am i disintegrating

i can hardly feel in touch with myself anymore, as it feels that what was once a thing is dissolving into many things. And it’s happening all at once like little marbles dropping from a sack and bouncing in all directions and heights. I can barely stand to be alone for longer than 5 minutes.

I cannot say that it is fair to put it on you to listen. You are fighting your own battles, and we journey together always at the risk of becoming too co-dependent. Why? I seek the love of the one who nurtures me, but never the love of my self. Does the sun also seek the warmth of other stars? Or does it feel entirely alone in it’s vast expanse? 

I wonder, and then I cry. Because some truths turn out to be gargantuan, large enough that they’re inpronouncible, hard to pronounce. But I don’t denounce the fears, I am just aware of the dangers of choosing to go there by your own will. Because some people can be thrill-seekers like that, and to go to the cave of pain is something of a craving. But I can’t take more right now. I need a good night of sleep, a moment of respite, a feeling and reassurance that everything is going to be alright. Even while I disintegrate. 

For some reason this outcome has felt inevitable. The universe only knows entropy, and all life will cease at some point. Which begs the question, what’s the point anyway? Why suffer for a suffering that will soon end? Why feel the pain that will flee away later anyway? But we’re not as logical as we think. Even me, all I do is think and ask questions. I’m hardly qualified to meditate on life’s deeper truths, or to sit in a room quietly by myself. When I encounter pain, I like to walk slower, but also on the other side of the street. 

Why not run away from it as fast as you can? Or why not charge towards it and eliminate it on sight? That’s what I mean. Some people are thrill-seekers. I, on the other other hand, find it hard to run away because if it spots me it will catch me faster and come with vindication. And should I confront this monster, who knows what the outcome will be? Probably just more pain and suffering. Interminable doubt. 

Today, I am writing, and tomorrow morning I will be swimming. That’s the only hope I have left. 

a lonely place

I’m afraid of becoming you, Dad. It’s been so hard to express what I mean to say, but I am afraid to end up in your circumstances, away from my children, beginning a life anew away from the one I created. What did you pray to your God when you learned that you could not hold us that night? When you learned that you will miss birthdays, first everythings, graduations, how did you react? See, that’s what I am afraid of. Not that I will end up alone, perhaps stranded in a limbo of neither here nor there, but that I will end up on the outside peering in. That I may one day be standing outside of the house where Christmas is being celebrated, and my children, my person, are no longer mine – and Christmas is no longer holiday. 

See, this fear lives inside of me – as a mark of abandonment. I grew up not really loving you, and at times resenting you. You were gone. That was all that I knew. That in the mornings, when we got up to get dressed, there was hardly ever breakfast, and there was never ever you. We rushed to grab hashbrowns at McDonald’s outside of my mom’s job. She bought me the newspaper so I could play sudoku and read about the world. We slept inside of the Montero, with the leaky roof, and the poor insulation, so my sister had to blast the heat. 

I’m afraid of losing what I still don’t have. What kind of fear is this? But understanding that so much is out of our control, and that because I never saw you fight, I never learned to fight. Did you give up on my mom? When the problems came, did you not put up a fight? I have been called out already for that, that I didn’t fight. It’s hard to understand why – and yet, I see you sometimes and you look happy. That perhaps I think it was meant to happen that way, you and mom would separate. 

All I can say is that I wasn’t there for the beginning. She was 15, you were 26. There were witnesses at this wedding. A different time, a different world entirely. But then my sister came, and shortly after me, then the separation. They say you struggled to be an adult. I struggle too. I don’t always brush and floss my teeth, but I never considered it a crime. I pay my bills mostly on time, but I forget to clean the dishes. I try so hard to be perfect, so that I don’t end up like you. So that my child, that has not yet been born, does not end up like me, like my sister did. 

But is it even in my control? I mean, what more can I do? And what advice do you have? What advice could mom have? You guard me from my history like it isn’t my right to know, so that perhaps I can avoid those errors. 

What was there to learn?


Did either of you 
ever pause to reflect? 

or did you become stuck 
in the cause and effect? 

The reason was him, 
the reason was her. 

You keep on down this road, 
and the past is a blur. 

Soon, truths become lies, 
and lies become truths, 

and no one can tell 
one from the other. 

Whose story do I believe? Maybe you are both right, and likely, you were both wrong. But it was more important to be right, even when you were wrong, and even now that sounds so damn wrong. Didn’t it matter to stay together? Couldn’t you wait for her to grow? Why’d you make it so hard for her to know that you would be better? There are only so many chances even I would have given you, Dad. 

My mom wouldn’t want me to call you Dad. My mom wouldn’t want me to call you, Dad. No contact – and the friendly reminder that you didn’t raise me, that you didn’t ever buy me school supplies, or a t-shirt even. She did so much, but she ruined all hope that you would come back one day. That you would come sit with us on the couch, that you would maybe hold her hand, and that I could see what love should look like from a couch cushion away. 

Now I can only imagine, basing the love on what I’ve read. Now I hurt the woman I love, and I become a coward – afraid of the day when I give up too soon. Afraid because some days I only want to hide under my sheets, deep under these blankets, and I don’t want to face the world. No, not like this. I want to run away from my destiny. I want to hide away and retreat. And will I do this to my junior? Will I cower when she needs me most, and then say that I am going through things? Going through things? You arrogant, insolent, bastard. Everyone is going through things. To be a father, it means you have to be there. Even when it is hard to be there. 

I don’t know how to be there. I haven’t learned this yet. I wish you would have taught me. I wish I could ask you why you left, why you let it happen this way, that I could judge you for what circumstances you don’t claim. 

It’s life. The turns of life. The misguided turns and turns and turns that leave you right where you began. Alone. 

Over in a room in a house in the Bronx, I am 4, maybe 5 years old. I watch Dragonball Z and drink nesquik sweetened milk from a nursing bottle. I am freshly bathed, loved, nurtured, and laid to rest. My eyes will close, and I will dream those vivid dreams that I have always dreamt. 

In my mind, theres a world 
free from time 
free from space, 

and in that world I venture
off to the farthest place

A place far from home, 
where nothings real
and nothings fake. 

A place where I’m alone. 

A place, a lonely place. 

zugzwang

these heavy bones; 
a collapsed chair underneath the weight of my skin
furrowed over like a long, stretched sheet
over antique furniture

thick, like a blanket of dust,
this weight strangles me,
restricts my movement, 
constricts my breath

a pod of barnacles so long entrenched
they must be rent-controlled, 
a mark left from prior generations, 

an artifact of descendence, 
a symbol of dependence?
a gift? from my ancestors

and do i need them more for myself?
for my sanity, 
that grandma’s suffering 
came down to mom 
and hers is now my own

can forgiveness exist if memory does?
do they take walks together, 
and can they share
a cup of tea?

i look into the mirror again, 
my face feels pressed into itself
leaving a smudge and

consequences, 
the ones i must face, 
because i can no longer delay 
the passage of time

she sings zugzwang, zugzwang… 
and smiles with grace