there is a picture in my living room
of my parents in their twenties, in sunhats,
there is a picture of my father holding me
when i was two years old.
there is a picture of my parents
on their wedding day.
there is a picture of me when i was
ten, eleven, twelve.
i’m seventeen now and
i won’t let my mother
take any of the pictures
i need to believe that, at one point,
this house was more than just
i was born on the second-to-last day
i weighed seven pounds, two ounces,
and it was ninety-nine degrees out.
four years before that, in 1992,
the officers who beat rodney king
within an inch of his life
five years before that, in 1991,
a cyclone in Bangladesh killed
138,000 people and made 10 million
ten years before that, in 1986,
a fire in a Los Angeles library
damaged more than 400,000
and on that day, april 29, 1996, i was born
and i’d like to pretend
that it was a go
by the time he was twenty-two.
he was thirty-three
when i was born.
i am eight years old.
dad is drunk on the couch.
he wakes up and tells me to buy him food
and i tell him i’m his daughter.
he gets up to yell at me
then, as if realizing, starts laughing.
i am scared.
i am nine years old.
there’s a picture i don’t understand
printed out on the table.
i look at the web address and type it in
and there’s a site full of them.
the men look like they’re hurting the women.
they call them mean names
and tie them up.
in the one my dad printed
there are no faces. just genitals
and i am nine
and i understand.
i don’t tell my mother.
i am nine years old.
every night i get up when dad leaves
to close the browsers open on his computer.
there are seventeen open
and i close them
one at a time.
some of the pictures are scary.
one woman is screaming.
another is one who looks young,
like a high school girl.
He's on his way home from school, happily clutching a big blue birthday candle.
His mom looks at him lovingly, "Happy birthday."
The car spins out of control and he screams. His mom grits her teeth and slams her foot on the brake pedal. A truck speeds towards them, horn blaring, but it's too late; she reaches for him and cries, "I love "
When he wakes up from the coma, she's already gone.
" you," his dad whispers angrily, cheeks wet with tears.
The boy starts to tremble in his hospital bed. "Dad?"
"Why are you alive, when she's " his dad's voice breaks, "she's "
"I'm cold," his voice is barely above a whimper.
His dad presses his fist against the boy's bruised chest. "I loved her," he gasps, leaving the room.
The boy curls up, hugging his knees. He wonders dully if the doctor's monitors reveal his broken heart.
A year later, he's alone in his room.
"Remember how when I was little if I had a nightmare you'd wake me up, and then I'd fall asl
Some things to remember:
You are righteous because of what Jesus did, not because of anything that you did.
Because you are righteous due to Jesus' perfect sacrifice, and not your own righteousness, you cannot be made unrighteous because of your own unrighteousness. You didn't earn it by your own actions. You cannot lose it by your own actions.
"he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy" Titus 3:5
God is not mad at you.
Addiction is slavery, and Jesus wants you free.
Again, YOU ARE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN CHRIST! "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ" (Romans 8:1). This is the Gospel. It is understanding this that will help you overcome. Through Christ, you are made eternally clean. You can stil
“...cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells”
as though that could explain everything,
and I thought it did for a time.
But my textbook never warned me
that his skin would pale
to a point where I could see
the blue freight trains
carrying eighteen pills
throughout his frail body.
My textbook never warned me
that his watery irises would freeze over,
that he would hurl insults like knives,
and that he would clench his jaw
as tightly as his fist clenched his wine glass
because the only person to blame is himself,
and he can’t swallow that as easily
as he can the olives in his martinis.
And my textbook never warned me
that it would be this difficult to breathe
because of my acute awareness
that his breaths are limited,
and that there would be nothing I could do
but soldier on searching for that silver lining
clinging to these foreboding thunderheads.
Make me feel alive,
Blur the lines of reality,
Embrace my hollow shell.
Please burn me alive,
Make it so that I cannot see,
Take me away from this pain.
Numb my body,
Give me a false sense of happiness,
Hold me close,
And do not let go.
I sip from the chalice,
I am ready to escape,
Remove the stress,
And make way for bliss.
You are my dearest friend,
You have never failed me,
When the horror of life becomes too much,
You caress me with your ignorance.
Do not let me go,
Do not push me away,
I shall hold you tight,
And we shall succumb to your false sense of safety.
