(not quite) a literary journal


Breakfast Records EP, by Spencer Mirabal

Very Serious
Questions + Convos
On Our Second Date

Caddywhompus is a word people
still use, right?

Is folding your pizza slices a priority
to you? And along with that, do you
consider deep dish to be pizza? Because
I don’t know if I would be able to handle

Are you one of those people who
pushes toothpaste up from the bottom
of the bottle like you’re giving a back
rub with coconut oil? Or do you squeeze it
from the neck with no thought of preserving
it from being an uneven mass of wrinkles
because, frankly, you have better places to be
and better things to worry about than how your
toothpaste bottle looks huddled in a drawer?

Is our love a see-saw?

Can you pass me my
Quarter-Life Hearing Aids™?
I’ve got this bad case of
toddler listening skills I’m trying to
kick this week this month this year.

I hate my lips.
Shaped like a flattened cathedral bell.
Honestly, I hate everything about my face.
It’s kinda like a dried olive with
car airbag cheeks all covered up with
the least affluent moss beard.
What do you hate most about yourself?
And how quickly can we get back to
talking about me?

Do you wanna share social security numbers?
You’re staying the night forever, right?

Do you like your eggs poached?
Would you like your life poached?

I spend more time retrying
the same three shirts on every morning
than actually eating anything.
Is that vanity or anxiety?

How would you get me to
stop biting my nails?
Or eating toothpicks?
Or “accidentally” starving myself?
Or get the self-deprecation that’s
caked to roof of my mouth out?

Do you like to dye your hair?
Do you think about dying as much as I do?

Can I Venmo you next week for this?
Not the therapy. The dinner.

Amtrak Cascades Alone
For Presumably The Last Time

She gets on in Edmonds. He gets on in Seattle.

In a reflection only viewable from the window seat of
a train southbound, a woman, cheeks of some kind of

purple and silver sea shell, listens intently to a man
sitting across from her. Her earnest eyes hold onto his

words like a glass of old Rioja, slow dance swirling
with them. When he laughs, she breathes it in like a

bowl of chicken noodle soup with carrots and celery.
It becomes a warmth whirlpool and drains away all of

her embarrassing stories, her mild vices, her slugs
that had made a home of her dampest insecurities.

It’s been a while. A baker’s dozen of lifetimes.

All the while, the sun took an Ambien with a double
well whiskey and passed out behind the mountains,

who took the opportunity to start a party and turn into
Venus, all yellow and brown like a premature

Thanksgiving disco ball. And all of the children on
the train became warthogs, trampling and barreling

into each other while wearing name tags with
sophisticated scribble cursive they’ve been learning

like some kind of ruckus-themed mixer. And harbor
seals who haven’t been home in a while got drinks

with barnacles on the dam of rocks along the tracks,
trying to avoid the conversation of whether either of

them had gotten a job with health insurance yet. But
the woman’s eyes have no questions for these things.
Only for the man so different than before across from
her, in their own cozy moment underneath

spacetime’s comforter. How long has his hair been
pepper and summer seasoned? How many hotel

rooms in how many cities has the left side of his bed
been empty? Have his eyes always been green?

Has this always been the place they were meant to be

when they find out?

Still Cruisin’

We left Montana Bar
to trek up and down
the steepest Seattle Streets
in tattered Nordstrom Rack boots.
Lips manhandled like bald tires.
2 AM winter air giving our bones a glimpse
of what it must feel like to be
salmon left a little too
long in the freezer.
Not even your favorite blueberry and
dark chocolate chapstick
I’m keeping in my jacket pocket
can seem to keep you close to me.
You’re always
three steps ahead,
deliriously weaving around cracked
sidewalks near a
24-hour QFC grocery store
and a conversation about
sexy Winnie the Pooh with
your friends from years before me.
It all sounds like
French to me.
Or maybe it’s more like
French Sign Language.
You’re using the last of your voice
strep throat’s been drunk jackhammering
for these buddies,
your love for their company
keeping you from sticking dynamite down
your throat to end the party forever.

I can relate to the strep throat.
Why would anyone leave you?
Me, with my mouth shut like
a child-proof jewelry box. Wearing a
frown my mother passed down to me.
Frida brow and Cyclops eye.
Will our lives ever meet in the middle?

When is the part where our
separate dearest friends
meld together with one another
like a perfect shade
of omelette yellow on
a palette?
Maybe we’re not meant to be
a museum painting,
immortalized by a few and
head-nodded-at by most.
Maybe our physical distance has
created too much of a
lyrical dissonance.
In one of our 4-hour phone calls.
you called me
“the tentative love of your life”
and man,
that was really sweet to hear
when you said it
but man,
it’s a huge bummer
hearing it like voicemail forever saved in my
head now.
Maybe our lives are too tectonic.
Wait, that’s not right…
I just looked it up,
It’s tectonic shift:
a slow moving
of our summer blanket-thin
Geologists say
knowing when the Earth’s plate collide
helps us understand why and where
events like earthquakes occur
and volcanoes erupt.
Would you rather I was an earthquake or a volcano?
Which one of those is
more exciting
for you?
Which one
lasts longer?

