Notes from the Underground

On New Years Eve 2022
     I wonder where the great

writers are, with their
     furious alphabets and

poems, fighting endless
     wars against mediocrity—

lighting the greatest fires
     inside my heart. I think of

one that did this. He was
     broke. Still a virgin. Living

on boiled rice and tap
     water. Having imaginary

conversations every
     day with Dostoyevsky’s

Underground Man and
     Nietzsche’s Antichrist.

Weeping at the beauty
     of nature. Snarling at

nearly every human
     he saw. Handwriting

several poems a day,
     that would never be

published. Never be


Holding a copy of
the latest issue of

North Dakota Quarterly
in my hands I began

weeping. It took almost
twenty years to finally

get a poem in a college
magazine. Twenty years

from the day I made
the promise to my

young, uneducated
self, from a broken

family in one of the
worst suburbs in

Sydney, to attempt
something seemingly

impossible. Telling
you about it shortly

after. You were the
first not to laugh out

loud, saying you were
sure I would. Recalling

all the many losses
over all those many

years. But no loss
greater than you.

The Prize of Saturday Night

The bottle cost more than
he can afford. Drinks it

listening to old songs on
the radio. Memories fill

his tiny room, joys, pains.
When the bottle is empty,

he looks out the window
at the rising sun, smiles,

closes the blinds. Gets in
bed, soon falling asleep.

Dreaming of beautiful
women, that will never

dream of him.

A Tragic Ending

“Hemingway’s writing
got so dark at times, I

can completely understand
how he could finish his

life that way,” he said.
“Hemingway wasn’t

dark, it was humanity.
The light you saw in his

writing, was him.
Humanity was the rest

of it,” I said.

Paul Gauguin