Cipher Man

The curse was laid upon me:

The curse of his bad teeth

Tedious evenings of drooping glances

And the mind-numbing parade

Of phosphorescent images

Against a musty backdrop

Of grey walls

Faded drapes

Even the radiator’s spittle spoke of decrepitude


Uncircumcised penis head

I cupped my orifice with my

Hand at the dispirited

sight—the other international symbol for


Sagging at half mast,

Shy or embarrassed at being rejected,

The olive-purple creature retreated

Into its lair of faded plaid flannel

Another animal inhabits this place

Another animal rages against the wintry weak lights

Of woebegone weeknights

Cascading from the stratosphere

In screeching nanoseconds

An asteroid

Of barely concealed contempt

Careening through inner space

Deep impact made in my larynx


It’s go-time


Shoveling at the walkway

Snow mounds with blackened edges

Tainted with exhaust

Smeared with urbanity

Shoveling away

Pleasant memories and

Icy interactions

Vacuous episodes all

Rendered ludicrous

By an unused white gown and

Unsolicited ring

Asymmetrical things

Meant to bend voids

Fenced-in square miles of air

Intravenous tubes of blank

A police lineup of zeroes


Verisimilitude of the purposeful


This oak tree blankets the ground with acorns of non-events

Missed graduation parties

Birthday dinners for two with one empty chair

Sparkling wine flutes toasting vacancy there

Bare feet kick up swirling funnel clouds of pubic hair


This garden yields several varieties of ripened dullness


Meanwhile the bruising mouth click-clacks

Behind zipped-up hoods with sports teams’ logos

Blackening offensive messengers

Rotting teeth of smoker’s mouth

Spewing phlegm

And easily forgettable platitudes


I even hated how he blew his nose


To think that once upon a time

I let him pluck my budding rose

But that was a feverish winter


He made my self splinter

I chased fragments for years

In the bottomless wells of others’ crotches

Or a bartender’s concoctions

Spun around


Cast into murky mine shafts

Shoved into the hulls of dubious hearts

I’ve emerged a loquacious dreamer

Well-versed in various arts

But the funhouse mirrors stun

With their incessant reminders

Of bad teeth

Orange horizons of tartar

Charcoal gums peeling back

Exposing bone

Exposing bone-headedness

Exposing vast hollowness

Pedestrian, linear thinking of soul-destroying,

World-wasting, epic nothingness


I should have shot him when I had the chance.

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