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 –
what does it mean to be brave
in today’s age?
maybe it’s simpler than we think
like the warrior societies of old
their ethos to put family first
die for a cause, face aristocrats
who sit on gold-plated thrones
who bemoan gutter-champions
& bare-knuckled brawlers
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)
Nostalgia always comes with a bit of bad memory
back in the day, I remember life being calmer
but who’s to say?
My father stumbled in stadium parking lots drunk back in those days
+ I still had depressions that didn’t seem to go away
So what’s so different ’bout back then + the present day?
(Photo by Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash)
When I die, I want to go quietly – free from the miseries
of my body breaking down, organs sickened,
cutting off life as drift away.
When I die, I want to wake in a better world,
away from earth’s torments + the adverse emotions
gurus say we must bear.
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.
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.
In the years leading up to my father’s death, I’d been
preparing for it. He was diagnosed with cancer a decade ago and, since then,
his health slowly, but surely, deteriorated.
When it comes to grief, I learned no amount of mental preparation will suffice. Sure, I’d seen grandparents pass away, but this was different: this was my dad, the man who I both loved and at times loathed.
Where does it hurt, dad?
I see the mind turning,
the drugs, the Reds, the volume on high:
anything to quiet inner voice.