the beats are all dead now

By Dylan Gibson

About as soon as I stopped drinking, I started smoking again.
This is how it goes, said an old AA head I knew years ago:
“always gotta keep one.”
It’s true, but for god only knows why.
The death drive, bad alchemy of the head, or perhaps
a part of the strange little litany of daily performances that are
birdsong for the American definition of “free.”

We wrote new songs to kill all our cowboys and, in doing so,
made them into monsters big enough to blot out the stars.

In my dream the elevator is plummeting from the sky
while the bald man beside me smiles without a face
and tucks his head into the corner, says “it’ll go quicker this way.”
Like some kind of weekend warrior.
But we’ve both been here countless nights before. 
Even in my dreams I’m thinking about work.

Take down the bukowski posters from your wall and concede
that moloch, mental moloch, has at last devoured us all.
When we smoked on the balcony together I told you we’d 
eaten all those mushrooms five years too early in our lives 
but it’s five years too late now and we know all the pretty colors 
are just travel ads for tropical getaways that’ve been glowing 
in the dark since the 1950s.

Maybe he’d have been a better writer if he hadn’t been so fucked up, anyway.


Dylan Gibson is an American writer living and working in Taipei. His work has previously been published in the Blue River Review.

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