The Real​-​World Problems We Face

by 90s Meg Ryan



MEREDITH BARDO did the album art and site header.
She is an xtreme loser living in Portland, OR. She spends her time drawing cute dudes in turtlenecks and having one-person 80's dance parties.
More of her work here:
90's MEG RYAN is an audio archive of new poetry, prose,
and music. It is half literary journal/half series of digital LPs.
This journal doesn't own any rights to anything Meg Ryan
–––––– GUIDELINES–––––––
Send the *text* of 1-3 poems or 1 story (~700 words) as an e-mail attachment. Work must be left-aligned, no weird spacing, no italics or bolds or underlines.
If I want to publish the words, we'll discuss recording.
Feel free to toss a note, a bio, a decent YouTube vid, a funny .jpeg, a cool Subreddit, whatever in the e-mail. I like that.
Musicians, shoot me the link to your BandCamp or website.
Be smart, use the subject line.
Here I am:
AUSTIN HAYDEN runs 90's Meg Ryan.
I try to get the spacing right in the "lyrics" section.
I try very hard to represent every THPS2 skater in each issue.
THANK YOU: Colleen, Mom, Carrie, Elysia, Austin, Tulo, Dillon – for listening to me & guiding this issue in the right direction.
THANK YOU: My Comcast internet – for barely ever kicking me off.
THANK YOU: Joshua Young – for always posting emo songs on FB.
QUICK REMINDER: Black lives matter, Alexis Pope is still the truth, your lit journal isn't punk rock, terrorism is not an ideology- it's a tactic, "Moment in the Sun" by Clem Snide is untouchable, and we should listen to Ellen when she says, "Be kind to one another."
Long live Meg Ryan.


released February 3, 2015


all rights reserved



90s Meg Ryan Muncie, Indiana

In 1989 Meg Ryan immortalized herself as Sally Albright.
Throughout the next decade, she mesmerized us all.

contact / help

Contact 90s Meg Ryan

Track Name: JESSE NISSIM - "I See a Sad Thing on a Hill"
– I See a Sad Thing on a Hill –

If the offspring of a storm’s
warning is the tension
between swell and burst
the sea seizes and shrinks
like a failing battery. It’s
time to announce that
something’s gone terribly
wrong. Too bad the sky
smirks and covers us with
its silence. If imperialists
will always push the borders
back into the bodies like brick
fences then I guess on goes the
waterspout of the century
moving all the plastics farther
out to the perimeter. Let’s rinse
our hands of the sly business
of measurements, push down
like life or death to anchor
our floating hearts.

Some people I know suffer
their own clouds. They duplicate
themselves straight into the woods.
It looks like unidentified dangersputter
over a playground.
Is that what a drone is like?
I watch from a small hill
at a close distance. These are
not the urgent movements of a child
whose parent is always gone
on something like an island.
Because no machine can ever change
its mind we need each other
to be more and more alive. I think
I might have enough cracks to hold
a whole set of the world’s unsent
messages. Too bad I’m not sure who
is who or where is where inside my heart.
I mean it’s possible to fold up like paper
into a stranger’s purse but there’s gotta
be a better way to absorb these sprawling
campuses of no-good business, these
drought-induced bullets. Personless actions
are so much scarier than ill-intentioned persons.

JESSE NISSIM is the author of Day cracks between the bones of the foot (Furniture Press Books, forthcoming in 2015), Where They Would Never Be Invited (Black Radish Books, forthcoming in 2016), as well as several chapbooks. Her poems have recently appeared in (or will soon appear in) DUSIE, Handsome, H_NGM_N, New American Writing, La Petite Zine, Really System, Shampoo, Spoon River Poetry Review and Sixth Finch.
Track Name: ADAM CLAY - "Missteps"

Main street divided
partially by trees,
and the grounds

of Ashland glow
white for a day or two,
at best, and then

there’s the whatever-
happens-next. I admit
I find some pleasure

in the thought of
a catastrophic end
to it all: the sun

swallowing up itself,
perhaps. All moments
are precarious, held up

alone in the glare of day.
What life reminds me of
is a door we’ve never seen

but somehow we have
to imagine a way
of passing through it.

