My Father’s Eyes 

I have my Father’s eyes, the exact color and shape, but I also have his perception that tangled around the blue heart center of his view. I have my Father’s mouth, plump lips that came with the nervous habit of biting them until they bleed, and the split personality of his tongue that could make you feel like everything or nothing. I have a fraction of his temper that was a surprise hidden his throat, but the kind of surprise you ever forget. I have my Father’s heart, I wear it the way he did, on my sleeve, in my eyes, almost always in someone else’s hands. I have my Father’s sense of humor with the ability to turn pain into laughter to cover my wounds. I have my Father forever, for in the mirror, I am his spitting image, and these traits I have carried for two years longer than him. 

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry 

My Father’s Eyes

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No Matter What 

My exit will be quiet, but strong like the light you shined for only me; The one that only I could see. Everyone else got the dim of you, the barely lit words that broke across the surface of your skin. I got the ones from your heart, dripping with the blood of all you ever felt, love. I felt each one as it slipped from your lips, you didn’t hold those in with that key for me. I picked that lock years ago. You told me I never had to knock again, that I was always invited into the deep of every wound whether it hurt or not. It was you and me. Everyone else locked out tight on the other side of the door they couldn’t see into. But it’s all different now. The lock is busted. They all ran inside, claiming the wounds I already healed with you. I’m on the other side now, carrying rocks to throw into your windows so I can be the one to really save you. But I never learned how to be on the other side, the uninvited stranger who knows you better than anyone else. I will leave the rocks on your doorstep to let you know I was here and I would never leave without saying goodbye. Like we always said; no matter what. These rocks are my promise, unbroken.  -Stephanie Bennett-Henry © 2017 

No Matter What

Open Letter 

Open letter to anyone who calls themselves an “educator” or “Professor”:
If you are passionate about your job and what brought you there to begin with, don’t contribute to the funeral of what it’s becoming. Don’t stoop low into the downward spiral of forgetting what it’s all about. Your job isn’t to teach your feelings from a one sided perspective dipped in political absurdity. Your job isn’t to teach how to sink into the filthy waters of mind wars started by half-ass media outlets who lead the front lines. Your job is not to teach these students how to drown, but rather how to survive those waters with their own open mind. It’s about teaching the way to tread on both sides long enough to understand there is more than one side. If you are teaching one side, then you’re not teaching anything. If you are teaching literature and you choose a political article from the New York Times, you are not teaching literature. If you are presenting this as current events in the world and allowing an open debate on the perspective of both sides, then well done. 

But I can find a thousand better choices that are actually literature. English professors: your job is not to teach politics. Your job is not to teach headline news. Your job is not to teach propaganda. Your job is not to teach feelings based on your own opinion or the opinion of a NY Times journalist who thrives on bashing the country you live in. You are bashing your own country. Don’t call yourself a professor of English Literature if you choose to teach from a conquer and divide perspective because the media baited your mind with its propaganda war and won. 

Journalism is dead. College educators are following quickly into that six foot grave of “integrity once lived here.”  

Are you going to save it or watch it decay slowly? 

I’ve been baffled at the way the nation is so divided and how many people are simply uneducated about real world problems, because they are consumed with feelings 

and fighting wars in the streets that were fought already long ago. Now I know why. 

We send our kids to you, pay a hefty tuition in order for them to obtain a quality education. But that’s not what they’re getting. Instead they are being indoctrinated into this world of identity politics and psychology of hurt feelings, and how-to guides on throwing temper tantrums over problems that aren’t theirs to cry about. Teach literature. Take up your passion for “identity politics” as a hobby, and keep it out of the classroom or start issuing refunds to the kids who signed up to learn about literature.  

Sincerely, 

A Parent Who Refuses to Pay for that Garbage

My Favorite People 

My favorite people are the ones 

who do what they say, 

because sometimes 

standing behind your word 

is a mountain 

that crumbles over your loyalty 

before you can salvage your own heart, 

and now it is smashed dirty; 

an unrecognizable promise 

identifying as nothing more than a lie. 

My favorite people 

are the ones who aren’t afraid 

to strip it down to the bare-boned bravery 

gone extinct, and stand tall 

even if it means standing alone. 

I am standing alone

and I’m not sorry. 

My favorite people 

are the ones who wouldn’t expect 

an apology for an opinion 

that doesn’t coincide with theirs. 

The ones big enough 

to respect a view point 

that crawled out of the box 

and flew out of the cage

before it could be transformed 

into a statue 

molded with fidgety hands 

and small minded robots 

pointing the way. 

My favorite people 

are the ones who don’t play 

follow the leader 

as they keep looking back 

to see the crowd behind them, 

while holding tight 

to the ones in front of them. 

Because life is too short 

to think your ending is going to be 

any different than mine. 

So, friend, 

if you must call me out 

to make yourself feel better, 

at least do it intellectually 

because all of us have beating hearts 

that bleed out passion for something. 

If mine bleeds a passion 

that doesn’t conform to yours, 

it does not mean 

my heart is beating wrong. 

