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The Rave at the End of Days

04 April, 2020: The Rave at the End of Days

Read a Poem

The Rave at the End of Days

by J. R. Simons

They came from everywhere,
The fin de millennium crowd,
A cabal of fanatics,
Looking to party like it was 1999.
Brainy singles and the intellectually exceptional
Came along with established writers
Seeking new careers,
A psychologist seeking personal stories,
The natural, the earth-friendly;
Even a Jewish sperm donor
Seeking a lesbian couple came;
Each of them shouting
“Festu plu, ulo!” which translated means
“Party on, Dude!” in Esperanto.
They crammed the festival hall
Eager to get a look at the end of days,
But the end of days never came—
They drank themselves silly—
Ate themselves to bursting
Until they suffered from
Adverse food reactions—
Acid reflux—
And bronchospasms
Brought on by the smoke
Of illegal Cuban cigars.
They teemed on the dance floor –
Elbow to elbow, ass to ass,
Hip to hip, belly to belly –
Their fingers dry brushing
Their partners’ faces,
Their sweat a briny gouache
On their vellum skin
As they danced a dry humping dance.
They crowded into the fly loft
Overlooking the centerline
To watch the world die,
Dead hung in space and wheezing,
Sure to end in anaphylactic shock –
There were no death throes,
No wracking coughs of fire and smoke,
No mojo rising from the depths
To drown them in a bath of acetone
Or acetylene flames.
The rave at the end of days came and went,
Nothing more than a strange scene
Revealed in the bleedthrough
Of a painter’s scrim.
“The Rave at the End of Days” by J. R. Simons, from Buzzkill: Apocalypse - An End of the World Anthology. Night Ballet Press. 2012. Used by permission of the author.
J. R. Simons, an experienced stage director with expertise in all aspects of theatrical production, currently manages the Elyria Performing Arts Center at Elyria High School where he’s also the Drama Club’s technical director. He received his BFA and MA in Theatre from Kent State University and his MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University. 
J. R. has been married to his wonderful wife, Kim, since 1990.  The proud parents of three children and the proud owners of several pets, they live in Elyria, Ohio.
Follow J. R. on Twitter at @JRSimonsAuthor, on Facebook at, or subscribe to his Patreon account at

Write a Poem

Write a poem using one of these words from poems in last year's Best American Poetry: ochre, zaffire, rarefaction, refulgence, avows, bijou, loggias, lubric.

Geoffrey A. Landis
4/7/2020 8:55:27 PM

Shei Sanchez
"Morning Prayer"

Refulgent, her smile
Lifting the face of sorrow
Hope lives on again
4/4/2020 10:24:42 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.