d rather him die than be caught with a guy.
At 13
he hates his own image
because his parents can’t look him in the eye.
He kissed a boy and set his soul free,
but now his soul wanders in a world that means it harm.
At 13
that boy he kissed no longer acknowledges he exists
because he’s found someone better.
He tries to move on, but is glued to the spot
with memories that always were and never will be.

At 13
Every “I love you,” every “I’m so proud”
are empty phrases tossed around
without an idea to their meaning
and every truthful word is not to be believed
because the true disguise lies beneath the mask.
At 13
he can no longer see a reason to keep breathing
and spends every moment
of every evening
dreaming,
pleading,
screaming
for freedom.
At 13
he closes his eyes and hopes to die
while cursing his own breath.
His right hand strikes his left,
and as the blade opens his flesh
he opens his lips to beg God for forgiveness
for not having the strength to live his life
to the finish.
But before he can even end his sentence,
the blade falls
and he dies
at 13.
-- Josh Brady

At 13 was written shortly after my friend, Adam, committed suicide. I was 12 at the time. Adam and I had grown very close over the short time we knew each other; he was my first crush. We lived in a city and with families that deemed it inappropriate to be homosexual. We watched TV shows and movies with "stereotypical" portrayals of homosexuals and made fun of them. One summer, after Adam had come out, his parents sent him away to straight camp. When he came back a few weeks later, it was clear he was changed, just not in the way they had intended. We saw each other one more time before he took his own life. In that time, when my family still didn't approve of homosexuality, I was scared, and so I figured the best way to release my feelings was to write.

Tired

I’m going to fight
for what’s right
until the night
the world changes
Some of us are tired of fighting,
but I’m fighting because I’m tired.
I’m tired of my existence being underrated,
tired of freedoms being postdated,
living as the most hated.
The next generation is coming
and I won’t be waiting much longer.
The youth are growing stronger,
and our patience is worn thin.
The world will soon realize we were not born in sin.
Nor will we pretend for families, churches, or friends
because this fear will end because we are tired.
Tired – tired of boys hanging from poles in basements
adjacent to their ripped Bibles, and
tired of finding girls lying with bottles
once filled with pills they swallowed
to escape
the emotional rape where they once felt safe, church!
We are tired –
tired of fighting for the right to fight
for our own skin.
They will soon realize our faces are as human as theirs
regardless of whom we give our hearts to.
Mother Earth is tired of giving birth to flowers
for funerals.
Kids are tired of pretending and forgetting who they really are
just because a single smile can fool a thousand people
before a single soul bothers to ask where it came from.
Even I am tired –
tired of seeing my peers get their happily-ever-afters
while I am stuck in my prologue, and
tired of seeing my kind disappear just because
a written word can control weak minds.
I’m tired of not feeling complete
unless I am battered and bruised.
And I am tired of living in a world
where being proud of who you are
means you are nothing.

So I will fight for what’s right
until the night the world changes
because nobody should have to live in fear
or regret who they are
and end their life
at 13.
--Josh Brady

Tired was written when I was either 15 or 16. I had just come out, but I had come to terms long before with who and what I was. I was tired of having to pretend to be something I wasn't just to avoid making others uncomfortable. I was tired of not having a voice.

Regrets from my time in the closet –
  that I never told Adam my true feelings,
  that I let myself be a victim,
  that I had lied both to others and to myself, and
  what I saw LGBT youth had to go through where I lived – angered me. I released it  in Tired .