What An Artist Dies In Me

As I write this,
I picture myself reciting it
while holding a lit cigarette
I bummed from Frank O’Hara,
even though I don’t smoke
and Frank left twenty years before I arrived,
so I guess you can say I don’t know him.
Grandma Mini left just minutes
after I walked through the door to see her,
to say goodbye,
both of us unable to speak,
her thrusting every breath
as she held up her world with the difficulty of Atlas,
attempting one last curious smirk.
This is one of those concrete images
etched permanently into my hippocampus,
like the friend then foe, beauty then betrayal, Great Fire of Kelly’s smile,
the distinct non-smile on Dave’s girlfriend’s face
when she knocked on my door and asked for relationship advice
from an emotional tadpole.
It’s not my fault;
blame it on the lack of social development after age fifteen,
the vigilantism of the monkey operating my brain,
the abandoned chambers of my heart?
How brutally similar to Nero.
His mind turned against him as everyone disappeared.
And how I fiddle with smiles
while Rome burns around me.