ADAM CLAY is the author of A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012) and The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006). A third book of poems is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Crab Orchard Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, The Kenyon Review Online, Black Warrior Review, Iowa Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He co-edits TYPO Magazine and teaches at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Track Name: LAURA RELYEA - "Kesha Offers Some Advice"
– Kesha Offers Some Advice –

Kesha reminds me: my mouth is an open wound. She reminds me not to touch it, or mind it. I think, maybe it’s not just my mouth. Maybe none of me should touch anything right now. Kesha is my confidante and my first and fifth houseguest. She has her own key. We host a feast together. We burn tokens of past loves at the end of my cul de sac, singing the National Anthem over the pyre. We pour expensive tequila over everything – the sidewalk, the open flames, our open wounds. This is the beginning of my healing process, she reminds me. She also reminds me that we’ve survived and will continue to. The trick is to leave it alone, let the world wash on you. She promises me someday I’ll barely see the scars.

LAURA RELYEA lives in Atlanta, GA with her dog, Wolfman Jack. Her book, All Glitter, Everything, will be republished by Deer Bear Wolf this upcoming March. She both fears and respects glitter.
Track Name: COOL POINTS - "Not Your Bro"
– Not Your Bro –

don't talk to me about chicks cuz i have a vagina
i don't have penis envy, just a sex drive
so don't tell me all the stupid things that make you feel alive
cuz i'm a fucking girl in and outside

i'm not your bro
so don't stick your dick in my face and not expect me to blow

you came to the conclusion that i don't have a gender
it's easy to assume that i'd understand
cuz my charisma's kind of low and other girls have the upper hand
there's just something me that screams FRIEND

i'm not your bro
so don't stick your dick in my face and not expect me to blow

but i like it when you confide in me and i like it when it shows
that you are my best friend and everybody seems to know
that we can click together but don't have to be in love
but i can't help it

i'm not your bro
so don't stick your dick in my face and not expect me to blow

COOL POINTS is a band from Philadelphia. Jill sings, Alex is on guitar, Donald plays bass, and Pierce drums.
Track Name: AUGUST SMITH - "Hello, Young America"
– Hello, Young America –

My name is August Smith,
established poet,
teen heart murmur,
friend to small animals,
presidentially pardoned,
here to assure you
that I am both extremely strong
and very cool.
My smile: hotly debated
on various gossip blogs.
My personality:
up twelve points
on the NASDAQ.
My patriotism: convenient
and my friends: wealthy.

Like you, I am motivated by
good intentions
and have
strong morals.

And after a long day
of writing
and editing
difficult poems,
there’s nothing I like more
to recharge my mind and body
than a toasty, delicious
Quiznos® sub sandwich, with
the perfect balance of exceptional ingredients,
low prices, high volume, fresh mindset,
progressive politics, youthful appeal,
essential nutrients, and high-quality
hearth-borne hand-ground multigrain bread,
ideal for lunch, dinner,
or god help me
You’re good enough for this sandwich,
Young America. You’re worthy
of this smile that winks and twitches
through the airwaves.
I will follow you like a twice-branded puppy
through the doorways of your home,
feed you this sandwich
while you lounge,
beset by soft lights,
enclosed by inoffensive music,
supine upon a gently warping water bed
upon which not a single crumb will fall.

AUGUST SMITH is a franchised fast-food restaurant brand based in Denver, Colorado, who specializes in offering toasted submarine sandwiches. He runs Cool Skull Press and attends University of Massachusetts Boston.

