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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Amy fucked like I was killing her.
And I think I kinda did.

Then Danielle fucked like I should be sorry.
But I’m only sorry that I’m not.

Marie fucked like a high-5,
A kind neighbor, or a thief in the night.

Juliet fucked like sadness and madness.
But I only gave her shame.

Fiona fucked like vengeance.
A dish she would purge.

Taylor fucked like a fighter jet,
With one wing clipped.
I don’t know where she crash landed.

#7 had no name, but she fucked like a storm drain.
It was perfect.

Steph 1.0 fucked like porcelain.
Children shouldn’t play with valuable things.

And Steph 2.0 fucked like I came heroine.
She’s doing much better now.

Amy 2.0 fucked with hope,
Or like a eunuch singing baritone.

Rachel fucked like it was all she had.
Yet, I took even more.

Molly fucked like a preying mantis.
She always asked for too much.

And Alyssa,
Alyssa mindfucked me like a prison rape.
Were my guards down-
Stairs, possibly napping?
Or were they watching and laughing?

She couldn’t see she was special.
And she couldn’t see I had changed.
She thought I was still the player,
And so she played the game.

But hey, I’ve fucked.

I’ve fucked up.

I’ve fucked down and sideways.
I’ve fucked like an invalid.
I’ve fucked like I’m impotent.
I’ve fucked like I’m god.
I’ve fucked like a child.
I’ve fucked like a monster.
I’ve fucked like the pebble in your shoe.

But I would have made love to Alyssa.
Like the beautiful karmaic force she always was.

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‘It’s over’, she said.

I vomit.

‘He’s dead’, she said.

I vomit.

Where are the tears?

Why is it always

The contents of my stomach

I shed


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I want to vomit

I want to vomit

I want to vomit,
I long to vomit.
Are you nauseous?
My mother asks,
As if nausea rotted the flesh.
I am not nauseous.

Are you anxious?
She asks again.
Familiar with it.
Her permanent state of being,
Like a hummingbird convulsing.
‘I don’t know’, I replied.

But I feel like my stomach acids
are volcanic,
And there’s a pair of old sneakers,
Sitting in my gut.

I long to vomit.
Vomit what?
The tuna fish
on crackers
I had for lunch?
My emotions?
My soul?

I settle for words on the page.

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