There is but one truly serious philosophical problem
and that is suicide.
- Some Asshole Philosopher.
On or around my 40th birthday surrounded by no progeny,
prepared for no future, faced with the specter of decline,
I believe in life again. I can’t stop…. I drink leftover wine,
souring but salvageable, with a group of close friends.
The horizon, a strummed cord, lifts, swerves left.
A frayed cord snapping. I’m thinking about…
the clean-up, rigorous and thorough. A shovel and a hose,
nooks and crannies. Not the specter of decline: death.
I find it hard to slow down but when I do I think waste.
I say un-nice things to myself. My brain bubbles.
Thoughts cling like bubbles to bubbles, like humanity
facing its end, like when I drink leftover wine with friends,
quivering, bursting, splashing. Wipe down all surfaces.
Absorbent materials may be unsalvageable. My father,
hunched and slowing, poised at the lip of the cliff of decline,
stares into the middle distance, says, I’m waiting for
my meds to kick in. What was once brilliant I pronounce
brilliant always. He says he thinks about it all the time.
Brains sabotaging brains. When called upon to solve
someone’s loneliness, I say what Sharon said. I say
say nice things to yourself when you’re alone with yourself.
When called upon to solve someone’s loneliness
I tell them a story of a sex move gone awry. Out back of
Riverside Tavern a woman leaning against the dumpster,
dress hiked up, her man behind her. She asks for a cigarette.
I bum her a cigarette. A receipt stuck to the inside
(Seven-Eleven, pork rinds and a Slurpee, $4.23), water bugs
scurrying over water bugs, rats feeding on rats I imagine.
A Slurpee spilt like brains, brilliant, brilliant brains,
slurped and spit up, emulsified, brain swill, sluice,
zombie snack. I can’t stop... Pink like birthday cake
icing, pink as the pom-poms of the crepe myrtles
cheering us on, browning mid-shake. But not pink,
not even brown: Gray. Gray matters.
On or around my 40th birthday at Riverside Tavern
two moos and a whinny from the end of the bar.
Someone is getting conceived tonight! Another
slick human dropped in the plinko pit of life eventually
to find themselves with a gun in their hand. The gun to
their head. Their head over a dumpster. The dumpster
behind their nursing home. The nursing home on
Forest View Rd. several streets over from where,
on or around my 40th birthday, I sit drinking
leftover wine with friends. The horizon like a sex move
gone awry. A fatal wound and the gun keeps going off.
Dustin King would always rather be sneaking a bottle of wine into a movie theater. When that isn't an option, he teaches Spanish and runs a small organization that provides aid to the undocumented community in Richmond, VA. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Ligeia, Autofocus Lit, Blood and Bourbon, Drunk Monkeys, and other journals.
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