Music: excerpt of “Dream Array (Movement II)” by Kyle Landstra
Track Name: MICHELLE PEÑALOZA - "Snacks Might Save Us All"
– Snacks Might Save Us All –

Your laughter is a painted rock
when you say, “These are the object-moments
of our lives.” And in my head, I’m singing,
Chain, chain, chaaaaaain. Chain of fools,
trying to pay attention to the object-moment
happening right now between us.
The ties that bind are multitudinous—
sequin, dollar chain, dog collar—
and we are all directionally-challenged
movement-artists looking for a space to perform.
The masks we wear—well, we’re right
to be suspicious. But, baked goods
and well-packaged snacks will change
the minds of even the most mistrustful.
Still, we wonder sometimes, looking
askance at each other—Real? Or metaphor?
How will we ever make progress with our ghosts?

MICHELLE PEÑALOZA grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Her poetry has appeared most recently in The Asian American Literary Review, TriQuarterly, Oversound, Pinwheel, and INCH. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the University of Oregon, Kundiman, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, the Richard Hugo House, and Literary Arts. Her chapbook, landscape / heartbreak, is forthcoming from Two Sylvias Press on Valentine's Day, 2015.
Track Name: MICHELLE PEÑALOZA - "Talking Heads"
– Talking Heads –

I look to the internet and to the stars,
for advice and for explanation.
My own feelings are difficult to read.

A coffee-table book of birthdays says
I am of the Week of Balanced Strength
and you the Week of Sensitivity.

The traits of our relationship:
“Honest, unbalanced, supportive,
depressive.” Advice for this pairing:

“aggression isn't necessarily
productive.” To love a friend
is harder than to love a lover.

Easier to ask how did I get here.
Easier to forget why you would
fight to stand in the same place.

MICHELLE PEÑALOZA grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Her poetry has appeared most recently in The Asian American Literary Review, TriQuarterly, Oversound, Pinwheel, and INCH. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the University of Oregon, Kundiman, Artist Trust, Jack Straw, the Richard Hugo House, and Literary Arts. Her chapbook, landscape / heartbreak, is forthcoming from Two Sylvias Press on Valentine's Day, 2015.
Track Name: B E ∀ R - "Body/So/Cold"
– Body/So/Cold –

B E ∀ R is Adam. Born in Miami Florida but currently residing in Broward, Pembroke Pines area. Preferring the wavier side of the spectrum. Style and influence all fall under an underwater neo-soul type of vibe.
twitter/instagram: @glockocean
Track Name: SANDRA SIMONDS - "Tyra Banks"
– Tyra Banks –

I have learned so much from Tyra Banks
I know how stupid that sounds
This poem is going to be about Sir Gawain
and the Green Knight
According to Tyra, you are not
supposed to say “I am a janitor’s son” but
“I AM a janitor’s son” with the emphasis on the word “AM”
the way I have put it in caps and bolded it out right here
except this poem is about Gawain
and how he goes on a journey and how he claims
that he is stupid and small
to the Green Castle to sacrifice himself
for King Arthur and the knights of the round table
and Jourdan has just won the night in the “Tyra
Suite” which means
she can use the telephone as much as
she wants so she can call her boyfriend and all you
hear is Jourdan saying
“but I didn’t mean to kiss
him” and “I told you this is TV
and you have to do things you don’t
want to do” or she says some shit like that
that we’ve all heard and all the other models
are mad because she’s taking so much
time on the phone even though
technically she’s allowed to spend the whole hour
on the phone because she won
because she always wins because she’s white
and straight so everyone hates her so she
hates everyone and says “this is why I CHOOSE
NOT to have friends or interact with people”
which vaguely reminds me of the man
I’m sure we’ve almost all forgotten by now
who shot up the school in Santa Barbara
or was it San Diego or somewhere out there

From my observations though I am drunk
as I watch this since I only watch this show
to blow off steam after work
The contestants are stupid and poor
Jourdan says, “I don’t know what a Goth is
because I come from a small town with no
Blacks and few Hispanics”

And as I sit here on my bed drinking red wine
my babies sound asleep in the other room
I think I am so sick of rich
white people I don’t think that I can take it anymore
All the producers and managers
and cinematographers of our sad little bodies
and narratives that are supposed to read like
Gawain and The Green Knight but just end up
drinking and watching shows we
probably don’t want to watch because we are so attached
to our misery and capitalism is so attached
to our misery
that we can’t take it anymore

