3 Poems by Kyla Houbolt

The water hole

Bless This Discomfort

I am tired of almost everything.
Letting in what light there is.
Strange dolls lined up against
a mystery. It’s just a stone wall.
We all see how insane it is,
our world, that normal.
Time to sing louder
reset the clocks to no digits
slow cook all plans
dance on the head of a pin
watch yourself spin
widdershins then
sunwise then
both at once.
Banish masks. Breathe free.
After all, home is only
a temporary location
among the great wheeling stars
and the only real question
is who you are.


Water Hole

I’ve never seen a lion
but look at them, gathering at the water hole,
how thirsty they are, how they lap
up the brown water with huge raspy tongues.
Can you be satisfied with a picture? Say,
a picture of food? You can nearly smell
the spicy juices, but lions need
a real drink. Chasing down prey,
gnawing bloody joints — it’s thirsty work.
Once the lions are all gone,
we can imagine the water hole,
its loneliness, one lame
antelope drinking,
a breeze carrying dust.
We remember
not to inhale.



How much of a life
is a long walk in the wrong direction
and who’s to say anyway
wrong or right because always
alongside the edge of any trail
there are all the things: small bits
of glass, occasional flowers, torn nests —
even once in a while a whole
book might be stumbled across
possibly a boring book of
formulas for calculating the girth
of fasteners but it’s equally possible
you’d find a book of your very own ancestors’
secret stories, and say you find
such a book but it is in a language
you do not recognize and it is
musty, besmirched, has missing pages
and say you pass it by
or even carry it to a trash bin
and toss it in and then
your ancestors begin
finding your dreams?
Who’s to say that was a wrong
direction? Maybe they just want
to say thank you, our stories
belong in the trash, we never
should have told them, allowed
them to be written, we will grant you
three wishes now. And then, as always
it’s up to you, how sweetly you’ll
make a mess of your life
this time.


Kyla Houbolt’s debut micro chapbook, Dawn’s Fool, is available from IceFloe Press: https://icefloepress.net/kyla-houbolts-dawns-fool-a-microchap/ . Most of her published work can be accessed on her Linktree: https://linktr.ee/luaz_poet and she is on Twitter @luaz_poet.

“Tourist Trap” by Kyla Houbolt

He landed on the bank of a golden river. The turf there was golden under a weeping cherry tree. It was in bloom. The small person — a girl — had round eyeglasses and he wondered if she could see how the afternoon light and the reflection of the blossoms turned the river surface the color of claret. The girl was not looking there, she was taking her violin out of its case. It was badly out of tune. She tuned it skillfully, swiftly, and began to play a melody so hauntingly sweet he forgot himself and wept on his control panel which shorted out. He did not notice this at first, so mesmerized was he by the girl, her music, her large round eyeglasses which reflected the claret color of the water and its golden ripples.

Then it was time for him to leave, to return to his own era. Soon, he would need food; his body was not used to such long periods without nourishment. But the control panel was ruined and he had no way to repair it. He was trapped. This alternate timeline that seemed so charming was doomed to end, he knew, in the imminent explosion of the planet. Alas. Yet — he might just know a way to avert that catastrophe, if he acted fast. There was no time to waste, but first he needed to eat. He approached the girl and, before she could react, removed her eyeglasses. After all, he was an obligate carnivore.
They would have been
a bit too crunchy.


Kyla Houbolt’s first micro chap, Dawn’s Fool, is available from IceFloe Press. She is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. She has a bad habit of sticking poems up on trees and leaving them for any who walk by to read. Most of her published work is here: https://linktr.ee/luaz_poet.

Twitter: @luaz_poet.

“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.