Author Archives: The Choir

Chicken Thief – Matt Barnett

A few Labor Days ago, some of my union friends insisted that I attend the Cleveland County Democrats Labor Day Picnic held in Andrews Park in Norman, Oklahoma. It cost twenty bucks a plate, and all the money was going toward beating the Republicans in the 2010 election.

“Be sure and be there,” they said.

“We’re going to have a big chicken dinner, with all the fixins, and Jari Askins is going to be there. It’s going to be really great. Don’t miss it,” they said.

They figured Jari Askins stood a good chance to become the first female Governor of Oklahoma. Well, that sounded good to me. Somebody’s got to turn this thing around. So my girlfriend and I piled into the car and headed to the park.

Before 9/11, I worked at this fried chicken place in Seminole County. We all had to wear these pleated blue pants, a Boy Scout belt, a red polo shirt, and a blue snap hat bearing the company’s idiotic cartoon chicken logo. It was humiliating.

From “A Chicken in Every Pot” political ad and rebuttal article in the New York Times, 10/30/1928

“The Republican Party isn’t a “Poor Man’s Party.” Republican prosperity has erased that degrading phrase from our political vocabulary. The Republican Party is equality’s party—opportunity’s party—democracy’s party—the party of national development, not sectional interests—the impartial servant of every State and condition of the Union. Under higher tariff and lower taxation, America has a stabilized output, employment and dividend rates . . . ”

At Andrews Park, high cirrus clouds hovered over a sinking late afternoon sun. Cicadas ratcheted out an end of summer song. Kids chased and screeched around the playground equipment. I saw a few democrats forming a line outside the old pavilion. Continue reading

Two Poems – Jonathan Dubow


far from home visiting friends who’ve become more radical
never am i such a stranger as at these moments
i could be dead it would be nothing monumental to me
at times like these i stroll back and forth
between this objectivity and that door that guards my dreams
these days everything is something along those lines

my friend was sleeping with this tantric woman
who’d just left her husband and three kids
i was traveling to see him
where he was holed up
all around us life went on assertion bragging defensiveness
and boasting forgery and greed

his dad with new girlfriend was at the texmex diner where we got breakfast
his dad paid our bill the grandma didn’t know his dad was dating
would write him out of the will he thought she should be in a home
thought it felt guilty he’d asked my friend to tell grandma she needs to
go to a home bought our breakfast and we left town
when should we live if not now
is what they say in california

in the car we talked about the relationships between other people and parents
other people and other people parents and parents
parents and themselves we agreed
it would be nice to define this relationship between anger nostalgia and insecurity
once and for all
sometimes there is a solution for this problem
with a rumor about ourselves in it that’s almost imperceptible
Continue reading

Three Poems – Bud Smith



Rooting For You

unhappy but trying to not rip my own head off and punt it as my final dying motion

chewing tropical bubble gum and refusing to acknowledge the slow decline of all life on earth

but! kinda coming out of my fog, and seeing where to put my feet on the steps

think about a new baby girl crawling up the stairs
grabbing a cape mom hung on the doorknob
slipping the cape on, floating over the violent town

I look up to people who raised themselves

see me pop my bubblegum underneath
flickering florescent light

do people raised by wild wolves ever get tired?

do wild wolves ever get tired of raising babies they found somewhere, crying soft in the darkened forest?

picturing wild wolves having to go to a PTA meeting

picturing wild wolves bringing a child to tee ball

picturing wild wolves having to meet their adoptive human son or daughter’s prom date and the wild wolves sitting on their haunches, knowing this’ll all work out

wild wolves thinking ‘okay, try me’

earlier today I accidentally cut my hand wide open and I purposefully let the blood fall on the snow and make a heart shape

a big ol’ heart shape

hope you can see it from up in the pink clouds

if you’re separated for me, I’ll continue to believe it’s because you are out secretly saving the world from forces I cannot comprehend.
Continue reading

#8 – On Prince -Eve Ewing

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As we approach our 3rd anniversary on February 6th, we are counting down the top-ten most-read posts from the last year.


Drunk in a Midnight Choir - 4.22.2016 edited-page-001


record shopEve L. Ewing is a Chicago-born essayist, poet, editor, and visual artist. Her work has been published in Poetry, The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, Union Station, In These Times, and the anthology The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. She has been a Pushcart Prize nominee, a finalist for the Pamet River Prize, and a scholarship recipient for the New Harmony Writers Workshop. She is one half of the writing collective Echo Hotel (the other half is poet, essayist, and critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib). She loves cookies and bikes.

