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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Brave (a poem)

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

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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)

Nostalgia (a poem)

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 (a poem)

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.

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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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Grief, One Year Later

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.

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