The Myna Birds of 2017 are here! (March)


All Night We Tug at Lonely Lights

Far off across the cornfields the body of a farmer
missing since fall will show up in his garden.

Feel the missing pulse against your fingers

as your heart pounds, flesh resting on disintegrating bones.
The body carries you on its back,

a young angel in a century that isn’t its own.

Hear the feathers dragging, gathering dust, the shadows
against clouds, those who have no wings

bustling to collect them, those who do carefully zipping

them shut. It’s hard to know who will fly
when the earth opens up—

the old angels stink, skin peeling off in patches,
maps of terrifying unknown lands furrowed, scored, scratched—

sink half-asleep into the ground,
more & more human.

(within the chapbook, Cutting Eyes from Ghosts, now available from Blood Pudding Press, HERE -!)



Mother’s Pregnancy Dream

A tribe of diapered babies

the family room floor,
gummy toy soldiers stuck in the rug.

Stink of dirty diapers:
change them, change them all.

Cotton cloths scrape hands.
Pins impale thumbs.

Smirking husband
morphs into
a giant

diaper-draped baby

an enormous erection

~Eileen Murphy~



Bad Girl

At age two-and-a-half, I am
at our new pediatrician’s.
My pregnant mother chitchats
with the doctor

as his nurse lifts me under my arms
out of my chair onto the tile floor
and—without warning—
yanks down my pink stretch pants
and Day-of-the-Week underpants,
exposing my butt.

I’m terrified
to have a stranger grab me and
pull down my pants.
I resist like I’m being kidnapped,
screeching, clawing, kicking—

More strange people
grip my arms and legs
as I struggle to get away.
They overpower me
and throw me face down
on the treatment table.

I keep screaming and bucking,
though I glimpse
my mother scowling
at me and the doctor chuckling.
They have pinned me
like gang of rapists.

Then the doctor violates me

with his needles,
three humiliating jabs
in my plump heinie.

Afterwards, the receptionist
hands me a lollipop wrapped in plastic.

I let it drop to the floor. 

Pick it up, orders Mom,
jabbing her finger: You’re a bad girl.
I’m telling your Dad.

~Eileen Murphy~




Mother’s in her walk-in closet
pulling off
the white silk shirt
she always wears to class.

Her breasts, filigreed
with silver stretch marks,
tortured by
and breast feedings,
are flabby pancakes
in their Maidenform holster.

I open the Sears catalog
to bras and show Mom
as she slides
on a caftan.
Any cover-up concealing
my nipples would do.

I point at the “training bras,”
thick, protective
sheets of cotton.

You don’t need a bra, Mother says.
You’re twelve, that’s way too young.
I close the catalog, ashamed:
too small for Mother.

Today in school the class bully
at the desk across from me
was staring at my breasts
as I clasped
my arms across my chest.

Underneath my cotton uniform shirt
I wore only a slip, no bra;
all the boys in the class knew it.
I didn’t have
well-developed melons.
Mine were seeds.

Mother continues: I didn’t
wear a bra until I was fifteen.

Fifteen? I’m not waiting till I’m
fifteen. I’ll have to buy
a bra myself,
change at school.
And pray I’ll blossom.

~Eileen Murphy~




There is a man in China
With one of his hands attached
To one of his ankles by thread.
It isn't uncommon, they say,
To save the tissue
Once it's been severed.
I wonder,
Could a person recognize their hand
If it were sewn someplace else?
If it were tossed in a pile of other hands,
Would you know it?
The exact way your nails were split,
At the top, that day,
The length of the fingers,
The placement of every freckle,
Every tiny paper cut and scrape,
The way the knuckles wrinkled.
What would you look for, first?
How could you ever be certain?

~Jessica McKenna~




We are in a transition period
The body reaching the point of rot,
The earth, starved, entering our minds,
A tiny luminous worm to beg
Compassion, and green eating.
We live to consume until we are consumed
If that isn't horrifying,
Think it again, while watching your shoe
And realizing YOU ARE HERE
And this is REAL
And the sun will swallow the earth
Long after anyone who remembers anyone who remembers anyone who remembers
Has long since passed,
And vanished beneath
The bones of a scorched sand.



