the drunken mess of my little brother dragging him home in the night away from the party he had become militantly comical screaming in the faces of other party guests and laughing in a strangely glottal way i had never really heard from him before his breath humid with beer and wet cigarette butts his torn military jacket faded
My Tupperware™ container of used batteries is a constant source of anxiety I’ve been putting batteries in it because they aren’t supposed to go in the garbage, but the container is almost full now
I think they can be dropped off at City Hall or a school—some sort of institution, an institution where they have the solutions to these kinds of problems Unfortunately, I haven’t been to any institutions lately I serve no institutional purpose; I have no institutional knowledge
When the time comes, I’ll probably just dump the batteries in the garbage Or maybe I’ll recycle them Yeah Putting batteries in the blue recycling bin almost seems eco-conscious But if batteries don’t belong in either the garbage can or the recycling bin, is one choice better than the other? Is one decision less destructive? There is something to be learned here of intent
I guess I could try the composter— try composting the batteries for a million years Maybe Green Peace would laud my dedication; an NGO committed to keeping batteries out of landfills would be founded in my name
Let’s be real, though When I inevitably throw the batteries in the trash, They will meet their landfill fate They will marinate in the soil; their acid will mix with Earth
But until then, I’ll feel good just having them right here in the Tupperware™ container on my table It’s like I’m saving the world a little
Have you heard about the great bristlecone pine? It’s the oldest living thing It can grow to be, like, 5,000 years old That’s what it felt like when I met her Like something 5,000 years old was suddenly alive
I said, “Describe his apartment for me”
I was a detective of depressing facts You were a criminal of nothing You told me you’d hooked up with him, and I thought you were joking
I said, “Describe his apartment for me.” And you said, “He has these shitty leather couches.” That’s when I knew you were telling the truth
I have this special power random people give me free food
This lady I was sitting next to at the bar ordered chili cheese fries She did not seem like someone who ordered chili cheese fries. She looked to be around 40 and took care of herself perfect white teeth She asked me if I wanted some of the fries
I said yes and she asked the bartender for another fork. She asked if it was weird sharing her food with me
My friend and I laughed and said it happens all the time.
The fries between us. I poked them with a fork and took a bite. Got drunker talked
in walks the biggest douche bag in the world Alone, wearing designer clothes and a big diamond watch
The biggest douchebag in the world sat up at the bar next to my friend. ordered wine, asked a bunch of questions about the year of the bottle and shit
he worked his way into our conversation And once that happened the conversation was only about the biggest douche bag in the world
He told us he went to Africa and started his own mining company He wanted to impress us The mine collapsed and 50 workers died He had to flee Africa and lost a bunch of money He was upset about lost money He really wanted us to know how upset he was
We all just nodded along But I couldn’t anymore I said, “man, yer like the biggest douchebag in the world.”
My friend slapped his hand on the bar counter and tossed his head back laughing The lady giving me food giggled The bartender bent over, covered her mouth, her hair drooping over her face, she twirled around and quickly walked away
“What did you say?” said the biggest douchebag in the world. I repeated with a dead stare, “I said you are the biggest douchebag in the world.”
His face got red.
“what … you can’t say that to me.”
I took a big drink of my beer then said, “yup, sure can. Just did.”
I ate more fries I closed my eyes
The fries hit good with spices. The cheese so gooey and warm The beer so cold Tasting like exotic berries
I knew I would never drink this beer again I did not know what kind of beer it was. I don’t know anything And never will
My brain swam in the warm electric pool of an afterglow acid tab Smiling mermaids as brain cells Don’t bother me
“You can’t talk to me like that. You need to show some respect.” Oh I’d forgotten about the biggest douchebag in the world. I opened my eyes Turned to him “Bro, nobody cares about your problems. Get the fuck away from us.”
It got quiet.
