Poetry

Losing My Dad

The following poem series describes the grief after a father’s suicide. They are part of a series in which the poet looks back at his childhood, but also to recent years when the poet estranged from his father during his deepening depression and alcoholism. Losing your parent is a hallmark of life, but suicide is not a natural event. At the time, the press announced that 21 veterans died daily in the US.

Water Striders

“Water Striders” addresses the mundane through a surreal metaphor. Focused on the abstract feeling of monotony or depression (or whatever it is the reader can find in it), “Water Striders” juxtaposes this with a fantastical realm, creating a mystical narrative of negative emotionality. Finally, when the protagonist breaks the cycle, the readers are left wondering whether this leads to something better, worse, or just different — we can’t know.

Forget-Me-Not In Broken Couplets: How Love Affects Our Souls

Experiencing love is linked to higher self-esteem, improved immune system, lower blood pressure, and various other health benefits. For many, achieving love is akin to self-actualization: it is the ultimate goal of life and synonymous with true happiness. The desire to attain love can lead to obsession, codependence, and intense fears of rejection. Without love, we feel unworthy. So, what happens when love becomes additive? When a fundamental human faculty is utilized excessively, transforming a healing experience into a damaging one? Is it better to have loved and lost, or better to have never loved at all?

The Moolian Stream

“The Moolian Stream” is about missing the company of true friends and loneliness. These have always been true for humans, but for groups such as immigrants and those who find themselves in exile, they are experienced more acutely. The exiled experience cultural isolation as well as existential and physical loneliness. After the COVID-19 pandemic, many others feel increasingly isolated.

Before & After: Poems of Quarantine, COVID-19, & The Year We All Lost

How have the conditions of our daily lives changed over the last year? There’s no question quarantine, social isolation, a global pandemic, and political and social unrest significantly alter our daily routines — but these events and situations have highlighted our adaptability and fragility simultaneously. The realization that we control very little of our own lives has come to the forefront for most in the past year; in turn, this realization has spurred the need for action. How do we maintain a sense of control in the midst of overwhelming evidence that we are at the whims of greater forces?

Parabolic Hyperbole and other poems of the Human Condition

What makes us human? Is it our opposable thumbs, omnivorous diet, and ability to wield tools? Our individual and collective ideological belief systems and Earth-bound nature? What about our ability to empathize and (simultaneously) our inability to and the resulting creation of “us vs. them” group dynamics? Does our violence, domination over nature, technological innovations, and need for advancement make us human or will these traits one day lead to our demise? Are we more human today than we were at the advent of homo sapiens sapiens 125,000 years ago, or less?

Reverence For Relationships: Poems About The Self, The Community, & The Other

As humans, we are relational beings. Most obviously, we develop and rely on relationships with others (e.g., family, friends, or work associates), creating a sense of community. Less obvious are the relationships we create with ourselves, with activities we do that give us purpose, and with nature. The following poetry collection touches on a variety of impactful relationships between an individual and the self; parents, grandparents, and cherished things; community during a crisis; tribal/clan culture; and God and nature. Who are we if not a compilation of who and what we choose to surround ourselves with?

{Cats}

The experience of being alive is best understood through momentary snippets and unique, individual perspectives. We may not relate nor understand all others due to the limitations of our own perspective, but we all take part in this experience collectively. As Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” The following poem, “{Cats}” reflects an experience of life, highlighting there is life that exists even in the ill-lit, smokey corners of a bar.

Death Danced With Me In Mexico

Dia de los Muertos blurs the boundaries between the realms of Life and Death. Altars bearing the photos of lost loved ones keep them close to the heart. Families picnic on the graves of ancestors, dressing as vibrant skeletons festooned with flowers. Death need be neither hated nor feared. Indeed, welcoming Death with joy banishes fear and heals grief.