You could have a big dipper   

WE’RE COOKING AND WE’RE NOT EVEN CHEFS by Damian Rucci



for Rich Hyner


enough of this and you cure the longing

enough of this and you can find yourself

building mountains out of piles of dust

building meaning from the endless despair

but with this we are not broken

we are constellations of trauma and loss

we are cogs in a sinister corporate machine

we are doing just fine until the drugs are gone

but even swan songs have gentle melodies

so we hum and laugh and stumble over the words

like it’s not the only damned tune we know


we live by the golden rules of the ones before us

what goes on in this room stays in this room

& you’re not a junkie if you’re wearing your work boots

& that the counter in the closet isn’t for eating

but for following lines to their own conclusions

just like we’re doing, following each balloon to heaven


in the blood on the floor, our reflections

paint scarlet vignettes of better men

who great each morning clean and innocent

praying to their twelve-step totems

but that life was never meant for men like us

we were born to drink our pain from the work nights

to climb out of the gutter where we were born

to make the whole damn neighborhood proud

to greet each morning with our heads above our hauntings


the real truth is something that can’t be spoken

the sins of our fathers are scarred on our souls

we built ourselves from the ruins of other men's dreams

you can clean up your act but your eyes carry the burden

and ours hold the stories that only come out at night

when the party is over and our work boots are off

and the liquor outweighs our reservations

at twilight is when the dogs come out of the men

and we can curse the heavens and tilt our hats

to hell, and the silence that befalls us says it all




Damian Rucci's work has appeared in dozens of journals and is the author of five chapbooks of poetry including Don't Call It a Relapse. Damien is the founding member of the poetry troupe Nu Profit of Poetic Dischord and host of Bards on Broadway and The Chamber Cantos. Twitter: @damianrucci

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