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Yellow-tooth unsmile

Did you guys know I used to write poetry
a hundred thousand years ago I wrote
a poem
only one I ever wrote
I thought it was beautiful
I thought a lot of things were beautiful
once upon a time a million years
ago I thought words meant
anything, and then I drank a
lot and a lot of people had to
die and I don’t fucking know
why I wasn’t
one of them
but I wasn’t, and so what now

a long long time ago I wished to
know the unhappiness I know
quite well now
and if I had to guess I’d guess that in
ten years I’ll write another poem
talking about the fresh miseries
I couldn’t even conceive now but sure
ten years from now
that’s if I’m lucky

the feelings are never new, nothing is new
just the intensity
maybe if I’m lucky, sometimes I think
I won’t have hands to write with ten
years from now through the dirt
I was so many things I am so many things
what the fuck happened
what have I done
I look in the mirror and I say affirmations
that’s my shame
I look in the mirror and smile yellow and
that’s my shame

I don’t smile anymore
that’s my shame
I can’t look at the consequences
I listen to my favorite song and I want to
tell the frontman he
ruined my life
and then ask him for a cigarette
while we smoke I’ll ask him:
when you started in music was it your
intention to kill your fans and he’ll say

I don’t know
I never really thought about it

or one of them walked off stage
when a fan told him that her
sister killed herself to the song he
had begun to play
he left the venue and drank himself into
oblivion, is what I heard
and he still is, is what I hear

there is a burden to making art
no it ain’t digging canals or mining coal
but there is a toll
and I think about this and do I even want it
considering my usual subject matter
if I ever get a fan
will I kill them
but then I consider, it isn’t the making art
in itself that’s the problem
it’s the psychological deficiencies which
lend themselves to art-making

oh well Dustin that’s a little much isn’t it
well I don’t know if it is
life imitates art, sort of thing

I am too much, always been
should I change?


and when I’m happy
if anyone is
I will throw my typewriter

(I still use one; there is a satisfaction
in relatively simple mechanical objects
typewriters, pens, guns)

from the top of the highest cliff I can find
I already have one picked out
just waiting on the first part

but the more likely outcome, of course
when I’m gone someone else will
let it collect rust and stardust in their
basement or garage because no one
wants to write but
some people
seem to
have to

someone said that they’ll love him when
he’s dead
but I’m loved right now
not for my art, of which there is
these are the ravings of a fucked up mind
which is already
readily apparent

I wear my shame like a mirror

and I see myself in it

my brother hasn’t spoken to me since
July of this year
and my sister hadn’t spoken to me since
July of this year
I imagine myself writing about
how I’ve not spoken to my siblings
in fifteen years and I’m
stubborn enough to do that
if I’m lucky enough to live that long
and he was married to a nice girl
and my sister dates one too

I’m drunk enough to write a poem
my roommate is drunk enough to
burn the house down
he’s making bacon
the quotidian bullshit of life
it’s 2:40am
I am
the sum total
of very little
I’m 6’1 and I’m
cooking breakfast
my mercedes
benz sits in the driveway
and I listen for the
repo truck like my
Dad did a hundred
thousand years

I sit and lately I watch the TV
and I watch the shows I’ve seen maybe
ten or fifteen times
and I talk to them
the characters
I advise them
who are often about to die
how not to
and now that I write about it I think
I never advise the killers how to kill
maybe maybe maybe
please let it be true
I’m not that bad

I don’t know what broke my heart
was it a girl in 2013
was it myself in 2012
did I die on that beach of my
own fucking volition
sometimes I think I’m already dead
I don’t know what broke my heart

are you really there
would anyone even read this
I wouldn’t
but are you there
am I going to die
I’m asking you
am I
do I have to
I don’t want to

do I have to

I don’t want to
do I
have to?
well will I then and when
probably not yet
but when I’m gone maybe someone will
read this and think
he was hung up on himself
and even thought he could
preempt this criticism by
mentioning it
but it doesn’t work that way
and I am what I I I I I
a common feature in my writing, the I
I I I I I am so
fucking important
aren’t I
aren’t I

and there is always an end to the poem
all things end
thank fuck
the circuit closes the liver
fails and a curtain falls and
my parents cry
no father should ever bury his son
someone once told me
is there second life, am I re-
incarnated as a toad in the middle
of a road
like someone else said
I hope so

I don’t have much hope anymore but
maybe I will again
I hope so.

You Have Reached The Voicemail Box Of

Believe me or don’t, cared about
you a lot
still do
didn’t love you, still don’t
I wouldn’t take it personally
I’m not sure that sort of thing is much in my emotional repertoire
but fuck me I tried
as well as I could at the time, which I fully admit wasn’t enough
because I really did think the world of you but
in that clause it’s less the operative word and more the tense that matters

was that pretentious? of course it was
go ahead and give bloom a
call and he’ll probably agree
no doubt you’ve been acquainted, being
so important after all, you are

did he die yet? I don’t remember but given how important you are even
if the man is dead I’m sure st peter will
transfer your call right through and the
critic’s service will take the message
oh hey yeah hey harry boy we got xxxxx xxxx on the line
the critic promptly drops his ethereal stardust/poppyseed bagel and it falls to earth and wow a shooting star
can’t miss this call, too important;
says caller:
yeah this poet I dated once is pretentious

dead Harold says
you dated a fucking poet?

dial tone

I Was Wearing Your Tee Shirt When I Wrote This (rest easy brother)

Once upon a time there was a promise
once there was a sort of expectation
the sort you remember when you’re
drinking at 4:47am
that you’d go to
college and fall in
love and maybe you
kind of did
kind of
a friend of mine died a few months ago
I didn’t know
he sat for the bar exam blasted up
and passed
and it took a couple decades but
he passed too
where was his promise
I wonder what put light in his heart at 25
I wonder if he got it
I wonder who shot him up
that last time
with the parkinsonian tremors I
doubt he did it himself
wonder how they feel
I imagine worse than I do
and I hope hope hope worse than

Eight Years

Isn’t it so hard to be a person
I think it’s pretty hard to be a person.

For The Production Of Steel

Does it matter that I care so much
does it do any of course it probably
doesnt matter at all anyway since
these men whose names we’ll never
remember on the great freshwater
you’ve accidentally chosen and
your children and your wives to make
good with no remains recovered and
you’ll fall asleep for years
when does daddy come home
but gone beneath the waves of superior
and preserved beneath the freshwater
waves one thousand and one hundred
feet below you’d hope and you’d pray
this makes it right
but i would’ve liked not to have drowned
and i would’ve liked to have seen my
family again of course but
past a certain point
what can you do
and the one profits of the new york
iron company outweigh the death of
me and my family confined to destitution
maybe you’ve been with my wife for her
profit to try and make it work
and my ghost from under those great
is impotent
because I am dead
and i can’t

Some Things Are Worth Fighting For And This Is One Of Them

It’s more than a little tired at this point to
go after that old cliché that it’s always better being
younger than older
but I’m still young enough to do it
what happens is you learn things
you learn what everyone learns:

that life has a nasty tendency to slip through your fingers or
sneak past you when for an instant you lowered your
gaze without even realizing it
that happiness isn’t exactly what you thought it was

it’s not a destination because barring certain professions most
people don’t go on a road trip and arrive in the middle of a battle
because that’s what it really is
you fight so hard to eke out a little
instant for yourself
and when that instant comes you’ve gotta dig in and
fight to hold on to it because the waves never stop coming
and they never get tired
they never falter

but we’re just people
feeble fallible people
we get tired and we falter and the instant slips by and you
find yourself nearly overrun and in that instant you’ll want to
turn your pistol on yourself because you’ve heard all the
awful stories of what’ll happen now
truth is we’re most of us no more than two or
three bad choices from
a gutter or a
gravestone and so you’ve
got to dig in and fight despite your
shrinking perimeter

and this is the part that trips a lot of people up
sure trips me up
there’s no valor in this fight
it’s you get up you brush your teeth you put your boots on you
tell customers to have a good one for eight hours in
exchange for forty eight dollars
this ain’t iwo jima even though sometimes I think
that’s what our instincts are really screaming for
a saber tooth tiger you’ve got to spear before it
starts to tear into
your trachea
starvation and exposure a constant
horrifying struggle against forces so unimaginably
bleak because that’s what we’ve done for the overwhelming
portion of our time as a species and nothing is ever unlearnt quickly
least of all the worst of things

I will create distance between myself and reality
I will seek ease
I will stand in line and buy my prepackaged meat and the foam and
the cellophane separate me from the
man who nine hundred miles away struck the beast over the
head with a sledgehammer to stun it straddling the narrow
booth into which it was led and then the other men cinch its legs and winch
it up and cut its throat and it bleeds to death without even having
an instant to wonder
how its remains are to be cut up and trucked away refrigerated
inventoried to be bought and sold to wonder that that’s the only reason it was ever
fed cornmeal augered down a hundred yard trough alongside countless others of
its kind literally cow-eyed and caged and utterly bewildered until it reached size enough to
take the trip to the final spot where the
man waits with the hammer
I will do this
I’ll hardly think about it
I’ll hardly care of course
or I’d make different choices
and this isn’t a poem advocating vegetarianism hell I hardly
eat vegetables unless you count corn mash distilled into
whiskey it’s a poem about well
this is the modern life and won’t you sit here and
marvel at its splendor
all the ease it breeds in me
ill at ease
maybe you know what I’m talking about
maybe not

and someday I’ll make one of these and it’ll be right and it’ll save me
suppose every writer thinks the writing will save him
and yes of course the war in my head never stops no
matter how much I move the words around
what can you do what can you really do
well there are lots of ways to end up in federal custody
and there are lots and lots of ways to die
and lots and lots of ways to live
so dig in buddy, it’s gonna be for the long haul
nobody’s fast enough to distance reality, not really
and it’ll be worth it in the end
you’ll carve out your piece
it’ll be worth it in the end
you’ll find your peace
if only for an instant
and it’ll all be worth it.

Ten And Eight Tenths Of A Mile, 84 Westbound

There are words I imagine
I imagine
for when your life explodes without
much warning
there’s the sudden ice storm the rain which
freezes damn near instantaneously upon the asphalt and at
sixty miles per hour of course
there’s the old spin there’s the old hello the
passing semis
a hundred yards back
what can you do
hold steady touch neither the gas nor the brake
my father taught me well
and the embankment was conveniently leniently inclined
and the center of gravity in a small cheap commuter car is
thankfully low for the rapid lateral transition of traction
there are words
there must be words for when four seconds feel like forty
there must be words for when you nearly kill
yourself and two of your best friends
there are too many things are happening all at once
but I got me two options
and I intend to take the
harder one.

Guest Writer: D.B. Devilliers “The Only Good Poet is a Dead One, and I am Not That”

Sudden Denouement Collective

yes hello it’s a pleasure I’d say except
look where we are
and how the fuck did I get here
guess that speaks to the reason why I
am here
you too huh
same old story why tell it
differs largely just in names dates other such
uninteresting particulars it’s
an impact and oh yeah oh fuck yeah it’s
happening here we go it’s another
ethanol-fueled escapade a jet ride to
oblivion hard landing read: a crash
see you don’t get to survive when you
strike at five hundred and thirty five
miles per hour so bail bail bail
before the hard stop before the zero
what’s the co-pay on a parachute
a question I didn’t ask when I saw the
ground racing up at me
oh shit I went and did it again
no more job no more girl just this
bottle and me
fickle companions we are

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