A Gen Xer and a Millennial Speak of the End of the World by Anthony DiPietro

When you’ve just finished reading apocalypse
novels and your slightly younger boyfriend’s
addicted to climate change
articles and you have faith that what’s
coming, whether zombie virus, H1N1,
solar flare—whatever happens first
doesn’t matter—you’d rather imagine
what kind of wagon you’ll escape on,
you and your love, when that late afternoon
light disturbs some future morning—
but he says phytoplankton have begun
to smother like goldfish, gasping
on kitchen counters and coral reef
will soon be museum relics, nothing else
and he argues whether Bernie
can still win—you interrupt
to list a few artful approaches
you’ve seen in the literature, but then
the razor in his voice when he says
I’ll stop talking, I’ll just listen, between gritted teeth,
firmly as if you’ve raised a fist.
Then you find your lip quivers
with the tension of a dam, and did I mention
you are riding the Red Line when the crying
starts—you both get out at Harvard Square, the acrid
summer garbage smell welcomes you but isn’t
what’s stinging your eyes that now drizzle
like the Cake Ace on Food Network
and he apologizes, Honey, honey,
honey, for the nothing wrong he did,
and by the time you get to Elephant & Castle
you don’t feel like eating—the host
who seats you didn’t want to come to work
tonight, and your weeping
doesn’t help, and everyone in the restaurant
wonders if your date attacked you
or if your parents have cancer—so you go
to the basement, find a urinal, still leaking
from your eyes, and stare at a poster of red
double-decker buses in London, and that should cheer
you up, and you start talking
to yourself in a British accent
because sometimes you don’t have a bloody clue
why the fuck you’re crying.

Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and The Woman Inc. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.

How to Become an Artist by Anthony DiPietro

a river in chaos. brave existence. sudden
roads. kidneys in chaos. sleep, sleep. a mother—
she is everyone’s mother. when you wake, you remember.

a bridge crumbles of its own will. then
it is no bridge. ask the tumbling river, what
shall I say? sleep. place at the ocean floor

the name you give yourself but never
speak. reserve the right to grasp for it
tomorrow. a child dies at noon. you must sit

with faith. you must sit with a genuine loss
of faith. this is not something you can fake.
become a child with no understanding. death

comes to your door in triumph & soon.
rivers continue to carve. if you let
your enemies freeze then you too must be consumed

with uncertainty. fill your goblet again & drink.
you will sit in a hollow valley. feel your strong
lungs open up. you will feel mud

fill those lungs. if so, tell only lies.
give me something to make me sleep. give me
something to burn the barn, destroy pink flesh.

 

 

Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and The Woman Inc. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.

Image: Junction of the Yukon and Koyukuk Rivers, Alaska, August, 1941. USGS. 

Those Two Spiders Died Loving Each Other by Anthony DiPietro

The poets go to bed like nuns to their cells: narrow rooms in the boarding school dorm: some, like me, awake, playing with sediment left after workshop: suddenly through the deep-woods facing window: a primal scream: a man’s: then deep shrieks of pain: like an animal’s: poets scatter to the four directions: then return to the middle: I join them: tell them Nathan’s missing: my dorm-mate: he’s gone to stalk the dark before: to feel damp dirt on his feet: to wound wind with a frightened face: he went at sunset while we sat for the reading: we listened: the voice of an eight-year-old girl: her innocence stolen by the neighbor-boy: listened: the song of a countertenor nuzzled in the hollow left by a lover: dead of a vicious disease: that first night, Nathan and I took turns asking each other questions: What was your worst sex: Give me grotesque: nastier than politics: Who on this flailing blue orb are you closest to: he’s thirteen years younger: we spoke of my fear of thirteen: Judas phobia: he draws Tarot cards each morning: today, for me, the Empress: tonight small schools of poets shine flashlights: murmur his name: Nathan creeps in shadow: now emerges to his bed: arms crossed over his chest like a saint in the making: he assures the seminar director he’s found a stay for what caused the scream: I won’t hurt myself again tonight: we agree I’ll keep watch: alone again, Nathan and I declare the light too brutal: Why don’t we remove some bulbs: we climb two chairs: unscrew the platter-like fixture: inside, a spider the size of my thumbnail entombed: only Nathan looks closer to count: sixteen legs, copulation: and he says: Those two spiders died loving each other.

 

 

Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and The Woman Inc. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.

Image by Comfreak.