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June 11, 2024 Poetry


Sam Cooke



I am thrilled to accept
my new position at
The Museum of Antisocial Animals
I am thrilled to announce
I chip my teeth on purpose
because my teeth are tools
I am thrilled to renounce
all pleasure and all fun
It has been time to put away
childish things
for centuries now
A good caregiver understands
kindness kills faster
than cruelty
I cannot express how little
I care about food
It has been a while since someone
looked me in the eye
and told me
I am insane
I am overdue for a good
hard reality check
to determine exactly
what is real
Until then I will be
unselfconscious and
diligent as ever
As long as I live
I promise to churn out more
garbage no one wants
I swear to make no progress
on things that matter
I vow to disappoint
everyone I love
It would be a pity party
if anyone showed up
I hope this message finds you


Take it personally

Take it too far
Take it out back
Take it to my grave
Bury it
Dig it up later
Clean it with water
Dress it up cute
Send it to school
Handle it badly
Save it for marriage
Knock it unconscious
Show it my worst
Force it to love me
Give it an orgasm
Tie it with ribbons
Keep it in check
Make it feel pain
Put it in writing
Help it move on
Deny that it happened
Forget that it happened
Don’t give it an option
Don’t give it a choice


Eyes on the prize

I am not a dog
I am an actor
I am a chemist this is
I am a doctor
accused of malpractice
I am meticulous I do not make
I am a gardener these are
my vegetables this
is my factory this is
my pollution
I am a lifeguard I fight
the undertow
I am depleted
with jellyfish
I am not ashamed
of my life
my affection
my sadness
I feel good in the water


Petting zoo

Ideally suicidal
antisocial ponies
acting inappropriate
seeming unstable
crying in daylight
giving me life
to be told I’m a liar
when I’m telling the truth
My feelings are facts
they don’t care about anything
pink and green ponies
headsplitting green ponies
pink on the inside
forgot we went over this
ponies as symbols
metaphorical ponies
suicidally ideating
the choices I live with
right and wrong answers
what was I saying
I’m throttling grief
and you’re petting the ponies
but this isn’t a petting zoo


In praise of learned helplessness

I refuse to be eviscerated by less
now that life seems possible with
indignities half remembered
as plots of low budget movies
about sexy assassins
mocked by their friends 
molested by gravity
pulled underground
unembodied and
finally forgotten like
small animals writhing in enclosures
Disorganized attachment to
unstable structures and
tissue scraped from
congested organs
devoured by
sadistic children
And somehow still
the grey light of me
pointless and familiar
as any afternoon
illuminates the contours of
your face
smiling back


Prison girlfriend

As much as I deserve it
I have never been abused
Ladder leaned against
another ladder
Spiders in their nests
Sweat in my bed
Fun is when
I fall asleep with
saccharine nostalgia
folded in my palm
MDMA derivative
in my blood
in my car
Peripheral hallucinations
at the edge of my headlights
Lonely like I mean it
Experiments in failure
Cystic acne concealed
by cheap makeup
Exquisitely disfigured snow
in Texas
The coziest hospital
in New York
Heaven waits for those
who take advantage
Insincere apologies
are celebrated
like birthdays
Excavated burial grounds
uncover only histories
of mutual exploitation
The real mystery
is my will to deny
what is right in front of me
Things are exactly
as they seem