(not quite) a literary journal


Count it Up (for Ray Bradbury), by Mr. Downtown '92

One, landing at JFK while “Things Done Changed” blasts through your headphones, you’re tired
but you find it fitting, two, it’s chilly here, chillier than you anticipated, one windbreaker won’t
be enough, three, the comedian wears a hat and you realize that the city changes every aspect of
a person, four, Knickerbocker Ave., five, “Welcome to the team,” six, a sinking ship, seven, the
Ruff Ryders pop wheelies, one, first night, Warriors win a close game, two, this float isn’t going
to be done in time, three, this open mic is subpar, four, they clinch a chip on mute, it’s my first
shift and I’m too shy to ask for the volume to be turned up, five, “You mean we get to split these
tips?,” six, closing isn’t as meticulous, seven, Texas is a lifetime away, one, lost at 2 am, two, we
have to be up for the parade tomorrow, three, there’s no reason anyone should take this much
Valium, four, this a long walk back, five, I have a propensity for waking up early, no matter the
situation—this will serve me well in the trenches, six, “Yo! Wake the fuck up!,” seven, a
mediocre roll for breakfast, one, Birdie’s, two, fatally hip but less hip than expected, three,
Section.25, four, the Sex Pistols, five, chainsmoking as the J passes by, six, there aren’t any
curtains here, seven, a roll worth my dollar, one, the bus, two, the train, three, your job, four, an
adult, five, the cinema (as refuge), six, sleepily dreaming of River Phoenix, seven, don’t put that
hat on the bed, one, fascist apparatus, two, “How could you harass my mother’s son?,” three, a
rap for the Junction, four, they don’t know why they won’t publish me, five, “Yes, I get paid to
write,” six, everything but the teeth, seven, well, the sobriety didn’t help either, one, nine months
since I hit skins, two, a rally against ICE, chants of “USA!” and a reciting of “The Pledge of
Allegiance” aren’t going to save anyone, three, this ‘occupation’ is a joke but at least you’ve got
all these cigarettes, four, Blair in abject poverty, five, Rilke for a quarter, six, if I don’t return and
they don’t leave, seven, the ease with which life flowed, one, the Bridge, two, a job at the UN,
three, personal best, four, the pigeon’s shit just missed me, five, the walk back, six, exorbitant
amounts of peanut butter, seven, “What are you going to eat that with?” “The Ritz crackers,”
one, I’ve never been this hot, two, this fan is cheap, three, “Am I gaining weight? Going bald?
Losing teeth?” “It’s been a month, fool. Relax, won’t you? Now, be quiet and go to work,” four,
I should be going to school this fall, five, the thesis gusto fades, six, just a couple more people
here and it’ll be bearable, seven, Rilke’s Letters to a Not-So-Young Me, one, men hit on me more
often than women, two, I want to be rich, for my mother’s sake, three, there aren’t many fans of
Colombia in this neighborhood, four, “Your avoidance of an obvious situation that needs to be
discussed makes me doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion,” five, “I ain’t Mad at Cha,” six,
size 48, size XL, seven, “Could you confirm this address, sir?,” one, cooler winds will
accompany basketball, two, the King is in Los Angeles, three, Oakland does the Boogie Down,
four, haven’t seen you in a week, five, the immigrant’s ideal’s are shattered with an arrest, six, I
want to help all of you, seven, “Why God? Why me?!?,” seven, the old woman, one, a guttural
pain, two, “Why would you bend your MTA card? It doesn’t work when it’s bent,” three, it
looked like Manhattan was blowing up, four, the World will end here, five, from the safe walls
of academia, rife with A/C and free printing, six, the almond milk is the most expensive part,
seven, timing so as to avoid traffic, one, Clarisse, two, Montag, three, Faber, four, Trump, five,
Kennedy, six, she, seven, me.

Tip Jar
artwork by Stephen R. Spencer II

artwork by Stephen R. Spencer II