My father’s hands
sun burnt to crisp blood brightening wrinkled grooves
curve round rough calluses
converge into dirt covered fingernail beds
sprinkle flecks of Earth onto its origins
as he turns the door knob and enters inside.

My father reaches to lift me from my armpits into the air
strategically spins my body
more thrilling than any existent or imagined amusement park ride.
Quien es mi superman? El mas fuerte?
I do not know this yet – not yet.

Father’s hands pull and weed and grind into the Earth
back arched rapidamente
mouth parched, skin stinging
sun sets, upset.

Father arranges his bushel
no es sufficiente 
hands thin in pocket, tread home
loose change for 14 hour labor
Mama got a better exchange for her sew.

My father’s hands
return the next day and no rest day
weak and
month years and ears
picked off their bright stocks to fill his bushel of bliss.

See those vegetables scaled
see those vegetables sold to the contractor
see those vegetables stacked onto crates
frozen, compartmentalized into Tetris trucks.

See those vegetables shelved in a rundown grocery store
holes in the ceiling, whole foods antithesis
single mother with a list
works 3 jobs but somehow earns an excess to eat with EBT
she moves her whole self to frozen potatoes – friends of the frying pan
tricked into saving
her children bleed fat in their nativity
undernourished uninsured,
she pays outta cash.

See those vegetables chopped and sautéed and sprinkled
onto an $80 plate carried, waited wastefully
she takes a taste “tastes bland take it away”
shame in this Italian restaurant downtown by the pier
in the exterior
huddled homeless rush to the freshly tossed trash.

See those vegetables fat stacked in my backpack
wet lettuce bulging from the fast food plantation.
See those vegetables home cooked by my mother
quick toss the other
wipes the smell of grease
kiss he plants on her cheek
my father leads her to table
abuelos are waiting.

My father’s hands
sun burnt to crisp blood brightening wrinkled grooves
curve round rough calluses
converge into dirt covered fingernail beds
sprinkle flecks of Earth onto its origins
are hands that nurture, care for, feed, supply.

You eat off my father’s hands
the image disgusts you.

See my father’s hands cuffed together
firmly with a tight grip
no air passing through
Hands dragged by the officer
Fingers prodded apart – ink smeared, scanner pressed.
Father in the cell
until he hears a call
a tray of measly potatoes, a burnt meat loaf, a multibillion dollar prison indusry and vegetables.
My father takes the plastic fork and digs into the food
snaps into two
he takes those hands digs into his fucking vegetables
licking every finger from core to nail guard stares widely
amused by his dog

My father’s lips dried in fear
my father’s mouth – closed
cannot communicate cannot comprehend
the words to respond, the lawyer to request, the mother to confess.
My father’s eyes
well up as the van moves farther and farther away from home.
My father’s heart pumps blood faster and faster and bleeds.

My father’s hands
sun burnt to crisp blood brightening wrinkled grooves
curve round rough calluses
converge into dirt covered fingernail beds
sprinkle flecks of Earth onto its origins
fall to the ground
clasp the dirt unbalanced
pass through the gate abandoned.

You will still be fed.
$ menu funded, prison industrial complex fueled
restaurant receives a 5 star review homeless will sustain,
impoverished still feed hospital bills.

I am fed.

Another father’s hands
strong veins piercing with hope and warmth and dreams and relief
hands with potential, to work for
drop to the ground
clasp the dirt catches his balance through a hole in the fence
and heads to the fields of promise he has long yearned for.


Poetry: The Box

I’ve come up with a plan

I will write down everything I’ve naturally felt for you
And everything I’ve sacrificially dealt for you
And everything I’ve ever selfishly wanted for you
And everything I’ve ever foolishly imagined for us

Insane, right?

Then I will slip those tear-stained love-stained parchments of paper into a box
I’ll chain up those emotions
Carrying the beautiful burden to the ocean
Bury it under the heavy roughness of the sands
Over time my papered words will disintegrate
As waves crash and shake
Children born from love shovel up the sand
Towering castles topple as happy dogs kick up a quake
Real lovers frolic the shore, dipping their toes into petite pebbles
People carve their dreams, gratitude, wishes, remembrances and names
With gentle strokes and streaks into the sandy grains
Little knowing what lies beneath them

The box of everything . . .

No, what once was everything
Is now darkness

No future for us
Just salty dust.




