The B-Side of Cancer

when I cross the threshold,
the shiny linoleum of this hospital
back to the outside world,
the journey home stops
becoming two tales;
one where I am the main role
and one where I am not.
At times, untidy
Then, neat;
the version fit for public consumption —
God forbid any weakness leaks out.
I have been unhinged, uprooted
and thrown into a story
where there is no happy ending.


Arboretum evenings

Lilac bushes and tall oaks
share this plot of earth that
I am lucky enough to know,
to walk,
though not alone;

I am greeted by the soft hum of bees
A rhythm felt
if you’re still enough —
echoes through the skin.

Birds anchor themselves on
branches reaching for the fleeting sun.
They gently sing a lullaby until
dusk slowly drapes down upon us.

The symphony of nature,
ever-moving the soul.

friday afternoon

Hair whips wild,
fingers hang out the window
and mimic the curves of
these country roads.
sunbeams on the leather seats.
Sometimes prayers come in the form
of favorite songs belted unashamed;
the radio, our savior.
And in this moment
you’ve never felt more alive;
it’s nice to be in control for once.
Downhill doesn’t always
have to be a bad thing;
sometimes it’s a place
where the load
doesn’t feel as heavy —
momentum to get back up
and keep going.

my brain, a noisy thing

Tell me how sadness
always sits shotgun,
plants roots and intertwines
your foot to pedal,
hands to wheel
and takes you somewhere
you never wanted to go.
It sits like a phantom limb
spewing some kinetic mantra,
something about worth
until the engine stalls and
you crash.

Here comes the
endless conversation:
play your role
as eyes snap open
between parted fingers,
swollen and split.
A world now tilted,
you see life like
mosaic tiles of
a sacred text
you can no longer read.

Emmett Louis Till

If you listen, closely
above the current
there is a whistling tune
on the banks of
the Tallahatchie.
It bends and flows up
past the Mason-Dixon
and into streets of
Chicago, where
it transforms
and becomes an angry plea.
Water tainted with
innocent blood enmeshed
with these false cries;
fingers pointed,
then guns.
ill-fated from birth,
predetermined notions
handed out by those
who want to act as
the hand of God.

Has everyone completely forgot about Emmett Till? Do they even learn his name in schools?

Do they not know there are thousands of Tills still in our streets and even more in our cemeteries, if they’re lucky…as if any of this has to do with luck.

same shit, different year


His spirit was tousled,
unbuttoned and falling apart;
washed out, speaking
in an eroded language.
His world consisting of
checking pulses and
hiding bloodshot eyes:
insomnia of the heart,
fighting to feel anything.
If only we came with
warranties at birth,
a sense of urgency
to keep breathing


a faceless emotion
eyes squinting, fixated
bodies as bait —
these thoughts are vultures
perched and waiting for
the kill: for you to give up
and give in.
We are not vessels for sadness
nor marionettes manipulated by
voices that are not our own.