It means you haven’t learned 

that everyone is different. 

It means you haven’t learned 

that everyone is indeed 

entitled to their own opinion

whether you like it or not, 

it’s mine. 

My favorite people 

are the ones who understand 

what that means, 

and respect the hard learned lesson 

of knowing how to agree to disagree. 

Be big enough 

and brave enough 

to listen without shoving 

your own views down my throat, 

forcing me to swallow it down

with a smile; I never will. 

And I wouldn’t expect you to. 

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry 2017

Humanity 

It’s important to listen. 
Listen wholeheartedly with an open mind, regardless of your own opinions or beliefs… just listen. The ground you are standing on cannot be solid if you have only heard your own perspective. So hear both sides to everything before you decide which is wrong or right. And when you make that decision, be able to explain what makes it wrong and what makes it right. It’s never just because. Be informed. Have conversations that challenge your thoughts. Debate something that’s out of your comfort zone.  Be kind. People have reasons for how they feel and what they believe in; learn those reasons. Understand. Agree to disagree. It’s your right to have an opinion and your freedom to voice it, but learn how to do it in a way that looks like a role model for humanity because it’s up to us to make this world beautiful. Let’s start by leaving a mark of kindness everywhere we go. So, let’s go. 

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry 

The Spark is Mine 

I used to be clothed in a certain 

light that never stopped shining. 

From my heart to my throat, 

words warmed this voice just enough 

to ignite a smile or sometimes two. 

But it was genuine. 

It felt safe for once,

like all the fear fell 

away and melted around me into a puddle 

of glitter I could write my name in. 

But on some days, the glitter is gone, 

and I find myself standing in the cold. 

Thin as ice, the breaking cracks me nude, 

words as bare as my bones that broke 

into my heart a time or two. Or the silent 

whisper from my throat that has nothing 

left to say. I only know for certain now 

I’m just as cold without you as I was 

when the chill of you turned my spine 

into a dirty rag shoved in my throat 

to silence any spark my voice could 

muster.  I get it now. 

The smile I lost has nothing to do with you. 

This is my heart, my warmth, my shine.

It’s me who decides 

what makes me or breaks me. 

Kicking my feet through the sparkle 

of my own neon, I ignite my own fire.

Stand back.

I’m only responsible for myself

and the way I burn in my own light.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry 

Love Her Wild: My daughter’s favorite – Atticus

❤️ Love this

Alfa

It was just about this time last week that I had an exorbitant amount of fun at my daughter’s expense. You see that’s what happens when your kids grow up and move away. You look for opportunities that may arise that you can somehow share with your now ‘adulting’ kids. My daughter is a carnivorous reader. A social media hobbyist. A collector of words, and a phenomenal mother in her own right.

But she is also… an avid Atticus fan.


Enter Atticus

You see, when I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Love Her Wild in the mail a few weeks before its worldwide release – I had a moment.

After I got over my shock, I began to feel this incredible compulsiona rub it in your face kind of moment – to rub it in a little to the one person whom I knew would…

View original post 762 more words

The Color of a Lie 

The blood is thick here 

circling around cold hearts 

constantly trying to take my hand, 

but never to hold it. 

All eyes on me, looking like home, 

I stare into them, memorize them, 

until I recognize the color 

of a lie folded over, disguised 

like a mask that looks familiar; 

I have been here before. 

I don’t want to be anymore. 

I see my spine in your eyes

turned weak, I see my heart 

in your mouth as you chew it up; 

well spit it out… I want it back. 

I’m not taking your hand 

so you can pull me to the place 

you think I should go. 

I know where my dreams are, 

I remember the way. 

I have emptied your eyes, 

taken back what’s mine. 

Don’t follow me.  

I will follow my heart 

for the first time in so long. 

You can taste your own words, 

feel the sharp edges 

of all you made me swallow, 

and finally understand this 

complicated sadness of me

came from your hands, dripping 

with jokes I never laughed at

and hearts I stopped trying 

to warm into a home. 

 -Stephanie Bennett-Henry © 2017

You Cannot Kill My Heroes

The Heroes Who Fought For You 
Memorial Day: 

A day to remember and honor the fallen United States soldiers who fought in wars to protect you and give you the freedom you have today. They loved their country enough to risk their lives and paid the ultimate sacrifice. They believed in something. They believed in something so much, they were willing to be a human shield for you, for me. 

If you are reading this, thank the soldier who fought and died for your freedom to do so. 

I am aware that everyone has their own views and opinions, and those don’t always match mine. I’m absolutely fine with that and I respect everyone’s freedom to believe whatever they choose. 

Our veterans, our wars, our soldiers: those are heroes. That’s not a debatable opinion. 

The soldiers who died, the wars they fought, 

and what they believed in: that’s fact. 

It doesn’t change with time. It doesn’t change ever. Those heroes are set in stone. Honor them. 

If there’s one thing I’m passionate about, 

it is all United States veterans, active duty soldiers, and anyone in a uniform who risk their lives to protect you and me. 

