two poems by: todd cirillo

the deal

It used to be
that we had sympathy
for the devil–
a man of wealth and taste
style, strength and substance,
something of notice.
When the devil wrote a song
or poem,
it stood out, way out
on the edge
like a dirt road
or dark alley.
It wore a black leather jacket
and ripped jeans,
smoked non-filtered cigarettes
with a shot and a beer chaser,
eight-ball in the corner pocket,
carried that
someone’s getting lucky tonight
The words written
with diamond precision
and total indifference
of whether people took notice
or not
but everyone always did.
The words were that good.

And when the devil
made an offer
you took it as a serious compliment.

Now, there is
sympathy for mediocrity.
The whole scene
gone viral,
blogs created,
words written casually
from safe spaces
with soft landings
but yelled
with suffering intent.

Everyone insisting
they have something important
to offer,
some secret knowledge:
how to live,
how to eat,
how to say hello,
how not to offend,
how to be cleaner,
how to write poetry,
how to be meaningful
or most righteous.

Whiny vanilla angels
offering weekly threats
of exiting social media
or life,
only to repost again
within minutes.
Putting out
new “art”,
by the hour.
Naming themselves prolific
without care for
content or quality,
counting likes as Pulitzer Prizes,
Pushcart nominations as victories,
producing work that truly equals
all the other nominees
that bravely hit “post”
with their brand new,
unedited, first draft masterpieces.

I prefer to reserve my sympathy
for the devil
because the devil
maintains standards,
never deals in mediocrity.
The devil remains
one of the rare ones
who, no matter the consequence,
always deals
in style, substance
and taste.

saturday night’s alright for fighting

It is a full-blown Saturday night.
People are decked out,
fighting or fucking
hangs in the air.
And I want to fall in love.
I’ve been around you for so long
hoping to become part of you,
you to me,
to move into the we.
I hold the door for you,
put a $20 in the jukebox,
order top-shelf,
my attempts at the right things.
But there is an issue that keeps
the we at bay
and that issue walked in
without holding the door for anyone.

With one stunning moment
before the drinks
were even poured,
the wrong words are said,
egos rush forward
and none of this
impresses you at all.
The jukebox begins to skip,
the memories never made
and even that last dance
will not be saved
for us.
And I go home,
just me, my broken finger and a black eye
“one out of two ain’t bad.”

Photo by fotografierende on

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