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This work comes from the collection Happy Hour in the Decline of Civilization, which was shortlisted for The Metatron Prize for Rising Authors.



It’s 2019 my friends
the year of sunglasses
& face masks for clear
skin & protest safety

It’s 2019 my friends
are publicly depressed
talking about promoted
posts for healthcare

Type ‘how’ & see
how it autofills—
how to be a happy person
how to sleep better

It’s 2019 my friends
work early mornings
spend afternoons in bed
to care for themselves

to read 2,000 words
on an internet trend
targeting children
or is that the country

which feels untouchable
like a beating heart
or the bullish belief
that anger corrupts

It’s 2019 my friends
I don’t understand why
I turn down a stranger
who offers to pray for me

who rightly points out
I could use the help
but hope without a fist
is a wolf without teeth

It’s 2019 my friends
take the bus to the mall
to practice self-defense
on roller skates

They wear all black
so when a blank profile
yells hate at them
their skirt is grave-colored

It’s 2019 my friends
live across the world
I wave when they pass
in planes overhead

Some nights I get so quiet
I hear my nervous system
humming like a spaceship
abducting me or wifi

It’s 2019 my friends
have no secrets
that can’t be sold
no privacy settings

no time at the beach
that can’t be monetized
we’re happy products
I buy books at night

It’s 2019 my friends
are happiest when sleeping
or posted up online
where it’s easy to jump

into the black hole
of good entertainment
I hold my accounts close
I budget for them like children

It’s 2019 my friends
I learn it’s okay
if one of us is bad
to tell them so

What is language for
if not to beat the king
into submission
but it’s not enough

It’s 2019 my friends
when it feels like
we’ve said everything
let’s ask new questions—

What time of day
do you charge your phone
What kind of dreams
do you remember

How many jobs
did you work last year
Would a guillotine tattoo
look good on my bicep

It’s 2019 my friends
I limit my time in bed
I write poems about money
I post angry reacts only




It’s four o’clock & my battery is charged.
They’re killing people just for existing.

I have ten friends in happy close proximity.
This world is our favorite one. We decided

this together like declaring independence.
What do you do to keep yourself happy.

I live openly, with love & flawed senses
of time & responsibility. Habits like prayer.

Come to the bar with us. It’s right down
the tunnel. You know, we’re like the light

at the end of it. Our little money serves us
as usual. I see it in the electron microscope

of imagination. Television screen of youth.
News like magic. I was born watching those buildings

fall over & over again. We do so many things
to each other without even thinking.

Who do we hurt. Why do we do it to them.
Pretty sunrise over the body-fields of capital.

What does the faded carpet of history think
of me, trudging my black-soled boots every

which way. What does the satellite think
as it plunges into space carrying our music

& laughter, a few dead men’s signatures.
What is there to do but kiss each other

into existence, to lean into the wind like dogs
in the great big truckbed of this world,

filled up with drinks, tarp-wrapped ideals,
more plants than any one house can handle.

We pay our bills because we have to. We rise up
& give our tips. We could keep rising up.