Friday, January 10, 2020

Karyna McGlynn [two poems]

Good Show, Everybody

That was Life on Earth!

We were sad, you know, that the show
couldn’t go on, but we all agreed
that it Would Have Been a Blast.

We expected two Backstage Boys
shaking a sheet of Aluminum Thunder,
but instead we saw a man fall
from the Catwalk. They called it Heaven
& said the man was made of sand.

Before the Space Squids descended
on their ectoplasmic parachutes
we had finally learned to spell words
like “pajamas” & “millennium.”
We literally just got things
like Helium & Online.

We knew not to run with scissors.

We knew our Pilgrim Heritage
was after us with a Meat Cleaver.
Not to brag, but collectively we
invented the words “Bazooka” & “Chintzy.”

We were Very Cross
with the Weatherman’s Curse—
his cheeky bluster & grey felt clouds,
battalions of bugs & lightning bolts
pinned to our trenches & faults.

We put our proverbial tugboat

on the Mississippi
& watched it chug away with
our Barge of Infinite Bullshit.

This was a serious matter.
Some of us wore waterproof mascara.
Some of us stood in black box theaters & bellowed
one more time, for good measure.

No Corroborating Evidence

You must keep your paws off the ice
of the Maritime Disaster Exhibit;
You might melt it. Then the Tragedy
will repeat itself in miniature.
Keep your Hot Breath, please, off the Lifeboats.
Scratch your name off the place setting.
Stick a steak knife in the ice cream.
We know you & what you’re willing to do.
Your table manners are uncouth.
Are you willing to risk it?
Unleash an ice floe in the crab bisque.
You weren’t on the Guest List
in the first place.
No one will know how cold
the water was that night but you.
And I’m sorry to say it but
because you’ve continued to swim
you are an Insufficient Witness
to the foundering ship
of your own suffering.

Karyna McGlynn is a writer & collagist living in Memphis. Her poetry collection Hothouse (Sarabande Books) was a New York Times Editor's Choice. Karyna is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Christian Brothers University and is currently working on a book about Kate Bush. Find her online @karynamcglynn or

Friday, January 03, 2020

J.M. Tyree [fiction]


It took me awhile to understand that the dog that hung around the carpeted hallways of the 16th floor of the condo building late at night didn’t belong to any of our neighbors. But this was not a stray dog, either. In fact, it wasn’t a dog at all, I realized, in a 3 a.m. encounter near the trash chute. I heard the chimes of the elevator and turned to discover the creature calmly stepping from the doors, sleek and silver, ignoring me but looking both ways before taking the corridor that led to my door. The corridor bent round in a baffled curve so that you couldn’t see all the way down. When I gathered up the courage to walk back to my apartment, I remembered that I had not locked my door when I had gone to the trash chute. My door was shut but the dog, or whatever it really was, could not be seen. Had it passed through the walls or somehow grown the nubs of hands to turn my door handle? I searched everywhere in my apartment for that dog but couldn’t find it anywhere, not in any closet, not under the bed. I even checked the stove, for some reason, but inside there was only a handwritten note saying that whatever I turned my hand to in life would fail.

J.M. Tyree is the coauthor of Our Secret Life in the Movies, an NPR Best Books selection. He is an editor of New England Review.