The biggest douchebag in the world left without finishing his wine
The chili cheese fries were gone now
The lady next to me put her hand on my shoulder I felt the tips of her nails softly pressing into my skin. she asked if I wanted to try the mac & cheese next I did
We don’t carry baggage, we carry lassos and the time has come to move on, rope someone else with our feelings, drag their nights behind our galloping will and hope they survive the long, painful cut through the mud. It’s not that I mind the gesture. It’s hard to sever ties, so we might as well start by trimming the fat before we remove the heart entirely. It’s just a picture. Two people smiling about something, with a filter that made us look like sepia gods, soaked in the sun of a beautiful, infinite day. But I can’t stop thinking about the morning of. We stopped for breakfast and you told me, in between bites of your McGriddle, that thing I promised I’d never repeat, I reciprocated and we cried, guiding our horses for another round of circling the barrels long-since filled with poison from our respective upbringings. But we drove and eventually, we parked. We found the sun and shed the greater weight for the smaller moment. For company so perfect we had to save it. Smile into your camera and preserve the day. Celebrate. Not because we found happiness, but because we’d found each other.
But fuck me, I guess.
Timothy Tarkelly is a poet from Southeast Kansas. He’s had two books published by Spartan Press. When he’s not writing he teaches English to Ninth Graders. One of them recently described his ponytail as “immaculate.”
There is an Asian man on the subway He likes swimming with dog sharks I know this because I just overheard him He said this to his friend:
“I like swimming with dog sharks,” he said “It’s nice,” he said
I have never been swimming with dog sharks It is a regret I didn’t realize I had I don’t even know what a dog shark looks like I picture a German shepherd underwater It is gliding towards me with fangs exposed The dog shark has tiny fins and they are wagging frantically like so many tails
I should have asked the Asian man what dog sharks look like if only so I could picture them better and relay the details to you
If I was ever in the water with you and saw one I could say, “Look, there’s a dog shark” My knowledge of dog sharks would totally impress (I hope nobody asks any follow-up questions about dog sharks)
I guess I’ll just search “dog sharks” on the Internet but it’s not the same
I often eavesdrop—it’s something I can’t help but I’d never overheard anyone talking about dog sharks before So I really should have asked that Asian man on the subway
I should have asked him about dog sharks I think I would have learned something
I want to write the Jurassic Park of Great American Novels But I’m worried that might actually just be Jurassic Park
I call the help lines on subway ads
Look for answers in phone books
I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of failure,
and I’m a glossary of defeat
What’s a synonym for all of this?
My life seems beyond definition
—only because nobody has come up
with terminology so bizarre,
vernacular so flawed
I read Web MD entries to satisfy my neurosis
There are sick plot twists in books
about the Bermuda Triangle
that I read as a kid
Josh Sherman does run the @iamdave_hello Twitter account.
light blowing through slatted bamboo | across faded carpet spottedwith reds | mustards | strands of pale pup fluff and shreds of shattered leaves | washing tides rolling and ebbing like the years of psychedelic trees inconsistent in design and direction independent of the moon
the last warm sip the next morning is even sweeter than golden nectar of dreamed up gods luring me again inside a predestined quicksand Wednesday by hungry overlapped voids unwilling to be shuttered unfed
Don’t Forget Breakfast
my nostrils flare & flap like dry gills suckling air unsettled with churning richness of butter- drenched popped corn sagging, stubborn, in its own congealment – salty, lip-puckering & liquified sunshine crème. or maybe it’s the peeled & boiled eggs I left in a foggy bowl next to the sulfur- dank sink, steam twisting, oblique, for the hills. I squeeze them between finger and thumb like plump cysts to be certain they’re ready and, pleased enough, I lock them away, droplets dangling, tucked roughly on a too-tight shelf that squeezes them like shackles on a beauty awaiting an unavoidable fate as the next scheduled snack for a giant, drooling ape.
