Degenerate – By: Ron Gavalik

I’m the degenerate you love to hate,

the unclean sinner who won’t toe the line.

You ridicule my independence at dinner parties,

among similarly dressed cronies,

the institutionalized prisoners

of prestige.


Hate us all, the degenerates.

Scorn the indie musician on the sidewalk.

He colors the dull march of the khakis.

Despise the painter in welfare housing.

She strokes thick lines of anguish

onto uncomfortable canvases.

Taunt the quiet poet at the end of the bar.

He writes raw truth on napkins gone ignored.


Loathe the degenerates you secretly fuck

when fashionable friends aren’t looking.

Eyes fixed on your contemptuous smirk,

I am unable to cast judgment upon you.

Another degenerate spreads her tattooed thighs

without any hope of acceptance.

She only wishes to feel for a moment

the intoxicating sensation

of your temporary love.


The degenerate’s climax is the richest syrup

that briefly covers your vanilla routines.

Debauchery provides you a moment

to feel freedom within slums,

the pleasures of darkness,

and the uninhibited passions of life

without approval.


( originally posted in the poetry collection, Sidewalks )

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