Serenity (a poem)

we talk about serenity

but I’m not sure what we mean

there have been times

I was serene

but it’s few and far between

I want it to be a permanent state

of being

an emotion that stretches into

the future, forever

but that’s impossible

like asking to control the weather

so, as days go by

& I grow older

I hope I grow wiser, too

settle for serene moments

instead of reaching for something

that’s beyond my feeble grip

(Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash)

Family Tree (a poem)

There are ghosts in my family –

I realize this as my mother tells tales

of a biological grandfather I never knew

who blew smoke in my face

when I was two

of years my father spent in jail

of anxiety that permeates

the family tree, which is

diseased & hollowed

about to crumple & topple

into grayish dirt

(Photo by Dikaseva on Unsplash)

Sinking (a poem)

I didn’t realize I was sinking

‘til I ended up in the psych ward –

red stitches on a woman’s neck

she looks like a scarecrow

she sliced her own throat

to make the torment end

I was sinking

(Photo by Mishal Ibrahim on Unsplash)

City of Dogs (a short story)

Cindy parked her work truck in the shade by a McDonald’s and took a big bite out of her Quarter Pounder. Her lunch breaks were always interrupted by phone calls — the endless calls from dispatchers. Today was no different.

When her phone rang, she turned down the Brad Paisely song on her radio.

 “Hey, sunshine,” said Marcus, the dispatcher. “Feel like catching any more dogs today?”

It wasn’t the call Cindy wanted to get. But at least it wasn’t the call, the one she constantly feared getting.

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Rock Bottom (a poem)

Alcoholics like to talk about rock bottom –

the moment they recognized the bottle is filled with lies

the moment when they open their eyes

+ know they don’t have to drink anymore

I hit bottom in a rehab far from home after unkind words

from a social worker who told me

I was running from life – but that’s in the past

I’m still running, I know not why

the sky is falling, fireballs shooting like comets

+ I think this recovery thing is never over –

it’s a life-long process that can’t be defined

by our constant categorizing.

(Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash)

Suicide Prevention: Please, Don’t Give Up

I recently got some bad news that a friend of mine from recovery suddenly passed away. He was only 32 years old. As these dark pandemic days drag on, I felt I needed to write this post to process my emotions.

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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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Ten-Dollar Bill (a poem)

The woman asks me for ten dollars – she demands it

I’m reluctant, standing in a pock-marked city,

but feeling pity for her, as she frantically talks

her eyes yellow like harvest moons

her voice shrieks like an urban banshee –

the realities of poverty and addiction,

the rich getting fatter off broken backs.

I reach into my wallet, hand her a ten-dollar bill

she hugs me + hurries away, vanishing into the night,

and as I walk home, I wonder if I’ll ever need to

ask for my ten dollars back

(Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash)

For the Homeless & Damnificados (a poem)

We are damnifacados: homeless, junkies,

people deem us less than human.

When you pass us on a hectic street, we’re resting with

backs to the wall asking for mercy, spare change –

you look away from our weathered faces,

we feel disgrace, in our soiled clothes, our tired eyes.

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