As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Carlos Contreras – Spoken Word

Better Than This

It haunts me,
has me questioning the magnetism of myself
and actions, because I’ve never acted
like that…

It has me stuck, wondering what
happened, when
it happened and how
I can speak to the correcting of experiences
that want to be forgotten so badly
that remembering is all that seems to happen,

it happened. I often learned about it after the fact –
Pillow talk conversations
seeing eye to eye, about black eyes
and otherwise,

and I’ve never experienced that kind of experience
in life, and each time,
I wanted to tell them, and did,
I’m sorry. Like I was the one who hit her,
her, her…

three-times, three ladies exponential
loves power to the third in finding solutions
in bed sheets next to, me…

Next to me, only their fathers had loved them
the way they should’ve been, and I
didn’t always do so well either, but
either way, never did I lay hand to cheekbone, or insult
to breastplate, knowing that it would sink
deeper than ear drums, and perhaps that is what
had us on mark to the same music, when we made connections

and figured out that collectively,
I wasn’t there to save anybody.
They’d already done the heavy lifting, by removing themselves
from their respective situations, and I respectively
was now joining each situation, not having known
I had inherited a warrior…

Women –
Find their way in this world
and sometimes it comes after rounds
of fists flown, and words shared
that didn’t do anything short of
bruising a heart
regardless of the lack of physicality

often times it’s the most told story about being
made to feel so horrible, and regardless,
on each experience, I reflect and find
remnants of abuse of both kinds:

Each of the three women I’ve found in my life-time
who were brave enough to share their stories,
spoke in paragraphs, broken,
like their ribs,
like promises,
like lips,

they bled their truths, in efforts to heal the wounds –
And all I could do, is listen…
promise to never make them re-visit that situation with another
perpetrator…I was raised to know better,

Raised by a man who would have and will
return the favor if he ever hears of hands hitting
anyone who doesn’t deserve it, or cannot defend
themselves – These words are defenseless as well,

But if they only touch the eyes of someone
who uses too much shadow on purpose
because of an “accident” and explanations of “never doing it again,”
I hope they help to save you from convincing yourself
it’s the truth.  We are better than this…

We just have to believe in ourselves
and view the world for what it really is, a situation
ready to reflect our beauty when we can see it
for ourselves, in ourselves,
We, are better, than this.

*     *     *

carlos c headshotCarlos Contreras is the co-creator of JustWrite. He is a two time national poetry slam champion (CUPSI and PSI). Contreras plays host the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Voces Writing Institute. He is a part-time instructor at University of New Mexico, a Bravos Award winner, and featured TEDX speaker born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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