Reign XIV

The coronation of King No Future
Came on like a bad hangover: sudden
As a star collapsing into sutured existence,
Painful as a cracked skull and a broken
Heart, and just as inevitable. This
Is our life now, homeless and indebted,
Marginalized and indignant. Well, piss
On the world that left us here, abetted
The theft of our later days. Tiny hands
Force crowns of thorns on us all, begin to
Salute. They laugh, those new Charles IIs,
But the only royalty is us. So
We live like exiles looking for a fight.
(It was always two minutes to midnight.)

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Reign XIII

For Chris Cornell

With pen and ink, blood and bone, I proclaim:
“We’ve been living like études, short, fast, hard.
(Rock and roll, baby!) Sex, drugs, magic, fame:
We devour them, laugh and push things too far
(but never too too far, until we do,
Until life becomes stacatto and we
Trade microphones for shotgun barrels.) You
Made it past twenty-seven, thirty-three,
And we thought if you didn’t die strung out
On a cross, you’d live forever. But no
One does. We just get that one time around,
And if that doesn’t do it, what will? So.
Here I go, cataloging in sutures
The coronation of King No Future


Reign XII

The world was ending, but we were dancing
Our merry little jig, two fisting beers,
Smoking “don’t worry about it,” asking
Questions about LD50s and fear.
The day I traded my brain for a chip,
Nothing changed. I was born of Rage and Love
To begin with, was sick of the world’s shit
By seventeen, but not in the sense of
Eating a bullet. No, I was aggrieved.
I wanted only to dance and sing, suck down
Cherry vitriol and spit fire (believe
Me, I have enough hate to go around.)
I will not be silenced, will not be shamed.
With pen and ink, blood and bone, I proclaim.


Reign XI

Every night spent beating back entropy
Was a night we spent in glorious vain,
Conducting our bodies passionately,
Musica humanis, rhythm, refrain.
We movers got older, became less prime,
But the movements became more glorious,
Layered and nuanced, polished, refined with time
(We trained like artists, drilled like warriors)
(Film finds the best way to do a thing once;
Theater strives for perfection each night,
And so did we, animals on the hunt,
Tongues tasting the air, ready for a fight.
Night became day and time kept advancing
(The world was ending, but we were dancing)


Reign X

We preached our creed with every breath we took,
So how’s that for a bold, subversive style?
We wear suits with that assassin look,
Dress like a princess but not a damsel
Distressed. We inscribe our skin with ink and
Metal like every body’s a book of
Blood, like by living we’re making art hand-
In-hand, like acts of rebellion are love.
We preach with the certainty of zealots,
Confident that we know the future, know
How to plot a moral arc, develop
A better world, put on a better show.
We moved our bodies like a symphony,
Every night spent beating back entropy.


Reign IX

“No gods. No masters. Every man a king.”
How’s that for a nice creed, a glory be,
An invitation to keep your fucking
Hands off other people’s shit and just leave
Well enough alone? Do you really think
Your god has called you to not let bodies
Be bawdy, to forge the chains that will link
Us together in oppression? Bitch, please.
Christ would never consent to this charade,
To rule by Keebler elves and slovenly
Con men, money changers who would parade
Their wealth and demand more. You’ll never see
What it really means to be of the book.
(We preached our creed with every breath we took.)


Reign VIII

Only in blindly insisting you weren’t
A sellout did you give up and proclaim
Your turning, your protean self, about-
Faced, crippled and lame, broken and shamed.
For every starving artist, I have known
One well-fed: a singer-psychologist,
A poet-professor, people who owned
It, blending their art and artifice
In equal measure. Poor as I am, I
Do not starve, for I am rich in spirits.
Narcissism and rage are my bread, my
Water my own voice and all who hear it.
Even if I starve, my muse will still sing:
“No gods, no masters, every man a king.”


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