why do we yearn for pain, to be branded,
to stamp ourselves as some kind of product,
a reflection of our culture and its conduct?
I don’t understand it, yet we demand it
at the price of selling our own souls
to the highest bidder, just fodder
for the masses.

why do we allow the world to shape us,
choosing self-mutilation over recovery,
letting lies outweigh self-discovery?
we let hate take us and break us
into pieces that only the lucky retrieve
and weave into something colorful,
a beautiful tapestry.

why do we willingly allow the hot iron
to burn its mark into our skin,
accepting the brand of another’s kin?
we disengage from our own rage,
breaking connection from our deep
collection of experience, never fully
realized or released.

why do we join the enemy’s feast,
knowing they serve something poisonous?
yet we swallow, we wallow in the hazardous
waste that’s twisting our face
into something unrecognizable,
convincing ourselves that a brand
is a needed reprieve.

there’s more to life than being branded,
understand that delaying punishment
is the establishment, our environment,
there’s no point in joining that parade,
it’s just a charade, the real you
is more beautiful, unusually
fruitful and distinct.

scrub it off if you can, the intentional
brand you chose to wear, as if you’re
nothing more than decorative flair,
yet, let the hard marks of life remain
on your heart, seared and scarred
and cut deep into the love that you
make as you create your art.

Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.