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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Everyday Saints

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.

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Happy Father’s Day!

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.

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The Hate Inside of Me (a poem)

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.

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