An Augur Ration

Heavy manners without a Frippian heart,
Irreligious blind faith rooted in feelings of inadequacy,
Titular typecast orange tapioca titmeister
Leaps from lewd to leading Clinton-licking liemonger,
Eerily dreams of making lakes great again by renaming Ontario Exxon.
Right shush men demonstrate why Jesus threw them out of the temple in rage.
Itchy and Scratch keep returning to a presumption of incredulity,
Angling around the maybe-no-myth of Armageddon, succumbing to anxiety.
New president’s inaugural address is only words — until — it’s not.

~John Burroughs~



Maybe Both, At Least the Latter

The first Dortmunder has kicked in
Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" is on the jukebox
and the attractive woman buried
in her phone two stools down from me looks
as distraught as I and I don't know whether
it's because her husband recently passed away
or because Donald J. Trump is President.

~John Burroughs~



Aftermath of a minor collision

The damage is inconsequential, mere molecular exchange
that it’s not worth bothering to get fixed. Those fanned striations
to metal and polycarbonate. The cracked plate remains legible.

But then the talking begins, and you gate-crash the narrative
with your machined hair, your plastic-coated name badge, all its
accompanying officiousness, its way that things have to be done.

Oblivious to the audience, you circle, fucking vulture, hungry for
the programme to kick in. You don’t get it, do you? This journey
of ours through the asteroids? You have no idea what’s coming next.

Easy life

Waking up in a series of unmatching stages
after another eight-day stretch, the night before
morning a badly-edited movie of buffered sleep,
car-crashes in the bathroom, unhelpful dreams.
There really are two dead gulls on the lawn.

I’m like an over-laundered sheet, wrung out,
mangled, smelling too much of the things
I use to clean me, that come to own me,
threadbare now in all the important places,
ghost-shape of a body worn somewhere into me.

Too old now for some things. Too young
for others. In the Sunday silence of a
nonchalant house less than half my age,
not wanting to rouse anyone still sleeping,
I map out my recovery, gather up my tools.


Traffic report

From here you can see the future
– a free-market version of it –
but not exactly where it ends;
only where the blinking red eyes
of its tail-lights disappear, inching
like hope into the underpass.
Bunched in its sneering wake,
we are all indignant but resigned,
each rehearsing their part in a
symphony of rage. We’ve evolved
to breathe in nitrogen oxides,
metabolize particulate matter.
Somehow, none of us is where
we think we really should be.


I Will Always Be Paying

At this point in time
In this twisted frame of mind
In this peaceful frame of mind
I sit down specifically to write
& think to myself Hey Mike it's been too long

I sit down to write on a Saturday night
Because it's all I want to do
Because my father told me I could be
Anything I wanted to be
So I the starving artist hit the streets
Head full of his books & dreams
He knew the truth, as someday I'd figure out
That reality is just too sad
To speak the truth Poet
As most dance around it
The truth is not entertaining

So I stumbled around following instinct alone
Every kiss was a wound & left a scar
My father has called me tough for years
Says I have to be tough to be so stupid

I have followed Poetry this is where it's taken me
This is where I could die
I could have died in any of those places
That Poetry drug me through
Los Angles bario, Bottom of West Philadelphia
Now a comfortable place in an uncomfortable city

Just remember fashion is the rage of art
& the fashion police are always around
To speak the truth Poet, would be a sin
I have paid for mine
I will always be paying

~Michael D. Grover~



 Fear at the Imagined Loss Shakes
 a Moment then Sneezes

Imagine: a shot in the skull, spending a last breath,
stirring birds into sudden circles of song,
darkness growing white,

the red, wet mange hunger leaves, bitten tongue,

heat spilling over (vomit & fear),
arms yawning until movement & stillness are one,

God stroking fish down the throat

while hearing everything He can’t forget,
until it’s possible to draw a line

across the water using wings for a broom.

(within the chapbook, Cutting Eyes from Ghosts, now available from Blood Pudding Press, HERE -!)