The Power of Shame

posted by Geo Friend-Lee on February 16, 2016

I lost my father at 9 and my mother at 12 to a disease called Aids,
I didn’t even have the words to describe my feelings at that age,
Sad, Hurt, Dazed,
Shocked, Confused, Enraged
Looking back now, really I was ashamed, and afraid,
Ashamed that I became an orphan,
Ashamed that I felt unworthy of love and belonging,
Ashamed when birthdays, school plays, Mothers and Fathers Day, and every family
holiday came around,
So, Ashamed I often lied and said my parents were out of town,
Afraid of what the future had in store,
Afraid of being a young boy with only my grandmother’s support,
Afraid of being seen as pitiful and weak,
Afraid of people thinking I had the disease,
In a way I did, but not the same,
The disease of Fear and Shame,
It made me hide behind lies,
just to disguise, my inner pain,
It left me dancing in the rain,
until I was no longer a human being,
The more I stood silent, private, and held things in,
The more the disease gained strength,
Strong enough to grab a hold of me,
Strong enough to take complete control of me,
It wasn’t until I found the outlet of poetry,
That I built the courage to vocally,
demand fear and shame to let go of me,
Looking back, I now realize,
That even though the wounds of my parent’s death seemed to be healed on the externally,
My entire life I was bleeding internally.
The Power of Shame,

Food Stamps

posted by Geo Friend-Lee on February 16, 2016

I was an 11 year old kid playing Sega,
When my grandmother sent me to the corner Bodega,
with a piece of white money paper,
I paused the game and asked to keep the
change,
But, what happened next will forever be ingrained in my brain,(pause)
As I stood in the aisle, next to the potato chips and dip,
I see this pretty girl named Chris,
Now Chris was always dressed in the best, her parents were taught to invest,
she had the olympic air jordans, Tommy Hilfiger set, and a north face vest,
I was so impressed,
Me, I was shy,
and 5 years younger, so I didn’t say hi,
I wanted to just admire from a distance,
So I stood in the back to watch and listen,
Then my older brother entered the store,
reached into his pocket, grabbed his wallet and something fell on the floor,
It was a pack of white paper money,
Chris picked it up and gave it back,
She said, “That’s funny”,
Then she pulled out a green paper 20,
And says. “This is the money that you get when your parents have a real job,
Boy you are on food stamps, coupons,”
I looked down at my hand, and
Started to sob,
“The Haves and The Have Nots”(pause)
There I was,
Next to the honey buns with the cinnamon swirls
An inner city kid living in A Different World.
Standing in the back of the store, it was too obvious to ignore,
The first time I realized we were poor.

Lost in the Concrete Jungle

posted by Geo Friend-Lee on February 16, 2016

If you listen closely, hopefully you can see, the roller coaster ride of trying
to be all you can be, in the concrete jungle
(Pause)
How can I strive,
when in my eyes, all I see is the struggle,
Its hard to survive and stay alive, when you are lost in the concrete jungle
(Pause)
With pent up agression, from having no direction, or fatherly lessons,
forced to carry a compass, because if you get lost without that metal in your
hand, during sunset,
it can be your last regret,
One wrong turn, in an overly dense forest, can lead you in circles,
Lost in a faraway land that barely sees the sun,
no vending machines, no atm’s,
working with little to none,
you become numb,
And everyone has succumb,
to the belief that there is a limited supply of light,
crabs in a barrel mentality ignites,
Every day becomes a fight for your life.
You look to your right, just darkness, not a person or sound in sight,
Hoping not to step into the bear trap, you must stay sharp, and maintain a keen
eye for danger,
you learn not to talk to strangers, from the age of five or six,
To make it out you must adapt quickly to the environment,
Maintain emotional strength,
faith, patience, and believe that your path out will be heaven sent,
In order to exist, you must resist,
Temptation,
But the frustration of waiting, for your rescue plane could be devastating,
Tempted to drink stagnant water that may lead to diseases, from eating parasite
eggs,
On a never ending search for signs that lead to the riverbed,
called “success”
But that riverbed is dangerous,
as wild animals often hunt and rest at riverbeds waiting to feast on strangers,
So, building a camp is a must,
for protection from rainy days,
but when you are in the jungle lost, who knows which animals to trust,
So you learn to expect the worse,
Pessimistic thoughts run rampant in your head,
Deep fears of not surviving and your grandmother crying,
identifying your body by the birthmark on your leg,
the news reporter says,
“just another lost kid, found dead”,
in the concrete jungle.

