A Most Real Poem

Two weeks ago

My favorite aunt’s husband

Shot my favorite aunt in the head

And then himself.

It was a murder-suicide

But it was more or less voluntary

Judging from her suicide letter

Which doesn’t seem to make it

Any less tragic.

And one can’t help but take their frustration

Pack it hard and tight into a little ball

And then hurl it at the flip-switching executioner

Who deserves far worse

For being the type of human

Who can take the life from a human,

Let alone his wife.

I’ve been lost, lacking in words,

And my head feels like it’s trying

To pass a bullet.

Self-medicating with Bulleit,

And long nights without sleep,

It’s times like these

I’d turn to poetry.

But I’ve been struggling

To find the poetry in all of this.

The task seemed too immense

And my soul too close to the action.

Until last night,

My grandfather pulled me aside

And whispered at 3am

A stanza of liquid fire

That jumped from his lips

Through my ears

To my bookcase

Of Proust, Rimbaud, and all the greats

Wiping their pain from the pages

And replacing it

With pure flame

And then ash.

He said

This morning

When I brought

Her Ashes

In from the mail

And without knowing

I walked it through the door

And the kitchen

To her old room

And I thought to myself

In that same spot

Here she is again in my hands

Weighing exactly the same

As she did fifty years ago

When I first brought her home

From the hospital

I sit looking back at him

All stupid and speechless

And he continues

I’m only telling you this

And no one else

Because I need to keep up

That tough exterior

For the rest of them

But what a horrible thing

To think, eh?

“No, not horrible,

Poetic” was all I could say.

Four weeks ago

On the phone

She told me I was special

And she always had the softest

Fondness for me

Because I was not like the others

I was like her.

I don’t know how

That makes me feel

But it makes me feel.

Two weeks ago

She asked her husband

My family and I all hated

To do something terrible

And darkly poetic

As if Shakespeare was right, that

Nothing was more romantic

Than the double-suicide.

But the Capulets mourn.

Two weeks ago,

I heard the news,

And didn’t cry

But felt like laying down

For a really long time.


There are no plans for a funeral

Because I think the majority of my family

Is more ashamed and embarrassed

Than grief-ridden.

But none of that matters

Because I’ve found the poetry.

It was hidden

All along

In all of my memories

And on days like today

When the sun

Is trying its hardest to melt

The last of the snow,

None of it’s sad


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Whole Foods and Poetry

“Milf alert!” Johnny said

As I’m lost, floating through my brain

“Dude”, he says, as if it were my name,

“Look at the ass on that one.”

While a woman, in her mid-30s,

Blonde hair, pony tail, yoga pants,

Bends over to tie the shoes of her autistic son.

“Yeah man, nice.” I say as I try to find my way back

To my familiar, cozy, melancholy haze

And the dairy aisle.

“It’s just this place, is just fucking loaded with talent, dude.”

“There’s the yoga place, right next door.”

“And like, only chicks who care about their appearance come

here, right?”

Johnny continues while looking over my shoulder,

“I should apply here. It’s probably less money than Mack Shack,

but Jeeezus Christ, look at all this talent.”

Another woman struggles with the weight of her bags,

A shade off from perfectly matching the ones under her eyes.

She’s bald, you can tell even though she wears a cap,

Chalk-white and half-dead,

Rail thin,

Weak – you can just tell.

I saw her five minutes before, carefully studying the ingredients of her seaweed salad.

I’m rooting for her to make,

But she glances back at me with a look

That tells me she won’t.

Johnny asks me,

“You know who’s probably fucking great in bed?”

He answers for me, “Ava. She’s a yoga instructor now.”

There’s a long silence in the car until Johnny interrupts,

“What’s the point of fucking roses?”

“They’re expensive. They just die.”

“You look at them once, go ‘Oh, that’s nice'”

“And then you throw it in the trash.”

He laughs.

“Just sticks with thorns”, I say.

He laughs again.

“Watch where you’re going, you just almost ran over that

Mexican lady and made me spill your quinoa, faggot.”

