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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American Shrine (a poem)

Traveling through America, in search of the Shrine

you know the one, mister, the place that encapsulates

our nation’s fears, dreams, triumphs + loathing –

some say the shrine is a shopping mall

Mother Church of Consumerism

but you know better

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Cyborg Love (a short story)

I’m not sure what attracted me to Stephanie. Was it her hazel eyes, which changed colors and had a circle of orange around the iris? Or was it how calm I felt around her, like I could be myself and not worry about ridicule?

I lay with her in bed on a Saturday night. She ran her fingers down my chest as we talked, and I could feel goosebumps shoot all over my body.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked, breaking the cool and calm silence.

“I’m still thinking about the talk at the university, to be honest. It was interesting. I always wondered what it’d be like to be a cyborg.”

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Reason for Being (a poem)

What’s your reason for being?

In Japan, they have a word for this: ikigai

let’s ponder it, you + me – step into my office,

care for a cigar?

think about those times you wanted to end it all

before the Fall

of America – now, we live amidst the ruins

you must have a reason to keep movin’

what’s your secret?

(Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash)

Coping with Uncertainty

We’re living in dangerous times. Some people (like my girlfriend) seem to be able to cope with it better than me. For me, though, a lot of the things going on in the world have me feeling very on edge.

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Book Review: In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck

I’ve always been a big John Steinbeck fan. So I was pretty excited when I picked up In Dubious Battle from my library. It’s not one of Steinbeck’s most famous books, but it’s written with the same energy and zeal of all the other books I love by him. 

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Book Review: Amerika by Franz Kafka

After reading Franz Kafka’s complete short stories last year, I was determined to read the three novels that were published posthumously. I find Kafka to be a tremendously interesting writer and literary figure, and after reading most of his work, the recurrent themes became evident.

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When Democracy Died (a poem)

When democracy died, I was reading Kafka –

gunshots blared + factions fought for ideals

they thought worth dying for –

TVs tuned to Washington +

the White House went dark,

troops marched + destroyed dissidents.

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Down in Tennessee (a poem)

I was eager to see Tennessee –

cigarettes were cheap, people moved slow +

we devoured fried chicken for breakfast –

never ventured into the country, stayed close

to anonymous highways + strip malls

that strip America of originality.

(Photo by Jeff Nissen on Unsplash)