The Old Family Farm (Happy Earth Day)

Today I wanted to bring you a photo of my family’s old farm. These 250 acres of the family farm land in Pelham, TN, is where I spent a lot of my time growing up and where I learned a lot about food. My Mutsi had a tiny vineyard where we could pick the grapes to make jam. My Papa had a little garden out front where we could collect veggies for our salads and other side dishes.

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Unbreakable (a poem)

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

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Cheap Carnival (a poem)

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 –

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God’s Polaroid Camera (a poem)

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 –

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Praying for Peace

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.

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Scarecrow (a poem)

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

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On Racism and Growing up in the American South

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.

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