‘Birdshit’ by Laurie Welch

Birdshit

There is a canary
trapped in the mind.

But can anyone tell
if he’s alive yet?

Well, are you
having any ideas

about what dying isn’t
wanted for?

Birdshit

Isn’t what you thought was
how can I fake my own death
when I am probably already dead?

(I found a great canary
and he was so great
in the faked-up backdrop with me…)

Maybe a fake death is more painful.
You have to keep waking up
to plan for it

Eulogy for A Great Canary

He couldn’t replace himself
in a language famous for

making up mistakes. So he kept
all of his receipts on the nightstand

wondering oh how yellow
they get, and wrinkled.

You can’t return anything
to what it was

no matter how fake it was
trying to make it count.

Birdshit

I’m thinking the sky is
one coat on a hanger.

In a closet?
Don’t know.

What about these sequins
in our fists like it meant

we would probably have
ten billion mirages for an exit?


Laurie Welch earned an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. Her poems have appeared in LA Review, Forklift, Ohio, and others. She lives and teaches in Omaha.Attachments area

“GATEWAY 2000 & Other Poems” Excerpt by Mike Andrelczyk

This book of poetry is available for pre-order from Ghost City Press. For more information click here


Gateway 2000 

our first computer  

came in a big box 

that looked like a cow 

like a computer disguised as a cow  

a computer harvested from a farm 

I guess it was their marketing thing 

it was supposed to be the computer of future back then 

the name was even futuristic   

Gateway 2000 

it was like Christmas 1994 

we also got an Encarta ’95 encyclopedia CD-ROM 

what even was time back then  

we also got a chess game and a golf game and a skiing game 

there was also a fighter jet game that made flying stealth fighter jets 

seem very boring  

until you were pelted with missiles  

and you exploded 

I mostly played the chess game 

the CPU was named Ziggurat 

in the beginning I liked Ziggurat 

because on the Beginner level I could win 

and Ziggurat explained the openings 

there was the Giuoco Piano, the Queen’s Pawn Gambit 

the Ruy Lopez, the King’s Fianchetto 

I liked the Fianchetto for its dramatic sweeping bishops 

and you could even occasionally catch Ziggurat off guard on Beginner 

that’s when I felt smarter than the cow computer 

(and if you ever feel smarter than a computer that’s a bad sign) 

(to outdo a computer with emotion is another story) 

after a few weeks on Beginner I skipped right to the Grand Master level 

then Ziggurat wasn’t my chess pal anymore 

Ziggurat got deadly serious 

its moves were instant, efficient and played with menacing intent 

it was a wolf in a cow suit in a computer suit 

I never won again. 

soon I switched to the golf game or searched the Encarta ’95 CD-ROM 

I fell absently into a portal to infinite information 

I searched for Rutherford B. Hayes because my dad’s mom’s like great- great-grandmother 

was Lucy Ware Hayes, the First Lady 

they called her Lemonade Lucy, I think it was because she liked  lemonade and hated alcohol 

I liked lemonade and hated alcohol too, but I was like 10 

the article on Rutherford B. Hayes said he was considered an average  president 

it seemed weird to me that a president could just be considered average,  but I was like 10 

I wondered if being related to a president made me anything special 

but no I was not anything special 

I wondered who the last president would be, probably nobody that special  

the last man on earth  

might not be all that great either  

(I wonder when men will stop 

needing someone to tell them what to want and to do) 

I wanted a lemonade and I was bored of Rutherford 

I played the skiing game 

the skiing game started slow and got faster as you slalomed further    

down the slope and you could jump on the jumps and do tricks  

like flipping through space  

until a big furry monster inevitably gobbled you up 

then that was the end 

the randomness of the ending bothered me, but I was like 10 

then like a bunch of years went by 

ok 

then I was in college and tripping on psilocybin  

absently accessing a portal to ancient info 

I was alone  

and I had my head on my pillow  

and my head was like exploding onto my pillow, but, like sweetly and  softly exploding 

and everything was a pale purple 

a white and black pyramid grew out of my brain 

and it kept adding levels and levels and  

anxious levels 

and I knew it was Ziggurat  

a wolf dressed like computer dressed like a mushroom growing  

from inside cow shit (my brain) 

and I still sucked at chess 

and Ziggurat was probably like three moves away from 

gobbling me up furry monster-style 

checkmate 

but it was different now  

it was cool  

because I could just open  

my eyes whenever 

and everything would disappear 

and I could just keep flipping through space  

just like this 

until 

the end  

The Paranormal Enthusiast Frat Boy Sees a Ghost Palindrome  

Bro! Orb! 