I’m writing this because I always thought everyone believed the same as me. I never heard another side. I never imagined that there could be anyone who didn’t think all veterans were heroes. I never knew there were people who believed they somehow earned their own freedom and had nobody to thank. Until last year.  

I was going to write this in a tender way. I was going to fluff it up to soften the blow of my words. I was going to…. 

but I never held a pen with a feathery tip. I never learned how to tell a story in a half ass way to spare the feelings of someone else. I’ve said before, I’m not writing your heart, I’m writing mine. I am writing mine. I’m writing in ink that bleeds truth, even if I bleed out, it will never be fiction. 

Last year. It changed me a little. I haven’t quite had my heart ripped out before that day. Someone told me veterans aren’t heroes at all, that we’ve never fought a war that brought anyone freedom. That all of these soldiers are basically the bitches of a corrupt government. 

It still leaves me speechless and heartbroken to know that anyone would have this thought process, that anyone would teach this, feel this, believe this. I can’t understand the logic. I won’t understand that kind of logic. Ever. 

Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter to me. But I will tell anyone who thinks this way will be the ones we blame one day for the end of humanity- if it hasn’t already ended. I see a lot of people talking about the world ending and blaming politics, government, or whatever they possibly can to keep the blind eye strong. The truth hurts. It’s hard to look sometimes. So many beautiful things being turned so ugly by… not politics or government, but the people who have taken on this thought process. The one that says, “fuck the police.” The voices that say the president is to blame for everything as they burn flags, march for something they think will change the world, but spit on graves as each foot touches the ground. Protesting is your right. How do you think you got that right? Do you think it came from protestors 

rallying up a big welcome home to the Vietnam veterans who returned only to get a big “fuck you” spit in the face? Do you think the veterans who left for war as boys and returned home as men started committing suicide because of the horrors of the war? Or do you think it was the shame and hate pounded into their faces on their own soil? Probably both. Maybe the agent orange that is still killing those soldiers today. 

Let me tell you this:  

If you believe the logic that soldiers are no longer heroes because the war they fought turned out to not really be justified: You are not only extremely ignorant, YOU ARE A BIG PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT.    

Take a minute and read that last paragraph aloud. Then think about what you’re saying. 

It’s as dumb as me saying, oh, they died from cancer? There’s a cure now.. so fuck them. 

Those soldiers are six feet under, but your words dig them up, slap them around with war again, and bury them with disrespect, with spit, with an all for nothing fuck off, and without a flag because you ripped them from the schools and burned every single one. 

It doesn’t matter if a war wasn’t really justified, if we had no business being there, if you didn’t agree with it, or if you believe the government had ulterior motives. 

The soldiers that were actually there fighting

believed what they were fighting for, and they were fighting for you. They were fighting for their country. 

You cannot dig them up now and decide they are not heroes after all. You cannot dig them up and hang them with the shredded American flag. It happened. They fought. They died. They are heroes. You’re not changing history. You’re not rewriting a soldiers story with some rainbow bullshit. You will never rewrite the history of America and what it means, and if you think it was all for nothing, you don’t deserve to be American. Ashamed of your country? Goodbye. You live in the greatest country in the world, but you’re slowly destroying it with the blame it on someone else mentality. The bullshit being taught today instead of actual fucking history. The people who call themselves American but refuse to stand for the national anthem, or say the pledge of allegiance. Those are the people who think a president will end our country and divide humanity.  

The only thing running our country into the ground and dividing humanity are the ones who carry the victim mentality in their pockets and pull it out every day. The ones who don’t believe in their country like the soldiers who died. The people who never learned how to be brave like a soldier, fight a war like a soldier, lay down their life like a soldier. 

What are you doing for this country? 

Have you ever done anything like a soldier? 

Have you gone to war? Died at war? 

Fought for something you believed in with everything inside of you? 

Are you teaching your children that these soldiers were just stupid, trigger happy rednecks who fought a war just for the fuck of it? If you are, you are the reason the world is going to shit. So, stay stupid. 

Thank a veteran. Honor the fallen.  

They didn’t die for nothing. They fought and died for you. They did not die in vain. 

They died for this country. I will not let you spit on it. Not now, not ever. 

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry © 2017 🇺🇸

Wanderer 

They call me a wanderer. 

Never quite found my place 

and I’m as lost as I’ve ever been. 

Looking for signs 

like there may be one 

just for me, there never is. 

No one is talking, no one is listening, 

but everyone is and it’s all too loud. 

My mind is rush hour.

My mind is a traffic jam. 

My mind, I can’t give it a name. 

My heart was once my navigation 

until it broke. Now I’m playing it all 

by ear and I’m telling you 

turn down the bass, my core is deaf. 

I’ve tuned it all out and now 

I can’t tone it down. 

There’s a faint sound of music 

somewhere in the distance, 

but it hasn’t been my song 

and it hasn’t been my station 

for the longest time. 

I sing like I still know the words 

but I don’t. I’m only going by the rhythm 

and the way it never stops shaking me. 

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry