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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Portia’s Eyes (a poem)

Portia’s eyes follow

no matter where I go

like the psalmist once wrote &

maybe in his Old Testament wisdom,

he prophesized a time in history where

we’d become little gods and merge with machines –

intelligent networks creating global villages

all surveyed by Portia’s ice-blue eyes

no need for a god

unless you search endless lines of coding

or vastness of VR constructs

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Cheap Carnival (a poem)

in psych wards, they take your belt, shoelaces

anything you could use to hurt yourself

when I’m there, I fear the world will kill me

so, I give them my belt, tell ’em to take good care of it

& I talk to others there

& I feel damaged & I identify with compatriots –

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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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Seeking Shelter (a poem)

my family is not a dynasty

nor do we have any moguls among us –

just average folk stumbling

in supermarkets, falling in dirty

stadium parking lots

searching for Black Friday deals

to forget the darkest days

when the market crashed

& all the cash we had stashed

was seized by government thugs

with blood-shot eyes & sharp teeth,

who told us to run to gold hills

& seek shelter elsewhere

(Photo by Aperture Vintage on Unsplash)

Red Earth (a poem)

look what emerges from black mountains!

God help us all – the army marches

toward the town, big boots breaking

hard winter ground, a sound

so horrible we clasp our ears

our worst fears coming alive –

they call these men “peacekeepers,”

& i scoff – they don’t want peace,

but to tear us to pieces

bloody bits splattered on cabin walls

the end of our lives for sure,

we’re sure when the first machine gun

rattles like a diseased lung

we’ll melt into the red earth

(Photo by Beat Schuler on Unsplash)

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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Street Preachers (a poem)

spiritual growth – i used to be preoccupied with it

maybe i still am, fixated on flaws

all the ways i fall short of a standard

even saint francis couldn’t meet

on the streets, i’m incited by insights

from preachers who peddle notions

of salvation & give me holy books

i peruse by glow of lava lamps

in the comfort of compounds

where i keep my secrets

& share my miseries

(Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash)

Perseverance (a poem)

stuck in swamplands

it seemed the pain would never end

a cycle of torture, anxieties about futures

that would demolish me

leave me in ashes

in a bombed-out city

during an irrational war –

it took perseverance to pull myself

from rubble, trudge forward

all while asking

is there any meaning

to this constant struggle?

(Photo by Elvis Bekmanis on Unsplash)

Ode to Solitude (a poem)

in solitude I come to know myself –

chatter of others stripped away, me stripped

of creature comforts, a creature without

a haven, thoughts bang & jangle

in a brain that has gone insane –

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