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
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.
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.
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 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)
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.
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)
Heavy boxes stacked in the bedroom,
you’re moving again, amid the pandemic.
We’ll see another part of Philly, add to
the memories we’ve made – even if we’ll
be wearing masks and hunkering down.
We’ll find a new coffee shop, we’ll walk new
streets, taking pictures every so often
that’ll be in a book next year that celebrates
our time together.
(Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash)