The New New Colossus

Much like the thankless giant of Manhattan lore,
With lumbering walls from sea to sea;
Here at our cul-de-sac, picket fence shall house
A fear-filled man in lawn chair, whose mouth
Is the pursed anus of the suburbs, and his name
Father of Whites. From beef-fed fingers
He points world-wide, you’re fired; his hateful eyes decry
The dusty river that headless bodies mark.
“Keep your grubby hands off harried stash,” cries he
With urban drawl. “Give me your cash, your praise,
Your huddled millions yearning to stoke my ego,
The interest accrued in teeming accounts off shore.
Send these. The homeless, hungry, hopeful hordes?
I’ll kick them out, bolt closed the door!”

In response to The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus


Love is a gnashing of teeth,
A wreath hanging on an oaken door,
More: fingers’ twitches, impulses
Taut like cello chords.

Love is self-harm,
Cutting open your wrists,
Spilling out, hoping that another
Will stuff you back in.

Love is a sad song sung
From your Adam’s apple,
Pulsing puzzling melodies
‘Til your life is well wrung.

Love is beset with regret,
Dopish hope of futures past,
Belief that relief is forthcoming.
But none is.

Love is mourning in the morning,
Waking with flitting lashes,
Gashes of tears streaking
Streams over gaunt cheekbones.

Love is loss:
A moss carpeting what was lush
Now mildewed and smoldering:
Nature reclaiming its due.

Love is what imbeciles do
When imaginations mask
Their tribulations
With tragically brief elation.

Love is bleeding calluses
Bursting over frayed guitar strings,
Moist foreheads and furrowed brows,
Plucking in the face of pain.

Love is the darkest of night,
It is the real fright you feel
When the rich black masks
You from yourself.

Love is manic, a panic
Known only to fools
Collecting pools of weeping water;
It is a neglectful father.

Love is jealous.
Love is petty.
It is overzealous ownership
Of another.

Love is a word:
You continue gleaning
Its meaning until you perish.
It is just a word.

Love is a cage

Love is a cage


People overcompensate for their own shortcomings. This is a known fact. Sometimes this action manifests as a result of a latent, repressed desire with which a person is uncomfortable. Let’s explore a few these, shall we?

What if rappers are secretly raging homosexuals? There is a common theme in that particular genre of music whereby artists will denigrate one another with with slurs, proclaiming “suck my dick, faggot” or “I’m gonna fuck you ’til you love me, bitch.” Maybe, just maybe, this is because, well, this is precisely what they’d like to do. What if, when Method Man threatens to stick a hot coat hanger in your anus, he is really expressing his desire for you to put something else in his? What if gangbangs are simply an excuse for a large group of men to whip out their dicks and jerk off together? What if the girl is there only symbolically? What if she’s not even really participating, sitting in the corner, feeling bored, playing Candy Crush Saga on her phone, while testosterone-laden men stroke their penises with one hand and give high gives with the other? What if their hands linger for an unacknowledged second too long when they touch one another? I don’t know. I’m just throwing it out there.

What if people who are obsessed with love — romantic movies, heart-felt ballads, odes, even the word “love” — what if these people are actually horrible sociopaths. What if they have never felt true affection for another human being even once their lives? What if they are so unware of that particular emotion that they are forced to take all their cues from pop culture, from The Little Mermaid, from the well-publicized relationship between Chris Brown and Rihanna? That’s a frightening thought, isn’t it? Maybe they secretely hate everyone or, worse, are compeltely indifferent. What if they are simply actors playing, poorly, the roles of love-struck idiots? What if I’m a love-struck idiot? Naaaah…

What if anarchists are secretly OCD? What if they try to hide their compulsion to arrange boxes in neat rows by donning Doc Martens and smashing plate glass windows? It’s possible that they are only doing this because particular local businesses do not adhere to their understanding of esthetics and they are simply destroying these abominations of form and order, in the hope that they will be replaced with more neat rows of conforming edifices? Even political anarchists, what if they are fed-up with the disorder and unpredictability of the democratic system? What if they truly pine for a benevolent despot, a Sadam Hussein or a Pol Pot or a wise-whiskered Joseph Stalin to swoop in and bring brutal order to the masses? Not entirely unlikely, I say…

Just food for thought, you guys.

My New Boots, Part Duh

Remember those boots I had? They were great. I could do anything in them. But their lives were short, not unlike a shooting star streaking across the sky for one brief, wonderous moment. Or a child star streaking across the red carpet in a drug-induced teenage moment of attention-driven rebelliousness and / or perversion. Or a house fly, which only lives for 15 to 30 days, eating shit and procreating at an exciting pace.

At any rate, those boots are gone. They helped me accomplish all of the wonderful things I had previously outlined, and promptly committed suicide by seppuku — synchronized knives thrust through their soles. I laid them to rest with a nondescript black flag draped over them in a local boot-cemetary that doubles as a hobo’s bargain basement. “Taps” played in the background, emanating from nowhere in particular. It was a solemn and dramatic moment. I cried.

But I have new boots now. They are magical. They will last forever. They are American-made, like all great things (see: Paul Newman, chia pets, and economic inequality). Their leather is soft and thick and brown, like the skin of a newborn Malaysian girl. Like the Malaysian girl, they will grow tougher and more beautiful with age, reaching complete indestructibility and incomprehensible beauty at the age of seven. I hope only that I am worthy of donning them.

There is a plot line in many movies and TV shows whereby a protagonist is given the gift of a pair of shoes that endow upon them magical qualities. The character, usually a small down-trodden child — a soot-smeared orphan, if at all possible — goes on to win dance competitions, orate eloquently at debates, run faster than is humanly possible. In the end, it is always revealed that the boots were merely placebos! All the child needed to do was believe in themselves, for the boots never actually helped them. It was them all along! Well, let me dispel that notion with regards to my new boots. It is the boots. I act only as the boots’ trustee. They act of their own accord and in magnificent fashion.

Speaking of fashion, these boots can make the most garish of outfits seem like the newest trend from Milan (that’s where fashion comes from, right? New York? Sheboygan?). I could don a sewage-coloured muumuu, a pair of pink heart-shaped glasses and a pea soup green vinyl belt with a penis-shaped rusted belt buckle, and I would be a trend-setting maverick as long as my new boots adorned my feet. It is generally a bald-faced lie that shoes make the man, but these boots in particular could make Elijah Wood look like a tough, masculine, post-apocalyptic, chain-swinging, hog-riding, mohawk-topped badass. Too bad the boots are mine. Suck my balls Elijah. You are forever relegated to the femininity engendered by your weak cheekbones and baby blue eyes that are always on the verge of sputtering with tears. Deal with it.

These boots could kick anything through. When I’m wearing them (I always wear them), I kick things with impunity. Bank vaults, shot puts, pregnant women — nothing is safe from the kicks of my new kicks. I could stamp out World Hunger with a swift stomp of my new boots. A single thunderous smack of the ground with my dense rubber heel would shake the Earth so completely that minerals would churn up from subterranean layers, soil across the planet would turn to the purest form of mulch. Sheep, cows, and other beasts of burden would shit themselves, further feeding the surface, leaving it lush and nutrient-rich. Trees everywhere would jolt up out of the ground, their roots spreading and grasping at the ground lest they lose their grip. Of course I wouldn’t do this. But I could.

Verily, these boots don’t abide by the laws of physics. They can, and often do, travel faster than the speed of light, which enables them to go back in time and smack Einstein right in his mustache before darting off to kill Hitler and bang Eva Braun with extreme prejudice (no pun). Not only can my new boots travel faster than the speed of light, but they can make light itself travel slower. In fact, photons, shot out of the sun and other stars, reach my new boots and, attracted by their radiant brilliance, set up shop for a few hours and have a picnic on my boots’ smooth leather surface, munching on quarks and the occasional Higgs Boson. They invite their friends over and do tequila shots until I shake them and they shoot off in all directions. It’s quite a thing to behold.

When I’m wearing these boots, not unlike my old boots (God rest their soles), I think I can do anything. I think I can beat Joey Chestnut at a hotdog eating competition simply by ingesting his diminutive Japanese adversary, Takeru Kobayashi, and a couple of extra Polish sausages for good measure with, of course, a kegerator full of thick, stout beer. I think I can have a heated argument with a black person about slavery without sounding like a complete racist. I think I can stealthily replace America’s supply of gold bullion at Fort Knox with gelt, giving out the real gold at Hannukah to small Jewish children, who will try to eat it with their tender baby teeth, much (munch) to my amusement.

I think I can do anything in these boots. I think I can read Moby Dick without being bored by the excessively encyclopedic chapters on fish and sea mammals. I think I can convince Guenevere that King Arthur was actually kind of a pansy and that truly heroic knights can only be found at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. I think I can make her burn with jealousy for an eight year-old child arbitrarily chosen to be the princess at one such dinner. I think I can change the global meaning of the term “twerk” to mean “work twice as hard”. I think I can probably twerk myself. Though I wouldn’t do that. I never have to work again.

… now that I have these new boots.


stop and listen:
the world will shimmer
and glisten in your ears;
that ever present hum
to which we’ve grown numb,
veiled in a dark velvet shroud,
is actually quite loud.

open you head:
remove your headphones;
chime in to wind chimes
twinklig in the dark,
wink back with a stark silence,
hold your violence and your breath.
this is what death feels like.

now widen your mind:
first thirst for the creaks
of old floorboards above,
then love the distant din of laughter,
find the sonic subtlety of streetwise steps,
feel the bustle of rustling oak leaves;
soak in symphony.

the padding paws of passing possums
are phonetically poetic.
don’t let it slip,
concentrate on the consumate beauty
of rudely spoken words through chipped teeth;
air is indifferent.

now mix senses:
see the violet petals of a tuning fork.
taste the gristle from a bearded baritone.
smell the bitterness of hack saw’s winny.
feel the sheepskin of the whistling wind.
hear the here.

speak into your skull:
feel the roundness of the word round.
close and open your eyes.
note the tear-shaped sound
your lids make when bound
oh so briefly with moisture.
hoist this knowledge up.

daydream of dense auditory decadence:
pittering downpours on tin roofs,
rapping cast iron door knockers,
soot-covered hands rifling through glass bottles,
eratic static on a television.
really: hearing is as good as vision.


our ancestor, the ancient man
with a deep tan, creeping on fours,
beset with at best a few years
on the Earth’s crust
thought only of what he must,
thrashing against the grip
of beasts and other men –
it made sense, then.

the markings on his arms,
maps of the harms
that had come to him
inflicted in the dim
light of dusk:
the scratching fingers of branches,
sharp teeth in foaming mouths
pierced his calloused skin.

he was at times felled,
yelled and writhed as his bones
crunched with a sickening sound
against rocky unforgiving ground,
his body turning violent autumn hues
of violets, reds, and blues,
a moazaic of prozaic bruises:
unspoken lifelines.

but he took them in stride,
and wore them with pride,
others dared not deride
him for his life’s pictogram;
the gashes across his sternum
a stern warning that he would
not be felled by the mere scrapes
with which he was draped.

this man echoes in us all:
his falls, his foes, the throes
of his pains lain somehow
end to end in amino acids
and evinced in our desire
to adorn our own skin in hued
tribute to his rudely
shortened life.


The air is too dense.
I’m not tense, per se,
But let’s say that my limbs
Are sticking to this too-dense air;
Where I was once lithe and spry,
Now my eyelids droop
And my arms hang
In hunger’s perpetual pangs.

No – it’s not my appetite.
I eat. I walk. I sing sometimes.
It’s not the outside that binds
My insides.
It’s me: I just don’t care;
I don’t care at all.
The underwhelming weight
Of the gray sky does grate.

I wish I believed in God;
I wish I made a habit
Of being a rabid dogmastist.
I wish my fears were made clear:
My idle thoughts supplanted
With idols.
I wish I had a Christ to distract
From this abstract malaise.

Instead my jittery eyes
Flitter and flutter
And I mutter hollow
Borrowed words into
Reverberating tunnels.
Fissure’s appear in my skull,
Dull from the negative pressure
Settling on the nape of my neck.

Pain would be better.
Unfettered, pure, searing pain.
A letter opener, red with rust,
Thrust deep into a throbbing vein.
Would be better.
I could lie slain, robbed of breath,
Gasping, gagging, dying, but at least
Flagging a feast of feeling.

I’m cowering from the flowering
Crimson inside this overpowering
Need to feed on my own mortality.
I don’t want to die:
To be a statistical fatality
Sadisitically printed
In a nameless, fameless,

Maybe a hobby is what I need:
To feed and possess myself
With an obsession.
To lobby my brain,
To compel it to care
About obscure vinyl LP’s,
To be a collector, lest Death
Come and collect me.

