brb by Kat Bing (

At the Old Babar

The poet cements her dentures in
before she approaches the open mic
for a semantically anarchic address
to hipsters in their thrift-store best.
Her cream-colored cable-knit cap
looks like her exposed brain.
Sea cucumbers taste like bitter tires,
she informs the members of the bar.
Many are cold, but few are frozen.
Chickens don’t have tits,
so it’s kosher to fry them
in their own eggs.
When the sun goes down,
giraffes begin their low humming,
the only sound they ever make.
Tuvan deep throat singers intimate
it’s time to drape that canary.
A blind woman wearing a fascinator
sits in the front row of the reading,
blocking the poet from view.
A former virgin, she chews
blackberry-hyacinth Gummy Pandas,
her ankles an archipelago of insect bites.
Trapped deep in Greenland’s ice,
88 yellow rubber ducks wait for the thaw
to form their synagogue under the sea.


About the Author: Jan Steckel is a former pediatrician who left the practice of medicine because of chronic pain. Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards for LGBT writing. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Bellevue Literary Review, BiMagazine, Red Rock Review and elsewhere.

Artwork: Kat Bing