2 poems by Josh Sippie




Chainsaw hats split spinal columns

And heads detach like grapes plucked from the vine and

they cheer

and      cheer

and                  cheer

because this is exactly what they came here to do

the blood spackling the walls, the

floors the


like red rain

and still they want more and so he

puts his hat back on and another comes to him and he

sends his hat through the thoracic cavity

of the anonymous challenger

eviscerated, holding his heart in his own hands and the

hat returns for that too


they cheer

and      cheer

and                  cheer

They call it what it is, no words needed to mask

The butchery of brigands like

hat man and

finger blades and


But thankfully the Romans stopped their savagery.

I mean, those were

real people



Same as always – Josh Sippie


He wouldn’t have recognized you, my mom told me

because his brain was broken and he yelled at everyone through misery that

I apparently wouldn’t have wanted to see myself but I

would have

He could barely eat unassisted, he grunted and groaned through the night but

I still would have

The same way he would have liked to see me pitch another game down at the ABC baseball

fields when I couldn’t find the strike zone and he probably thought to himself that his

grandson was no Randy Johnson but he stayed anyway, in the WWII Veteran hat that he

always wore

He cheered the same way he always did, with every pitch, believing that I could throw a

strike this time.

That maybe if he cheered enough, he could fix my broken aim and put it back together

again the way he wanted it.

I wanted to see him, the same way I always did, but when you’re young and stupid, a dying

grandparent looks something like a general education course that you’ve already failed


and you lose track of all the times he

took you to the Burger King down the street, or heckled grandma’s science fiction films

with that endearing chuckle that didn’t sound broken at all.

Not like the brain my mom told me he died with

The brain that wouldn’t have recognized me, wouldn’t have remembered me

Wouldn’t have known if I could find the strike zone or not 10 years ago.

I’d have told him I struck out every batter I faced

I’d have told him I was drafted,

put on the mound and threw seven no-hitters while grandma was watching

Bodysnatchers and Pod People

and he’d have believed me because his brain was broken and maybe I could also tell him I’d

been by to visit him earlier

That I’d seen him every week

I’d put the pieces together in a way that looked better than they actually were

The same way they looked before they were broken.

Josh Sippie lives in New York City where he’s the Director of Publishing Guidance at Gotham Writers and an Associate Editor at Uncharted Mag. His writing can be found in journals and anthologies including at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Sledgehammer Lit, Wretched Creations, Hobart, Not Deer, Eerie River, and more. More at joshsippie.com or on Twitter @sippenator101.