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Justin Groppuso-Cook

By October 24th, 2021No Comments



Our temple of blight, forsaken, in a labyrinth of factories
buzzing. Altars of 808s rattling rusted pews we adorn

with glitter, burnt tobacco, shattered blue glass, & crushed
cans of beer—crushed like marble, crushed like brick,

like gravel, crushed like a confession, a whisper.
The moonflower upholds sweet covenants of recovery,

our purpose, belonging, understood; angel’s trumpet
billows neon-infused fumes like a thurible. Police sirens

spray-paint the windows like stained glass. We drag
our fingers along the lips of crystal ringing like a singing

bowl, cleanse our lungs in the resonance. We bang
our church bell, a nitrous tank cut in two—the half-life

of a chemical reaction. We push crucifixes into blackened
veins as shadow puppets dance in the vapor of a pipe’s

amber bulb: the beauty of futility beneath dusted billboards.
A back-alley séance in praise of anguish, desolation.

For the sake of the sacred abandoned: cracked prayer
candles & rolled-up bills on porcelain, railing lines

that put these trains to shame. Loaded on the drone of
street lights offering Everclear, dandelion, deadnettle, &

lapis lazuli to the potholes: May our place be restored.
Spit hymns over the 1s & 2s turning tables, flipping the record

as we weave a web of melodies from the coffin. We rave,
set fires inside ourselves. Burn the infrastructure of our

senses—senseless—rewire the fiber-optics to reestablish
a connection. Let the graffiti of our rib cages convert to smoke,

embers catching the skyline ablaze as the heavens fall
to Earth in ashes face to face: Come out to play O Holiness,

this holy mess. Holy confusion. Divine Despair. We callous
yet immaculate. Our Original Innocence indestructible.

Our voices coalesce at this intersection of broken bones;
an aurora draws bloodflower from these cracked lips.






Sinking in the density
of self, swallowed
in the silence
of a whiteout. Petrified
like lightning
& wood—
the blue frost of
my eyelids.

This is
grave: out of body,
so beside myself.
like streetlights
where the road
slicks into a mirror
of black
ice; I gaze
at myself

in memory. A totem
of telephone poles,
my bones
a sundial: a pulse
of plasma
evaporating into



Sometimes the dead don’t stay dead; we’re playing.
We came back to party & overturn the law.
Nobody can stop us—call the cops.
I’m already dead, dying to dance
with authority; my presence demands it.
Hands up: this is a blessing.
I know the drill; I invented it. But they’ve
used it to construct this Labyrinth of Abuse—
it’s child’s play. I’m the nightmare
of the nightmare they perpetuate, protect & serve;
the Alpha & Omega ain’t got nothing on me.
Somedays I even petrify myself into
surrender my butterfly sugar. I hate how much
I love you. Fuck with me: I triple-double dare you.
Let’s post up in Xibalba, walk on from this life
into the next whatever we choose,
us masters of anti-matter. These visions
come to fruition because I cry them
into existence. I’ll sing La Adelita all night
long. Rock a rebozos in solidarity.
Pray to Jesús Malverde as candle wax
softens in the night, as I make it rain
into the blaze of my heartbreak—burning currency—
turning this pyramid scheme to dust.
What are my demands? O hush up my boo.
I have none. Nothing you could give me. Love
has no bounty for it is bountiful, boundless:
what’s mind is hours. Float like a dragonfly
& sting like the Dead Sea. Just dance
with me mi amigo, mi amor—or shoot
me you beautiful sonavabitch.





Justin Groppuso-Cook is a Writer-in-Residence for InsideOut Literary Arts Project as well as a Teaching Artist for Living Arts Detroit. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Luna Luna Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Rust + Moth, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry among others. He received a 2015 Pushcart Prize nomination for his work featured in Duende. In 2022, he will be a resident at Carve Magazine’s Writing Workshops Paris. More information can be found on his website,