Pachinko Mouth, Second Turn

Michael Gushue

Excerpted from Pachinko Mouth, Anomalous Press Chapbook Contest Notable

click here to read about the full project


when we were all tucked away, ready for—LIGHTS OUT!— bedding


  The Tale of the Three Princesses with Unpleasant Physical Characteristics,

                                               How Oatmeal Became King,

                                                                          or, well, ha-ha, as much as
                                                             I can remember,

                                               this one:

There once was a dosai monkey named Babbalanja. One day a shibui persimmon seed noticed Babbalanja squeaking by, wearing his public face. The seed said, “Hey, Monkey! Hey, Fur-All-Over! Name three things that hurt.” And Babbalanja said, “A bee, a chestnut’s burr, a sewing needle, and being here.” “What kind of bee?” asked the persimmon seed.

Next door, a crab named Azzageddi was instructing her children. "If you don't bud quickly I'll dig you up with my eggbeater." Her frightened children quickly sprouted. Then Azzageddi said, "Noroi! If you don't hurry up and grow, I'll clip all of you in half with my shears." Her children quickly grew as big as possible under the circumstances. Finally, Azzageddi threatened her children, "Bear fruit or I'll discipline you to bits with this hocho." The frightened children promptly gave birth all over the place.


        the box,
                     the box I came in?                     That box?
                                 It was so clearly marked


Michael Gushue runs the micro-press Beothuk Books and is co-founder of Poetry Mutual/Vrzhu Press. His work has appeared online and in print. His chapbooks are “Gathering Down Women,” from Pudding House Press, “Conrad” from Souvenir Spoon Books, and “Pachinko Mouth,” forthcoming from Plan B Press. He lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC.