Author: Timothy Volpert

Timothy Volpert lives in Kansas. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Mobius, Kansas City Voices, and Stone Highway Review. He can also be found on Tumblr and Twitter.

guns don’t kill people,
people with guns kill people
(who would still be alive if they had guns)

The state of Oklahoma is experimenting with new cocktails
             For lethal injection. No matter that the makers of the old drugs
Refuse to make them for the state of Oklahoma anymore. The state of Oklahoma
             Will buy syringes on the street if it has to.
That’s how bad the state of Oklahoma wants you dead.

guns don’t kill people                                         /             people do
cars don’t maim people                                      /             people do
cocks don’t rape people                                      /             people do
Agents White and Orange don’t clear forests /             people do
people don’t kill people                                      /             people do

You might know that every dollar you spend
             Is coated with a thin film of cocaine and other snortables—
But did you know that every hundo in your roll
                          Is woven from the pelt of a bengal tiger cub?
That every penny is actually smelted from
                          The bone marrow of a young latino boy?

                          write a letter to the editor                            and burn it in a garbage can
                          write a letter to your senator                       and burn it in a garbage can
                          write a letter to the president                      and burn it in a garbage can
                          write a letter to the CEO of Halliburton or Monsanto
                          or directly to those Koch bros                     and burn it in a garbage can
                                                    burn the garbage as fast as you can

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#swagger

to become so beautiful that pictures of myself
fill me with a moment of involuntary hatred
to sculpt my body with the chisel of sweat and self-­abasement
to make of my perfect quiff a piggy bank
for to keep the patina’d copper pennies of time I could have spent on making poems
could have spent on making love but spent instead on making myself
a different self a useless self that sits on a shelf looking beautiful

to swagger so hard that the world swaggers with me
to drag the depths of swagger and find some forgotten bauble to call my own.
to suck swagger through a straw from all the way down the block
a swagger so thick it gaunts my cheeks to suck it

to be the billion-­dollar remake of my father.
to remember his beard and his hard face his thrift store clothes
and think yeah that was good but what if
it had more CGI explosions            what if it had more tits

to dole out drips of clickable wisdom
one hashtag at a time: tips for living your crispiest life
to discover something bloodier than diamonds
and discover something more than an arm and leg to charge for it.
to bathe in champagne or the blood of the innocent there is no difference
when you know you’re on your grind—when you’re really killing it

7 Mindblowing Facts You Didn’t Know About John Wayne

              John Wayne was gay
for one man:                Uncle Sam.
Their turbulent affair spanned several decades,
until John Wayne’s death. He died in Sam’s arms.

If John Wayne went a day
              without riding, his horse
would cry in the bathroom, wonder
              what it did wrong.

Uncle Sam would later describe
John Wayne as “the one
                          that got away, heh” before turning
his face from the camera and ending the interview.

John Wayne owned an Arby’s franchise
 for over 30 years,        but would never
say which one: he wanted it to stand
                                        on its own merits.

              John Wayne wore special shoes
not because his feet were freakishly tiny
but because they were made            of antimatter
              and could kill us all if not contained.

This also explains
              The Duke’s signature walk:
he had the full fury of the unknown universe
              exploding underneath his every step

John Wayne did           kegel exercises
24/7. That weird cadence to his speech?
Between each word, he was flexing
                                                        his pelvic floor.

The Apocalypse Friends You On Facebook

and you’re pretty sure you’ve seen it around so you click confirm
but when you finally see it at the bar that night with some mutual friends
you realize that you really only recognized The Apocalypse
from photos these friends had posted that you had only ever seen it
around your news feed and does that count as Knowing Each Other?

This becomes the humorous facet of modern life
that you and The Apocalypse start a conversation over.
So now it doesn’t matter. But this isn’t funny enough as an anecdote
about how you and The Apocalypse met to get this story told.

As far as anyone knows you and The Apocalypse have always been friends
and soon you realize it has been a very long time since anyone has asked you
How do you two know each other?
and soon you realize it has been a very long time since anyone has asked anyone
How do you two know each other?
and soon you realize it has been a very long time

Selfie: Moments Before Learning What Had Happened

The left lens of her drugstore clubmasters is cracked
the fire’s reflection flickers in the other
and she attempts an expression of seductive concern
             or concerned seduction
one eyebrow more wistful      than the other

the sunlight over her strawberry-­blonde left shoulder
has just begun to filter through the ash in the atmosphere
to take on that gray­-green tint that will become so familiar
in the coming days                     that will come to characterize
what few photographs there are left to be taken