A Disembodied Voice Makes a Command Regarding Muffins (chill out mix) 

I stopped at the grocery store late one night  

And I heard a computerized female voice say: 

Enter your muffins.


3 Poems by Giacomo Pope

I Was in a Band Too, Back in the Day

Men who lift
their gut
up over
a belt strap
while looking
in your eyes

earnestly
telling you
their jeans size
hasn’t changed
for 15 years.

I renewed my gym
membership recently.

I’m really excited
to get back into it.

Peacock

Spring reminds me of the snap
As my nail cut a daffodil from the ground.
I would place the stem behind my ear.
It was a terrible way to make friends.

Chainsaw Poem 14

No, I’m sorry.
You see, I tore off
the starter chain.

I wouldn’t be able
to turn it back on.

Giacomo Pope is the author of Chainsaw Poems & Other Poems (Ghost City Press) and the founder of Neutral Spaces. If you ask, he will do your maths homework for you.

Velvet Darkness by Brooke Nicole Plummer

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After looking at the Hart Crane memorial sculpture,

I vomited into the Cuyahoga River

because I had too much cannoli at Sainato’s.

Even with a broken foot, I climbed Brandywine trails
to look down upon boulders the size of Megalodon skulls,

which are landscaping rust belt conservation areas.

One of my worst fears
is being too faint of heart,
in regards to myself.

A raccoon scuttered into pink shrubbery. It can feel the rain without getting wet.
I need the same ancient intuition, like Emersonian ink being a lifestyle of velvet darkness.

‘Bob’ by Danie Hensley

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bob used to walk his dog taffy past my place every day

taffy shit on my lawn
i didn’t mind

bob moved here from Florida and was always cold;
he wasn’t prepared for the cruelty of Michigan’s weather. as an ex-Floridian myself, i assured him that things would get better, that it’s not so bad here
things would get better
things would get better

so bob and taffy walked on- just as they had done the day before and would do the day after
it’s been a year since i’ve seen them
the seminoles flag in bob’s yard is at half-mast
and my lawn is clean.

2 Poems by Wallace Barker

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Origami City

heading back to work on a cold and sunny day
ive earned a living my entire life now i support
plenty of other people i drive to the office
spend 8 or 10 hours frustrated and cross
then drive back home at night often eat dinner
alone that i have warmed up in the microwave
i know about quiet desperation but i also know
about real desperation because i have driven beneath
the overpass and seen the homeless encampment there
the city folds over onto itself and some people
are crushed that way and some people navigate
the creases over and over even as the folding
leaves a smaller and smaller page

 

Peaceful Easy Feeling

I was very drunk at a martini party
sitting around the fire pit with some
young successful tech bros and lawyers
my friend gave me a vape pen with
indica weed when I first arrived and

I was stoned losing my grip.
These guys were talking at me about
something but the fire was so warm
I couldn’t really respond and I thought my
normal thoughts about being overwhelmed
and possibly inferior and then you arrived
Alicia in your green dress and black boots
with your bangs falling across your glasses
and I liked that so much I like you so much
you seemed very cool to me.
I told the guys around the fire that you
are my wife in an interrupting manner and
I felt very glad and self-assured about you.
That made me calm and strong in my thoughts.
The fire was indeed warm so I sat back and
you talked and made everyone laugh.

 

Wallace Barker lives in Austin, Texas. He has been published in Neutral Pages, Reality Hands, Soft Cartel, and Philosophical Idiot. More of his work can be found at wallacebarker.com

Rusted by David Bassano

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Rusted brick-red Chevy van

with our sleeping bags

spread out on plywood

in the back

 

Carrying our amps through

slushy parking lots at three AM

 

Playing those bars in

Wildwood

Somerset

Vineland

Stockton

Atlantic City

 

We lived from our music

and a little theft and dealing

eighteen, nineteen,

very poor and very happy.

 

We said a musician’s life

was the best in the world.

Enjoy your 9 to 5 prison, drones.

 

One by one, we left that life.

I remember Mike saying,

quietly and decisively,

“I’m tired of this,”

 

of having no money

of sleeping on friends’ floors,

of eating on the sidewalk,

 

of sex in back rooms

and hangovers

without stability

without love

 

So

we cut our hair

went to college

bought new clothes

 

Got jobs, wives, houses, and children.

 

And then

we got tired of those lives, too.

 

You get tired of everything

eventually

I guess.

 

It worries me about heaven.

I’m sure we’ll get bored with that, too.

But where do you go from there?