My Brother’s Keeper

posted by Geo Friend-Lee on February 16, 2016

Two kids, big city
Raised by a single grandmother,
Different fathers, same mothers,
We are brothers,
Any problems, the other was there,
Something to share, brother was there,
Needed an outfit, brother was there,
Needed a loan, brother was there,
Big game to play, brother was there,
We shared the same struggle,
Its a common struggle,
Two kids, big scene,
Forced to learn to be men through the radio and tv screens,
Recipe for trouble,
When all we really needed was a father to hug us,
and tell us he loved us,
And place no one above us,
Two kids, so sad,
Growing up too fast,
Growing up without dads
We were all we had,
My brother’s keeper.

The Audacity of Hopes and Dreams

posted by Geo Friend-Lee on February 16, 2016

After practice my college baseball coach asked me to come to his office,
As I stepped in the door he pauses,
then he begins talking,
The first words he says “This decision was very hard”
From that moment my heart paused,
And I stood there in Awe,
The next words I heard,
“I’m sorry but you are not going to make the team”
A cold knife pushed into the heart of my dream,
Then I heard a crying scream,
The sound of a young bird who just lost its wings,
Warm blood splashing on the ground,
My first thoughts,
I’ve let my mother, brother and grandmother down,
People are expecting me to win,
How will I ever walk around?
I can not show my face again,
I have to leave this town,
What will I do now?
Rapid fire of questions as my mind races,
Should I be patient and keep waiting?
Should I give up on my education?
Do I lay down or do I get back up?
I have been fighting all of my life, when is it enough?
Then I thought about the hard work and sacrifices I made to get here,
I thought about my grandmother and the sacrifices she made for me
to be here,
Then I heard another sound,
It was my mothers voice from heaven telling me it’s time to step up,
I found the strength within to get up,
I knew there was no option to give up,
So, I hopped on the Beiber Bus,
Back home
knowing it was time to man up,
By working harder than most,
I turned a deep wound, in to beast mode,
Post traumatic stress into post traumatic growth,
From this experience I decided to always continue dreaming and living,
with The Audacity to Hope,

Forgiveness

posted by Geo Friend-Lee on February 16, 2016

The day I realized I was an orphan,
At the funeral service
standing next to my mothers coffin,
As my heart starts to pound,
I felt lost and, noxious,
Then I looked around,
To see who is supporting,
I saw my mother’s side of the family around,
but my father’s side was no where to be found,
Such a disgrace,
Pain in my heart,
Tears on my face,
Left out to dry, to just cry,
With only my grandmothers shoulders to wipe them away,
I promised myself to never forget this day,
I thought,
“I could be sick in a hospital bed, close to death, gasping for air, left in
despair, and that side of the family would not even care,”
I wish I would have picked up the phone and yelled this in their ears,
“This is why anytime I ran into you as a child downtown,
all you ever got was a frown,
No pound, no hugs,
Awkward silence for all the years you gave me no smiles, no love,
Even though we share the same last name,
You never even considered my pain,
You left me with many unanswered questions about my father,
Some of you lived right across the street, but still never even bothered,
I will never forget it,
I never even knew half of my nationality and heritage,
I carry the anger of a child neglected,
feelings of being rejected,
This is why when you reach out years later I will always rejected,
You should expect it,”
As I reflect today,
No, I don’t regret it,
But, Because of life lessons,
as an adult and a parent,
even though I will never forget it,
Wanting to move forward and live,
I am grown enough and learned enough to forgive,
I hope you get this message.