The summer of twenty-oh-
four I read DeLilo and pushed
parties for Made. Some of us
were sober, but I shaving my
armpits, just looking
to belong. I loved language—
it’s never gonna love me
back but I hadn’t known it then.
On weekdays, I’d hibernate ‘til
noon, wake up groggy and
learn nothing about
the solar system. On
weekends, I’d ride the
boat to TriBeCa for thirty
bucks and a pillbox of
roses. We’d buy bleach
from the Asian kids and
some of us fell down
rabbit holes. It got
loud in the main
room but no one
seemed to care—the sun
was coming up and we
were finally getting going.
Dave, but no one
wanted to rage
with him. Everyone
raged with Danny—he’d
pull up when the
drugs ran out and
we’d be yakking in
our Pumas while
he unloaded his
milk crates. Ham
wanted to grind but
I just wanted bumps.
When the walls
got fuzzy, I’d sleep
in the bathroom.
When the lights
came on I’d get going
with a girl and
we’d try to find
for a while—that
went well until
morning. That fall I’d
move up North to
and rail another
set of sins. That
club closed down
and now Danny’s big in
Ibiza. Now Nick is dead and
Ana went to rehab and
I got a stick-and-poke and
now I might belong here.
I threw away the flyers
and cry about the mixtapes.
I threw away my razor
and I never cut the lines now.
I threw away the mixtapes and
I never wear cologne. I don’t
see Gabe and Aziza is
a pharmacist. I don’t
see Dave and James
has got a lot of watches—
They’re bright and white
and they cost him
half a paycheck. It’s the same
sort of sinning and it’s the same
sort of shit. It’s the same
sort of evil but no one can
remember what the first
one even tastes like.
Good Ass Poem
I was going to personify this terrible boat
crash that killed 2,000 people in the 1840s
but fuck it—instead I decided that everyone
reading this website just won the lottery.
Whattup Photoshop, whattup patriarchy,
whattup dickbucket in the $400 pair of all-white oxfords—
I’m about to throw on some neon underwear
and go all boredcore over your vapid yawning.
I am blooming into the most terrifying cremolata stain
you will ever blur tool out of a sleeveless silk cami.
Whattup lemon peel, whattup karaoke bar,
whattup vacant parking spot with money left in the meter—
let’s take a smile off the ashcan and go twerking in the rain.
Our milkshakes will bring all the boys to the yard and it’ll
be so loud that the neighbors will call the cops on us but
I’ll talk us out of a ticket because damnit, my breasts.
Whattup night beast, whattup traffic jam,
whattup loud-and-unruly nerve barber—
I am going to write you into an aubade
that will contain many unruly extended metaphors
about how when we touch it feels like there
are a million tiny pizza chefs parachuting onto
our tummies and they’re just rubbing these
mini pepperoni pizzas into our pours
and when I leave there
you will feel a warming in your crotch
as warm as all the bonfires
and all the kitten blankets
and all the saunas
and all the sunrays of all the solar systems
in all the galaxies in all the universes
and, right when you’re about to climax,
I will bust down the door and serve you pancakes.
Whattup pollen allergy, whattup smoke monster,
whattup sad and soft-lipped new Tumblr follower—
I’ll be there for you, I will care for you
I keep thinking you just don’t know.
Trying to run from that, say you done with that
on your face is a latch that no one will be able to open
until Season Two when my love will fall from the heavens
like a can of creamed corn—or, worst-case scenario,
it will smack you in the skull with a rubber hammer
over and over and over and over again until we’re
both brain dead and dumbstruck and drooling and the
only thing we can remember to do is look at each other night in and
night out until the island disappears and The Others surround
us and we wake up just in time to go to town on their guts
like we’re eating an entire box of strawberry Pop Tarts.
Whattup WW Norton. Whattup Kill List.
Whattup Top 200 Advocates of American Poetry.
My name’s Mark. Mark Cugini.
I’ve got two dumb lungs and a
heart the size of Dikembe Mutombo.
I’ve got a new pair of Jordans.
I’ve got a dank-ass hoodie.
I’ve got a soul and I’ve mad hops, bro.
I’ve got thirty years left and
I’m just getting started IGH.
MARK CUGINI is the author of I’m Just Happy To Be Here (Ink Press 2014). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Sink Review, Barrelhouse, Fanzine, Shabby Doll House, and other publications. He is a founding editor of Big Lucks, a contributor at HTMLGiant, and a curator of the THREE TENTS reading series in Washington, DC.