And if you are supposed to say I AM a janitor’s son
as Tyra suggests comforting the contestant
the actual janitor’s son
why is Tyra holding a photo
shoot in a trailer park and everyone is supposed
to put on fake Southern accents

even though in real life they are already poor
and one of the contestants
maybe Josh or the guy with the weave
whatever his name is says “I’ve got this one
because I grew up poor” and then Jourdan’s like
“I’ve got this because I only have
$3 in my bank

account” and now all the models are like
this is the one fashion shoot I can nail except
they don’t nail it because even though they are poor
in real life, on reality TV they
are not photographing
beautifully enough to pull off looking poor to
get assignments from the rich people who
want to extract as much as they can from their flesh and
they will go back home and some might commit

suicide or go back into their shitty relationships
Like Jourdan who got married at 18 and divorced at 19
and she keeps talking about it over and over as a plot
device or the contestant who is too afraid
to do the catwalk
underwater because of his PTSD

or the one who is afraid of life
sized stuffed animals and the producers are like
Part of being a winner is pushing through
your fear of the gigantic stuffed cow head
Even though all the other contestants
and everyone watching including me knows
that there’s no way in hell she’s going to win
because she’s too small looking and black
Just like the one gay man who can’t possibly
win and everyone knows it though on the surface
he is pretty nice to everyone
even though underneath it all
one senses a rage that’s probably the most
real thing in the show

So I promise that this poem isn’t going
to be another stupid
poem about pop culture and if I make it about Sir
Gawain then you will know that I have PhD
And that will carry us through the poem

about people who are too dumb to understand
the mirrored exploitation
they undergo as I sit here
in the very position of the contestant
Because I am of course also part of that
complex mirror as I am so drunk now and just gazing and gazing and gazing and gazing
At Jourdan’s long white legs which make me want

to either fuck shit up or go to the gym and sacrifice myself
To what? To capitalism? To Gawain? Being
blonde? Being gay? Being straight? Being
fucked? Being fucked up? Being poor? I’m so fucked up
Being trash? Being what?
The way Gawain is prepared to sacrifice
himself for the court I mean for the world

SANDRA SIMONDS is the author of four books of poetry; Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Press, 2012), House of Ions, (Bloof Books, 2014) and The Glass Box (Saturnalia Books, 2015). She is an assistant professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.
Track Name: THE GYTTERS - "Divebombers"
– Divebombers –

THE GYTTERS was a band from the Bronx. Daniele moved down to Washington DC and formed the band Priests, Martin plays in Elk City, and Scott currently plays in Beverly.

Elk City:
Track Name: JASON BAYANI - "Year Sixteen"
– Year Sixteen –

It was an empty summer. We sat in cars and said nothing.
Maybe looked for things to break or sat around in one place
for too long. Always looking for some new place to be.
We hit the freeways and my boy would roll down
the backseat window and put the side
of his face out for a bit. Til the cheekbone went a little red.
In the parking lots we used to play bloody knuckles.
The only way you could win is that you had to like the pain
a little bit. Sometimes there was a girl and you wished
the girl would stay a little longer, or not make you have to say it.
To both hold and deliver you. The only thing you ever know how to do
is to ask for too much. So you ask for too much and all of the days
just keep accumulating. All the memories are newer and you forget
more things. Even the body has newer stuff. Not quite
the same, just a little different until it’s completely different.
And you think, will this be what it’s like when I’m gone. Having
to adjust to this new thing I am, knowing I was something else, before.
I went to two funerals at the end of the summer. Two of my friends
got thrown out the back of a truck because they were racing
down the street and the driver lost control of the vehicle. Sometimes
I wonder what that driver's newer self looks like; if 16 is the year
that won’t shake loose; that never changes when everything else does.
At the end of 16 we were at our buddy’s house when another friend
came in, bloodied and beat up just looking for a place to sleep
so he wouldn’t have to go home and have his parents see him
like this. He got jumped in that night to some local gang. We figured
we weren’t going to see him around much anymore
and we were right. There were days we’d see him in passing.
Always in a group. Never alone. Couldn’t help but think about
how dangerous he had seemed now. How oddly safe
that must feel.

