Beggarly Kingdom

Sometimes I feel as if
I can conjure whole worlds
with the merest of words,
like a wizard with illimitable power,
or a king at whose summons
his subjects hastily gather
to serve,
and at other times I grope
like a blind vagrant
for coins spilled from his
beggar’s bowl.
Even now
the words roll away from me,
impoverished as I am
of the rich tributaries of poetry.
even when the floodgates open
and alms are offered in
with gratitude’s cornucopia,
whatever wonders
I manage to conjure
cannot muster the worth of a
with words alone
and, so, I return to the
to grind my own bread
from a wealth of wispy, unwelcome

Notre Dame

To gamble against that grand extortionist,
as he continues his protection racket,
and to inevitably lose,
exchanging the going rate of
dust and cobwebs,
mildew and mold,
faded paint and creeping cracks,
with the punitive rate of
cinder and ash and crumbling stone
is a hard payout,
especially as beautiful stained glass
melts again into sand
which we cup futilely in our hands.
Time is not only thief,
but judge, jury, and
the repo man,
and to expect anything else
is to expect the sun to rise
at nightfall, the skies
to lay down like the oceans,
and the dead to live once again
to embrace us as in days of old.
Time is our landlord
as well as the vandal.
Criminalize the graffiti
and he becomes an arsonist—
begrudge the insatiable blackmail
and bemoan the black smoke as your
beautiful lady’s soul
wafts darkly into the heavens.
She has gone under the knife
to remove his careless scars
only to be smote by his
pendulum blade.
And yet, even as Time
ravages with his blade and his fire
we join together,
hand in hand,
to suture tightly the hemorrhaging wound
before it can bleed us dry.
Together we hold each other up
even when the world is burning down.
We cannot hope to conjure again
a cathedral from the ashes,
but we can seek sanctuary
beneath the pediment of the human heart.
Like Quasimodo in mourning
there is a beauty to be found
in so much ugliness.

Sympathy For The Incel

I was once similar to you,
a young man caught in the undertow of a
self-loathing feedback loop.
I did nothing but scowl
into a mirror-bladed guillotine
and cut myself down, day after day,
while glaring at my own warped reflection.
It was carrion comfort,
a devil I knew
that clutched me back from the waking world
and all of the uncertainties, and the rejections,
so I could escape the hypothetical abuse
of the caricatures you would call
while I indulged my all-too-real
meat-grinder masochism in solitude.
I understand why you wish to
publicly share, and shame,
yourself online,
typing up confessional posts that read like
war cries for a
suicide cult.
You crucify yourself to your
forum posts
so that you may mouth maledictions
against passing women
whom you would fain believe
have hoisted you up and nailed you there,
but you are the one who condemns yourself
make-believe phrenology.
pillory yourself with keyboards
to welcome scorn from
other prophets of misanthropy,
then you decry the rest of humanity
as fools oblivious to the unfairness
you can so plainly see
with your body dysmorphia.
But look beneath the hood of the headsman
and you will see yourself staring back at you.
Despair begets resentment,
like rot in a wound,
and resentment festers into hatred.
But you can choose to cut the rot away
and purge the gangrene.
Know that by confining yourself to an
echo chamber
you are confining yourself to a
torture chamber.
You are not suppressed by a boogeyman named
but depressed by your own medication:
a black pill which you want to believe
somehow wakes you up
to what Normies can’t see,
but which is really just a
nightmare you choose to dream
while awake.
The sleep of Reason produces monsters,
but Love has never been a
demon of Reason—
it is a demon of
and you have to give Chance a chance,
otherwise you are rigging the game against yourself.
So wake up.
Spit out the cynical cyanide pill.
Love can capture you
when you least expect it.
And sometimes,
when Chance is just right,
being caught by the right person
can set you free.
Don’t think that a game never played
is never lost.
When you don’t play the game of
you forfeit so many delicious victories
for the rest of your long, lonely life
that it becomes a long stretch of losses
from the sidelines.
I was like you, once,
but then I gave myself a chance,
and I worked on my own compatibility,
and it took a lot of patience,
but then I found that I loved myself.
And when I started to love myself
I started to love the world.


Amphora of demons
masquerading as angels,
lifting us upward
from our holes of despair
only so we may fall farther,
crashing into the hard turf
of reality,
the impact deepening the
darkening it
so it is more difficult
to reconcile ourselves
with our new level of suffering.
Hope is Pandora’s
greatest curse,
the joyful quickening of the heart
just before
cardiac arrest.
It is the
to a dead end.
To hope is to
plant the seed,
split the wrist,
and pray rain comes
ere veins bleed out
for the dry-rooted crops.
It is the mirage
in the vast desert, an oasis
never touched
as it fades between
the endless, arid dunes.
It is
the flaring light of Heaven
fizzling out
in the dying neurons
of the Little Matchstick Girl
as she huddles in the
unfeeling snow
falling from God’s
indifferent breath.
And all gods are hopes
embodied so we may affix
praise, or blame,
instead of confronting the
blind, imbecilic hand of
of cosmic determinism
which hears not, thinks not,
but fumbles idiotically as a
blind, dumb, deaf, mute
of hopes and disappointments.
Because hope is the seed planted,
the roots anchored,
the vines entangling a foot
so you cannot flee,
cannot abandon the futility, but instead
forces you to look to tomorrow,
mishearing its whispers
as if they speak of
even after countless
fallow fields
and fatal famines.
It is the shovel
digging into shallow earth
and striking upon rock instead of
fertile soil,
and then the pickaxe striking
the same scalped spot
in search of
the pyrite glow
of hope
leading us upon a wager
against that randomized gambler
that is Life.
And it is because hope is
the stalled adolescence
of our species,
it is arrested development
inborn into all humans;
a willful naivete
that has us hearing
someone in the house
at 3AM
in the month of July
and telling ourselves,
with a shiver and a moan,
that it is
Santa Claus.
It is the carrot
that leads the donkey
into starvation
and it is the stick
that beats the donkey
long after its death, believing
that it might rise
and plow the fields
if we just strike it one more time.
It is acute accouchement
without pregnancy,
yielding nought but
the birthing pangs
and disappointment.
And yet
without hope
the crops go unplanted,
civilization goes unpeopled,
the canine mother
kills her pups
in fear of Winter’s wasteland
and we do not rise again
out of bed in the morning
to face the humdrum drudgery
of a woefully workaday life.