“Asshole!” she shouts, in perfect English,

Johnny looks at me like I’m retarded

“Yeah, I know”, I say.

I miss the turn a minute later.

“Shit can’t you see?”

“Just zombies bro, everywhere I go.”

We both laugh this time.

We went to the bar later that night.

Johnny killed it with every girl he talked to.

It was really an amazing thing to watch.

I sat on my stool and barely blinked as the whiskey refilled itself.

A girl much younger than I came up to me and asked,

“Why do you look so sad?”

I forget my response, but it was something witty and she laughed.

I had sex with her that night

And then never talked to her again.

I told my girlfriend several days later and she broke up with me.

Last week, I sent them both a dozen roses,


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Involuntary Empathy

My buddy’s wife was raped

Two years into their marriage.

They were high school sweethearts and

Only ever fucked each other.

After the rape they didn’t fuck for about a year.

Then they slowly worked the sex back in.

But a year after that

She could only do it with him

In a mask

A gun at her back

And his hands around her throat.

I hear this is normal/

A way for the victim to minimize the crime

And take back her power.

But my buddy

He couldn’t do it for too long

And so they broke up.

He just loved her so much

And it always felt wrong to him

But she couldn’t be with him

If he wouldn’t fuck her like that.

He remarried a few years later

And then offed himself

July of 2012.


What is poetry?

Many things, but sometimes

It’s just a way for the poet

To make the reader feel

Exactly how the poet is feeling.

And for that

I am sorry.

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69 Words

unwanted erection

grandma’s funeral.

depressed lovers.

former fathers.

older cousin diagnosed with schizophrenia.

burning giraffe.

lopsided face.

mediocre penis.

aged beauty

cheeky wars.

flaccid failed first attempt

at virginity lost.

identical twin died.

waking up at midnight.

handsome bully’s.

disgust at first sight.

the word you know is there

but never comes.

you don’t know what you’re doing wrong

but you are.

Why do you like feeling this way?

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Contemporary Poetry

When I was 17

And I got fired from IHOP

My father said he was ashamed of me.

I got in my car and drove straight for 4 hours

To Delaware. I don’t know anyone from Delaware.

I got eggs and bacon at a diner.

And then I drove right back.

Does this make sense?

Young black faces under hoods.

In the hoods.

Skittles, soda, and


Guns, drugs,

Anime television, and white step-fathers.

Am I even making sense?

Moon landing was fake.

Her orgasms were real.

Sylvia Plath swallowed men like air.

Was it very filling?

Sylvia Plath swallowed Carbon Monoxide like air.

Did she have her fill?

Black hair. Blue eyes.

Do you get it?

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Roce Con La Muerte


Unknown till after the fact

Heard this was your MO

Wannabe Sylvia Plath

Devouring men like air

I hope I swallowed like CO.

Playing men like wind instruments

And blowing it too.

Never got that far,

But I did play mouse to your

Multicolored flautist.

Did play lemming to your

Rooftop violinist.

Just gotta say

Thanks to all my friends

For holding down the fort

And shackling me to the mast.

And I’ll never forget

The way that you laughed

When I called you insane.

Sheepish grin,

My she-wolf

In lambskin.

Here’s your finale

In the uncommissioned

Femme fatale anthology.

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I dream incessantly of spanking you.

I’m sorry, but it’s the truth.

I no longer fantasize about sating your every desire

Like a castrated butler

Now only I imagine meeting the animal in mine.

Bringing my hand down and making some noise.

Turning my fist into a point and then driving it home

Like a benevolent father

Teaching a lesson through violence

When words fall flaccid.

The whole world can watch

And my sisters can weep

And the feminists can feel argument victorious

Because man is as close to beasts

As women are angels

And that’s what I’ve sought out to prove.

Waving back my civilized

Until I draw down some sense

In the flat of my hand.

Matching hurt with hurt,

When words are impotent,

We reach deep inside the rage

And find poetry there.

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