House-Warming Party (a poem)

Floods of memories slap me
as I walk the neighborhood,
epiphanies connect obscure
stars in my mind’s galaxy –

birds chirp, my feet patter on paths
amid tree-lined streets and greenery
of springtime,
the earth changing, imperceptibly,
preparing to host summer
like a house-warming party –

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Unbreakable (a poem)

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

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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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On Reading Old Books to Escape the Anxieties of 2020

There’s something about old books, especially fiction, that transport me to a world where I feel safe. This has been the case lately, as I’ve jumped into the classics to escape this year’s anxieties.

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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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Portia’s Extraction (a poem)

Portia is inside my mind

probing my memories

extracting, sorting them

into data –

looking for knowledge

of the virus

the only thing that can

save us from servitude

(Photo by Umberto 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)

Everyday Saints

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.

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New Facts (a prose poem)

History is collective memory, and it’s always subject to correction.

It’s written by winners, whether daughters of despots or democrats. They build bronze statues that inform us of what happened, who’s calling the shots, who owns the space you occupy.

As the city convulses, an ex-mayor’s monument is fractured, beat to the ground. Our historical texts must be rewritten, newspaper editors must be removed, the revolution must be televised and live streamed to your social media feeds, and you must forget what you’ve learned because

there are new facts.

(Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash)