Mark Cugini




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.

Everyone knew

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

somewhere warm

for a while—that

went well until

morning. That fall I’d

move up North to

study language

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.