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Rise Above This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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Do you drink?

I do drink – water.
Because someday I might wanna have a daughter
or a son or a niece or a nephew and I want to be one of the few who
rose above the influence.
It took my grandfather, the Buskas, the great Farley and Belushi.
I never met my grandpa because he could not rise above.

I think that is why I don't drink. Well, I do drink, but not what you think,
because I know it could all be gone in a blink of an eye.
Go to a party, get a little high, be one of the guys, but I know my grandpa's
up there lookin' down from the sky smiling at me because he knows that the only
cocaine I use is when I crack a joke or take a sip of my Coke.
He hears me sing so he knows I'd never smoke, and because I love my friends,
and I want to see them alive, I never hesitate to offer to drive, designated or otherwise.

Don't get it twisted, I'm not saying my grandpa did crack, smack, or any of that,
but from time to time he might open a bottle of wine, or more.
And that tore my father apart.
And that part, he never had to tell me.

My grandpa was a civil rights activist who fought for the black kids and the white kids
so that one day too, like Martin Luther King Jr., they could have a dream.
I know my grandpa had a dream and it would seem that he wouldn't wanna see me
throw my life away. And maybe you say I'm overreacting. Okay, that's fair.
Maybe you don't care that it is just one cup, one shot, one puff, but I know me
And that is enough, to grab me, hook me, end me, and book me. Addiction is a reality that
could lead to a fatality and if I'm not ­careful I could end up who knows where,
and I've been there.
And honestly, I would not care to go back.

Most recently World of Warcraft,
but before that it was magic
acts, and arts and crafts, all coming and
going but getting stronger each time.

So if you substitute that with a line, or maybe a dime bag,
who knows where I will go. I am sober, and I know where I want to go.
I stay clean so that one day I can be a Marine. Semper Fi, do or die. Or maybe the FBI.
I love writing and reading, not following, but leading. I lead by example and I feel that
is ample to appease Ray up top, so that if my life were to stop suddenly,
I wouldn't be ashamed to face him.

I could look him in the eye and I could tell him that
I rose above.
That without hesitation or contemplation
I rose above the temptation, and like him,
went on to fight for the people of this great nation.

So that's why if you ask me if I drink, I just smile.
No thanks, I'm good. I'm driving home in a while.

I rise above.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

AprilBlue said...
May 4, 2010 at 6:35 pm:

Great poem, I assume your name is Joe? So yeah, good poem :)

I like the word ussage and stuff. 

 
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AR said...
May 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm:
This is a beautiful poem - it is poignant and full of insight.
What an amazing and wonderful young poet.
 
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mikey123 said...
May 19, 2009 at 4:08 am:
omg joe this is amazing! i love it!
 
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