Parallel Parking Olympics (a poem)

If there was ever a Parallel Parking Olympics

it’d be in South Philly

cars jam into microscopic spots

enough to cause anxiety

but you, with your back-up camera

squeeze in like it’s no big deal

this shit is real!

parking spots are like gold

circle the block like a vulture

starving, on the prowl

maybe you’ll get lucky

find a spot front-and-center

(Photo by Cali Riffee 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)

What’s your Superpower?

I attended an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for my mental health in early 2019. It was a few months after my dad had died, and I was in bad shape. IOP helped a great deal, and there was something one person said during group therapy I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

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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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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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Anxiety is Like (a poem)

Anxiety is like watching a movie where

you’re the lead actor and each scene gets worse –

countless calamities occur, eventually ending in

one big tragedy – meanwhile, you sit alone

in the dark theater and worry and cry,

your muscles tense, your stomach sick,

‘till you can’t breathe no more.

(Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash)

Mrs. Dalloway’s Mind (a poem)

I step inside Mrs. Dalloway’s mind:

it twists, turns – I’m lost in the maze,

as she spills thoughts on the page –

a link to her consciousness;

it’s a stream that overflows,

breaks embankments, floods my psyche

‘till I put the book down,

lest my mind goes manic and

doesn’t come back.

(Photo credit: A portrait photo of Virginia Woolf from Britannica.com).

Note: This poem was inspired by Mrs. Dalloway, the classic novel by Virginia Woolf. I’m reading it now, and I love it, but I’ve had to put it down a couple of times because I felt like it was triggering a manic episode.

A Quiet Hour at the Creek (photos)

My anxiety has been getting the best of me lately, but it’s improving. The other day, my grandfather and I spent a quiet hour at a little creek and wooded area in our neighborhood just to get out of the house. It helped.

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Far from God (a poem)

I must get off this path of sin, and find my

inner-being in God, but I do not know how.

I pray, but I no longer feel the consolation

I once felt – that wholeness and joy, like I was

being held tightly in His arms.

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On Anxiety and Choosing Faith over Fear

Rachel has told me many times before of her struggles with anxiety. When I listened to her, I used to not be able to understand it. I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly calm person, and I can remember many moments from over the past several years where I’ve felt very peaceful.

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