To Anti-Natalists, Sincerely

There is always bleeding in this world,
but that doesn’t mean you should
twist the tourniquet so tight
that you kill the limb—
better would it be
that you twisted the
noose
and stepped off the edge
choking off your own hypocrisy
midsentence.
While I have no children
and dislike suffering
and am sympathetic toward Buddhist notions of
nonbeing,
I never thought Sisyphus should just
quit the hill;
it has some lovely
views
along the way
if you know where to look
amidst the day-to-day drudgery.
Ingrate, why don’t you
trade places with any among the
innumerable dead?
If they could speak on their own behalf
they would likely exchange with you
readily enough,
trading swarming maggots
for airy breath.
You’re upset because you were
dragged into this world by your
umbilical cord, kicking and screaming
while covered in filth.
So were we all,
and while we may complain, we also
get over it.
Existential consent matters most to you,
you say,
so consent to suture the bloodflow
to your head
so these anti-existential thoughts can be
reconciled summarily
with nonexistence.
If euthanasia is such a mercy
then go pay a visit to
Dr. Kevorkian
and take a ride on his famous
Thanatron
straight out of Somewhere.
Funny, you wouldn’t be able to endorse
Death
if you weren’t such a failure
in following your own gospel.
But if you weren’t such a coward
you would simply not be at all—
silence the sound and the fury
if it signifies nothing,
needlessly,
but stop grumbling beneath the yoke of
Life
like a slave beneath the whip of his
master
and unchain yourself.
Throw yourself upon your
double-edged sword of
Reason
or else be quiet.
Petulant children decry the strict
governess, too,
but never choose to flee to the wilderness
for long.
Instead, they grow the fuck up.
Life is a bitch, as they often say,
so take your mouth off the teat
if you don’t like the sour milk.
Make room for those
more grateful for the taste.

Three Retroclassical Poems

The Suicides
In Dante’s verse the Suicides
became trees beset with Harpy claws
that broke branches and rent their sides
for defying the most “selfless” of Nature’s laws.
As I walk along this forest track
and hear the ice-limned trees all scream
and snap and splinter— crack, crack, crack—
I wonder what, exactly, was Dante’s scheme.
For trees do not themselves slay,
but fall by insects, blight, and weather,
harried by things beyond their say,
one alone, or many together.
Rooted in place without hope
to move against natural assaults
nor able to adjust, compensate or cope—
wait, perhaps we do share the same faults.
After all, what can a man really do
when his brain is insect-eaten and blighted
except let self-destruction fell him, too,
powerless against the Harpies of his head?

Mnemosyne
Goddess of memory,
chthonic widow
holding vigil for
an embalmed life
in the catacombs of the
hippocampus,
wandering as an exile
from her own shadow
and
weeping for yesterday:
you are in want of
forgetting,
to be as
urns emptied
in restless winds
or corpses caving inward
with burrowing insects,
dissembling toward
oblivion’s dust.
She wearies so
beneath the weight she carries,
like Sisyphus pushing his heavy stone
up a hill of remembering
only to let it roll down once again
into willful
repression.
What stone does she carry except
her own calcified heart
hardened with the density of its
yield?
The years have not been kind to her,
for she remembers them,
and they pull at her like
needy children
greedy to suckle
the same teat.
Passing through a forest
of hands,
she cannot fend off the shades,
longing for the River Lethe.

Repression
Hippolytus clenched his chariot reins
in fists so tight they seemed to choke
desire itself and, thus, recurring pains
from an id restless with each spinning spoke.
But as the wheels ground along the beach,
frothy with the sea’s lusty surges,
a bull emerged from the tidal reach—
a beast born of suppressed urges.
The horses bucked as if struck mad,
frothing at the mouth like the sea,
and though dragged, it was not so bad
since Hippolytus felt it chafe sweetly.
Trampled, at length, beneath his horses,
Hippolytus felt as if he had been ridden
by Phaedra in thrall to resurgent forces
which was quite thrilling, it being forbidden.

Primrose Hill

She saw that electroshock spirit once more,
watching Ariel dance about the Holocaust fumes
while kneeling herself down before the oven door
so Gretel and the Witch could at last lay in matching tombs;
and since she believed in the luck of the Irish
she channeled Yeats’s Leda in her time of need
and took a deep breath and made a bell jar wish,
foretelling that oblivion would finally succeed.