‘5 poems’ by Brian Alan Ellis


Being my own therapist may or may not be going okay

Will someone please tell me
what’s wrong with me,
mainly so I can just ignore them
and continue being wrong?

I’d follow my heart but my heart only wants that dumb, toxic, emotionally damaging good-good

For me, dating is like
momentarily leaving the island that is myself
and then immediately drowning.

Find what you love & then delude yourself into believing it could actually be enough

“Removing the toxicity from my city”
is a good way to describe a break-up,
especially if System of a Down was
your favorite band in high school.

Existential crisis to the Sir Mix-a-Lot “Baby Got Back” song at a ’90s dance night

Oh, I don’t really have friends.
These are just people who
crowd around me at bars.
Some I just happen to know
better than others.

If your brain still works then there are no safe spaces

Perhaps I seem easy going to some,
but inside I’m really just a person trying
to escape a burning building.

BRIAN ALAN ELLIS is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018) and Some­thing to Do with Self-Hate (House of Vlad/Talking Book, 2017). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Fanzine, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Queen Mob’s Tea House, among other places. He lives in Florida, and tweets sad and clever things at both @brianalanellis and @HouseofVlad.