Are there any gates left in an actual dystopia, or are they all rusted, fallen, or easily stepped over?

Reading American poets from the mid 20th century
attempt to speak about dystopian themes
as if they know anything .

I’m fully aware,
I’m gatekeeping.)

Red Scare, ohhh sure.

(There’s a non-0 chance
our government’s
elections were
Russian influenced.)

Constant monitoring,

(Shit, we do it
for you.
For free.
Watch me.



being abused
by the bourgeoisie.

(Let me show you
some real wage disparity.
The exponentially rising cost
on the same property.
Income stagnation.
Rapid inflation.
The increased price

(and need)

of a college degree.)

Human ignorance

dead diseases
coming back.

Climate change,
but thank Christ
big oil gave us
invasion reasons
on foreign soil.)

Yet, they are probably complaining,
the kids today, don’t know how good they have it.

(I’m working more productively

and did more to get here

for less.)

Please, tell me how entitled I’m being.


Echeveria homo

Much like succulents

I feel like I am


dropping leaves

hoping to

continue to

grow to-


some sort of light.

For some

future form of me.

Drop this.


get closer.

Probably not.

New me-

Stuck in

the same


Recollections of a Snapchat conversation with a fellow poet (that auto-deleted)

You know if this were the 19th century

it’s entirely likely that we

would be using long-form handwritten

forms of communicating

that we’d stuff into a box somewhere

only to resurface after both of our deaths.

Scholars would pour

over our discussions

of the writing process,

the poems we were working on,

reassembling meanings of

the various poems

we discussed

in several journals.

I’m sure some ambitious undergrad

would even get some serious points

scanning and archiving them

for some uninteresting honors thesis.

But it’s the 21st century,

and no one cares about poetry.

PA Step 1

“Hi everyone. My name is Hunter”

[Disjointed mutters of “Hi, Hunter”]

“And it’s been over a week since I wrote a poem.”

[Light claps and “great jobs”]

“It’s weird. I don’t know how I feel about it. I’m not sure when the last time I went that long was.

I had a few ideas.

One about kettlebells.

One half-assed, half-baked metaphor comparing some assholes to mattress stores:”

[Worried murmers.]

“Always open yet, somehow always going out of business, and entirely too common. But I didn’t write it out.

I came really close.”

[The circle of people relaxes.]

“It’s just so hard to tell if this is actually good or bad for me. Sometimes it feels like poetry is steeping in sadness.”

[“Stop with the alliteration. You’re making people uncomfortable.” Ex-poets begin scratching their skin.]


I still have many problems.

Counting all my syllables in batches.

Alternating 7 10

Looking for meaning. Will that go away?

Is this like stoicism?

Ignoring the problem until it’s gone.

While I still pick my beard hairs,

and neruotically plan out my words.

I can’t help it.”

[“Turn in your chip. You’re making people relapse.”]

Sympathies for a Young Snowman

I can still remember

the miniature

Louisianan snowman

in the yard,

and how mother

told you and me

unfortunately he’d

be gone by five.

Even though we’d

prayed for snow

our entire young lives.

(Mine twice as long.)

He was just visiting

a place he didn’t belong.

You cried.



Which caused father

to stir

see the scene.

Look to you,

look to me,

run over,

grab me,





But I’d never felt so small.

And his face was so red.

And his breath so hot.

I just stared

at the white


of the old house

and watched pieces

of myself

fall and melt.

Plus, I hear there are a lot of new puzzle game apps

I want to find new music,

but I’m practically a dad

listening to podcasts

Modern talk radio

I can already hear groans

from all the half-assed puns

I consistently make,

and even I am asking

can we listen to

something else please

I’m already resenting

my unborn children

for all the time they’ll take

I’m already lamenting

all my half-dead friendships

already on their last legs

so it goes

I suppose

no time for new friends

increasingly less for old

Maybe I should buy an iPad,

high-waisted kacki chinos,

and an over-pocket phone case

Accept my fate

and stop complaing

I’m sure soon there’ll be

some tech support I’ll need for free

Involuntary Silent Vow

It’s a constant tug-of-war

between the urge to completely vanish

and wanting companionship.

But when I’m with others

we are all just alone together.

They’re all waiting

for their turn to speak.

And as for me,

I never have much to say

just a lot of feelings.

And they aren’t that interesting.

Not saying what you’re saying has been, but

it seems to make you feel alright, and

I might be too polite, so

you can keep going despite my

uptight plight tonight.

It’s a tiny slight.

But trust I’ll try not

to overwrite you.

I might even bite

a few conversational cues;

try not to

hold it against you,

pretty sure you think I’m fine.

But I want to evaporate.

I feel me dissociate.

Who put that sound in my throat?

Now here’s the spiel.

You’ve built this

colossal, emotional reveal.

What am I supposed to do with that?

Smile and nod.

Keep letting you go on and on and

All I want to do is go.

I feel so separate

I don’t feel like I can connect

Do you notice my flat affect

I guess I’m glad

I can help you

through all this

I just wish

I could get

all my shit.

Get all my words together,

instead of “nah, NBD doesn’t matter,”

It’s more “I don’t even know what’s wrong.”

Say it’ll be okay.

Seems like you finished, but

now it seems to late to start.

Finish up my drink,

doing better making sure

not to have too many,

get my coat and depart.