Fireworks! – Abraham Becker

My boss and his friend just pulled off the freeway to get fireworks in Lost, WY because I guess they’re not legal in Butthole, CO where we’re going. Sorry. I’m not going to be negative just keep reading this novel, Blackhole, about a time traveling drug addict’s life path, questioning mine: I’m a caretaker in the back of a van. Do I want to get out? my boss asks after I’ve been losing my place in Blackhole for hours fighting the urge to jump out the window into the cowfieldblur and just mooo until I’m tipped or slaughtered. Sure. I follow them into wonder— almost. They pause for minutes in the trailer’s entrance mesmerized by stacks of what makes Pollock paintings of the night sky. I shiver behind them on the ramp similarly enchanted by a pair of deranged caged ferrets twitching in the window like little weasel time bombs. Your wheelchair stuck? I call out. That gets him to roll and his friend to walk in. It’s the first moment I want to be where I am a.k.a. Deranged Fireworks Shack Ferret Land! I am a powder keg of questions: Does the cashier pet them or just feel kinship with their palpable misery like me?
Do they eat happiness? Have they ever smiled? Do they sound like choking sirens if they speak at all? However, it’s not my first shit-job rodeo and what I’ve learned is the only surefire route to surviving a road trip as a suicidal caretaker is you make yourself scarce but conspicuously available (so you don’t start saying what you are actually thinking: I want to die. I WANT—) I snuff out the fuse on my ferret infatuation. I’m going over there. I announce and wander where his chair can’t roll searching for what will add to his boundless joy. It’s like selecting a knife for a master chef when all I cook is cereal and milk. How am I this depressed when his limbs don’t work? How is he so happy to be happy? I come back brandishing cartoon-grade dynamite.
The ferrets are still glaring maniacally out the window but all other eyes are on me. The cashier suggests I put that one down, hon… and my boss looks like Wyle. E. Coyote with a death wish so I lower it in exaggerated slow-motion into his lap and watch as his eyeballs bulge out their sockets like lightbulbs set to shatter into flame. I want to light it. I hear myself say as his grin crosses the threshold from mischief into how I imagine the ferrets’ faces might stretch demonic, up, up if they ever escaped into the Lost, WY brush. I tell the ferrets I want to light it! I turn to my boss’ friend I WANT— and then the cashier who shakes her head and shrugs like a carny pointing to the MUST BE AT LEAST THIS TALL TO RIDE THE RIDE sign. She tells us we can have all the bottle rockets we desire. I inform her that has become impossible.

Abe Becker, a.k.a. The Poet Laureate of Awkward, was recently published in After Happy Hour Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and the East Bay Review. He is a performer, a playwright, a caretaker, a guest editor of the Bay Area’s Sparkle + Blink, and was long-listed for the 2016 Lascaux Prize.

The Summer of My Discontent – Tim Stafford

Every August, a plague descends upon the city of Chicago. A plague so wretched, so sickening, so disease-ridden that parts of downtown have to close entirely. Police call in reinforcements and parents pray for the safe return of their children. I am speaking, of course, of Lollapalooza. Most of you thought it was Cleveland but no: Lollapalooza is actually where dreams go to die.

If you’re unfamiliar with the 4-day music festival, allow me to break it down for you. Imagine going to see your favorite band. But in order to see them you have to sift through 300 horrible bands who sound like they stole their names from bars in Logan Square. Now imagine paying 5 times what you would pay so you can watch it with thousands of people simultaneously suffering from heat stroke, alcohol poisoning, and poor choice in facial hair. And when I say watch, I mean you’ll be watching from hundreds of feet away because although no one there really likes your favorite band, they’re camping out to see the latest dub step mash-up nightmare playing on that stage later in the day. Or the Lumineers. (more…)

Magnetron Blonde – Jessie Janeshek

Jessie Janeshek’s second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Supernoir (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press) is her first full-length collection.

The Fact – Janet McCann

Let us bring back the fact the way it was.
unearthed with the pick, examined, rough-textured
to be held in the hand. Now and then cracked open
to reveal crystals. a weight in the palm.
more often just left alone, its true self.
No one questioned the slant of the pick
or threw away the fact. It could not be reburied.
Cigarettes cause cancer, a Boeing 747
airliner holds 57,285 gallons of fuel,
porcupines float, humans are mammals.
Some facts important and some less so.
You could say yes but and provide another fact
that made you look at the first one differently
you could always change the lens but not the eye.
Let us bring back the fact (more…)


This is the brand new incarnation of Drunk in a Midnight Choir. We are very excited about our new digs, and we hope you are too. Take a look around and tell us what you think. Please don’t miss our first online issue, If You Are Hungry Enough, and keep an eye out for posts on this here blog, which will happen at least once a week.  Thanks for stopping in! 

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