“The Next Number” by Kyla Houbolt


The Elvis impersonator sings to the jungle. It is the only place he can go to practice undisturbed because neighbors, also family. The jungle does not provide feedback, instead it swallows the music in great wet silent gulps. It also makes him sweat through his costume, but this is a dress rehearsal so he must soldier on. He must get really good because he craves that applause. Here is a rehearsal for hecklers. The monkeys and birds threaten to drown him out so forget crooning. The trees continue to drip on him and fill his eyes with alien water. Not his, not his at all. Come on, he tells himself, sing the next number. A snake slides along a tree limb above. He does not see it, already thinking of chemical relief, his personal porcelain ending.


Kyla Houbolt writes, mostly poetry, though she is old enough to know better. She has a micro chap coming from @IceFloe Press and is Best of the Net nominee 2019. You can find her work in Mojave He[art] Journal, Barren Magazine, Burning House/The Arsonista, Neologism, The Hellebore, and elsewhere. Most of her published work can be found via her Linktree, here: @luaz_poet | Linktree and she is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

‘where the heart ends up is a kind of funny place after all’ by Kyla Houbolt



the heart
is a great pilgrimage toward God
a muscle the size of a caravan
an endless story told to an evil tyrant
in hope of something like escape
or at least a meal and a dry bed

on pilgrimage the heart
hears many stories, believes them all
and then believes only some
and finally believes none
because the path goes on
and on and on

and the heart is weary
of all this brouhaha about itself and about
the God it has ceased to seek
yet it can’t seem to just stop and simply
melt into the side of the road

and the awareness comes to it
gradually v. gradually that that
can’t-stopness may itself be
the sought God the electrical
pulsing of something that is not time
but an alive ongoingness

and what does the heart do then?

The heart laughs
and says



Kyla Houbolt lives and writes in Gastonia, NC. She’s got various words published online, some in Black Bough Poetry, Barren Magazine, Juke Joint Magazine, and other places. When she’s not writing she can often be found spacing out somewhere, under a tree if she can find one. You can follow Kyla on Twitter @luaz_poet.