Smile Back

First Date

And without knowing why

But I do know now

I had Bell Biv Devoe’s


Stuck in my head,

Her current residence.

“That girl is poisooon.”

“Never trust a big butt and a smile.”

I start singing,

Ignorant to her elusive

and fleeting

and noxious

and deadly


Unaware of the

perfect ox of a mule

She’s sitting on.

I keep singing to myself

stupidly happy


beautifully clueless.

She grabs the book

On my back seat.


“Love is a Dog from Hell”

(or Satan’s drug of choice).

Asks me to pick a poem.

“Iron Mike”

It goes,

“Look, Mike,

(that almost was my name)

no man is invincible

Some day

You’ll be sent mad by

Eyes like a child’s crayon drawing.”

She pauses,

Looks up at me,

And bats her sapphires,

And inside I see

The galaxy of a “flower”

I fingerpainted

For my mother,

age 3.

“That’ll be when you want it and can’t have it.”

Delivering Bukowski’s

poignant poetic prophecy

so perfectly

to me.

First heartbreak

My first defeat

“The teeth.

Are never finally the

teeth of love.”

As she put all of my trophies

Into her beautiful smile

And looked down at my heart

like a slice of

cake on a plate.

The 10 point buck,

Tremendous and arrogant,

Undisputed king

of the woods

behind my house

Has tormented my trees for years now.

But there’s a lioness

On the loose

in New Jersey.

And when everything

fits too strangely into place,

Smile back

With whatever you got.






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9 days since that night.

4 since the funeral.

3 since the wake.

And I’m lost in the white walls

of my black barren world.

My phone buzzes with excitement

and I

glance back

coolly to see

the name of a

girl who I’d easily rank

As my 68th best friend

in the whole wide round world.


“Hey. How ya feelin?”

How am I feeling?

How am I feeling?

Who/What/Where am I feeling?

Like I want to say



“And how bout this fucking weather?!?!?!?!?!?! (:”

As I slit my wrists

With a chainsaw.

Like I want to stamp-lick

An obsessive compulsed philatelist’s

masterwork’s worth of African toads.

Like I want to eat a pound

of Psychotropic mushrooms,

Just so

I can finally meet God

And punch him in his stupid fucking face.

Like all that was good in this world

Was in that little girl

And it’s all fucking gone now.

Like ‘ethereal’

Was a word

Invented just for her

And me

Using it now

Just this once

And then never again.

Like all the Mothers

And mine

Were right

And I’m a terrible nasty little boy

I must suffer

I must be punished

And yes,


All of this is my fault.

Like the driver of that car’s


Is insulting

And totally



Like murder


No longer

Seems so foreign.

And that’s scary

But not nearly enough.

And that’s scary

Like murder

Can be something as beautiful

As a painting

Or an opera

Or a banana split

triple scoop

vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry sundae

From the coach

After your first ever


But it would still

Never be


And I trade sleep

For these beautiful

conscious dreams

Where I raze his life to flames

And piss salt

Over the ashes

Like a cropdusting B-2 Spirit.

Beautiful Count of Monte Cristo-esque

complex epics where let’s say

I’ll work hard for the next 10 years,

Saving up money and never letting go,

Weasel my way back into his life

under a new face

And an assumed name,

Become his best friend

and arrange his bachelor party

(I am his best man after all).

It’s on a boat,

He tries to kiss the strippers

(what a douche, right?)

I get him blackout drunk,

And roofied,

Hire or Kidnap

The world’s best plastic surgeon

And have him

Turn him

Into a woman.

A few mornings after

he will wake

chained to a bed

at work

in a Mexican brothel

well-known for having the tightest

Asshole in Chihuahua.

And it’s still not enough.

I feel like the Norse avatar of sadness.

I feel like the Greek tragedy theater mask

Is now and forever glued to

Whatever mask I wore before.

I feel like every other miserable thing

That has ever happened to me

Was about as bad

As having sex with

a 5.5 out of 10.

I feel like I’ll never recover.