Stephen Ground recently packed his life in his truck and drove to the centre of the continent, where he makes movies and writes poems about the weirdness in the air.
i just want to read liver mush dot com every morning
after i read pitchfork and a blog about jeans
i want liver mush dot com to replace twitter dot com
the headlines will read “liver mush dot com is the most popular website ever”
“liver mush dot com in works to purchase facebook dot com”
liver mush dot com tastes like selling your soul to make a friend and i’m here
once liver mush dot com exists there will be subcultures on liver mush dot com
ingroups and elites and innovators making liver mush dot com their own
weird liver mush
alt lit liver mush
podcasts hosted by liver mush personalities
a new yorker article getting it embarrassingly wrong
quote liver mushes on liver mush
re liver mushes
sub liver mushes
“the creator of liver mush dot come deserves the guillotine”
everything runs its course
“the creator of liver mush dot com is hiding at a mountain retreat meditating
on the vaguest bullshit you can imagine”
the creator of liver mush dot com abandons all thought of liver mush
we have to deal with it now
CHRIST’S BODY BROKEN FOR YOU
a slice of liver mush crumbles
under the spatula’s pressure
as i try and flip it
Graham Irvin lives in Philadelphia, PA. His column, SOUTH x SOUTH JERSEY, is at BULL: Men’s Fiction. He has other writing at The Nervous Breakdown, Maudlin Press, and the Neutral Spaces Blog. His twitter account is @grahamjirvin.
The unraveling began when the barstools I bought on craigslist were too short for the counter. I laughed at the thread rustling out of the side of me. That was a sign, but I didn’t know. I just tucked the string back into the seam and the stools under the ledge, and went about my day.
The loose thread rippled my fabric gently, quietly. I felt the cloth twisting in my ribs as I held my breath in the middle of the night, wide eyes staring into blackness, trying not to move. The whiskey tugged at the strand mildly at first, but pulled harder and harder every night. In time, molten liquor burnt reckless holes in the swatches.
I wove apologetic patches. “Sorry” makes everyone feel better, even if it wasn’t my fault. I would hem delicate sheer shrouds with heavy yarn, thick and sweet. I could tell that something was off, but it held me together for a time.
The last stitch unwound itself on the day I moved out. My new apartment is an unwrinkled bolt of whatever I want it to be – wool, lace, twill, joy. I hang silence like bunting on the walls, to brighten up the place. I took the barstools with me.
Maggie Petrella (she/her) is a poet based in Buffalo, New York, but currently probably lost somewhere in the continental US. Her poetry has appeared in Detritus Online, dreams walking, and The Daily Drunk Mag. She tweets @maggie_425.
I like my life but it’s unexpected After Erich’s tweet
college degree, $100,000 in debt, slinging coffeehouse lattes at privileged mommies and daddies whose kids want cake pops and won’t be quiet till they get them
scan the job ads looking for a way to put four years of rhetoric and econ and history classes to use but there’s 1400 other college grads and laid-off middle managers competing for every one
I want to do good in the world, make change, care for my parents when they grow old – but right now that looks more like someone else’s future or maybe no one’s
look around it’s the same for everyone, nothing special about me, a whole generation getting skilled at punching cash registers and clearing drinks from tables, thank you ma’am just happy for the work
my best buds have had bad jobs, no jobs, gone back to school hoping it’ll be different the second time around, most of us still living with our parents, sleeping in the same beds we had before puberty
friday nights I’m cleaning locker rooms at the high school picking up the left-behind jock strap of some kid whose future I can predict cuz I’m living it now
don’t get me wrong – I like my life but it’s unexpected
Spoon-feed a sick hamster from a jar of baby food and you, too, will form a bond
Days later, when she dies on the table during surgery you never imagined paying for, you, too, will cry
Then you’ll stifle your sobs and sniffles, collect your child from school, and prepare to break the news
Later, you’ll gather your family around the dining table still mourning, and draw together, pictures of hamster memories
One will become the memorial card your child hands to friends to harness his grief and theirs
Kim Kishbaugh is a former journalist whose poetry and other stuff has been published in some places, including here on the Back Patio. She wanders through the world looking for magic and sometimes finds it. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @kkish.
Blade Runner 2069 Our sleek, candy and blue lit, forged-cast titanium pizzas are mind meltingly mouthable and come with your choice of sides, like fried spanners, everything the wired doll needs. Necromancy in case of malfunction is not advised.
Aqua Vitae Emotionally numb, I walk, down, down, down, into the ocean. The vampire squid are in bloom. I can’t extract soluble oxygen. Don’t wait up for me.