We had blue thoughts back in those days
When it seemed, the skies were always gray
What were we thinking in those days?
Only to get away from that place
Youth is carefree, except when it’s not
When the troubles of blackened days
Cloud a mind that eventually strays
And wants to cut the cord of thought
I once wanted total control, until that day
Everything spun in a mad frenzy, and I lost my grip
On sanity – leaving me locked away
Without a say on anything and everything
Yes, this has happened many times before
And the illusion of control always surges back
I try to ignore that monster in my head
To restore my equilibrium
To reach a place that’s solid, that has a foundation
That doesn’t constantly crack
But maybe that last madness was too much
And it knocked me to the ground for good
Maybe I’ve truly lost touch
With a reality that’s wholesome and good
Today I wanted to bring you a photo of my family’s old farm. These 250 acres of the family farm land in Pelham, TN, is where I spent a lot of my time growing up and where I learned a lot about food. My Mutsi had a tiny vineyard where we could pick the grapes to make jam. My Papa had a little garden out front where we could collect veggies for our salads and other side dishes.
Amid the wasteland, I am broken.
to say we were lost boys would be cliché
but clichés have ways
of cementing truths into language
like hard red suns that scorched West Philly & warm beers we guzzled ‘till we couldn’t walk straight & time went missing like a thief
who stole my innocence
& we packed into an old sedan on a road to nowhere &
perhaps, if time is not linear, this had to happen &
if free will is a myth, we had no choice in the matter,
merely swigging, smoking, fighting in adolescent wastelands
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 –
i was careless with feelings
in my youth –
wolfing from bed to bed
only staying long enough to
get what i relished,
receding into ink-black nights
like a haunting, feeling guilty
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.
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.
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.