I feel like I don’t want to.

I feel like the same

great merciful


that cancelled Barney and Friends

is coming for us

Right now.

And I’m standing on the tippy tippy

top of Mount Everest

but it’s warm and sunny

And I have both arms

Outstretched as wide

As my smile

And I’m here to

Give it a hug.

I feel like AIDs is hilarious

and The Holocaust was a boy band.

I feel like I’m 6,

it’s Christmas Eve

and there are two Santas

in the same mall.

I feel like sanity

is fucking insane.

And I feel like I love you.

I love you right now in this moment.

And I don’t know why.

And I don’t like it.

I feel like I hate you

Worse than the devil,

Who was really only ever just

Doing his job.

I feel like you

Don’t really care.

And your ulterior motives

Are glaring.

And I imagine you as

Mother Theresa,

Who I’ve always suspected

of being a terrific cunt,

Begging the world

to tell her

how wonderful she is.

I feel like I should

selfishly dump

all of this on you

Because you’re a psych major.

Or because,

out of the other 67

you were still the only one who

sent flowers to her

and me.

“I’m okay. Thanks.”

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Black Widow

She’s a black widow

I’m a lanky father.

I didn’t care

I still don’t

And I never do.

I thought

At the very least

I’d get


But this one

Says she can’t

On an empty stomach.

And so

When she had her fill

Of my soul.

She got sleepy

And couldn’t give me anything

After I had just given her


And I think to myself,

How many more times

Must I die

Before I stop



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Love and Stuff

The sudden cacophony of opulence

Emitting from her orifice exactly emulates

The lamentation of an Eagle’s eager

Call for a mate.

I thought to myself,

When she farted.

What is happening to me?

Love is fucking weird, man.

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My First Poetry Slam

Creeping through the dark Manhattan streets,

I walk past near 200 native New Yorkers,

All of them look half-mad,

Or half of all of them

Look like they could be.

Are any of these people even real?

I ask my sanity.

They’re too outrageous.

They’re too unique.

Yet they’re all identical.

I’ve always hated cartoons.

I reach my destination

And teleport to the back of the line,

And wait an hour.

The girl in front of me loudly references,

One of Alicia’s naked parties.

“Oh, Alicia’s naked parties?”

Offended for my lack of invite,

I strike up a conversation.

She name drops her Ivy League school,

At least twice.

I pretend to have never heard of it

To make sure she hates me.

The girl behind me asks for a cigarette.

I ask for a dollar.

Because this is America

and I’m an Asshole goddammit.

She asks me my favorite poets,

I tell her Bukowski and Hoagland.

She looks at me like

I’m a sad baby giraffe

That isn’t going to make it.

But she’s sweet and has hope.

And that was also her name.

Anyone else? She begs.

I mention half a dozen rappers

And a white male slam poet.

I’ve been defrauded.

Whispers throughout the line.

An outsider.

“He said Bukowski?”


The doors open.


And like the mistakenly won

Teddy Bear in the claw machine

At the entrance of a Denny’s,

I’m dropped

To the floor,

Front row center

Before the stage,

By my subconscious desire for attention,

Or the wisdom of those masses

Who are screaming for blood.

An overwhelming,

But oddly unoffensive,

Odor of hipster body odor,

Permeates the room.

Because deoderant causes cancer,

And is pretty mainstream too.

‘A waitress comes over to bring beer,

To those unfashionable enough to have

Some money.

I order 3 and have nothing left.

The music starts.

And the blacks dance

With pride and bliss and self-assuredness.

The whites remain cautious and motionless,

Like awkward corpses,

Proud of their self-hatred.

And I hate them too.

I remain still. Until the emcee mentions Brooklyn,

And a Biggie song comes on.

One of my aforementioned favorite poets.

I rap along unashamed to know all of the words.

But I’m careful not to say ‘the n-word’ when he does.

The poetry starts.

Talks of slums,

Brothers in jail,

Absentee fathers,

and cops being dicks.

