a king in his castle

at 08:22 he awakens and pushes
away the tarp he uses as blanket

he’s already dressed up
and wears shoes

looks around at the blackening
dampness of the walls

stretches a bit

takes off his coat and
the blouse
and the shirt
and the tank-top

grabs a tissue
wets it with rubbing alcohol
and uses it to wash his
armpits. He knows it’s good for killing
the bad smelling bacteria

He knows much about how the world works
for he’d been to school and even
one year of collage in his youth

When his armpits dry
he dresses up
and gets out and checks under the
big flower pots that stand before the
entry to the building

He is wise to keep his savings there
Otherwise the others would’ve
smelled it on him and would’ve
robbed him a long time ago
He counts the money
and feels satisfied with the sum

At 09:30 he eats a warm meal at the
local soup kitchen
and turns down
four bums who ask to borrow money

At 10:10 he walks up to the
big casino and
enters

Now his imagination kicks in

Behind the entry
he is greeted with luxury, he walks
on the red carpet
and sees the bright lights
and the game attendants who greet him
like a king

He is the king in his vision
and he had returned to his castle

He smiles
and walks around leisurely

A man needs to have but a clear
vision of a bright future
to live a happy present

He finds a seat
in front of a slot machine

puts the money into
the bill acceptor
and starts playing

He is one of the happiest
customers the casino
ever had

a dead body in the room

there was a dead body in the room

Had to be

Else where did the smell
come from?

Every time he’d turn around to catch
a ghost or a zombie
from the corner of his eyes the smell
would slap him

A smell of death

He decided he’d look around for the
dead body
but later

He didn’t have the energy now
or the disposition
or anything

He only wanted to sleep
some more
He just woke up and needed a good
nap to recover

Perhaps there were times when it
didn’t make sense
but now, today, nothing made more
sense that this

All you need is a healthy
dose of chronic depression and it makes
sense

Just like not cleaning the room
and not taking a shower
in a time longer than memory can be
bothered to remember

So he paced back to the bed
and climbed in
and dragged the blanket, heavy with
caked dirt, on his body
and closed his eyes

He fell asleep in spite of
the smell of death
coming closer still

The dreams were always a little bit better
in the nap taken after
waking up from
the night’s sleep

One time he even dreamed he
was a published author. Not a great or
even a good one, but published

just some average guy with an interesting life by Bogdan Dragos

Gobblers / Masticadores

quite a few times she had to ask him why he was so shy He thought it was just normal to be shy on a first date no matter how many other dates you've been on with other girls He was afraid of getting too deep into relationships, mainly because girls didn't like guys who still lived with their parents He lived with his father who worked as a butcher His clothes were always stained by blood and smelled of salt and iron but worst of all was that he was drunk more often than not About thirty minutes into the date his phone rang and he excused himself to answer. It was his father "Listen buddy. I kinda need your help." "Dad, I kinda need you to understand that I can't save your ass every time you get in trouble thanks to your drinking. I'm busy right now." "Oh?…

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bit by bit, little by little

there were times when she bit and
chewed the inside
of her elbow

to spit the bits of flesh
and the blood
on her grandma

but those times were over

almost forgotten

along with the teachings that
her blood is poisoned
because she was conceived with the
wrong woman, meaning
not the one grandmother intended for
her father

But today all those
people were dead. Only father was
alive

He was all right. A hard working
man, busy with life

busy enough not to notice
that his daughter
is constantly sprinkling ashes in
his food and coffee

He’d almost consumed the
contents of
his mother’s urn

there’s just
a bit left

dreams of drunk men

the dreams of drunks are the strangest
and often most beautiful

It’s what he
came to think this morning
after he woke up with
the empty glass under the blanket

Surely it was that glass
and the liquor in his guts
that made him dream of a frozen woman, clear
as glass

She smiled at him
with diamond teeth and stooped like only
a professional stripper could
next to his limp body

She rolled him onto his belly
and his limpid, numb eyes
watched her grow an icicle from between
her legs
but they closed by the time
she carved a hole into his liver and
began to fuck him until the
ice melted

That was a nice dream,
he concluded

And tonight he’d go to sleep
with two glasses 
and a bottle under
the blanket


around the smokey hole

You can still be good
at what you do
without liking
what you do

It’s more common than
you’d imagine

The words reflected his face
in the steamy bathroom mirror

He watched
until he felt cold in his
nakedness
and shivered

reached for the towel
wiped
got out of the bathroom
put on clothes
and returned to his writing
desk

The blank page was ugly

unlike the somewhat encouraging
words on the steamy mirror

He reached into the drawer
pulled out the pen
stuck it into his mouth
clicked it

Reached again into the drawer
pulled out the gun
pointed it at the blank page
fired

He wrote for the remainder of
the day and the next
night around the smokey hole

It was finally
beautiful 


cats are a great audience for poetry readings

the cat was utterly
uninterested
and downright
bored

with him reading
mediocre poems
by her side

"You don't like this one?" he asked
"It's about nature
and birds
flying and... and... How good does
it have to be for you
to like it? I'm only ten, I haven't
lived long enough to
write poems of grief
and depravity like my father. But you
know, I'm actually aiming to become
better than him. I aim to be
a more
respected poet. What, you don't think
I'll be able to?
You think I'm just another
deluded fool? I'll show you!"

The cat stood
and stretched raising her tail
"Calm down, kid. First of all,
your daddy was no
poet. Just some drunk who spoke of
demons as he passed out
in bars. And you, you're not ten, okay?
You're just ten days
clean of meds."

"You think I should
end myself?" he asked

The cat waved a paw
at that. "Nah, just go on with the
next poem. I'll be listening
but please don't expect any
praise. It's not in my nature to
offer it, okay?"

"But... you think I'll be a great
poet one day?"

The cat closed her
eyes and offered no reply


king who would go down with honor

he had no shoes
and you could hardly call
his shirt a shirt
but he
sat between those two
trash cans like some king
on his throne
  
holding to a stick
like a scepter
  
He drank from an old
rusty can of
beans
but held it like some golden
goblet
  
Clearly he lost the
ability to
taste because in the can
he mixed all he could
find in the trash
  
Beer with vodka
with tequila with wine
and acetone
and rubbing alcohol
  
He had a fearsome guardian
about him
A white dog who constantly
licked his vomit from
the ground
  
It looked black
and spongy
like coffee grounds
  
Some passersby offered to help him
and he refused
  
This was a king who
would go down with honor
after he lost
his kingdom


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