to say we were lost boys would be cliché
but clichés have ways
of cementing truths into language
like hard red suns that scorched West Philly & warm beers we guzzled ‘till we couldn’t walk straight & time went missing like a thief
who stole my innocence
& we packed into an old sedan on a road to nowhere &
perhaps, if time is not linear, this had to happen &
if free will is a myth, we had no choice in the matter,
merely swigging, smoking, fighting in adolescent wastelands
in psych wards, they take your belt, shoelaces
anything you could use to hurt yourself
when I’m there, I fear the world will kill me
so, I give them my belt, tell ’em to take good care of it
& I talk to others there
& I feel damaged & I identify with compatriots –
For my father
in the dining room, action figures were imprisoned in a green vase, and you returned from prison with my uncle, looking slimmer
from pushups in sunbaked yards
mustache and dazed look gone, down on one knee, arms open wide & smiling with teeth I learned were fakes
I thought you were fake, too
unrecognizable, a stranger from a blurred past we no longer spoke of, only at grandma’s house, when we opened letters decorated by your brother with cut-outs from Marvel comics
& were told you were away on business –
Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware there’s an election going on in the U.S. right now – and it’s ugly. As the vote drags on, I’m becoming more weary and tired of the ugliness.
Full disclaimer: I support Joe Biden. I’m happy it appears he’ll win, and for the past four years, I’ve grown to very much dislike Mr. Trump. Either way, I’m sad about what’s happening in my country and the way this election has driven us even further apart.
the filthy-bearded man greets me
at six a.m., looking for a friend
he speaks gibberish, not knowing
where he is, how he arrived
at my steps, as i step back
he’s unmasked, skinny like an
old, crusted scarecrow with
scared eyes and smeared jeans
i was careless with feelings
in my youth –
wolfing from bed to bed
only staying long enough to
get what i relished,
receding into ink-black nights
like a haunting, feeling guilty
Growing up in the South, you learn from an early age about racism. Our public schools taught from books that The Daughters of the Confederacy bought for schools. Eventually, we read books that actually told some truth.
I remember reading about the Civil Rights movement and its leaders. I remember learning details about Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember feeling shame to know he was assassinated in my home state of Tennessee.
I was a mess in college.
Two years before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was enrolled at a university in New York with somewhat of a life trajectory, a moral compass, and many good qualities.
Today is a sad day for me, but I’m also feeling hopeful. This marks the second Father’s Day since my dad passed away. In fact, tomorrow will mark the second anniversary of the day he passed. My life irrevocably changed that day on June 22, 2018, but I feel that my grief journey has gotten lighter.
I only wanted love from you, but loving you was pain –
the laughter one day, followed by grief and terror
from whatever state you happened to be in.
I ask myself, “Who were you?”
You discarded me like an object and
closed off that side of yourself
that seemed to contain the Devil.