How much longer
are we going to
fucking walk until-

-we are home. When finally in bed, you nuzzle your snow tire
cheek into my boney, cold concrete left shoulder and breathe
out You are always so warm before you kiss me. Felt the
muscles of your lips form a smile in-between sleepy kisses,
like the way children are overcome with glee sometimes.
When they can’t help themselves. Pass me the strep throat.
We’re still cruisin’.

st. petersburg, florida

New heartbreak at a wedding is a mosaic.
A sweet arrangement all soaked.
Indigo eye bags. Cold-brewed sadness.
My hair all buzzed off.

Uncle John eats cake.
Glee fills his cheeks for the first time in months.
Grandma Anne dances.
Recently celebrating her 53rd 29th birthday.
When she smiles at me, her eyes peel away my
chameleon skin and hold my dying, colorless body.
Cousin Peter, king of the evening Spring wedding
in St. Petersburg, Florida,
watches his adoptive father Jeff give the
sweetest, most remarkable speech.
Neither of them know that the words are building
a hospital bed for my heart, my dry ventricles
given an IV bag. Breathing again.

Your damp blonde hair on my chest.
A morning in Bozeman on your bed tucked in the
corner near the window.

All of Jeff’s words turn to old oatmeal in my head.
Is my head even here right now?
Is today the wedding?

Is it Saturday?
How many days have I been here?

or earlier (who’s to say),
I walk on an April beach the color of white I thought
was only saved for master bedroom linens. Trees
twist branches into shapes I’ve never seen before,
their sun-kissed lime green leaves wear the sunset
like a dress they’re most known for. The most royal
sky. The clearest tide on my ankles is a familiar left
hand running through my hair from the back of my
head to front only to comb back to the collective
of the ocean.

It feels like the night when I confessed to loving the
sensation of your fingers rubbing my earlobe, only
for you to leave me three weeks later.

Linda asks Mom if she can open a Tiki Bar
when they move to Key West together.
My mom laughs and smiles at her wife.
My mom will die in Key West someday probably.
I ask her if Linda is
the love of her life and her best friend,
because that’s how I thought it was supposed to be.
She’s not sure what to say.

How many days have I been here?

or later (who’s to say),
I am in a white, porcelain hotel shower.
I stand in the corner where the water can’t touch
me. The mood set by music that cyclones into a
liquid version of you that sticks its whole hand in my
ear and chokes an ear infection into existence. Smack
myself in the face with my palms like ping pong
paddles so that maybe I’ll have a seizure and shock
these images of you out of my brain.

A shower in North Austin.
We stand in the corner, teaching one another how to
wash a lover’s back.We kiss under warm, wet pellets.
I’ll never kiss anyone in a shower again.

Depression isn’t sadness.
Sadness isn’t an aesthetic.
It’s just exhausting.
I hate seeing you everywhere you’re not.
My eyes hurt.
I want to scoop my eyes out.
Like stubborn ice cream. Scrapping them out.
It’s so hot here.

How many days have I been here?

Breakfast Records

You measure out forty four grams of your
favorite coffee with hints of jasmine, caramel,
and tangerine, not quite at the point in your life
to actually taste those flavors. Grind them way
too early in the morning in a second-hand grinder
in a fourth-hand house. Pick a mug from a cabinet
of mismatched memories. Your sink is chock full
of other’s anxieties that are becoming yours, so
grab a bottled jug of distilled water instead to boil.
Two hundred and five degrees. Pour through the
paper into the glass Chemex and swirl to rinse in the
light of a window to see an all-too-brief rainbow. The
backyard has become a jungle. The porch, a
junkyard. The counter a mess of wet pumpkin-patch
bark from grounds you keep spilling because your
hand tremors, never certain if you will be exact as
you need to be in evenly pouring seven hundred
grams over four and a half minutes. But that
shouldn’t matter. You are at the church of yourself
now. Mistake-ridden meditation. Quiet chemistry.
While you wait for the brew, blink in slow motion.
Feel time’s curve. Put your favorite breakfast record
on. Shuffle your feet in a dance no one will ever see
but your kitchen and the cal-du-sac cat that sleeps on
the worn beer pong table in the back. When it’s ready,
pour the coffee into your mug, breathe it in to the
bottom of your lungs, and watch the fog on your
glasses inhale and exhale away. Drink your worth in.
You are at the church of yourself. You are allowed to
be at the church of yourself.

art by Jordyn Raffety

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