Putting Cigarettes Out on My Ashtray Heart

Contentious dispositions
imbibing courage through volatile elixirs
in a room full of pretentious soapbox academics
both caustic and hyperbolic
it was no longer fashionable to be existential
“when we realize we’re social collateral?
nihilism becomes more relevant at this age
we are more concerned
with protecting the pride of reverent fools
than cultivating opportunities for integrity
to be more than a clandestine rendezvous”
she lamented from the bathtub
before drowning herself in a handle of whiskey
and then in a stupor she crooned,
“there is something enticing about taboo
and vicariously living
the macabre or trauma someone else
is going through”
I don’t remember my twenties
but New Year’s Eve 2010
resonates more now
than it did back then
I never felt more alone
or the tidal wave of shame
than I did in the company
of so many people who didn’t want or care to ever know my name

The Things I Learned in Cellars, Wrote My Childhood’s Suicide Letters

Is life the rhetorical question, I ask myself?
And who are we?
But a lonely rock of pestilence
trying to rid itself
of this human being disease
and the esoterically superficial
rest so easily
and what am I?
if not, complacently imbibing bromides
am I just someone else’s walking placebo?
in an ebullient lineage
of Stockholm syndromes
of perpetually inebriated despair
adhering to toxic predispositions
and a myriad of miseries
too indifferent to repair?
with a mother who always kept her heart
like she kept her suitcase,
packed and always by the back door
a fugitive from normalized indoctrination
an emotional vagabond
always trying to disassemble
life’s tableaux frames,
the things I learned in cellars, wrote my childhood’s suicide letters
was turning off the laugh track of life just as shocking
as finding out Mr. Brady died with HIV?

Fake Blood and Rubber Bats

Out of the subterranean refuge
where the modern lepers
are burning both ends of a roman candle
under the irony of their silver spoons
came the cacophony of laughter
which led me to this Svengali
holding court with his wizened gloom
then this Methuselah spoke
with a mouthful of
rueful clarity,
“my immortal fatigue
will gladly usurp your
existential disease,
always dying inside your head
until life leaves you
sleepwalking eternally,”
save for the specters under sheets
the only ghosts I knew
came out on Halloween
if you asked me about the macabre
I’d probably go on about
fake blood and rubber bats,
but after seeing that vampire down below
lamenting about an elusive grave
as if he couldn’t smell
that everyone in his congregation were all on death row.