Road Warrior Hawk: Poems about Depression, Anxiety and Pop Culture

Brian Alan Ellis has a new book called Road Warrior Hawk: Poems about Depression, Anxiety and Pop Culture. It’s a collection of poems about Guns N’ Roses tattoos, Hulk Hogan, punk rock, Brie Larson, love, Channing Tatum, The Golden Girls, death, Whitney Houston, Tinder, Greta Gerwig, blood, sugar, sex, magic, Beyoncé, Star Wars, Sean Penn’s performance as a mentally handicapped person in that one movie and other great things. Please enjoy this excerpt, read by the author, and then get the book. 


Room 2


 After plans go belly up,

a heartbroken man forces himself

into solitary bedroom confinement,

where he must reconnect with his once

neglected cat on the deepest levels, like

when they nap together, or even when

they listen to the music of Oasis together.

Emotions run wild in this taut buddy thriller

that Janet Maslin of The New York Times calls,

“Very sad. Very sad, indeed. Holy shit. Wow.”


We now return you to your regularly scheduled program: Sad, Poor, Borderline Invisible, and Barely Functioning


 Whenever someone mentions

a vacation they’re taking

to an exotic place I’ve never heard of,

I automatically assume they’re traveling

to the same city where

Jean-Claude Van Damme goes to train

before avenging his crippled brother

in the movie Kickboxer.


Reluctantly forcing yourself outside of a comfort zone that doesn’t even really exist


 I travel how Greta Gerwig travels,

like when she goes to Paris

in the movie Frances Ha

& just sleeps all day

& then morosely sits outside of a cafe while texting

& then almost immediately flies back home,

except I can’t afford to go to France

& I can’t ballet dance.


MTV True Life: I’m Addicted to Oversharing on the Internet (and Also Drugs, Alcohol, and Unhealthy Romantic Attachments)


 It hurts

but some things are worth the gamble,

so always slam your Pogs out on the table

and never give up, whether it’s trying to

woo someone into falling in love with you

or it’s you trying to become

a lit SoundCloud rapper.


Triggered by “safety features”


 I may or may not self-identify as

a busted rear-view mirror hanging

off of a car that the owner is too lazy

&/or broke to fix

& “Dad, why are you such a piece

of human garbage?”

is what my kid would say

if I actually had one

& I never sign in

to claim my Domino’s “pizza points,”

mainly because I feel self-destructive behavior

should not be rewarded,

but I just asked this half-eaten, dust-covered

McDonald’s Chicken McNugget I found

on my bedroom floor

to marry me

& it said yes, guys!


BRIAN ALAN ELLIS is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, Yes Poetry and Queen Mob’s Tea House, among other places. When not tweeting sad and clever things at both @brianalanellis and @HouseofVlad, he tries coaxing his psychic terror to grow a beard so that the beard can stand triumphantly atop a snowy Russian mountain à la the pivotal training montage from Rocky IV.