Not bad topics,

If it wasn’t for the shame.

Some take pride in moral decay.

And then more pandering to white guilt,

The white crowd applauds

Or snaps their fingers


Out of rhythm.

I can’t connect,

I have no guilt.

Is it because I’m not a racist,

I’m at peace with my inner racism,

Or because I’m a privileged white, heterosexual, male who lacks

A full and complete sense of empathy?

The next one goes up.

I forget all the good parts,

But I remember him ending with,

“And every woman,

Should be treated,

Like the Queen she truly,


The women in the crowd,

And the men with women in the crowd,

Explode with approval.

But I’ve met a few peasants,

And a few Queens who hated

To be treated as such.

I sip my beer more quickly now,

As a means to voice my disagreement.

The next,

Another poet feeling sorry for himself.

“I went to two funerals last week.”

Yeah, well,

I was the best man at 3 in 2013.

And I take his personal sadness

As an affront against mine.

I sip quicker.

Then two poets with rants against capitalism,

And love for a black liberal father.

You know, “We’ve never truly had a

Free market. Maybe you should read

Rothbard, Hoppe, Mises, Bastiat, or

One of the Friedmans.” I whispered to my beer.

But the last poet was good.

Really good.

And I knew afterwords,

I’d have to leave.

He was the most offensive.

He went after my pride.

He showed me I’m not there yet.

He went after my truth.

He showed me there was value in this room

And maybe I did belong.

He went after my masculinity.

Because he was a she.

And I loved her.

Slender young dark

With an Afro like a Lion’s mane.

Or is that racist, or a cliché?

But I meant it.

And she called out all of the fakes as phonies,

But she called out Holden and me too.

I applauded louder than all of them,

And then I stood up,

And ran away slowly.

Careful to throw out my notebook

Along the way.

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Charles Bukowski and Dale Carnegie are living in my head

I want to wallow in the sadness
I want to embrace the madness
Because feeling bad
Is often better than
Feeling nothing at all.

I take the knife and cut these veins,
to feed these stupid poems.

Bukowski says, “Shut up and drink. And write.
There is nothing else.”
It’s a fun life.
But it’s no way to conquer the world.

Carnegie rubs my back, tells me to get back in the ring,
and whispers something sweet in my ear.
He roadmaps my path for surefire victory,
to leave the world of self-pity,
And be happy again.

But I drown out his cheers in whiskey,
I don’t want that yet.
I’m not done being sad.
Bukowski tips his glass in pride.

Four shots to the gut,
And yet somehow,
My feelings still aren’t dead.

“You always have to make everything so epic”,
Randall said to Dante. But he also said it to me.
Is it for the material?
An epic is surely better than a meager ‘story’.

Or is it to get the most out of single every second of this roller coaster ride.
Yeah, it’s scary, but fuck it,
I’ll feel afraid, I’ll feel regret,
And I’ll feel it better than anyone else.
Bukowski agrees.
Carnegie slinks away.

He’s a sweet guy,
And he’s usually right.
But he’s a shitty drinking buddy.

I just wonder if I’ll be able to hear his words,
After I’m done destroying myself.

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A Farewell to My Muse

I just wanted to have fun together,

together, to-get-her to…

Open up?

Geez, that was corny.

“I felt like you just wanted sex.”

She couldn’t be more wrong.

But the trees reeked of semen today.

And maybe that was me.

I don’t know, too crass?

“I refuse to be another one of your stories.”

As if I had the skills to accurately describe

A character as complex, profound, and as beautiful as her.

I’m almost flattered.

Too on the nose?

But I’m shaking in sadness.

And she slammed my car door,

Like a clown raping a nun.

Or like,

I don’t know.

Am I even making sense?

Bon Iver wails from the heart,

While mine screams.

And I’m left questioning the existence of tears,

As the rain hits my windshield,

Like rain hitting a fucking windshield.

I’m losing it.

I peel out of her driveway like… something.

And the tears come and…

It doesn’t even fucking matter

My two loves have left me.

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