Empty Promise

"The Jaws Of Christ", an altered-book sculpture created  by Joshua Hosterman from Hesba Stretton’s 1891 tome, The Child’s Life of Christ.

“The Jaws Of Christ”, an altered-book sculpture created
by Joshua Hosterman from Hesba Stretton’s 1891 tome,
The Child’s Life of Christ.

The world is filled with empty promises.
It’s like when you tell a person you love them,
and they say it back,
but after that
y’all never speak again.

Sometimes I wake up,
trying to understand,
“is love really real,
or is it just a fairy tale
that everybody wants?”

Because all I see is disaster.
All I see is a child’s tear.
All I see is a star without its shine.

I know I left you with an empty promise.
I know I watched your heart shatter,
and I didn’t mean to—but don’t blame me.

Blame the world.
The world made me crazy.
Waking up, who can I trust
when my close friends are acting shady?

I never thought I would get stabbed,
lie in my own blood.

I know I said I would never lie,
and I did.
I know I said I will never make you cry,
and I did.

I know I said I would protect you,
like God said,
but his words are filled with empty promises.
He abandoned me
in this cold weather.

Chills running through my body.
I’m starving,
looking for a victim.
I’m walking through life,
all alone, standing with these empty promises,
trying to hold on to my last promise.

for what?

Because I made my daughter a promise
that I’ll watch her grow up;
that I’ll watch her get married;
that I will watch her have a few grandkids.

And I understand that in life,
everybody doesn’t get to see that journey.
When your enemies are spying on you.

I’m hoping I don’t run into the wrong corner,
and end up like another dead homie.

I think it’s time to speak my mind:

I know we ain’t never seen eye to eye. My Father, that was never there, and when I need you the most you vanish into thin air. All I ask you, and nothing more, is to protect my beautiful seed. That’s the least you can do, after all the empty promises. How can you watch thousands of children be in misery, without feeling any ­remorse? Just because some religion says we are part of you? And
I know every human being has some evil conscience, so that means you must have an evil conscience too. So judge me how you want, just don’t judge my daughter. . . .

It’s kind of crazy
that a brother gets arrested
for aiding and abetting,
because he didn’t tell the police what he’s seen.

If he’s guilty
then God’s guilty too.
Because all he does is sit
and watch millions of people die.

If he gets five years for that,
then God better not have a release date
for all the murders he’s seen.

My thoughts are trouble,
my soul is wicked,
But my daughter,
she still sees innocence in me.

I wonder what she sees in me.

Because my life is filled with empty promises.


Mayo Garner was born and raised in Englewood, California, and began writing poetry at nine years of age, before moving to the Twin Cities. Tired of having emotions such as loss and grief build up inside, Mayo took to poetry as a positive outlet. Seeing his talent early, a homegirl of Mayo’s asked him to promise her that he would take his writing seriously. You can say he’s holding up his end of the bargain.

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