DMC News


Greetings! As we approach our third anniversary, we here at DMC have decided to make some format changes. Aside from an overall site redesign, we will be putting the bulk of our material into two issues a year. These issues will be published on May 15 (Spring) and November 15 (Fall). The open reading period for the first issue will be from February 1 – April 1. New submission guidelines will be up on the site soon, but as of Feb 1, you can send submissions to with the genre heading (if not obvious like “Poetry” or “Fiction,” the best you can describe it) in your subject line.

While the majority of what we publish is poetry, we are still accepting any and all types of work, from fiction to essays to rants to interviews to performance videos to mixtapes to anything you can think of. We particularly love the personal essay. We will also be looking for original art to put in each issue.

The daily blog will remain in addition to the issues, to publish more immediate material, as well as regular columns like Grindr Troll and Dream Weaver, and well as links, rants, poems, other pieces that for whatever reason don’t fit in one of the issues. If you would like to submit something specifically for the blog, please put “BLOG” in your subject line.

There will be plenty of other things in the future, from guest editors to contests to print editions, and this new format should help open up the time and space to do even more exciting stuff. We look forward to sharing it with you, and as always, thanks for being part of DMC.

Three Poems – Malcolm Friend


drunk-in-a-midnight-choir-poetry-submission-page-001 Continue reading

The Berrigan Sonnets – Diannely Antigua

Nicolas Carone - 1957

Nicolas Carone – 1957


You heard a crazy woman was put in an ambulance down on 6th.
Here, you are mourning it like a false bottom opening into eight greedy mouths.
You have to be unafraid of floating in the corner of the room,
the breath goes though it’s not plugged in to the telephone.
And these are your faded red ribbons, your best looking
funeral. You are going to be confident in your ankled denim, like sparks
spotlit long after the lights go out. Sometimes
you wonder if we are fashioned out of our aunts, fierce
birds full of teeth, horrifying the bars or the post office, which is to say there is no hope
for another bus to Saint Paul, to play like old pictures.
You hoped for 6 or 7 minutes marked like carpet when a door slams, saying Continue reading

Two Poems – Benjamin DeVos




my parents make me go to cognitive behavioral therapy
after breaking into my room and reading my journal
all of the passages about what is wrong with america
about starting a fistfight in bed bath & beyond
a warning sign if ever there was one
my therapist asks if i often feel angry and i say yes
my therapist asks if i feel in control of my life
i say that physically i am the strongest that i have ever been
my therapist writes something on his notepad
by the end of the session i want to punch myself in the face
realizing how much i’ve betrayed myself in the past year
like when i unconsciously laugh in serious moments
to proactively defend myself against possible rejection
i laugh when my mom tells me that i am fat for a teenage boy
i laugh when my dad tells me that real men don’t cry
i laugh when my grandpa shares his theory about the earth being flat
laughing makes me feel awkward instead of sad
i laugh on my way out of the therapist’s office
then cry all the way home

Continue reading

Two Poems – Grant Quackenbush

Francis Bacon - Triptych 1944

Francis Bacon – Triptych 1944


His build was too slight
for the amount of heroin
he shot. His heart

slowed. Blood
became mud,
mud tar. He felt

a window shatter
in a bright
room inside him. Glass

flew like fanged
bats from his throat.
Someone spoke. He wasn’t

breathing. He wasn’t
doing anything
but staring at the ceiling.

Continue reading

Portrait of the Poet’s Anxiety in Four Horsemen – Brennan Bestwick


Arturo Souto – 1937



I light a candle and watch shoppers
enter the mall outside my bedroom.
Through the glass we share my sadness.
This boy fears the crosswalk, holding
his sister’s hand in his own. His mother
fears what man can become when boys
lose the last of their first teeth. Who isn’t
afraid? All of us together, their available
world and my invisible haunts. I give each
stranger a name that sounds like my own.
We are a season of moths, a mouth of petals.


In the parking lot behind my apartment,
I practice squaring my car evenly between
the lines. My skill for this simple pleasure
is worsening. Yesterday I ran a red light.
My partner worries when I am left alone.
She slides through the narrow opening
of the passenger door parked too near
an Oldsmobile and her faith thins enough
to free her. I kill the engine in a thousand
new stalls, audition my shame for surrender.
No lot escapes the slaughter. All forgotten
can be lost. This is a treaty, the concession.

Continue reading