Out of the Cupboard #15

Presenting: Patrick Braun

On the nights when we sit silently together

the room is still except
the second hand moving
with deadly precision,
each tick
an explosion.

We stare
as the clock
gradually
destroys time.

 

Campus Creed

We the students
reserve the rights
to conformity, stupidity,
and the pursuit of belligerence.

Their aimless babble
conveys this mantra daily.
They are obsessed, nay,
consumed
by Alcohol-
awe-inspiring god of their nation-
to whom they pay tribute
Thursday through Monday,
the most ritualistic worship.

 

 

Ow, Fuck

I am writhing
on the gymnasium floor,
both hands
firmly cupping
my decimated crotch.
Lindsey Victor is
standing over me,
lightly chuckling,
as she apologizes
for her knee’s
unfortunate misstep.

 

 

Saturday Morning

My untouched erection
remains idle while
my hands apply
lotion to
her feet.
Her snoring begins
at 3:30am
without so much as
“I owe you one.”

 

 

Crazy Train
I’ve listened to preachers / I’ve listened to fools” – Ozzy Osbourne

I am standing upon
the jet-black engine
of a freight train, rocketing
on levitating tracks
toward a golden-red horizon
amongst clouds composed
of decapitated bat bodies.
From their severed necks
red crystal meth pours
into my mouth
and I stumble about,
drooling and gargling,
my arms outstretched
a million miles to each side
grasping for anything,
but nothing tangible
exists here.
Another gulp and I realize
roller coaster tracks
are unfit for freight trains-

I’ve listened to preachers
but their angel-white garments
are almost always mudstained
by crooked smiles
and blatant hypocrisy.
Mostly, I’ve listened to fools,
stupid but honest, inviting,
they shouted, “All aboard!”
and my last sober decision
was to join them.

-as mine jerks and derails
at the base of a massive corkscrew.
8000 tons of death metal
plunge at light speed
towards the solid ground below,
the wheels still pumping,
the horn still blazing-
I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.

 

 

Voice

I’ve searched the cavernous depths
of a thousand spiral-bound notebooks
using my hands like dynamite
to blow apart their covers
and my pen like a pick-axe,
forever puncturing
their perfect white walls
with black or blue or red,
pursuing that
invaluable treasure
that no larynx could produce.

 

 

Questions and Answers

(GC) It seems sensible for us to start at the beginning. What made you decide to start writing poetry?

(PB) Well, I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was in middle school. I was really into Animorphs, a series about a bunch of teenaged kids who acquired the ability to morph into different animals of their choosing, and who used their abilities to fend of alien invaders. So, I started with fiction, making the goal for myself that I would have a novel published before I graduated high school. I never had success in that area – to be honest I never even started a novel, but I did start writing poetry in tenth grade. As soon as I started, I was utterly obsessed with the craft. The thing that struck me most about poetry was the power that each individual word, every line break, even individual marks of punctuation, could carry. By my senior year in high school, I had had two or three poems published in Teen Ink, a publication for teenagers, featuring work by teenagers. So, I guess my goal of being published before high school ended up paying off after all.

(GC)You came across Gloom Cupboard from responding to a ‘Call for Submissions’ post I made on the forum Literary Mary. How important have such forums been for your own development as a writer?

(PB) Extremely. When I started out writing poetry I really had no idea what I was doing. I thought I did, but I didn’t. Posting my work online and hearing honest critiques from writers who know what they’re talking about has been a huge help. Now I know a million more things about poetry that I never would have learned otherwise. Were it not for Literary Mary and a few other forums that I’ve posted at, I wouldn’t be half the writer that I am today.

(GC) Often wise old poets advise that the best thing a young poet can do is read as much poetry as possible. There are literally thousands of online zines in existence showcasing a whole range of styles and techniques. Are there any interesting writers that you’ve discovered online?

(PB) My favorite writer that I’ve found online is Jennifer Wills, who has recently published a chapbook called Skidding Through the Mud Incognito. I met her in the first writing forum that I joined, and she has been the person who has helped me develop as a writer more than anybody else. She was honest enough to tell me that my poetry was cliché, that it was wordy, that it didn’t make any sense, that it was too vague – she even commented once on a particularly bad piece that I had written that she didn’t even think it was poetry at all. It was blunt honesty like this, along with her willingness to take out time and tell me specifically what I could improve in my writing that I needed as a writer. She is now the owner of Literary Mary, and continues to this day to help me out with my work.

(GC) Currently you attend Central Michigan University, how vibrant is the ‘lit scene’ on campus?

(PB) I’m not sure that a ‘lit scene’ really exists on my campus. Most of my friends are too obsessed with being smashed eight days out of the week to give two shits about reading or writing. It’s really incredibly unfortunate.

(GC) Looking ahead to the future, what are you immediate goals? Do you hope to one day publish a collection of poems?

(PB) My most immediate goals actually don’t have that much to do with writing. For now I plan to keep writing, and keep posting at Literary Mary for honest feedback and critiques. My main goal at the moment is focusing on my Spanish major, which I’ll be studying further next semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After I return, finish my degree, and get a job as a teacher, I hope to be able to focus a bit more on getting my writing out there. Publishing a collection of poetry would be amazing, although I see it happening later rather than sooner.

(GC) Finally a trio of quickfire generic interview questions:

What was the last film you watched?

(PB) Embarrassingly, the last film that I watched was Bolt.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading a novel in Spanish called Por un día más.

What music do you dig at the moment?

I’ve been really into My Chemical Romance for the past few years, but recently I’ve also discovered two really good Latin American bands: El Cuarteto de Nos and El Canto del Loco.

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