Borrowed Trouble: Two Micro-Tributes


Larry Levis


New Harmony, Indiana, 1995.


Our afternoon game of pool lasted

well into the night of the student poetry reading 

we agreed would be better off without us.


The bar jukebox blared the Allman Brothers’ 

“In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” on repeat as if to bring her 

or this failed utopia for three-two beer back to life. 


Low-point townies followed me into 

that toilet’s toilet to share their idea of an elegy. 

Until you appeared at the men’s room door to give me my cue.



Denis Johnson


Nights I had too many beers

I would declare war on streetlights

the color of those Tibetan salt rock lamps

new-agers now claim ease tension.


Please. Respect my fear and intelligence.


I slept off nothing. Passing trains

rattled the faux wood walls of my studio apartment

with outdoor furniture dragged upstairs,

a rattle louder than any gun.


Undergrads cued up to die along those tracks.


Brian Beatty's jokes, poems, reviews and short stories have appeared in numerous print and digital publications, including The American Journal of Poetry, The Bark, Cholla Needles, Conduit, Dark Mountain (England), elimae, The Evergreen Review, Forklift Ohio, Glasgow Review of Books (Scotland), Gulf Coast, Hobart, Juxtaprose, McSweeneys, Midwestern Gothic, The Moth (Ireland), Museum of Americana, NOON, Phoebe, Poetry City USA, Publishers Weekly, Quail Bell, The Quarterly, Rain Taxi and Seventeen, among others.