JASON BAYANI is the author of "Amulet" from Write Bloody Press. He's an MFA grad from Saint Mary's College, a Kundiman fellow, and is currently the program manager for Kearny Street Workshop, the longest running multi-disciplinary Asian Pacific American arts org in the country.
Track Name: TOMMY PICO - "from Nature Poem"
– from Nature Poem –

I can't write a nature poem
bc it's redundant for an NDN person
to write
a nature poem

Let's say I'm at a pizza parlor
Let's say I'm having a slice at the bar this man walks in to pick up his to-go order
Let's say his order isn't ready yet and he's chatty
Let's say I'm in Portland bc ppl don't tawlk to me in NYC
Let's say he's like, meatballs are for the baby, pizza's for the little man, Ceaser salad's for the wife and the beer, he points to the beer and then thumbs at himself, the beer's for me.

He has one of those cracked skin summer smiles

He keeps talking like I want to hear him
Like he's so comfortable
Like everybody owes him attention

I'm a weirdo faggot

He puts his hands on the ribs of my chair asks do I want to go into he bathroom with him

Let's say it doesn't turn me on at all

Let's say I literally hate all men bc literally men are animals—

This is a kind of nature I would write a poem about.

TOMMY “TEEBS" PICO was a Queer/Art/Mentors inaugural fellow, 2013 Lambda Literary poetry fellow, and has poems in BOMB, Guernica, and [PANK]. Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he lives in Brooklyn and co-curates the reading series POETS WITH ATTITUDE with Morgan Parker.

Track Name: RE KATZ - "M"
– M –

These flies are M&Ms
the city has impounded itself in the bulbous glass
eyes of the micropredator
a slight pink paint splash on my shorts
a slight pink push up my shorts
slightly pained I approach the shore
the captain comes with the boat.

The porchswing nail bends to accommodate
its meddle.
This here is a map of
ambient venison
ambient fuckit.

Prilosec lilac
Even when I need them I cannot vomit

This pumpkin plant is rated M
for manual pollination.

My brother had an imaginary friend named M
who died and we buried next
to the Smithsonian
I heard him whisper on the highway out of DC
M I love you like no one.

How many jingles do we know by heart
C-E-L-L-O and a cell is the solid mass
made from the sound. Hello M-
are you dead or on the mend again
old friend?

The magpie has a locket
that splits into three
my body has a shadow
that belongs to something else.

RE KATZ works as an artist in residence at the Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo. It is glamorous work. In summer of 2014, her chapbook "Any Berry You Like" was published by iO Books. That's all.
Track Name: JASON TOBIN - "Bee Vision"
– Bee Vision –

The honey shack’s no longer full of feasible bees. I imagine hymns escaping through your mouth and covering me in stings. I know I’m lucky to have someone to miss. It doesn’t make singing any easier.

Some hooligan burnt down the honey shack. I consult the crime dog who sends me to his oracle who ships me off in an Amish taxi. The hills frighten by storming my horizon.

The driver drops me in the only patch of street light for miles. Lo and behold my llama is patiently waiting for me. I feed him some jerky. He flashes his teeth at me. The only food I have left is the cold fruit in my sash.

This landscape is almost the desert. I fear this is a trap. Back behind the curtain the universe is laughing. And you are laughing. I step backwards out of the current moment. The hills are phosphorescent, masked in bees.

