40 percent

my dad finally got his disability from the VA for vietnam. he will now recieve 40% of the benefits owed to him.

this after 20+ years of struggle.

i've lived my entire life with the ghost of that war. many of us have...whether it was a dad, a favorite uncle, maybe a brother or sister.

for us 20-somethings, our movies started to reflect it--dead presidents, jason's lyric, ...more than a few of the movies in the 90s dealt with the consequences 'nam had on the children of vets.

i had an acquaintance in college whose father went thru some of the same things mine did....while we got along generally, that was the topic we first bonded over. it was the first time i'd met someone who understood.

daddy talks about the lighter side of things...the bbq featuring their pet pig, the 40 days and 40 nights of rain, that kind of thing. i used to love going thru the old photo albums and seeing the golden buddhas in the temples and the weird, sepia landscapes. and, of course, daddy sitting around with a cigar in his mouth, looking impossibly young.

but i know there are many other things he doesn't talk about...the things that took the light out of his eyes.

my mother always told me he came back a shell of himself, nothing like the guy who'd left home.

and even tho i didn't see the early effects, i still knew not to wake him up too fast...not to sneak up on him, ever...not to sneak into the house too quietly. i watched a lot of movies and skimmed more than a few books trying to fill in the blanks.

i've always counted myself fortunate that he came back in much better shape than most, but that's still little consolation to loved ones and children who grow up with ghosts.

there is no way a check's gonna make up for that. i don't care if it was 100%. but he fought long & hard for every single dime, and i'm proud of him for it.

at every anti-war rally i've been to, i've sought out the veterans (especially the vietnam ones) and shaken a hand or just simply said, "my father is one of you, and that's why i'm here today."

when people ask why i'm against war, i'll go thru some facts, but i make it a point to tell them, "i would never want anyone's daddy to go thru what mine did."

i'll never be able to support this country going into even a justified conflict while knowing they're just going to use soldiers as guinea pigs then give 'em the shaft once they get home.

but i'll take this small victory. 'cause every little bit helps.


earth & water

yesterday i found out my mother had a picture of me and a good friend of mine...

we're sitting on a couch...in some dorm somewhere. i can't remember what year it was taken or for what, but it's an 8x10 glossy, so it must have had some purpose. his hair was relatively short...my nails look like acrylics. it was probably around sophomore year...97 or 98.

my eyes are closed. i'm leaning against his chest. he has his arms around me....a very couple-esque pose. he's looking out towards something...maybe a television. maybe he's just deep in thought. he seems kind of tired. i look like i might be about to say something. or about to smile.

the last time i saw him was in 2001. it was early winter, and he came to spend a weekend with me...wanted to see the city & get out of boston for a second or three. he was ecstatic that i had (finally) decided to loc my hair--he was always asking me why i never wore my hair in braids or why i wouldn't just let it go natural...rock a 'fro or something. and his eyes would shine when he talked about it.

unfortunately, we lost touch pretty soon after that weekend.

strangely enough, i had a completely unprovoked dream about him the night before this picture resurfaced. i'm hoping this is a sign.

he nursed me thru a broken heart...introduced me to jerk chicken and the warm, brown-sugar sweetness of first generation west indian guys... took me to my first live reggae show... was always willing to act like my man to keep the undesirables away.

he let me twist his locs when the closest i'd ever gotten to a head full of hair like that was in my dreams... let me cook for him and fuss over him, and i was never anything close to being his girl.

we had some moments.

and a marriage pact ("if neither of us is married by the time we're 40...").

he made me feel beautiful in a place where i simply wasn't seen and at a time when i'd never been so unsure of myself.

you might know who you are by now...so, if by some strange turn of fate, you've come across this page, i hope you're well. something tells me you're probably all tied up w/ some wonderful woman & maybe even a kid or two (congrats), but you can call a sista, dammit.

i miss you.


primordial mama

the woman

i write for

is dark and deep


even her joy

is indigo//

she seems loose to you

but she is only

adept at providing comfort//

her womb's doorway can

house an army

as her rivers wash her clean//

she is

immaculately promiscuous


sacred prostitution


chaste bondage//

...it is a shame that

this language only understands

such rites thru a

bastardized expression

composed of two loaded,

opposing concepts

(c) 2009 l.a.m.


i want to shout my existence

from the tallest mountain

scream my being

into the ears of strangers

maybe thru some

freak of nature

or physics

it will stimulate

someone's optic nerve






(c) 2009 l.a.m.