Nathanael William Stolte

And Nuclear Winter Won’t be so Bad as Long as Michael Bublé has Exclusive Rights to the Soundtrack

For Troy Cloutier (Thanks for the pollen, here’s some honey)

It’s winter again and Michael Bublé
Has a two for one special on Christmas carol lobotomies.
I’m working this party with my friend Troy.
We are slinging bolognaise to the affluent and
I know they won’t tip well because
They’ve never known the comforts of service,
But I smile my bad teeth smile anyway,
Even though these wine soaked bastards are really running us.
Their teeth are strait and white,
Too white, like fresh suburban snow dreams or
New Year’s resolutions that are too new to be unrealistic,
Because we all know real change is small and can’t be scheduled.

Anyway, Bernie Sanders’ identical twin is here
Cleaning up a giant Jenga set into reusable shopping bags.
He looks mythic in his expensive suit,
Kneeling down cleaning up someone else’s mess,
But it’s really his mess too. It’s everybody’s mess.
It’s like a metaphor for America that’s too obscure
For me to articulate and
Wouldn’t make a bit of difference anyhow.
No one thinks in metaphor anymore anyway.
It’s all dick jokes and social stratification.

But the wine keeps flowing and the scornful looks are
Dimly lost in the mood lighting of the fancy shack
Where we are waiting on these hogs.
Then “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” comes on
The dining rooms ubiquitous radio and
I’m running around dreaming of a day
When these white people aren’t so fucking smug.
At this point I almost welcome the apocalypse
Because it all seems so far gone and
Appealing to the humanity of the oppressors
Will never bring about any change, no matter how small.
These inclement weather patterns of the heart
Seem more tormenting than a nuclear winter wonderland
Could at this moment of feigned humility.
This Bacchus of inhuman-trash-monsters and
Climate change deniers was never fun to begin with and
The novelty has worn thinner than my patience for these
Perfect teeth winos with their Chanel handbags and
Mousy husbands who won’t tip me well anyway.
Sometimes I want to tell them off,
Tell them they are the reason the
Polar ice caps are thinning out and
The ozone layer has abandoned
Us humans to our own scrimshaw fates.
Then I remember I’m also to blame
But I need to make rent and keep my old Buicks’ belly full
So I can get where I need to be to do what needs doin’.
For this I’m the same as everyone else,
I’d just like someone to blame
So I can feel superior to
These mantis-people who keep running
Me ragged for pennies,
Even if it’s only for a moment.

At least Troy mostly feels the same and
We can mock these tools behind their backs
When they leave and we’re cleaning up their mess.
It seems like everything is a mess these days and
No one wants to clean it up anymore.
No one seems to take pride in a job well done and
I don’t know if I can take it anymore.
But my blood-type is Folgers Original and
We can drink as much coffee as we want for free
While on the clock so I guess it’s not all that bad.

The scarecrow ladies take their handbags and
Defeated husbands when they leave.
The wine glasses they leave behind
For us to clean up are drained,
But they leave rocks glasses
Full of suicide notes written in braille and
Delusional promissory notes written on their receipts.

Meanwhile, my phone keeps sending me push-notifications,
From the only ex’s I genuinely miss,
Telling me what they really think of me and
I come to realize that I have changed for the better
In small increments over time.
So I know that what they think of me is really
None of my business anyway and
We’d all be a lot happier if we didn’t concern ourselves with
How were perceived by the people who shouldn’t matter.

Serving these mammals makes me feel like a wind-up doll
So I twist my man-bun tighter and
Keep cleaning up other people’s messes.
But really I’m a sober bumblebee,
But I don’t serve a queen or have a colony
So I just keep collecting pollen and thin tips
To make honey to give away,
In an attempt at lasting sanity.


Nathanael William Stolte is the author of three chapbooks, A Beggars Book of Poems, Bumblebee Petting Zoo, & Fools’ Song. His poems have appeared in Ghost City Review, Guide to Kulture Creative Journal, Five-to-One Magazine #thesideshow, Rusty Truck Zine, Poems-For-All, The Buffalo News & Plurality Press. He is a founding member of CWPCollective Press. He is also a founder of Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective, a small band of young poets attempting to make literary poetry more approachable. He was voted best poet in Buffalo by Artvoice, “Best of Buffalo” in 2016. He is a madcap, punk-rock, D.I.Y. Buffalo bred & corn-fed poet.