JASON TOBIN is currently an MFA candidate in the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin and poetry editor for Bat City Review. He splits his time between Austin and Portland.
Track Name: JASON TOBIN - "Llama Rider"
– Llama Rider –

The last time we had sex was almost a month ago. I didn’t shower afterward because I wanted to keep your smell on me. Instead I went into the thicket and chopped wood. When I broke your hatchet, you wouldn’t stop singing. I wanted to buy you a new one and then ran into commercial troubles. You shrugged and turned the furnace back on. The painting on the wall above you began to wheeze. The pirates in the painting were dueling without clear intentions. Their ship was stuck on a sandbar and I didn’t see any sign of booty. The modest pirate’s sash migrated up around his chest. He seemed destined for dark matters. You sat on the couch making straw dolls for the incoming crop of students. I didn’t welcome these dolls and was jealous of their pamper. You were capable of whipping out twenty-six and three-quarters dolls per hour, which was serious money in those radiant times. Out in the pasture, my llama spat into a patch of fireweed. I should have got back on my llama and made my way to the honey shack.

JASON TOBIN is currently an MFA candidate in the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin and poetry editor for Bat City Review. He splits his time between Austin and Portland.
Track Name: T'AI FREEDOM FORD - "How to Get Over"
– how to get over –

screw off your mouth and sit there bottle still. know what it like to feel fragile. full of air, but no voice. whole body a lung, no choice but breathe. wait for sludge or liquid or sand to fill you. do not budge unless toppled. almost shattered—the ground fast forwarding toward you. the wobble upright. uprooted toward lips. threatened in sips toward half-empty. empty: echo in the throat. choke from the drunken grip round your narrowing neck. the passing of hands. the fingerprints that dance along the rough song blown through you. the spit sliding inside. consider how cracking could free you. how break and shatter become you. how the glinting shards could draw blood—

T'AI FREEDOM FORD is a New York City high school English teacher, Cave Canem Fellow and 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Sinister Wisdom, No, Dear, The African American Review, PLUCK!, Vinyl and others. T’ai lives and loves in Brooklyn, New York.
Track Name: TODD McKINNEY - "Lion at the Zoo"

If you’re bored and don’t know what to do
let me give you a suggestion or two.
First, draw a picture of a lion, the kind from the zoo,
dining at a fancy restaurant with someone like you.
When the lion orders zebra and antelope stew
garnished with a side of tall grass, I suggest that you do too.
Then, while you wait, you can ask if it’s true
what they say about life at the zoo:
“Is it boring? Does it feel like a trap? Does it make you feel blue
to be in a place so far from home and with only a few
other lion friends hanging around, and nothing to do
like chasing prey and taking a snooze
in the warm African sun on a long afternoon?”
Then, listen carefully to the lion’s point of view
when he says, “It’s not the savannah, that’s true,
but living here I’ve seen and learned some things I never knew.
Things like the panda bear eats mostly bamboo,
that joey is the word for a baby kangaroo,
and that the noise coming from the bird house is probably a cuckatoo
chatting about who knows what and to who knows who.
I’ve also learned that people like to get tattoos
of things like tigers, and skulls, and lucky horseshoes;
that a birthday party requires a number of kazoos;
that people like to ride the zoo’s train even though it just goes in one big loop.
These things I would never see in Tanzania or Cameroon.”
And then the lion might say, “But what about you? What do you
do when you’re feeling drab and that you’ve hollered your last woohoo?”
And while the lion sips on his water, and while he primps his big hairdo,
tell him about all the things you like to do:
to ride your bike through the park and practice kung-fu,
to play school with your friends and count to thirty-two,
to pretend that your name is Mace Windu
and without your purple light saber you wouldn’t know what to do.
To that the lion might nod his head yes and say, “Very true, very true.”
After dinner and dessert (chocolate-covered gnu
for two), you can say, before bidding adieu,
“it was so cool to meet you” to which he’ll probably say, “thank you”
and “you’re pretty rad too” and “it’s been a while since I felt this brand new.”