David Bassano gives history lectures for fun and rent money. He likes bike trails, Paris along the river, and Glenmorangie on the rocks. He published a novel called Trevelyan’s Wager. Any complaints should be addressed to: https://www.facebook.com/davidbassanoauthor/

F/24/Manic by Jenna Houchin

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The smartest mouth breather
In the conference room,
And I yell, “fuck a 9 to 5”
Mr. and Mrs. Miserable
On a good day,
Wish we could just
Fuck while getting high.
Wouldn’t take it back
Even if I tried,
I was raised poorly.
It feels like a waste.
Sitting right here,
Now with first class seats,
And still, with an economy sized taste.
No matter how sweetly
I write the chorus,
My therapist never seems
To comprehend
The duality of man:
I think apple juice
Is the best chaser,
And I’ll never be as
Close to the Son there again.

Jenna Houchin is an artist based in Los Angeles, California, originally from the midwest. She recently has self-published her first poetry book, FULL THROTTLE. For more information, check out her website at jennahouchin.com, or reach her on Instagram (@jennahouchin).

2 Prose Poems by Rickey Rivers Jr.

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Conversation

I don’t like quietness in conversation. At some point it’s not a conversation anymore. It’s just me talking and the other person sitting or standing there listening. Not even a sound of confirmation, not even a head nod, just silence. It’s at this point where I begin to wonder where their mind has taken them and why have they not chosen to take me there with them. It’s important to involve others in your mind, to not let conversation become stagnant. It’s okay to let others in. One time I held a one way conversation with a woman and she stared at me the whole time. Once I was done talking I expected a response, actual politeness. At least acknowledge me. But no, even after I finished she stared blankly as if transported to some pleasant far away land. I didn’t ask. I just walked away from the rudeness. What use is conversation with a corpse? I ask you this question seriously. Even now I’m reminded of her rudeness, her sitting there leaning, her blankly being present and yet not present in conversing. A person is a shell if they refuse to converse. You might as well be discarded if you’re a shell, and she was a shell sitting there, quiet, like she hadn’t moved for a long time.

 

Bounce

At the club people dance, romance; you want to join but you don’t know the meaning of coordination. So you sit back and watch, merging with the walls, becoming a pattern of flesh and bone colors. The people don’t notice. No one notices the person who has now become the scenery. They continue to dance and romance, so many bodies on the floor. It stinks in here and yet the smell is not unpleasant. Someone rolls over to you, almost catching your eye but you refuse their iris and instead pretend to be elsewhere. So they roll away and romance with another. The unrecognizable song blaring from the sound system suddenly changes and the people begin to bounce. They behave as if drug induced, bouncing off the ceiling and hitting the walls viciously. They move in coordination, booming and splatting against you, their bodies sweaty and large. How much longer can you last before you leave? Will you die here unnoticed? Finally, you exhale and withdraw from your self-made walled enclosure. Almost immediately vomit exits your body and the people are still bouncing. Some land in front of you, splashing and slipping in your waste. They seem not to notice in their current rate of motion. You apologize to no one and stand to make your leave. Just then someone grabs you, placing something small into your retched mouth. Now you are bouncing as well. There is no care in the bounce, no worries or troubles. It is almost like life itself is pulling you away from it all.

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor. He has been previously published with Fabula Argentea, Back Patio Press, Every Day Fiction, (among other publications). https://storiesyoumightlike.wordpress.com/. You may or may not find something you like there. Tweets at @storiesyoumight. His third mini collection of 3×3 poems is available now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VDH6XG5

3 Poems by Capella Parrish

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Break

It is not the depression
I can handle quicksand
It always stops at the nape of my neck
It is the anxiety
The inability to feel / cuts me
Asked the question / I fall apart
I have no answer to

 

Trajectory of Decay

Recovery is a process
The road is fraught with demons
Looking for relief from the pain
Why should I try, I am not worthy of it
Everything shatters; This is why we can’t have nice things
Moment to moment, I shut down and go into my head
I exist in a hospital without walls
My soul is glass
Look inside: it is rotten

 

Press Start

Look in. Press start.
It does no good unless you turn it on. Press start.
Clear liquid. It also helps if you put a filter with coffee in it. Press start.
It is even more helpful if you flip on the switch in the back.
Coffee is overrated. I should wean myself from my caffeine addiction.
I should stop trying to make things work and just wing it. Cold turkey.
Not today.

Capella Parrish works as an intern in Behavioral Health and is a EMT Disaster Service Worker working with the homeless. She writes without a filter from the underbelly of life and is a first-year MFA Creative Nonfiction candidate with an emphasis in Narrative/ Poetic Medicine at Dominican University of California.