And if I fall to your level,
Become nothing but a buzzed body,
At least I shall live in a sense of relaxation,
Hold me close as we plunge towards oblivion.
of a coal miner’s face
after a long, hard day of work-
something you’ve never
had to experience
yet you talk as though
you’re just as worn out;
your trivial chit-chat
is turning syrupy with every sip,
although your sentences
aren’t getting any sweeter
you grab another glass
of the effervescent liquid,
hoping the sea of people
will turn to black dust,
and it will be dark enough
for you to fall asleep
as you walk tipsily to the bathroom,
the overpaid opera singer
belts her last high note- a bit too high;
your crystal glass shatters
into a thousand pieces
And with it, you shatter too.
Fifty summers could not soften your face,
Nor the bitter frost of winter break it.
For deep in your eyes an eternal grace
Churns slowly, though it is lost I'll admit.
Impossible for any man to see,
You will hide it from us all forever.
Seeking the cold comfort of a banshee,
Instead of your family; however,
Because of your distance, hatred and lies,
I've grown as a person, stronger inside.
Hope and devotion shine bright from my eyes,
And from conflict I'll never have to hide.
For you were my Father only in name.
Without you to hate, I'd not be the same.
“Why, thank you, young gentleman!”
I sigh as I stare at my watch. 3:59. My shift is just about over. I take my apron off and I head to the locker room behind the deli counter. Though working the counter job at a deli is hard work, it’s worth it if I get to call anything my own.
As I finish getting my things together, my boss, Jeff, walks up to me.
“I’m impressed, Daniel,” my boss begins, “Most of the teens who take shifts here expect easy pay. You, though, you work hard.”
“It’s, well, it’s nothing,” I say, trying hard not to smile, “I just don’t want to half-ass anything.”
“Well that’s a good thing to hear!” Jeff says with a laugh, “We don’t want you to be undeserving of your new raise, am I right?”
swaying in your vodka smeared dreams
living in a picket fence Suburbia,
how things have changed.
You saw everything
in the rhythm of your shot glass.
Love was never guaranteed.
Binge, obsession is a taste
I can't rid myself of.
I never see God in my Smirnoff,
but it hits cold and terrifying
just like how I remember you
so I keep drinking
until it tastes like hate.
try to remember
I used to call you
Wasn't I your baby girl...
wasn't I your princess?
Maybe... for a little while.
But it stole you away,
little by little.
Took you into its grips...
wouldn't let go.
why did you take my daddy away?
I miss you, daddy.
Even though you don't deserve it,
Don't deserve the energy it takes
for me to miss you,
for me to hurt for you the way I do.
But I do anyway.
And it's your fault.
I blame you.
You wanna know why?
Because you LET it grab you.
You welcomed it.
Now it has you,
and it has seduced you into thinking
that you can't live without it.
That it's all you need.
Do you realize now,
that it tricked you, daddy?
You lost everything you had.
Tell me daddy,
to the pub on main.
We'd meet up; we'd watch
the game through
the snow on the screen.
Decipher lisped play-by-plays
and sometimes, decipher wrong.
As I swished the ale around
my sweating glass, he'd walk in.
5:22 p.m -- his late-at-night;
eyes half alive and his life, half dead.
A shuffled symphony,
while finding his never-usual seat.
his shoulders with doubt
as the news manages to cut in.
There, he'd order his usual;
whiskey, its warmth, a foil
to his lethargy.
Despite seeing him
on all the occasions of my visits,
I observe him;
each time he arrives,
in between football plays
and dismal economic forecasts.
Anxiety dissolves into drunken smiles,
as he sips on, two, three, eight glasses.
One is never enough.
as they lurch
along the moist bar,
hoping to get just another shot.
"I think I have to cut you off."
I don't think any insult
could enrage him any more quickly.
Tonight, I am his personal usher
because he s
like the first time we gasped for air from the floor of your empty house,
or the first time I told my mother that I wanted to die.
Time will pass and we will misplace memories,
but we will remember the days we sat lost in your woods
watching the years scatter like ashes across fallen leaves.
I will not forget the scent of stale cigarettes,
the taste of wind in my hair and headlights through the trees,
or how the final whimper of the dying trees
matched the color of your eyes
when we set fire to our lungs and died along the roadside.
When I close my eyes, I will see the golden glow
of perfect sunlight on your hair as we decomposed,
rotting into the dark of dead earth.
We're losing years even now,
the scent of spice still clinging to our clothes
and the absent music of broken glass beneath our feet.
We're nothing but quiet sighs and closed eyes
buried beneath fallen trees when somewhere,
your mother opens the door to call out your name.
We can he