Poetry: a place


how can I be in love with a land I have never stepped upon
a land I have obsessed over since the first breath I have taken

how can you not be infatuated with a place that created your essence?
a place that brought your mother and father together, passionately as one
a place the bleeds for thousands of years under the footprints of every invader who raped
a place that bears witness to the strength of your people who may be scattered,
scarred, but will never give into fear

how can you be dying to enter a hole that every man, woman, and child
is living to crawl out of
through feet, feral, trucks, broken boats, seas, smugglers, and more?

how can I not be madly in love with a place
of phantom pain
whose inheritance is a soothing ache from
never feeling the wet dust or dry tears,
and touching her,
raw and unclothed?


Poetry: Sustenance

How do you sustain your day?

He plans to fill himself with water and prayer
each dawn, but he sleeps in
fajr, when a suicide bomber, strikes the mosque across the ocean.
The train is impatient for the spiritual
so he packs his iStuff instead, swiping away the push notification
azaan, unheard, he walks into the hallway of this temporary earth.

She begins with coffee, black, please
and finishes it in sips of three.
First – to forget the night that has past, sprawled on her back, under cruelty
sip two – a tear slips to cool the scalding roast
the final chug – the paper cup she cannot crush because it is the essence of the cycle.
This very cup bought from the coins the previous one filled
empties quickly, self-inflicting singe.

They scramble early
fat free milk is more expensive, scratching their itchy eyes,
they douse their Fruit Loops with floating growth hormones.
They didn’t finish reading
but their bodies carve enough letters to publish a lifetime
of sorry, if they get called on in class to discuss
they plan to lie, again.

For me, each alarm rings in a new poem
I choose the night before so lethargy does not succeed
sustaining breakfast with an apparent literary genius
thinking the written text will suffice

. . .  every passenger is at unease by his beard which I admire
my foot almost knocks over her cardboard invitation
they jay walk, and I run behind, protected by small humans in traffic ahead . . .

I go hungry
naive in a facade of selfishly published poetry
because I know the sufferers of the real world
are the ones who breathe the truest mixtures of words
waiting for the right ones
Who will listen?



Poetry: Awakening

They say a writer who waits for the ideal conditions to work
dies without putting a word on paper
There is something dying everyday inside of me
Because I can’t stop the clock to write these ideas
like a blight to me.

My soul is seared
Can’t fix my life
like I fixate on words
craving a fix of paper and pen
Ten months since I’ve bled a poem.

Writing is the only true home
sinking with the rest of the world
need to forget society.                                                                                                                                      

I know I’ve disappointed that part of me
for having not achieved what she yearned
for me to achieve
Yet still I know there is an older, wiser me
anticipating for me to change my indolent
course of action
stuck in a timeless mirror contraption.

Break her out
the only weapons are my words
So write for her
Because my heart cannot conceive to deceive my own again. 


Poetry: Human Flight

Did you know that in ancient times, all humans once knew how to fly?

Time, guilt, selfishness, anger, and fear over thousands of years caused us to evolve into creatures who no longer fly … except for a select few individuals who still believe in the impossible. Still, many do not notice that children are all born with wings. The adults around them who still possess the secret skill of flight must teach them how to best use these wings.

Otherwise, children will remain caged, their wings susceptible to damage, their hopes of something beyond the ordinary ground-level-world relinquished. Some children grow up with their wings set beside them, ripped apart by sadness, confusion, or great force, as they or the adults around them only saw the wings as an abnormality or nuisance that could not be tolerated and needed removal.

Never underestimate the influence of a caring adult who mends a child’s wings. And, if an adult is really lucky, sometimes it is the child who reminds him or her to pick up their weathered, tossed aside wings, and believe in their rusted dreams once again.

Now, imagine a world where we all learned to fly . . . Together, we could find our humanity again.


Poetry: My dear, write

Write to heal, not to sell
Write to connect, when your mind is in utter disconnect
Write to evolve from the conflict, not to solve yourself
Write to invoke emotions, not provoke tension
Write for revenge against all those who burdened you with hurt
Write to commend all those who inspired you with hope
Write to burst free
Write to spread your essence and fly
Write every day
Write, because any day now, your words will die
Write, to fabricate the fiction of everything in your life which was a lie
Write, because every sign and symbol reaffirms what you already know
Writing is the only way to go
Write, because out there, someone is waiting for their soul to be awakened by the flow of your words
So write, my dear
Write, even if it is the most painful act you fear
Write, my dear
That is why he is so near
Watching over you, transparently trembling, because he sees every story, idea, emotion, spark, sentence, slip away with each earthly second
Write, my dear
Because it is becoming so painful to breathe without a release
Write, my dear
It is the only way you will be complete.

– S. K.