Yes: that’s the ticket.
I’ll part the thickets,
And bound into the meadow
With the others.
I’ll ignore the dark stranger
In the foyer whose danger
Looms and races through the rooms
Of my house.

His bass booms and shakes me
But I’ll plug my ears,
Spout dumb, inane words, a white noise —
“Pirates, ninjas, highballs of gin”
— To drown the bass in its din.
I’ll call this poise.
I’ll straighten my back
And take up my life’s slack.

I wonder when I’ll crack.


I dream of a girl.
She sits alone in a parklet,
Lets birds and squirrels gather
Rather presumptuously around her,
Smiles knowingly, her glowing face
Kind, doesn’t mind the critters
Chattering in her ear, the dear.

This girl unfurls her curls
And twirls a single slender digit
Around her locks.
She looks at nothing in particular –
Me, I hope.
Me: the dope her gaze will glaze over
Or hover for a blissful microsecond.

She is unusual –
A visual paradox of asymmetry:
Eyes of hues of amber and blue
Placed askew on a small roundish face.
Lips prim, one ear endearingly
Jutting out just a tad.
This girl is fucking rad.

She talks to strangers,
Ambles up to a rambling hobo,
Kneels down and touches his knee,
Sees his pain and winces
Sympathetically for the pathetically
Lost man, takes his hand in hers.

Her allure is one of demure grace;
She is Arab or Scandinavian by race
But the race doesn’t matter.
What matters is her disregard
For the shards of destruction
That surrounds her
And confounds most.


I am a beast with a million faces,
No race, laced with vicious temperament,
Tempered with iron and bone
Honed over millenia
To slash gashes in your thin skin
For your myriad of sins.

Chin up: I come for those who believe;
I’ll leave the unbelievers be.
But: once my feared fanged countenance,
Mangled fur and crimson gaze and all,
Becomes seared in your brain,
I will persist no matter how you resist.

My paws pad softly over you
Until it’s far too late:
Claws dug in, snug in that flap
Of skin on your elbow
You wish weren’t there.
But it is. And I am.

I am the ringing in your ears
While your tears stream,
Streak, seek salty cheeks,
Over your chin and into
Your gaping mouth,
Into your throat.

I am timeless; I have marred,
Left scarred, for centuries,
Neanderthal men, Roman centurions,
Dead-eyed poets, artists, scientists.
Even the Renaissance could not repress me,
My duress presses on all their chests.

I will take hold of the back of your eyeballs,
Tug at nerves and tendons and arteries,
Suck what luck you thought you had,
Take what bad you had,
Place it in your face
In my outstretched and callused palm.

You might think: this is imaginary.
Images of gore, the lore of scores
Of ancestors passing down their dear
Fears to a wide-eyed child.
You might puff out your chest
In pride, hide yourself from me.

No such luck: fuck your pride.
I ride in on a din of your sins
And pin on you your every transgression.
The progression: sandpaper stripping,
Ripping your raw skin, then flesh, then bone,
Revealing even minute indiscretions.

Go on: try to exorcise me.
Exercise: trot to stave your rot.
Shuffle in teams, to muffle my screams.
Lift tons of weight late into the night,
Push your fright down, down, deep down.
In the end I’ll rise to watch you drown.

break your back

Break your back.
Continue breaking it until
Your spine is a collection
Of shards of bones, tendons,
Tender discs flattened into coins.
Coins you’ll use one day
As legal tender
To get to Heaven.

Wage scores of wars on yourself,
Drown your thoughts in plots
Of doubt of worth.
Kneel and pray at the hearth
Of your own ashes.
Gather those ashes in a box,
Tie it with a satin sash,
Lash yourself with it.

Fall in love with your fallen life.
Let trains of veins carry
Your wary corpse
Over stumps of outstretched hands,
Vacant glands
Secrete no secrets,
Singing refrains of pain,
Sane though you are.

Carry the self-gift of your self-guilt,
Evidence the tribulation
Of your self-immolation,
On your broken back.
Let it weigh you down,
Watch yourself sag
Like an overfull sack
Of tarnished doorknobs.

So break your back.
Stack racks of oval stones
Until it buckles.
Chuckle a whole bunch
At the crunch you hear
As it bends and rends
You further lame,
Tame and inane.

You are worth exactly
As much as any soul: not much.
A troll rolling swiftly
Over a tiny patch of land.
Fact: you are less
Than one trillionth
Of one single
Collective human.