TODD McKINNEY lives with his wife and two sons on a small farm outside Muncie, Indiana, where he teaches writing at Ball State University. His work has appeared in Puerto del Sol, Monkeybicycle, The Greensboro Review, Split Lip Magazine and elsewhere.
Track Name: DENBY & THE ALCOTTS - "Bitch We Are Outside"
– Bitch We Are Outside –

DENBY & THE ALCOTTS is a northeastern band comprised of three. Erik dawns the lead guitar and everything else with strings, Roy masters percussion, and Denby spews vocals while playing a ukulele.
Track Name: ERIN J. MULLIKIN - "Dear Loneliness"
– Dear Loneliness –

The last time I drove down this road, I counted, using my fingers, up from my birth year, but the way the trucks passed my car threw me off. & I stayed confused for most of that journey & during the days after, so you’ll have to excuse me because right now, I am feeling so sentimental that I don’t know what to do with the way the trees are blooming & blossoming & becoming fully clothed. I was so rich this week that I didn’t even bother to cash my paycheck. This is something I did not do, & because I still do not know what to do, I do the only thing I can think of. I lay down my head against the gravity, & I sing some song that no one will ever know but me. & this is the price I pay for happiness: to be able to feel it but to not know how to tell you what it is I feel exactly because I am always alone in everything, & you know I don’t lie when I say so are you.


Had I analogue desire or had I the white dog’s deaf patience. I would stick my lightning stick into the lightning itself. I would long for amazement & I would wait for it, but I have not the inclination nor the endurance.

In the silk ground, all the ones I’ve loved sleep forever. I find myself at odds with their ghosts, without the will to end & having no tolerance for endings.

I could be at odds with the night, too, if only it would produce in me the steadiness of the lunar cycle. But in this only, I bleed when the moon pulls my skin too tight against my bones, & I bleed when the sea forgets herself & rains upon us.


Last night, I couldn’t sleep because you were hard & angry against me. On our nightstand, our telephone rang, yet neither of us answered.


If I should ever find myself washed completely in an angry sea, I hope it is you who will pull me like a weakened tooth into the safety of dislocation. What I mean to say is that I would like you to rescue me from my agrarian past.

I am sure now that none of me makes sense.

But I am stalking the mist, & I am fertile, I swear it, & I am desperately missing you.


Tonight, the moon uses its awful lit fingers to hoist over the rooftops of houses in my neighborhood. Its slow climb reminds me of the tenderness in a baby’s eyelashes.

Nothing can stop the moon when it wants to position itself above us.

& yet, at the end of an era, someone may lean over the porch railing & yell “Hey everybody, moon’s rising!” & we’ll all turn to watch it crawl slowly across our hemisphere, giant & maddening, clanging as it goes.


Sumatra was the smell that night when the power went out & the ice formed geometries on our windowpanes.

I am not lonely now, let’s not mince words. It’s only that I’ve heard the world break in half, & I am wondering if you’re alright.


The weekend you left, our neighboring church hosted a party. The weekend, then, was full of mirth. Joy. I struck my arm with a knife like I was a teenager.

Our neighbors were looking at the world from their windows.

Someone called the police & I shook in the blue light. I had been arrested before, & I was afraid of the shaking made of my body. I wanted to take a bath, but you had all the towels.

I inadvertently came up with this metaphor: love is a bath you want to take, but you can’t.


You’re always already taking the time to consider something else.

I could be a map, but I could also be a doorway. Whatever I am, I feel now that it is up to you.


The right bottom tooth that should be a canine but is not, that is where I store my secrets. To hear them, you must first get inside my mouth. No, you must memorize all the bodies of water in Iceland first, then you must count them, & then you must tell me the tiny number before my jaws unhinge.

ERIN J. MULLIKIN is the author of the chapbook, Strategies for the Bromidic (dancing girl press), and her poems and short fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in magazines such as elsewhere, Best New Poets 2014, The Yoke, alice blue review, Spork, Birdfeast, and ILK. She is a founding editor for the online poetry journal, NightBlock, and the small literary press, Midnight City Books​.
Track Name: PATCHWORK - "Comfortable at Last"
– Comfortable at Last –

PATCHWORK is neal or nealium or nealiumhelium or Neal Anderson. He is a guy who is currently based Bloomington, Indiana, hoping to soon join the mobile tiny home movement, MIDI edition, to bring MIDI all around the globe to anyone who needs to be MIDIfied.