I am iron.
I am iron but I don’ t want to become steel.
I just want to be iron
– no hot air for me, please –
the way kids don’ t want to grow up,
the way the Lost Boys want to stay lost.
I envy you
because you’ re a plant
and you can eat the sun.
Okay, I’ m not iron.
I’ m a man in an iron suit.
I even conquered the world once,
but it was only a board game,
the mighty Ukraine the last to fall,
reminding me of my Russian Dwarf hamster, Sven,
and his hardened determination to spin that wheel longer than he should have,
and not so much of his sister, Anastasia,
who ate all of her babies,
thirteen mini hamster heads found after breakfast.
And that’ s how you feel in front of the classroom
because you’ re not actually a plant,
you’ re just frozen almost still
during your presentation,
hands shaking, voice trembling, a thundercloud forming around your brain,
wishing you could be a plant and eat the sun alone somewhere
as you try desperately to make the Liberty Bell
interesting for almost fifteen minutes,
very aware that you might vomit
at any second.

Years later
there’s a skyscraper with over 3,000 windows.
Only one light is on in the whole place
and there you are,
a CEO surrounded by reinforced steel,
sitting on your desk and sharing a joint with the night shift janitor.

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.