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Five Poems by Rob Plath

wave them back to the womb

as long as there

is birth

there will be bombs


as long as there

are umbilicals

there will be

the devil’s whip


as long as

there is death

there will be

more death


heaps of death

on top of death

death fucking


squeezing out

more death


maybe the morgues

& maternity wards

should be not only

on the same floor

but operate w/in

the same four walls


let the newborns

in their hot coats

of blood

scream into the frozen

mute morgue drawers

until the dead sit up

& wave them back

into the womb

First published in A Bellyful of Anarchy (epic rites 2009).

empty lights

he wrote these

odes to optimism


but they were

really like

empty lights


& as useless

as an oatmeal bath

to a leper


the best advice

i had was to

go to hell


& when you claw

yrself back up


then punch

the keys


w/ yr charred



if you still

have the drive

for poetry

First published in Chiron Review.


i am not yet ready

for my beard of death

tho my soul is a bouquet

of silent blue tongues


i am not yet ready

for my beard of death

tho my loves lie in a ditch

of famished flies


i am not yet ready

for my beard of death

tho decades of blades perform

slow pirouettes in my brain


i am not yet ready

for my beard of death

tho the tourniquet

is knotted into a noose


i am not yet ready

for my beard of death

for my heart is a morgue drawer

full of flowers jumping out

First published in Deathbed Colored Glasses (Alien Buddha Press 2018).

punk as fuck

baudelaire—i heard

yr heart stopped

in yr mother’s arms

but we really know

that you died

2,000 times before

when you were vertical

moving down sidewalks

among the so-called living

yr bodily death

just a technicality

ah, if only i could’ve died

along w/ you when you

wore green hair

& strolled the boulevards

w/ visions of maggots

dancing the can-can

across the cadavers

of the masses

if only i could’ve died

w/ you as you swigged

the blood red wine

from the threads

of the darkest bottle

in the universe

died side by side

in yr cloud of hashish

as diamond yellow

eyes of yr cats


the clocks of paris

& you injected midnight

into yr mad vessels

i’m not locked inside w/ beauty like you

i’m locked inside w/ gratis maggot lap dances from all my dead loves

i’m locked inside w/ a dozen cherries of cigarettes punched out upon the lid of my soul’s eye

i’m locked inside w/ my boxcutter-slashed  angel weeping every which way from 10,000 screaming mouths

i’m locked inside w/ my father’s white knuckles around an incoming bayonet w/ “for my boy” etched in its blade

i’m locked inside w/ a stream of tears whose roots stretch into the earth w/ the worms

i’m locked inside w/ my traumatized sunflowers whose crowns suffer flashbacks of hell

i’m locked inside w/ demons whose horns carve “you can’t handle shit” across my inner skull every day

i’m locked inside zipped up in a body bag w/ in another body bag w/ in yet another body bag, weeping in a terrible trifecta

i’m locked inside w/ the heavy wheels of my mother’s deathbed running up & down my arms

i’m locked inside w/ busted knuckles shuffling a deck of toe tags ready to play a deadly game of solitaire

i’m locked inside w/ boyhood rainbows that morphed into the undertaker’s tape measure

i’m locked inside w/ a tourniquet-turned-noose

i’m locked inside w/ a halo of long black splinters

i’m locked inside w/ a morgue drawer core that never seems to thaw

i’m locked inside w/ zig zag paper cuts across the wincing windows of my soul

i’m locked inside w/ bloody hand prints covering the walls from nights i tried to claw myself back to the stars

i’m locked inside w/ the lump in my throat that kicks the shit out of my smile

i’m locked inside w/ my umbilical like a sick snake snickering from the shelf at my collapsed will

i’m locked inside w/ ticking crack-ups stitched beneath the skin of my wrists

i’m locked inside w/ the butterfly drawn & quartered behind my trembling temples

i’m locked inside snorting the chalk outline of my own shape at the center of the taped off room & choking on my own ghost

i’m locked inside w/ a bleeding bull slumped at my soles that no longer chases death over the hills

First published in Agony Opera.

 Rob Plath

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